Playlist: Track 2

This is another great song to go on any writing playlist, though probably only during the first draft. I think of it as the unofficial anthem of NaNoWriMo.

This is the only song on the playlist that’s there to make the act of writing easier. Everything else is about setting or plot or character. This one is just to remind me that writing the first draft is the fun part. And it is. For the most part. It’s everything that comes after that’s painful

For more information: Playlist page.

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Diet Update 4

Lost 1.2kg ( two and a half pounds) this week for a total new diet weight loss of 4.7kg (just over 10lbs).

This week my main difficulties have been managing the food supply. We had to throw out some fresh food because it went off before we got round to using it. It’s tempting at the start of a diet to fill the fridge with the things you know you can eat but I really should have looked at the dates of everything and planned ahead a bit better. Fortunately Iceland came to my rescue (the shop not the country). They have cauliflower and mixed greens “rice” in frozen ready to microwave bags.

I had the first ‘diet nightmare’ of this diet. That’s when I dream I’m eating and then halfway through eating I realise that I shouldn’t be eating this thing because carbs. The last time I was on a low carb diet I would have that dream several times a week and be wracked with guilt during the dream and wake up devastated and sure that I’d ruined the diet. This time in the dream I just shrugged and thought ‘oh well, back on the diet tomorrow’ and finished the pizza/crusty bread/mashed potato (yes I did have the dream three times in one night). I woke up feeling slightly relieved that it was just a dream.

The detailed tracking that MyFitnessPal allows means that I’m noticing how variable my appetite is. I’ve had a couple of days where staying under the limit both on calories and on carbs was pretty hard and I had one day where I only ate about half the calories I could have done. So far there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to it.

Previous Updates.

Should I make a diet page to collect all these links? Probably.

Fascist Zeppelins over Catalonia

This is not a forecast so much as a warning. Events in Spain should be reminding us all what a fragile thing democracy is. For anyone who’s missed it while following the aftermath of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the various scandals of the Trump administration, the current failures of the Conservative Government in the UK and the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas here’s a short summary.

Catalonia’s pro independence regional government tries to hold a binding referendum on independence.The national government of Spain declares that the referendum is illegal because it goes against the Spanish constitution. The local government decides to hold the referendum anyway. The national government sends in the army and the Guardia Civil (a military police force) to suppress the vote.  Many people try to vote anyway. In some places Catalan police officers and Firefighters form human shields to try to protect civilians. Violence erupts. The Guardia Civil are accused by independent observers of a disproportionate response including firing rubber bullets and baton rounds into crowds of peaceful protesters, forcibly seizing ballot boxes and interfering with the medical treatment of protesters and  bystanders.

After all this the vote was counted anyway. The result was 90% in favour of independence on 42.3% turnout. Now you could argue that the turnout is a bit low for such an important decision but given that people were being beaten unconscious and shot at for trying to vote it seems pretty high to me.

There’s something very worrying in all this. Why would a democratic government react to local democracy with such force? Why isn’t the rest of Spain up in arms at the very idea? Did Spain really throw off Fascism with the fall of the Franco regime? Is this some alternative Spain where the Fascists never went away leaking through?

For a more sensible overview on this try Another Angry Voice.

If you’re wondering what all this Zeppelin stuff is about check out my Zeppelin page for an explanation.

 

Playlist: Track 1

This is the sound of my opening scene. The last moment in the story where my characters still think that order still holds sway. This is the music that’s playing when the person who’s going to be the leader of my little group of sleuths finds out that something bad has happened to someone that she cares about.

This is a great song to have on any writing playlist because it’s like musical prozac.

When i’ve been down at my lowest ebb – and that is pretty fucking low – I have found myself self medicating with this song using the 24 hour version. That’s not a typo. That’s a link to a 24 hour long version of the video though the page is a bit buggy at the moment so here’s a link to a YouTube playlist of it.

For more information about what’s happening in here see this post and this page.

