Whoa, Back Up There!

What’s the most important thing when you write?

Ask that to a variety of people, and you’ll get lots of different answers. You may get keeping the same person (1st, 2nd or 3rd), or keeping up with your spelling and grammar, or making sure you have character development.

And, although that I think that these are valuable skills when writing, amongst others, there is one more that I would strongly, strongly advise: backing up your work.

By backing up, I don’t mean making a mental note of the stories you have. I don’t mean telling someone else about it. I mean backing it up. Let my expand.

Backing up means saving your work somewhere else than your laptop. You know how it is. It can crash. You can spill coffee all over it. Anything can happen. And then all your hard work…poof.

If you write your stuff out longhand, then yay for you – no backing up needed. But if you don’t and your computer is your life, how else can you back it up? Well, here’s a few ideas:

  • Email it to yourself or a friendIf you email it to yourself you can go and find it again. If you email it to your friend, they can always send it back to you if you lose it! Also, they could also proof read it for you. 😉
  • Use Google Docs. Ever heard of it? It’s now called the ‘Google Drive’, but, y’know, I think Google Docs sounds better. Basically, you use your Google account to sign up, and you can create, edit and share documents with other people (they can also edit it if you let them) and then you can access it from any computer, as long as you know your email and password! Great, eh?
  • Obvious: use a memory stick. This little buggers can be picked up from loads of places – online, WHSmith, even Boots probably sell them. You can get a nice one, just for your writing or that particular novel, or one that you put everything on! For example, I have one that looks like a clip you use when climbing that is just for writing. I can clip it to my jeans, too.
  • Print it out. Now, this isn’t really backing up, and if you lose everything it’s a bit of a long process to type it up again, but yay, then you have your work printed out! I wouldn’t recommend it, though, unless it’s just a short story.

So yes, I hope you have some ideas for how to back up your work – now, go and put them into practice! Go, back up, now!

And whilst you do that, I shall back up, too…

(Sorry it was late! Questions? Shoot!) 🙂

Follow me on Twitter!

Wow, look!

I did a thing!

Yeah guys, so now you can follow me on Twitter for updates about my blog, writings, readings and random stuff in my life.

If you’d like to follow my personal, it’s @Godzilla1098 – but I’d follow this one instead.

So yeah. Twitter!

– Hannah 🙂

Ps I’ll stop these random updates.

Pps next post is tomorrow!

 

That Horse I Stole {Short Story}

Want to view this story where it’s at? Click here!

That Horse I Stole

That Horse I Stole

Wordcount: 475
By the way, this challenge was to start each sentence with a different letter of the alphabet (so 26 sentences in all). I tried my best!

~

Arabs are known for being flighty, and this one is no different. Barely staying on his back, I wrap my hands into his mane. Clamping my legs around his sides, I try not to fall onto the pavement as he canters along the road. Dangerously, he nips in and out of the paths of cars, and I lean close his neck, desperately trying to stay on his slick back. Elegant, slender legs are steadily being damaged by the hard surface of the concrete.

Finally, he comes to a stop by a lay-by with a patch of grass next to it. Gently, once I am sure he isn’t going to take off again, and being careful not to kick him with my boot, I slide from his back and land on the path next to his quivering body, bending my legs so that I don’t injure myself. “Hey now,” I say, stroking his neck. “It’s ok big boy, it’s ok.” Jelly is what my legs felt like, and I try not to fall over. Keeping close to the horse’s side, I lead him to the green stretch of grass at the side of the road, out of the way of the cars that simply would not slow down.

Ladybugs crawl in the grass beneath my bare feet. Momentarily waiting to see if I would stop him, the horse dips his head, gnawing at the grass. Nearly toppling over, I steady myself on his strong back, burying my face in his mane at the same time.

Obviously I have to return him, I think to myself. Pity would do nothing for me now, no matter how bad a time I was having.

Quietly, I turn so I don’t startle the beast. Rather stereotypically, he had turned out to as headstrong as his Arabian reputation said. Sighing, I pat his neck dejectedly. Tensing my muscles, I spring lightly onto his back, pushing my hands into his thick mane. Ugly tears roll down my face, causing me to have a small coughing fit as I struggle to breath and stay upright; I cluck my tongue, turning the horse back to the field I’d stolen him from.

Vacantly, my mind as empty as a dead man’s heart, we make our way slowly back to his home. Walking is the only gate I feel safe to go at now, after the horse bolted.

‘Xenial’ is the word that comes to mind when I think of the Murphy’s, the family I stole the horse from, but I don’t think they will be very friendly when they see me riding up to their daughter’s paddock on her horse: in fact, when I to see them in the paddock, the daughter in tears, she spins around and glares at me, a look of pure, unfractured hatred in her normally cheerful eyes. “You!” she spits, pointing an accusing finger in my direction. Zestlessly, I squeeze the horse’s sides slightly and accept my fate with a sigh, pushing him up the hill to the paddock.

