One step down, a lot more to go

As of a few days ago, the first draft of my book is complete. I thought it would be more exciting, but as I finished the last few sentences of my novel, I did not feel the relief and excitement I had anticipated. Instead, I looked at the 90,000+ words I had written and said “whoo boy, I have a lot of work to do.” Because looking back over that draft made me realise that the first draft is pretty garbage. Workable garbage though. Garbage with potential. The fact that I’ve been writing this book for a few years shows when I read back over it. The first act is nearly two years older than the last act, and you can see the disconnect in the writing. In two years my writing evolved, so now I have to go back and edit those first chapters a lot. But then what if THAT takes two years? Then the edited first act will be two years older than the edited third act? Rinse and repeat forever.

I’m taking a bit of a break between finishing writing and editing.  I feel like my work needs to sit for a bit, kind of like a fine wine.  Or more so fester like the garbage fire it is.  I’ve started a new job which is a bit more intense than the last, making finding time for writing even harder now.  But it’s a good time to let the work sit while I settle into being a super cool central business district accountant.

So far the break has given a good chance to just sit and think about my work.  It’s strange how many aspects of your writing you consider when you’re not actively working on it.  Little thoughts and ideas pop into my head that I never considered before, and I go “huh, that’s neat.  Why didn’t I think of that before?”.  I’m writing these all down but it’s going to take me some time to wrangle them into something workable.

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Actual footage of me trying to edit my work

I haven’t let my writing skills turn to mush though.  For the first time in many years, I wrote a short little Dragon Age oneshot to satisfy the ever hungry yaoi beast within me.  All you Hawke / Anders fans can check it out below:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12967432/1/First-Impressions

I’m also working on a Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfiction at the moment too, which is not hot gay fanfiction but instead a little bit of an in depth retelling of the “Champions of the Just” quest.  Both of these are actually practises for writing in first person- something I haven’t really tackled before.

As for other bits and bobs, I’m hoping to review a few more games, books and other whatnot on my blog to fill in my annoying hiatuses.  As for everything else I mentioned I was working on…*glances at “Unfinished work” folder*…it’s, uh…

*Team TooBusyBeingaNerd is blasting off again*

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Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives

Today I would like to tell you all about something very close to my heart- mummies.

Is it weird for someone to be so interested in 3000 year old corpses?  In any other situation, maybe, but Egypt is an exemption.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by Ancient Egypt.  So much so that over my primary school years I read every single book that my school library on ancient Egypt, and a good chunk of the books in my local public library.  By age 10 I could name almost every major Egyptian god, transcribe very basic hieroglyphics, and recall the words to every song in the Prince of Egypt.  So it’s pretty clear that Egypt has always held a special place in my heart, despite never have been to the country.  I wish I could explain what drew me into ancient Egypt so much, but it’s hard to put into words.  But if the hundreds of Egyptologists over the centuries have proven anything, it’s that Egypt is an enrapturing subject.  From Herodotus to Howard Carter, many have felt the same way as I do, and have felt the same fascination with arguably the world’s greatest civilisation.

You can imagine my excitement when I heard that the British Museum was bringing an Egyptian Mummies Exhibit to my local, and somewhat quaint Queensland Museum.  It wasn’t my first Egyptian exhibit, but the first one in many years.  I had attended the Tutankhamun exhibit in Melbourne in 2011, and a few other Egyptian exhibits before that.  So it had been a while since I’d been able to revel in the presence of some of Egypt’s greatest artefacts.

The exhibit in question featured six mummies, ranging in age from 900BC to 200AD.  These mummies are the bodies of Nestawedjat, a lady of the house; Tamut, a chantress of Amun; Irthorru, a priest from Ahkmim, an unnamed priestess, a singer of the Interior of Amun, an unnamed child, a child from the Roman period; and an unnamed young man, also from the Roman period.

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Nestawedjat’s sarcophagi

I do not have any photos of the mummies themselves as we were asked not to photograph them out of respect.  However, there were dozens of other historical artifacts from ancient Egypt that we were allowed to photograph, including the intricate sarcophagi of the mummies.

