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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Sunday Shout Out

As I have said before, I love reading writer interviews and I have found that We Do Write is the place to get my fill.  With plenty of interviews with aspiring writers this blog has inspired me over and over again as well as reminding me that I am not the only one who sits frantically typing jibberish on my laptop in the hope to create a well-told story.

Today is also Halloween or Samhain - please visit my other blog to read my post today remembering my Grandad on this important day.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Keep the Creativity

I find that the more I think about my writing, the easier it becomes to have ideas and to create stories I'm really interested in - it's true that practice really does make a difference.

But sometimes it becomes stale.  I feel like I'm writing and writing and I have no purpose and there's no point and it goes into a downward spiral.  When this happens I like to take a break.  I don't write for a couple of days.  But I do make an effort to keep my creative brain working.  I try something different.  At the moment I am planning a few inspiration montages from pictures and words I have found in magazines that inspire something within me.  Now, this is just an idea, and what I'm doing now to keep up my creativity between writing, but you could do anything - try drawing, photography or even writing in a different style or genre to your norm.

Trust me, within a few days you will be rearing to get back to writing your piece and your creativity won't have suffered in your absence.  What other creative endeavours do you undertake when you need a break from writing?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Missed Opportunities & Hope

As most of you probably aren't aware, as of the 1st November M.E./C.F.S. sufferers will no longer be able to donate blood (BBC Coverage).  I'm not entirely sure what I make of this change in regulations.  I know I should be happy that at last it seems M.E. is being treated as something other than a psychological disorder.  But on the other hand, it is just one more thing that M.E. has taken away from me.

I've always assumed I'd give blood at some point.  Okay, I know I have been completely eligible for the past 4 years, and have yet to actually go and do it, but it's always been in my mind.  And now it is just another opportunity missed; something else I don't get to do.  And so I feel bitter - but there is nowhere for this bitterness to go and it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.  And there is nothing I can do about it.  I become trapped in my own annoyance at M.E. and myself (for taking it out on people who really have nothing to do with it).

Of course, it isn't just that I now can't give blood, many things in my life are leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth.  And all I can do is hope that it will get better.  I know I can survive it (and I credit a lot of that to my boyfriend, family and friends).  But I want to do more than just survive.  I want to live, and enjoy life.  So I hope and believe, because there is nothing else I can do.

(Sorry if this post seemed to have turned into a depressive rant - I tried my best not to let it be - but it's how I'm feeling at the moment and it's effecting everything in my life, including this blog).

Monday, 25 October 2010


The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow.  Take your own color in the pattern and be just that.  ~Charles R. Brown

Thursday, 21 October 2010


When I create a character I do the usual type of analysis - what do they look like? what do they want? what is their greatest fear? - you get the idea.  But recently I've been paying more attention to how the other characters perceive them.  And how my character thinks other characters perceive them.  You can see where I'm going with this.

When writing in subjective third person, and especially first person, we must be very aware of how our characters perceive each other.  If the main character thinks someone is trying to steal their boyfriend/job/sandwich then they are going to see them in a completely different light than if they think that same someone is simply interested in their life.  When we see a world through one character's eyes, we can use this to our advantage.  Presumably we want the audience to empathise with our main character and so if they see someone in a bad light, so is our reader.  This can be a lot of fun to play with, especially considering all the relationships between different characters and how we can portray them to the reader which may or may not be accurate which can then be used to our advantage later in the story.

So consider how each character sees all the other characters in a story and you can make your world so much more believable and fully-formed, which equals a better told story.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


We all love to have friends. We want those special people that you can guarantee will be there for you birthday, when you break-up with your partner and all those little moments in between.  We want people we can call our chosen family.

When I was younger I didn't get this.  I believed I only needed myself to achieve anything in life.  The friends I had in high school were wonderful but I didn't appreciate them at the time and now all I have is memories as none of them have stayed in contact (and honestly I can't blame them).  Yes, I am sorry for what I was like back then but it's part of who I am so I'm not going to be too sorry.  Besides, it taught me the value of friendship.  When I realise that these women are still out there, making something of their lives, and I'm not a part of it in any way, it makes me work harder to keep the friends I have now.

I only have a few friends, and it has been hard work finding and keeping each one of them, made harder by my M.E. but not entirely impossible.  I see them as jewels that have the ability to make me shine and I am thankful for all of them, and I do my best to make sure they are aware of how precious I find their friendship.  I send them letters as well as random messages on facebook and texts just to let them know I am thinking of them.  And I always feel blessed when they respond.

So my advice to you - reach out to one of your friends today.  Take the time to say 'I'm glad you're my friend' and appreciate them for all they have done for you.  Friends make us who we are, we should never forget them or take them for granted.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights
Let them be your mattress
And you shall sleep restful nights.
~Author Unknown

 I love to read - reading for me is almost as important as breathing.  It is the place I can retreat to and know I am safe.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sunday Shout Out

I absolutely love reading writer interviews and guest posts from a variety of different writers and that is exactly what I've found on WOW! Women On Writing Blog.  With tips and competitions as well as many different writers being interviewed I have found a place where I can fill myself up on writing info.

