Belated #Writing Update

Sherlock WritingCurrent Word Count: 7,286 words

Firstly, sorry for the disappearing act over the last fortnight. A case of writers block combined with life stuff has meant that I haven’t blogged here and writing has slowed to a snail’s pace. Granted, I have increased by word count by about 3,000 words but those words are still mostly world building.

My FMC has discovered that her family and that of her grandfather’s business partner are more linked than she had realised but that raised more questions for her. I ended up taking a detour whilst figuring out part of the answer for some of those questions which led to me reconsidering a storyline and the pairings for the story, wrote an extra little thing, realised I was going down the wrong road, and deciding to go back to the original ideas.

After all that, I returned to being stuck and having no idea where to go next. Writing ended up taking a back seat whilst I dealt with IRL stuff. Yesterday though, something clicked and I got 753 words written. Those words led to the revelation of the cat familiars name, Constantine, and that he has a dark personality but can also act like a teenage girl. I commented on Twitter that the Skull-in-a-jar from Lockwood & Co. is proving rather influential of the cat. Whether that continues, I will just have to see. I am re-reading Hollow Boy at the moment so it is possible.

The fact I have written anything is partly because I have accepted that I will have to jump over some time to be able to write. This hopefully will mean I will be able to get on with the bulk of the story much quicker though I know have another problem upcoming that will stop me once more. The main thing is that I am writing again.

Hopefully everyone else’s writing has been more fruitful than my own. Here’s to a better end of the month, even if it is just one or two words.

#Writing Update

Sherlock WritingWord Count: 3,901 words

Could have had a lot more words but life has taken a bit of priority and I have written just 3 words in the last two days. Also, this story seems to have decided it’s needs to go as slow as possible for no clear reason (except perhaps world building).

My FMC hasn’t had the best time of it either. She discovered that the slave girl she had seen very briefly earlier had had the magical part of her soul taken from her. The girl survived, hollow but alive, until my FMC said the word soul to her. The girl then screamed, releasing the rest of the girl’s soul from her body and dying.

A talk between the FMC and her mum made her realise that her non-dad had taken it so he could become more powerful. In fact, this is how the family had remained so powerful and feared for so long and why they had the soul box she had discovered when with her grandparents. The next day, the FMC talked with her older brother who has told her to stay out of his way or he would harm her. The FMC then decided to leave the house to get out of the way and into the fresh air for a bit. She ended up in the library and has discovered a magical library for practitioners like her. She is currently reading there.

As mentioned before, this story seems to be taking its own time and I am not sure how to speed it up without seeming to just skip over large periods of time with just a sentence or two. It just feels disingenuous to the story despite knowing that a lot of stuff will eventually be condensed, combined or even got rid of altogether. If anyone can offer any advice on this, I would genuinely be grateful for it. It’s times like this that my planning/outlining method proves quite flawed.

Aim for this week is to try to kick-start my story again to get on with it and actually get onto the part that’s the basis for this, magic school. I will get there in the end but it’s frustrating to be in a bit of a rut. How are you doing? Got any advice to share about my dilemma or just in general? Don’t be afraid to comment below.

The Confessions of a Writer

Been tagged to do this by Niina at Northern Chapters so I figured I would give it a go.

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Rules of the tag:

  • Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
  • Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
  • Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!

The Confessions of a Writer Tag was created by Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. It is a ‘get-to-know’ the writer interview tag, dedicated to spotlighting the creative process, works in progress, and connecting to other writers.


 

When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?

I aspired to be many things as a kid from a vet to a nurse to a pop star, all the usual little girl ambitions. I wasn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the pack at the time and had no interest in anything remotely academic. It took a teacher pointing out I was good at writing that something seemed to start to click in my mind. I did start writing but the switch wasn’t fully turned on though until I discovered the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. After that, everything clicked into place.

What genre do you write?

I gravitate mostly to fantasy and crime with romance sub plots in most of my stories. Family drama, social commentary and thriller also make appearances in a few of my stories, something that didn’t hit me until a tutor pointed it out. I have attempted forays into the science fiction genre but they rarely work out well to be honest.

Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?

I’m working on my magic school story from July Camp NaNoWriMo. Anyone who follows my blog will know it started just from an idea after a failed sci-fi story and has continued since then. The story revolves around a teen girl, coming from a dark magic family involved in criminality, trying to escape and be different. Not sure what I will do with the story later. We’ll see.