Unlike many Egyptian exhibits which focus on the grandeur of the pharaohs, this exhibit focused on the everyday lives of everyday Egyptians.  Rather than being glamoured by the startling riches of royalty, I was instead awed by the belongings of the average Egyptian.  In some ways, this was even more fascinating than the treasures of the pharaohs.  These artifacts were thousands of years old, yet it was easy to spot things that we relate to everyday- including make-up trays, jewelry, toys, and even possibly the world’s oldest bowl of porridge (which looked more like a bowl of ash now).  It reminded me that while so many things have changed, so many things have not.  What really enforced that was an toy horse on display that was remarkable similar to something I had played with when I was little.  It was an encouraging, and remarkable thought that I and some Egyptian child who had lived thousands of years ago, had shared the same joy from a toy horse with wheels.

 

Egyptian harp, jewelry and makeup, showing that they to liked to dress up and enjoy themselves.

There were also many examples of the Egyptians’ strong spirituality, including many charms, carvings and papyri from the Book of Dead that show us how important both life and death were to the Egyptians.  It makes you wonder if their spells and charms of protection were onto something, for Egypt prospered without fail for thousands of years.  Perhaps Egypt was indeed blessed by their gods.

 

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A page of spells from the Book of Dead written in hieratic, describing how to activate different amulets of protection

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Some figures of gods (likely Osiris and Isis), and some protective amulets

While only a tiny glimpse into the world of ancient Egypt, seeing these carvings, figures and relics makes that distant kingdom a little more real.  Looking at a painting or carving from a temple wall, you realize that someone eons ago took great time and care to create that, probably without ever considering the fact that someone on the other side of the world millenniums later would appreciate their art.  I felt this especially when looking at the mummies themselves.  It was strange to think I was looking at the body of someone who lived in a world completely different to mine.  Yet as I looked upon the depictions of their faces on the sarcophagi, I wondered what they would be like to know.  In fact, I commented to my boyfriend how nice a person the unnamed temple singer looked.  It made me wonder if she, when she was alive, could have ever anticipated receiving a compliment approximately 2200 years after her death, from a girl living on the other side of the planet.  I somewhat hope that she could hear me from the Underworld.  In fact, I hope they all somehow knew how honoured I was to see them.  And maybe in that dark exhibition room, surrounded by their earthly bodies and tokens of Egyptian magic, they did hear me.  And I hope they were as happy to share their culture with me as I was to observe it.

For more information, see the link below.  The exhibition is on until the 26 August 2018, so people in Brisbane you still have time to check it out!

http://www.mummies.qm.qld.gov.au/

 

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The Write Choice of Software: Quoll Writer

Today I thought I’d give a bit of a review of my weapon of choice for writing, since I’ve been chuffed as chips with it since picking it up in 2014.  The program in question is Quoll Writer, the brainchild of Gary Bentley (who I discovered from his GoFundMe while researching this post is a fellow Queenslander!).  I first read about Quoll Writer on Tumblr in 2014 on a writing blog, and decided to give it a go since it looked like it was going to tick all the boxes I had for a writing program.  My first option had been Scrivener, a much more well known writing program, but it came with a hefty price tag that high school student me could not afford at the time.

But after playing around with Quoll Writer for a few days, I found it offered all the things I had wanted from Scrivener, and in a much more easy to understand format.  While all of Quoll Writer’s features can be found on its website (which I will link to at the end), I will give a brief overview of the program’s features and why I like them, as well as their helpfulness for new writers like myself.   Also as a little treat, I have not blanked out any info in my screen caps except for the title, giving you all a sneak peak at the novel I’m working on.

