About this blog

Hi there! My name is Viktoria, and I'm a native Russian speaker, dividing her time between Saint-Petersburg, Omsk and Moscow. I love many things, and writing is amongst them. Not only I love writing in Russian, I want to learn how to write fiction literature in English. Also I plan to move to New Zealand on August 15 (2013) so English will soon become my main language of interaction. Therefore, this blog.

I'll try to write daily a little something about moving to New Zealand, and also about writing. Feel free to tell me when I make mistakes. I mean it! :-)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What did I say about procrastination?

Today I continued to write my story. Spent an hour, wrote approximately 1400 words. Which isn't much, but it is 1400 words more, than I had yesterday!

And that would be it for today.
And then I went and wrote another 1000 words. Now the draft is 4343 words long according to google docs stats. Go me!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Procrastination is clingy

So... I've done absolutely nothing for my writing in five days. :-( And I'm not going to do it today, either. But at least today I made up my courage to admit the problem. It's always like this with me and problems: whenever I meet one, I just lay low and hope it'll go away, and no one will ever notice. I know it doesn't work like this... but that knowledge doesn't change the strategy. I'm pathetic like that.

I can at least post new words I managed to write down:

And wow, I doesn't remember what any of these words means, except for a vague understanding of "disconcerning". I'm so bad at this. :-(

But I promised not to give up, so I won't. I'll try to get up in time tomorrow and to have my half an hour of uninterrupted writing. Good luck to me.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Documents sent, draft continued

Today I overslept, so I didn't get time to write in the morning. But I did get the time after work. In fact, today was a pretty full day: I sent immigration documents to London, then I worked, then I got home early (because I'll go to work tomorrow, on Saturday, so why not finish earlier today?) and made sushi (I still have plenty of rice left, because silly me didn't get the right fish), then I watched new episodes of Glee (yay for Klaine!) and Person of Interest, and then I sat down and wrote for forty minutes.

I drafted chapter two as a result. The draft is now 1560 words, which is not so little for me (my biggest text to this day is a bit more than 13000 words), but still the chapters are so small! The first one is a page long, and the second one is a page and a half. Also, chapter two is almost completely a dialog. I'll need to add some juice into it later, to show Richard's normal day before Tamara called him. But that is for future still unknown. As for today, I am glad I was able to did my "30 minutes on writing".

And I am really glad the documents are finally on their way to London. I hope my application will be processed soon enough, and I also hope my immigration officer doesn't hate me. She sounded a bit pissed off. But that may just be my imagination. Oh, well... whatever.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Draft is started

I just got my block of time of uninterrupted writing (around an hour), and that resulted in a draft of chapter 1. The whole chapter is one page long, and the text is in no way good, but I promised myself to just go with it and keep drafting the story leaving the text quality to an editing stage.

I am a bit thrilled, and if I didn't need to go to work, I would probably stay and write further at least for an hour more. Still, this is a milestone.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

No luck with notary

This morning I got to notary just to hear that no, she isn't capable of verifying the simple fact that I signed a paper in her presence, unless that paper is in Russian. Arrgh... that is frustrating, really. One little thing, and they can't even do it! So, I'll try different approach tomorrow. I translated my Statuary Declaration into Russian, and I am going to verify my signature there. Then I'll go to translator's office and ask to use my translation to make a verified translation of the Russian version. I really hope to accomplish that tomorrow.

As for my writing, I just got home from work, and it's already near 10 p.m., and I'm sleepy. So I'm in no condition to write today. Though I'm going to try anyway a bit later. Who knows? I am currently on a "create visual tag for each character" step, and I only created tags for Richard. I think that I need to invent these tags at least for Richard and James (and probably Tamara and Kevin) since they are in a story a lot from the very start. Other characters may stay tagless for now, and get their descriptions lined out in the second draft or along the way of creating the first draft.

To create some free time for my writing and for doing other stuff I've been trying for months to do regularly and failing I need to get up earlier. Usually I'm up around 9:30 a.m. but that is really no good. I've tried to set alarm for 8 a.m., but is clearly not working since I always just shut it down and go back to sleep. So starting tomorrow I'll try to set alarm for 6:50 a.m.. The idea here is to use my natural biorythms flow: I have a window of clearyness from 6 to 7, and then I am sleepy again. I hope it will work. Good luck to me.

