Bucking the Block

It’s finally time for me to admit it- Guys, I have Writer’s Block, an illness that is easily as serious and debilitating as the Man Flu or the Clone-Killing Nanovirus. Scratch that. This is way more serious.


In an effort to cure myself of this crippling ailment, I’ve spent the last month trawling the internet, reading as much as possible; everything from books and newspapers to the ingredients on the back of shampoo bottles in my shower (I don’t know what Methylisothiazolinone or chloromethylisothiazolinone are exactly, but apparently they’re bad for skin, or the ozone layer or something). I also spent a disgusting amount of time reading other people’s blogs, obnoxiously long Facebook statuses and tweets and in doing that discovered something: Writing is a lot like running.

The Tweeters of the world are sprinters: they cover a very short distance in a really quick time. Unlike those of us who tend to ramble on a bit, they have to get their point across in just 140 characters, including beginning, middle and end.

Then  there are the Facebook Fanatics who answer ‘What’s on your mind?’ with not just one, but every single thought they had that day. These are the literary hurdlers – longer distances, more of a challenge and more pressure to make their words interesting without being boring or repetitive.

Then there’s us, the bloggers who devote entire days to writing lengthy, somewhat sassy posts about everything from split-legged jeans to the state of Australian politics. We are the marathon runners. The mentally-fit and fabulous distance writers who take a while to get to the finish line, but make the read worth-while (if I may say so myself).

And these people are the triathletes that make the rest of us look lazy…

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I am hoping now that, having spent January wallowing in self pity, I am fully recovered and back in the writing game. Keep your fingers crossed for me though, guys. The last thing any of us want is a relapse!

– by Blaire Gillies (God it’s good to be writing that again. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of crossing the finish line!)

Review: Outback Dreams

I had the most interesting story in purchasing this book. Not really. I was without a phone and had to locate my brother in a huge mall the old fashioned way and, along the way, stopped by my new favourite store Dymocks. Giving up my mission to find him for just a second, I stumbled upon this read and seeing as I love anything country, bought it without really reading the blurb.

The story of Faith Forrester and Daniel "Monty" Montgomery.

The story of Faith Forrester and Daniel “Monty” Montgomery.

Outback Dreams by Rachael Johns follows the lives of Faith Forrester and Daniel “Monty” Montgomery, two people who have been best friends since they were children. Faith is unsatisfied with her life – being single, having half a degree, slaving in the kitchen for her father and brother – and is looking to revitalise herself. Monty is working hard and striving for his dream – owning a farm of his own after being snatched from it so early in his life.

Oh. Em. Gee. Can I just first start this review by saying this is literally one of the best books I’ve read in a very, very, very long time? I couldn’t have become more involved in this story even if I wanted to. In what was supposed to be a quick casual read, I first opened the book and didn’t put it down until I was halfway through and I needed to go to sleep at 2 in the morning.

The storyline was one of the most interesting ones I’ve encountered recently. I loved the outback setting (#imalittlemorecountrythanthat) and it made me think of my childhood in Bathurst where everyone knew everyone and it was nice. The evolving relationship between Faith and Monty was absolutely contagious and I found myself emotionally invested in the love and relationship between the two. The inclusion of other characters such as Ruby made it all the more captivating and it thrust me as a reader into the town as if I knew everyone and I was there.

Faith as a character was a hit-or-miss with me. Sometimes I found her to be funny and quirky but to me, she had that “typical romance novel heroine” feel about her – pretty but she doesn’t know it, insecure, lacking confidence. After you’ve been through a lot of romance novels like I have, the mould gets a bit tiring after a while. Monty, on the other hand, filled the boots of charming cowboy perfectly. His conscientiousness to achieve his dreams was admirable and he was just too damn sweet!

The style of writing was different in that it was written entirely in third person but was done in a way that you still knew what both characters were thinking and what they felt. If you were in Faith’s perspective, the writing would match her thoughts, feelings and her daily tasks and if you were in Monty’s perspective, same jist. I found this third person kind of writing very refreshing and I think Rachael wrote it well, making me as a reader empathetic with both characters whilst keeping me out of their heads. It’s a hard task to accomplish but she nailed it.

Storyline: 8.8/10
Style of writing: 8.4/10
Overall: 8.6/10

If there is a book you should go out and buy or borrow or steal or strip naked for, this is the one. Outback Dreams had the right mixture of sweet romance and comedy and sex in it and was, in my humble opinion, one of the best books I remember reading recently. If you’re a romance lover, or you just want a good read, SolSat DEFINITELY recommends picking up this one to perouse!

– by The Black Widow

What is E-fedding?

E-fedding is one of my most favourite hobbies right now and I’m sure 94% of people in the world have never heard of the term e-fedding. If they have, they haven’t gotten a clear idea of what it actually was. Once I was attempting to explain to one of my best friends what e-fedding was, and after giving it a pretty good shot, she says to me “So is it like Tekken?” Clearly, however, my efforts were in vain.

