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( May. 27th, 2005 01:15 am)
Once upon a time, there was a girl.

She lived between the tree that held the blue-faced bird, the one which had pecked out her friend's eyes for being distrespectful, and the inexplicable pile of railway sleepers. She wore the skins of many of her friends, because they did keep dying, and she didn't know what else she could take. There was no railway, and there had not been one in living memory.

It was a warm, dewy morning when she awoke to find a door. It stood at the edge of the clearing, blocking the entrance to one of several goat-trails leaving the place between the tree and the sleepers. She slipped through the trees and walked around to the other side of it. The frame was wooden, and the door was wooden; they were varnished, and the handle of the door was also wooden and painted black. It was a doorknob, one of the round ones that is kind of hard to grip.

She walked around the door twice, to make sure it was definitely there, and then she opened it. It opened out into the trail, and on the other side there was grassland, and hills, and the sun was brighter and the sky was bluer. But she was not a silly girl, so she cut stakes from the nearby trees and threw one through the door. When it landed unharmed on the other side, she began to plant the stakes in the ground in front of the door, pinning it open. The stakes went easily into the springy, moss-backed grass beyond the door.

Then she padded, bare-foot, out into the land beyond the door; but despite her precautions, when she turned around, the door was gone.

In the place between the sleepers and the tree that belonged to the blue-faced bird, a rat chittered softly, a quiet mourning.
I'm sure there is a ton of work I ought to be doing, but currently none of it is urgent enough to actually motivate me to *do* it. I have a lot of little bits of stories languishing around, but nothing actually on the go. My lectures are starting to be predictable enough that I can draw in them, although not actually write because I get too absorbed and suddenly realise I missed the last bit. Still, I like writing and could do with something to write now I've done about all the narging with Ars Magica characters I can do.

I do weird random short stories, long rambling space opera, and fanfiction of stuff I know and/or can easily get books for reference. However, I don't seem to be able to motivate myself to write without an audience in mind. So you guys should tell me what you want to read, and if I think it's within my talents, I shall write it for you. (As term gets busier it might take a while, but I like to have ongoing projects.)

Also, is anyone interested in beta-ing / generally looking through and telling me where my tremendous continuity bloopers are today for a sprawling novel-length space opera? Some of you have already read the first draft - it's The Sky Goes On And On For You And Me - but I've caught one vast continuity issue since then, and have subsequantly lost track of whether I've changed enough to make my hasty patch over it work...

On a related but different note, does anyone have a good method of taking a vast pile of text (generally Psion Word, so can be modelled as plain text with single line breaks for paragraphs, although some of it has double line breaks) and turning it into HTML? I think that I basically need to write a script to turn newline characters into
tags, but I feel sure someone's done it for me already somewhere, and possibly thought of other things too, like if I get it out in RTF or Word format can I automagically deal with italics and stuff? Word would kind of do it (although it would also add Gunge), but I don't have a Windows install any more and I'm not sure what OpenOffice's variety of Added Gunge is like.
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Michelle Taylor

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