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Below are the 11 most recent journal entries recorded in mj_tannis' LiveJournal:

Monday, August 23rd, 2004
10:16 am
Yikes, it's monday already.  Another week, crisp and new

Over the past few days we've been thinking a lot about the site, namely that some sections are just lame and others need work.  So, we've divised The Plan [my SO would be proud].  The Plan will outline our short/medium/long term goals for HereBeWriters.com - there's nothing worse than a site just "existing" online without ever evolving.  Think we need something?  Let us know.

There'll be a complete site update later on today; we usually do them on Mondays, just to give you a heads up.

On the home front, I've got a shit load of forms to fill in.  There's a few sweet ass jobs going locally and all applications have to be submitted in triplicate.  Why these people can't just colaberate I do not know.  As in all jobs I apply for, I'm going to include my "Five reasons why I'm perfect for this job [tm]".  No matter how underqualified I am for a position, or how steep the competition is, a list of why you're ideal always - ALWAYS- gets me an interview.  I guess it's not good enough just to fill in a form.  It seems the HR's of this world really respond to someone "going outside the box" - as one interviewer put it - and doing something different.  But then again, these jobs are for the local authority, so I'm sure they'll frown on such displays of free thinking, or whatever.

Also, all the night courses are starting at a local college.  I'm considering a degree in humanities, might as well get some letters after my name other than N.U.T.T.E.R.

So, to reiterate, I've a shit load of forms to fill in today.  And some to do in triplicate.  Why?  I'll never know.

I've spent way too much time playing Transport Tychoon this weekend, my pinky finger is killing me >_<

Ah well, more later in triplicate.
MJ

Current Mood: sore
Friday, August 20th, 2004
10:13 am
A Rare Thing...
This morning I shall actually talk about writing - I know, pretty amazing.  I didn't think I'd ever get around to it either.  I mean, that's really the whole purpose of this blog and I've spent way too much time complaining about the site and so forth recently.  So, writing.  Brace yourself.

So yesterday I grabbed the lappie and sat in that big armchair by the window, Pot Noodle in tow.  I'm sure the neighbours must think I'm insane or something, but anyways.  I set myself a timer [do not leave this chair untill half past 5] and opened up that huge Word file.

The premise is simple:  all my life I've wanted to write and have started approximatly 6 or 7 Fantasy novels, but never finished them.  Some of these books were stand alone, others sprung from themselves.  I had ideas for a second and third sequal for most books, but really I was just an amateur without a clue of what I was doing.

Sure I knew I wanted to write for a living and I already had the basics of how to string words together, construct a decent plot etc., but I had put no thought into "writing as a career".  It turns out, not many people do.  I think Written is going to touch more on this later in her Advice Column, so I won't go directly into rant mode.  Let me just say though, that I took a break from novel writing, went out there and landed various writing related jobs - game reviewing, articles, news reporting etc. that built up my skills base.

Now, nearly half a year later, when I look back on my novel writing I can only cringe.  Really I had no clue what I was doing with regards to "writing for the rest of my life".  Look at any successful Fantasy author and you'll notice one huge thing: they all writing in series.  I mean jeez, Wheel of Time doesn't look like it's stopping anytime soon, does it?

I'm not saying "I am a Fantasy writer, therefore I must write in series" - however you can't deny that series do sell far better and that publishers/agents are more willing to take a chance on them.  I think the real realisation was that though writing is artistic and creative, you have got to treat it with a level head and a calculating business-like fashion.

That's why I get annoyed when I see people online posting fragments of things: "Here's something I wrote, I dont know what I'm doing with it, or where it's going..." I'm like, why waste your energy?  I don't recommend getting locked into a series if it's not for you, however there's something to be said for direction when writing.  A lot of energy is wasted with these homeless fragments and though they make great writing exercises, it's still not work on your novel, which advances your dream non further.

Meh, maybe I'm just talking out my arse.  All I know is that, once I'd returned to my writing after taking such a break, I knew I needed to get my head out of the clouds and down to business.  So I decided to take my 7 odd started-but-never-finished novels, plus the ideas for some of their sequals and create one big series of 10 books.  Each book will be an independant read in its own right, however each one follows a different character - if that makes any sense.

Example: Book 1 would be about character A and him growing up and saving the world [I said "example", ok?  Put down the pitchfork].  Book two would have him in it, but the main character would be someone else and the story would be about her, with Character A in a supporting role.  Book three would take a new character, but have character A [if he's still alive >_^] and the main character from the last book as supports.

All the novels would be set in the same world, but the countries and nations themselves would change as the books progressed.

Writing 10 books will take many years of my life, but it's like eating an elephant, you just take it one piece at a time.  So I've started plotting out the first book.  Many would think that having such a detailed layout for writing is stiffling and claustraphobic, but personally it calms me to know what I write now will have a ripple effect later on and that I can see it in the plots of the next novels.

Jeez, I'm nearly after writing an entire novel here!  Sorry, I am a chatter box.  I'll try not post too much later on, to save your poor eyes :_P
- MJ

Current Mood: satisfied
Thursday, August 19th, 2004
1:26 pm
Bleh. Columns suck.
Don't you love it when you promise an editor a great column and you start sprouting lines like: "The problem with formulatic fantasy, besides being predictable and tired, is that it can become an unbreakable cycle."

[snozzle]  I suck so bad.  Anybody else really tired today?

