Sunday, April 26, 2009

Starting a Story

Well, I have a few paragraphs begun of a new short story. It's not Taking Her Life Back yet. It's another one called Summer Memories about a young girl named Kellie who will discover that she has Turner Syndrome, a genetic condition in which a second X chromosome is either completely missing, or is missing/incomplete in some cells. The condition universally causes short stature because two copies of a certain gene on the X chromosome are needed for long bone growth. More seriously, Turner syndrome usually results in infertility, and there can be complications with the heart and kidneys.

There are still some details to work out and plan in the story, but at least I've got a start. For some reason, it is so much easier to write blog posts! Oh, well. The story will eventually get done. I may end up working more on it tonight, but no guarantees. Kellie has an older brother, Kris, who has become sort of a bully to her in recent years. Her two best friends are Stephanie and Ian. I have to work on fleshing out these characters, as well as the parents. So far what I'm thinking is that Stephanie is tall and will provide a contrast to Kellie's lack of physical development, prompting Kellie's parents to take her to the doctor to investigate. The story may end up spanning several summers, and it may be a summer later than her 10th year that her parents truly notice enough of a difference to seek medical testing and advice for Kellie.

Eventually, I'm planning on creating a collection or two of short stories on my website that will hopefully be publishable. There's a self-publishing website called WriteLife that seems like it would be a very nice resource once I'm at that point. For all you fiction writers out there who have sites and blogs like this, I'd love to hear from you and get ideas, see what you've done, etc.

Here's an excerpt of what I have so far in the story. If it seems she has greater maturity than what might be expected at her age, I've been envisioning that Kellie is writing her story years later in her life:

Summer vacation was always the best time of year, filled with long sunlit days of delightfully warm weather and the complete relaxation of not having school or homework for a whole three months! It was the final day of school, and I'd actually shed a few tears at having finished fifth grade. Elementary school was over, and in the fall my two best friends and I would be starting middle school. There had been no fanfare celebrating this huge transition, no graduation ceremony to commemorate our accomplishment. It felt strange to simply get on the bus at the end of the school day, and know that it was for the final time at the only school I'd ever known.

That evening, Mom had put together a special dinner as a "graduation" treat. Fried chicken, corn, and biscuits...my favorite! She'd also baked a white cake with vanilla frosting, making everything from scratch. It was a perfect time, with the only thing ruining the meal being my bratty older brother Kris. He never could pass up the opportunity to tease me...as if I didn't have enough of that at school for being so little! At least at school, the teasing was for the most part good-natured. Not so with Kris. We used to be closer when we were younger, but he was in seventh grade and had long since turned mean. Not only did he tease mercilessly, but he kept trying to act like I was an annoying little sister who was always trying to tag along after him. I admit that a couple of years ago when we started drifting apart, I missed him and did try to get him to spend time with me again. But after about two months of this treatment, I stopped trying and instead began going out of my way to ignore and avoid him as much as possible.

"Hey, Shorty! Hand over the corn!" he demanded, smirking. He knew I hated that nickname, no matter how much I tried to pretend otherwise. Not that I was skilled at hiding my emotions, but Mom's advice to not react to teasing seemed sound. If they didn't get a rise out of me, eventually they'd give up. It had yet to work, but I remained optimistic that it eventually would.

Wrinkling my nose, I replied, "No! It's closer to you."

Before Kris could start in with a retort that would try to draw me into a bickering match, Dad cut in. "Kris, Kellie, no bickering at the table. And Kris, this is Kellie's evening. So don't spoil it by bothering her."

I flashed Dad a grateful look for his support.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Role Play Update!

Ok, so I still haven't gotten around to writing my first original story yet, but I have been doing more role playing. Oh, and I've added a bunch more role play excerpts to my website. There's been a lot of progress on the time travel role play with Ariel and Matt. That's the one we've been focusing on. I did post again a brief post on the Students Against Riddle role play, and we haven't worked on the role play with Camille lately.

Ariel now knows what happens in the future. Christian ended up coming into control, and between his revelations and her figuring things out, she discovered that her parents were killed and that she herself ended up dead in his time. Christian even told her about his role in the battle...at least to some extent. She knows that he helped Slytherin.