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When I open Quoll, it takes me to my last worked on project, so this is the screen that greets me when I open the program.  This is where all the good stuff happens- under the first tab on the menu on the side, labelled chapters.  This is your writing space, and its a crisp, clean area for writing that doesn’t bother with odious amounts of formatting options.  After all, you don’t really need 20000 different ways to format your text when you’re drafting, and Quoll Writer knows that.  The ever needed spell check is still here though, which is a relief when your coffee fuelled stupor stops you from doing good English.

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The next few tab is for characters, and this is one of my favourite tabs.  Personally, I believe any good story is only as good as its characters, and its important to develop and flesh out your characters as much as possible.  The character in the picture above admittedly has little development here, but that’s because I still need to migrate all my character planning from my hand written notes.  The character tab offers a space to write whatever you want about your character- and here’s my favourite little nifty feature- when you put their name in the Aliases section, the “Appears in Chapters” section below shows you how many times that character’s name is mentioned. Pretty neat, huh?  The program also allows you to link the character to other characters and sections, as well as linking to documents.  As you can see, I am an avid fan of using online dress up doll sites to get a visual representation of my characters.  It works better than you’d think.

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I’m going to lump the next few tabs together, since they are all used in a similar way, but for different things.  They all pretty much the same as “Characters”, and allow you to make individual entries for important aspects of your story.  You can also add as many new tabs as you’d like, and in my case I added “World Building Items”, “Planning” and “Character Plans” to hold information specific to my project.

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The “Notes” tab is a little different in that this houses specific “notes” made in chapters.  While writing, you can add a note at a particular point in the chapter.  I tend to use them as “To dos” where I need to elaborate or add something in later, but the possibilities are endless.  They’re great for keeping track of all those little bits and bobs that pop into your mind as you write, but you don’t have time to elaborate on at that point.

There’s also the “Research Items” tab, which I haven’t used, but I can imagine would be great for people who are writing non-fiction or historical fiction and need to rely on research in their books.

While that’s the meat of the program sorted, there are a ton of nifty bells and whistles included that really solidify Quoll Writer as my program of choice.  These include:

– a distraction free writing mode with a customisable background (pictured)

– an idea board that’s great for brainstorming (unfortunately my brain hasn’t stormed much yet, except on paper)

– Statistics and settable targets to make you feel like you’re watching the stock market (ooh pretty graphs)

– Warm up exercises to banish that persistent writers block

– Backups and easy exportation to Word, Epub and HTML

– Fun achievements with fantastic names like “Pact with the Devil” (write 5000 words or more in one session) or “I’m not Crazy!” (use ! 5 times or more in a chapter

– Probably bunch of other things I haven’t even found yet

One thing I am particularly excited about using in the future is the in built Editor Service.  I’m not sure how it works, since I’m not up to editing stage yet, but the fact that this is an integrated feature is simply amazing.  The Quoll Writer website has much more detail on this.

The program may not be as visually swish as others, but there is room for customisation, and to be honest, you don’t need swish while writing.  Stability wise, I’ve only ever had it crash once and I didn’t lose any saved projects, and at all other times it has run very smoothly without bugs or crashes.  Sometimes the text in menus will bug a little, but everything is still very functional.  There is a bit of a learning curve when you start and some features take some getting used to.  For example, I’m still getting used to making custom objects for the side bar and getting tags and drop down lists working properly, and I’m still not sure how the idea board works, but I’m sure it will be helpful once I bang enough rocks together.

All in all, Quoll Writer is the perfect combination of distraction free writing and powerful plotting and planning tools.  It’s clear a lot of hard work has gone into the program from someone who knows how the writing process works.  And best of all, it’s free!

So let’s sum up:

Pros Cons
Distraction free writing features Some display bugs
Tools for keeping track of characters and story planning Takes a while to learn all the features
Editing tools like the Editors’ Service and Problem Finder Only for Windows (currently)
Statistics and achievements to keep track of progress  
Free  

If this sounds like it would be up your alley, click the link below for the Quoll Writer website to download and read in more detail on the current and future features, as well supporting the program’s development.

https://quollwriter.com/

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews by Someone not Qualified to Review Books: The Calling (Dragon Age #2)

The Calling (Dragon Age)The Calling by David Gaider

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll come out and say this right away: I am a massive Dragon Age fan. So much so that it’s the only video game series that I’ve bothered to read the companion book series for. I’d read the first book in the series, the Stolen Throne, quite a few years ago but I remember being pleasantly surprised at the quality. I would say that the Calling is a actually small step up from the first book in terms of characters and storytelling and is a surprisingly solid video game book.

