All the Extras
This page is where I'll discuss a mix of other topics which either are important or I just want to discuss and let you know about.
After a crazy week, I'm gonna be changing by schedule a bit over the next week and a half until things calm down. So, tonight's is one of my 'What I'm...' updates.
What I'm Reading
This should probably be titled a bit differently since I'm not currently reading anything. But today, I finished The Extinction Trials: Exile (book 2 in the trilogy) and that review will be included in my monthly reading list.
I'll also be starting Bright We Burn (book 3 in the Conquerors Saga) this weekend- I've put it off for too long and I should just resign myself to the fact that it will hurt and probably make me cry.
What I'm Listening To
In between other things, a song I keep coming back to is You Should See Me in a Crown by Billie Eilish. I first saw it on a new fan video a couple of months ago for an old TV show I love(d) and the song is now part of a playlist for a new writing idea I'm in the planning stages of.
I've also recently found a Hufflepuff Pride video called Sorted This Way- a parody of Born This Way by Lady Gaga, which is brilliant. I think the account has done other songs for the other Hogwarts Houses too, but I'm not 100% sure. As a proud Hufflepuff, it's nice to see we're finally getting the recognition we deserve! :)
What I'm Watching
I've been watching a good amount of TV recently, mainly English shows on the BBC, which I'm enjoying all of them.
The last film I watched was Lost in Translation, with Bill Murray and a young Scarlett Johansson. I've only seen it once before a long time ago and it was nice to familiarise myself again. Despite a premise that could come across as creepy, it actually works somehow and is a pretty decent film.
That's it for today. I'll be back soon with my holiday posts (finally!) and one with my small Harry Potter collection, including the things I'll be buying soon and what I want to buy in the future.
What are you reading/watching/listening to, ect? All the best.
This post has been entirely spontaneous, but I wanted to write it anyway. Trigger warnings for anxiety and depression.
For anyone who doesn't know, I took a hiatus on the blog over August while I tried to sort out my mental health and some other things. This last Saturday, I returned with posts planned from the summer and a general more confident feeling, even while I had to scale back the days I post to Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Tuesday arrived...and passed without me blogging anything. The feeling I got the day after felt exactly the same as any other day this happens- why can't I keep this up regularly?
But the truth of everything is a lot different. I've had a pretty tough couple of weeks with my mental health. On Tuesday, I found some of my triggers. Before I (finally) realised this was what the issue was, my reaction was always the same- freak out, shout at the person who'd accidently triggered me and slam my invisible walls back up. Now I know, I hope I can be calmer about it next time.
I'm in a weird in-between possibilities place at the moment. I'm putting pressure on myself (thanks, brain!) and unfortunately, so are some people around me, though I know full well they don't mean to. My introversion means I don't like confrontation even amongst my nearest and dearest- and my anxiety fully flips out at the thought of having a serious conversation about this stuff. Instead of saying them face to face...well, I'm a writer for a reason! :) But I have some of the best people around me to support me.
So, that will have to happen.
I also keep not hearing any news about the counselling I'm looking into. It's really annoying, but I'm sure something will happen soon. Until then, I thankfully have unofficial counsellors which is probably just as good. I think so, anyway!
But it's a clear Friday evening in England as I'm writing this and I made it through a mostly bad week. It involved crying on people who are both brilliant listeners and some of my best friends. It involved me listening to my new favourite podcast, Mentally Yours, which is funny and just a great reinforcer that I'm not alone. It involved me yet again scrolling through the TWLOHA blog, which has long been a wonderful source of encouragement and relatability for me. It involved me reminding myself of all the places I want to travel to, the dreams I have for the future, the things I want to write and that this week is just one of many and better weeks are ahead.
For the record, trying to write this post in a way I wouldn't even accidently trigger myself was hard. I am sure there will be more triggers I haven't yet found and this week may repeat itself in some ways when/if that happens. But I still have lots of hope.
I may be fighting my mental illnesses for the rest of my life, but it's a fight I'm here to win.
All the best.
I'm back! I had a great holiday and that (guaranteed to be long) post will be coming within the week, along with my book round-up whilst away. But, while I've missed blogging, I learnt a few things about myself, along with the struggles I had in life before the holiday.
Therefore, I've made the decision to cut down from three to two posts a week, given how hectic life is at the moment and, well, I'm kinda struggling to meet that goal. So now I'll be cutting out Thursdays and just posting on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
So let's get re-started with this thing! :D
At the start of the month, I wrote this post celebrating a year since I graduated university, and what my journey looked like from then to right now. I can't remember if I talked about it or not, but more or less from the moment I began job searching, there was this lingering aspect of doing well and doing it in the least amount of time possible.