~

Do you like the stories I post, or not? Should I continue posting? 

Feedback appreciated! 🙂 

Thanks, Guys!

Hi guys,

Just a quick note to say thank you all for following! I reached 50 followers this week! 😀

I know I don’t post very often (twice a week, now), but I really appreciate all the follows, and the likes and occasionally a comment! 🙂

Sorry if I don’t check out your blog – I’d love to – but I have other commitments that take away my time from blogging. 😦 I barely have enough time to post as it is!

So yeah, thanks all! I’ll try to keep on blogging for as long as I can! ;D

Next post is tomorrow – a short story (and I mean short) entitled ‘That Horse I Stole’. And on Friday, I’m thinking of doing one about how to actually write a climax.

Also: what would you guys like to see on this blog? I’d love to know! If you want me to cover unusual character aspects, how to do a good name, etc? 🙂 After all, the advice in this blog is for you!

Thanks again for the follows! 😀

– Hannah 🙂

Climatic Climax

Your character is just about to find the bad guy/go in for that test/find the hidden key to return to the modern world.

And that thing – the big thing – happens. The Climax.

The climax is one of the biggest parts of the story, so you need to make it good, and is the bit that the entire rest of the book has been leading up to – the build up (obviously), all the little climaxes (or ‘crises’). 

Look at this picture of a story arc below:

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Lovely, isn’t it? Anyway.

Your story needs to build up to the climax steadily (but not too steadily, you want your readers to finish the book eventually!). Have little climaxes all the way throughout, so that your reader doesn’t get bored (see image: the four little bumpy things before the big bumpy thing). Here, I’ll use ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ as an example.

Obviously, the climax in this book is Harry defeating Prof. Quirrell by the Mirror of Erised. However, there are little climaxes leading up to it: for example, as a punishment, Harry is sent into the Forbidden Forest, and sees a) the Voldy/Quirrell combo drinking a unicorn’s blood, and b) a centaur for the first time. Boom: little climax.

Leading up the main climax, you need to do a thing called ‘foreshadowing’ (should I do an extra article on this?). This means dropping little hints all the way throughout, leading up to the climax. For example, your character might talk about death a lot, and end up dying. Don’t do this too much, though, you don’t want to make it too obvious: what you are really aiming for is for the readers to, when they read over your work again afterwards or get to the climax, go ‘Ooooh, now I get it!’ – not ‘Whoa, when did that happen?’, because they didn’t understand how it built up, which leads me on to…

You need to make sure it makes sense in the book. You can’t have a story that’s about something like a murder, and that is what it is about (eg solving it) and then the climax is a huge horse riding competition for the MC. It just doesn’t make sense, and the reader will know that, too. They’ll probably get confused, stop reading, and throw the book at your head.

Finally, after the climax comes the ending of the book, so dropping hints to the end of it and make sure that your book doesn’t end at the climax is a must. You need to be able to wrap up your story fairly rapidly after the climax; oh, but, that’s for another day!

So, to recap:

  • Use the build up and little climaxes to your advantage.
  • Foreshadow like hell.
  • Don’t have a really random climax (as in, out of context in your novel).
  • Make sure that you pave the way for you to finish your book – or, indeed, leave a cliffhanger for the sequel!

Hope that helps with your climaxes! Questions? Shoot!

The First One {Short Story}

Want to view this story where it’s at? Click here!

The First One

~

The First One

TW: Drugs, murder.
Word count: 994

~

The tea was steadily getting colder, but still remained untouched. The marshmallow had been mutilated to the point that it probably wasn’t a marshmallow any more, and parts of it lay scattered on the saucer.

Fingertips tapped on the table top. Hard, blue eyes stared, watching various people go about their daily business outside.

Inside the coffee shop, there was a general buzz of content as the first flakes of snow fell.

A young man passed her by and sat opposite a pretty woman. He laughed and reached over to hold her hand. The woman’s eyes flitted to hers, and the girl stared, almost unseeingly, back at her. Shifting uncomfortably, the woman dropped her gaze.

The bell above the door rang as it was opened by a boy, no older than 16. He kicked grit from his boots whilst his friends passed him. They were jostling and laughing, but that wasn’t what made the girl smile.

Pushing tousled, brown hair away from his face, the boy’s gaze met hers. It dropped a split second later, and a hint of red appeared over his cheeks. Brown, intelligent eyes were enhanced by bright, white teeth, and he followed his friends to get drinks. With a skip in her heart as the handsome one looked at her again, the girl watched as the group sat opposite her table.