Using a Playlist

A while back I wrote a post about how I use playlists to create an appropriate head space for the novel I’m working on. Some people found the post quite useful. With NaNoWriMo approaching and a new novel in the planning phase I thought I’d share the project playlist and how I’m using it.

I don’t have a title for the novel yet so I’m calling it Project Cecil. It’s a nod to one of my favourite writers, Warren Ellis. When he’s working on something that’s under an NDA he gives it a code name so he can talk about it on his blog or his newsletter.

Project Cecil is the straight crime story I was challenged to write. I was having a lot of trouble with it but the process of building the playlist has already been really useful. It’s given me a better handle on my killer and on some of the themes that are probably going to come out. There’s 33 songs on the playlist in it’s current form and I plan to focus on 1-3 songs per post.

That’s the plan but since it might turn out to be as boring as all hell I reserve the right to drop it and post something else instead. The playlist is certainly not the only thing I’m going to be posting over the next couple of months. I have a lot of thoughts about preparation and writing a first draft so expect the blog to be heavy on writing stuff and light on Zeppelins until at least the end of November.

Diet Update 3

This week I weighed myself for the second time and my weight was down by 3.5 kg (just under 8lbs for Americans and just over half a stone for Brits). That’s not bad. You always lose more in the first week of any diet and the effect is particularly strong with low carb diets. I probably haven’t lost 3.5 kg of fat. I estimate that 3 kg of that is fluid.

The eating has been fine. I’ve been sticking to my plan and my calorie intake has been under the target every single day, well under on most days. More importantly I think I’ve been fine on the carb targets too. The only thing that’s worrying me about the food side of it is money. If I mess up on the shopping and planning side I’ll be in trouble. There really aren’t many cheap sources of protein. If I run out of food and mostly run out of money I’ll have to fall back on things that are high in carbohydrates and just not satisfying.

Now before anyone starts congratulating me please remember that this weight-loss is still meaningless. You might hear people, even doctors, say “Any weight-loss is good,” but this simply isn’t true. When I weighed myself the first time I was 23 kg lighter than I was at my heaviest (that’s 50lbs for Americans and three and a half stone for Brits). That weight-loss was real and I’ve sustained it for years but it doesn’t count because I’m still fat.

For me dieting is and always has been a hole with no bottom. It’s never going to be enough. It’s never going to fix the problem I have with the mirror. It’s never going to fix the things that are wrong with my body. Dieting is a means without an end.

Links to the previous updates: Update 1. Update 2

How do I do this again?

I’ve accepted a challenge to try and write a straight* mystery novel. Something with none of the usual weirdness that I like. Something a bit more vanilla. I thought it would be an interesting challenge, like limiting myself to the form of a haiku or a sonnet. I thought it would be fun.

I have a starting point and I have some characters and I have a premise but I don’t know where to go from there. The more I try to find my plot it the more my self-doubt screams at me that I don’t know how to do this.

But I do know how to do this. I know how a plot works. I know how to put one together. A plot is a plot and the supernatural and the fantastic and the weird are just trappings. It’s people and the things they do to each other that drives the plot. That remains the same whether the story takes place in the imagined past, in the alternative present and in all possible futures.

It’s like my self-doubt has latched onto the one thing I’m doing differently this time and is waving it like a fucking flag. Look at this. This is the reason you can’t do this. You should give up. You can’t be a ‘proper’ writer so you should just stop trying.

To my self-doubt I say this, “Shut up, bitch. I am a proper writer. A writer writes. I write. Therefore I am a writer. Sticking the word ‘proper’ in front of it is just a bullshit excuse for gatekeeping. Whatever I do as a writer you’re just going to claim that it doesn’t make me a ‘proper’ writer or a ‘real’ writer. I will write whatever I damn well please.”

Which is all very nice and assertive but I still don’t have a plot.

 

*Only straight in the sense of not having any of my usual magical or weird science shenanigans. It will definitely still be queer in every other sense.