The Writer’s Tag

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Hello!! First of all, I want to say thank you for the awesome comments yesterday, I was not having a terribly productive day (*cough* to say the least) and reading everything you wrote was a great pick-me-up 😀 ❤

Secondly, I saw this awesome tag over on Kat@LifeandOtherDisasters’s wonderful blog and I thought it was perfect for this month! Do check out her post cos her answers rock!! (and it’ll lead you to discover her brilliant WIP!) Okay, let’s get this party started!

What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

I ❤️ fantasy. Seriously, everything I’ve ever written is fantasy and I don’t plan to change that. I’ve written a YA fantasy duology, I’m working on a dystopic fantasy trilogy, and I’m planning some high fantasy series for the future. Oh and I have an idea for a gothic novella… which is basically old school fantasy 😉 You get the idea, fantasy’s my jam 😉

dragon gif

How long have you been writing?

Hard to say when I went from just making up stories to play and when I started writing them down… If you count all forms of storytelling, then forever

Why do you write?

I loved Kat’s answer here- basically in short: I HAVE to. It’s a compulsion.

When is the best time to write?

Night-time!!

night time.gif

What parts of writing do you love and hate?

Lots of things…

LOVE:

  • Endings!!
  • When characters get a mind of their own- I mentioned this to Kat cos she had this on her list, but the best time this happened to me was when one of my characters came out as gay halfway through the aforementioned trilogy- it was a bit of an “ohhh” moment cos it was unintentional (that character and I get on so much better cos he’d been a bit of an enigma to me before)
  • When I’m on a role and the words are just flowing and you’re not too worried about what’s getting put on the page
  • When you read over said words and it’s not half bad

writing

HATE:

  • When you read over said words and it’s the worst thing you’ve ever read and you should probably scrap it all, but it was a lot of work so you don’t want to scrap it all, but arghh it’s crap, so you end up scrapping it all :/
  • When you’re book doesn’t like you very much and needs a million and one edits
  • When you’ve been working on the same thing for years and there’s no end in sight
  • Fear of showing people and guilt about not sharing it with people

bad writing gig

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I write something else. Like I said it’s a compulsion and I always have to be writing *something*

Are you working on something at the moment?

Yes indeedy- that aforementioned trilogy. Annnd I’m trying to figure out what I can say without giving anything away. Hmm… I think I traumatised my bestie the other day giving her book 2- so that was good… Sort of 😉

lord of the rings writing gif

What are your writing goals this year?

Well it’s near the end of the year, so a lot of my targets for 2017 are done- namely finishing book 2. I was actually pretty wiped out after completing it back in the summer and was gonna leave it there for a while…. But no time like the present, when I realised Nano was coming up and that I’d have a shot at doing something for it, I decided I wanted to press on with book 3, cos why not? So my plan is to get a reasonable amount of the way through by the end of the year (hopefully so that next year, I’ll be able to write that elusive “The End”- that’s the dream anyway 😉 )

Annnd now I think I’ve prattled on enough- I tag Daley Downing, Sophie Li, Marie, Eve Messenger, CharlotteDani and all the writers that are reading this!

So do you write? What’s your genre of choice? Let me know in the comments!

My House

In the spirit of this spooktacular season, I’ve decided to do something daring today by sharing a short story I wrote recently- enjoy!

old house 2

They were in my house. Setting the floorboards creaking, going where they pleased. I could hear them, carelessly clattering about down there, redirecting the furniture, chattering about this or that. The sound penetrated the cosseted safety of my abode; their presence plucked on my nerves and sent them a-tingling.

It wasn’t right. The place was historic- Georgian I recalled- possibly listed. They should have known better- still that didn’t seem to stop folk moving whatever wasn’t nailed down. That didn’t stop them desecrating the decades-old dust with their footprints.

I could hear them laughing now. Marvelling at some feature or another, their delight gliding round the ballroom like a child at play. Oh I was well and truly woken from my slumber. Nothing could keep me abed.

Had they no respect? I wondered, taking two steps at a time, thundering on the stairs loud enough to wake the dead. Soon I was upon them.

They didn’t see me at first- they never do. But they heard the door slam and startled like little birds. I almost wanted to reassure them- almost. Instead I looked them up and down- trying to calculate their worth from their peculiarly tight clothes and sharp angled haircuts- assessing their tells with my weary gaze. I crooked my neck, trying to get a better view, my eyes half failing me: a man and a woman. One of them holding a bright rectangle of light in their hand like a torch. That was a new one, I mused. Beyond that they were murky smudges.

“Who are you?”