Yes, they are all women on this blog, and I've found that to be highly inspiratonal (as a women myself) and has opened my mind to different styles and genres of writing.  I highly recommend all writers take a look at this blog, whether they're looking for inspiration or just somewhere to indulge in the need for connection with other writers.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Review: Eat, Pray, Love (film)

This film is based on the book of the same name which shows how the author spent a year in three different countries in the search for herself.  I was expecting a movie with a touch of whimsical and belief in spirituality of life, and I wasn't disappointed.  As Liz (Julia Roberts) travels through Italy, India and Bali, meeting many people and learning different ways of life there were many messages and lessons to be learnt.  However, none of these seemed forced upon me, leaving me to take my own interpretations of the lessons I wanted to learn from it - a definite bonus as I hate anything that seems preachy or telling me how to live my life.

There were moments during the film when I felt intense jealousy for :Liz as she is physically and mentally able to take a year out of life to live to the fullest.  But, despite knowing that I will never be able to have those experiences, I felt that in some way she is sharing them with the world and the people she meets and the cultures she discovers are given to us in a completely true way without being pretentious.

Thought-provoking and heart-felt, this is a story about a woman trying to find out who she is and in the process of watching this film I believe that most people will discover something about themselves just by thinking about the decisions made and the reactions shown, but only if you're willing to open up your heart and mind to possibilities.  Therefore, I'd recommend this film for anyone interested in people or cultures other than their own - but I wouldn't advise anyone to expect it as a guide to life, that is not what this film is for.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Why I Write

I have given the question 'why do I write?' a lot of thought lately.  And honestly, I'm still not entirely sure.  I think it has to do with people. 

People are a complete mystery to me.  They do things that are totally illogical and every single one of them is different.  They don't make sense in my head.  And that is why I find them so fascinating.

Writing, for me, is about discovery of people through the creation and stories of the people I create.  It's about trying to understand why they do what they do - that is the most important thing for me.  The why of a person.

Other than that, I enjoy the feeling of having a great idea, of seeing words appear on a blank page, of knowing that I am creating.  And that is why I write.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


You remember when I took part in Creativity Boot Camp?  Well, the organiser Maegan now hosts The Sunday Creative so I thought I'd give it a go.  This week's prompt is Spiral.  Feedback is always welcome.

A hanging glass spiral hung in the window. Karla watched as the pearls of reflected light moved about the room; over the brown seats, the brown carpet, the beige walls and the stack of out-of-date magazines beside her.  The clock ticked. 

There was one other person in the waiting room, probably feeling just as anxious and worried as Karla herself was feeling.  She picked up the top magazine – Hello.  She hated gossip weeklies, they rarely had anything useful in them, but right now it was a distraction.  Anything to stop herself thinking what was being said behind the closed door.  Every now and again the flicking light caused by the spiral would draw Karla’s eyes to that door.  Or perhaps it was Karla herself wanting it to open, for the waiting to end.

And then it opened.  There was the doctor.  And there was her mother, dressed impeccably as always.  She always worried what other people thought about her and so only had clothes she deemed ‘best’ in her wardrobe, hair and make-up always done perfectly and daring red nails which didn’t imply her age.

Karla looked up hopefully, wanting to see relief on her mother’s face, wanting to know that everything would be okay.  Instead she was met with her mother standing straight, not showing any emotion.
“So we’ll get you an appointment, it may be a week, perhaps a few days longer.”
 “Thank you.”  Was her mother’s short reply.
And Karla knew that her life was about to change and that the diagnoses was positive.  Her mum had cancer.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sunday Shout Out

This week I want to send you to a blog I only recently started following Eat, Move, Write.  This blog is filled with so much truth about living life, healthy eating, obesity, family and everything else that life incompasses.  Jasmine is a writer but she doesn't often write about writing like so many other writer bloggers (myself included) as her blog is more a place for her to write about issues she feels passionately about and share them with the world.  I would seriously suggest you take the time out of your day to take a look at her blog if you've ever felt that it's hard to be truthful, have had body issues, want to be a writer, or feel the need to connect to other people (if I didn't just describe you then jealous much).  So what are you waiting for?  Go, read.

Oh and for the writers who read this blog, Eat, Move, Write also holds weekly writing competitions and every Sunday you can read the winners.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this film - but hey, the poster looked good so why not give it a shot.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief was created from Greek Mythology.  I love anything to do with fairytales and myths, so that gave it a big thumbs up in my book.  However, it gave the myths a modern and unusual twist by focusing on the demi-gods who have one human parent and one god parent, and of course our hero, Percy Jackson, is even more special by being the son of one of the top three gods (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades for those who aren't in the know).