This looked a lot like the following statement:
I should know what I'm doing.
But I didn't. And I still don't.
And that's ok.
Of course, people keep asking me what I'm doing now. Though I'm getting tired of having similar conversations every month or so with various people. My anxiety tells me they'll be judging me, because it's been a year since I graduated, because it's been about eight or nine months since I started job searching.
But in that time, my brain has been getting more unwell, so I still need help to figure stuff out. At the moment, I'm properly trying to work out things I could potentially do, but it's early stages.
You see, expectations always carry a lot of weight. I've carried my own for a very long time and it usually leads me to be a perfectionist. Adding other peoples' expectations to that and it's no wonder I move at a snail's pace sometimes. Being a perfectionist means I can be a control freak in certain areas. The 'should's in my life lead me to think I'm not living up to my potential and when I have no idea where to go or what to do next...it's very debilitating. It does my mental health no good.
A very close friend recently told me how I don't need to worry about not knowing what to do right now and that I have time to figure it out. She's right, but- the feeling is still there. Feelings of not being good enough, of being a failure.
It's all rubbish, but unfortunately there is no off switch to my brain or what it feels. There are lots of things I think I 'should' be doing, and one of those I'm trying to improve on is self care. Self care isn't selfish or stupid. It's necessary for me. If that means putting off figuring out what job I want, or if I want to start my own business, or whatever else, then so be it.
If nothing else, I 'should' be looking after myself first.
Over the last few days, I've felt like there's going to be a breakthrough soon somewhere. It'll take it when it gets here.
This is a life update, since yesterday marked one whole year since I graduated university and left education forever!*
I actually did it!
This will be a rather long post. I have a whole year to cover after all, and hopefully some words of wisdom to give too. :)
*Well, I'm debating going back to a different uni to do a different post-grad course in creative writing, but I don't know if that will actually happen yet.
See, I've made no secret on my blog before about how hard my third and final year was in terms of my mental health. I nearly quit SO many times, but for every time I wanted to walk, I had double the amount of people telling me to stay. Especially given how short a time I had left to go.
They were right.
I also failed my dissertation, the biggest piece of work you can do on a degree. I can write those first five words without any of the feelings I'd carried around with it when I first found out. Disbelief. Shock. Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment for what I thought. Anxiety for what other people would think.
I was convinced I'd have to re-do it over the summer and re-submit in hopes of graduating in the November. I was wrong.
On our course, we had a certain amount of lee-way, where we started the course with a set number of credits. If we failed a module that didn't have an exam in, we could use some of those credits to make up the difference and allow us to progress to the next year, if need be. Until third year, I'd only ever used them for one module in my first year and had passed everything else.
When I found out my dissertation result, I was utterly convinced I couldn't use credits for it and was resigned to the fact that I'd wasted three years of my life, because, if I couldn't pass the dissertation the first time around, I didn't have much hope in a second attempt.
Our results were sent in the post and my mum wanted me to wait to open them with her and my dad present, but I refused. Why prolong the agony?
It turned out that, yet again, I was wrong. Thankfully. Credits could be used on dissertations and I'd managed to save enough through the course to make up for it. Though I received the lowest final grade/classification possible for an undergraduate degree, I was going to graduate in the summer, along with the vast majority of my class.
It took a few minutes to sink in, as I kept staring at the piece of paper.
Cue the ugly crying. Lots of it.
Honestly, there was some part of me that didn't quite believe it. Not until I arrived at uni on the 6th July 2017, our graduation day, and picked up my set of robes along with the official certificate I got, saying I had a degree.
Because that's the truth- I have a degree. No matter what the final classification is. I put three years of hard work into that thing. I both developed mental illnesses all over again, or experienced them to a greater level, with an unfortunately limited support from my uni. In third year especially, it at times felt like I was literally going insane.
And let me tell you something- university is not for everyone. I didn't always get the best grades for my assignments- in fact, I was often in the lower percentages, even when passing them. I still put everything I could into the work. In my personal opinion, university is often too academic, with too much emphasis on grades and how 'well' someone is doing in that way. Whenever we had practical sessions (not enough of them), I found myself doing better. While I like classroom learning to an extent, not everyone can sit in classrooms and learn for two hours solid, all day, almost every day.
Actual proof I graduated a whole year ago!! Getting a tad emotional thinking about it.
With it being both a college and university, and doing both, I spent a total of five years at that place. Which is the reason I'm giving as to why I cried a bit when we drove out f the car park for the final time. I do still miss the campus, especially now in the summertime. But I don't miss being a student there. Sure, I learnt lots of things, both academically and personally, but I wouldn't want to go through it all again.
