jacquelineb: (angelica fanshawe)

Next Friday, 13 December, I’m going to be joining some lovely fellow erotica writers and poets to read some of our work at Sh! in Hoxton. I went along last year (or was that earlier this year?) when DL King visited the UK, and it was a blast. Looking forward to doing it again. If you are able to come along, please do – the writers are a wonderful bunch, and the Sh! ladies are great fun and terrific hosts – they also have the nicest pink champagne. ;)

Bookings can be made by clicking on the picture, or below:

XXXMas Reading & Poetry Slam

Mirrored from jacquelinebrocker.esquinx.net.

jacquelineb: (stark raving sane!)

When I say ‘this’, I don’t mean this post in particular. It seems I have at least a few readers for Writing Anxieties; I was delighted, and surprised, by the number of likes and reblogs the cross-post of last week’s entry got on Tumblr, and the productivity post generated some great discussion its GoodReads cross-post.

What I am referring to is the general question that, even if you finish a piece you are working on – be that a short story, a novel, a poem, a blog post, a script – one that you love dearly, or even just have a passing fondness for, will you have readers for it? Will people, after you unleash it onto the world – however that may be – take the time sit down and read it?

Without a reader, a writer can feel very bereft. It’s like shouting into a tunnel and only hearing your own voice back. There is something gratifying about hearing the amplification of your words, but the same sound repeated back, over and over, get a little dull, and kind of lonely.

I noticed this from the very first publication. When Filament came out, I held the hard copy in my hands, saw my name in print, and smiled…and silence followed. Granted, I’m not sure if that piece is the best thing I’ve ever written, so I doubt it would compel someone to seek me out for feedback and praise because they loved it so (or hated it – see my post from two weeks, but it was interesting to realise how much I had gotten used to near-instantaneous feedback from my days in fandom.

It was easier to get a sense of readership when I was still doing fanfiction on a regular basis. You post something, and very quickly, you had feedback. What I love about Archive of Our Own is that you see the hit counts for your work, and also, if people don’t want to leave a comment, they can leave ‘kudos’. It’s the closest approximation of a ‘like’ button you can get. That’s the thing I really adore about the like buttons. It’s the internet equivalent of the non-verbal signals you get in real life conversation; the nod, the understanding expression, the smile (or the applause). Because online, no one can see you smiling, or hear you laughing, if you don’t make it known that you are. Sometimes this can be hard to do because of that wonderful shield of anonymity the internet gives you is broken a little when you do that. But it’s also a nifty way of participating without the fears of putting down your thoughts for all to see.

But I digress.

These days, and from here on in, I suspect I’m going to have to prod people into giving me a response for my work (and lest anyone is sitting there thinking this post is intended to guilt-trip them into leaving feedback, that’s not my intention. I understand if you’d rather not or don’t know what to say or are unsure of how to say it, that’s totally fine). The trouble is, there is that fear I might be putting them on the spot. What if they don’t like it and are just being polite when they smile and hand it back to you? What if they aren’t shy about saying they think it was shit and give you a point by point breakdown of why they think it was crap? (Granted, this latter part isn’t a bad thing all the time and would in fact show they cared enough about the piece to have such a strong reaction, but hard to take at the same time). In my case, it’s that I write erotica, and not a lot of people I know in real life are that keen to read erotica (or as far as I know…feel free to disabuse me of that notion folks!) so I don’t really want to be flapping work under their noses that will either make them feel uncomfortable or just plain doesn’t interest them.

In a way, it’s easier with strangers. Or indeed the internet. With erotica, I know the circles I can go and post something in and probably get some response from it, be it criticism or praise. With the blog, I can at least register that people are reading along; I just pop over to Google Analytics and see the hit counts for the day (and yes dearies, there is a correlation between blogging consistently and site visits – who knew! ;) ) And people have been reading along, and commenting, and taking interest, and that is very assuring to know. I may worry that hordes of people won’t read this, but I figure if I don’t write it, no body ever will. So thank you folks. It’s nice knowing that you’re there. :)

Mirrored from jacquelinebrocker.esquinx.net.

jacquelineb: (lady in green)
Phew, been nearly a month since posting here. I keep meaning to be more regular and then I'm not...anyway, on with it!

Today felt oddly productive, even though thus far I have written nothing. I finished off three books, two that had been sitting on my Kindle for Mac for ages and then mowed my way through V for Vendetta - as I was telling my housemate, I can understand why Allan Moore didn't like the film. I always thought the film was ok, but there was something...politically naive about it. Not the case with the graphic novel, and I much preferred the story arc with V and Evey in this, rather than the 'insert a romance!' thing that the film had going.

One of the books was The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and I'll say this, the stories were fun, but I also really enjoyed the writing itself. Lines the this:

"As he spoke there was a tap at the door, and the boy in buttons entered to announce Miss Mary Sutherland, while the lady herself loomed behind his small black figure like a full-sailed merchant-man behind a tiny pilot boat."

Are just lovely to behold.

