Writer's Block: The day the earth stood still
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
What does this day mean to you?

9/11 was a tragic day. I remember hearing about it on the radio, on the way to my pianolesson. I was thirteen at the time. I had been living in Norway for several years, but having also spent five years of my childhood in the States, and seeing as I viewed it as my second home, I was naturally very sad. It was something that should not have happened, innocent lives lost, families torn apart. It was horrible.

However, it taught the US one very important lesson: they cannot continue to interfere in the world without fearing consequences for themselves. For a long time, USA has been the so-called "world police", the country that tells everyone else what can and cannot be done. This role has not been given the US by the world, but is a role it has taken on by itself. And don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about every instance that the States have helped out in a conflict. But it is irritating for the rest of the world that the US seems to feel it has a greater right than everyone else to determine what is right and wrong. For me, the idea of Bush's weilding weapons of mass destruction was a far greater point of concern than Saddam Hussein's having them. If the US wants other countries to ger rid of their nuclear weapons, they should make an example by getting rid of their own. I mean, why do we have them in the first place? What good can they possibly do? They can destroy a whole hell of a lot of stuff, but that's pretty much it, and, let's face it, in the end, who needs a destroyed planet?

My point is that I do not in any way condone the actions of those that caused the tragedy of 9/11. But I do believe that the US has to stop thinking of itself as the number one power, the country that can do anything it likes without incurring the wrath of the world. The USA is a part of the world, and needs to start showing a little bit of respect for the rest of us. It isn't the US against the world. It's all of us, together. Anything else is just going to lead to war and misery, and I really think we've had quite enough of that.

Writer's Block: For your viewing pleasure
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
Which returning TV show are you most excited to see again? Which shows from last season are you going to miss? Are there any new shows that look promising?

I'm definitely excited about Supernatural, mainly because it seems to promise a lot of drama, as well as somewhat of a return to normalcy (you know, finished with the whole Heaven vs. Hell-thing, which was interesting, but very implausable). Plus, the season finale was fun. So I will definitely be watching Supernatural season 6.

I'm also continuing to watch Smallville in its tenth season. I liked season 9 a lot better than the, I don't know, five previous seasons, so I'm hoping season 10 continues in the same way. I like that Clark is FINALLY established where he is supposed to be, effing Lana Lang is out of the picture (BOY was she EVER annoying), and he's getting together with Lois (whom I happen to adore). So, I'm hoping for good things.

The Vampire Diaries surprised me with a decent first season. I thought it was going to be a painfully adolescent show, but it was actually really interesting. So I'll be following the second season, and I'll see if it manages to keep me intrigued. And, hey, there are worse things than looking at Ian Somerhalder for forty-five minutes.

There are probably more shows that I'll be checking out as well, but I believe these three will rank towards the top on my priority-list. I do have other things to do, after all.

As for shows I'm definitely going to miss, well, they're mostly shows I've already been happily missing, such as anything even remotely reality-related (attention-hungry people's sordid problems really don't interest me), Desperate Houswives (aren't they going to die soon?), One Tree Hill (this must be the worst show in the history of television. Well, maybe except for Sex and the City. But then that's finished, thank GOD), and many others I'm not going to take the time to think of, because, well, I prefer not to.

Writer's Block: It was a very good year
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
Which year would you consider the best of your life so far?

This is one question I can answer with a fairly small degree of hesitation. I spent a year as an exchange student in the States (2004/2005), and it was just fantastic. I lived with a wonderful host family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and got to spend a very interesting year at an American high school. Though I had already lived in the States as a child, it was a very different perspective seeing it as a teenager.

The thing about an exchange year is that you learn a lot about yourself. You have to learn to be independent, because, though you live with a family, you stand on your own, you represent your country, your exchange organisation and any other cause you might be affiliated with. You also learn loads about a new culture, and new people. You get to make new friends, you get to have a second family. The truly interesting bit is that, when you spend a year abroad, you discover a lot about your own country as well. You see your own culture at a distance, which can be immensely useful in so many ways.

I went abroad with the organisation AFS, which I can heartily recommend to anyone. Easily the largest and most popular exchange organisation, it is based almost solely on volunteer work (the exception being a few executive jobs, which require a full work week, and therefore a salary). AFS does not pay its host families, so you don't have to worry about situations (which have been known to arise with other profit-oriented exchange organisations, such as EF) where you're sent to a family that has only taken you in for the extra cash. AFS is also extremely thorough in their research of potential host families and students, meaning that they require both them and you to sit for interviews, and submit thorough applications. This does not mean that they are in any way elitist. It just means that they want to avoid sending out students who won't do the work, or students who aren't ready for a year abroad, and that they want to avoid sending students to families that are not equipped to receive them. It makes you feel very safe, going out.

AFS, in most countries, also has orientation camps during the course of the year, where you meet other students in your area, and talk about and process your experiences, learn ways to adjust, avoid major culture-shock, adapt to your host family, language, etc.

