@Dark eagle, oddly enough, when I was your age my parents were actually far better about me going off and doing my own thing, indeed I remember a conversation I had with my mum when I was nineteen, since I'd delayed going to uni for a year because the school I was at had failed to offer a subject I needed to take the first time around where I told her I needed to move out, go to university and do my own thing and she completely agreed, that's why this recent tendency to "help" to the point that it becomes almost age regression really not a good thing.
Oh, and if you think its weird being an uncle, try having a nephew who is older than you, a thirteen year old grand niece! My lady is nine years older than me, and her sister is nine years older than her, and said sister had her son when she was 17, and said son also had a child when he was twenty two.
In effect its not as weird as it sounds, though I have taken to referring to my sister in law rather jokingly as "auntie" .
Fanfics are a good practice. I tried to do a novelisation come expantion of the playstation rpg Xenogears back when I was in my late teens and early twenties, and that worked well. I haven't really written seriously since being at university, as when your spending hours writing long essays about ethics and metaphysics, not to mention a stupidly long phd, it doesn't really put you in the mood to write much else, but obviously that's now changed.
In terms of combat, one of my favourite authors when I was growing up was a man called Douglas Hill, who wrote what we'd probably now consider YA science fiction stories, although most were published in the early eighties.
they feature some of the best descriptions of combat I've ever read, complete with martial arts, blasters and real connections to character. While I certainly don't parrot douglas Hill myself, I do know what good combat writing looks like and am confident enough to do it justice. There isn't any combat in the sf novella I'm writing at the moment, but I have no worries when I do need to write combat.
the thing I'm teaching myself about at the moment is dialogue and pacing, especially conveying information to the reader about the world and how it works, without one of the dreaded infodump sections, but like a lot of things, the best way is to learn by doing, and speak words to myself, indeed just being able to hear a character's voice helps quite a bit.
@Guitarman, mostly when I do with facial expressions is go off emotional empathy and understanding of a person's feelings, though of course sticking the odd smile in there works too.
For me its more a matter of working out what sort of tone I want and what sort of emotional dynamics then finding language that conveys that accurately, which I suppose is what all writers do.
I really do hope to have the novella finished soon, then I'll start looking into publication, which will be something of a mine field I suspect.
Writers workshops can help, but again it depends upon whose doing it and what skills want to gain. For example I went to one on micro fiction which talked about removing words from passages, and yet while it pays to be concise and to know how to be concise, some of the things people were coming out with were so short they just worth the time to read them.
I also have seen a lot of writer's workshops which sort of default to generic self esteem stuff all about how to "write about your feelings", or "make words that reflect the way you really feel about the world", which just the sort of thing that would help much with actually writing fiction.
Again there are a few kicking around, I'd love to go to one of the famous seminars on writing fantasy and sf, but I haven't run across any as yet.
Well the choir thing wasn't too bad, and while I did say I'd go back to help next week, I also made it clear that was pretty much that.
The important news is that last night I did something I have been meanign to do for a long while and sat down with series eleven of doctor who. People will know my low opinion of /Show Runner Stephen Moffat, but since he departed, I was interested in picking the tv series back up again, as I dropped out around series nine (or at least I misssed it and never bothered catching up since I really didn't care).
And yee gods its good! i've seen the first two episodes, and frankly I'm less bothered about the fact that the Doctor is female, than the fact that ze uses Zir brain to solve problems again! oh, and we actually have stories with real plot and characters for oce, not just run arounds with some over flirty woman telling the doctor what to do!
I also like the Doctor herself, wonderfully scatty and nuts in a nice way which felt far more doctor who than Mat Smith's inept "I'm useless but I'm going to win" or Peter Capalady's miss directed scottish grumpiness, which might have worked if the plot actually allowed the Doctor to be more effective than Clara I'm so smug and the universe revolves around me oswald!
so, I'm definitely liking series eleven thus far! I've seen the first two episodes, so no spoilers please, but I'll definitely be doing the rest as time goes on, and yee gods its nice to actually care about TV doctor who again I've missed it!
anyway, Doctor who probably needs its own separate topic so I'll stop discussing that here, particularly since I need to run off quickly and have lunch owing to my mum's rather hectic schedule.
With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)