Keep On Writin’

It’s easy – too easy – to look at your manuscript and think, ‘No.’ Especially when you’re trying to fit a ridiculous amount of words into one month in order to defeat this thing called NaNoWriMo (or you just really don’t wanna).

Losing motivation is a terrible thing. When you open up your work, you do anything to procrastinate – even tidying your room… (that’s when you know things are really bad).

All you gotta do is keep on trying. That thing ain’t gonna write itself (however much you beg and plead).

Here’s 3 ways to keep motivated:

  1. Look for an end goal. Be it editing and then querying. Maybe you’re getting it published. Send it to friends and family (or post it online) so you have readers willing you on. Or if none of these things appeal, maybe you can say you’ll treat yourself to a new book, or a day trip. Making the end goal (for example: a word count, finishing this chapter, etc) enticing with an end treat, means you’ll find yourself wanting to write – and therefore you will write – because you want that present at the end!
  2. Make an inspiration box. Look through it when you find your motivation for a story beginning to slip. Maybe it has things that remind you of your characters, or your book, or just little notes from friends and family speeding you on – maybe it’s a box full of rejection letters! Alternatively, you can have a document on your laptop full of pictures etc.
  3. Just write. You’ll force yourself into writing, so you will write – those words will just flow out, eventually. Sure, it’ll be like pushing an elephant uphill whilst they’re digging their toes in and you have an anchor pulling you back to earth, but that’s only at the beginning (promise!). Once you get going, you’ll be fine, and you’ll feel much better for it.

For those Camp-NaNo-ers out there, you have 9 days left (not including today). You can do it, no matter what – I believe in you!

If you really want some more motivation, try listening to this song – Keep on Movin’ (those fingers on the keyboard) and you’ll be fine!

C’est La Vie!

Happy Monday everyone! (Or not so happy as the case may be. I hope you’re happy, though, there’s plenty to smile about in this world: such as kittens, or chips.)

Me 

Guess where I’m going this week?

Betcha have no idea, eh?

Yes, I’m going to France! Paris for a couple of days, then two weeks in a little hamlet. Nice.

However, that means I may not be around as much, so I’m going to schedule posts for the next two weeks (so I am having a day of writing them tomorrow!).

I’m back in two weeks, so I’ll be back to writing the articles on time (or, as the case may be, like with this one, late) soon. :)

I’ve also got 5k left to go for Camp NaNoWriMo and two days to do it in. Bring it on, is all I can say!

I WILL complete this camp…I WILL complete this camp…

The Blog

Nope, nothing changing here.

Have a nice week, folks! :)

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Sweetly

Deep in the dark forest there’s a wicked witch, who lives in a house made of chocolates and liquorice…

Let me just start by saying I absolutely adored the last Jackson Pearce book I read, Sisters Red. I expected to enjoy Sweetly, too. I wasn’t let down.

It was just a dare between siblings – a deadly game that only two survived. Twelve years later, seeking a new place to belong, Ansel and Gretchen finally stumble upon a place to call home. But Live Oak carries a terrifying secret, and Ansel and Gretchen are forced return to the dark forests and confront their childhood terrors…

Although the book terrified me to begin with, I settled into the stride, and ended up just having to finish it – so, basically, putting off everything else until I had turned the final page!

Continue reading

Dammit Consistencies! (And 5 Ways To Sort Them Out)

Reading back over the script I’m writing at the moment, I am shocked at the amount of inconsistencies I have acquired. For example, one of my characters, Felix, comments on how he doesn’t take art or history. Then, later, another character – James – is ‘offended’ that none of them too art, but they all took history (GAH DX).

I don’t remember Felix not taking history. When I read it, my brain when, ‘Wait, when did this happen?!’ Then there are other things, like dates which I’m not sure about; for example, how long James has been working at the school, or which day is which.

I’m sure (well, I hope) that other people also suffer these problems (so I’m not the only one!). But what’s a way (well, 5 ways) to sort them out, so you don’t stumble upon your character suddenly taking up life drawing, or being 5 years younger than they actually are?

