Writing Articles

Researching For A Story

Okay. I just want to warn you all that my latest story idea has lead to my google search history looking stranger than it has ever been and, naturally, I am going to talk about it here.

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Alpha/Beta Reading – What I Will Look For In Your Stories

I’ve begun to receive fairly regular requests to alpha/beta read some stories and it worried me a tad. I am well aware that critical analysis of one’s work can be a touchy subject – I know my favourite beta reader has suffered some silent treatment from me as I sulked about the things he said about my magnificent creations, so I was a little concerned about exposing myself to the receiving end of the process. Ultimately, I decided that my passion for writing and desire to help and support others on their journey to publication was worth the potential silent treatment (or worse) that I may get from those I read for.

So now I have taken the plunge (and suffered my first bout of silent treatment) I thought I’d write about what I will look at when being an alpha or beta reader.

  1. The First Line. – The first line in a story should be the first ‘hook’ to encourage your readers to keep reading. It needs to be engaging and, more importantly, it needs to be relevant to the story. There are many different ways to write a great first line, as Joe Bunting explains in his excellent article ‘7 Keys To Write The Perfect First Line’
  2. Continuity. – The longer your work, the more difficult it is to keep up with what your characters have been saying and doing, where they have been going and why they have been behaving a certain way. I’m sure we have all seen examples of continuity errors on TV and in movies, I’m sure many people have found them in books too. I once wrote a story where I described a character as wearing leggings and then later on in the same scene mentioned a tattoo that could be seen through the slit in her skirt. I’d changed what my character was wearing halfway through a scene and not noticed. A beta reader pointed it out to me. These things might seem small and insignificant sometimes, but they can pull a reader out of the little world you are conjuring up for them and they will escape from the thrall you, as a writer, work so hard to develop. For information on how to avoid the more common continuity errors, check out this post on continuity by author A J Humpage.
  3. Pacing. – The pace of your story should ebb and flow depending on what is happening in your story at the time. If your story is too slow throughout, your readers will become bored and may abandon the story altogether. If your story is paced too fast, they may wind up feeling mentally exhausted at the end and this could put them off reading more of your work. I will look at sentence length and regularity and whether your action and connecting scenes are paced appropriately to allow the readers to get swept along in the right places, but also allowed time to reflect on what they have read. For more information on effective pacing, check out this Readers Digest post.
  4. Repetition. – Repetition in literature is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it can help to really underline a particular message. Most of the time, however, it’s insignificant words which are repeated all the time. When words are repeated, we often notice the repeated word… (See what I did there?)  It can drag a reader out of their story and back into the real world. That is not where you want them. You want to create an atmosphere around your readers so they almost forget that they are reading words and instead find themselves in this strange kind of reading trance where they can see the story unfolding around them. For more information on repetition, check out this post by Fiction Editor Beth Hill.

Hopefully these links will be useful to you and will help reduce the number of things I or any other alpha/beta readers will pick up on.

 

Write What You Know

Nightmares. It doesn’t matter how old you get, they never stop getting at you.

According to Wikipedia:

“A nightmare is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror.”

I had a nightmare a week or so ago and woke with all the usual sensations. The sick feeling from adrenalin flowing, unused, through my blood. A lingering feeling of despair and fear and loneliness ebbing away slowly as I realised I was awake and the nightmare was over. My first thought as I turned over to go back to sleep was: “I need to write this down.”

You know you are a writer when you want to write down and remember as much as you can about your nightmares instead of allow them to fade away from your memory. As I write mostly horror and scary stuff, I thought it would be a great idea to write down the thoughts and feeling I get upon waking, so I can work on replicating them. As a spin off from the initial exploration, I wrote a poem called Nightmares. I wasn’t looking to describe the sensations but to instil something close to that feeling into the reader.

I think I did a fairly good job, if the first comment to pop up on that post was anything to go by:

“I just got goosebumps in broad daylight.”

Another piece of feedback I get said:

“Hey, I like that – I feel a bit sad reading it and vulnerable however isn’t that what a nightmare is?”

Nailed it!

When new writers are told to “write what you know” it can sometimes confuse them. After all, who knows about monsters and magic and evil people on a murderous rampage?

