Looking Forward

There comes a time, especially during NaNoWriMo, where you dread sitting down to write each night. Your characters are driving you bananas, the plot is going nowhere, and you just can’t be bothered.

Writing isn’t just the act of putting words on a page, or typing them on a screen. Like a film, so much more happens behind the big screen than on it.

When you’re feeling low and you hate your characters so much you want to kill every single one, it’s hard to get back into it. Stop. Right there, stop. Even if you’re enjoying your novel, stop!

Sometimes, you need to slow the pace to avoid this happening as well, whilst other times it’s already begun. Don’t worry; you can reverse this effect and love your book again.

Whilst in NaNo the ideas below aren’t possible most of the time if you’re really busy, you can still try these things if only for a minute or two; and if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, these can still help. All can be done before, during or after your novel/novella/epic/script are in the works!

  • Draw your characters. Can’t draw? Eh, skip this step. Got a friend who can draw? Oh, look, I just enticed you back! Even if you can’t draw yourself, try asking a buddy if they’ll draw your characters (perhaps they’ll do it for cookies). If you can draw, then yay, you can do it yourself. If you do have a buddy, sit with them as they draw; make sure they’re all right with you telling them exactly how you want it to be. Bonding, and character development!
  • Write back ground stories/AUs/just extra stories. Background stories are something that the reader often doesn’t get to see (such as JKR with Umbridge…although she published that). AU’s stand for Alternate Universes – if you’re writing in the past, set your characters up in the present day and see how they react!
  • Chat to someone about your novel. Look, it doesn’t matter if it’s the dog, but you might be able to find out so much more about your characters, plot and setting. Make sure you have a notebook on hand! It helps if they’re a writer; they might be able to toss ideas back at you.
  • Read. What is more relaxing? …and, of course, it tells you how the pros craft their work. Obviously. (Seriously though, wouldn’t you like to be holding a paperback copy of your own book in your hands?!)
  • Watch a film. Now, this is technically procrastinating, but this time grab a film that you’ve already watched and a notebook. Make a note of any time it changes setting, character, what happens; all ideas for your novel, or if it’s a script you’re writing, equally as helpful!
  • Write a letter to your characters – or even your novel! This can help with understanding your characters needs and wants, and your needs and wants. It might make you feel stupid writing to a book, but it can help you gain confidence, you’re still writing, and you can understand your work better. Besides, you might realise that you don’t, in fact, hate your work; just a strong dislike that will pass over in the near future.

I hope these ideas have given you some fuel for your fire. It’s week three of NaNoWriMo, so if you have a spare moment, jot down some thoughts to your characters, or have a chat whilst with your next door neighbour over the fence. You don’t have to constantly breathe your novel, but thinking about it as you go about your day-to-day business – providing it’s in a positive light! – might help you to look forward to writing when you get home.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D
PS – How’s NaNoWriMo going for you?

Hi Diddly Ho

Hello everyone!

Me

I am so close to hitting 30k in NaNoWriMo! (Currently, 694 words to be exact.) So, I’m just about to skip off to Explorers (yay!) but I will get it before the day is over…or I’ll get up early and do it tomorrow.

I am still in awe of Becoming Jane and I can’t think of anything else basically. It’s rather distracting.

Congrats to James McAvoy who won a Scottish BAFTA for best actor on the 16th! And to David Tennant who also won an award. :) I really miss Scotland, but friend issues… gah. Maybe I’ll just go and hide in a hut by a loch…actually, that sounds divine. Anyway, this is a writing blog, not a personal blog. Ahem. Sorry.

I’m starting to do a little warm up before each writing session, so I might try to do a bit of an article each time, because at the moment I’m churning out fanfictions like nobody’s business with no idea of what to do with them. Question: do you guys warm up before writing?

The Blog

Tuesday, Friday and hopefully Sunday post as per usual!

If you have any post requests, feel free to leave them, because they’re always helpful to someone who has no idea each week of what to write about….and I’ve already written about that so I can’t do it again. Oops.