Also, according to me and my friends' geek bro calendar tomorrow is Shakespear's appreciation day. Which is super cool. I loved Shakespear's plays when I was a kid! Read them all (or at least most of them) one by one at the age of 14. Sad thing is I haven't re-read them for a long time. Also, I read them in Russian. It may be the time for me to freshen up my memory and to do it in English. So, yay for Shakespear, the greatest of them all!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hali is a lazy ass

Hali is me. I am Hali. And I am lazy. Nothing new here, really... today I got an email from my immigration officer, who asked if I sent him/her (I really don't know, and I find it rude to ask) documents I was to send in January. Well... I didn't. I've been trying to complete this task for the last two weeks! I'm really bad with documents, they are boring. The last document I need is a statuary declaration. I wrote and printed it today. I really hope to get to a notary tomorrow and convince him to verify my signature.

Theoretically there should be no problems, because all I need is for certified lawyer to confirm that I myself signed the paper, no matter what the paper says. But since the document is in English, I'm afraid to have problems like "oh, I don't know English, I'm not gonna verify that". =_=

This getting-documents-ready thing is so depressing, really. I am so much better in actions, than in getting government services and lawyers to give me the documents I need.

As for now, I decided that since I got an email 4 hours later than it was sent, I will answer the officer tomorrow, after I go to notary (and this I will do first thing in the morning). I like my officer. Hope I didn't give her/him any trouble by delaying the documents.

Monday, 11 February 2013

New words


Also, spent 40 minutes on my writing today. Today's excercise was "archetypal characters".

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Plot outline

Today I spent another hour on my writing! I continue to read articles on how-to-write-a-book-now.com and to do exercises, and so far it seems highly helpful. Today I wrote a brief plot outline for my story, based on plot details I wrote down yesterday. That's another 800 words, and while these are baby steps, at least I am moving. :-)

I think I'll finish the "How to Write a Novel" consequence before I start to really write the draft, because so far every article helped me to understand the structure of my story better, and I want to start a draft with a structure in my head. Currently I'm on "creating archetypal characters" stage, and I'll probably spend some more time today reading articles and and doing exercises.

Also, these are the new words I liked in my reading:


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Creating a plot

Today I did good with my writing, though I only spent about forty minutes doing things. Those things were productive! And I like how it started. :-)

I had an hour to kill, so I looked at my phone and discovered a task I planned to do: find and download/buy a book "How to write Sci fi". For some reason I googled "how to write book", and I discovered this site: how-to-write-a-book-now.com

I liked it instantly! It has a nice article on the main page, and the only other article I read - "Create a plot outline in 8 easy steps" - was really helpfull. I didn't just read it, I made an exercize step by step!

Before the exercize I've already had some ideas about what do I want to say with my story, and how the plot will be developing to highlight my ideas, but all those ideas were in my head, and they were vague. Now I not only have them written down, clear and detailed, but I also have some new ideas. And I have clarity. I even had a vision of my book's beginning!

I didn't write the story, but I wrote 828 words for the story. And I think I should start my draft soon. One of my problems in writing has always been the need to write good from the start. That always leads to the situation when I have a writer's block because I cannot find the perfect words or the perfect turn of events, or don't see the exact reaction of a character - and thus I stop writing until I find them. Which is often never. And maybe this is also the reason I only write short stories. Well, I'll try to change this starting now. I'm going to try and write in the draft for at least 30 uninterrupted minutes every day. This isn't much, but it's a start. And if I miss a day or two, I promise not to give up and to continue as if that never happend.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Richard is a geek

A little something about my writing: I decided to name my guy Richard. Also, I can almost see him now: a geek, shy and introvertic (even more so in his childhood), definitely not a tall-and-sporty one. Heterosexual. Calm and stubborn. Romantic in a way only geeks are. :-) Has a bizzare sense of humour and isn't very good in dealing with people, but able to communicate succesfully when necessary. Just your common IT guy/Sci-Fi geek. He also has action figures (not toys!) and few cosplay costumes. Good luck with your romantic life, Richard!

A little something about my immigration to New Zealand: today I got a paper I needed from work. Now I need to get to a notarius (that's a special kind of lawyer in Russia) and then to DHL to send my papers where they belong already! I'm a lazy ass, and I've been hanging the process since mid November which is sad.

