About Me

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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Oh, Profanity...

So, my ginger cake turned into apple and ginger pie, consumed at midnight with my lovely friends who are pretty much family. It was ok, but not my best. Rubbish pastry, but then I guess I should follow a recipe.

The Fancy Folder for CQ
It's been a while since I posted here, as I have been insanely busy, and I'm really not used to having so little time on my hands. The job is going really well - they've started leaving me on my own now, which is great. Although half the time when the phone rings in those instances, it's someone asking for my colleague. Still, I'm getting there. I've got to know most people and which companies/projects they work for now, there's just a few I'm still getting to know. I've even memorised a few extension numbers. We have a fancy new website, if you care to take a look. 

I was getting a bit frustrated, as I have not been able to do much writing recently. I've had a Local Preaching Assignment to do, a Sunday service to plan, my ongoing ITQ to complete, and now I'm also attending a 10 week long drawing class with the lovely Nikki Joy. But yesterday I overcame this, as I had a bit of scrap paper at the desk, which I was scribbling ideas on when it was quiet. So, I've got a few things to be getting on with, and I drafted a dialogue/argument last night between Joe and Anna, brother and sister, after he has just discovered who she likes to share a bed with. 
My First Draft

One of the things Rob has picked me up on several times when making suggestions for CQ is the amount of swearing. I'm still trying to decide if I see it as a problem. The ruling at Uni was so long as it fits in and adds to the story - don't swear for the sake of it. Most, if not all the swearing in my book is used perfectly naturally and in keeping with the characters. I've tried taking some of them out, but it just makes the characters sound wierd and awkward. I try not to swear a lot myself, but 16/17 year-old college kids tend not to care so much. 
I'd really like to hear what you think about swearing in young adult fiction, or in fiction at all. It used to be something I was really prudish about as a kid, oddly enough. 
As the manuscript currently stands, with 54,138 words, 36 of those are the F word, 11 are the P word, and 7 are the S word. There are a few instances of slightly inflammatory name-calling, but I'm not sure if they count. And I'm not counting the word 'bloody'. 

I've decided that I need a lot more of a view into the world of the antagonist, Andy. We need to see his motivations, his surroundings, all the things that make him the way he is. But also the effect he has on those around him, and the effect they have on him. I want to show more of the dynamic of him and his two friends and how they operate as a group. 

I finally got round to buying Chiodos' new album, Illuminaudio, which I am slightly obsessed with. There's one song in particular, Notes in Constellations, which I cannot get out of my head. It's a wonderful song. It makes me think of Ryan and Lauren. I can't get them out of my head either, and I keep getting ideas of how I can edit little bits or change the dynamic of particular scenes between them. I've already rewritten the crucial scene between them and made it much more realistic, much more affectionate, I guess. Before it was almost too understated. But I've got lots of ideas for them, so it's good.

Let's just hope I can make the time to actually write about it. 

Anyway, I've been trying to keep up with everyone's blogs, and I have to say, it looks like your writing years have all made for a very good start. Well done everyone and keep up the hard work :)

I must go so that I can get some writing done and finish my assignment before our cake party tonight. I love cake. 

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Welcome to the life of a receptionist.

Russell Howard, Comedian.
 I am a very happy bunny. For Christmas, my parents gave me a Ticketmaster giftcard, which I was over the moon about. The one thing that I have felt the lack of from living on benefits is going to gigs, both of the music and comedy varieties. So I logged on the other day to see if, by any crazy chance, there might be any seats left for Russell Howard, and, lo and behold, there were. I spent every single penny of my giftcard on the man and have been grinning from ear to ear ever since. I think he's lovely, as Rob will bear witness to. There's just something so positive and optimistic about most of his comedy. His philosophy of life seems to be 'cheer up, stop moaning and see the funny side', and I love that. The tickets came through the door this morning, so bring on February. 

I must apologise for my lack of posting. I started my placement on Tuesday and haven't really had much time to spare. I'm just getting used to the working world. I'm really enjoying it so far - I'm working on reception in a building owned by Goodwin, and the people I'm working with are lovely. (I'll get my fiver later for saying that.) I'm just getting to know who's who and who works for which company, which is all a bit confusing, but I'm getting there. 

Anyway, Writing news. I don't have huge amounts other than a few things I forgot to mention last time. I tried to go sale shopping the other week, and I realised that I completely suck at it. I tried on one pair of jeans, which I didn't even buy, then I ended up in Blue Banana talking to a member of staff about my 'sixteen year-old sister, Lauren.'
In case you didn't know, I don't have a sixteen year-old sister. My sister is 23 and called Heather. Lauren is one of my main characters.
Does this mean I am officially crazy? Or just a filthy liar?