Even despite my experience of undergraduate level, especially my third year, I'm looking at going back into education for creative writing. I know someone who's just about to finish his post grad course in this field and he's said it's a lot less academic. That's reassuring.
But I still don't know yet. My anxiety has a lot to do with it, but I'm going to do more research and whatnot before I make a decision. It's too late to apply for this next academic year anyway and I'm ok with that for now.
See, I've done a lot between 6th July 2017 and 6th July 2018.
Some of it has been very hard, other things so enjoyable.
The first big thing I did after graduating was to go on holiday. I definitely deserved and needed that break. It was lovely to go away knowing I could fully relax and not have to panic about re-doing my dissertation!
Secondly, I got so much reading done that summer, you have no idea! I wrote a post on it sometime last autumn, but, given how little time I had had due to uni, my reading was almost non-existent and when I did have time, I was too tired/stressed/depressed/insert other emotion here to actually read.
Over the summer, my Goodreads reading progress shot up so quickly, I actually cried when I finished my reading challenge on there at all, let alone a few months early. It was crazy! Reading is and always has been my top relaxer. Not being able to do it hardly ever for those first few months of the year just made my mental health worse. If I wasn't writing assignments, I was thinking about them/my dissertation or feeling guilty for not writing them. I didn't give myself as many breaks as I should have done, I know that now. Being able to read realigned things within my mind and self.
Might as well be actual footage of me catching up on reading! At least actual footage of my TBR pile currently. :D
After several months of giving my brain a much needed break, I began to think about what I'd do next. Either my classmates had found jobs when they'd returned home or had started their own businesses. I had no idea. I wasn't in the position to think about it too much and it felt like I should just know what I was supposed to do next.
Massive shout out to the Warren Centre here. :) Thanks to a friend who took me along that first day. So they began helping me job search. In between this, I also joined a creative writing/spoken word group and I found out that actually I can write poetry, despite not liking it in the past. I've actually done so much writing in this year too. It's been great!
But in the end, the whole idea of 'I should know what I'm doing' basically set me back a bit. Fun times.
Every drop of sarcasm intended.
So now, I'm claiming support for my mental health. This means I have some money coming in every month and I don't have to panic about my dwindling finances and I don't have to panic about not having a job. It gives me time to figure me out and what I might actually want to do with my life.
Things like saving to go travelling. Doing lots of writing in the various areas I do, beginning to get my name out there in little things and working towards maybe even getting a novel published in however long it might take me.
Shock horror- that might even mean that I don't ever even use my degree or work with animals. You know, the degree I lost half my sanity to getting- and then continued to worry about what potential employers would think when they saw my overall classification.
And I'm making peace with all of that now. Maybe, in the long run, that might even be a good thing. We'll see.
But the past eight months would be looking very different for me without the help and total support of people at the Warren. So if any of you read this, then thank you. Like, a lot.
So I think that's about it. I'm off on holiday next week and looking forward to it, of course. But I kinda need the break too, albeit in a different way. I may not be trying to restore my sanity this year, but I'm still trying to rest my brain and figure myself out. Even in my mid twenties, but so what? :)
It feels like forever, really, since I graduated. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I've done a lot since then. But I keep reminding myself that I've come a long way in a year. And wherever I'm going, I'll get there at my own pace. It's great that the people I spent three years with are doing so well and whatever else. But their paths aren't mine.
Of course, I'm proud I graduated. but I'm also proud of me right now. Even if I am still a bit of a mess every so often. But that's ok too.
Earlier in the week, I did the Rising Author tag in this post, talking about my current WIP. Now, I'm doing the WIP in Gifs tag created by Michelle @TheWritingHufflepuff. So thanks for making this one, Michelle!
I also didn't plan for the two posts to coincide with each other in the space of a week*- when I originally planned to do them, it was for a different WIP novel, which I'm now working to transform into a play instead. #Exciting.
*Does it make me seem more organised if I pretend I did?? :)
Also, not all the Gifs will have dialogue with them, but you'll get the general idea/vibe anyway. I'm still in the first draft stage, but know enough about my characters now to be able to do this tag. Let's go!
First things first...The Rules!
1. Thank the person who tagged you.
2. Credit the creator of this tag and link back to the original post.
3. Try to limit the amount of Gifs you use per question.
Sum up your WIP in 4 Gifs
Time to introduce your main characters
(My modern day MC. Gryffindor. Spectacularly stubborn, but always tries to do the right thing, even if it lands her in trouble or puts her in danger. Being a bookworm inadvertently sets her off on the journey of the novel.)
(My MC in Victorian times. Slytherpuff. Loves her family, mainly her brother and daughter, and will do anything to protect them. Literally. Can be very caring when she's allowed to show it. Sometimes hates the world she lives in.)