Speaking of Slytherin, he showed up for a second time in the role play. They now have plans to visit Ariel's twin brother, along with Matt (and Slytherin has promised to make sure Christian has some time to be in control during part of the visit). And to Ariel's relief, they are all in agreement that they want to prevent the tragic events of the future. After Slytherin leaves again, Ariel and Christian decided to practice using the Room of Requirement in order to prepare for whatever the future brings. After all, who knows how long this tenuous peace will last? Ariel and Christian discovered that the room will grant a request to keep anything dangerous (e.g., weapons or spells) from working in the room. Another lesson learned was that one can't undo a request another has made of the room; instead, a way around a request has to be found.

Eventually, Matt returned, and Ariel filled him in on what happened with Christian and Slytherin. He also explained the multiple personalities situation to Ariel. And that's the point we have reached in the role play! It's been fun and dramatic, and I really think the future will bring even more drama, with something happening to cause Slytherin to forget that he truly wants a peaceful solution...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - Only 86 days to go!

Well, we've hit the 3 month mark now, and we're closer to that long-awaited film than we were before the WB decided that they needed to make us wait so long to see the movie. Finally we won't have to wait much longer! I just heard that the date has yet again been changed, to two days earlier. So now the movie will open on Wednesday, July 15. It's a shame in a way, both because of people's travel plans that will again be thrown off and because I'd been hoping to see it at a midnight showing on opening day. What with all the media we've been shown, from pictures to a multitude of trailers, it feels like we've already seen and heard so much about the movie. Everything really does look amazing, from the acting to the special effects.

Is anyone else planning to be there at midnight, seeing it in IMAX 3D? There are a couple of options for that where I am; Stephen and I recently discovered a second theater not too far from us that now has IMAX. We saw Order of the Phoenix at one of them last time. It was amazingly done, and I'm so looking forward to seeing the cave scene in 3 D this time! The cave scene looks incredible!

I haven't been spending as much time anymore on the discussion forums like HPANA (In fact, it's been so long since I logged in that I probably would have to reregister with a new account to get back on), so it's been a bit since reading what people are saying about the Half Blood Prince. Come by and share your thoughts! Here are a few of mine for now:

Quidditch:

It's really exciting that Quidditch is back. I've missed that in the past two movies. Oh, and it would be wonderful to see Luna's commentary for one of the matches; it was absolutely hilarious in the book!

The Added Burrow Attack Scene:

There are probably mixed feelings among fans about this added scene. I'm not a canon purist who minds things like this. If it's done well, and I think it will be, it should be a wonderful way of bringing the impact of the war in a real, primary way. In the books, we didn't see it hit that close to home until Deathly Hallows, when the students were all impacted at Hogwarts, Luna was captured, and the trio dealt with danger and attacks on their quest to find and destroy the horcruxes.

The Humor:

From the looks of it, the Half Blood Prince will strike a nice balance of humor and thrills. It's a shame they overplayed the "But I am the Chosen One," library scene with Hermione smacking Harry on the head for having said it. We've seen it so much in the trailers now that it could be a bit old by the time we see it in the movie. But at least there are sure to be some great laughs. The love potion scene was just perfect from what one of the trailers showed!

The Cuts :

The cuts are probably going to be what fans will most gripe about. I'm not going to list them here because I don't want to spoil anyone who wants to remain unspoiled. But there are some cuts that I wish would not have been made. And there was definitely a change that surprised me, though it will probably turn out well in the context of the movie. Overall, though, I'm sure we will have a great movie.

Again, please share your thoughts about the Half Blood Prince movie. Accio July 15.

XOXO,

Lora

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Taking Her Life Back: Story Notes

Ok, so I didn't get around to this last night. But I did create a new blog on WordPress! Maybe there it might be easier to find readership for my sites. Who knows? In the meantime, I will continue to write. Here is what I have so far for the first story, entitled Taking Her Life Back. It's the story of a young woman institutionalized after suspecting her stepmother as being responsible for her father's death. I've figured out what the event is that leads to her institutionalization, and probably what some of the clues are that cause Amelia to suspect her stepmother. Though my initial thought had been to include those ideas here as part of the notes, it'll probably work better to let you see if for your self in the story! But along with this synopsis of the story, I'll give a brief introduction to the characters.

