back!

8 04 2011

It’s been a while, huh? There are various reasons for the break, but the main one would be that my mother in law passed on and suddenly writing a blog didn’t seem as much (or any) fun.

So why return (especially as it’s almost two years since my last post)?

Again there are various reasons, but ultimately it comes down to me. I feel like I can do this again. To paraphrase my buddy Sean, “sometimes you just need to get shit down.” Oh, and Sean will keep nagging me till I start doing this again, so there’s that 😛

What’s been happening with me since 20 April 2009? A brief précis:

Kirsty and I have been to:

  • Melbourne (loved the city, hated the rental car agency and our hotel)
  • Singapore (loved the city and their crazy obsession with Starbucks, hated the humidity)
  • Dubai (in two minds about Dubai – it’s a bizarre hyperreal place where everything is just surface shim sham and in worship to  the almighty $$ yet they know exactly what they are a hyperreal place where everything is just surface shim sham and in worship to  the almighty $$)

Oh yeah and I started a new job as a manager at the National Library of New Zealand in charge of an online reference service. And really that’s what has been ruling my life for the past 9 months. I’ve loved the experience, I’ve learned heaps of new skills and to be honest I can’t see myself going back to my old children’s and teens’ librarian job. I’ve moved on folks.

The writing? Hmmm. Let’s tiptoe quietly past that one … oh no, the door is creaking open so here’s the whispered update: I’ve stepped away from my epic for the time being and focused on developing a standalone prequel. How’s it going? Well, if by “developing” you mean I have plotted out multiple storylines and characters, then it’s a raging success but if by “developing” you mean actual writing then nope, EPIC fail.

So that brings me to the real reason for starting this again. I hope by starting this up again I’m making a commitment to my writing. Because I’m going to update here what I’ve been doing. In a way I’m kicking myself along.

So yeah, I’m writing this blog for me, because really only I can motivate myself.

BTW I’m now on twitter so if you’re mad enough you can follow me @robxoda

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don’t catch shelving!!

20 01 2009

Spent today shifting around the children’s fiction section of my library. Major lesson that I learnt: if you drop library grade shelving don’t try and catch it. I received a nasty cut on my palm doing just that. Still the shelves work really well now. 

I also managed to finish off chapter 2 today. Going into the revision I thought it just needed some cosmetic changes and a few updates to reflect the current state of the novel but I managed to cut out a whole page of stuff! Call me Rob the Butcher. The slaughter continues as I excise an entire chapter next (goodbye 4000 words) then move on to another chapter which feels uncomfortably long. It’ll be interesting though as I’m going back to a slightly naïve character who is radically different by the end of the novel. Should be fun!





title? what title? who needs a title to their post?

24 11 2008

Whoah, haven’t blogged in a wee bit. Been busy with work and sorting a few other things out, but I’m back now 😉 (famous last words, right?)

So what have I been up to? Last week I flew down to Christchurch for a work conference which was cool. I’d never been down there before and it kinda felt like entering enemy territory. (for those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, I’m an Aucklander born and bred and Christchurch is our arch nemesis in everything). But Christchurch was cool, very pretty and I found myself wishing K was with me so we could go exploring.

What wasn’t so cool was the flight home and the toddler in the seat behind me who only wanted to smash his hands on the window and kick my seat. That was until he went to the bathroom after stinking out the rear of the plane. I know we’re going to have kids within a couple of years but that almost puts you off them.

I managed to do more work on the novel. I’ve been getting twitchy with it, partly because I’m not “really” writing and also because I just haven’t had the time to spend on it.

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve sat down and written something substantial for the novel. I’m still ploughing my way through my revisions and they’re taking a lot longer than I expected. Saying that, I am really enjoying rereading and working on the draft. I’ve got it almost right – I can feel it. I think every second chapter or so is good, or pretty close to something I am really happy with. Most of the work needs to happen at the front end of the novel and that’s what I’ll be looking at when I finally finish.

I mentioned earlier that I was thinking about splitting the book but I’m thinking I’ll wait to see what the reaction to it is first. The story as it stands seems compelling and I’d hate to mess that up unless I absolutely have to.

