Sunday, October 23, 2011

New Story Added - Innocent Deceptions

I decided to add the final story I have hidden away on my hard drive. It, like "Help Me Say Goodbye", was written for a fanfic site using the characters and situations surrounding the book and musical "Phantom of the Opera."

Playing with someone else's characters can be a unique experience that is both easier and more difficult than creating your own. On the one hand, for those familiar with the existing characters, there is little you have to worry about when it comes to development. The mere mention of Erik or the Phantom and many will know already that he's a deformed musical genius who hides away beneath a Paris opera house while obsessing over a lovely young soprano. A fan knows the era the story is set in, all the secondary characters, the motivations behind the actions... The mannerisms and descriptions are all set in stone and the writer doesn't have to worry about trying to decide on those things.


Those are the very things that make working with established characters more challenging. There is little deviation accepted, especially with a greatly loved characters and plots, which can stifle a writer's creativity. A unique twist on a storyline is often met with equal amounts of excitement and derision. Turn a hero into a villain and the natives get restless.

And yet...

I've found it to be a relaxing, less stressful way to restart the thinking process. I hadn't written anything in years, decades even, when I stumbled upon the fanfic site where my Phantom stories were originally posted. I simply read for a while, over a year at least, before I realized I'd fleshed out an entire story in my head. Another six months passed before I started to put it on "paper"...ok, I use Word almost exclusively, but the sentiment is the same. Once I started writing, it took just over a year for me to venture into 'uncharted' territory (read: all original material) but I still appreciate the kick in the pants I got from the fanfic site.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"a plot isn't a device."

On another amateur writer's site where my story The Other Half is being posted, I've received some very kind comments, some helpful suggestions, notes concerning places where some clarification was needed, and the following comment:

"I would have enjoyed this chapter, and the rest of your tale......
But you spent far too much time fucking around, filling the page with banalities and generally indulging in stuffing around.

When are you authors going to fucking learn: a plot isn't a device.

Note to editor of these pieces: please cease all collaborative work, YOU FUCKING SUCK."

Now...all who comment have a point to make, an opinion, and it is as valid for those who don't like a story as it is for the ones who post nothing but sunshine and butterflies and praise galore. In fact, those who criticize a story can provide better aid to a writer than the ego stroking. Though, I admit, the ego stroking is more enjoyable even if less informative. However, the above comment provides nothing of use to the writer (me)...beyond a giggle.

Of everything that was written in the comment, the one thing that really stood out was "a plot isn't a device." Um...come again?

The plot IS the story; without it, there'd just be a listing of characters, places, and planned events. It'd be an outline. While I do have an outline, somehow I doubt anyone would want to read that over the fleshed out story. Then again, you never know.

Which leaves me to wonder if he doesn't approve of the main plot point: the Human-Others Summit. In today's political climate, maybe it's a bit too close to the stuff on the news? Or maybe, being that it's a site dealing with, primarily, erotica, he's upset that there hasn't been any 'hawt sex' for him to wank by? Who knows?

The only part of his little comment that I didn't find amusing was his last line. There was no point in taking a dig at Mokkelke. It was uncalled for and ruined a very nice, if laughingly confusing, comment.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Story Round Up

Got started on a new story that is being published first on Literotica (so yes, it'll get a bit racy) before being placed on the blog. Unfortunately, between The Other Half, my swaps, and preparing for Halloween, Emeralds & Ice has fallen onto the back-burner for now. It has definitely not been abandoned, simply taking a short siesta until I can get rid of all the other characters floating around in my head first. Just think of it as Olivia and Draike having one heck of a honeymoon :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Bullety Goodness

Well, after my first try at making tie tacks and cuff links from spent shell casings, I got a special request from a couple of the Air Force Security Forces guys using the 7.62 rounds that they fire. Well, I didn't have any spent rounds of that caliber at the time so I told them if they got me the casings, plus a few more to make some extras, they'd get their bling. Wow...I'm not sure how "a few more" turned into a 2/3rds full ammo can of spent rounds but I have 7.62 casings in SPADES! lol I've also begun work on the tie tacks and cuff links and have the first pair of cufflinks finished. These were soldered in and I must confess it's the best pair I've ever made. I'm very happy with them and hope the tie-tack turns out equally nice.
Finished Cuff Links - Close Up

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Halloweeny goodness!