This is what they mean. This is writing about what I know. I may have never faced anything murderous or monstrous during the waking hours, but I have faced them in my nightmares. I know what it is like to run with all my strength to get away from a monster behind me, but never manage to reach that next damned lamppost. I know what it is like to wake up after hiding from ghostly Greek Gladiators in the ruins of a colosseum. Those feelings and emotions are real. They are what I know. So I will write about them and make the things I don’t know feel so much more real for those who read it.

I will also continue to keep a notebook by my bed so I can write down my thoughts and feelings about my dreams and nightmares. If I have to dream about icky scary stuff, then I sure as hell am going to make sure I get something good out of it.

The Clean Reader App – I Don’t Like It

I was browsing Facebook the other day as part of my pre-writing procrastination, when I came across this article from Book Riot about a Clean Reader App. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of it, it’s an App that you can download eBooks into, to remove or change certain ‘unsavoury’ words with dots, or a more palatable alternative.

Jared and Kirsten Maughan from Idaho in the USA came up with the idea because their daughter was reading at a level much higher than her peers. They wanted to continue to encourage their daughter to push herself with regards to her reading, but were concerned about the content of more adult books, after she brought home books from school with swearing in it.  They spoke with lawyers who were quick to point out that they couldn’t re-publish books that had been edited in this manner as it would infringe copyright laws. The app that was eventually developed by Page Foundry gets past this issue by editing the original book for the use of the reader only. It does not make edited versions available to other people. Once you have bought a copy of an eBook, you can do what you like to it, including editing words you don’t like, much like taking a permanent marker to a physical book, if that is what you wish to do. This is legal because the book, either in eBook form or physical form, is your own to do with as you wish.

So whilst this App is legal, doesn’t infringe on the author’s copyright laws and doesn’t fall under the scope of censorship, it is leaving a lot of people, myself included, feeling rather uncomfortable.

From the comments I have read on various articles like the ones on Book Riot, Huffington Post, LDS Media Talk and also this gem of a blog I found a link to, many people are torn between their beliefs that everyone should have the freedom of choice and some religious beliefs regarding purity etc., but also that the app has the potential to get in the way of open-mindedness and slow down progression. My own initial thought; that the replacement of certain profane words with less offensive ones could completely change the tenor of the story intended by the author; is also a widely expressed one. Think of this classic sentence from Gone with the Wind:

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Can you imagine it being changed to “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a •” Or even worse “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a monkeys.”? The dot is strange and the alternative completely changes the atmosphere and inflection behind the words spoken. One comment I read claimed that authors who use profanity are doing so to cover up their poor grasp of the english language. I completely and utterly disagree with this. As a writer of horror stories, profanity can be used in my stories to shock the mind on purpose, the psychology behind profanity and people’s reactions to them are exactly why they are used. They show you things like anger and disrespect without the writer adding things like ‘they said angrily.’ which would be quite poor as a writing technique. I’m not trying to be delicate about brutal murder and jealousy and all kinds of other things that can rear it’s ugly head in a horror story. It’s not that I don’t have a good grasp of the english language, it’s that I have a good understanding of both the language AND the psychology behind people’s reactions.

In cases where there is a lot of profanity within a book, the replacement with dots could render the passages unreadable and take away from the reader the understanding of relationships between certain characters and parts of the storyline, which can only frustrate the reader just as much as the uncomfortable sensation they might feel at reading a ‘bad’ word. It’s also unrealistic. People use profanity all the time and pretending they don’t doesn’t, to me, seem like a good way to prepare your children for the outside world.

In my opinion, books are many things rolled into one. They can be an escape from the world as well as a window into it. They can re-affirm your opinions and ideas, or they can challenge them. They can be educational, or purely for fun. They can be uncomfortable. They can bring to your attention the horrors of the world that should not be ignored. I can’t help but feel that a lot of people who want to avoid such content is doing nothing more than attempting to protect the little bubble they have put around their life so that they can pretend everything is rosy. Life isn’t like that.

I understand that some content can trigger people. People who have survived rape, for example, might not want to read books with a rape scene involved. That is completely understandable to me. Maybe books would be better off with a rating like movies have? Then people can choose the books they want to read without the writing of the author being physically changed. I have seen a lot of comments from people who think that rating books is just as bad as using a clean reader app. Personally, as a compromise, I think it would be a good idea.

