27 March 2007

Pictures & procrastinating

I sacrificed some chocolate to the weather gods last weekend, and I think it worked. It's been abnormally warm for the last few days - more than 10ºC - so I biked home from school in my t-shirt today. The snow is almost gone from my garden now *cackle*

I should be learning for a Norwegian test tomorrow but it's way too boring. I still need to read a hundred pages or so. Ah well. It's essay writing so it shouldn't be too bad. There are always five or six topics to choose from so if I read 20 pages and learn that well I should be fine. I feel like procrastinating some more...

Pictures. Yes, pictures. Random stuff from my sketchbook.

This one is *old*, I think I made it two years ago, perhaps even more. It's the cover of Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix. The original art is by Jason Cockcroft.

The hobbits on Weathertop! :) Which I never finished... Merry is still sketchy, lol.

And a sketch of Faramir. It originally had Boromir too but he looked creepy so I cut him out on the computer.

Galadriel. Not happy with her eyes >.<

Another drawing after a book cover; this time The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff. The original art is by Richard Jones.
As you can see, I never finished this one either (his hands are still sketchy) and I don't know if I'll ever finish it. His arm is positioned all weird, it looks like he has a dislocated shoulder >.<

This was drawn for an art school project, just finished it today. Ignore that freaky eyebrow >.<

And... erm... art school randomness :) I saw this pic in a book about birds and *had* to draw it.

21 March 2007

Snow, and a summary

Spring isn't coming anyway. Well, not this month at least. It's been snowing for a few days now (or rather; it has been sleeting, lol).

Does anyone know where I can reach the weather gods? Because I'm not at all happy with their work...

Anyway, I promised you a summary of my novel. It is, as you know, about the Batavian revolt, which took place in 69-70 AD in the Netherlands. I didn’t find out about NaNoWriMo until mid-October, so there wasn’t much time for research and planning. As a result, this ‘novel’ is a bit of a mess. At one point I even had John F Kennedy and the Pope showing up in a UFO during a battle (that was a fun scene to write), and I had to give Civilis a ninja bodyguard because my Roman main character insisted on killing him.

But hey, that’s what editing is for, isn’t it? Just for the record, it was 2 AM when I wrote about the UFO, and I’ve cut it out already, along with the ninjas.

The story pretty much follows the events as I’ve described them in my essay about the revolt (which you can find under the “Links – Blog posts” section to the right). However, my main characters are fictional. I’m describing the revolt from the Romans’ and from the Batavians’ point of view, because I don’t really want to take sides. As a result I have two main characters, one Roman, Marcus Fulvius Scaeva, and one Batavian, Geravan.

Like I said, I didn’t have much time for research, so for my Roman MC I just picked random names from the NovaRoma website without bothering to check if they ‘fit’ together or not. For my Batavian MC I picked a name from this website. It’s a name from the 9th century, but it’s better than calling him Bob I guess (I already have four people called Bob).

But I digress. Marcus (yes, I call him Marcus in the narrative; he is the main character after all) is a military surgeon stationed, well, I’m not sure where. At one point he’s in the Fifth legion, then he’s suddenly in the Fifteenth, but for some inexplicable reason he is at Traiectum (modern Utrecht) when the revolt starts. Never mind. I wanted him to be a normal legionary at first, but he insisted on being a surgeon, which is rather annoying because I’ve had to check all these medical websites to find out how you amputate legs and other nice stuff.

I’m not sure what Geravan does before the revolt, he just *is* there. When the Romans are looking for more soldiers and come recruiting, he is almost dragged off, thus giving him a nice reason to hate everything Roman. He believes just about everything Civilis says about wanting freedom and happily kills every Roman in his path (though he is rather pro-Roman in the beginning). His older brother Thiadulf is some sort of commander in the Batavian army, so he hears from him what’s going on.

The battles go as described by Tacitus, with Marcus fighting on one side and Geravan on the other. Marcus eventually makes it to Castra Vetera and is there during the siege. Because I did so little planning the story is full of walk-in characters. I didn’t mind very much at first, since I was lacking characters and some of them are quite fun to write. Like at Castra Vetera there’s a rather insane, nostalgic surgeon who enjoys rambling about how everything was better in his days (good for my word count, lol).

Well, while Marcus has to listen to all his rants, Geravan has gotten himself a new enemy; namely Embric, a rather nasty walk-in nobleman. He’s either Frisian or Bructerian (he was Frisian for two chapters and then he suddenly became a Bructerian), and for some inexplicable reason he detests Geravan. And the feeling is mutual. During battle of Gelduba (December 69, when the Batavians lose), Thiadulf dies. Embric says he deserved it, and Geravan almost cuts his throat in anger. Then of course *I* had to get him out of trouble…

The siege of Castra Vetera is briefly lifted when Vocula arrives with his army. Then the whole Gallic Empire business starts, and that was perhaps the most difficult part to write because there was no one to tell Geravan what was going on. Because he had threatened to kill one of their most important allies (namely Embric), Geravan was not made a commander. Instead the umpteenth walk-in character, Riold, becomes commander. This guy was apparently Thiadulf’s best friend though he doesn’t appear until *after* his death… (Some friend, lol).