The male was the one to speak. His voice was shaky, a rust to the command, clearly from disuse.

I sighed. I could have asked them the same question. Indeed there was a time when I might have. Was it a realtor or a blustery wind that had brought them to my door? Did they think they were going to stay? There was a time when I thought I cared for such details- but that time was gone.

“Who are you?” the brave soul repeated.

That was a good question. I pondered how I might answer. I wondered how I appeared to them, in the white nightgown I never changed out of- not since that night…

A rush of feelings came over me, as it always did when I thought about it. Red hot and white cold all at once. Like being dunked in ice cold water and held under three seconds too long, as your legs kicked and lungs burned for breath. Like seeing someone you trust, naked with someone else. Like getting a glimpse of the traitorous blade that would end your life just before it did and knowing, knowing you could have prevented all this.

I funnelled that rage into my scream:

“What-are-you-doing-in-my-house-!”

It wasn’t a question and they knew it. Trembling before me like leaves in autumn, clinging to the tree of life, right before winter ripped them off and cast them to decay. They knew there was no escaping the storm I summoned. They had unwittingly stepped into the tornado’s path and heavens knew there was no place to shelter. I shook the very foundations of the house. The bright object fell from the man’s grasp, and smashed to the ground. We all fell into darkness. All that could be heard was a scream muffled through sweaty hands.

I heard that all too human sound and would have stopped- had it not been so long since I had made that sound myself. But my hatred had a will of its own. It tore the remaining paintings from the wall, it shook the chandeliers one screw looser, it flung the broken mirrors in the air. Shattered glass collided with flesh and my thoughts turned to redecorating as a crimson stain splattered onto the wall.

Damnation, I cursed, my calm returning as I witnessed the carnage around me. I would have to wait for the bodies to turn a little before attempting to move them- hopefully no one would come looking for them a while yet… It would so destroy my rather tranquil mood if they brought people sniffing out their rotting corpses- theirs or the others. Let’s hope no one took a peek down the dumbwaiter.

But I supposed this would be a problem for another day. I span on my heels and went back to bed.

*****

Somewhere in the distance the clock chimed again. No, not a clock chiming- a bell. Someone was ringing the bell. I tensed, drawing my linen closer, not knowing their next move, too scared to trail my bare feet out the sheets- until I knew for sure. Until the dull thud of that tricky front door opening gave them away. They were in my house…

Okay so short stories are not my usual forte- but I hope that was at least a little entertaining!

I love endings!

nanowrimo

I don’t think I ever properly explained what I was doing this month for Nano. Basically, I had an 85000 word manuscript I wanted to overhaul– of which 20,000 words were edited. I was feeling ambitious so I decided I wanted to do the rest… and I did it! I finished last night!

Honestly when I stopped for the night on 29th and had 4 whole chapters left to go, I never thought I would make it. But as luck would have it, I got off work an hour early. And then- even with all my best procrastination techniques- I still managed to pull it off!

(Okay, I sort of finished. Right now I’ve got all my track changes on and it’s pretty much every colour of the rainbow. And I may have 5 chapters that I edited by hand and need to type up. But who cares- cos I completed the challenge I set myself! Even though I never thought I would!)

Most importantly of all, I am finally, finally happy with the story- so yay!! After hacking away at it, the plot is now streamlined (3 chapters and 5000 words lighter), the protagonist is now my bestie and the story just feels more real (well, as real as fantasy ever gets).

As I was writing the last few lines, I began to feel the euphoria of it all clicking together began to sink in and it struck me that I loved endings most of all. Nothing really beats that moment when you get to tie all the stray strands in place, nothing makes me happier than playing out that last cathartic note, and nothing is more satisfying than writing “the end”.

All it needs now is a little proofread and a polish- and that’s not too daunting. Wish me luck!

So did you do Nano? Did you win? (Cop outs like what I did totally count!) Let me know in the comments!

The Character Dating Profile Tag

So since I have absolutely no free time right now and I’m desperately trying to do a million things at once… I thought now would be a great time to make up my own tag… Cos, you know, I’m like that…

Yay procrastination!

character-dating-profile-tag

This tag is fairly simple- I have seen a few character tags around in the past, but wasn’t quite feeling them, so I thought I’d make my own compiled of some dating profile questions! Plus, for all you non-writers out there, this can totally be used for book characters as well!

Let’s get on with it shall we?

Rules:

  1. Link back to the creator The Orangutan Librarian
  2. Answer as your/a character
  3. Have fun!

❤️ Name ❤️

Jules Dorrien

(He is such a liar!)