What do you think about the clean reader app? Would you use it? Do you think a book rating system, similar to movies, would be a good alternative? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking Forward to 2015

I know i have been largely absent from my blog for a while now, and I apologise. One of my resolutions for next year is to plan regular slots for my blog to keep it working for me consistently. I am also planning new content so it’s not all stories but more about me and my journey into writing.

I have not, however, been stagnating during my absence. 2014 was the Year of the Creative Writing Course (which i passed! Certificate – Naomi Harvey) and it has completely changed my life. I was bored out of my tiny little mind back in January 2014, when my brother mentioned that he had seen some courses on Amazon local. I went to have a look and a creative writing course caught my attention. As it was reduced right down to 90% off, I decided to give it a go. I was very quickly hooked. I started this blog as part of the course and not only can I see the improvements I have made throughout the year, but i have met some amazing people. I can’t wait to get to know you all much better in 2015.

I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July and wrote the first draft of a Novella which I aim to have published by the end of July 2015. I have been spending a lot of my time on this, as well as one or two other stories that are much bigger than my usual flash fiction offerings. Watch this space!

More recently, I went to a training and development session run by the HR department where I work. With the help of a woman who is amazingly good at her job, I admitted that my current job did not satisfy me and I wanted to do something as a career with writing at the heart of it. My company currently has vacancies for a Copywriter and a Scriptwriter and whilst I am aware that I lack the credentials and experience to take on a role like that right now, it has opened my eyes to the opportunities that are out there to write for a living, whilst still earning a regular salary. This would allow me to have a career doing what I love, and I would still have my free time to myself to explore my love of fiction. I have requested some time with the manager of the team advertising these roles so I can understand what I need to do to be in a good position to get myself a job like that in the future.

Another thing that I realised through this personal development session is that I regret choosing to work instead of going to university to gain a degree. After some exploration, I have found an online BA (hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing with the OU. I aim to begin in April. As I have never studied at university level before, I can apply for student funding through the government and because it is available to study online, I can continue to work whilst studying.

So 2015 is the year that I stop waiting for things to happen to me, and go out there and make them happen. Every year I have told myself that things will change, but it wasn’t until i found that creative writing course that i realised that change doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen.

be-the-change-you-are-looking-for

Picture from here

So! My New Years Resolutions (which i’ve kind of already started) include all the mundane “I will eat better, exercise more, lose weight and look fabulous!” but also include “I will start studying for a degree, publish my first novella (even if I self-publish it), take steps towards changing my career path to something that involves writing and transform my blog into something I can be really proud of.”

How has 2014 changed your life and what are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

The Many Ways To Name Your Characters

I haven’t written an article for a while because I’ve been focused on CampNaNo and getting some short stories written for people to enjoy. However, I have read a few things on various websites recently that have prompted me to look at how I build up my characters. Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting ideas about how to make your characters realistic, three-dimensional and memorable.

british_baby_names_2009

Name

I have a really bad habit of naming my characters with names that mean something. It’s all fine and well for when you want to add something special, J K Rowling did a fabulous job with all the meanings behind her character names, but when you aren’t writing about wizards and werewolves it isn’t always necessary to name the bad girl of the story something like Maelani (which means dark) and the good girl something like Aurelia (which means light). That is, however, what I have done with two of my characters in my novella. The twins are called Dany (which means dark) and Zane (which means light).

Whilst googling name meanings recently I came across a Yahoo question where the most popular answer to someone trying to find the right meaning for their character’s name was: “Just give her a normal name. Parents choose names because they like them, not necessarily because they think their child will grow up to be the meaning of that name.” This is a very good point and actually kinda makes life a little easier. Especially when trying to find names for your bad guy/girl characters, it’s not easy to find names out there that mean things like deceitful, two-faced or cruel.

The reply also suggested the possibility of using a name that means the opposite of the characters personality. Take Angelica from Rugrats, for example. She was always being mean to the babies and rarely ever behaved in an angelic fashion.

I rather like this idea. It offers many story suggestions just by turning the name meanings on their heads. How about a call girl called Chastity? A benefit cheat called Charity? An atheist called Faith? Cliff who is afraid of heights? Lake who can’t swim? Oh, the Irony!