The other book was by M. Christian, and was called 'How to Write and Sell Erotica.' Quite a useful book, though when I got to the parts about the industry and all you need to do apart from write I got a little...panicky. Sigh. Suspect that was maybe partly why I stalled writing today...though I like to think it was also the fabulous weather and it seemed a good idea to go and sit in the garden too! Feeling much better now though.

I also managed a bunch of cleaning. The cupboard under the stairs, alas, house no boy wizard, but instead a patch of mold that's crept out to the carpet, and there is a dead mouse in there somewhere...which I didn't find. That's a Friday job. The bottom of the fridge has also been scrubbed and my hair vacuumed from the bathroom floor carpet (could someone British explain *that* bit of architectural design insanity to me?) so am feeling a bit better about the place. Someone did come and look at the mold this morning and it will hopefully be dealt with soon!

Writing, as you can probably tell, is slow at the moment, but I did submit something last Tuesday and I'm glad of that. There are two things I'd like to have done by the end of the month, so Friday better be productive in those terms!

In terms of the website progress, though this was not done today, I have written up a schedule for the two themed blog posts I want to do, in the sense that I have a topic header and the weeks they will appear. Just need to get to writing some of it so I'm not writing in a flurry each night they are due! I have at last fixed the base of the website so it does what I want - loved my theme, but it wasn't allowing drop down menus - luckily, someone else re-jigged the theme and made this available, so I'm using that one, with my own alterations again.

On that, would anyone be interested in reviewing the site before it goes live? I'm a reasonably good judge of these things, but several pairs of other people's eyes would be awesome. :)

Other things have been happening, much of it good, but I'll be here all night if I write about it, so for now, goodnight.
jacquelineb: (vienna teng)
You all know the saying, how do you eat an elephant?

One mouthful at a time.

Am wondering if that should actually be my journal title from now on (or should that be eating the dragon...will think on that.)

I really want to make an update about what's been going on in my life for the past month and a half, because I just, you know, want to keep a record of it. But I think I'll wait till after the Highland Ball and after ladies' step class on Sunday afternoon (which will be my first one so I'm quite looking forward to it.)

In the meantime...the work event went very yesterday. Colleague who supervises me was very happy with it, so am really pleased about that, and the attendees seemed to enjoy themselves too. But wow, 90 people. I think we've got a good system now for this particular event. Now I feel I can get back into the emails I keep meaning to send, the waaay over due library books I need to read (one finished today, yes! Two more to go...boo. :( )

Luckily my writing didn't suffer too much as a result of all this. Did about 1000 words today, which was partly catch up from the 100 I didn't so on Wed or Thurs, plus today's, but also I had a think about how else to do this and produce more words more frequently. So...I'm going to experiment with the base goal of 100 words a day still, but aim on my days off, including weekends, for 500 words on those days. I initially thought I do 1000 on a Monday and a Friday, but then thought why not spread that out over the four days I'm not working? Am hoping this will be workable. Day one only so will reassess come the end of March.

But the 100 words a day plan has stood me in good stead. So far this year: 7700 new words. It doesn't seem like a lot for two months, but I have really loved checking in on the novel on a more regular basis than last year.

That's it for now, till Sunday evening...
jacquelineb: (lonely Lawrence)
One thing you should understand when I read or watch something; I rarely do it purely to relax. Unless I'm putting on a film or show I'm familiar with, I am usually constantly analysing it, assessing, judging.

This is not to say that I'm being objective. Far from it. Nor is the enjoyment lessened. I'd even argue the enjoyment is enhanced; because I have a sense of what a writer/creator goes through to make a story work, I get even more excited when it does - and also more disappointed when it doesn't, when the flaws are so obvious that it grates.

I've given brief reviews of the plays I saw but not of the books or films because that would take up more time than I can put to it - though if anyone wants an opinion on something I'm happy to comment on it.

Theatre viewing )

I really want to get more on top of my reading, which I have talked about in an earlier post. So here is my rather (in my opinion) dismal list of books read last year.

Books read in 2009 )

One of the best things I've joined this year is LOVEFiLM. Why? In the past when I've gone into a video rental shop, I tend to have a small fit as I try to decide on what exactly I want to hire, because there are an awful lot of films and TV shows I want to watch. LOVEFiLM takes the pain out of that in so many ways by letting me put hundreds (I have close to 300 titles on my 'to rent' list now) on there, and send them to me as they become available. Takes so much of the 'angst' away from it, and I've been able to see so much this year as a result.

Films and TV series seen in 2009 )
jacquelineb: (lady in green)
It is cold, and I am sick. Sitting in the house with several layers on and two scarfs wrapped around my neck, and my fingers are a little bit chilly as I sit at the computer. Hello British winter, and where the hell did summer go? I understood before on an intellectual level why European rushed for the sunlight during the mid-year months, but I think I'm beginning to grasp that as an actuality now.