Well, it was fun, and it got me thinking on my feet. I actually found it to be a really good excercise, because she really came alive in my head. I was imagining her response to all the things I 'was considering buying for her', and at the same time working out her style and outfits. If you've never done it, try it. It's cheaper than the cinema.
Or if you're not into the whole lying thing, then good old-fashioned hot-seating is just as good. I used to love Hot-Seating in Drama. It's essentially where you have someone interviewing you as your character, so it's all about initial reactions and what feels right. 

I bought a fancy big folder for my First Draft, which I'm still putting into all the folders. I have had a bit of a chance to work on it again, but only scribbling in pencil on it. I woke up thinking about the latter scenes this morning, which does happen a lot. I'm just trying to make the damn thing actually work. I'm also wondering just how messed up Andy really is, bearing in mind that this is a teen/young adult fiction. So one of the things I'm looking into is some flashbacks into Andy's childhood to get a feel for his motivations. 

But right now, I need to buy treacle and other such stuff because I plan to bake a ginger cake to test run my Christmas present from Nikki... check her blog to find out what it is ;). 
Hopefully it will look like this...

Monday, 3 January 2011

A View from Year's End

Welcome to 2011 everyone. Let's make this one count. I can't say I'm sad to see the back of 2010. It was a tough year. I shan't say it was long, because honestly, everything since Spring has been a bit of a blur. A lot has happened, A lot has changed. I turned 21, gained a degree and graduated with a 2:1, moved house, bought a wedding dress, even got a job, finally. And I've lost people. Two wonderful people. The greatest role model I think I will ever have the privilege to know. But we carry on. We just have to.

Rob has just set down my manuscript and is staring at me. I'm worried.

I'm actually very impressed. He set out to read  just after lunch (fajita pancakes - lovely), and has got to page 167 just after 10:00. I knew when I handed it to him that there are a lot of gaps, a lot of rushed, unedited scenes, and a lot of things that just don't work, which made it even harder to hand over. But, I had a deadline, and I wanted to keep to it. I should say, I started this post on the 1st, it is now the 3rd. I got distracted, as Rob then proceeded to give me feedback. I have been tangled up in a confusing state of elation, pride, frustration and sulking.

But, all feedback is helpful, I should remind myself. And I should remember not to focus on the negatives too hard. Because a lot of what Rob said was good, and was very encouraging. Certainly for the first two thirds, he laughed in the right places, smiled at the bits I am most proud of, I would say he gasped at the revelations, but he didn't, as he pretty much already knew most of the secrets. This was a shame, as I'd like to see the impact these would have on a first reading. I try to remember his initial reactions when I first told or showed him . 

Either way, the thing that I take away from this initial feedback is that most of the characters, some more than others, are believable and likeable. One or two of the characters, though, need to be developed more, and shown more. Also, quite clearly, the ending needs work. A lot. Of work. 

This is what I have been sulking about. Ok, so it is the part that I have edited, reworked and looked over the least, but it upsets me that this is quite so obvious. There are other scenes I bashed out literally about half an hour before I 'submitted' my manuscript, which my lovely but honest marker said was great. Granted, they were much shorter, but still, I wonder why this is so? I guess it just is. 
But, I should be comforted that all that hard work on earlier chapters obviously paid off. So, more of the same for the latter part. 

Feedback is like medicine - it tastes bitter and like it's probably going to kill you, but in the end it's good for you. 

So, I have a workload for 2011. But the good thing about this whole exercise is that now I have my workload ordered. I have, for all intents and purposes, a manuscript template, with all the bits, or most of the bits, that should be in there marked as 'to be completed'. So for the most part, my second draft aim is filling in the blanks, joining the dots. A little bit of rewriting, then a third draft can be more focussed. That's the plan, anyway. 

And what was I doing while Rob ploughed through my manuscript? I was playing Oblivion, of course. I'm now the Arch-Mage, though it's taken me long enough, and I managed to kill a Xivilai in one hit, which I thought was rather impressive. I snuck up on him, so got 6x damage. I also bought a dress in the Shivering Isles, which I thought looks rather cool, alongside the Sanguine Rose staff. I'm a geek, I know.

Anyway, I hope everyone else is making good progress with their writing, and I wish you all a happy writing year.