Back at Castra Vetera the Romans are all starving, and eventually they surrender. During the following ambush the mad surgeon and Marcus’ best friend (another walk-in character) are both killed, along with just about everyone else. However, Marcus somehow manages to escape.

At the moment the story is somewhere between the little battle against Claudius Labeo at Maastricht and the conference in Reims. During the battle Riold got killed, and I could finally make Geravan a commander. He is now slowly starting to realise that Civilis might have personal motives for revolting, and Marcus, well, he’s currently starving to death in a forest not far from Castra Vetera.

I’m not sure how this novel is supposed to end, but I guess I’ll find out eventually. My characters have completely taken over so I’ll just have to wait and see what they do. It’s fun though, because even I don’t always know what’ll happen next. Though sometimes the unexpected things can be rather annoying, or weird (I found out last week that Geravan is a bit afraid of the dark…).

16 March 2007

I'm still alive...

... though I realise it's been a while since I last posted, sorry. School's been a bit busy lately - lots of reports and essays and projects and tests. Today was particularly nasty. Fridays always seem to go on and on forever because there are no free hours and only boring subjects; history, Norwegian, geography and chemistry. Well, Norwegian usually isn't that bad because the teacher is rather insane and funny, but half the textbook is about 19th century literature... Chemistry can be fun too, but today there was a test. I really need a top grade for it, because then I'm almost certain to get top grades for chemistry at the end of the year.

And teachers are really blind sometimes. I actually got a 6 for that stupid social studies project about globalization. The teacher said it was obvious that I had put a lot of work into it, the presentation was exemplary etc etc... I decided not to tell her that I didn't really start working until the night before the presentation... :P

Anyway, I'll try to write a decent post soon, which isn't just ranting about school and homework. I'll see if I can write a short summary of my novel or something (I just realised I haven't done that yet). I'll see if I can do it next week, I have no tests then (the first test-free week since, hm... August I think).

And because I have nothing better to do, I'm posting pictures of my cat

That last one isn't my cat, but you probably figured that out already ;)

9 March 2007


It's finally coming! It's been warm for a week, the snow is melting and there's hardly any ice left on the cycle tracks. But I guess I shouldn't get my hopes up too much; the temperature can still drop below zero and it can start snowing again... But at least the days are getting longer and longer. I hate winter darkness!

And my novel is getting out of hand. When I started writing in November I was worried that I would finish the story before I'd reached the goal of 50 k. I had made a very rough outline of the plot and found that 26 chapters should cover it. The first five chapters or so were almost 2000 words each, which means I would just reach 50 k.
Then the chapters began getting longer - the last five or six have been more than 10.000 words. At the moment I've got about 112.000 words, and I'm busy writing chapter 20. Still six left in other words (if I stick to the original plan that is). But I'm not sure if six chapters will quite cover everything I still have to write about, I might need seven or eight (maybe even nine). And if they're all 10k... >.< I need tea, lol.
My characters aren't cooperating either. Suddenly some random guy will just walk up and say he's my MC's brother's best friend or something and that he's an important character. Well, there are always plenty of battles during which I can rid myself of these guys, but the problem is that although they don't really mind getting killed, they do not want to be cut out of the story completely. So I have to rewrite the previous chapters so they don't just come out of the blue like that.
My main characters are even worse. Don't get me started on them...

8 March 2007

Where did all the free time go?

... It must have disappeared while I was procrastinating. I was planning on doing a lot of homework last week, but, well, I didn't start until Sunday, and then I didn't have time to do more than writing a book review for French and do some last minute social studies cramming.

What I *did* do last week was reading and writing. I finished Njål's saga, it was great. A *lot* of different characters though (and they're all introduced as "Bob son of Jeff son of George brother of Harold who killed John the sister-son of Jim"). I tried drawing family trees to make it a bit easier, but, well... see for yourself:This is a small part of the upper left corner of one of the three pages I needed for it *lol* And the fact that my handwriting is almost illegible doesn't help much either...

No, it wasn't that bad, really. Half of them weren't that important to the story anyway, so it didn't matter much if I forgot them.

I've started reading The Sword and the Circle by Rosemary Sutcliff today. I shouldn't. I should be reading Norwegian poems from the 19th century for a Norwegian test tomorrow, but I just can't be bothered to pick up the textbook. I can read tonight, lol.

Did anyone see the lunar eclipse last weekend? I was afraid that it would be cloudy, but luckily the clouds cleared away just in time! I took a few pics, nothing brilliant though (too lazy to get the telescope...), but anyway:
Next time I *will* get the telescope :)

Okay, time to stop procrastinating and get some homework done. Gotta start reading those poems, then do some physics, maths, geography, chemistry, social studies and history. Plus a French project (but that's not too bad, we were allowed to choose the topic ourselves - I'll be writing about the vikings in Normandy).

And... this arrived in the mail yesterday (took them long enough):
And it's even more beautiful on the inside!

Ahum. Yes. I'm going to stop procrastinating now.