This Is War

You might remember that I’ve been participating in CampNaNoWriMo this month. Well, I’ve discovered (thanks to another blogger) this thing called a ‘word war’.

It sounds like a ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ kind of thing to me, but actually, for those of you who are as ignorant as me, it’s a competition where you go up against other writers, trying to get as many words down in your WiP in a set amount of time as possible.

However, if you’re as shy and awkward as me, you can word war against yourself. Just set up a timer and you’re good to go. While being competitive might give you the edge, setting up time where you have to write as fast as you can with no distractions is helpful no matter how you do it.

I imagine that some people will feel the same way as I do; they like to take their time, stare out the window, check out Tumblr. Rushing writing can’t be a good thing, right?

But you have to reconcile yourself with a simple fact: this is the first draft. It won’t kill you if it’s shit. It’ll kill your pride, sure, but your first draft was always going to be a shit, ego-killing debacle. The first draft is an adventure — and, as us introverts know, adventures are messy. Always. They’re fun, but there is a decidedly large amount of cleaning up to do. And it’s the same in your first draft.

So to hell with perfect and taking your time. Let it all go and participate in a word war. The quicker you get that first draft finished, the quicker you can get out the mop and bucket.

 

PS: I might miss a couple of posts in the next week because of CampNaNWriMo and the 8K or so of words I have to write for it by Wednesday. I apologise in advance.

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Book Review: Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter

The blurb from Goodreads:

Don’t miss this spectacular new series that will steal your heart and haunt your dreams, Welcome to Shadow Falls camp, nestled deep in the woods of a town called Fallen…

One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…

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My Chemical Romance: Write For Lyrics

Write for Lyrics is a thing that I do occasionally. I give you the band and a piece of written work based on the lyrics of one of their songs, and you get to guess in the comments what song it is. First person to get it right gets Relatively Curious points to trade in for virtual cupcakes.

Three breaths in,

Three breaths out,

A pocket full of plastic bags and cocaine.

I want you to be

My self-destruct button.

Two breaths in,

Two breaths out,

A pocket full of hugs and missed chances.

I want you to be

Everything.

One breath in,

One breath out,

A pocket full of parties and knives,

I want you to be

My neon angel.

All my breaths are gone,

I don’t wanna die,

Three more steps and it will be over.

Three

Two

One

.

Having a Hat On

I have no idea what to post today. And, of course, when in doubt the best reply is flash fiction, so here it is: a story about having a hat on.

It wasn’t big, or fluffy, or noticeable. My hat was just a hat, and I was just wearing it.

So why did everyone keep staring at me?

I nodded at the tourists as I passed by, and they stuck their cameras in my faces and clicked the flash as if I was an object or a statue or something that wasn’t a person. They were standing right next to Big Ben and the Londond Eye and all of that, but all they wanted to take pictures of was me and my hat.

I went to Sainsburys to grab a pint of milk. My mum asked me to get it so she could bake a cake or somesuch, but I couldn’t get into the shop. Therewas a security man standing there, barring my way like he was afraid that I wasn’t going in to buy a pint of milk but to unleashe the zombie apocalypse by the power of my headwear. I asked him what was so wrong with me, so horrific, that he wouldn’t let me past, but he just shook his head and called for back-up.

They called the police. I got arrested for causing a disturbance. I kept asking and asking and asking what was wrong with my hat — because it was definitely the hat that everyone was staring at, horrified — but no one would tell me. No one would talk at me. No one would look at me except to stare at my bloody hat.

Mum came to bail me out of gaol. She wasn’t impressed when she found out I hadn’t bought the milk, but she was even less impressed when she saw me.

“Ellie,” she said, “Ellie, my dear. That isn’t a hat. It isn’t a hat at all.”

“Then what have I put on my head?” I asked her. “Mummy, what silly thing have I done?”

“Well, my dearest, it’s a silly thing you’ve done. You’ve gone and put on your head a gun.”

I’m sorry. I am so, so, so terribly sorry. I couldn’t imagine what she’d put on her head, and when that rhyme, as grammatically questionable as it may be, came into my head, I couldn’t stop myself. I wholeheartedly apologise.

Meet the Family

I’m sorry for not posting the other day, but I was ill. I’m still a bit off it, so I’m going to keep it short and tell you about a new tab I just added to the top of that nav bar thing: Meet the Family.

That page up there is a list of my favourite creatures from all the Perspectives novels currently being worked on by me. A large proportion of them are the narrator at some point in the story, so go ahead and meet them all! They’ve each given me a paragraph about them that they think says the most about them — or the least, whatevere they preferred or wanted to do at the time. Some of them are enigmas, even to me, and some of them just didn’t have their hearts in the exercise. Either way, they’ve given tiny bits of their hearts to you to inspect, so have fun and see what you can glean from them. If you’re lucky, closer to publication (a time that I don’t actually expect to ever happen ever, they’re such a stubborn lot), you might even get an interview with one of them (probably Lantern, since she’s my very favourite). Enjoy, and I shall add characters as I go along and get a better feel for them.

You’re Not Ready

It’s something you might hear all the time, or it could be something that you say to people yourself, but You’re not ready is the bane of many a person’s life. After all, how can you possibly be  certain if you’re up to something if you’re encouraged not to try?