❤️ Age ❤️

20

❤️ Interested in ❤️

Both, either, any

❤️ Looks ❤️

Blond, blue eyes, bit of a rock star.

(Okay he’s not lying. Though he omitted he’s got quite a few tats he covers up… for good reason)

❤️ Religious views ❤️

Religious views? What’s that? Oh you mean thoughts on gods- I’m very interested. Very.

❤️ Greatest ambition ❤️

You don’t want to know

(That’s true)

❤️ Favourite Hobby ❤️

Smoking

❤️ Three BEST Skills ❤️

*Shrugs*

(Yeah- he’s not gonna answer that one- so I’ll answer for him: the art of persuasion, being super shady and he’s pretty handy with a knife)

❤️ Ideal Partner ❤️

*Shrugs again*

(Even I don’t know that! I’d say he’s flexible- especially on morals)

❤️ Perfect Date ❤️

 Getting really drunk

Phew- I thought I’d stop there, cos I may have made a mistake picking this character- he was feeling pretty uncommunicative! I tag:

Hey Ashers

Eve Messenger

Claire @ Art & Soul

Sarina Langer

Sarah Doughty

Jill

Kat

J J Azar

Daley Downing

Marie

Roseread

And anyone else that wants to do this!

The One Where I Disagree with Everyone

Aka Publishers, Editors, Creative Writing Professors, Your Pet Cat, Anyone That’s Ever Said Anything… Basically EVERYONE!

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As you may know, I’m not normally the kind of blogger that gives writing advice, and I’ll be the first to say there’s a lot of good guidance out there, but I have also seen a lot of rules bandied about over the years that are just plain wrong. So cos I’m currently feeling the spirit of Nanowrimo- today and today only- I will be addressing some of these cardinal writing sins:

  • “No Purple Prose!”– this has to be one of my least favourite pieces of writing advice. The anti-metaphor police have been brandishing this one for years and I find it laughable. I mean, are they truly saying that Fitzgerald, for instance, wrote terrible books because they were too flowery? Of course not! Their basic premise is that it’s old fashioned and *we* don’t do it anymore. Of course, the 20th century was a revolution in popularising literature for the masses, partly by paring down and simplifying writing styles… but who says that has to be everyone’s purpose? Do we all share this goal? Since when were the rules of writing so linear? And who is this “we” anyway? Sorry, but this isn’t a communist dictatorship- *go away*. Not every writer is the same and not everyone has the same tastes! Basically, blanket rules never work.
  • “Never mix omniscient and third person limited” (or “no head-hopping!”)- this one’s a little trickier. Because, yes, if you get this wrong it can be confusing. If, say, an author skips between perspectives in the middle of a scene it can be very disorientating. However, good control over your writing overrules this- and actually employing more than one point of view can be the difference between a novice and a master. Frankly a brilliant author can slip from one perspective to another without you even noticing. Heck- plenty of the best authors did this all the time- take Austen, Hardy and Dickens. Are you seriously telling me that they didn’t know what they were doing? Or are you just saying “oh no, they were on such a high level that no one in this generation could hope to aspire to”. Either way, it’s a stupid thing to say. It’s dumb to suggest this to writers, because it’s encouraging them not to even try to write great literature, because they would never succeed. Also it’s patronising to suggest all readers would be confused by this change of perspective and wouldn’t be able to keep track. Instead I would correct this advice to: only do it if you have a lot of control- if you don’t, it’ll show up if you try this and fail.
  • “Absolutely no adverbs!”– People have been obsessed with this ever since Stephen King said “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs”. Personally, I’m not a fan of his anyway. I’m sure his plotting is great, cos I’ve enjoyed films I’ve seen based on his books. *But* I’ve never been able to get past his dull writing style- so clearly he’s not for everyone. Plus I’ve seen some convoluted examples out there that are just plain ludicrous. For example, if “quickly” is the word you want to use, use it. Don’t faff about saying “at a pace that was quite a bit faster than usual”. Still not convinced? Check out Matthew Wright’s awesome piece on why we really do need adverbs. (PS if you want excellent writing advice in general I would highly recommend checking out his blog- it’s second to none on this!)
  • “Show don’t tell”– I’ve wondered for a long time whether this one is true- and yet I have to think of many times when a character has just had to express what they’re feeling so that I actually know what’s going on. I can see why this is important at times- just not always! Plus, this one truly irks me for the number of times I have seen people using it incorrectly against work that is showing not telling.
  • “Don’t info-dump”– there is a fine line between info-dumping and giving valuable information. It’s not info-dumping when Hagrid tells Harry about Hogwarts, now is it? So why is it info-dumping when someone explains the basic premise of their world? It’s just informative. Like all the other examples on this list, there are always times when it’s totally fine to do this. (Just try not to make it too clunky and overwhelming!)

