Against The Dying of the Light {Short Story}

Against The Dying of the Light

 

Wordcount: 868
Prompt: You receive a weird text message from an unknown number when you’re walking home one night. It says, “You now have the chance to go back in time and change one memory. You have five minutes to decide.” What happens next?

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Against The Dying of the Light

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She had never thought her beloved Land Rover would break down, but lo behold it had happened. Alice slammed the car door and stomped down the road – no one could pick her up, and it was still two miles home.

Envisioning the steadily-cooling macaroni cheese on the table only made her hungrier, and she sighed, plugging her headphones into her phone. One ear bud dangled uselessly, and she tucked it into her jacket.

She debated about jogging home, but voted for hitch-hiking instead. Thumb sticking into the road, she continued to trudge, her Land Rover casting a long shadow and mixing with hers.

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Coming Up to the Finishing Line…

*sings joyously* 3 days to go! Or…maybe that isn’t so joyously, in some cases. Are you behind? (As this is a queued post, I am really hoping I’ve finished.)

Even if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo this July, this post still applies to you. Do you have a deadline – perhaps an assignment – and you’re, well, not going to make it?

Listen up, people! I’ve got news for you: you can make it. I don’t care if you have an hour and an essay. You can do it. Wanna know how?

Keep calm. Being stressed isn’t going to help. If anything, it’ll make your hands shake so much you won’t be able to type/pick up a pen. And it’ll frazzle your mind, leaving you lost for ideas.

Think logically. If you’re like me, logic avoids you at every possible moment. You prefer to go from A – Z, then back up to Q before finally returning to B. Maybe, though, this time you have to go A – B – C. Think about what you want to write. If you’re finishing NaNo, how do you want it to end? If you’re writing an essay, what do you want to write about in your introduction? How are you going to link your conclusion back to it?

Time yourself. If you have an hour to do it, set yourself a goal of 45 minutes. People do extremely well under pressure.

Just remember, though:

If you don’t make it, it’s okay. I mean, if it’s an exam, obviously it’s not okay but you will have done your best (and I know people who have got full marks without even finishing their work – me being one). And your best is all that anybody can ask for (I know people say that all the time, but honestly, it’s true). If you don’t make it in NaNoWriMo, it’s not the end of the world. There’s no obligation to stop writing. If you’ve written this month – or any month – that’s still a great achievement. Not everyone can do it, honestly!

So whatever you’ve written this month, well done. You’ve done fabulously, darling. :)

And if you hit your NaNoWriMo goal, have a cookie and a pat on the back. Well done, you insane person, you!

Questions, thoughts, comments? Shoot! :D 

Beginning of the End…

Hello all! Here’s to another (hopefully wonderful) week!

Me

I’m currently in France (which is why I may not be replying to anything, sorry!), and, as this is a queued post, here’s to hoping I’m still alive.

The Alive Dance… (It’s a thing now)

Anyway, I am going to be planning a Christmas story as I sit by the pool in the sweltering heat, finishing a novella you can see linked here (The Bone Buffalo – oh, and An Icy Collision is the Christmas story) and just writing random stuff. I say ‘I am going to be planning’ because, as you know, this is written in advance. It’s quite weird actually. I kinda want to shout, ‘Hello, future self! but I don’t know if that would be too strange.

In another note, Tom Hiddleston’s snake hips are really hypnotising. *cough* sorry.

The Blog 

This week is the last of the Tuesday updates! *Sob* However, don’t fret my darlings, for they will return in November for another bought of NaNoWriMo. I may even carry them on into December in a ‘what now?’ scenario, but we’ll sort that out closer to the time.

That’s it for the blog, I think, so enjoy it! :)

So, what are you all up to this week? I hope you have a good one! :) 

- Hannah :D

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us

It’s 1996 and less than half of all high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented for another eight years.

Josh and Emma have been neighbours their whole lives, and best friends almost as long – at least, they were until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mum makes him take it over so Emma can install it on her new computer. When the two friends log on, they discover their profiles on Facebook – fifteen years in the future.

Everyone wonders what their destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out. (Source – back of book)

I don’t normally read romance books that are just romance books. There’s always a hint of action or something else. However, The Future of Us really is a romance novel. Just putting that out there right now.