As a teen writer, not feeling ready is a part of my everyday life. How can I write about love when I haven’t experienced it? Death, when it’s such a far-away concept? Mental illness, getting a new job, having a cat, talking to adults as an equal… I could go on forever listing things I haven’t done or experienced or learnt enough about yet. They tell you to write what you know, but I’m a coddled sixteen-year-old introvert whose only experience of life comes through books. What could I possibly know that would come across well to more learned, experienced people?

That’s what goes through my brain a lot of the time. It’s what has been going through my brain today, as I realise that I’m writing a psychiatric hospital when I have three instances to draw on and they’re all books. I feel like I need to research. I feel like I should wait until I’m ready, until I have the necessary tools, knowledge, and maturity to portray the place the way it deserves to be portrayed — and in a way that won’t offend people. But if I waited for that… isn’t it possible that I would have to wait forever?

Which brings me back to that sentence near the top that has no reason to be there, cluttering this post up and confusing it’s way of thinking and it’s flow.

How can you be certain that you’re not ready if you don’t try?

I wasn’t ready to write this post; it came to me as a flash of a thought and I didn’t give that thought a chance to become orderly, as is probably clear from the above.

But I wrote it anyway.

I might be an inexperienced child for whom the most exciting thing is a new email or a visit to a nearby city with friends, but my way of seeing things is individual. It should be cherished, and it shouldn’t be left to rot because I think I need to wait, to be ‘ready’. It’s time to seize the day.

So what if it turns out that I wasn’t ready? If I’m not ready to write that psychiatric hospital, if it turns out shit, under-researched, naive and offensive — so what? That’s what first drafts are supposed to be. I’ll just have to go back when I’m ready — or when I’m not. You never know how a project’s going to turn out.

In short, reader; go do something you don’t feel ready for, and fuck the result.

I dare you.

The Killers: Write for Lyrics

Write for Lyrics is going to be a new thing I will do every two weeks or somesuch, I haven’t decided yet. These posts will be anything from flashfiction to a poem to an essay, but they will all be based on the lyrics of one song. I will give you the artist; feel free to guess the track, and answer in the comments. First correct answer gets Relatively Curious Points, which you can trade in for virtual cakes.

All it took was one kiss. One kiss to begin it all.

She was beautiful as she danced her way through that club. She was a whirlwind. She swept me up as she went past, and I haven’t been able to forget her.

Not since she kissed me.

It was like a revivng breath, but it made me forever hers.

I followed her from the club, after that kiss. She didn’t seem to mind. She seemed to understand what I had to do. She saw the tether that bound me.

The night after, that tether, that inexplicable rope of destiny, took me back to the club. She was there, and she was beautiful, and she acknowledged me with a smile, and that was all I needed in that moment.

But the day after, and the day after, and the day after? I needed more.

She didn’t want to give me anything. She’d forgotten about me by the next week — I wasn’t even a one-night-stand, so why wouldn’t she? I started fighting the urge to go to the club, knowing she’d be there but wouldn’t care about me.

But every night I stayed away, I was haunted. I could imagine the way she looked in the moonlight; the way her skin tasted; who was tasting it. Waves of jealousy poured over me as I imagined them together: the man who was stronger and more sophisticated than me, and the woman who I couldn’t stop thinking about.

She would shed her clothes for him. But not for me.

I still can’t forget her.

Not even with the restraining order, the therapy, the lies.

I will never forget her.

TCWT Blog Chain: Fernsby Family Therapy

The topic for this month’s blog chain is

“Take any character from one of your books and put them in a therapy session. Write a (short!) scene about what happens. (You can include multiple characters and make it a group therapy session.)”

Now, the problem with my slightly haphazard way of writing serieses is that I can’t really do anything without spoiler-fying it. However, I am going to be extra-special careful about giving out any Saving Grace Series spoilers.

You know, except this one: Tam, Annie, Rath and Tom are actually family. Thankfully, the entire series is still in the works, so none of you know who these people are and will forget what I have written before they come out. Besides which, though it only comes out in Book 5, it isn’t at all important to the plot. Hurray!

 

So here you go, the Fernsby family in therapy:

“And what do you think of that, Annie?”

My sister rolled her eyes, the way she always did when our mother was the topic of conversation. “I think it’s total… she basically left Rath to die on the streets! How could anyone do that to their son? She isn’t my mum and she isn’t Rath’s. We disowned her a long time ago.”

“So she left you to die on the streets and you did the same to her in retaliation?” Tom asked me, eyebrows raised sardonically, legs crossed over each other in lazy confidence. How he became the mediator, I didn’t know — he was Tam’s cousin, why would he not be on her side? How could he be called ‘unbiased’?

“She was never my mother, Tom. I didn’t disown her so much as not acknowledge her claim.” I shrugged, wondering if I could get the calm-and-collected Tauma Fernsby to crack. “Besides, we both know that out of all of us, you’re the one most likely to leave her to die — how’s the business going for you, by the way?”