The book that had been used as a prop was ignored, and the girl put her full attention on the boy opposite. He sat, slouching but still managing to look interested in what the others were saying. He took small sips from his hot chocolate, pushing the hair from his face every so often.

Now and then, he would glance up at her, and she would pretend to be watching someone else, or would stare down at her book, feeling when he looked away.

Eventually, the three boys stood. The brown haired one turned her way one more time and smiled, before following his friends out of the door, which clanged shut behind them.

The girl stood. Leaving her untouched tea behind, she picked up a heavy duffel bag and opened the door, silent save for a light ringing of the bell.

For once, her tiny frame worked to her advantage. She followed the boys in a practised manner, waiting outside whilst they went into shops, always pretending to be engrossed in something else, making sure they didn’t notice her too much.

Long, loose hair flowed down her back like a white waterfall. Rubber soled boots made no sound on the concrete. Her leather jacket kept the rain off when a few drops decided to fall.

Finally, the boys split up. The girl followed the handsome one as he went this way and that, down the small alleys that no one else went down in the city. She watched carefully as he bought something from a dodgy looking guy, and, once again, waited outside as he disappeared into a club for an hour.

It was nearly 2AM by the time she caught him alone. He seemed sober and his eyes were clear, although she suspected he was under the influence of something or other.

What’s a pretty girl like you doing out so early?” he asked, stumbling upon her leaning against the wall just outside. She shrugged and batted her eyelids daintily.

Waiting for a handsome guy like you to come along, I suppose,” she twittered falsely. The boy smiled, almost warily, and she thought she saw a hint of recognition in his eyes.

Didn’t I see you earlier? In Mrs J’s?” he asked. The girl uttered a high, fake laugh.

Oh, perhaps. Weren’t you the handsome one that came through the door?” She stroked his arm, and the boy looked more at ease.

Perhaps,” he smiled. “Can I walk you home, then?”

The girl felt a rush through her veins. “Oh, yes please. It’s a little scary out here at night, what with all those strange men around.”

The boy nodded, and she reached down to pick up her duffel bag. “Oh here,” he said, “let me carry that for you.” She shrugged, and passed it to him; he bent momentarily over the unexpected weight, before straightening, and passing it to his right hand, so he could walk with his left to her. “Blimey, what have you got in here?”

Oh, just some…books,” she said, saying the first thing that came to her mind. “Shall we go, then?”

Casually, the girl walked off, and the boy hesitated for a moment before following her sashaying hips.

Street after street passed them by as the boy tried to make small talk. The girl answered in short sentences, still trying to keep the pretty tone to her voice. A small alley came up on her right, and she halted.

Oh, I know this place! This is a short cut,” she lied, holding out her hand for his. He took it without thinking, and she tugged him down the gloomy passage.

They met no one. Heard nothing. It seemed as if they were in their own little bubble. Perfect, the girl thought, a sly smile on her face.

So, where does this lead to?” the boy asked, peering back over his shoulders as the darkness engulfed them, taking them away from the comforting, orange street lights.

Somewhere special,” she replied vaguely.

When she felt sure that no one would see nor hear them, she pulled the boy towards her before pushing him against the wall. He dropped the duffel bag in shock, and they both heard the clanging of metal.

Frozen, the boy stayed tight against the wall. She reached down and slowly unzipped the bag. Drawing a knife from its depths, she held it up, so it glinted in the slither of moonlight that came from between the buildings.

This was it.

The first one.

The first boy she would ever kill. 

~

Thanks for reading! Feedback appreciated! 🙂 

Head-y Headcanons

Hello, readers! 

So, headcanons!

First offs: what are headcanons?

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Well, according to Urban Dictionary, headcanons are:

“An idea, belief, or aspect of a story that is not mentioned in the media itself, but is accepted by either the reader themselves or the fandom in general. If it is confirmed by the author of the story, it becomes canon.”

So, basically, a headcanon is a little thing that fans make up.

“But, why are you making a post about this?” Because, my friend, of the deadly disease of the writer: writer’s block.

If you’re suffering from writer’s block, why not write a few headcanons? They aren’t long enough to make a story, but they aren’t short enough to make them impossible. Furthermore, if they’re about your own characters, then guess what: you can make them canon!

I often say that you should try and write something every single damn day – so, if you don’t want to add a bit more to your story because you’re so tired, or you can’t bear to start a new one/start editing just yet, then why not make up a few little headcanons?

“But how do you write a headcanon?” 

Well, have a look around you. Think up something completely random! Maybe it’s something like “____ loves the colour blue.” Really, it can be about anything! It doesn’t have to be perfect, remember – not all headcanons are. They just add in extra information about the book or thing you’re writing about.