You could always go all Bond Girl or Iron Man with names like Pussy Galore or Pepper Potts: A small joke thrown in to your writing to make it more memorable and to give your readers a small smile.

Maybe your characters all have surnames that depict their job like Cook, Smith and Harper. Then again, Bin-man, Lawyer and Waitress might be slightly unusual…

Of course sometimes you just need to be that little bit wacky. We all know celebs love to name their poor kids unfortunate things like Fifi Trixabelle, Lettuce and Phoenix Chi. It’s not just celebrities though. My friend is a teacher and I happen to know she taught a kid called Awesome and there was a lot of social media attention about that girl who called her kid Hashtag.

baby_name

Ethnic names are good if you want to give that well-rounded feel for a character’s ancestry, but names are becoming rather more universal these days so you want to be careful not to stereotype at the same time.

There are some clever ways to use names in all the ways described here and more, but try to not to get stuck in a cycle of doing it all the time. I named a character without looking up the meaning the other day. I nearly went crazy about it and had to talk myself down:

‘Step away from the google page Naomi’

But I did it. It works just as well, and a lot of the time people probably don’t even notice clever naming unless you tell them anyway. I know I don’t look up name meanings for things I read.

 

I’m not even going to mention the characters from the kids TV programme Captain Pugwash…

CampNaNoWriMo…..I WON!

2014-Winner-Facebook-Cover

It’s the first of August and the first day of ‘Post-CampNaNoWriMo’.

This was my first venture into the world of National Novel Writing Month and I have to say, it was quite an adventure! The late nights, the disobedient characters, the sections of storyline that I definitely had NOT planned… It all mixed together to make this last month a fantastic experience.

I don’t think I am ready for the full NaNoWriMo in November, I only had a target of 25k this time and completed at 23:32 on the very last day of writing, but in a year or two I expect to be tearing my hair out and making my friends think I am terrible boring whilst writing full 50k first drafts of my novels.

I’m delighted to have finished the draft of my novella and I can’t wait to go back and read it all. The editing fun starts now!

100 Blog Followers!

MORE than 100 followers, actually. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

 100_Logo

Picture borrowed from Shut Up & Read

Eeek! I’m so excited! When I started my blog earlier in the year, I thought it would take me forever to reach 100 followers.

I am delighted that you all enjoy my writing enough to want to keep coming back to read more. I know my stories are often a little gruesome, but evidently that’s how we like them.

(I apologise for the minor case of neglect to my blog in the last two weeks. Camp NaNoWriMo has taken over my life and I have been spending all my time on it. I promise I will be a good little blogger from now on and not neglect you.)

Now, to celebrate having over 100 followers, I have poached some facts about the number 100 from Wikipedia.

100 (one hundred) (Roman numeral Ⅽ, reinforced by Latin centum) is the natural number following 99 and preceding 101.

 

In mathematics

100 is the square of 10 (in scientific notation it is written as 102). The standard SI prefix for a hundred is “hecto-“.

100 is the basis of percentages (per cent meaning “per hundred” in Latin), with 100% being a full amount.

100 is the sum of the first nine prime numbers, as well as the sum of some pairs of prime numbers e.g., 3 + 97, 11 + 89, 17 + 83, 29 + 71, 41 + 59, and 47 + 53.

100 is the sum of the cubes of the first four integers (100 = 13 + 23 + 33 + 43). This is related by Nicomachus’s theorem to the fact that 100 also equals the square of the sum of the first four integers: 100 = 102 = (1 + 2 + 3 + 4)2.

26 + 62 = 100, thus 100 is a Leyland number.

100 is an 18-gonal number. It is divisible by the number of primes below it, 25 in this case. It can not be expressed as the difference between any integer and the total of coprimes below it, making it a noncototient. It can be expressed as a sum of some of its divisors, making it a semiperfect number.

100 is a Harshad number in base 10, and also in base 4, and in that base it is a self-descriptive number.

There are exactly 100 prime numbers whose digits are in strictly ascending order (e.g. 239, 2357 etc.).

100 is the smallest number whose common logarithm is a prime number (i.e. 10n for which n is prime).

In science

The atomic number of fermium is 100.

