Let The Holidays Begin

Hello all! First offs, sorry that this is late. Second offs, hello.

Me

I finally finish college this week and then yay, it’s the Christmas holidays! I’m quite excited, but mainly just for the lie-ins.

Thursday, I have set aside the entire day to finish my novel! I’m pretty excited, even if it’ll probably be crap. Ahh well, what else are first drafts for?

And aside from that… not much else. Oh, I finished Atonement (book review this weekend) and cried my eyes out, then watched the film and cried my eyes out. Read it.

And I started my first seasonal book, called ‘A Dog For Christmas’ so yeah there’s that.

The Blog

Despite me saying every week that there’ll be a Friday post and there hasn’t, this week there actually will be! And apologies for last Friday’s being on Sunday…

As aforementioned, there’ll be a book review on Sunday.

And, if you’re lucky, a WWC that might be on Thursday instead. :)

Have a nice week guys! :D

Vermonia: Quest for the Silver Tiger [Volume 1]

Quest for the Silver Tiger

The first manga I have ever read, I found Vermonia interesting and, of course, different. In English (and, of course, many other languages) we read from left to right, but in manga, which comes from the Japanese culture, it is read right to left, starting from the back of the book, and took me a while to get used to. It’s easy to get the hang of, though, despite being difficult to follow on occasions, where I wasn’t sure which box was next.

Vermonia is a series of books in which the four main characters are from another world, which has been at war. Their queen have sent them to earth to be reborn, and, when we meet them during their teenage years, they are getting a call to arms to go and save the kingdom once more.

If Vermonia had been a book, I am not entirely sure if I would have read it, as the story seemed to be quite abrupt. However, I think I will read the other volumes, which tell  the stories from the other teen’s point of views.

One thing I really loved about the book was the head-over-heels love story of Jim and Princess Rainbow which made me ‘aww’ and coo at from when it was introduced.

I would give this three stars – it was a good read, but happened to fast, and the plot could, perhaps, be better explained. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this, as I know not everyone likes manga, but I think if you want to try something new, you might as well go for it.

For and Against a Happy Ending

When writing, two (or more) characters often start to look at each other a little bit, then a little bit more and a little bit more and before you know it they’ve had sex in the closet and are declaring their undying love leaving you in front of the keyboard with your hands in your hair and screaming wildly, to which assorted family members and friends just think, “I knew it,” (which can also happened with two (or more) real life people too, I guess).

So you have characters in a relationship. But do you let them keep it? Some readers live for romance, and others would rather cut it down with a scythe. What do to, what to do?

For a Romantic, Happy Ending

  • It’ll leave you with a warm, bubbly feeling in your stomach (well, hopefully).
  • Your readers might love you for it, especially if the characters are great (*cough*Percabeth*cough*) or fit well together even if one sucks.
  • All characters deserve something nice.
  • If you’re finishing off a series, it might round it off nicely.

Against a Romantic, Happy Ending

  • You have a heart of cold, cold ice.
  • The characters are horrible to each other (such as Paul Marshall and Lola in Atonement). Or, one is just horrible to the other. Uh uh, not a happy, nor healthy, relationship.
  • Your characters are dead, which isn’t completely unusual.
  • You’re setting them up for another story, in which they are going to get together.
  • The romance just doesn’t work out. Sometimes it’s like that. They fall out, find someone else, or maybe just don’t love each other like that, or that much, any more.

Romances are great fun to write, and can be great fun to destroy (even though they might break my heart). And if characters unintentionally end up together (it’s happened to me before. I was thinking about them and BAM the two of them decided they wanted to get it on) who are we to say that it’s impossible?

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! :D 

Sorry…Again

Hi all!

I’m really really sorry about skipping so many days. Basically, I’m exhausted, like so exhausted I can’t do anything once I get home from college (it’s really frustrating) and walking around makes me dizzy, so yeah.

Me

Meant to be writing…not actually writing. .-. I’ve only got 100 pages left on Atonement though, so hopefully there’ll be a review coming your way this Sunday!

The Blog

Obviously no Tuesday post (sorry, I really am) but there’ll be a Friday post and a Sunday post to look forward to. :)

Have a nice week all!


 

PS – I’ve decided I’m going to do an inspirational quote per week, so here is this weeks!