Honestly, I didn't enjoy this film as much as I thought I would as while I knew it was an adventure film, it seemed a bit contrived to me.  Percy is accused of stealing Zeus' thunder which ends up with him on a quest.  That in itself doesn't sound so bad, but the quest to me seemed very, point A (face an enemy), point B (face an enemy), point C (face an enemy), face the main enemy, the end.  And the way that Percy defeats all his enemies seemed a little lame to me as most of it was through luck or someone/thing else coming to the rescue.

So I'd say this film is probably fine if you're looking for very light entertainment without much hidden meaning or thought provoking scenes, or for children who know nothing about Greek Mythology (as it's sort of informational) but for me, I prefer a little more depth to my films.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Finding My Genre

In the past I have mainly written what I suppose is contemporary fiction.  I've never really known what genre I was drawn to except that all my novel length ideas seemed to be designed for Young Adults and were pretty high-concept.  The problem with this was that, barring Harry Potter, I don't really read that genre.  And the advice of write the genre you read was always in the back of my mind.

I read Chick Lit.  There, I've said it.  In the past I have always been slightly ashamed of reading this but that wasn't the reason I never thought to write it.  The problem I had was how would I come up with an idea that was unique enough to be different from the thousands of other books in this genre, and yet include the tropes that make up this genre?  That was until recently.

I was trying to think of an idea for my main project for my final year and I went through quite a few - including the high-concept YA ideas, and also writing it as a blog format.  It turned out that neither of those were what really sparked my interest.  And to be honest I was quite surprised by what did.  Because, as you've probably guessed by now, the idea is sort of a chick lit.  I say sort-of as it's not strictly set in the modern world.  Well, it is, but includes an element of the unnatural, similar to the ideas in a few of Cecelia Ahern's books (which I strongly recommend).

So I had my idea, but I still wasn't sure if I'd be able to write it (and to be honest I'm still not sure, but I'm going to give it a damn good try) so I tried writing a few unrelated scenes that could place in a chick lit book, and was surprised to find that not only did I really enjoy writing them, but they didn't feel as if I was simply reguritating other books.  I realised that if I have my own style then my stories will automatically seperate themselves from the masses (whether it's positively or negatively is yet to be decided). 

So I guess I'm trying to say that genre and voice are inseperable.  While we may be able to write in more than one genre, it is our voice and style that keep our stories fresh and new and hopefully interesting enough for a publisher/agent/reader to buy.  So I'm going to give the Chick Lit style a go as a sort of test-run and perhaps if I love it enough, I will have found my niche.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Seeing the Finish Line

Lately I've been doing a lot of cross-stitching.  I have dabbled in it before but now I'm finding myself drawn to it a lot more often, almost every day.  Mainly I've been stitching small kits although I have a few larger projects on the go, and I have finally realised why I love this craft.  It is different from my other hobbies in one special way - I can see how far I need to go to get to the finish line.

I am a competitive person and I also love a challenge.  But there's nothing more depressing than when you can't see the end of the challenge.  When you're writing a story you can't see how many more words you'll need, when you're tidying you can see what you've achieved but the chances are you'll be more preoccupied with everything that you haven't and that always seems to be a never-ending list.  With cross-stitch you have the pattern in front of you.  To begin with it may seem like it will never be finished - after all, you start with some fabric and some threads.  But then the pattern starts to form and suddenly you can see what you have left to do.  Not to mention the amazing feeling I get when I consider that I've made something beautiful with so little.

And that's why I cross-stitch.  What's your hobby and why are you drawn to it?

Monday, 4 October 2010

Welcome Autumn

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~George Cooper, "October's Party"

Friday, 1 October 2010

Review: Sex and the City (Book)

Lovers of the TV series will instantly recognize the many of the scenarios shown through this collection of the Sex and the City newspaper columns by Candace Bushnell.  However, don't expect any other similarities.  While the characters of Carrie, Samantha and Miranda do appear in the books, they aren't the same as in the series and only Carrie is in more than two chapters (and it isn't the fabulous Carrie character we have come to love on our screens).

In fairness, I'm impressed so much was gleaned from these pages to make 6 years and 2 films (so far).  Because, as I've said, it is a collection of columns.  It is not a novel, and therefore shouldn't be read as such.  It is a book that you can easily dip into and read a chapter and there without worrying about what you've previously read.  However, I did find that as I read it (I read it through like a normal book) I became more engrossed towards the end.  That is when the feelings for the characters started to appear, rather than just names on a page, and Carrie started taking a front seat.

While I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone who doesn't like sarcastic humour or slightly depressing humour, it is definitely a must for any Sex and the City fan, as it is the core of the show and Bushnell's style and flair is what will pull you in and make you laugh - but only if you have the sense of humour to laugh at what could be quite depressing situations.