Have a great week guys! Lots of writing, laughter and love I hope. :) 

have a hug to start your week :)

Becoming Jane [Film Review]

So, I know that Sunday evenings are generally book reviews, but today I watched this brilliant film and I just have to write about it. It’s about Jane Austen, so it’s technically literature.

Becoming Jane is the not-so-fictional story of Jane Austen and her lover, if you like, Thomas Lefroy. It’s a story of love and loss, and how the class systems restrict the true followings of the heart.

Firstly, Jane. Played by Anne Hathaway (who I only discovered today is American), she is the feisty girl I have always imagined her to be. To begin with, I wasn’t sure about her voice, but it grew on me. Hathaway’s acting was great; she was intelligent (even learnt the piano for the part), and helped me to learn about Austen’s life. Furthermore, Hathaway was enthusiastic about the role, which really threaded itself into her acting; you believe in her emotions, the story, it feels like you’re living it yourself.

Second, Tom. Played by the stunningly gorgeous James McAvoy (ahem), Tom is an arrogant sod, basically, who, much like Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudicechanges as he falls in love with a beautiful girl. McAvoy’s acting was brilliant; he stayed in character, during the development of his character too, and his cheeky smile fit in perfectly.

Whilst I am unsure if it sticks to historical events of Austen’s, the plot is a typical romance. Not saying that it’s bad – in fact, it’s become one of my favourite films. It portrays the traditions of the time, the differences in attitudes, and how writers were perceived at the time (see: Mrs. Radcliffe). Rather different from now!

This film is a tear-jerker, especially if you know Jane’s tragically short life beforehand – or, indeed, after. Tom Lefroy was a name I had heard once or twice, in connection with Jane, but I had never thought of it much – she did not marry. But this film gives you historical context, background; it’s essentially a ‘faction’ film (fact and fiction).

Would I recommend this film? Yes, one hundred times yes. You will enjoy it, undoubtedly.

And if you ever have time, come to Hampshire. It’s where I live (hi!); it’s where Jane wrote much of her work, including Pride and Prejudice, and it’s where she, sadly, died, in Winchester; you can see the house in which she passed away and her grave in the Cathedral.

This isn’t a travel blog, but it’s really humbling to go to her house in Chawton, and her grave in Winchester, and is definitely worth the visit (and Hampshire’s great so y’know).

But if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and do some research into this awe-inspiring woman and her lover.

One last thought to end this review on:

Jane Austen is one of the greatest literary figures this world has ever seen and will probably never see again. 

We Could Be So Many People… [Cue Heather Small]

In writing, we can be anyone we want: a Starlord, a dog, a boy from Afghanistan, a girl from America, even an inanimate object. But something that all of these things have in common when you choose your narrator is the point of view it’s coming from.

You can go with first person, which would tell us exactly what’s happening as they go about their day to day business, but only theirs.

You can go with second person, which would let the reader imagine exactly what is happening, as it’s as if it’s instructing you. That sentence was written in second person.

You can go with third person, which could give more information about surrounded scenarios and other characters.

But which one would be best? Well, that depends on what affect you would like to have on the audience.

The differences between the ‘persons’ are the pronouns they use. Other things come into affect, of course (such as other information and how much you give away), but today I’m going to talk about the basics of the different ‘persons’ as well as their pros and cons.

First Person - uses ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘us’ and ‘we’.
Pros

  • Can offer insight into the main character (MC)’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Can help the reader to identify and relate to the MC.
  • Easier to portray the world around them (eg in The Hunger Games) and other character’s personalities – but, this is only from the MC’s point of view, so they could be biased.

Cons

  • If something happens elsewhere, when the MC is not present, then another character will have to narrate it to them, which can become tedious.
  • Along with the tediousness, ‘I’ can become repetitive.
  • If the character is not interesting and varied enough – or without character development – then the reader can get bored.