The Calling is set quite some time before the first game, Dragon Age Origins, and features a few familiar characters from the game, as well as the parents of one particular character who I won’t name for spoiler reasons. Just like the first book, it does quite a good job at setting out the universe, so much so that I think someone who hasn’t played the games definitely could pick it up, but of course the book is most rewarding to those who are familiar with the source material. Unlike the first book, the Calling feels very fantasy-RPG in its style, down to its merry band of heroes fighting together to stop a greater evil. You have your warriors, your mages and your rouges just as you did in the game. And similarly to the games, the book does its best to make each character feel unique, with different personalities and backstories. While a lot of the characters could be called cliche, I very much appreciated that the book does take the time to explain these characters and their motivations. In fact, the story is very character-driven, and the overall plot is often moved along by the actions and subsequent reactions of the characters. Of course, some characters stood out more than others- such as Maric, Fiona, Duncan and Genevieve, but this is not a bad thing since it means you are not flooded with too many protagonists.

The story is very prequel-esque in its nature and at times does seem to serve nothing but setting up events that will later become important in the games. The majority of the book is set in the Deep Roads- a vast network of underground passages, which can become a somewhat stale setting at times. As I mentioned before though, I think this book in more interested in telling the characters’ stories rather than become overburdened with an intricate plot and setting. And for the most part, I enjoyed all of the character arcs, even if some where a bit simple.

Also just like the Dragon Age games, the Calling features a romantic subplot. While I knew it was coming (since the relationship was alluded to in the games), it still felt rather jarring and forced in. While not the worst romance I’ve ever read, the characters involved go from “I hate you and everything you stand for” to “literally having sex on a cave floor” in a matter of days. It does seem to spring up from nowhere, and a veteran of the games will be able to tell that it seems like it was shoehorned in to quite literally conceive a character that would later appear in Dragon Age Origins.

In summary, the Calling is definitely quite a well written book that expands on characters and events from the games, and is perfect for any Dragon Age fans looking to know more about events leading up to the games. For non Dragon Age players making their way through the series, it still holds its own as a solid fantasy novel that fits very nicely into the traditional fantasy-RPG feel. I would say its a 4 star read for Dragon Age fans, but 3 stars for general readers.

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Book Reviews by Someone not Qualified to Review Books: The Midnight Sea

The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element, #1)The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The reason that I bought this book is because it’s setting and world have a lot of similarities to a novel I’m working on myself. and I wanted to get some ideas and inspiration from the Midnight Sea.

The first thing I will say is that I am in love with the book’s premise- a world incredibly similar to our own historical one but altered ever so slightly with magic and mythology. It’s distinctly familiar, but different enough to avoid being a historical fiction. Ties to Persian and Zoroastrian mythology are prevalent throughout the book, which is something that I have not seen touched on a great deal in fantasy novels. This unique world is what drew me into the book in the first place, and then kept me enraptured for the rest of the novel.

A lot of young adult novels have touched on the relationship between a female character and some sort of bonded demon (daevas in this book), so I was expecting this book to more of the same. But this premise was done a lot better than I expected and unexpectedly touched on the morality of the situation and questioned beliefs. What the reader adamantly supported at the beginning of the novel was challenged by the end. This interesting take on the traditional “girl and her demon” story saved the book from feeling like another generic fantasy romance.

For the most part, I enjoyed all of the characters. Nazafareen and Darius were likable main characters, though some extra characterization and building of their relationship would’ve been welcomed. I was even invested in the supporting characters, who were all very distinct with different personalities and motivations.