However, the idea is pretty inventive and cool. I was born in 1998, and never had a dial-up or anything (well, I probably did, just not in living memory). So, this book provides valuable insight into the near-past, which I am too young to know (gosh that makes me sound really naïve (which I am, but let’s not dwell on that)).

Emma seemed like your typical mood-swingy teenage girl, to be honest. She played with Josh’s emotions a bit during the middle of the book, just to see how it would ripple time (uh…you’ll understand) which I didn’t think helped her in being a particularly nice person. She has dated a few guys, but I wouldn’t say she was a player – more, lonely, almost. However, she did just choose them for their looks, and she could be pretty annoying and shallow. Perhaps jealous of her friends, Tyson and Kellan, who have an (almost) steady relationship.

Josh was a pretty nice guy. Laid-back, caring, and I like how he was the one who always looked at things in the long-term whereas Emma was like, “Yeah, what harm can this do?” He seemed to actually realise the implications of what they could be doing. I think this shows the two different types of potential time-travellers out there – the ones who think, “How bad can this be?” and the ones that think, “Pretty bad.”

I haven’t really read any time-travel books (although this doesn’t really count) and I liked how Asher and Mackler showed how the ripples in time worked and their effect on the future – kinda makes you think.

Speaking of Asher and Mackler, their writing style is very similar, which makes the book move in a fluid way. I kept forgetting it was written by two authors, and not one; it really doesn’t interfere with it. I’d definitely read another of their novels (either singularly or together).

However, I wish there had been more of Kellan and Tyson, who were the two main supporting characters. For the scenes they were in, they were great. But they weren’t in as many as I had wished.

The ending, albeit cliché, was very cute.

I recommend this to anyone who likes a romance and/or their Facebook. But it didn’t really hold much excitement for me, although I was kept turning the page (I don’t know why. It’s one of those books where you think (it’s not exciting, but I need to know what happens right now).


Read more book reviews here!

 

Literary vs. Genre Fiction

There’s an ongoing argument between writers. You may have heard of it. On one side, with have the literaryists, the ones who read about real-life and thought-provoking-ness. On the other, you have the genreists, the ones who want a bit of action and adventure in their books.

For writers, though, there is a very thin line between literary and genre fiction. So, which is which?

Literary fiction

  • Tends to be thought-provoking
  • Tends to be real-life/set in this universe
  • Emotional
  • Can be about better understanding the world
  • Can be told in weird ways (eg just description, speech etc)
  • EXAMPLES: The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, Life of Pi…

Genre fiction 

  • Fits into one of the genres (link to a very extensive list which probably has every single genre ever), for example action, western, romance etc.
  • Aimed at readers looking for an entertaining read
  • Normally deals with situations you won’t find it real life
  • Can be alternative universes, such as the Sherlock universe, Lord of the Rings universe, or Game of Thrones universe.
  • Has more structure (ie plot points)
  • EXAMPLES: Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter…

So, your stuff could fit into one of these categories. But then you have the ones that overlap – such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which could be considered a literary romance, so it fits into both.

Some also think that literary fiction is boring compared to genre fiction.

Personally, I love Gatsby and Harry Potter, so I can’t really judge.

Now we get back to the argument. Many literary authors say that ‘their’ genre is better. They’ve go a lot of evidence to back it up – books such as The Fault in Our Stars being made into films, and works such as Gatsby standing the test of time. But is it really?

Some people also say that literary fiction is a genre in itself…so wouldn’t that make everything genre fiction?

Now that you know what the difference is (or you’ve had your memory topped up if you knew before!) what is your opinion on literary and genre fiction?

Right vs. Might {Short Story}

Right vs. Might

Wordcount: 1385
Prompt: You receive a letter in the mail. It reads: “Congratulations! You’ve just won…” Finish the sentence and tell the story of what happens next.

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Right vs. Might

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Whistling through my teeth, I jumped over the garden wall. Father hated me doing it – said it ruined the roses on the other side – but I missed the damned flowers this time, so he couldn’t have a go at me for that.

As I reached for the front door, I paused, my hand resting on the door handle. I leant forward, and pushed my ear up against the tinted glass, hearing what I thought I would – silence.

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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!

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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