Second person - uses ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘yours’.
Pros

  • Puts the reader completely in the story.
  • Can make them feel incredibly involved.
  • Can be good for those ‘choose your own destiny’ stories (they are totally not my guilty pleasure… especially the Doctor Who ones…)

Cons

  • Can constantly remind the reader they’re in a story, which is exactly what you don’t want.
  • Can be difficult to write.

Third person - uses ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’ and the plurals, as well as ‘they’.
Pros

  • Gives the writer (you!) the greatest flexibility; any character can be the ‘main’.
  • You can swap between characters more easily than first person.
  • Dramatic Irony. 

Cons

  • Multiple characters POV’s can get confusing, very quickly.
  • It can restrict ‘seeing’ inside the characters’ heads. You’ll have to work really hard so that the reader knows what they’re thinking (unless the affect is that they don’t).
  • Each character must have a different voice, and this can be difficult to do.

Of course, in third person you can stick to one character, like most of the Harry Potter series. Or you can switch persons (difficultly, but it can be done), such as Game of Thrones.

Ultimately, just do whatever you think is right for your novel. A post I read said that most beginning writers write from the third person, but my current novel is in 1st; additionally, another (or the same, I can’t remember) post said that lots of thriller books are in 3rd person, but mine’s in 1st. A great thing about being a writer is that you don’t have to break the rules; they bend to your will.

Have fun, and if it doesn’t work, remember that you can always rewrite it!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D

PS – sorry this was a day late. I went to Scouts and then had an accident (I’m a Young Leader, I shouldn’t be doing anything anyway!) and had a bit of a headache last night, so I went for the easy thing of writing my novel instead. :)

Remembrance Day

‘They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.’
-
I saw something on TV today that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. A service took place in Ypres for Remembrance Day, and, of course, there were veterans there. And, during the silence, an elderly man, suit and medals, was desperately trying to salute as he sat in his wheelchair. But he couldn’t. He was crying too heavily to be able to keep his hand to his forehead. Besides him, another veteran, wheelchair and medals, had his hand on his shoulder, comforting the man who cried for all he had lost whilst he himself cried too. I don’t know if they were friends, comrades, brothers; but what I do know, is that we’re all human, in the end.

Remembrance Day isn’t just about refreshed mourning. It’s a day of reflection, remembering the tragically short lives of soldiers, and the knowledge that we’re all working together for a brighter future.
Ghosts can’t change the past; but one small wind, joined by hundreds of others, can create a hurricane.

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Keep The Steam Hot

It’s week two. You’re about 6 or 7 chapters in, and you can feel yourself lagging a bit. It’s getting dull, you’re tired, work’s a nightmare, the weather’s abominable and the thought of sitting down and writing for an hour makes you want to tear your hair out.

When you’re running out of steam, in any project, not just NaNoWriMo (although due to the sheer workload of NaNoWriMo, it’s most likely because of it), it’s hard to keep your chin up, the pot hot and to keep on writing. I’m feeling the same way, don’t worry – the only thing keeping me going is that I’m finally getting into the meaty bit of my book even though I accidentally added in an extra chapter.

Here’s some tips to keep going:

  • Bribe yourself. Hey, it works, it’s not deceitful because you know it’s there, and you get a nice treat at the end of it! One thing could be a nice bath every 20,000 words (which would be three this month, theoretically), or watching a film, or a bar of chocolate. I’m using a square of chocolate for when I hit 19,000 tonight (thanks, Classical Civilisations teacher!).
  • Add in a subplot/new character/kill a character/add in something. Adding in something will keep your water boiling. My next chapter (hopefully) incorporates a new subplot, which I am very excited about. It’s keeping me writing. Besides, adding in something gives you more to write about if you’re just running out of things as opposed to steam.
  • Music. Make a playlist for your novel. I find music really helps me to keep writing.
  • Participate in word wars or just time yourself. Word wars are where you ‘compete’ with other people to find out who can write the most in a set amount of time (eg 5 minutes). NaNoWriMo have their own Twitter feed – @NaNoWordSprints – where that’s all they post! I sometimes just time myself, too, and try to do what I can; it adds on the pressure, as when the timer goes off, you stop.
  • Warm up before you start. Just write 200 words of drabble before you begin your novel – it’ll get your fingers hot and your brain warmed up, just in time for your characters to pop in and say hello.
  • Have an end goal. My personal end goal is a marathon of Agents of SHIELD season 2 if I hit 50,000. If I don’t, I only get to watch one or two a week. Man it’s spurring me on! Create a big goal that you actually really want to hit – maybe a trip to the cinema, or a new dress. If you have a reminder about it around you, as well (better make it your computer background!) then you’ll really want to hit it.
  • Get people to make you write. When all else fails, get someone behind prodding you with a big stick when your fingers stop moving.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? Or, if you’re not doing it this year, how’s life in general? Good, I hope.