Characters:

Amelia Winthrop - Age 17, about to turn 18. She's got long, straight brown hair with blue eyes. The oldest of two from a wealthy family, she is alternately very responsible when it comes to her schoolwork and her younger sister, and very fun-loving and spontaneous. She does her best to find joy in life, particularly so because she knows all too well how short life can be. Her mother died when she was quite young, and her father Charles recently passed away. An intelligent young woman, she's putting together the clues that her stepmother may be responsible for her father's passing...

Lexie Winthrop - Age 11. She's a bit quieter and more shy than her older sister, whom she resembles. With no memory of their mother, she envies Amelia for the fact that she does have a great many wonderful memories with ther mom. Oh, how Lexie wishes to have had that experience! Since that's not possible, she on occasion asks Amelia everything she can think of about their mother. Lexie is into sports and plays soccer for her school team. When their stepmother came into the picture two years ago, Lexie was less resistant than Amelia to the addition to their family. She'd never really had a true mother figure prior to this, though their former housekeeper, Maria, came close.

Alicia Ramirez - Age 18. She is the spunky, outspoken daughter of Maria. When Maria passed away of a heart attack about a year ago, Charles Winthrop became her guardian and fulfilled his promise to Maria to take care of Alicia. Having grown up with the Winthrop girls, she and Amelia have become best friends, as close as sisters. Alicia is fiercely protective of the girls, and looks out for Lexie while Amelia is away.

Victoria Cole-Winthrop - The stepmother. In her early 40's, she is quite a bit younger than Charles and undeniably beautiful with shoulder-length blond curls and blue eyes. Having no occupation of her own or desire for one, she has presented herself as a wealthy heiress. Clearly, she enjoys a high-maintenance lifestyle, including having her own hairstylist and going for frequent manicures/pedicures.

The Lawyers of Winthrop-Smythe - Charles' collegues and friends at the lawfirm he helped establish. They come to Amelia's rescue in the effort to find out the truth and have her released from the local psychiatric hospital.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Busy Week!

Priority or no priority, this week really has been way too busy for me to find the time to write anything of the story. I haven't even posted on the role plays! Hopefully I'll get to that this weekend, and may do that tonight when I have the time. Even dashing off a couple of quick posts would give the role plays a chance to continue. It will be fun to see where the storylines go from here.

As far as getting started with the first short story, the plan is to start working on the notes maybe tonight. The writing of it will hopefully happen on a certain day this month when I'll have a significant chunk of time to work on it. We'll see how that goes, and I'll update when it's finished.

Well, it's dinnertime, so I'm off! Afterwards, back to work on my first short story.

XOXO,

Lora

Monday, March 30, 2009

How do you Find Time to Write?

Life gets so busy and hectic, it can be really difficult to find time to write. And even in those moments, overcoming a lack of motivation and inspiration can be a major challenge. Now that my website is basically all set up, it's finally time to get started with actually writing stories to add to the original fiction section. This was something I'd hoped to get started with sooner, but that didn't happen.

We all have times like these, when there's something that we either need or want to get done. I think it basically comes down to motivation and to making the time to do the task. It's easy when motivation is high, but what about when it's not? After all, wouldn't one of the short stories be started by now if I were really motivated? Probably so, because when that level of motivation is there, it becomes a priority. Which means that available time gets devoted to the writing, and it gets accomplished.

So, how do you get to that point?

I do have in mind the story I want to begin with, and a rough idea in my head. From there, it's a matter of taking that first step to get the ball rolling. Starting to flesh things out by developing the characters and then an outline might just spark the kind of creativity, exciting ideas, and fun connections that really make it impossible to resist working more on the story! When can I do some of this? Well, in the car on the way to work to further flesh out what's already in my head, though it would be even more helpful to do this at the computer where I can make typed notes. But it could be a start. There's too much to do all at once, but doing a bit at a time should work out well. I'm used to doing posts, and so I may end up writing the story that way, a "post" at a time as I add a bit more whenever there's the chance. We'll see how this goes!

Ok, so these ideas aren't by any means new. But hopefully this has inspired you to get started on writing out the story idea you have, and adapting these ideas to your own work style. Good luck, and let me know how it goes for you. I'll update you, too, as I also make progress!