  1. Keep a timeline (eg on Excel)/calender. If your story takes place in, say, 2006, see if you can find a 2006 calender from somewhere. You’ll be able to make sure that if, for example, you comment on January 5th being a Saturday, use the calender to make sure it actually is a Saturday and not a Thursday or something. They’re also useful for seeing how much time has passed.
  2. Make notes as you go along. These aren’t the same as timelines. Just little bullet points (eg, ‘They have a date. They kiss.’ This would prevent you commenting on their ‘first’ kiss later and then having to change it!) can really help you later on – they’re also really quick to read over.
  3. Read what you’ve written (duh). This isn’t the same thing as editing – I’d do it before then. Just read over what you’ve written, and if it sounds wrong, you can go back and check it.
  4. Just write it. If it’s wrong, change it later! I’ve messed up quite badly, so I’m going to fix all of these inconsistencies once the script is finished. Stuff that has been written can be changed. Unfortunately, stuff that hasn’t been cannot.
  5. Get someone else to read it. You know your story well. You know your characters well. Therefore, you may miss some things – for example, a character repeating something (not technically an inconsistency, but you still don’t want to be repeating yourself. Got that? Once it’s been said once, you don’t want it again, so don’t have your character repeating themselves) or the fact you mentioned they graduated 5 years ago, but then they comment on how their first year out of school has been terrible – you might not pick up on this, but a pair of fresh eyes probably could.

Hope some of these helped you guys – even if you don’t think you have any inconsistencies, you may as well go back and check anyway!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

Toast – Extract

I didn’t like the prompt this week, so I didn’t do it.

Instead, have an extract of the script I’m writing for Camp NaNoWriMo 2014! It’s working title is Toast. Here’s the synopsis:

After saying ‘I don’t’ at the alter, James travels 450 miles down South to begin anew, where he gets a job in a secondary school as a temporary art teacher (oh, the joys). There, he meets Max, a history teacher who helps him to finally accept who he is with the help of some misfits in his Advice Breakfast Club: Felix, a boy with a not-so-secret crush on the school’s heartthrob; Halle, who’s struggling to cope with her asexuality; and Leafy, who just absolutely hates her name (wouldn’t you?).

And here’s the extract (w/c: 376). Enjoy! Ps – sorry the formatting’s a bit odd, it’s a script. Continue reading

[OOOHHH!] We’re Halfway There!

Camp NaNo-ers out there! We’re half way there!

Whoop whoop!

However…we’ve just entered the notorious Week Three. And you know what that means, right?

Week Three Blues. 

Dun dun dun!

Typically, week three is when you start to slow down and panic. Maybe you’re not hitting your word count every day, or you’re struggling to figure your way out of that plot hole. That little stats graph you have? It’s starting to level off, and the goal line is looking like a zip-wire from the currently non-existent top.

Of course, there are writers who hit their goal on, like, day one. Those people have bones of steel and a life-time’s supply of coffee in their system. Just remember that it’s ok to fall behind – most people do!

So…what can you do if you do fall behind?

  • Sprint, sprint, sprint, sprint! Sit down at your computer one day and just write. Write like hell. Get those words on the paper, don’t even bother to check if they’re in the same language. Actually, you might want to do that, otherwise revision will be hell.
  • Look up some dares on the NaNoWriMo website – especially the YWP one, where it has a ‘dare’ button, functioning most of the year round (until the site is renovated for the next year). See how many you can incorporate into your work!
  • Word wars! They happen on Twitter most nights, or you can find one in the forums, even your cabin! Why not grab a writing buddy – chances are, they’re suffering Week Three Blues, too!
  • Rebel! Write a short story, article, song, anything to get the juices flowing and that word count soaring.
  • Give up all hope and go and have a nap. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll wake up and your characters will be banging in your head.
  • Read some articles about it on the Camp NaNoWriMo site. You might find some more inspiration. Alternatively, read my Inspirenza article I published last Friday!

It’s hard to write when you have no motivation. Tell someone about your novel and get them to beat you up until you write. Say that if you don’t, you’ll have to go and do something else you hate, like running or socialising.

Many people find it easier to work under pressure, however; new ideas spring like a broken tap (new clichés, too). You never know, you might sit down and find you’ve written 1000 words in half an hour when you think it’s about 10. Anything is possible!