I've also re-read all the words in my list and found out that I now recognise more of them than the last week. Which delights me. I am delighted.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Waylaid and more

These are the words for today.

to sneer
to ogle

Waylaid. I love how English works in words like this!

Story proceeds

Today an old friend stumbled upon me and contacted me. We were friends five or six years ago, we played together on the "Night City" forum, and one time this persion figuratevely speaking hold my hand when I thought my lover might be dead. Oh, my... how long ago it was! Now we are no more than acquintances with a shared past we both hardly remember. That's life for you. The greatest and the longest story of them all.

My Anko - the prototype for my Richard-Alexander guy - has actually met the character who was played by that friend of mine. That was a crazy night for both our characters, with a serial killer on a loose. Which reminds me, I need to be thinking of James and Richard-Alexander right now.

Tamara, James's mother, was a second generation USA citizen with Russian parents. She was insouciant, even reckless at times, and she didn't really know how to take care of herself. She was also beautiful and charming. Richard-Alexander fell for her in high school. He was a year behind her, and though she knew about his crush, she laughed about it when she noticed him, and most of the time she didn't notice him at all. On the prom (her prom) she suddenly (for Ric) seduced him and literally fucked him in the locker room. And that was it. He thought she finally fell for him, he tried to reach her, he called her - all to no avail. Two months later her family moved to another state, and he never saw Tamara again until years later.

What Richard didn't know was that Tamara got pregnant that night. Her parents wanted her to have an abortion, and when she declined... well, that didn't end well. Few years of really bad relationships, and finally they renounced her and kicked her out with a baby. Nevertheless, she managed to find a job and a place in life, she was a strong girl, and she made friends easily. James grew up in cheap motels and flats, with a mother who was either working hard or having fun with one of her "boys". Tamara wasn't a bad mother, she just never grew old, not really. Forever young, forever beautiful, never wanting to find her one true love, get married and have a nest. Or maybe, wanting and not finding it. She never complained. She smiled a lot. She loved to sing, and James used to sing with her, when he was a little boy. They were happy in their own way. James learned to take care of himself, and he learned to take care of his mother. He learned not to get overly attached to men who got to live with them from time to time - it never lasted for long. He studied hard when he could, because there wasn't much for him to get except that free education system gave everyone. He fought more often than he wanted, because, lets face it, a boy with no father and a mother who changes her men on a monthly basis is no favorite in a small town. But all in all, he was doing fine: he had friends, few teachers liked him, he took care of his mother and she took care of him. And then his world crushed with one word: cancer. Diagnosed too late, it was a death sentense.

James was about to be left alone and to get into foster care. That's when Tamara for the first time in years decided she need help, not for herself, but for her son. For Richard's son. She didn't have a lot of hope, but she had to at least try. She was lucky: she found Ric, and he agreed to meet her. And this is how James met his father for the first time.

P.S.: This should have been posted yesterday, but blogger service was broken.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Words from yesterday, which I forgot to post:
to clonk

Also, me and my friend spent the whole afternoon communicating by text messages in English, so that was a practice.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Star Fleet Academy and the Redhirts

This is what I don't get. Wesley Crusher was a genius, right? We all saw it! If you haven't seen it, go and watch Star Trek TNG! And when Wesley got a chance to apply to Star Fleet Academy, he had to compete with a bunch of other geniuses. Because it's this hard to become a cadet. Only the best of the best of the best go there. And not all of them graduate. But if I understand it correctly, every member of Enterprise's team is a graduate of the Academy. So the question is: WHY THESE GENIUSES ACT SO DUMB WHEN ON A MISSION?! They touch things they should never touch without protection! They go to planet surface without space suites! They drink unfamiliar drinks! They say rude things to aliens! Especially in the original series. But it happens in TNG too. There are Redshirts with silly deaths everywhere in Star Trek. How do we go from Wesley Crusher level to this dumbness? What exactly do they do to students in that horrible place?

Also, that means that everyone on Enterprise is a genius of his own kind. That doesn't really apply to the Kirk's full crew, because as Roddenberry wrote in the TMP novellization, in Kirk's time they sent the most smart barbarians since real geniuses were too fond of themselves to be able to apprehend there are aliens far more developed than any human being. But that does apply to TNG.