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

Evapouration

I quit science as soon as I finished the compulsory exams, but evapouration occurs when something reaches its boiling point (correct me if I’m wrong, but I really hope that A* in Chemistry wasn’t lying). After NaNoWriMo, you can feel all hot and excited (um… all those dirty minded people (including me, I guess) go and wash your mind out with soap! (mm soapy water (maybe just take a bath))) and then it evapourates into nothing and you feel rather deflated.

This happens after most writing projects. What to do, though? Especially if, like me, you’re burnt out from NaNo but still have a novel to finish.

  • Have a cry (or, in Greek, pathos (that technically means suffering, but y’know)). Crying helps, believe me! I had a little weep after I finished my first novella, and after I finished NaNoWriMo, because I worked so hard. You can be happy and cry, believe me! It’ll leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the next hurdle.
  • Have a (little or large) break. I’m having today and tomorrow and yesterday and possibly the day after off from writing my novel. Mainly because I have a script I need to do, but also because it’ll make me really want to go back because I’m so close to the climax oh my gosh. 
  • Write something else for a while – and then go back to the main thing. Pretty self-explanatory. If you want to keep it related to your novel, write a short story about your current set of characters!
  • Do something completely unwriting related like, shock-horror, go outsideThe nature of it all will make you want to scurry back to your writing retreat ASAP.

Remember, writing’s meant to be fun, and after that little evapouration, when you feel like you’ve pulled the plug on your blowhole, it takes a while to heat up again. Just keep the gas on, and you’ll be fine!

Poof.

Apologies, Yet Again

Hello all!

Well, after that euphoric weekend, I had a slightly more depressing Monday, but I am back now with a customary late post. I mean, who’s on time in this world, really?!

Me

Still working on my NaNo novel, but I’m planning on having the 18th, the day I finish college for Christmas, to just write and get it done.

I’m working with a bunch of friends to try and create a Christmas movie, so I’m writing the script which should be fun (I’m just about to start it now, actually!).

And yeah that’s about it; just homework, English coursework and movies (I bought Atonement and Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe yesterday!).

The Blog

Should be as normal, besides Wednesday. Unless I post an excerpt from my novel, but I don’t know about that, it’s so terrible. xD Sunday will be a review of my first ever manga, so get ready!

Have a great week folks!

- :D

Wow, I DID IT! [And So Did You!]

GUYS!

LOOK WHAT I DID!

NaNoWriMo-2014-Winner-Certificate.pdf1-page-001

Wow. I’m so happy!

Although the past 30 days have been sometimes depressing with crippling self-doubt, sometimes enjoyable when I adored my characters and their story, I finally did it. I wrote 50035 words in a month, and am nearly finished with my first ever novel. I’m so proud of myself and my characters, and so grateful to my awesome friends for cheer-leading me on even when I just wanted to give up. Now just to finish it… (According to my plan, it’s only 5 chapters to go, but also according to my plan I should be on chapter 15, not 17, so who knows!)

And that’s my story. For the rest of you… ;)

It’s over. Phew. Breathe. Relax.

Give yourself a pat on the back, a biscuit from the tin and a break from your whining characters. They can wait until the morrow when you pick yourself up from the euphoria of surviving 30 days.

Don’t panic if you didn’t hit your word count. You’ve done something most people only dream of: you’ve started writing a novel. Sure, now all you have to do is finish it. If you don’t hit 50k during this month, don’t be down hearted. Maybe take a few breaths and have a little scream, but make sure you carry on writing. Do your characters care that you didn’t make it? No, of course not! They’re just pleased that you’ve finally got around to writing their story after years of saying you would and then never actually doing it. You’ll finish it eventually.

And if you do hit your word count? Yayy! Cookies for all! Treat yourself to something good (I had my first ever roll of Tootsie Rolls, which was incredible because I live in the UK!), have a little dance. You’ve done incredibly.

And then… sit back down and keep on typing! There’s words to be written, characters to be killed, perhaps sex to be had, antagonists to be destroyed, love to fall for and hope to bring.

Most of all? Keep writing!

I believe in you. 1229838_646781908728779_744216109_n

The Last Hurrah

Let's change this into 'winner', eh?

Let’s change this into ‘winner’, eh?

It’s the last week of NaNoWriMo. Well, seeing as this is characteristically late, it’s the last four days.

How many words do you have left? None? 100? 1000? 10000? 50000?!

Never fear. As people have proved it’s possible, you know it’s possible. Perhaps you just need some encouragement.