A year as an exchange student is a year one never forgets. You make friends from all over the world, you get to go be your own person and experience something that is unique. And witnessing another way of working, going to school, eating, thinking, acting, another set of social standards, rules, taboos, etiquette, different religions, everything, makes you more open to differences between people, nationalities, religious views, orientations, which, in turn, makes it easier for you to understand how other people think.

AFS's goal? World peace. Seems a stretch, and it is, of course, but the idea is that you don't wage war on your friends, and if you have friends and understandings all over the world, well, it makes it a lot more difficult to kill each other. It teaches you to accept the fact that we are all different, and that there is something outside of what you know, what you see, every day. It's as AFS'ers say it: "It's not good, it's not bad, it's just different."

So spend a year abroad! I did, and it was one of the very best decisions of my life.

Writer's Block: What's my motivation?
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
If you could replace any actor/actress in a film with someone else, who would you replace, and why?

Oh my goodness - there are so many answers to this question!

I'll just have to start somewhere and make my way through the actors/actresses that annoy me most.

First of all, I would bring Richard Harris back from the dead, and give him back the role of Dumbledore. Michael Gambon's portrayal of him is just tragic. Not that I don't normally like Michael Gambon, but a guy who refuses to read the Harry Potter books because he wants to "make the character his own" is doomed to fail in portraying said character accurately. I would also replace Emma Watson with someone who could actually act.

I would, obviously, replace Kristen Stewart as Bella in the Twilight series. We already have Robert Pattinson who only has one expression (which, though frustrating, is nonetheless acceptable, given that he's doing the whole vampire-with-tortured-soul-thing. Their type is usually not that expressive). I don't know who I would replace her with, but in my opinion, it should be someone new, someone who hasn't been tainted by the drama of Hollywood.

I would also, generally, replace all American actors who think they can pull off a British accent, with actual British actors. All the extremely fake accents are driving me nuts.

And Kim Catrall as a vulcan in "The Undiscovered Country"? I'm convinced someone must have been hit repeatedly in the head with a sledge hammer to come to the conclusion that that was a good idea. I would replace her with ANYONE ELSE.

Oh, and Uma Thurman as Ulla in the film version of "The Producers" ... I mean, come on, she is not the only tall blonde in the world. They could have given the role to, oh, I don't know, someone who could SING? And maybe even an actual Swedish person? Someone who could say the words properly?

I have a further list of grievances, but I am afraid I will put you all to sleep before finishing. Needless to say, there are A LOT of strange casting choices made in Hollywood.

Skrivesperre: They're coming for you
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
What cheers you up the most when life gets you down?

Well, there are many things necessary for a zombie apocalpyse. First of all, you need to get your hands on a really good double-sided axe (that way you can swing it in every which direction and achieve twice as much zombie carnage). Either that, or the double-sided red lightsaber from The Phantom Menace. Then again, Darth Maul got his cut in half, so ... that wasn't so cool. If you go for the lightsaber, you need to keep it intact. Don't do as Darth Maul, or you will get your torso cut clean off. Which is unpleasant.

Next, you need to find a sturdy base of operations. It should be small, maybe with room for a couple other people (you know, if you feel like company when you're slaying the unmentionables). It should not have windows in any shape or form, but one, thick door with a really intricate lock. Zombies are, naturally, brainless (which is probably why they're so keen on eating them), but it is nonetheless a good idea to take extra precautions. You never know when the zombie master may appear and wreak havoc and mayhem on your dwelling (the zombie master must, naturally, have some small amount of intelligence, though we know it can't be much, as unleashing a zombie apocalypse can hardly be seen as a good idea).

Furthermore, you need some serious combat training. You also need to build your strength. The combination of strength and combat training will allow you to sever a zombie's head with a violent kick to the head, should you for some reason find yourself in the midst of an attack without a weapon (this aforementioned scenario should, of course, not happen at all - always have your weapon with you, otherwise youre brains WILL be eaten). Nonetheless, it is important to know your kicks. If you can't afford a personal trainer, watch some Chuck Norris movies and get the roundhouse kick down. This should be more than effective.

Finally, you quite simply need to kill as many zombies as you possibly can. This is done most effectively by using bait. And what is the zombie's food of preference? That's right. Fresh brains. So you need to get yourself either a basement full of victims willing to die for the cause, or, alternatively, a herd of cows. Zombies prefer human brains, of course, but they will go for pretty much anything. You'll have to decide how gruesome you wish to become. One must sacrifice for the cause. And, if you think about it, since the zombies are able to infect their victims, a human you kill straight off the bat is one less zombie you'll have to kill later.

Just think about it.

When you have the bait set up, you can lie in wait, and as the zombies set about their feast (and are, as such, distracted), you set upon them and hack your merry heart out (not literally, of course - you generally need your heart to, you know, live, and one must be alive in order to kill zombies).