I found the plot somewhat slow and hard to get into at first, and at around the 25% mark the book sat unread on my Kindle for a while. But after I persisted for a bit longer, the plot suddenly kicked into gear and I found myself unable to put the book down. Unexpected twists and turns suddenly shake up the entire plot, and new revelations and information throughout the book kept me glued to my Kindle.

The writing style was plain and simple, but it worked well and conveyed scenes, dialogue and emotion well. In fact, I was so glad to have found a book that kept its focus on characters and story rather than fancy, flowery writing. At first I thought the writing was average, but as I kept reading I found it was simply just easy to read and follow, but made itself poetic when it needed to be.

Long story short, this book really surprised me. I admit I went in with low expectations, since I am very skeptical of young adult fantasy novels. A slow start bogged me down at first, but as I kept going I began to fall in love with the world, the characters and the story. It’s unique look on real life locations and events sets it aside from both fantasy and historical fiction, and instead makes it a engaging combination of the two. The characters and story are investing, and I love the way it tackles the idea of bonding humans and demons together, while heavily relying on Zoroastrian mythology. This is the most pleasantly surprised I’ve even been with a book, and I can’t wait to start the next in the series.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Made me a Reylo Shipper (Basically a review WITH SPOILERS)

I know this review-ish thing is coming somewhat late after the movie’s premiere, but I wanted to see it twice before making a conclusion on what I think of the movie. Now you’ve probably already read a thousand reviews by people much better at reviewing movies than me, so this is less of a review and more of my general thoughts and impressions of the Last Jedi.

I’ll start with saying that I don’t think my hype was up to the same standard as the Force Awakens was (which was high, very high).  The Force Awakens was the first real Star Wars movie in a long time, and I think most of my enjoyment of that film came from the simple fact it was the first Star Wars film in ten years.  But with the Last Jedi, I had been spoiled with the Force Awakens and Rogue One, so I had plenty of fill of Star Wars already.  But perhaps this is a good thing, since my opinion was not going to be affected by sheer excitement.

Now I’m going to come out and say it loud and clear- the Last Jedi is not a bad film.  It is in fact a very good one.  But is it a good Star Wars film?  Well, yes, but that is not a resounding yes.

I thought the first act or so of the Last Jedi was very good- it felt a lot like both the Force Awakens and the original movies.  Mark Hamill, as always, does a great job and I have to admit (and hence disagree with a lot of the fanboys) that I quite enjoyed this more cynical, wiser Luke.  Its clear that he’s learnt a lot from his original trilogy days and is starting to understand how the galaxy and the Force work.  And the revelation that even Luke had flashes of instinctual violence was a good way to remind us that he is a Skywalker- a family prone to child murdering.   Though his reluctance to help his friends was a little startling- I understand Luke has changed, but a key part of his character was his devotion to his friends.  That was perhaps too much of a change in personality.  But asides from that, I kinda dig old grumpy Luke.

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I thought Rey was pretty decent in this movie as well, but she felt very similar to how she did in the Force Awakens.  But I’d probably blame the Force Awakens for that for starting her off too competent and leaving her no where else to go.  She does learn a lot about the Force in this, and a lot about Kylo.  Speaking of Kylo.

The shining star of the movie.  The light of my life.  The one and only Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.  Easily my favourite character in the movie, Kylo feels like he has the most development of everyone.  Swinging from dark to light and back to dark, but with a slither of light, was a move I was not expecting.  I expected a straight forward redemption arc but got something better.  And his newfound relationship with Rey has opened up some interesting new possibilities.  And on the topic of Kylo and Rey…

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The best parts of the film for me were no doubt the interactions between Rey and Kylo.  Their Force connection was done in an interesting and impactful way that has moved their relationship to new grounds.  So much so that it made me, a once staunch opponent of Reylo into an avid supporter.