On the Celsius scale, 100 degrees is the boiling temperature of pure water at sea level.

The Kármán line lies at an altitude of 100 kilometres above the Earth’s sea level and is commonly used to define the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.

In religion

There are 100 blasts of the Shofar heard in the service of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

A religious Jew is expected to utter at least 100 blessings daily.

In politics

The United States Senate has 100 Senators.

In money

Most of the world’s currencies are divided into 100 subunits; for example, one euro is one hundred cents and one pound sterling is one hundred pence.

The U.S. hundred-dollar bill has Benjamin Franklin’s portrait; the “Benjamin” is the largest U.S. bill in print. American savings bonds of $100 have Thomas Jefferson’s portrait, while American $100 treasury bonds have Andrew Jackson’s portrait.

In other fields

One hundred is also:

The number of years in a century.

The number of pounds in an American short hundredweight.

In Greece, India, Israel and Nepal, 100 is the police telephone number.

In Belgium, 100 is the ambulance and firefighter telephone number.

In United Kingdom, 100 is the operator telephone number.

The HTTP status code indicating that the client should continue with its request.

In entertainment

The 100 (TV series), science-fiction television series broadcast on the CW Network, beginning in 2014.

In sports

The number of yards in an American football field (not including the end zones).

The number of runs required for a cricket batsman to score a century, a significant milestone.

The number of points required for a snooker cueist to score a century break, a significant milestone.

The record number of points scored in one NBA game by a single player, set by Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962.

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Woo!

Thank you very much to Kate Loveton @ Odyssey of a Novice Writer for nominating me for my very first award! If you still haven’t checked out her blog, then you NEED to.

The idea of the Liebster award is to get exposure for new/small blogs which means any blog with less than 1000 followers. This varies as the ‘rules’ aren’t official so I just picked a few people I liked to nominate.

First off, I thought I would share a few things about me:

  1. I have green eyes and I am rather proud of them. Apparently, less than 2% of the world’s population have green eyes. Nobody else in my family has them that I have found so far.

 

  1. I have four brothers and one sister. I have two older brothers, two younger brothers and a younger sister. Having grown up with such a big family, I sometimes get a little freaked out being on my own. I have been known to have the TV on just for background noise, even when I’m not in the room
  1. I am (very) distantly related to the King of Tonga. My great aunt (my grandmother’s sister) married the current king’s cousin. Unfortunately, this does not make me a princess.

 

  1. I have a secret addiction to mobile games like Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth. I’ve played that specific game since 2012.

 

  1. My friends don’t like going shopping with me because I sing along to the music they play over the tannoy and embarrass the crap out of them. Sometimes I dance too.
  1. I once auditioned for X factor. I got through a round or two but didn’t get far enough to meet the celeb judges.

 

  1. I have a thing for crime based and supernatural based TV shows. Law and Order, CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds/Buffy, Supernatural, Grimm, Lost Girl… I love them all!
  1. Harry Potter is like a security blanket for me. If I am upset about anything at all, I will either put on the DVD’s or read the books until I feel better.
  1. I am left handed. I share this trait with some amazing people like: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Drew Barrymore, Pierce Brosnan, Jim Carrey, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt, Lewis Carroll, Germaine Greer, Matt Groening, Bart Simpson, David Bowie, Eminem, Sting, Annie Lennox, Kurt Cobain, Aristotle, Einstein, Joan of Arc, Prince William and Winston Churchill.
  1. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INFJ. Apparently less than 1% of the world’s population is an INFJ. (I really am a rare creature, aren’t I?) Here is what Wikipedia says about the INFJ Personality Type.

INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding of themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear and confident vision, which they then set out to execute, aiming to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.[12]

INFJs can adapt easily in social situations due to their complex understanding of an individual’s motivations; however, they are true introverts. INFJs are private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Though they are very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner.[3]

INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life that they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types; however, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily hurt, though they may not reveal it (except to their closest companions). INFJs may “silently withdraw as a way of setting limits” rather than expressing their wounded feelings—a behaviour that may leave others confused and upset.[13]

INFJs tend to be sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately, deeply woven, mysterious, highly complex, and often puzzling, even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they can understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired, yet they may also do well in the sciences, aided by their intuition”

If that hasn’t told you lots about me then I don’t know what will!