XOXO,

Lora

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Roleplay Recap

So, here's the latest updates.

There are a lot of dramatic developments going on right now in both role plays, and both are turning out to be really awesome!

First, Salazar Slytherin was brought into the Matt/Ariel role play. It wasn't how I had envisioned it, because initially my plan had been to have the role play move ahead to nighttime, when Slytherin would show up in a nightmare of Ariel's. And my thought had been that when Ariel told Matt about the nightmare, it might prompt him to tell her more about what's going on, both with himself (the time travel) and with Slytherin. Instead, we decided to bring Slytherin into what was already happening in the Room of Requirement. Ariel at first took him for a professor, and soon learned that he was a family member...and that Matt doesn't like him for some reason. Matt hasn't yet explained it, but hopefully that'll happen once Slytherin makes his exit from his first appearance in the role play. For now, he's playing nice but with ulterior motives. Namely, since Ariel is younger he's hoping she's more vulnerable and able to be molded to his way of thinking. He has plans to take her to see her twin brother, whom she now knows about much earlier than in the original timeline, and Matt has asked to go along. I'm thinking that Slytherin might agree to that, as Ariel will want him along. Now I just have to figure out where I'm going with the Slytherin thing. Probably, my next step will be to have him promise to make the trip to visit Ariel's twin brother soon, then bid the kids farewell for now. That way, Ariel and Matt will have time to themselves to talk.

In the role play with Camille, the big secret was let slip! Matt and Ariel now know that she's their future daughter. Long ago, Sabrina and I had planned to have this huge revelation happen in this role play, and last time she remembered the plan. How did we accomplish this? Well, it happened accidentally, with Camille letting slip a softly spoken "thanks, Mom," without thinking after Ariel had comforted her about the whole emotion of meeting her past self's killer. Well, Matt and Ariel heard this, and they both began to ask her about this. After confirming that Ariel was indeed her mother, Camille also reluctantly revealed when questioned by Matt that he was her father. Needless to say, they figured out pretty quickly that something must have happened to Matt's girlfriend Lisa. Otherwise, Ariel and Matt would not have gotten together. Camille admitted this much, but now they're trying to figure out together how much more should be revealed to Matt and Ariel and where to go from there. Hmm...should Camille reveal that Lisa died in childbirth? There's a lot to think about, because if there's a way to prevent what happens to Lisa, and ensure that Matt and Lisa's daughter Danielle is born, they have to try. But they also are torn between doing this, and risking changing things so much that Camille and her twin sister Cara (who is in the girls' own time) are prevented from being born. What to do, what to do? Only time will tell. Can't wait to see how it all plays out!

That's what's been going on lately with the saga. I haven't had much time to post, but will do so this week. By now, I probably also owe a post on the Students Against Riddle role play with Elizabeth. Anyway, I'll do another of these role play updates as soon as there's more to report!

XOXO,

Lora

Friday, March 20, 2009

Moving Websites

Moving to a new website is a bit like moving house. You need a larger place, so you search the cool features of different sites to find somewhere that fits and that's just what you need. You spend a lot of time sorting through what to keep and what to discard. You spend even more time setting everythinig up the way you want all over again.

Originally, my website was set up on freewebs. Once I had things basically set up with all my role play information....or a good bit of it, anyway...I left things alone for several years. But when I got the inspiration to start writing again and expand the site, it turned out that there was a 20 page limit. And this limit was reached very quickly. It was a shame to have to find another place to set up my website, because I liked freewebs. Editing the pages was easy. The look of the site was really attractive, and the templates looked great! There was also a blog, a guestbook and forums, which were fun interactive features. But I needed a website that could grow with me, where I could create as many pages as I wished.

So now, my website is set up on google sites at: http://sites.google.com/site/lorarpfiction.

Google sites is awesome in a lot of ways. There's no page limit, and a ton of storage space. Editing is still really easy, and I've found a pretty template. They even have a variety of gadgets that you can add to the side bar, including a counter, which I used on my site to count down the days until the release of the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie. The only things I miss are the ability to use google adsense and put affiliate banners on google site web pages. After the move and getting things all set up (including creating this blog and a signing up for a new guestbook), I've spent a bit of time working on adding more role play excerpts. Hopefully the next updates will include adding content to the original fiction section as time permits.