(Your typical Hufflepuff. He's Alice's younger brother and is a family man. Like Isabel, he always tries to do the right thing for those he loves.)
How would your main character react in a crisis?
If you were to meet your main characters, how would you react?
If you were to meet your antagonist?
(I've put these together, since they cover both questions)
Is there any romance in your WIP? How would you sum it up Gifs?
Alice and Henry William and Rebecca
Alice and Henry have been married for a while, whereas William and Rebecca's marriage is still quite new, so they're still a little unsure and nervous around each other. I love both these couples.
How do other characters feel about this ship?
William is very happy to have Henry as a brother-in-law and glad his sister is happy. I imagine the men would secretly have some special greeting or something, with how close they become.
On the other hand, Alice is at first happy to welcome Rebecca, and being an annoying older sister in that way- but that doesn't last long.
How do you want people to react reading your WIP?
And a second, because I had it and wanted to use it! :D
That's the end of the tag. I've had so much fun doing this one- though I admit that sometimes finding appropriate Gifs was hard!
Through doing both tags this week, I've developed a greater insight into my novel and the characters, which will definitely help me get a decent-ish first draft that I hope to have finished in about four months or so with a bit more research as well.
What are you currently writing? What would you use as Gifs in place for these questions in relation to your own WIPs? All the best. :)
First of all, it's practically the end of June, we're halfway through the year and what now?? Where did that go? Was I not just organising my shelves on the 1st January to tackle some of my TBR pile for the year officially* known as The Year All** The Books Were Released?
*Ok, I call it that.
*Not all the books during 2018, that would be silly. But it feels like it at times!*
A while ago, I saw this tag done by the lovely Ilsa over at AWhisperOfInk. We talked about how much I loved it and so of course I'm finally ending up doing it. Months later. But that's my general thing with tags, oops. However, I do enjoy doing tags, and I'm a writer, so naturally, this one was going to always be fun for me. I'll just be answering the same questions Ilsa answered on hers, because previous versions of this tag have included lots of questions and, sorry, but I can't be doing with that.
So I'm going to be discussing some of my currents WIP's (haha, am I ready for this?) and why I'm writing them, ect. Plus, I've been doing so much writing over the last two weeks, so I'm really happy with how things are going.
I may share a brief snippet from part of what I used for last week's #1LineWed theme on Twitter, as it got good reactions on there*.
*So some people think I can write?! :D
What is your current WIP about and what are you working on with it?
My current WIP is a mix of time-slip, historical fiction and contemporary. It includes a ghost enthusiast, who gets more than she bargained for, going back to said ghost's world when she was alive and what happened to her. They are linked together history and someone I won't mention too much about. There is some horror type things. No one is more surprised by that last part than me, given I really don't like horror all that much.
I'm currently waist-deep in the middle of my 1st draft. Getting to do lots of research which is fun, but trying to balance research with actual writing can be hard. I think I'm doing it well at the moment. I'd like to hope I'd have it written by the end of the summer, but I'm being realistic and it will probably take me longer this time.
What is your favourite type of thing to write?
One of original forms when I started out writing was novels, so that's always good for me to get to. It'd familiar and kind of feels like coming home. I'm really enjoying this current one. :)
However, I've recently started writing poetry and spoken word, something I used to hate and was convinced I could never do. (Spoiler alert- it turns out I can!) It means I can be more personal with some of the things I write and hopefully, get to be more relatable to people who listen to/read my work.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I'm a plotter. I don't always have a firm outline, but it's always nice to know where the story is going. I did a full outline only the other day to stop getting myself confused and to set some scenes in order. It really has helped for this project.
Though for my first NaNoWriMo last year, I was a pantser, which felt REALLY weird. But I think it worked for that story at that time.
Everyone is different in this though- just because one way might not be how someone else works doesn't mean either are any less valid.
Out of the characters you've written so far, who are your favourites?
I've gotten to the stage where I've introduced all of my characters yet, but most are in play. My favourite so far has to be Alice. Sometimes she's nice, sometimes she's not, but I think the reasons behind her actions are always relatable or understandable, even if they don't justify her actions. But I have a soft spot for her.
Occasionally, I feel bad for putting her through some not-so-pleasant things, but that's part of her character arc, plus there needs to be conflict and suffering to everyone, right? :)
What (or who) motivates you to write?
In real life, my friends who are writers. We discuss each other's ideas and encourage each other, which is always a bonus. Then recently, some of my non-writer friends persuaded me to send a few poems and they really liked them, which was lovely and made me continue, of course! :D
Online, I'd say Twitter is a big source of inspiration within the writing community. I follow several accounts who throw out lots of encouragement for writers, and then doing the #1LineWed themes or #WIPJoy and seeing so many different writers come together is so helpful.
