Desert Of Zin

The occasional blog of Alistair Bain – Writer, Husband, Father and Chief Techno-Arcanologist at the Institute of Giant Robots, Spaceships and Wizards. None of these positions pay well.

NaNoWriMo 2006, Day 5

Target: 8334 (rounding up…)

Current Word Count: 4721

After a few days of not producing anything, today was a day of getting back in the saddle.

Ruth is just over the 5000 mark and my 4721 marks the end of the the first chapter.

Which is just as well as it was becoming a stone around the old neck.

So tomorrow brings a new day and a fresh chapter.

November 5, 2006 at 10:18 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment

NaNoWriMo 2006, Day 2

Target: 3334 (rounding up…)

Current Word Count: 2687

Okay, so I didn’t reach the daily target I set myself but that’s fine.

It’s been a busy few days with Revolution (a children’s group I’m involved with) yesterday and Alpha tonight.

Also the scene I was working on came to a natural end and I’m not keen on fighting onward into an new one just to boost the word count.

Still, the weekend beckons and apart from NaNoWriMo I have nothing else planned.

Just as well really.

November 2, 2006 at 11:55 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment

Catch the wave and don’t let go

There’s a thing about writing that really makes me feel alive.

Sometimes it’s getting the right word at the right time. Sometimes it’s making (and beating) a daily total. Sometimes it’s just getting into “stream of consciousness” mode, when it feels like I’m just pouring words on to the page and being forever hopeful that it will make some kind of sense in the end.

So, here I am on Day 2 of NaNoWriMo 2006 and I’m totally charged.


And this is what it’s meant to feel like. To be able to just get the words on the page, let the story come and do what it needs to do and not worry about the endless revisions until it’s finished.

Let’s hope this wave will carry me through the next 28 days. :)

November 2, 2006 at 9:30 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment

NaNoWriMo 2006, Day 1

Target: 1667 (rounding up…)

Current Word Count: 1727


I’m on fire!

November 1, 2006 at 10:13 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment

New year, New NaNoWriMo

Yeah, I wasn’t going to bother with NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve been totally scunnered with my writing and the thought of forcing myself though 50,000 words in a month is less than appealing.

Well I happen to mention this to my wife, the ever lovely Ruthy, and she comes up with the inspirational idea of us working together on something.

Sounds good.

We are both going to write a 50,000 story based on the beginnings of a idea that Ruth had long ago. Her existing work on this will become a joint opening chapter, we’ll write what we need to on our own and we’ll come together once both are finished to write the final chapter between us.

A bold idea, but at least it’s a different one. :)

October 12, 2006 at 12:11 pm | Writing | Tags: , | No comment

The Moody Blues – Live at Glasgow Armadillo (3rd October 2006)

Three old guys and their live backing band.

Two hours of music chosen from a career spanning 40 years.

Different Class.

During the first half of the gig they rattled through plenty of quality tunes including my mum’s favoutite (for she was there with me), “Never Comes The Day”.

After the half time beer break they dove straight in to a selection of my favourite Moody tunes: Forever Autumn, Higher and Higher, I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock And Roll Band), Question and, of course, Nights In White Satin.

The Moody Blues are, without a doubt, one of the finest bands still playing today.

Messers Hayward, Lodge and Edge are three of the best musicians I have ever had the pleasure to see live and it’s great to know that after all these years that they’re still doing what they’re good at.

And before I forget, during the intermission I got talking to an American guy who had come over from the States for the day JUST for the concert. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is.

October 3, 2006 at 11:08 pm | Listening | Tags: | No comment

Reactions to Science Fiction

Often I’m disappointed in people’s reaction when they hear that I’m writing a Science Fiction novel.

“Oh, you’re writing a novel? That’s great! What is it about?”

And it’s here I make my mistake.

“It’s Science Fiction.”

“Oh, that’s nice.”

Well, it is actually. And I’m very happy about that.

My mistake is in saying that it’s science fiction rather than saying what it’s actually about.

The truth of it is that science fiction is just where it’s set. It’s a backdrop I use because I’m more comfortable with that genre than anything else.

But the story could be set anywhere.

The story itself is one of loss, betrayal, self-discovery and redemption.

Also it’s about the right that people have to be free. This is the freedom to live your life without fear. (But then that’s a rant for another time.)

So when asked about my novel, and what it’s about, I’ll say:

“It’s about the right to live a life without fear.”

September 5, 2006 at 8:05 pm | Writing | Tags: , | No comment

Shouting religions…

Cities in Flight – James Blish

“Shouting religions always strike me as essentially like pep-meetings among salesmen; their ceremonies and their manners are so aggressive because they don’t really believe the code themselves. Real faith is so much part of the world you live in that you seldom notice it, and it isn’t always religious in the formal sense.”

September 2, 2006 at 8:06 pm | Reading | Tags: , , | No comment

The Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Good vs. Evil. Nightwatch vs. Daywatch.

It’s one of those “eternal battle” types and it’s done much better than most. The story follows Anton (for the most part), a computer programmer/analyst and Other, who is being pushed into becoming a field agent for the organisation Nightwatch (the good guys), and it shows his struggle in dealing with the less than black and white natures of each watch.

Usually I only read the Lovecraftian style of horror. You know, the “Eldritch horrors lurking beneath the flimsy veil of shadows” kind of thing. So it’s good to read something out of that kind of style that is genuinely interesting and shows a realistic “human” slant on the traditional horror concept.

And it’s not that woefully romanticised horror either which never fails to bug the pants off me.

And for anyone who has seen the film and not yet read the book, the film only covers the first third of the book and that’s nowhere near as good as the later two-thirds.

The only complaint I have is that the translation is occasionally a bit patchy, but that’s not enough to ruin your enjoyment.

There’s an English translation of Daywatch (the sequel, and that’s both for the book and the film) due out soon.

August 27, 2006 at 8:01 pm | Reading | Tags: , , | No comment

Last FM

It’s some kind of online community music/radio thing. You can get a better explanation from the site.

I signed up for it, downloaded the media player and the plugin for Winamp and settled down to some new music.

The player allows you to search for “stations” that have music similar to any band you specify. So in went Yes and I was listening to King Crimson, Marillion, The Eloy and, strangely, Neil Young.

Recently I’ve let my musical interests get stale so this is a godsend.

Also they provide scripts for your website which lifts the name of the artist/track that you’ve just listened to and shows it to the world. Mine is in the footer.

And the player isn’t just available for Windows, so everyone can play…

June 2, 2006 at 5:43 pm | Listening | Tags: , , , , , , | No comment