XOXO

Lora

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snow, Beautiful Snow!

(A post written at the beginning of the month and rescued from my about-to-be-deleted freewebs website)

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, it certainly came in like a lion!

Overnight, several inches to perhaps a foot of dry, powdery snow have fallen (though it's difficult to tell just how much because of drifting caused by winds). If it were not such a cloudy day, the world would have become a wintry fairlyand. As it is, the snow is quite pretty. And it's not yet finished coming down just yet.

But I can't wait to get to warmer weather!

No more slow, careful, slightly (or very) nervewracking drives to or from work. No more turning on the heat in the car and shivering until it kicks in. No more confusion about whether it's supposed to be really chilly or fairly warm on any given day, as though winter and spring were fighting for dominance.

Come on, Spring! At least daylight savings time begins next weekend. Already the days are noticeably longer, but it'll be wonderful to have it really start to stay lighter later into the evening. Soon after, in maybe just a few weeks now with the true advent of Spring, we'll get consistent warmer weather. Maybe just into the 50's and 60's at first, and slowly warming up to the 70's. It'll be light earlier, and hopefully my husband and I will be drawn outside for early morning walks....or maybe even to the gym to get into shape for summer.

I can't wait!

XOXO

Lora

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Remember When...

The other day, I finished reading my copy of Harry: A History by Melissa Anelli, the webmistress and one of the podcasters of the Leaky Cauldron website. It was a fun book to read, chronicling the adventures of the Harry Potter fandom and phenomenon. The book for me particularly evoked beloved memories of the book release parties, as well as experiences discussing and theorizing on fan sites. I'd never really posted much on Mugglenet or Leaky, but I did spend quite a bit of time on HPANA.

While heavily into role play, one aspect of the fandom I'd largely missed was the Wizard Rock genre; it wasn't something I have much experience at all with, except for hearing some of it on a Leaky Cauldron Pottercast or two (and the awesome Jingle Spells 2 album purchased from itunes and dowloaded onto my ipod around Christmas).

Oh, the chapter in the book on 'shipping wars reminded me of how powerfully different the whole relationship debate (or, rather, war as it eventually became) was in the Harry Potter fandom when compared to the way things were in the Roswell fandom. Fans of the Roswell TV show never even came close to arguing with each other over relationship preferences, and each and every possible one had a cool name (like Dreamers for Max and Liz, or Stargazers for Alex and Isabel, and Lamptrimmers for Kyle and Tess just to name a few). Everyone seemed to respect each other's different 'shipping choices, and it never became an issue.

How different it became in the Harry Potter fandom, when there grew to be a major debate and argument between people who 'shipped Harry/Hermione and those who 'shipped Hermione/Ron. Shipping no longer was about a simple preference, where one simply liked a certain pairing. Now, people argued and debated endlessly about whether a certain pairing actually would happen in canon, and why it should be so. To me, that seemed so beside the point. Coming from a Roswellian perspective, to me 'shipping was simply about preference and preference alone. And if the preference didn't end up happening in canon, that was what fanfiction was for! So, being a Harry/Hermione 'shipper myself (just because I liked the idea of the pairing from the interactions between them as described in the books), I remember being pretty angry at the comment (that H/Hr shippers were 'delusional'). This comment came from a certain someone of a certain major Harry Potter website during a joint interview with JK Rowling herself. Anyone else remember that one? Oh, I was pretty furious at the time, though of course I was coming at the 'shipping from a completely different viewpoint and really didn't get much into the debate, or the 'shipping wars. I just sort of found myself feeling...uninvested and slightly disappointed...in the canon pairings that came to be. That's the best way I can describe it.