Liebster Award3

Onto the Questions Kate set for me:

  1. What are you currently reading? – I have just started The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I belong to a book club and I need to finish it by the end of the month. It’s long, but so far really good. 
  2. Who is your favourite author, and why? – My favourite author is Stephen King. I love how he addresses the human psyche in his stories; their strengths and their weaknesses. I have a ‘thing’ for psychology so I love reading fiction with real life situations (but mixed with a bit of scary creepy horror too.)
  3. If you are a writer, do you try to get a certain word count each day? – I don’t keep track of how much I write each day, but I do make sure to write something every day, even if nobody ever gets to see it.
  4. In 25 words, tell me about yourself. – Can I use up the words complaining about how I hate these kinds of questions? No? Damn. Okay:

    I am a feisty sarcastic, cheeky, music loving, compassionate, left-handed, occasionally grumpy British woman with a love for cats, singing in inappropriate places, and writing.

     

  5. Why do you blog? I started my blog because my creative writing course told me it would be a good idea to have a blog to get some practice and experience with writing, and also to get my name out there. It’s good for marketing my ‘brand’ or something. Three months later I am blogging because I love when people enjoy my stories and I am enjoying every moment. Now have received my first award! I hope to be blogging for a long time to come.
  6. What’s your favourite song or piece of music and why? – This is impossible to answer because I can’t pick just one song or even a small number. Music is my first love; my vice. I have sung for as long as I can remember and I tend to associate people and memories to songs, making them all precious to me in their own way.
  7. How many magazines do you subscribe to, and what are they? – I only subscribe to one at the moment: Writing Magazine. If you anyone has any recommendations for useful or interesting magazines then I would love to hear them.
  8. Share one weakness and one strength with us. – Okay, strength wise, I would have to go with my ability to see the bigger picture. I am good at seeing a situation from every angle, and understand each person’s point of view. I think that is especially helpful for writing fiction, as I can see how each character would react to a situation, how their reactions would differ, and how to show that in my writing. Weakness wise, I would have to say that I am far too emotional. Whilst I enjoy that my writing often revolves around an emotional theme, I do tend to react emotionally to advice/constructive criticism first, before my logical side kicks in and points out that its truthful, sensitive, helpful advice that I can benefit greatly from.
  9. Which animal are you most like, and why? – For this question I turned to the internet and took a test on www.animalinyou.com to find out what they thought. Apparently I am a penguin! I have to say, I like the results. Here is what the website says about penguin people.

Now you see it, now you don’t. Aggressive yet gentle, outgoing but shy, stable yet flighty – everyone sees the penguin in a different way. It’s that black and white thing: the penguin only reveals the side that it wants to you to see. So whether you like this darling-devil or not, you have to concede that it’s a fascinating and enigmatic individual.

Penguins are birds condemned to live out their days on the ground. Unable to fly, their excess energy has no outlet save their creative talents and emotional outbursts. Penguins are poetic, artistic, and intellectually gifted, and as writers penguins have no equal.

But, if unable to channel their impulses in a positive way, the resulting turmoil proves damaging to their relationships and careers.

Penguins are deceptively intelligent and are particularly animated when intellectually challenged. They excel at word games and puzzles but are modest about their abilities and are generally underestimated by others.

With their misunderstood personality, penguins find writing an ideal tool for expressing their true feelings. They have a natural aptitude for languages and penguin personalities dominate the world of publishing as writers, editors, and journalists.

With a natural aptitude for languages, penguin personalities dominate the world of publishing as writers, editors and journalists. A strong sense of drama draws them to the theater and cinema, although unlike typical bird personalities they avoid the spotlight unless they’re able to hide behind the characters they play. Once on stage however, they prove to be excellent performers with their multifaceted personalities conveying the full gamut of emotions.

However, a lack of confidence affects their work. Penguins tend to give up on tasks they were otherwise capable of and are often disappointed with their performance. Still, work never dominates their life and they always put their family first.

  1. Share one goal you plan to achieve in the next 6 months. – I have a novella/novel in the making which I am excited about. I hope to have it completed and published in the next 6 months as my first ever published piece of work. I will make sure to announce it loud and proud on my blog. 