If you really want some motivation, try the fanmade Achievement Badge, called ‘Week Three Blues‘. I’m aiming to get it – are you?

Listen to the song as well!

Go defeat those Week Three Blues!

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

100, 100, 100!

HELLO ALL! :D

I’M VERY EXCITED!

The Blog

I’m doing this one first this week, because we had TWO important things happen over the last few days: I reached 100 followers (currently 105, plus two email-only subbers, to be exact!) and also 100 likes  in total on the blog – and, this is my 101st post! :D  I even got a cute notification, and everything. So yay!

Thank you all for subscribing and putting up with me. It’s very nice. :) I love talking to you guys, too, so feel free to comment; liking is also appreciated. ;) Seriously, though, I never thought my little blog would get this far. *sobs* I hope I’ve helped you in one way or another, be it by a little bit of advice, a pick-me-up at the end of the day, or inspiring you to read one of the books I’ve reviewed.

Me 

Last week, I went to Scotland, staying in Ayr. Aside from calling out the fire brigade (but that’s another story), I saw a little island across the water, called Arran.

In 2012, I tried out NaNoWriMo for the first time, and I wrote a historical fiction novel (currently unfinished, but that will change dammit) about a Celtic princess who I still hold highly in my heart. It was based on the Isle of Arran, although I called it (in a very cliché fashion) ‘The Holy Island’.

I didn’t realise, at first, that this was Arran, and it was a bit of a shock when I found out, to be honest. It was quite strange seeing it for the first time. You have no idea how much I want to go there, so I’m getting a job so I can afford the trip! But yeah, it was pleasant seeing the island my beloved Rosen ruled, and it definitely inspired me to get the novel finished.

Arran on the horizon

Arran on the horizon

Aside from that, my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo as of last night was 10928 and I’m still in love with the characters (and, considering it’s a romance, hopefully they are with each other, too).

What about you guys? What have you been up to this week? How’s NaNo going? Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

- Hannah :)

Ps: follow my Twitter for more!

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

The Winter Ghosts

The Great War robbed a generation of friends, lovers and their gilded youth. In Freddie Watson’s case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Haunted by his loss and fearing for his sanity, he still seeks some sort of resolution.

In the winter of 1928, Freddie is travelling through southern France – which has also seen too much bloodshed over the years – when his car spins off the road during a storm. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods and takes refuge in an isolated village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful young woman also mourning a lost generation.

Over the course of a single night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. And by the time dawn breaks, he finds himself holding the key to a heartbreaking mystery.

The book started slow. No; really slow. In fact, the first 20 or so pages weren’t actually needed. You could skip them and it wouldn’t make much difference. Moreover, the plot can leave you frustrated if you’re not reading it quickly, as it only ties up right at the end, doesn’t give you many – and then there is another loose end, but I won’t go into that too much.

The main character is all right, and the other characters are also quite interesting – once you get to the main plot. Don’t put this book down. Skip parts, if you will, but once you get to the main bit, don’t stop reading.

The plot is great. Like, pretty interesting. It reflects on historical events (which are rather gruesome, so only read if you’re willing to discover some yucky stuff) and the descriptions illustrate it vividly.

All I can say is, don’t get the copy I did – ie, the one pictured. It contains pictures. I wasn’t aware I couldn’t paint my own locations in my mind, but check through it first to see if it has pictures. I did my best to ignore them, but it’s quite hard. Just a heads up!

In summary: this book is great if you like the long-winded ones. It’s also great if you like historical fiction, but if you’re expecting a WWI novel, this is not it. I repeat: this is not a WWI novel. If you want one from WWI, try Valentine Joe. However, if you just want a book that gets to the point and only tells you the stuff that’s necessary, this isn’t it. Also, if you don’t like gruesome stuff (I didn’t realise quite how grim this would be until I read it) I wouldn’t recommend reading this. My rating? 3/5. I liked the plot and the idea, but I didn’t like the style and the amount of unnecessary information.

However, the heartbreaking mystery is just that.