But now to go onto what I didn’t like, and unfortunately there was a fair bit.  Just as I enjoyed every scene with Rey, Luke or Kylo, I disliked nearly every scene with Finn and Rose.  Now Rose has stirred up a lot of debate in the Star Wars fanbase, and I’ll come out and say that I don’t think she’s a bad character in herself, but what she does in the film just seems kind of pointless and forced in.  My biggest gripe with her is her barging in and ruining a perfectly good and emotion death scene near the end.  What would’ve been a touching and impactful death scene was ruined for an unnecessary romance and some god awful line about pacifism that has no place in a movie series that literally has “Wars” in the title.

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And the whole Canto Bight sequence, including the code-breaker was absolutely unnecessary and bloated the film’s run time.  If done differently, it might have served well for some world building  and characterization but instead it ended up being pretty pointless filler.  The codebreaker was just kinda there and really didn’t end up doing much, and after that whole sequence with Canto Bight and infiltrating the ship, the plot was really no further along than it had been before.

Also, this is kind of a minor gripe, but it infuriates me that I did not see a single identifiable Star Wars alien in that casino.  Would it kill them to have a few Twileks or Rodians knocking about rather than a bunch of aliens that look like partially melted play dough?

Star-Wars-The-Last-Jedi-Behind-The-Scenes-2525-2.jpgJust try and tell me you’d rather see that than a Twilek in a sweet cocktail dress

Also time to address the gold robed elephant in the room- Snoke.  I don’t quite know how to feel about his death.  On one hand, I’m incredibly annoyed we learnt next to nothing about him before his untimely demise.  But on the other hand, we knew nothing about the Emperor at his death in the original trilogy.  But to kill your main villain in the second film?  Those writers better be going somewhere with that.  But god those Praetorian Guards were awesome, and the fight scene between them and the Reylo dream team was the best.  But also while we’re on the topic of deaths that shouldn’t have happened- WHY YOU GOTTA KILL MY GIRL PHASMA?!

Goldmember.jpgAlso, why did Snoke look like Goldmember from Austin Powers?

Just like I’m not sure how to feel about Snoke, I also don’t know how to feel about Holdo.  My instinctual reaction to her was sheer annoyance- everything about her irritated me.  I was waiting for her to turn out to be a double agent or something, but instead she was just incompetent at communication.  Literally every problem that occurred to the Resistance could have been avoided if she had simply communicated her plan. While I agree that Poe was a tad rash in his actions, I understand why he did what he did.  I’d be pretty pissed too if my commanding officer was holding back vital information.  And Holdo, a character we’d know for like half a film got an amazing sacrificial death that probably would’ve been more deserved by an established character like Leia, or even Admiral Akbar.

The final act was probably the most enjoyable (asides from everything Rose does).  Crait was a visually amazing final battle, and it was great to see Kylo really falling off that deep end back into the dark side.  And while personally I would’ve liked to see a real Luke vs Kylo showdown, I understand that Mark Hamill is old and can’t be doing crazy stuff anymore.  In fact, I thought Luke’s final scene was incredibly touching and a fitting end to perhaps the most influential character in the saga.

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All in all, I am somewhat conflicted about the Last Jedi.  I think part of me loves it simply because its Star Wars.  It’s definitely a visually pleasing and well acted film.  Unfortunately, its potentially great plot is hampered by some bad scenes and poor pacing. It’s absolutely no where near as bad as some people are making out, and is still a solid edition to the saga that I will commend for taking risks.

I will give Star Wars Episode VIII 7.5 Reylo Fanfics out of 10.

Or, alternatively, 7.5 abdominal muscles out of 10 cause Kylo is BUFF

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Also Porgs are amazing and I want to hug them all.  10 Porgs out of Porg.

 

Book Reviews by Someone Not Qualified to Review Books: Tarkin

Tarkin (Star Wars)Tarkin by James Luceno

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this book, since I am a huge Tarkin fan. And for the most part, this book delivered. While technically a follow up to Lords of the Sith (a decidedly less interesting book), Tarkin doesn’t really follow on at all. And to be honest, that is fine considering how lack-luster I found Lords of the Sith.