I shot a look at my sister. She was shaking her green hair out of her eyes. She leant forward, poised to jump into the fray. “And how’s Mummy’s business going? How’s the senseless murdering going, mother? Good?”

We all turned to look at Tam. Her eyes were expressionless, for once. Maybe it was because Annie was in the room, or maybe because Tom was there. “It isn’t senseless. It’s contracted. These people have it comin’ to ’em, Annie,” she said, her words slurring a little at the end as she drops into a Yorkshire accent. She only does that when she’s mad.

“Let’s not get onto that topic,” Tom hastened to add. “We’re talking about your relationships, not your jobs.”

“But that’s why she abandoned us, isn’t it? Because she was out fighting the crime you and her had been payed to fight?” Annie asked in the same dry way that Tom had questioned me.

“It wasn’t the place for a child. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you two,” Tam said. I tried not to sneer. Annie had no such qualms.

“Sure, sure. So that’s why you let poor Rath get auctioned off to the highest infertile bidders, yeah?” My sister’s voice was bitter; I’d clearly taught her to hate our mother well.

“His father left me. He would have been worse off with me than with them. They loved yuh, di’n’t they?”

I let them stare at me for a moment. “Better than you ever have,” I replied, looking at my shoelaces. I should probably tie them.

“Rath–”

I shook my head. “This was about getting us all back together. But the fact is, me and Annie are happy as we are, alone. Right, An?” I asked her, my heart stopping for a second as I asked the question. I couldn’t let our mother get in the way.

“Happy with you and your moaning, weird House friends, and strange taste in music? I wouldn’t say happy,” she said with a smirk, “But I have to agree that I don’t see much point in all this.”

Tom shook his head. “We have to do this, remember? It was part of the conditions.”

Annie and I looked at each other before asking together, “What conditions?”

 

And that was the Fernsby family’s therapy session (although Tam and Tom are technically the only Fernsbys). I don’t know quite what went on there, and I’m sure the rest of the world is even more confused, but there you go!

Participants:

July 5th – http://novelexemplar.wordpress.com/

July 6th – http://veewhoa.wordpress.com/

July 7th – http://bloodoverithaca.wordpress.com/

July 8th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/

July 9th – http://themagicviolinist.blogspot.com/

July 10th – http://fida-islaih.blogspot.com/

July 11th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

July 12th – https://maralaurey.wordpress.com/

July 13th – http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com/

July 14th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/

July 15th – http://charleyrobson.blogspot.com/

July 16th – http://www.oyeahwrite.wordpress.com/

July 17th – http://insatiablebeforedeath.wordpress.com/

July 18th – http://www.indianawriterblog.wordpress.com/

July 19th – http://akwardlywriting.blogspot.com/

July 20th – http://alifeonmission.wordpress.com/

July 21st – http://whimsicallyours.com/

July 22nd – http://theteenagewriter.wordpress.com/

July 23rd – http://dreamerheadquarters.wordpress.com

July 24th – http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com/

July 25th – http://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/

26th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll be announcing the topic for next month’s chain.)

Trying Not to Hurt

I have no pearls of wisdom or even a review for you today. To be honest I’m not feeling very writerly today. However, I do need to blog today, so I shall push through the pain and write you a little bit of flash fiction.

(My next post will be on 12th as I am participating in the TCWT Blog Chain this month)

 

The wounds weren’t always there. Somedays, you wouldn’t notice I was dying. My illness was one of ebbs and flows, forget-me-nots and do-what-you-likes. One second was all it took for my life to burst into a multitude of colours or sink into a cave. I didn’t know who I would be when I woke up in the morning.

But… sometimes it was the best gift I could have been given. I had the chance to be someone different everyday. On Monday I was a jilted lover; Tuesday I was a man of wisdom; Wednesday I was a daddy’s girl. The rest of the week I was the me that hid under covers and fell into wanderings of a severely morbid turn. The one who slept with a knife under her pillow; the one who dreamt with a knife to his neck.

People tended not to see. I could never be sure if that was from design or from self-absorption, but no matter the reason it was my downfall.

The jilted lover became a woman scorned; the man of wisdom found himself jaded; the daddy’s girl was abandoned. I stopped hiding under the covers and began hiding behind escape, and the wanderings became my only thoughts. The pillow was got rid of.

As was my neck.

I was only trying not to hurt.

 

And on that cheery note I shall leave you in the hope that, when I read this post tomorrow or the day after, I will not groan in embarrassment at my attempt to be profound. Au revoir.

Away With the Fairies

It’s possible you remember my two previous posts about my novel, Lantern’s Fall (Perspectives), and what a shitty time I was having trying to rewrite it.

Well, my friends, I have worked out my main problem with that: pressure. I felt the need to re-write 75K of novel by September, and fit a first draft of 50K (through the power of CampNaNoWriMo) in between. And all of this during the summer hols, the time I’m supposed to be taking a break from school and work. It turns out that that was a stupid idea.

So I made a plan yesterday. And a very good plan I think it is too. I shall continue to try and re-write Lantern’s Fall, but I shan’t have a deadline for it. Instead, I will enter a different manuscript into NaNoCritMo, one that (I’m hoping) is slightly more ready than LF.

Would you like to know more about this MS?

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