One more thing about Academy and TNG. I never understood why they had Tasha Yar as a head of security. She was histerical all the time! Always overly emotional, always quick with (often wrong) judgement, always with her pride stepping in a way. Not professional at all. I can't imagine her passing the emotional stability test they put Wesley through.
On the other side, she fucked Data.

Words continued

Almost missed a day. Almost! But not quite since I'm not sleeping yet, so it's still Sunday for me.

Here is a list of new words:
32) surly
33) frolicking
34) haughtiness
35) benevolently
36) innocuous
37) chagrin
38) scintillating
39) belligerent
40) callow
41) assuage

I stopped copying my posts from here to lang-8 because no one commented me there and I don't like waiting for comments. If I don't get feedback, I'd rather not get it on my terms, i.e. where I don't expect it to begin with. I'm a sucker for feedback, yeah.

Anyway. I have to admit that I did nothing useful for my English practice this weekend. I didn't read any articles or manuals, and I didn't read chapter two of the "Little women". I did, however, finished "Circles of Fifths" and wrote an appreciation comment to an author of that beautiful fanfic. And I got all of these words too! Oh, and I just watched first episode of "The good wife" without subtitles. I guess, that means that I did do something useful after all. Yay for me!

And now I'm going to listen to "The life of Pi" and sleep. In that order. Have to get up in six hours. I intend to do it. I can do it! I'm a grown up woman, I can get up and go to work in time! Like a true jedi! Go, Hali!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

More words

I started re-reading "Little women", and I enjoy every phrase. This must be my favorite book, though I only read it once so far. Most of the books competing to be named my favorite have male main characters. This one concentrates on women which makes it even more precious in my eyes. There aren't too many books with great heroines (cannot remember any except Shakespear's stories). And even when they play active role in the plot (like Hermione in "Harry Potter"), we don't know as much about their inner world as we know about that of male characters. Which is a pity.

Anyway, I picked up some words I liked from the chapter one (and also from a fic I read yesterday):
19) to fret
20) to plague
21) to libel
22) a reproving look
23) to pervade (as in "atmosphere of love pervaded the house")
24) to sit up (half-rise or straighten)
25) (to trot) to and fro
26) crumpled (back to the pillow)
27) a lark
28) to no avail
29) unfathomable
30) ordeal
31) whimsical

Friday, 1 February 2013

"Life of Pi", Dickens and classic Russian literature

Yesterday I asked my friend for an audio book recommendation, and she said that she loved the "Life of Pi". I listened chapters one to eight yesterday before sleep, and I loved it! Though I must admit I didn't understand some words (zoological introduction part was really hard), but hey, I enjoyed the book anyway!

My new word for today is "shoth". I had fun time trying to understand what animal Pi researched, and I kept hearing "toad", but then the animal was sleeping on trees, which I am pretty sure toads don't do.

I loved the scene where Pi describes his first day in a new private school. He made such a show of introducing himself with a greek letter! Hillarious! In Russian translation his name is pronounced as in "pea", not as in "pie", and now I know why! Because in Russian it's what we call that greek letter. Good job, translators!

We also discussed Charles Dickens novells with my friend yesterday evening. She listened the audio version of "The posthumous papers of the Pickwick club" while I read about one fifth of the "Great expectations". She enjoyed her time much more than me. Looks like I've chosen a bad Dickens's book to start! Or it's just me. Well, my taste in books is equivocal at best. I actively don't like Dostoyevsky's books (though I admit he is a great writer), and I don't like most of the Russian classic literature, all for the same reason: they are too hopeless for me. Heroes are often miserable, but they don't try to change it, they submit to their fate. To accept your fate is often considered to be a virtue in Russian literature. That's depressing. I love American literature for the always present hope for the better. Even in stories with depressing plots (like most of Hemingway's stories) I can feel that characters don't give up. They are in charge of their destinies, and they know it. It gives me hope.

Returning to "Great expectations": I dislike that book for reasons completely different from the ones responsible for my distaste for Dostoyevsky's books. I dislike it because I dislike the language. There are many characters in the book who talk... well... not right. There is a lot of slang there, and not the kind I like. And I cannot like the book if I don't like how characters talk, though I can see why Dickens is a great writer.

New words here:
16) sloth
17) equivocal
18) posthumous