What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?

The first story I chose to write was a fan fiction based on Flint The Time Detective, about one of the detectives called Merlock Holmes and his daughter. It never was finished and is absolutely awful, with stuff borrowed from the Cardcaptors/Card Captor Sakura, Lord of the Rings and the Malory Towers series to name but a few. It did have the first version of the school my FMC from the above answer attends so it was not all bad really.

What’s the best part about writing?

Creating new things and exploring the world through the written word. One day, I want to explore the world myself, not just through stories.

What’s the worst part about writing?

Hitting a wall in the creation of the first draft then editing and rewriting. Ugh! Necessary but still hate it.

What’s the name of your favourite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well).

Oh! I have no idea! I love characters like Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third from the How To Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell because he’s not your typical hero, and Hermione Granger, because she was smart and her description is very similar to how I was as a kid. Those sorts of characters appeal to me.

How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?

I tend to write in the evening most days because it is the only free time I have available to me in a typical day but I do prefer to write and work on an afternoon. I’ve run my errands, had something to eat and drink, checked the news and e-mail, etc. I can just sit and write (and watch some YouTube and television). It’s a routine that was developed at university and has proven the most productive.

Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to?

I did Professional Writing at university (or college as it is in the USA), with the idea that it would set me up not just for writing in general, but was applicable to other jobs too. I’m not working as a writer in any capacity at the moment sadly but I do have ideas and career plans that relate to writing, even just part-time.

What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?

Has to be grammar mainly but the others drive me up the wall too, especially if it is in a document or something that you would expect to be correctly spelt, punctuated, grammar checked and formatted correctly.

What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you?

It’s actually a philosophy quote by Confucius that applies to every part of life: “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” In other words, keep writing!

What advice would you give to another writer?

I hate the advice write what you know. You could write about everything you know very easily and quickly and end up stuck. I prefer the advice write not what you know, but what you would like to find out about. Write about the things that you want to find out about. The world is a big place so explore it!

What are your favourite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?

My friends are usually my first port of call for help but I also follow a lot of Tumblr prompt and advice blogs, such as Write World and Writing Cafe, as well as seasonal picture blogs that have some stunning picture ripe for prompts, Rayne Hall’s Twitter (her books are brilliant too) and love using Seventh Sanctum.

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?

Love to read, watch a lot of TV, films and stand up comedy, like Call The Midwife, The Big Bang Theory, How To Train Your Dragon 1 and 2 (I love Toothless!) and comedians like Russell Howard, baking and chatting to friends.

What is the best book you’ve read this year?

This year has to be Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud! Second in the series with a cliffhanger to match the first book, The Screaming Staircase. I am in love with this series!

What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?

Has to be Kingsman: The Secret Service. The church scene! The church scene!

What is your favourite book or series of all time?

It changes but I do default to Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah. Mah weaves a beautiful story of a girl playing her part in World War 2 in occupied Shanghai with wonderful teachings from Chinese philosophy and culture.

Who is your favourite author?

My all time favourite is JK Rowling as she is also my heroine.

What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?

Mostly just to write, as I haven’t been in a place to do so for a while due to life. More focused goals are to hopefully get my second NaNoWriMo win and to keep writing my Camp story.

Where else can we find you online?

Aside from here, my main ones are Tumblr and Twitter but you can also find me on NaNoWriMo.


 

Finished! I am tagging Kit from Where Landsquids Fear To Tread, Lizzie from mylittlebookblog, Diane from Tales from Baggins Bottom and Charles from Legends of Windemere. Anyone who I haven’t tagged but would like to do this, go for it!

Star Wars Reads Day

May the Force be with you!

Wakefield Libraries

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Star Wars Reads Day: Fully Armed and Operational on October 10!

Once again, bookshops, libraries, and retailers are taking part in the fourth annual installment of the global event and it’s even bigger this year as excitement  about the new film builds.  This year children can drop in to Castleford Forum Library 9am-3.30pm, Normanton Library 10-12 am, Pontefract Library 1-3pm and Wakefield Library 9-5 to find a selection of events, activities or things to do as well as a selection of Star Wars themed early readers.

If the Dark Side you would defeat, Read more you must!

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Read Regional 2015

Discover new writers from the North of England with this year’s Read Regional list.