Keep going guys, I believe you can do it!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

Keep that kettle steamin’ and you can have TEA! Who doesn’t love tea? Even the Daleks do, guys.

Happy Monday

Hello!

Me

NaNoWriMo is currently going swimmingly (touch wood). As it stands, I’m at 17,799 words, and finally getting into the juicy bits of my novel. :D

Did anyone watch the Doctor Who finale? Opinions? I thought it could have been better, although the Brigadier was so cute. <3

It took 3 months and 6 days, but I finally finished Pride and Prejudice! Go me.

AND I finished season 1 of Agents of SHIELD, so I’m finally onto Season 2! :D No spoilers.

Finally, I watched Mulan for the first time, so I’m now a happy bunny.

The Blog

Did you see what I did on Sunday? Yes, I posted a book review for the first time in weeks! Hopefully, there’ll be another one soon.

Probably no WWC. How about an extract from my NaNoWriMo novel?

And that’s about it… Toodles!

Have a nice week, guys! 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

Although when you look on my GoodReads, and it tells you that this book took me 3 months and 6 days to read, do not think that that is because it is terrible. On the contrary, I adore this book. To put it simply, it took me that long because I could not be arsed in the mornings to read complicated language. Ahem.

Pride and Prejudice follows, mainly, the story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, after the arrival of Bingley and Darcy at Netherfield, near where the clever, charming and attractive Elizabeth lives. With a nightmare mother and 4 other sisters, all in need of financial security, there’s trouble brewing at Longbourn. The novel also follows many other romances: Mr Collins’, Lydia’s, Jane’s included. (I’m trying not to give too much away.)

If you’re look at the 1800s, this is a perfect contemporary novel. It shows exactly how women were meant to behave (or, in some cases, not meant to). It shows the art of letter writing, something which isn’t used much this days (although I always get a thrill of seeing an envelope with my name, hand written, on the front). And Austen has done a fantastic job with a romantic comedy novel.

My favourite part was towards the end, with Elizabeth and Darcy communicating (yay! Finally!), and, obviously, the eventual engagement (I’m guessing here that every single person knows they get together…). The comedy aspects of it did make me laugh out loud, especially at the sarcasm involved (I’m looking at you, Mr Bennet).

Now, to the language part (aka, the one thing that annoyed me that I still wouldn’t change). It’s long-winded, has big words (many of which I didn’t understand and therefore ignored) and, if it were written in the colloquialism of today, would have been about 100 pages less. The language is what took me so long to get through it, probably. My mind couldn’t take it on the bus rides in the morning to college, when everyone was asleep, and then I didn’t read it on the way back because everyone was awake! Moreover, it is difficult to read just a page; you have figure out where it begins, and then by the time it gets to the end, you’re too involved to stop.

The character development is great. Elizabeth’s change of heart, Mr Darcy’s complete change of character; in fact, I think the only ones who remained the same were Mary, Mrs Bennet and the Gardiners. The character’s are very 3D, and they are all different between each other – Mr Bennet and Elizabeth, Elizabeth and Jane, Bingley and Darcy, Wickham and the Colonel. I wish that all characters were like Austen’s.