The big one of course is that one day I hope to get published myself. With my poems, I already have my name attached to various I've worked on with my creative writing group in that form of writing. It's a huge encouragement that if I can see my name in a collective published works, for the small things, that I can one day see my name in big things, like a published novel.
What genre will you never try, and why?
Until a few months ago before I started this WIP, I'd have said horror, but there we are! :) I don't think I could write a full-on horror, like Stephen King because I don't like the genre in films or books myself as a viewer. I also can't see myself writing sci-fi, because I have no idea where to start with it.
What is your favourite genre to write?
Fantasy! I LOVE making up new worlds and a whole host of characters that would look really weird in our world, yet somehow are still relatable. It's also a great escape from the real world at times. Though the main reason is that I solely blame the amount of time I spent in Narnia and at Hogwarts as a child. *shrug*
What brings you the most satisfaction as a writer?
Having an idea that initially feels good, but doesn't seem like it will work. Then cultivating it for a while in my head or on paper and then it eventually does come together. This is where I'm finding myself with my current WIP. Due to the nature of it, I highly doubted it would develop beyond Shiny New Idea stage- and I'm here a few months later, still working on it, still loving it, and very, very proud of it.
In poetry terms, the pinnacle of satisfaction there for me was the first time I wrote a poem and didn't hate it. People later liked it when I read it out, and despite it being short, that was the moment I knew I actually could write poetry and I'd most likely been going about it all wrong for years beforehand!
What type of characters do you prefer writing?
Characters that are layered and flawed because they're realistic to life. Characters who don't always apologise, or feel any need to, for their actions and what they believe is right. Ones who don't exactly fit whatever the norm is. People who feel real.
Which of your characters is based off you?
Hahaha. I think they all have bits of me in their somewhere, but I wouldn't say any of them are based off me. I'd hope I'm making them all unique enough and distinct from one another that they don't become one-dimensional or confusing/muddled together. But I think I'm managing that well.
Isabel definitely has my stubbornness, so I'd say she's the closest? Alice often has the kind of confidence I sometimes really wish I could have, though she can very caring, so I hope that comes from me. Actually, now I think about it, I'd put William in Hufflepuff with me. But he's still more confident than I am.
That's all for today. Hope you enjoyed this look into a project I'm loving, despite it being out of my comfort zone. Aren't the best things like that though?
If you're a writer, what would your answers to these questions be? What are you currently working on? Happy writing! Good luck and all the best. :)
This wasn't planned to resemble a 2-part post, but here we are. Last week, I wrote this about my writing influences and the people who inspire me that way. Today, I'm going to talk about films/TV/music that have inspired me in my writing or that frequent my writing playlists, ect. :)
1. BBC and British Legends
When I was early in my teens, the BBC made the shows Robin Hood and Merlin, both based off their respective legends in English and British culture. I enjoyed Robin Hood, but enjoyed Merlin way more. (Case in point- I have all the box sets and up to Series 3 in my current re-watch.) I didn't know much about either legend until these shows, so I have to thank the BBC for that one.
But when I started exploring Arthurian legend more as Merlin went on, I soon realised I was going to be a fan for life. I've watched and read so many versions of the legends, and am intrigued by each take and what the focus is. That's the fun part. There's so much to them! :)
So one day, way back when I'd written my first, very terrible-and-will-never-see-the-light-of-day play as I started out in that area, I needed something more that would make me want to learn how to actually write a decent play and want to stick with it.
In the end, I wrote my own version of the King Arthur legends. There were gaps I'd found/questions I had that research didn't answer, so I set about to make my own answers. My play is about Arthur's sister, Morgan le Fay, who is by far my favourite character in the legends cause she's so darned complex and I love her.
Thanks to one TV show, I have a piece of work I'm still beyond proud of, three years (and counting) after I finished it! :)
2. Old But Golden
Next up are two films from the 1990's and I was very, very young when they came out. Nevertheless, they make my All-Time Favourite Films list, which means these films are ones I don't need an excuse to watch and can watch them multiple times without being bored. So far this list consists of only 8 films.
So. Which films am I talking about?
The 1994 version of Black Beauty. The 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet.
3. Unusual Inspiration
Also in Part 1, I mentioned how I don't like horror. Not film, and rarely in books, though I've read some of Daphne du Maurier's work. However, in 2015, the film Crimson Peak was released. It's a Gothic romance/horror and is also on my Favourites list. The house itself was made specifically for the film and may as well be another character. The costumes are also important and again, to me feel like a character.
