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3. February

Whew what a day.

We began our 2nd semester today. And to my joy I found that one of my favorite teachers from last year was teaching one of the hardest subject that we have (on AC electronics). That made my day (even if I should have figured it out from the schedule for this semester, but I overlooked it).

Then I sped home (after buying some groceries) to do some work for my old workplace. I had to fix some bugs and had a maximum of 16 hours to do it in. I managed it in 8 including a near complete rewrite of the security system. It seems that a couple of months of not writing software has done nothing to slow me down on that front (which is good since I'll be needing that for this semester's projects).

Now I'll be sitting down to write more of chapter 2 of True Tiger. So far everything is going great on that front. True Tiger looks to be a breathtaking ride with a lot fewer pauses than False Dragon. At least that is how it looks right now.

5. February

Damn this semester is going to be tough. We finally had a look at our project for this semester and it entails that we

1) build a compiler for a predefined language.

2) Create an actual simulation of a CPU.

Fortunately me and my lab partner Martin got off to a good start both with the project and the responsible teacher. That could turn out to be helpful in the coming months.

Karen's site has changed its looks again. This is beautiful I must say. And no that doesn't mean I'll redesign my site any time soon. That will probably not happen until Autumn comes around.

The other courses I am taking this semester all look very cool and unfortunately for my writing volume they also look hard. I'll probably only have half the time I had the last semester to work on my series. Fortunately I am nearing the end of the Light and the Darkness. I have True Tiger fully outlined and am hard at work on Chapter 2 (which I must admit I am not happy with just yet). Funny thing is that always this late in a project my mind is not only sprawling with new ideas for new stories and series but I am also beginning to see certain flaws in the earlier entries that is limiting my writing now (honestly I don't think I would've even included Xena in my series if I started it now).

On writing.

I was just asked a question via email about how I write my stories. And I am glad to share my meager techniques. Usually a story for me starts with some sort of daydream I have before falling to sleep at night (which usually takes around 1 hour) or when I see something on my TV at home. 95% of the time these ideas are tossed out again, but once in a while one of them sticks in my mind nagging me to be put down on paper. If that happens I put it down either in my little black book for ideas and notes or on simple white paper. Now if or when I find the time to write or use the idea I expand it in to a notes file on one or more of my computers. Then I shift into gear, I define the scope and ramifications of the story. If it is an original story I write detailed character descriptions of all protagonists and antagonists that star in the story and I usually try to define their lives and surrounding in detail as well. The next step then is to script the entire plot of the story. Usually I only stick to the beginning and end of these scripts and follow the general outline of the remainder along the way. If it is a series I actually define in general terms the plot of the entire series or at least the ultimate end of it. In fact in most of the stuff I've finished I had the ending in mind long before I even knew how to get there. I knew this for the Darkness and the Light before writing the first line of First Steps. This is how the process begins for me

Funnier things go on when I then actually sit down to write a story. There is no set rhythm for me in terms of how much I get down in each sitting and it isn't always dependent on the length of the session either. I can sit down for an entire afternoon and only get some line editing or phrasing done. Or I can sit down at 21.00 and churn out 5-6 great quality pages in an hour and a half. As so many others I have a load of strange habits when I write. First of all is that when I write I usually lose myself so deeply that I rarely notice time passing, phone calls or my own needs (which is why I usually try to keep something to drink on my desk as I write). Secondly I have this really strange need to hear music fitting in my mind either the mood or the setting in which I write at the moment. For example most of my fight scenes in False Dragon were written to the music of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "8 mile" or that when I wrote Heritage and Exodus I was listening to the entire set of soundtracks for Xena: Warrior Princess (yes including The Bitter Suite and Lyre,Lyre...). Music plays a huge role in helping me to write sometimes I even buy some to fit a particular story I have in mind (okay so this has only happened twice but it has happened).

10. February

My weekend has been both relaxing and surprising. Not only did I get to see my cousin's son, but my other younger cousin actually turned out to be an aspiring writer and she is so young. That was deeply cool to experience and I was sad to go from a family event just this once. I had just gotten such an interesting dialogue going (which to those who know me yes that means the others were talking as well... well some of the time when I was breathing or listening anyway). Still it was all good and only my continuing backaches irritated me (and they still do).

Yup, as I thought homework abounds in this semester, but I'll whine no more. I have chosen this myself and I knew that it would be hard (and a lot of fun). Anyway I am having one of my hyperactive days today. Not only have I been to class, but I've been out to buy groceries, vacuumed and dusted the entire apartment, washed about two weeks of dirty dishes, I am currently baking one of two minipizzas in my oven, updated this site, after dinner I am going to write a little on True Tiger and finally around eight or nine tonight I'll sit down and watch some DVD (probably Spiderman).