The good news is that I have finally finished my workbook (short name for the much more official 'Record of Teaching Practice') for the dancing exam. Not yet sent off (having to wrangle scanning forms and signing them with my teacher/mentor) but it is done - well, perhaps she'll have comments on it so I'll have to wait and see. Tonight I think will be spent reading some bits and bobs I have here that I've wanted to but have put off to get this thing done. Including the days I have missed for A Christmas Carol. One of the nice things about the small chunks is that it allows for an easier catch up than making promises to read a chapter day - which tends to fail pretty quickly if even one chapter is missed!

Now off to get a cup of tea and not feel sorry myself and my blocked yet sniffly nose...
jacquelineb: (unicorn on bridge)
The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowings sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice.

...

It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.

- Dickens, A Christmas Carol

I particularly liked the phrase 'misanthropic ice,' whilst the second one oddly reminded me of the Cowboy Bebop episode "Toys in the Attic."

In other news...

The Wizard of Oz party was a lot of fun. The next day...well, my head wasn't having so much fun (I really must remember to eat a full meal and keep drinking water when I know drinking is going to happen) but the party was great. By fortuitous coincidence, someone else came as a ruby slipper, so we were a matching pair. Also present were the birthday girl as the major of Munchkin city and her boyfriend as the city of Oz, on a hat, with the yellow brick road leading up to the city and all) the aforementioned road, the farm house, three scarecrows, a representative of the lollipop guild, two cowardly lions, a sunflower, and one tin man (not by choice - he was pounced on not long after his arrival with a handy roll of aluminum foil). Hopefully someone else will post pictures soon so I can re-post it here.

Despite (or perhaps because of) yesterday's hangover, I managed to have a fairly productive day in terms of getting chores done. Tomorrow night I have the last class of teaching before I have to get cracking with my record of teaching practice for the exam. I have notes, but not much coherence yet. Friday will definitely be a day of trying to make it coherent!

I've taken some of the advice suggested to me in an early post with regards to my reading plans, though I suspect I'll be keeping my active reading list on the word doc I've set up on my desk top rather than posting it here. I do have on Facebook an application of books I've read, and I pulled off the ones I've read this year, which is a rather abysmal 18. I really do want to improve on that over the next year, make reading a real habit again. Have decided that Daily Lit is probably going to be the best way to read Dickens, considering the novels were originally serialised, so the format of little bits will work quite well for them.

Right, best be off, a few things to do before bed tonight.

Phew!

Dec. 3rd, 2009 06:58 pm
jacquelineb: (beanstalk)
That was a day! Major event at work, which felt a bit ominous to start with when we had to find another room at short notice a few weeks back (difficulty finding large rooms within the centre of town) but it all ran really very smoothly once it was done, and my supervisor was very happy. A few things to remember for next time, but since this was the first lunch I helped out on right from the start, I feel pretty good about it.

Will be heading out for a drink later, which I'm going to enjoy very much I think!

A couple of interesting links, in relation to the reading plan I'm thinking on.

* Daily Lit - free books emailed to you daily in small chunks

* LibriVox - free audio books to download

When I say free I do mean it; there are no hidden costs, but they only mean books that are in the public domain. This means that if you ever wanted to get caught up with some of the classics, well, they're useful places to start. I did manage to get a good way into Moby Dick last year with Daily Lit, but I think I started to get too ambitious and asked for longer chunks which was more than I could manage. So I've asked now for A Christmas Carol, is in 36 parts, and thus should finish, appropriately enough, on 6th January, which is Twelfth Night, effectively the end of the Christmas season.
jacquelineb: (dancing shoes)
(new icon! :D )

I had realised until yesterday while I was sitting at my desk in the afternoon just how worried I was about the class last night. At about 3.30 a definite sense of dread crept up my back and stayed there for about 45 minutes, which was later replaced by garden variety nervousness. The worries were usual; have I prepared enough, were the exercises for the dance good enough, would I be able to keep control of the class, would I simply fall apart and forget what I was doing, etc.

7.15 and I'm in the car with my mentor (who also teaches the Wednesday night class I go to), and come 8pm the class is coming in and we're ready to dance. And despite the terrifying lead up to it, the class went alright. This is also despite the floor being slippery and having no 'slip stop' (a kind of powder that is put on the floor to give some friction) to counter balance this, and the class being mostly 50+ (which means they can usually get through the movement of the dances but there is only so much one can expect from footwork).

I do need to work on getting through things faster (something my mentor pointed out) and I do need to be a much clearer in my head of the dances actually go (the strathspey proved a bit tricky in terms of the reels) but they responded quite well to me and 'did as they were told' according to my mentor (perhaps they were being extra attentive because they knew I'm still learning?) We got through 3 of the 4 dances I planned for (two of which are ones I'm quite fond of) so I'm quite happy about that.

On another topic completely, I'm becoming increasingly aware of how badly read I actually am. I really don't read novels or even non-fiction nearly as much as I should, which makes me want to put in an action plan for the coming year. Left to my own devices I tend to stray from book to book and not get them finished in a timely fashion, which is becoming rather frustrating. Focusing on one task has never been one of my strong points, but I think it's time to start taking my reading more seriously. There will probably be more rambling on that at a later date.

July 2015

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