So don’t “kill all your babies” and sometimes it’s okay to tell people what’s going on- it’s not always worth being cryptic! Not every piece of advice is stellar- you learn more by writing, reading and analysing than you ever could by just getting advice. The important thing to remember is rules are made to be broken!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!

How A Book Is Made Tag

So I saw this seriously awesome tag on equally awesome rivermoosereads blog, and even though I was not tagged to do it, I thought the questions were particularly relevant this month and so good, that I just had to do it! (even though I have *a ton* of work to do on my novel and that I have countless tags to do, but, you know, I’m a masochist)

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(This tag was created by WritingMime over on YouTube.)

1. Should you participate in National Novel Writing Month to create a book?

nanowrimo

Well, I never have before, because it doesn’t suit my personality and I don’t usually set myself word limit targets (I work more by chapters), but this year I needed a bit of a prod to get some editing finished- so I’m semi-participating. If you also need a kick up the backside to get things done- then this might be the perfect opportunity for you to!

That was a really long winded way of saying- it’s up to you!

2. Self-publishing or traditional publishing?

I have no idea. Whatever suits you.

3. Write one idea at a time or write all the ideas at once?

I try to focus on one novel at a time- but I can’t help it if I suddenly get a brainwave for a story I want to write 5 years from now!

4. What genre is the easiest to write?

fantasy2

Well I like to mix it up- but everything I write comes under the rather broad umbrella of fantasy (barring occasional, slightly-shitty short stories)

5. Where do you need to write to get the work done?

Wherever I can!

6. Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere!

7. What age do you start writing?

When you can hold a pen and form words. Before that, you should make your thoughts known by scribbling liney-illustrations of visual frustration.

scribbles

8. What’s easiest to write? Short stories, stand-alones, series, etc.

Novels- as aforementioned, I’m not fond of writing short stories. Any mini-idea I get usually gets absorbed by some larger one- cos big stories need sustenance!

9. Do you mill your books or take years to write a book?

Depends on the book.

10. How fast can you type?

Very!

11. Do you write in the dark or in the light?

This is me right now:

night-owl

12. Hand-written or typed?

Handwritten then typed. Usually straight after I finish it so I can do a quick, basic edit, though I used to write the whole thing through before going through the mammoth task of typing it up.

13. Alone or with someone else?

It’s late- I’m gonna answer with another pic:

lone-wolf

14. Any typing hacks?

Nope

15. Are you already published?

Haha if only! But that would involve actually sending things off/coming up with some coherent plan to self-publish. Neither of which are things I relish!

16. When did you first consider being an author?

When I was 7 and my my great-uncle was visiting from Australia, I told him “all I want to do was travel the world and write”– so that’s when it became official!

17. How many books do you have in draft form?

Drafts… one that I’m editing now. Completed… three.

18. Do you outline or no?

what-do-you-take-me-for

19. What’s your favourite note-keeping strategy?

Notebooks!! Notebooks everywhere!

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20. What do you think about writing in different genres?

Well, I pretty much decided that I wanted to stay writing fantasy/supernatural books forever- but never say never! I just think there’s so much scope within the genre to explore that I can create quite different work without ever having to talk about the “real” world! But, you know, that is really upto the individual author to decide!

I tag:

Eve Messenger

Marie

Kat

Rosereads

Jill

Invisible Moth

And anyone else who wishes to do this!

Let me know in the comments if you are participating (or semi participating) in NaNo)? Or if you just love to write!

Nanowrimo?

So I meant to post this earlier, but I was detained by a seriously good book and now, *excuses, excuses*, we’re four days into November…

Still- no time like the present!

Confession time: I have never done Nano before and I’m not exactly starting now- buuuuut I am very behind on my writing and have decided to use the opportunity (*ahem indirect pressure of loads of people writing around me*) to set myself a goal and actually get on with it!

So what is my plan then? Well it struck me like I bolt of lightning (or a video in my sub box) when I saw this…

Thanks to this awesome video I feel kind of good about admitting that I will be using Nano to do some rewrites! I have a considerable number of words (I haven’t checked, so it’s a guesstimate to say 50,000) that I need to sort the hell out- because honestly I’ve been really, realllly lazy about it.

And that’s everything for now- are you participating in nano in a big or small way? Let me know in the comments!!