But aside from all of that, the last time I watched it, I wrote a poem afterwards from the POV of a certain favourite character, kind of like a prologue. But for once, I really wondered what would happen after the film's end. Apparently, I asked myself the right questions, because the idea has become my newest novel I'm writing. It's a historical with some horror and the time-slip element. I'm having so much fun working that out. :D
From a spark due a film, the idea has grown into so much more and taken on a life of its own. Here's to making it work- and all from a genre I could never have imagined writing in at the start of the year! :)
4. Scenes in Audio
Before I start any writing, I always make a playlist to fit the mood of what an idea is and I use both instrumental pieces and lyrical ones. Some will inspire key scenes, other things will come along as I flesh out the idea and keep building on what I've got. I'll sometimes even cut bits of the playlist if I don't think they'll work, or another piece will work better. The playlist always moves around from how I initially write it out as I put scenes in order and match the playlist to fit.
Now when it comes to music with lyrics, I can write with those in the background. If it's a specific scene, I'll loop it on repeat. At first, I'll try and map out which lines match the scene or character, but after a listen or two, I'll just let it fade into the background and just write.
My favourite non-lyrics music is often in film scores or by film trailer companies. The amount of times something on TV will be playing and I recognise the piece of music is honestly ridiculous. But it's useful. The first companies I ever heard of where X-Ray Dog and Immediate Music, when I was a kid and I researched the music from a film's trailer. While I'm still fond of those, today, a favourite company of mine is Audiomachine, who recently released their new album, La Belle Epoque. (It's on YouTube as a playlist)
Their piece, Manticore, was very useful in an important scene for the 1st draft of a novel I wrote in last year National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so I've added it below.
If I'm also lucky, I'll be able to find the instrumentals online for songs with lyrics, particularly if it's an older song. But I like a mixture on a playlist, so sometimes they can be a bit varied. But that's always fun. :)
That's it for today. These have all been some of my influences talked about in each part, both in established writers and how other people's creativity influences my own on a daily basis.
What or who are your own influences? Do you write with music behind it, or do you prefer to work in silence? And, like me, do you write in multiple formats?
I'm going to leave you with my current mood. All the best. :)
Today I wanted to talk more about my writing, since I don't always, therefore I'm coming at you with some of my writing influences for various styles and formats I write in. I got the idea from reading this post on influential writers for this author.
So the following people are ones who inspire me or who have careers I admire, ect. I'll talk a bit about each person as I go along.
For anyone who doesn't know, here's what I write:-
- Short stories (not so much nowadays, but this is how I started out)
- Novels (also how I started out, and still my go-to area because I've been doing it for so long!)
- Plays (way different from the above two, but still great)
- Spoken Word/Poetry (a recent thing but one I've grown to love)
1. William Shakespeare
Since Shakespeare invented half the modern English language, I think he definitely deserves a spot on this list. His plays are very distinctly set into three categories- Histories, Comedies and Tragedies- and the characters are all so human, whatever their archetype and despite the language changing over 400 years. That is the part that always interests me.
Now it wasn't always this way. From the start of high school, I was put off because Shakespeare is just something on the curriculum and teachers didn't care either. I never understand any of it- until the year we started Romeo and Juliet.
For the first time, something in that play stuck with me and though I didn't get the language, I understood the story. It's still my favourite Shakespeare play to this day. Thanks to a few of my favourite actors in screen/film adaptations- as they're meant to be performed- I became a fan and have been for a few years now. I haven't read all of the plays yet, but I'm working on it! :)
2. Leigh Bardugo
I picked up Shadow and Bone when it was released only going by the blurb, and I don't often do that. It was a very good decision. Leigh Bardugo is now one of my favourite authors and I'm excited for her future releases, both inside the Grisha-Verse and out. Her characters are all flawed yet still human, even the villains and her world building is fantastic. Her career definitely inspires my own writing and what the YA fantasy genre can be.
3. Kiersten White
Another one of my favourite authors, Kiersten White was one of the first whom I can remember really puling me into the YA genre. Fun story- when I first picked up Paranormalcy, I somehow mistook one of the author blurbs on a side of the cover to meant they'd written the book! It was a good mistake though and, to quote Shakespeare, all's well that ends well. :)
Now, her books cover so many themes and categories, such as And I Darken being a re-telling of sorts about Vlad the Impaler (Bright We Burn is out in July, people!), which is really dark at times, but I love them. I'm really excited for her future books. And she is the sweetest and really funny online, like Twitter. Her career is definitely one that inspires me for when I get to the period that I'll be aiming to get published.
4. Emily Bronte
While she and her sisters are best known for their books, Emily Bronte started out her work as a poet. I didn't actually know this until I watched a fictional TV programme a couple of years ago, To Walk Invisible, which was based on their lives and struggle for publication being women.