What do you do when you sprout idiotic sentances in what should be a jaw-dropping, wallet reaching, sample?  I'm going to stick at it, but I feel like I'm stuck in a hole and the walls are made of sand [read: impossible to escape from, plus that sinking feeling]

Argh, powers of English failing...
MJ

Current Mood: drained
10:23 am
Why didn't I think of this before? Why is the most obvious solution right under our noses?
While we sort out our email problems, we're going to use just one collective email address for the entire site.  It's herebewriters@oceanfree.net

You can use this for EVERY & ALL correspondance with us.  I'm sending this similar message out on the mailing list too.  When we have normal email back up and running, we'll let you know.  For everbody who sent a mail and it got bounced, I can only ask to send it again to that new addresss.

I'm really, really pissed that I have to ask that.  Anything unprofessional gets my hackles up but I'm constantly being told by Written and Archie that it's a new site and there's bound to be teething problems.  I guess because I'm the one who did the majority of the site I feel some way responsible... I know the problem is completely out of my control untill our hosting fix it, but all the same...

Remember, it's herebewriters@oceanfree.net

Thanks and massive appologies once again
MJ

Current Mood: anxious
9:23 am
To those that care:  Email is still down, but we're working on it.  Honest.


This morning I woke up to three emails in my inbox.  One was from Paypal saying stuff about Irish transfer mumbo jumbo - which is good news, I suppose.

The other was from an editor of a magazine, a magazine that practically prides itself on being "out there" and "open to change".  I'd suggested a new feature, one that I could do myself and you know what responce I got?  "Your idea doesn't fit with our magazine whatsoever."

I'm like, wtf?  DONT AGREE TO READER INPUT THEN!  Jeez that sort of crap realy ticks me off, it's like I show them a valuable concept which is different from every other mag in their genre out there and they're just playing stick-in-the-muds.  That's the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned; a publication that refuses to listen to it's readership and/or try something new.

I don't expect them to jump at my idea or accept it on the spot, but if they ask for "new and unusual ideas" and I give them one, then I at least expect a better answer than that!  Grr [seethes for a bit]

But what can I do?  They've got the power for now, it is their magazine after all.

I guess it's the use of the word "whatsoever".  I'm not a complete thick-o, I have a subscription to their rag and I like it to an extent.  I could have been way blunter with my suggestions: how about putting an end to reams of short stories that are clearly bad teenage fanfiction?  How about not allowing the letters page to hold HUGE rants by some idiot with a keyboard?  Why not pay for decent articles for a change?

[sulks for a while] 

It's ok though, at least he wants to see some of my review work.  God I hate doing reviews!  Why is it that it's the only writers job editors want to push on you.  I utterly hate reviewing, any time I give my oppinnion there's always some whinger who comes along with his own paltry fixations on why I'm wrong.  Sheesh, it's a frickin' review, get a life!

You can really tell my day isn't going well...

On the email issue, my responce from tech support was ""Please make sure you are using smtp authentication."  Which means they misread my initial complaint ENTIRELY!  According to our resident genius: "SMTP Authentication is used when you are sending mail from herebewriters, not when you are sending it *to* herebewriters"

So back to the drawing board on that.  More later if we ever get this weirdass thing sorted.  Man this sucks so bad.

Current Mood: crushed
Wednesday, August 18th, 2004
4:19 pm
Let's play "how many posts MJ can do in a day?"

Seriously though, our entire email thingy just vanished. Poof!  There's fantasy for you.

Untill further notice our email is offline.  I'm turning on the comment feature.  Idiotic commenters get bopped.

I'm gonna go kill someone.

Current Mood: working
3:48 pm
Email sucks
Ah buggy things are driving me crazy!  People are having trouble with the "mail to" addresses on the site - that's fine, I knew some would have problems, but not nearly everybody >_<

The only thing to do is type in the email addy you want directly into your email address line, I'm currently disabling all the mail to's and working on forms so there'll be none of this hassel.

I've just come back from a very trying family day, I really didn't need this. [sigh]  More later when the work is done [if I ever figure out forms]

Current Mood: aggravated
10:52 am
Lol, ok this is so so silly, but we just got our first piece of visitor feedback!  Check it out on our Contact page!  Now we get to run around with dopey grins on our faces all day.

Also I've dropped an advertisement in a few LJ communities, so I won't be surprised when people start complaining.  Heck you can be as polite as pie, explain that you've got a great link with legitimate contestes etc., blah, blah, obey the community rules and users still complain.

Sheesh, anybody would think they didn't want the free exposure of our up-and-coming "featured community / website" section.  Ah well, some people just plain old suck.

- MJ

Current Mood: bouncy
8:55 am
Ugh, since http://www.herebewriters.com went live we've all been taking a collective break. Though the site looks simplistic and text driven, in some ways that is more labour intensive than fancy scripts and graphics.

Ok, I suppose I should start by explaining what this blog is about. Basically I'm writing a novel [no shit, I hear you say, who isn't?], in fact I'm writing ten and this blog is to chart the ins and outs of such a massive, foolhardy undertaking. I'm quite a frank person; I call a spade a spade so don't start getting all offended if I say something to your distaste. As you can also see, I've disabled the "Comment" feature - if you do have a comment then by all means email me, but for now it's turned off.

Expect this blog to be updated every other day. Unlike the rest of the site, this is not a weekly or daily affair - I update the Blog when I can and when I have something to say. Considering there are times when I never shut up, well, let's just say posts will be rather frequent.

That's about it for now, currently I'm working on pimping the site and getting some traffic our way. We're open to linking and affiliates so if you're interested then drop us a line.

Also! Thanks to the MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PEOPLE who joined our mailing list, we all were quite flattered that so many people signed up.

Talk to you all soon,
MJ
Monday, August 16th, 2004
12:30 pm
Ok, we're getting there, should be able to upload and launch in a few hours. I swear I will write more than 2 sentances... swear...

Current Mood: cranky
Sunday, August 15th, 2004
11:10 am
This is the obligatory first entry so I know what the hell I'm doing...
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