Finally, the plot: the plot is a typical romance, admittedly, but it has scandals and subplots, and some parts of it are revealed slowly, so the reader remains guessing along with the characters. I never felt cheated on a plot, and felt that they all added to the atmosphere the book created, as well as the ideas it needed to show.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, definitely. Make sure you’ll be able to handle the language, but other than that it’s an incredible read and I love it to pieces.

#StillWaitingForMyMrDarcy

Tips on Poetry Writing

I’m going to own up here and say that I’m terrible at writing poetry, so this is stuff that I’ve learnt through observation. Seeing as this weekend is Remembrance Day, and a lot of poetry has been written about war, I thought it would be helpful if you are wanting to write some.

  • Choose a theme and stick to it. It’s not a novel (unless it’s an epic poem); most poems aren’t longer than a side of A4. You can’t change your theme half way through and expect it to make sense. Of course, it can be part of more than one theme (eg a love poem about war).
  • Choose a style. Is it a limerick? Rhyming couplets? Sestets? Or just free verse? Look up some poetry styles and pick the one you like.
  • Write first. Edit later. This is true for any writing, but if you write a novel you might quickly edit a paragraph or two before moving onto the next section. Don’t do that with poetry; often, the words will flow. If you don’t like something, do an enter and rewrite it, but make sure you keep what’s already been written; you might want to use it later.
  • Write from the heart. There’s a reason you don’t get given poetry to write in exams; exams are structured, organised, well-thought out, planned. Poetry is more…now, I don’t want to say ‘wishy washy’ because that implies it’s… I don’t know what it implies, but I’m hoping you know what I mean. Perhaps ‘dreamlike’ is the better word. It’s written from the heart, sometimes fairly rapidly, even if it takes weeks after to get it to perfection.
  • Don’t be afraid to say something. People view poetry as different to prose – prose means that, whilst you can be daring, you can’t be too daring. Poetry is different: you can say a lot in a little, and it can’t be proved. If there’s something you disagree with, write it in poetry (likewise with just about anything else).
  • Say a lot in a little. Prose is thousands of words – poetry is pushing for 200. Use similes, metaphors, whatever, to make your readers know what you’re talking about (or, indeed, have their own view) in very little words.

Remember, poetry is something personal; you don’t have to show it to anyone if you don’t want to.

Have fun writing your poems; I’d love to read any!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

How To Craftily Increase Your Wordcount

It’s Day 4 of NaNoWriMo. I am (for once) well ahead of my word count. But I know some are just starting, or falling behind (and that’s okay too, there’s still 4 weekends between here and the 30th! Don’t panic!).

Some call it cheating, some call it intelligence if you find a way around it. I don’t really know what to call it, but if you’re falling behind on your NaNoWriMo word count, here are my three tips for getting it up.

  1. Don’t use conjunctions. These are things like ‘don’t’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘I’m’ etc. If you use ‘don’t’, it’s one word. If you use ‘do not’, it’s two. Sneaky, yes. But it works.
  2. Description is your best buddy – especially if you’re stuck. Picture the scene (heheh). You know where you’re starting from. You know where you want to go. But… you don’t know how to get there. If you’re stuck on the route from A to B, try adding in some description. If it’s unnecessary, it doesn’t matter – you can cut it later. If it adds to the novel, wow, you’ve discovered something you never had before!
  3. Add in a subplot – however small. Maybe the character makes friends with a lizard who lives on their windowsill. Or maybe they discover their mother isn’t actually their birth mother. It can be as big or as small as you like.
    A subplot is a plot that runs alongside the main one, but isn’t the main one. For example, Harry and Ginny’s relationship in Harry Potter. Use these to your advantage – I have at least three in my plan, and it’s really boosted a) my chapter count, b) the interest in the novel and c) my interest in the novel – subplots can also really help if you’re getting bored already!

I hope your NaNoWriMo is going swimmingly. If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, shoot! :D

PS – if you are doing NaNoWriMo, what’s your word count? Mine currently stands at 7743! 

Like I said. Every time. ;D

Like I said. Every time. ;D