Melissa Anelli's book also had a chapter on spoilers that reminded me of so many things! I hadn't been on the HPANA website (or probably anywhere other than the Harry Potter Dialogue Center) around the time of Order of the Phoenix, but I'd later heard tales of the leaks that had happened. For the sixth book, I experienced spoilers firsthand, though, on the HPANA website! I'll never forget seeing the news that some place had unknowingly set out some early copies of Half Blood Prince. Sure enough, maybe two days before the release, loads of spoilers were posted by evil people on HPANA and probably many other Harry Potter websites. Most of them had decieving titles for the posts, so that nobody would suspect that a spoiler would be inside when one clicked on the title. One post contained all the chapter titles, and I confess that the first thing I did upon receiving my copy was to peek inside the book and compare what I'd seen to what was in the book! Sure enough, the actual chapter titles were exactly what had been posted. Probably the worst spoiler for the book was that someone had posted a scan of a page from the book, the page where Harry tells Hagrid about the death that happens in the book and who the culprit was. We were all in an uproar about that! We weren't sure whether to believe it or not, but were furious that the book had potentially been spoiled awfully by that information. There were a few other tidbits posted in other threads, including the identity of the half blood prince! I'd vowed then to be much more careful for the release of the seventh book, but when the time came, I found myself seeking out whatever information was out there. Sure enough, despite all efforts to keep the final book secret for the sake of all fans to experience all the long-awaited revelations together, scans of many portions of the final book (including the epilogue) appeared online along with summaries of parts of the book. Not only that, an early review was posted several days in advance, and it included several spoilers that caused an outcry among the fandom.

I miss those days of theorizing and waiting with bated breath to find out about what the next books would bring. If reading this has reminded you of some of those magical, bittersweet, and cherished moments in the whole Harry Potter experience, feel free to share them here in the comments!

XOXO

Lora

The Latest Role Plays

These days, it's hard to find time for role play, and I'm especially looking to devote a good bit of energy and effort into building up this site. I still have the role play bug, of course. It's something I'd miss if there weren't any role plays going on.

Fortunately, there is Sabrina's' site, Hogwarts: 60's Style. I sometimes play Elizabeth there, and I'm about to get into a role play soon where she joins a group formed against Tom Riddle. For those who don't know the premise of the site, Tom Riddle did become Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. He helped Elizabeth get herself re-established at Hogwarts, but Elizabeth is going to help her best friend Chelsea try to put a stop to Tom's ventures into the Dark Arts before things go even farther. Tom's probably too far gone, but Elizabeth won't give up hope.

Meanwhile on the site, I've got two other role plays going.

One is an AU (alternate universe) one that began with an idea from another website. Ariel didn't survive the climactic battle with Slytherin in her 6th year. Now, Matt has journeyed back to the past in the form of his second-year self in order to change what has happened. Yes, I know it's not a good idea to mess with history, but it's been a blast so far to play out. Little first-year Ariel doesn't yet know that her new friend Matt, whom she met this time around just after her sorting into Gryffindor, is her best friend from the future and that he's there to try and save her life. He hasn't yet told her what's to come, but they have made progress in beginning to understand the reincarnation awakening. Well...Ariel has, anyway. Matt already knows much more than he's letting on yet.

The other role play is set in Hogwarts library in Ariel's seventh year. She and Camille (who is, unbeknownst to Matt and Ariel, their daughter from the future) happen to meet up in the library after Ariel finishes up some studying. There, the girls and Matt come across a guy they know all too well from the past. Now, in this past, Camille was a tinfoil-hat-wearing, Conspiracy theory girl named Chelsea Turner. Her brother, Mark, was Matt's past self. Their father, Hank Turner, really ticked off a crime organization known simply as, well, the Organization. In retaliation for killing one of their own, the Organization then targeted the Turner family, particularly the kids. Chelsea was the first of the Turners to be murdered, and now in Ariel's time, they confront the reincarnation of the guy, Edward, who killed Chelsea. As it turns out, the group discovers from researching old newspapers that he has a connection to Ariel, because Edward turned out to have been Elizabeth's brother! Edward was born some time after Elizabeth's death. Their father, an attorney, had been the lead prosecutor in the case against the Organization at the time Edward was just a baby. One of the higher-ups in the Organization had retaliated by kidnapping Edward and raising him as his own...

Confusing?

Totally understandable if all of this storyline is confusing, because there's so much to it. It's a story that's evolved over a number of years now. And it probably doesn't help that we love time travel and AU role plays so much! But I hope you enjoy the episode descriptions. Maybe I'll post something from them in the excerpts section.

XOXO

Love,

Lora