So while I'm still not the most knowledgeable about her poems, the fact that she did both is proof to me that doing multiple forms of writing is possible. Plus, I'm also from Yorkshire and know how beautiful and inspiring our countryside and landscape can be for lots of things, and I guess writing poetry is one of them. I'm rather lucky. :)
5. Kate Mosse
I'm most familiar with the novels Kate Mosse has written, and Labyrinth was made into a small TV series a few years ago. She manages to fit real historical events, fiction and modern times within each other by using the time-slip method and they still flow together almost effortlessly, making stories that I highly enjoy. Along with her books though, Kate Mosse has also written a few plays- again, telling me it's possible to do both.
I would like to try my own time-slip novel one day- I have the idea about half planned out currently, but even if it doesn't work out, I'll have something there I can use in the future. But I want it to. I like my idea. Along with the short and full length plays I've written, I also have several more ideas and WIP's going on. So many things!
6. Daphne du Maurier
Not a huge fan of horror, I've only been reading Daphne du Maurier's books over the last couple of years- including reading Rebecca for the first time ever last year. One of my favourite things about hers are how she brought so much atmosphere to the little things as much as the big ones, keeping the suspense, high stakes, and guesses from the reader coming.
At least, that's how I always feel. I'm always wrong about something, which is fun- as well as often being left with lots of questions. Her books have definitely changed the way I look at my own writing in these ways, and to pay attention to foreshadowing and the little details.
7. Kate Tempest
Finally, I want to mention Kate Tempest. Being fairly new to the Spoken Word scene, I've only recently heard of her, but she's certainly an inspiration to me. Her main thing is Spoken Word and poetry with rap put to her words. The poetry is also often done with music and done lots of both. She's also written a novel and a couple of plays.
Sometimes, it feels as if I do too much writing, in terms of writing novels and plays and now poems- the latter is something I could never imagine doing only a year ago, as I only joined the group I'm in around October 2017. But Kate's body of work is proof that it can be done, and I enjoy writing in each style, so I'll continue to do so.
I'm currently working on my own zine and our Spoken Word group are about to finish our first collective one in a month or so- and it will be the first official thing I'll have published. Onwards and upwards. :D
That's all for today. All the best.
Again this week, a couple of personal things have gotten in the way, but I'm hoping to be back to an actual schedule again next week. I do plan on doing this coming Top Ten Tuesday- which I haven't taken part in for about two months or something ridiculous.
Today is a round up of little things, as I've done in the past. Then I'll have a book review for you on Saturday. :)
What I'm Listening To
I've been listening to so much of Ruelle's songs lately. She's really talented and really under-rated. I was discussing this the other day with Michelle @TheWritingHufflepuff and was glad to find someone else who's heard of Ruelle.
One of my favourites (and one on the playlist of my current WIP- more on that below) that I listen to a lot id called Madness.
Today, I've also listened to the theme for Bucky in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as a key piece of the playlist. I started the day by checking it could definitely fit and then I've been doing a breakdown of various points. As a whole, the piece is potentially a little long, but it really works for the scene I want to write.
What I'm Reading
I'm currently in a bit of a fantasy slump and am only reading one book at a time, until I get out of it. Fortunately, I have plenty of contemporaries on hand. On the other side of that, half my physical TBR is fantasy, so I'm hoping I can get out of it soon. Actually, I've recently a great series, so think I'm having a bit of a book hangover from that.
So the book I'm reading is Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell. Despite the slump, it is a fantasy book, but I'm slowly making my way through it. Going well so far.
What I'm Writing
I have several big projects I'm working on at the moment. Given the above musical section, I suppose I should start with that.
My new novel is slowly taking form; though I'm still doing lots of planning for it- and will probably do throughout- I have started writing a few bits, or have ideas for others stored in my head. It's something of a horror, a genre I rarely watch in films since I get scared way too easily, but these characters came to me and wouldn't leave. I am making a Pinterest board, so when I've written more, I may do another update on how it's going and link it.
I'm also working on a brand new, somewhat scary, idea for a new play. It's autobiographical. That's why it's scary. Then I'm working with my Spoken Word group on a compilation zine about love and relationships, which is a lot better in practice than I thought when we started out.
Lots of things to keep busy! :)
Now for the first time ever, I'm also going to share a snippet that I have done from my new novel, of two characters in a book shop. It's the first bit of that scene, and unedited. Therefore I'm probably going to regret it after I publish this post, but oh well. Everything starts with a first draft.
I have Ilsa @AWhisperofInk to blame/thank for giving me this idea after she's been posting snippets of her writing and thought this was a great idea. Now here I am too! :)
Flower represents my nervousness here. You're welcome. :)
That's it tonight. What are on your respective lists for the categories I've talked about?
All the best.