If you wish to go for the truly horrific bloodbath-version of things, just get some explosives. Use the bait, wait for an appropriately sized herd of unmentionables to show up, and blow them to kingdom come. Or, you know, back to Hell. This alternative eliminates the danger of proximity to the zombie, but other dangers arise, such as explosives control and noise. The noise the explosion makes may attract an even larger herd of zombies, and if your explosives then run out ... well, you're pretty much dead.

So, that's my guide for effective zombie-killing, and my personal plan for whenever they decide to take over. I think they'll find in me a skilled enemy.

The art of fanfiction
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
So I've decided to start writing about my ongoing attempt to finish a couple of fanfics I'm working on. See, I'm very good at starting stuff, and very bad at finishing it.

Which is why I now have about a million unfinished/unwritten fanfiction projects I would like to someday publish. I've decided to start with two of them.

And, just in case anyone actually reads this, I'll give a quick summary. The first one is a Harry Potter fanfic named "Changed". It's a story where Harry turns evil. Foreboding, eh? It's a work of some ... five years now, I think. Not five actual years of work, but you know, on-and-off-type working. Needless to say, it's never been completed. It needs to be, though, because the thought of that much work going to waste just kills me. Plus I really like my idea, so I think it should make its way out there. Into ye grande fanfiction community.

The second story is a much more recent project, and is in the Star Trek genre. More specifically, Kirk/Spock. Why? Because they're awesome. And completely, utterly and undeniably canon. Which rocks. The story is, as of now, called "Finding Trinity", but I'm starting to toy with the idea of making the original installment into several installments, and titling only one of them "Finding Trinity". But we shall see, we shall see. I usually end up changing my mind about a thousand times during the course of my writing, so maybe I'll end up discarding the entire title. Who knows.

Heniway. Tonight I've been working on the third draft of my first chapter (Star Trek fanfic), after my glorious and insanely awesome beta Judin finally gave it back to me. It makes me happy that I've actually been so meticulous as to write a third frickin' draft. It feels like the story is really coming alive, which is fun. To all fanfiction writers out there - write several drafts! If you think your first draft is good, write it again! I promise you, it will be that much better the second time. Also, having a super-qualified beta really helps. A lot. A huge frickin' lot. Even if you don't think you need a beta, GET ONE ANYWAY! It's amazing how much you manage not to see when you're looking at your own story. And I'm not just talking grammatical mistakes and suchlike, but plot holes, character flaws, awkward sentences, etc.

Get. A. Beta.

So, working on the third draft of chapter one. Also very nearly finished with the second chapter, which probably sucks some serious donkey ass right now, but nonetheless needs to be finished before the all-knowing and splendiforous beta can take it apart and send it back to me in a ... I believe matchbox was the word she used. Thence the second draft can commence.

Yes, I just used the word thence. And I rhymed. Simultaneously. I rock. Or, you know, I need to get a life. Whichever.

So "Finding Trinity" is coming along nicely. The observant reader might notice that I haven't given any kind of summary for this one. I'm not going to. Why? Because I feel like trying to explain it at this point would just ruin it.

As for the pride and glory that is "Changed", this one has little progress and little news today. But I have to start this fascinating journal somewhere, right? So I can say that I read a little snippet, a conversation between Harry and Draco (no, this one isn't slash) that I had written a little while ago. Mostly, these little bits and pieces of things just end up sounding stupid and boring a day or so after I've written them (mainly because they chiefly arise from momentary inspiration, or a scene I suddenly see in my head, and then kind of fade). However, this one actually made me happy. Which is nice, for a change. So I think it's going to be included in my story. Which means I'm a teeny tiny bit further in "Changed" as well. And all fanfiction authors know that every little bit counts.

To conclude, I will share my goal, however farfetched it seems (at least to me) at this moment. My goal is as such: "Finding Trinity" is going to be posted (on fanfiction.net and the Kirk/Spock fanfiction archive) during the course of the fall, and "Changed" is going to be posted early in the new year.

So let's see how I do.

Skrivesperre: Prose by any other name
Chrolli, Verbotene Liebe, Olli, Christian
If you could change the title of one published book, which book would you choose, and what would the new title be?

Has anyone ever read Samuel Richardson's "Pamela, Or Virtue Rewarded"? It's one of the most boring works of literature ever to be written. Actually, the title says everything you need to know about the book (it's about a girl named Pamela whose virtue is rewarded), but I'm thinking, in order to make it just a teensy bit more exciting, Richardson could have called it "Pamela, Or The Wild Bitchmonster From Hell". This would indicate that something interesting might possibly happen in the book (maybe, just maybe, Pamela freaks out and starts hacking everyone up with a machete), which, though one would, naturally, be disappointed in the end, might make the reading itself just a little more bearable.

Random much? Yes. Quite.


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