  • Your characters need you. They will bug you until you finish.
  • Your novel needs you. Do you think you could bear the pain of never writing ‘THE END’ in big bold letters before bragging to your friends that you have, yes, really, written a novel.
  • Related to this: um, hello, bragging rights! I’m going to claim mine when I hit that 50k.
  • You can move on up! Now the revisions start, but, after this, you can venture into the big wide world of published. *gasps*

If you need some more words to be written, why not create a Twitter account and settle over to the NaNoWriMo word sprints page? Another I can recommend is Get Wordies, who are fantastic encouragers too!

If you really dislike Twitter, set a timer and write, write, write! You’ll be amazed at what you can do.

Good luck Wrimos; I believe in you!

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Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories by Annie Proulx

Brokeback Mountain

Contrary to many of the reviews on GoodReads, I didn’t start reading this for the famous Brokeback Mountain. I actually started reading it because I needed a short story for my coursework, and this was what the librarian chose for me. I used one of the short stories (The Blood Bay) and decided that, y’know, I already had it on loan, so I might as well read it.

Bloody hell. Proulx’s writing is brilliant; vivid descriptions, character development, and a characteristic of her stories is that every one of them contains a twist at the end.

Shall I go through all of the stories on this copy? Yes, I shall. Skip to the ones you want, if you would like.

The Half-Skinned Skeer – I’m not going to lie. This story scared me. I went running after finishing it in the dark on the bus, and I was terrified. I remember this one being confusing too, but it was still good.

The Mud Below – aah, Diamond Felts, the rodeo cowboy. This story gives us the nitty and gritty bits of rodeo, the stuff that isn’t emphasised in the films. Trigger warning for this book: it contains rape. But still a good story.

Job History – this story gives us the history of one man’s jobs, all the way through from his first to his last. An interesting story, what I would probably call a descriptive piece. It’s short for a reason, you couldn’t read it forever. I don’t think you could write about that for an entire book! It’s only 10 pages. Interesting, though.

The Blood Bay – another short story that will make you question the moralities of human beings. This is a very short story, only a few pages, so I’m struggling to say stuff that won’t give too much away. It shows the Greek custom of xenia if that is useful to you in any way.

People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Water – this story about a man brain damaged in an accident ends in a sickly twist. Well written, well executed, it leaves you guessing until the very end and with mixed emotions about the characters. There’s no real antagonist – or is there?

The Bunchgrass Edge of the World – marriage, talking tractors, and no real sense of a main plot; there seemed to be many tiny stories happening in this larger one. This was the one I could remember least, but I do remember being distracted whilst reading. Not my favourite.

Pair a Spurs – another trigger warning of rape, this story is about, unsurprisingly, a pair of spurs. The brutal ranch life is shown deeply in this story, and it also offers interesting twists and turns.

A Lonely Coast – harsh friendships, trippy relationships and confusing lives are the main point of this story. Confusing to me, anyway, also didn’t make much of an impression.

The Governors of Wyoming – this story focusses on vegetarian ranches, and a man called ‘Wade Wells’ who has made it his life mission to free cattle from ranches. He meets up with his sisters, Roany and Renti, and tries to…ah, you’ll have to read it to find out.

55 Miles to the Gas Pump – this story can’t be more than 500 words, and it tells the story of a lonely farmer and his wife in the middle of nowhere. The farmer gets up to some slightly disturbing activities amidst the boredom of everyday life.

Brokeback Mountain – I am so glad this one was at the end, as I think I would have felt far too emotionally drained to then go on and read the others (it also gave me something to look forward to). Is it any surprise that this review is going to be the longest? Brokeback Mountain tells the story of Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar. It’s the gay cowboy story that I am sure almost everyone has heard of. Working on the fictional Brokeback Mountain during the summer, they get up to some ‘adventures’. But this story begins in 1963, and attitudes to homosexuality were far less liberal than today – and we don’t even have the freedom we should. Ennis is engaged, and later gets married, despite Jack loving him. The story takes place over the course of 20 years and ends in a heartbreaking trauma which will rip your heart out and stomp on it. Read it.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. Not all of the stories in it, mind, but if you read one from it, make it Brokeback. And then, if you have time (or aren’t sobbing on your bed) watch the film as well. It literally quotes word for word.

Brilliant author, brilliant book.

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?