This weekend's project was skulls! Not just any skulls, but skulls with candles in them. I got the idea here, a wonderful blog with some great projects. I altered it slightly by painting the candles and then cramming them into the foam skulls. I think they'll look great flanking a book of spells. Here are a few pics:
Skull with Candle
Skull with Candle
Skull with Candle

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

After 6 years, we finally have cable in our neighborhood! Yesterday, they hooked us up and, though there've been a hiccup or two, we're off DSL and on knology. During all this, I've been steadily plunking away on my various projects.

The first are a set of miniature top hats. One is a deep red silk corset design and the other is a black silk tuxedo design (complete with bowtie and watch fob). The brims are dyed leather I got in a scrap bag while the body shapes are courtesy of a plastic Coke bottle (12 oz small for the corset) and a plastic Dr Pepper (16.9 oz or the tux). The material is glued on with spray adhesive and then the brim is stitched on using pre-punched holes. The tuxedo's buttons are actually watch stems from recycled wrist watches I got in a grab bag at a flea market.

The dapper pair
Mini TopHat - Corset Mini TopHat - Tuxedo

Other than that, I've worked on my Eyes of Newt using the small gel beads from the floral department. I purchased purple but in retrospect think the green may have been a better choice. Since taking the pictures, the fancy design at the top of the bottle has been covered in twine and there will be labels soon on all the jars.

Eyes of Newt Small eyeballs

Monday, July 18, 2011

Halloween buildy fun! (part 2)

Finally got the first batch of loose eyeballs finished. Current count is 2 dozen and halfway fills the jar I have set aside for them. Now I just need the label and something suitably gooey to put in there with them. Possibly floral gel? hmm

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New and Exciting Projects!

After being generously given a variety of shell casings by a friend, I've been working out how to use them in an interesting way. As I'd seen several pens before, I decided to try my hand at it. Silly me chose not to hunt down a how-to and instead muddled through on my own. It's not the best looking thing around, but it's mine and I did manage not to kill anyone while making it.

I used the brass spent round (of course), a pen kit I found at The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, two Vintaj filigree charms, some copper sheeting and wire, and some black craft chain. If I do this again, I will definitely try one that requires a cap instead of using a twist mechanism!

It still needs some cleaning as there's some visible glue and epoxy, but here are the preliminary pics:


Friday, July 1, 2011

Halloween buildy fun!

Spent this morning picking up more bits and pieces for our Halloween set up. Got all the PVC bits to make a pair of cool bubbly tower thingies for the mad scientist/witchy lab place we're adding this year. I've got a book I'm going to alter into a spell book for the table as well as some jars we're going to fill with specimens and delightfully disgusting ingredients. There'll be scrolls and such as well added to the mix. I'm trying to decide between a crystal ball or a bubbly, foggy cauldron though I may say to hell with it and use both! I've just got to find a cost effective crystal ball that won't shatter during storage. And eyeballs. I really need to make a bunch of eyeballs.

I already have one specimen in a jar and he looks very nice. I'm using a "grow in water" octopus in a medium sized jar. His tentacles have curled inward and he looks quite unusual. If we decide to tint the water, he should look most disturbing. I have some small, plastic skull faces I'll use for the 'wax seal' on the scrolls and have been offered the use of a rather rickety bookcase to house them all in. If we can get a black light that will blend well, we'll use either some laundry detergent or highlighter ink to make glowy potions. Yes, liquid laundry detergent glows under black light as long as it contains phosphorous (which most do). If we have time, we also want to add a super creepy dangling crank spider though we'll probably paint him to look like a black widow. Watch the video...he's scary! I'm contemplating a "Don't Feed the Monster" sign for our monster box that was such a hit last year but I'm afraid it may ruin the scariness. It was the simplest prop we had...a wooden treasure chest containing a strobe light that made monster sounds and the ball from a wacky weasel ball. We propped the top open just slightly, laid a chain over it to look like it was holding something in, and turned everything on. It scared more folks than anything else we had. lol