Inspirenza

I didn’t know what to write about today. So, I Googled ‘writing advice’, and a quote from Jack London came up:

Jack London Inspiration

Many people – not just writers; artists, even teachers looking for entertaining ways to teach their urchins – suffer from severe case of what I like to call inspirenza.

Are you a sufferer? There’s some ways to tell:

  • When you sit down to write/draw/teach your mind goes blank and you have no idea what to say.
  • You catch yourself browsing social media for ideas. Yes…even Twitter.
  • The outside is scarily looking welcoming.
  • You think you’d rather have a job where you know what you’re doing and it requires little-to-no work for your brain.

So if you’ve caught inspirenza, what can you do about it? Well, let me tell you now, antibiotics aren’t an option and plagarisation will get you sued. You’re on your own (well, apart from the entirety of the writing community willing to help you out).

As Jack London said, you have to go after your inspiration with a club. IE: you have to drive out that inspirenza yourself. So. Cures.

  • Google. Google is life, everyone knows that. Google random words, prompts, whatever. Have fun.
  • Walkies! Take the dog, or if you don’t have a dog, the cat, turtle, even the goldfish (ok maybe not the goldfish) and have a walk. Don’t listen to music – instead, listen to the sounds of the outdoors. Eavesdrop carefully and steal conversations. Look at the flowers and the trees, the people, interactions, buildings.
  • If the hint of an idea comes to you WRITE IT DOWN. The thing with inspirenza is that it can take an instant to recover from, but you can relapse just as easily. Don’t let those ideas get away from you!
  • Ask friends and family. Scary idea, but they can really help. Bounce ideas around (unless you’re JKR who says that that kills them for her). Ask if they have any ideas.
  • If all else fails, grab a club and go caveman style. I don’t mean killing buffalo and going after your PE teacher (as hard as it is to differentiate, they’re not a Neanderthal). I mean just think of something. Just get some words, any words, your thoughts on the page. Set the timer for a minute, 5 minutes. Write. Just write.

Inspirenza is curable. Honest. If it can take a hold of you, you can shake it off. It may seem dark and dreary when it’s hovering over your shoulders like a mouldy blanket you can’t bear to wash, but as soon as you scrub it clean things will be better on the other side.

If you want a real life example, look at me right now: I had no idea what to write about, and I’ve just invented a new word. Anything is possible.

Everybody has days when inspirenza strikes. Sometimes you just have a mind blank. And then you have to fight it off. Go on, try it now! Otherwise this guy will be after you and he looks pretty frickin’ angry.

AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Hey folks,

I wouldn’t normally post, but this is a very special occasion, for The Wordy and Nerdy has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Yay!

Yay!

When nominated for this award, there are just a couple things to do:

  • Display the award on your blog and add a link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 15 other lovely bloggers for this award (make sure to let them know!)

I’m so so so happy to have been nominated; I’ve always wanted to inspire people and actually be remembered for something, so yay! I hope that my posts have inspired you guys and had a laugh or twenty-eight (ok, maybe that’s a bit too optimistic) but yeah…

So, 15 people (I don’t even know if I know 15 people, let alone blogs, so this should be a ball):

  1. aspiringwriter22
  2. Yeah. But so what? Everybody’s weird.
  3. akajocky (EVEN THOUGH HE NEVER POSTS HINT HINT)
  4. The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh
  5. Sophie Bowns
  6. Wildcards (go check them out and submit!)
  7. Teenage Enthusiasm (I’ve only been following for about 3 minutes, but I already love it!)
  8. All The Books I Can Read 

And I’m, um, rather ashamed to say that that’s as far as we’re gonna go… I don’t know 15 blogs that really inspire me. XD Aside from the Daily Post and the Book People, but I don’t know if they count cause they’re, like, proper companies. No offence to anyone who is a company.

I did not think that through.

Anyway, to make up for it, I’m gonna do 7 other things that inspire me. ‘Cause I feel bad:

  1. The Palace Ruins in my village
  2. My grandparents
  3. Nature
  4. Celts. Love the Scots.
  5. Books…even though then I realise it’s already been done.
  6. Friends
  7. Mum, Dad and Blog (aka brother) – also dog and cats.

So, there you have it!

- Hannah :D

Questions, suggestions, thoughts? Shoot! :D