Tarkin follows follows our favourite sentient pair of cheekbones on a hunt for rebel insurgents. Most of the book follows a bit of a wild goose chase after these rebels, but its more exciting than it sounds. With personal stakes in the rebel’s activities, it is great to finally see a different point of view of the galactic conflict. And Tarkin was the best choice for the point of view, since his collected and sensible view of the war shines a new light on the conflict- one that stirs a bit of pro-Imperial sentiment in the reader.

One of my other favourite aspects is the dynamic between Tarkin and Vader. I was not expecting them to team up, and its not something I knew I wanted until now. When they do, its an amazing combination that unveils a connection, and dare I say it, friendship between the two of them. I thought the reason that Vader follows Tarkin’s orders in a New Hope was born of Tarkin’s high rank, but after reading this you realise that Vader has a great deal of respect for Tarkin and he is probably the closest thing to a friend he has in the galaxy, which makes Tarkin’s eventual death all that more tragic.

However, once at the halfway point, the novel seems to drop off into tedium. That wild goose chase becomes less and less interesting, and actually somewhat harder to follow. A simple premise at the start eventually becomes a little hard to follow as new motivations and plans come to light. The scenes from the rebels point of view were fine, but I felt no connection or sympathy for these characters since it had all been spent on Tarkin and Vader.

There are also a number of scenes detailing Tarkin’s past, and while these were enlightening and interesting for the most part, they eventually overstayed their welcome. Especially a strange scene involving Tarkin facing down a bunch of space gorillas- I’m not even kidding.

While my three star may seem a little harsh, its because the second half of the book suffered from confusion and tedium. The story was not enough to hold me well to the end, but this insight into Tarkin we’ve never seen before was. While not all Star Wars fans may go for this, I would highly recommend it to Tarkin fans, or Empire fans who want to see the Star Wars galaxy from a mostly unexplored Imperial perspective- a perspective that brings up many good points that may change your view of the Rebellion.

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The 2017 Young Writers Award

I would like to take a brief moment out of my time today to briefly mention the State Library of Queensland’s Young Writers Award.  This great competition encourages young writers (in two categories of 15-17 and 18-25) to develop their writing.  I’ve entered a few years in a row now and this year I’m pleased to say I made it in the top 25 long-list.  This is a good boost of confidence, and I’m going to keep working on my writing and try to make the highly commended list next year.  For all those interested, you can read my short story “Discord” on Booksie- a site I’m going to start using to post my original works and short stories.  It’s a historical fiction set in WWII France, so if that seems like your thing check it out below:

https://www.booksie.com/529888-discord

If you’re interested in the Young Writers Award or want to read the winning entries for this year, follow the link below:

http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/awards/ywa

Keep writing, keep dreaming.

LisaW

Life’s a Beach: Noosa

Now free from the shackles of university, I have taken a much needed holiday.  The location of choice is Noosa, a popular and beautiful sea side located on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.  Sitting on the mouth of a river at the northernmost edge of the Sunshine Coast, Noosa enjoys a much less developed and natural feeling compared to busier seaside locations, due in part to buildings restrictions and the surrounding national park that prevents Noosa from becoming too overdeveloped.

Noosa is like a home away from home for myself as I’ve been holidaying there quite literally since I was born (my first trip to Noosa was when I was 8 months old).  Noosa is also the ancestral home for a part of my family stretching back to the 1800s, so the area means a lot to me.

It’s not just my connection to Noosa that makes me love it so much; it’s Noosa’s sub-tropical, laid back atmosphere.  While made up of a number of suburbs, I tend to break down Noosa into three areas- Noosa Heads, Noosaville and Noosa Northshore.

20171123_135231.jpgHere is a helpful map from my hotel room

Noosa Heads is what most people think of when they hear Noosa.  Nestled in between the headland, the ocean and the river, Noosa Heads is a fashionable yet naturally astounding place.  One of its main features is the famous Hastings Street- a stretch of road displaying the finest capitalism has to offer- and by that I mean its selection of pricey and exclusive boutique stores.  While my Hastings Street shopping experience is usually restricted to my beloved souvenir stores (I have more keyrings and fridge magnets than I care to admit), it is certainly a must do if you’re into shopping, especially surf brands.

