There may have been some of you who turned up here on Monday just after the striking of noon expecting a blog post. Some of you may even have been disappointed to see that there wasn’t one. Since we’re all friends here I’m going to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered to stitch some words together and send a shoddy collection of thoughts shambling into the bright and burning light like a poorly constructed corpse-beast. Necromancy has after all, never really been my forte. Besides, you were going to be getting two blog posts at the end of the week. Three posts in one week seemed a little overkill. I spent much of last weekend and indeed Monday itself, elsewhere. I left the safe confines of the Fortress of Ineptitude (my house) and sallied forth (got a train) to a dark and foreboding place filled with evil and despair (Hampshire) to see my mentors in the ways of the arcane arts (my parents.) What followed was three days of traipsing around a variety of gardens and stately homes which, due to the weather, may as well have been on the surface of the sun. In those three short days my carefully cultivated nerd-pallor of pure alabaster white has been utterly destroyed. Now my exposed flesh has become the colour of orange leather. This is one of many reasons I tend to avoid the outdoors and the sinister privations of the malevolent day-star. On the subject of stars I suppose I should get down to the business of wrapping up May’s Pictonaut Challenge: Starwatcher.
This month’s wordascope has come as something of a surprise to me. I started out with some vague ideas and started writing with a “let’s see where I go with this” kind of attitude. This was a spectacular disaster. After cracking out 300 or so words describing night and darkness while feeling a little down in the dumps it all ground to a halt and sat there untouched for the majority of the month. As my weekend away with the parentals drew ever closer I realised I should probably pull my finger out, get my shit together and finish it. That’s when things got a bit out of hand. My wordascope for Starwatcher weighs in at just shy of 2000 words. Two. Thousand. Words. It is by far and away my longest wordascope to date, beating The Writing on the Wall by about 150 words. But what caused things to spiral so rapidly out of control? Gayane Al-Taftazânî that’s who. She is the titular “Starwatcher” of the piece and she turned out to be really something. A lot of the stuff I write, I hate. I don’t think it’s good enough, I think it’s vaguely insipid, flat and uninspired. On top of that female characters have always presented something of a problem to me, whenever I write them bits of my brain can’t help but feel that I’m being really, really sexist. Starwatcher has become one of the few pieces I’ve written that I actually, genuinely, like. By standard writing logic this probably means it’s actually pretty awful. All the same I’m quite enamoured with Gayane, she is what drove the story to its dubious end. Even as her creator I’m not entirely sure what to make of her. Is she childishly naive or does she know exactly what’s going on? And the way she talks! Easily my favourite part of her character, a strange and unusual mishmash of first, second and third person pronouns. She’s a real mystery, a nice friendly mystery who makes you feel good about yourself. I can only hope that you enjoy reading about her as much as I enjoyed writing about her.
I’m quite pleased with the response for this month’s Pictonaut Challenge. Numerically it’s nothing special, floating at the seemingly standard three. But this month sees two new Pictonauts stepping into the fray. Ms. Retro Bagel of my old alma mater the Nottingham University Science Fiction and Fantasy Society and Mr. Nick Convery. Ms. Bagel I unfortunately did not get to know very well before my departure from fair Nottingham, Mr Convery on the other hand I know of old. We went to school together. Subsequently he is probably deserving of a great deal of pity. Perhaps the most shocking outcome of this month’s wordascopes is that of the three, mine is probably the most upbeat, the other two are more than a little grim in some ways. I hope you all find them to your liking:
Retro Bagel – I fought the law…
The Rogue Verbumancer – You can meet some really interesting people waiting for a bus.
Nick Convery – Await instructions.
Remember to check back tomorrow for the start of June’s Pictonaut Challenge.
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