Then there was the awesome Rugby League World Cup Final in the weekend. For those who haven’t heard (or didn’t hear me screaming with joy at midnight on Saturday) the Kiwis defeated the Kangaroos to win our first ever world cup. I can see why the Aussies are upset – some of the decisions definitely went against them (notably the strip on Benji Marshall) but on the night they just weren’t good enough. In many ways it was like what happened to the All Blacks in the World Cup last year against the French but no one felt sorry for us then.





work is … ack

3 11 2008

Ack … I hate working in the weekend. I had to work twelve hours on Friday as we had a Halloween storytime at one of the libraries. It was fun and good though it’s always hard performing when there are people you know in the crowd. Actually, scratch that, I don’t mind performing in front of people I know as long as I have invited them. On Friday night there was my neighbour and her kids and a girl who was kinda my first girlfriend (we had a couple of study dates). I didn’t mind the neighbours, they know I’m a children’s librarian, but the kinda ex girlfriend was a wee bit weird, especially as she had her twins there.

Then on Saturday I had to work at another library as this group called Starfish did a show. It was fun to watch but I was mainly there as a liaison with the performers. Still at least I get some flexitime to use later.

This week is going to be a hell week, work wise. Every day is completely booked up including Wednesday where I will be presenting at a conference. A bit daunting.  

And finally on my last work related note: the Make a Manga winners from the competition I run are FINALLY up on our website. You can view them here. My favourite is KAJA and a couple other ones that didn’t even win. Some of these kids have talent!





Apologies

16 10 2008

Sorry for the lack of regular posts lately outside of the epic NBA Season Previews that I’m posting. Once I get those out of the way I’ll be back talking about games, writing, comics yadda yadda yadda. Once I finish all the previews it’ll end up being 20k words long or so. o_O That’s a lot more than I was expecting when I started doing them.

The other reason for the lack of posts has been work. The Make a Manga competition I ran this year closed on Monday and I’ve been busy judging and organising for the prize giving. Both Stu and I were astounded with the quality of the entries. We only had one bung entry (someone drew four bad pinups of Inu Yasha – hardly a comic or manga) but at least a dozen excellent ones. I’ll post a link to the winning ones when they’re up on our website. There were actually a lot that came close to winning but were just missing one or two elements. There was one that came within a sliver of winning only he didn’t quite finish it off and instead had a “to be continued” notice. It was a real pity as the teen has talent and I can honestly see him making a career out of comics.

Anyway only another 12 or so Season Previews to do! I’m on the final stretch!





school holidays – where the wild things are

1 10 2008

Working in a public library during school holidays can be busy. Working in a public library during school holidays as a Children’s Librarian is madness. During the school terms we’re usually only on site for a couple of hours, the remainder of the time is involved in planning and delivery of programmes. In the school holidays we’re on site for a minimum of four hours a day. Some days its cool and you get to have some fun interactions with the kids then other days its damage control as you try to prevent broken limbs as kids sprint around the library.

the awesome when a monster is born

the awesome when a monster is born

Today I had my school holiday storytime which had a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme. It was fun, we had about 40 kids and they really enjoyed the stories. I got to read Where the Wild Things Are (of course) as well as the awesomeness that is When a Monster is Born. When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor and Nick Sharratt is probably my all time favourite read aloud and it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser when you do school visits. Plus I get to do awesome monster voices as well as various other characters.





gorilla dancing

25 09 2008

As he often does, Joe Abercrombie has provided an invaluable insight into the process of writing. What makes this even more exciting for me is he’s describing the exact process I am going through right now and DOUBLY exciting is the fact that for the most part my process is the same as him. I feel like doing a little gorilla dance over that fact.

Yeah yeah I know, you really want to picture me dancing like a gorilla – if you only knew that I DO dance like a gorilla (and an elephant and a tiger and a chicken and a … you get the idea) at least twice a week in my day job as a Children’s Librarian. At first you get all self conscious about it, after all it’s not just the under 5 set watching you but their parents, guardians, grandparents and general members of the public, but then you just blot them out and focus on the kids. And I tell you what, there’s nothing as awesome as going into a kindy and having 40 little people calling your name and hanging on your every word and action. It’s like I’m the Wiggles or something. Anyway, I digress.

Why would I be dancing in the first place? It confirms that what I’m doing is the right thing, AND it’s coming from a successful writer. That’s always a good feeling.  

A bit scary however is his assertion that at 235,000 words his novel is too big. As it currently stands my novel is over 260,000 words. Ouch. I’m determined to send it out in this format and see what reaction it gets but I have a feeling I might need to ultimately reshape it by splitting it in two. Ah well, I’ll deal with that later.