Head_canon_accepted

Does that persuade you to write a headcanon/inform you about it? I hope so! Any questions? Shoot!

Oh, and also: ‘headcanon’ can be abbreviated to ‘HC’ – just something to watch out for!

DONKEY!

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Animals. Great, aren’t they? So, the big question is: why aren’t there more in writing? Perhaps it is because people do not even think of using them any more, perhaps it is because people don’t know how to write these beautiful creatures. So, how do you?

Well, for starters, they don’t talk (unless, of course, that’s what happens in your character’s world). And, if they do, have a think about if they talk like a ‘normal’ human being, like Donkey, or if they talk in one letter words, like Scooby Doo.

Secondly, they are a little bit mad, there’s no denying it. So make sure you write in that madness! For example, if you’ve got a dog, there’s no doubt that you would’ve seen them have a ‘mad moment’, where they run around like a maniac! Or a cat that hisses at nothing, or jumps about 5 foot in the air. Maybe they wag their tail so hard it takes people out, or dribble at everything. Maybe, if they’re human-like, they pull faces, or wave.

Thirdly, they are like humans: eat, sleep and poop. So make sure you write it in! Animal poop smells a lot, as does their wee, so make sure you write that in. Maybe they eat raw meat, or something disgusting (you know what I mean).

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Also, remember that, to your characters, their pets are, more often than not, their best friends! So keep your friends close, but keep your pets closer! 

Also, if your pets are ‘normal’, in our world, remember that they can be different breeds, colours, they might have scars, missing a limb or a tail. If it’s another animal, like a dragon, I guess it depends on what your world is like.

I’m not really sure what else to say. Because, like humans, all animals are different!

Scooby-scooby-doo-32010068-450-243

How To Research

Apologies for not updating – my grandpa died recently, and I haven’t been coping very well. Also, apologies for the title. I couldn’t think of anything funny. It’s rather annoying.

Anyway. Last week, well actually I don’t know when, I made a point on why you should research. Now, I think I should tell you how.

#1 – make sure you have the materials to do so. 

As I mentioned this last week, I shall not go into so much detail about it here. Just remember to have something to write with and something to write on.

#2 – get into the right frame of mind.

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to research, you won’t be able to retain much of the stuff you learn – and, although you have it there, it’s a lot easier to have most of it in your mind. Also, if you’re not in the right frame of mind, you might not find the right stuff, the stuff you’re looking for, or you might miss the most important stuff.

#3 – when you are actually researching, make sure that you…

First offs, read the whole thing – for example, the webpage, or page of a book – first. This way, if it’s complete and utter codswallop, you haven’t recorded it unnecessarily. Make sure you record it clearly and concisely. Make sure you understand what you are writing, so when you come back to it later, you don’t have to try and decode it. And when you do record it, make sure you record everything. And yes, I mean everything. Even if you don’t think it’s relevant, it may be lter.

#4 – if you’re using just the internet, make sure you use a variety of websites.

And make sure you record everywhere you get them from, especially if it’s a big project (like, make a bibliography). This means that if you write something, and, perhaps, post it online and someone disagrees, you can refer them to the source (or if you need to, blame the source for the mistake!). Also, some websites, such as Wikipedia, anyone can edit, so there can be a lot of made up stuff on there. Make sure you always check it up against other sources! And remember: only use the information if they all agree on it, especially for things like History. Finally, if possible, get visible proof, such as a YouTube video.

#5 – if possible, use a library.

Yes, this mystical places still exist! Wow! And, yes, although they have definitely – unfortunately – declined in standard, they are still marvellous places to go for research, especially for history (just beware that new things may have been discovered in between the time they were written and the time you were reading it). Take a notebook and pen and sit down, have a good read and a browse. Some books are absolute gems, and they’ll help you more than the internet.

#6 – if even more possible, talk to someone.

When I say this, I mean someone that was there, or is an expert on the subject, like a Geography teacher or History professor. Or, as aforementioned, get someone who experienced it! For example, I spoke to my Granddad about WWII, as he was in London during the Blitz. And, believe me, I found it much more useful than looking at some old webpage about someone I don’t really know, because I could see the emotion on his face! Remember, if you are talking to someone, ask them if it’s ok to take notes (because otherwise it may look a tad rude) or use a dictaphone or a voice reminder thingy on your phone so you can listen to it back and perhaps make a transcript.

I’m not sure what else to write about research, apart from the fact that it is vital, but if you do require any more help, then please, feel free to comment below. 🙂

Also, would anyone mind if I posted some of my own writing in the future, or should I create a new blog? Thanks, guys!

And yes, I will try and do some more posts. 🙂