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Religion and World-building, and some updates

Keeping regular is difficult for me (no jokes please), so I’m just going to throw out the draft blog I mentioned last time as a few thoughts rather than something coherent. I may get back to the subject someday. Alongside it, I’ll update you on a few things.

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Summer

Summer has been spent mainly reading sci-fi for my dissertation. Not much writing has got done. Even my grammar is slipping, as the previous sentence shows. However, I’ve got a few updates and notes for you:

  • I have finally started the play I’ve been threatening since the inception of this blog, which will most likely be called Just a Kiss – now two scenes in. I am pleased, because I need to be able to say I’ve finished a playscript, and more importantly I want to get it out of my system so I can write a play about robots. Please therefore bug me on Twitter to get it done (I’m only planning to to seven scenes, so it can’t be too difficult).
  • I’m drafting a blog post about the use of religion in imaginative fiction, which is partly inspired by the 2/3rds of Dune by Frank Herbert that I’ve got though (I’ve decided to move on, I’ve lost a fortnight of time by not reading it. It is good, but heavy-going). It’ll go up when it goes up.
  • I’m directing an evening of one-act plays for LUTheatre, performing 29/30 November/1 December. The programme is two by Anton Chekov – A Marriage Proposal and The Bear – followed after the interval by Still Life by Noel Coward. More promotion and thoughts nearer the time, I suppose.
  • A quick plug for my good friend Nick Palmer’s Tornmile series. It’s a fantasy flash fiction serial, told from multiple perspectives. He posts a short yet hearty chunk every Monday over at http://nickpalmerwriter.com/ – we’re eight instalments in, so fill your boots.
  • Pretty much everything I have worth reading is now up on the site, so have a poke around on the pages  above to catch up with my writing so far. Anything new, I’ll post it on the blog so you don’t miss it.
  • Finally, speaking of new, I mean to finally do some writing for the ULSU’s newspaper The Ripple in my final year. I’m hoping to do some music journalism, but I’ve also submitted an extremely short story for the Arts and Creativity section. If it gets published, I’ll be here preening like a proud mother. But for now, for loyal readers of my blog, and as a reward for getting through the infodump, here it is. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Edward Spence for his advice – his site over at http://sovereignstudios.tumblr.com/ is well worth a perusal.

First Day

Laura waited in her bedroom until she stopped shaking. Her parents had left a while ago, but she was still sat in her chair, looking at the door. All the Freshers advice said to prop it open, so people would drop by and introduce themselves. Laura’s door was firmly shut. She was starting to think coming here was the stupidest idea ever.

She wasn’t cut out for university. She wasn’t smart enough – she only just scraped in on her General Studies grade. She had no idea what clothes she should be wearing, what music she should be listening to, what was cool and what wasn’t, and she felt like just some provincial kid from a nowhere town that had no business being in this city. She couldn’t call her friends back home – she’d be so embarrassed and ashamed of herself. They were busy anyway, gone to their own universities in other cities far away, making new friends, living it up, and forgetting all about Laura. She didn’t want to be here, she didn’t want to do her course, she didn’t want any of this any more. She had never been this scared in her entire life.

There was a quiet rap at the door. Laura froze. She got up very slowly, and walked over to the door. She opened it. A boy with messy hair was standing in the corridor. He smiled at her. Laura smiled back.

‘Hi.’

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The Wicked Years

Map of Oz, from Wicked

I didn’t necessarily intend to do book reviews on this blog, but I was midway through writing this on my Tumblr and realised it perhaps has a better home here. I’ve just finished Out of Oz, you see, the fourth and final volume in The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire. It completed the sequence well, I think, and I just wanted to make a quick summary of my thoughts while they were fresh.

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Blogging

I’ve neglected this blog fiercely, I know. Keeping a personal record has never been a strength. I am improving the site as whole, though, to give a better impression of my work. Some poems are already up there, and over this week I’m going to put up all my short plays and some older work from another hard drive. Also, I’ll type up a few things currently only in hard copy. On another note, I’ve never found a free template I’m happy with that isn’t stolen from a friend’s site, so if anyone has any ideas in that direction let me know.

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Reciting poetry

In lieu of a decent update, I’m going to point you to some readings of a few poems of mine I recorded a short while ago. It’s very experimental, and I can only apologise for the sound quality, but I think it’s a more interesting way of sharing *some* (not all by any means) of my verse. Here’s a link to my playlist, featuring “Rest” and “Stratford-upon-Avon” at time of writing.

Poetry on Soundcloud

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Medium and magic machines

I’ve posted a couple more of my Proteus sketches, both unperformed male-female two-handers. Soul Music is a musical written from a female perspective, and Interview a sci-fi tale from a male.

Writing in the sci-fi genre you immediately come across the roadblock of how closely you adhere to the science part of the term. I’m not a scientist, and hesitate to declare much interest in it. I’ve used SFnal tropes in my work, most recently in this short piece, but mainly to highlight things about humans rather than exploring ideas. I’ve used time travel to talk about relationships, a robots to explore emotion, and so on, and will continue to do so. But I would like to address the science more closely in future, if only to avoid my current problem of magic machines. I’m not bothered about accuracy, but knowing more sparks more ideas, and thinking through the reality of your story is always encouraged.

However, I had the same problem with both pieces. I struggled to convey what I wanted to see on stage in script form. Also, if you peruse my short stories section you will find you cannot peruse the short stories section because none are posted. I’ve only finished one in the past six months and we’ve already covered that. I’m far too used to writing in play format and, further, having ideas for that form. It’s as if a short story section of my brain has shut down and the output has been replaced by the sketch factory.

I’m fairly busy from now until, well, the 24th of June, but I hope this only means my output will increase in true procrastination style. This is the first time I’ve had a blog I’ve needed to update, so prospects are good for at least getting three posts a month, more if they’re all as short as this.

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Two sides of poetry

This is not the full poetry blog I have been promising, but that will come soon. For now, here are two poems I wrote recently. As with all my poetry, this is first-draft stuff, and I’m not sure either are publishable. They do highlight the two sides to my work, however: the cerebral and the emotional. Still not very comfortable putting poetry up, but here goes.

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Society and art

Rather predictably, I have done no work at all on the play I mentioned in the last post. If I was being charitable to myself, I would point out that I am rather busy at the moment, considering I just completed my participation in a production of Romeo and Juliet, but am still in rehearsal for two singing performances and a sketch I am directing, and this week I need to write two essays and a dissertation proposal. Alongside this, I have started writing poetry again (more on this in future entires), so my creative writing hasn’t entirely tailed off. Further, I could argue that the play is still in planning stages. Nevertheless, I am rarely charitable to myself.

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Firsts and adaptation

Keeping Time

Firsts are always hard. This isn’t the first time I’ve done a first post on some blogging platform or another, but I’m hoping this one will stick. I intend to check in here every week with some words on something I’ve done worth sharing, which will hopefully mean I will make myself have interesting weeks (or become experienced at making dullness shine), so let’s launch straight into it.