I've not been too succesful with True Tiger lately. I think I've written myself into a corner, but I can't just drop this part of the story, because it gives a lot of the background for Xena being in my series as it is all about how she came back from the dead. Still I had a minor breakthrough or maybe revelation last night. And I hope that when I fire up the word processor later I'll be able to finally finish what has been giving my so much trouble lately. I have some great stuff ready for this one and a lot of it is quite intentionally Hayao Miyazaki inspired. Those who've seen Princess Mononoke will recognize certain scenes and elements in parts of True Tiger.

My migration to linux is quickening. The only two things I still use on Windows is: Word (for writing) and my home banking which doesn't really work in linux. However even if I resolved those issues I'd still keep Windows around just on principle.

15. February

Yeah that is almost a reason to celebrate. I was just running some statistics on my stories and I suddenly realized that I have passed quite a landmark. I've just passed 150000 words in my series. How brilliant is that! I consider it a reason to celebrate. At least a little.

Anyway I guess I'll try to finish chapter 3 of True Tiger today and then get cracking on chapter 4 tomorrow (putting me almost half way through the story). In the end in combination with Stepping into the Light I guess that I'll be getting up around 200000 words in total in this series. That is not bad for a little over half a year of work when it includes a month long break and me studying at the same time. At least I will try to guarantee that True Tiger is finished this month (I'll give it my best but it could take longer).

17. February

I did finish the 3rd chapter of True Tiger, but the work on the 4th chapter stalled, as I had to put it aside and do some homework. Still I am back in better shape and True Tiger feels better now that I've gotten over the parts of the story I actually wasn't that happy about. It's an entire segment on how Xena actually returned to life and I am not sure I like it. Now however we're back in the now (in Chin) and soon the plot will thicken alot even if True Tiger is just a stepping stone between False Dragon and Stepping into The Light, much like Exodus was.

But my life is more than authoring. I was actually supposed to go to the dentist today. This was our third attempt (first time they cancelled then I cancelled) but it failed as well, making my jitters all for nothing. Jitters? Well I hate going to the dentists, it's a childhood trauma not because of my wonderful dentist. So I headed home with loads of energy and they were dutifully applied in setting up the development enviroment for our semester project. I have spent the entire afternoon setting up an automated build, documentation, unittest generation and unittesting system for our virtual cpu as well as doing some digging into the SWT and GUI guts of Eclipse. Why? Well honestly because regular GUI programming in Java sucks so much it could create black holes if it was matter.

Was that nerdy or what? Well this is enough of all kinds of computer and electronics stuff for the day. I am not doing more for neither my project nor my series today. By suggestion of certain friends I am taking the rest of the day off. First I'll put together a good meal and then I'll sit my ass down in my couch look into the glare of my big TV and just relax because tomorrow is Tuesday (go to school at 8 come home at 18 day). I'll probably write again on Wednesday after I finish my computer architecture presentations.

24. February

So what has changed since last. Well not much (read as lots of homework and still working on True Tiger).

I did manage to catch something that seriously upset my stomach by Friday, I spent my weekend dealing with that and not getting much of anything done. I am however in a better shape now and after I get some work done on my semester project today I'll go over and write on True Tiger again.

Oh, and I have put in an order for the 2nd season of Babylon 5. The really cool thing is that it will be released on the same day we have the last day of this semester (the 19th of May) so I should be able to blow off a little of steam each night while preparing for my exams.

I am still undecided on which writing project to take on after finishing my series. Currently there are a lot of possibilities under consideration.

I've also posted the first chapters of True Tiger, so that anyone anxious to read it can.

26. February

Whew, what a day. I feel like partying. I've finally been to the dentist today. We've been trying to match up inspite of exams and disease since December last year. Today I finally went and what do you know. I had no problems. Because of my ingrained fear of dentists it is always like a huge weight leaves my shoulders, when I get home from a visit there. So it is with a happy smile that I sit here today. Well it was until I realized that I still have a load of Computer Architecture presentations to finish before Friday (and no time to do them in).

I'll probably be starting a company with a buddy as we've been offered a small software project to finish over the summer. It looks to pay well so I am looking forward to it, if the project isn't some kind of trap (read as too big for too little pay). Still I can use the money so I am hoping.

I have posted more of True Tiger with this update for those who care.