I'm finally back to a normal schedule this week, so I'll get to catch up on a few posts I should have done a while ago. Life and all.
Today, I'm going to discuss my experience of the annual Grow Festival at Hull Truck Theatre, held this year between 10th-12th May. Grow Festival is the theatre's annual programme for artists development, no matter where people are in their careers. This year's was the second time I'd been, and I got so much out of it!
By the way, this post will be quite long, but I do have three days to cover. :) I'm still sorting through various contacts and things I wrote down, so that will take a while.
The annual pass was £40 for the whole festival, but I didn't opt for that and paid £25 overall, a mix of both paying and free events, as I couldn't make all of it. So I'll talk through each event I did attend and my thoughts and whatnot.
Also a quick disclaimer- if I forget to mention anyone in the events I attended, then you're all amazing and thanks for having me! :)
Thursday 10th May
Northern Venues: Artist Development Trade Fair
The first thing on the menu was the trade fair for theatres and companies around the north, mainly for those around Yorkshire. Or, as I like to think of it- tons of networking.
Honestly, I haven't really done too much like this before. The chance to leave my room and properly introduce myself into the real world as a writer and what I do was both scary- I have social anxiety which unfortunately likes to follow me everywhere- yet something it was finally time for me to do. So I did.
I met so many people and continued some already existing connections from the last few months. It was great, so thanks everyone. A special shout out goes to Helen Goodman, who put so much of this year's festival together. I first met Helen on the Thursday- she's one of the sweetest people I know of and I'm looking forward to getting to know her more in the weeks to come.
First Time Out
On the evening, the final two things of the day happened. The official launch was hosted by The Herd, which was fun and crazy, followed by First Time Out. This is the scratch night, where new work is previewed in the early stages, with audience feedback. There were three pieces, all of which I enjoyed and I'd want to see the full thing one day.
Again, I want to do a shout out to Lydia Marchant, who is an amazing writer and has somehow put up with me for the last three years (how has it been that long??). At some point on the evening, we discussed the idea of me doing something for next year's First Time Out- more on that later.
Bottom line is, I'm actually debating it. So Lydia...er, thanks. :D
I ended the night exhausted but excited for what was to follow. So far, so good.
Friday 11th May
Collaboration Speed Dating
My schedule would only allow for the one event on the Friday, but at least I didn't miss a day.
Now, in the normal sense, I've never done speed dating, nor would want to. Thankfully, artist collaborating speed dating was a lot different. Though, while I know it was necessary, by the 10th time I'd introduced myself and what I'm working on, I was kind of saying it on autopilot, just to get to the different conversation. Can't help that- I'm an introvert. Meaningful conversations are what I'm after, rather than the small talk.
Big thanks to The Roaring Girls for hosting it and making it lots of fun. As is often the case, I'm on holiday when they perform their new show, but after seeing a sample in last year's scratch night, and having properly met them this year, it will be fantastic.
The good news about only doing one thing after a full day before was that I got to conserve some energy for the almost full day that was to come. Lots of writing and creative stuff. :)
Saturday 12th May
Bryony Kimmings Workshop
What do you call an intense 4-hour workshop where out come out feeling like your head's going to explode?
The best kind.
This Saturday was the first time I'd met Bryony and she's amazing. Both at what she does and as a person. It's rare that I meet someone with such a positive mind-set for everyone to just go and do stuff. In the workshop, we danced, we wrote, we asked some serious and not so serious questions, and finished it with a picnic.
We each came out with a new idea for a play and honestly, the timing couldn't have been better. I went pretty deep in some of the questions I wrote down over the session and the one that I ended with is an autobiographical piece.
Over the last couple of months, I've pretty much been writing the novelised, not-as-autobiographical version. I haven't gotten very far, which makes me wonder if writing it as a novel was ever the right thing. I don't think it was. I think I just fell back on the style of writing I'd had the most experience in and knew best how to do.
After Bryony's workshop, I made the decision to scrap the novel and writing the play. And the vague sense of an idea that Lydia and I talked about for next year's First Time Out?
Well, there you go.
I've got a year.
Hull Truck Shorts
This was only the second thing I took part in as an audience member- so unlike last year, for various reasons and I'm glad of it. However, it was nice just to sit back and watch what other people had created.
The pieces were all written by local writers and all were brilliant. It was a nice way to end the festival and I still can't believe it went as fast as it did.
After that, was the Grow Festival after party and I got to just talk with various people I'd met over the three days. Yep, that's right- little 5ft, socially anxious me actually wanted to talk to people. I definitely didn't recognise myself from last year, again a good thing. :)
So that was my Grow Festival for 2018. Once again, a huge thanks to everyone at Hull Truck for putting this on, and to everyone who contributed, took part, ect.