I hope this has provided lots of insight into my world and I would like to thank Kate once again for nominating me.

Liebster Award2

I would like to nominate the following people:

  • Emily @ 90,000 Words. This may come as a bit of a surprise, seeing as I haven’t actually spoken to Emily or commented on her blog (yet) but I have read her posts and it is blindingly obvious that she is intelligent, articulate, funny, and full of passion for her writing. If you don’t follow her already, please go and check out her blog.
  • E.B.Thompson @ An author’s Quest. E.B Thompson’s first novel Starling was released at the new year and I recommend you go and download a copy and give it a read. In the meantime check out her blog.
  • Chris Musgrave @ Chris Musgrave – Writer in Training. Chris’s blog is full of writing tips, amazing stories and book reviews. He is also always willing to give me a hand with whatever I am working on or trying to learn about the big scary world of writing and for that I will be eternally grateful. Check out his blog.
  • Bethanie Hardie @ Left- Hand Writer. Bethanie is my writing twin 😀 we are both british, left handed and writers. (Although, Bethanie is far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am.) Bethanie actually has two blogs on the go so check them both out. Check out her published work too 😀

Everyone else I have thought of already has this award so four is going to have to do. accepting this reward is entirely voluntary and does not have a time limit. If you do accept, make sure to answer the below questions on your post.

  1. Where in the world are you blogging from?

  2. If you were Santa, what would you give to the children on your naughty list?

  3. Introduce a character from your current writing project.

  4. If you could go back to any point in your childhood, where would you go to?

  5. If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

  6. If you could choose any author to be your mentor, who would you choose and why?

  7. Name one possession that you just couldn’t live without.

  8. Who is your biggest inspiration? (can be famous, fictional or someone you know personally)

  9. Name one thing you can’t do, that you wish you could.

  10. If you could be anyone in the world for one day, who would you be and why?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me through my gross over-share of random stuff, feel free to comment if you feel this wasn’t over-share enough and you want to know more.

Patience and Commitment – Where Can I Find Them?

I keep seeing all these amazing writers on WordPress with their published novels, or talking about Camp NaNo and their finished/almost finished first draft and I can feel the excitement bubbling inside me and threatening to spill out. I want to write a novel! The problem is, I only have one or two vague, half-formed ideas on what I could write a novel about and I want to just jump right in and start writing. The over-excited little girl in me is jumping out and down, squealing and clapping her hands. All the while, she is telling me “We’ll find the plot line as we go. We’ll make up the characters as we go. We’ll work out if its a good enough idea to become an actual novel as we go…” I see a pattern emerging. She’s impatient and over excitable and needs to be reigned in. A lot.

Yoda Patience

Image found online here.

I am new to the whole writing ‘thing’, I only started writing in January with the exception of one or two made up stories on the fly. Because that is what I did when I didn’t take writing seriously, that is what my inner child wants me to do now. The thing is, I take my writing rather seriously now. I don’t want to go at this half-baked, I want to do things properly. That means making preparations. So my over-excitable inner child needs to be subdued a little and I need to look at this in the most organised way possible.

I have just started Module 5 of my creative writing course which conveniently looks at novel writing. Modules 6 and 7 are also dedicated to the subject. That alone lets me know that there is a lot to cover. The basics of story writing was covered in previous modules regarding writing a short story, and there are STILL 3 more modules to do with turning that into “How to write a full blown novel”. The first part of the module is all about commitment. What do I define as commitment? How do I stay committed when I realise just how long it can take to get from an idea to a full blown fully written, re-written, re-written again, edited, edited more, edited to within an inch of it’s life manuscript that is ready for publishing? What will I do when my famously impatient inner child gets bored of waiting and starts jumping up and down, clapping her hands and telling me all about this other great idea she’s had for me to do?

My answer so far is….

 

I don’t know. I have never attempted anything of this magnitude before so I don’t know how I will handle it. I suspect it will involve arguing with myself, alcohol, chocolate, and some lovely nagging encouragement from my new writing friends to make sure I keep moving in the right direction. How do YOU keep yourself motivated during the long and arduous process of plotting, planning, writing, re-writing, editing, crying in frustration, marketing and publishing your precious work of literary art?