E-fedding in its purest form is online role playing in a wrestling sense; you create a character (or characters, as it were) and roleplay as them in a fictitious wrestling federation, called an “e-fed” (think e-mail, but not mail). The creator (called the handler) manages his or her character’s wrestling career where they may become champions in the federation or even Hall of Famers.

For the sake of argument, I will be using my experiences as an e-fedder in Lords of Pain Wrestling (LPW) and Full Metal Wrestling (FMW) to form the foundation of this article.

When it comes to your character, or characters in my case, you start from scratch; you can create absolutely anyone you want – and I stress that, absolutely anyone. I’ve encountered a character named Cyborg Lincoln, who was a robotic recreation of Abraham Lincoln, to a man named Morpheus who is the Master of the Dream Realm. In the world of e-wrestling, no character is too out there to become an e-wrestler. Besides creating their physical attributes and backstory, you also get to create their wrestling moveset and their wrestling style, but more on that later. I created the characters of Lacey Valentine, the schizophrenic housewife turned sweet-natured poster girl, and April Montenegro, the fiesty Victoria’s Secret model turned wrestler.

Lacey Valentine and April Montenegro form the tag team "The Blondetourage".

Lacey Valentine and April Montenegro form the tag team “The Blondetourage”, using the pic bases of Kelly Kelly and Candice Swanepoel respectively.

If you wanted to see an example of an e-wrestler profile, here are the links to Lacey and April’s Wiki pages:
Lacey Valentine
April Montenegro

LPW follows the “voting and promo” style of e-fedding, in which a handler writes a written piece of prose or any other form of writing and submits it as a “promo”. Their promo goes up against another handler’s promo, who they are placed in a match with, for example: Lacey Valentine vs. Morpheus would see me writing a promo against Morpheus’ handler’s promo. After the “promo” period is over, which is a time frame of when handlers can post their promos, the voting period begins. If a handler does not submit a promo within the promo period, he or she is considered a “no show” in which the showing handler will automatically be handed the win. In the voting period, other handlers vote on which promo was better of the two, three, four, or however many there were in the single match. After the voting period is over, in LPW’s case, the LPW staff gather together and rate the promos in .1 increments between 0 and 5. These ratings are joined with the votes and whoever has the highest score wins the match.

I hope that didn’t go too far over your head. Now, I’d expect some people are wondering “So, after all that writing, these people come to life and fight an actual match?” If that were the case, I would mark out hard. The head writer sends his or her staff match assignments, in which they write a match, going back to the example of Lacey Valentine vs. Morpheus. If I as a handler received more points than Morpheus, the match would be written so that Lacey Valentine would be the winner and the match, along with the other matches and segments, will be posted as a show on the LPW forums (LOPforums).

When it comes to match writing, matches are written based on the characters. Continuing to use Lacey vs. Morpheus as an example, a 5’8 vivacious blonde is not going to have the power to gorilla press a 6’2 265 lbs man in Morpheus, so when creating your character’s moveset, it’s important to take in physical capabilties. With Lacey, her moveset is quick and high-flying which is suitable for a smaller wrestler such as herself. These physical possibilities are taken into consideration so you’ll see Lacey flying all over the place, trying to ground the much bigger Morpheus, and Morpheus would use his strength to try and take the victory.

When handlers are not writing in promos, they can engage in “trash talk”, which is a totally different concept to voting and promos. Trash talking is conversation handlers have in character with other e-wrestlers where they (TA DA) talk trash to each other. This trash talking is not rated in any way (unless there are special circumstances) but it is a way to explain your character further and, of course, talk trash to other wrestlers whom your character may hate.

My e-fedding friend explained it perfectly to me when he said “It’s pretty much competitive writing”. If you’re an excellent writer, your career as an e-fedder will go far compared to someone whose writing isn’t as great. Seeing as I want to write for a living and consider myself a pretty decent writer, my characters (Lacey and April) are the current LPW Tag Team Champions after beating another two handlers in a tag team match contested for the titles.

If there is one thing that I’ve enjoyed the most about e-fedding, it is the people that it has introduced me to. I have made some really good friends through my e-fedding hobby. These guys (as they are all men in my experience) are really down to earth and genuine and it’s interesting to see the difference in personalities in guys that all have the same hobby.

I asked my friend Chris what he thought about E-fedding as a hobby and he had this to say: “I e-fed because it’s an escape. I love writing, and e-fedding allows me to immerse myself in a character and take him in whatever direction I may want to. Unlike writing a novel or a short story, in e-fedding I have to make the character adapt to several characters being written by others in a world controlled by others. To me, it’s reactive writing. It both challenges and entertains me. Not to mention that I have been a wrestling fan for most of my life.”

E-fedding is also a great hobby because it’s a creative outlet for people who want to be creative. I get to roleplay as two fun-loving bubbly blondes and still have the privilege of keeping my manly bits in tact.

Whether you’re interested in joining an e-fed or you didn’t even have the energy to read all of this, I hope this has given an insight as to what e-fedding actually is, so if I tell you “E-fedding is one of my hobbies” and you’re like “What is that?” I can just point you to this instead of having to explain in vain.

– by The Black Widow