We're moving our cemetery to the side of the house and hopefully will have better lighting this year. I'd like to add a grave grabber or a mausoleum front but we'll have to see if there's time. Either way, I'm actually excited about Halloween this year. I couldn't get into it last year so our set up was...well, less than stellar is putting it mildly. This year, I hope we really terrorize some kiddies! *cackles evilly*

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Epoxy Hates Me :(

So, I'm in the process of making several pendants for an upcoming arts & crafts festival and am filling the bezels with a two part epoxy. Usually an easy thing to do except, for some reason, this epoxy hates me. I've had to throw out an entire batch of pendants because they wouldn't cure and am praying that the coaster I'm working on doesn't do the same. I want to get at least a set of 4 coasters finished to use as a 'bar-warming' gift for some friends who just finished building a wet bar in their home. If I continue to have epoxy issues, though, that might not happen. Grrrrr.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Maize in Montana: How to make paper twine from crepe paper DIY

Maize in Montana: How to make paper twine from crepe paper DIY: "Paper twine for wrapping packages or other craft projects can be rather costly and usually doesn't come in the color I like, so ..."

For those paper-crafty types, this would be great to get that exact color needed. Looks easy and crepe paper comes in tons of colors.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Where did Friday go?

So...I woke up this morning after a 'nap' on the futon in the computer room. My hubby had just wandered in and I was sleepy and confused. So I asked him when did he get home and how? His answer was from where. When I told him work, he pointed out today was Saturday. So I have to ask...where did Friday go? Obviously, I slept through most of it but I'll be damned if I remember much of anything. Ugh.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Evils of Grammar

Out of pure boredom today, I started going through a few sites and reading stories that at first glance never did much to catch my attention. After less than a half dozen of them, I remembered why. While I don't consider myself a grammar nazi, it does bother me when something is written at what appears to be an elementary school level. Sadly enough, I don't find as many errors in articles/stories written by non-native English speakers as I do in those in the US. From second or third grade up until the sophomore, junior, or sometimes even the senior year of high school, grammar is drilled into our heads. So why would someone post a story that reads like a barely literate third grader? Better yet, why do people get so defensive when you point out the errors in their works?

The worst offenders appear to be the easiest things to spell. Using where instead of wear or even were (and I'm not talking about shifters here but the verb). The ever popular it's-its, their-there-they're, your-you're, here-hear, rouge-rogue, and the list goes on and on. And on. That doesn't even cover the infiltration of text speak. Is it really that hard to type three letters (you) instead of one (u)? While I realize there may be more important things to worry about, if you're going to write please make sure you at least reach some kind of semi-literate state. Stories by neanderthal man aren't nearly as interesting.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reusing, Recycling, and Upcyling...oh my!

For nearly a year I've been working on creating jewelry from found objects not normally used in such a way. Some of my favorite items include dominoes, scrabble tiles, bottle caps, rubber o rings, and clear plastic plumbing tubing. I'm hoping to get enough stock to purchase a booth at the local Arts & Crafts festival in the fall so I can justify my obsession with making stuff from strange things. A few are pictured below. Tell me what you think, if you feel so inclined.

This Domino pendant is covered with a rose patterned bit of scrapbook paper, sealed with Mod Podge, and coated with a 2-part epoxy. The wire wrapping is 20ga square copper wire.
Rose Wrapped Domino

Next is a Scrabble Tile Pendant created similarly to the Domino pendant. I used the letter W as it was a woman and I was out of letter D tiles for Da Vinci. Yes, I'm that eat up with details. Again, the image was sealed under Mod Podge, covered in resin, only this time I used round 20ga copper wire colored to match the Vintaj natural brass line of findings.
Da Vinci Scrabble tile

In this pendant from the bottle cap line, I used a cap from a bottle of Jamaica Me Happy cooler, squished it nice and flat, secured a dragonfly charm to the center and a Vintaj natural brass round filigree charm using E-6000 glue, then filled the center with epoxy. A hole for the jump ring and it's ready to go on a chain.
Bottlecaps and Dragonflies

Now to start butchering some old motherboards...oh the possibilities!

Friday, May 6, 2011

And in the beginning...

There was nothing; that's kinda why they're called beginnings. As I expect to post anything from my current projects to short stories I've written, it'll be a true mind dump, I'm sure. Don't worry, I don't bite...hard. Unless you're into that sort of thing.