The second feature of Noosa Heads and by far my favourite is Noosa Main Beach.  A strip of warm sand stretching from the headland to the river mouth, this beach is a favoured swimming spot due to its protected waters and gentle waves.  Unlike other Australia beaches, Noosa’s Main Beach seems to have found perfect balance of natural beauty and holiday developments.  You can enjoy the clear blue water with the forested headland and ocean beyond without skimping on the holiday luxuries such as lifeguard patrols, beach-side cafes and surf gear hire.  There are few places in Australia that I have been that I adore as much as Noosa main beach, and no matter how many times I go there I always think how amazing it looks.

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The second section of Noosa is Noosaville, situated a little ways down the river from Noosa Heads, is where I stay on my Noosa holidays.  Noosaville is much quieter and relaxed than the popular Noosa Heads.  Just as the crashing surf reflects the surfer atmosphere of Noosa Heads, the slower flowing Noosa River reflects the laid back nature of Noosaville.  While also lined with hotels, cafes and restaurants, Noosaville is more content to lay back and watch the boats float by than splash in the surf.  The river offers a calm place to swim, as well as ample boating opportunities.  My family brings our boat up here to Noosaville, allowing me to explore more of the river than most- from the ancient everglades to the ever shifting sand banks and islets of the river’s mouth.  Noosaville is the perfect place for relaxation- just imagine it: no loud music, no busy streets…just the sound of boats, gulls and the ambling flow of the river.

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I can’t say much about Noosa Northshore since its been many, many years since I’ve been there, but its an important member of my Noosa triumvirate.  This area encompasses the land north of the Noosa River and marks the beginning of the Great Sandy National Park.  I sometimes get to experience the tip of this natural wonder when we pull the boat up on its shore.  Asides from a few homes, a caravan park and a pub, Noosa Northsore is nothing but untouched bushland and beach for kilometers.  Since access is pretty much restricted to those with boats and four wheel drives, spending time on Noosa Northshore is like spending time on a desert island.  Just you, the beach and sea.  And of course the many avid fisherman and four wheel drivers you’ll have to avoid.

20171120_103051_Richtone(HDR).jpgThe mouth of the Noosa River.  To the right is the bottom of Noosa Heads, to the left is the North Shore.

All in all, words cannot really describe how I feel about Noosa.  To me, its the optimal holiday destination.  Along with what I’ve mentioned, there are dozens of other experiences to be found around Noosa- with Fraser Island (the world’s largest sand island) not too far north and the beautiful hinterland not to far west, there are many more wonders to be discovered beyond Noosa’s blue shores.  So no matter how many holidays I find myself enjoying in the future, I think the winds will always blow me back to Noosa.

 

Lisa W

I’m Back in Action

Where have I been for months?  The simple answer is in a pool of anxiety and despair as I finished my final semester of university.

But now its finally over and I’ve dropped the proverbial One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

What does this mean for me now?  Well now I may actually have time to work on my writing and maintaining this blog rather than trying to cram in what I can in the brief times of respite I had during uni.

I will be starting full time work in December, so unfortunately my writing cannot be my main focus, but I’m hoping once I settle into the swing of working I’ll have enough time and energy to devote to writing.

Part 1 of my Star Wars Revane story is *this* close to being done.  It may not be done by the end of the year as I promised, but hopefully it will be sometime in the new year.

Vessel is moving along nicely, and I’m about halfway done with the first draft.

I’m going away for the next week so I’ll likely do a post about that, and I’ve got some news regarding a recent writing competition that I’ll announce after I get back.

So that’s a little update on what’s happening.  Your favourite accounting student is now your favourite accounting graduate.

Where was I going with this?  I’m not even sure. I’m tired and need a nap.

 

Lisa W