Wakefield Libraries

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It’s Read Regional time once again. Every year this scheme introduces library users to new titles by authors based in the north of England. This year there are 10 exciting titles to explore.
There are five novels:
Letters to my Husband by Stephanie Butland
The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach
The Quick by Lauren Owen
Herring Girl by Debbie Taylor
Into the Trees by Robert Williams

Three books of poetry:
Ellen Phethean: Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman
Helen Tookey: Missel-Child
John Wedgwood Clarke: Ghost Pot

a novel for young people, Hate by Alan Gibbons and finally a graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary and Bryan Talbot. If you have never tried reading a novel in graphic form why not give this a try. Their graphic novel Dotter of her Father’s Eyes won the Costa Biography Award in 2013.

You can find out more about…

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Libraries like Café’s? Uh, what?

Yes, I am getting on my soap box about libraries again but I feel the need to talk about it.

Wakefield One, Wakefield. Source: Wakefield First

I have been meaning to write about this since seeing a report in the Daily Mail (a UK daily newspaper) that talked about an independent report calling for libraries to become more like Costa Coffee shops. You can read the original report here. What has spurred me to finally write about it today (not least of all because I haven’t posted this week) is a quote MyLittleBookBlog posted yesterday:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries”Anne Herbert

I have no doubt the authors of the report mean well and agree with Mr Sieghart when he says how important libraries are to those who are the poorest in our society. I also agree that Wi-Fi has to become a necessity for libraries to continue to survive and thrive (digital book lending on e readers anyone?), the need for comfy sofas and toilets as well as offering other services to make the library a community hub but the part that made go “uh, what?” is the suggestion that hot drinks should be offered in libraries. I think he has missed something very important in that regard. If libraries offer hot drinks along with everything else, doesn’t the library then become a café with books to browse and read?

There is a reason why there is a rule in most libraries that I have visited that no food or drink is allowed near the computers in the library at least: it’s called health and safety and making sure that other people don’t gag over horrible food smells! By all means offer food and drink but NOT in the library itself!

I am proud to say that most libraries in the Wakefield area offer comfortable areas to sit and read, toilets and programmes for the community as well as a place for the older members in the area to meet and talk to other people. Frequently, the library staff are the only people they talk to all week. In my mind, the libraries offer a great value for money service. A library building that offers everything that the report says need to be all libraries is the Wakefield One building in Wakefield however hot drinks and food are only available in Create Cafe downstairs and food and drink is not allowed near the computers.

So it is possible to cram all of what this report is saying libraries need to do but libraries like coffee shops? Uh, no. I doubt libraries are actually heading for disaster if they don’t incorporate all of this but let’s maybe have more like the libraries in the Wakefield area and Wakefield One but keep libraries and coffee shops as separate entities. Possibly the best compromise available.

P.S.: Find out more Wakefield Libraries and the latest news by visiting the Wakefield Libraries blog and check out Wakefield (and it’s library) during the Food, Drink and Rhubarb Festival taking place Friday 20 to Sunday 22 February 2015.

International Literacy Day-September 8th, 2014

Today is UNESCO International Literacy Day 2014, a day designed to champion literacy and how it can create sustainable development for the people of the world. More information can be found by going to UNESCO’s website.

If I had known about this before, I would have posted about it a few days ago however it must have been fate that I only found out today anyway as today is also the day that the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper, and BBC News are carrying reports that children and adults alike are struggling with their literacy and, in the adults case, numeracy.

The Daily Mail is reporting that the UK’s literacy levels are down and they are predicted to be even worse by 2025, particularly among white boys from poorer homes whilst BBC News says that adults are unable to gain the vital skills they need because they cannot access the training they need.

You can read these reports if you are interested by going to 1.5m Children “Won’t Read Well”- Daily MailHalf of poor white boys struggling to read at 11: Children more likely to read text messages than books, study finds – Daily Mail and Urgent Help Needed For Adults With Poor Skills, Say MPs – BBC News.

This seems crazy that children and adults are growing up and struggling with the very basic skills that will help them getting GCSE’s (the very basic level of qualification necessary for most jobs in the UK), holding down jobs, doing household bills and administration and so much more. The closure of our libraries certainly do not help as, for many families, this is probably the only place they would have access to books for free to read. We also have a state education system designed to give everyone the chance of getting the very basic skills in literacy and numeracy.

Therefore, I definitely support UNESCO’s International Literacy Day.