Monthly Archives: July 2012

NaNoWriMo

Hey guys. Well today I will be talking about NaNoWriMo, and though it is a little early, I am still keen to talk about it – for all of you who don’t know, that means ‘National Novel Writing Month’. This is basically a writing challenge which begins on November 1st and ends on November 30th, and if you win, you get the great feeling of completing it, a certificate, and a few other goodies. What is the challenge, I hear you ask?

To write 50,000 words in 30 days.

This may seem like a lot, and if I was a year or two younger, I would cry out in panic! But it’s less than 2000 words a day, and if you spend only two hours writing, it’s only a thousand words an hour, which is 16 words per minute (and it’s not even that much, as it’s not 2000 words a day). So it’s not actually that bad.

As I was saying, a year earlier I would never have managed 50,000 words. Why? Because I’d not even written my first novel a year ago. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Thus, I decided this year to take a first swing at writing 50,000 words in 30 days – basically, I want to share my excitement and ideas with you.

But you won’t be able to read about it until Friday, as I am writing this a day before I go on holiday and I am a little rushed. Therefore I will post the second part of this post in a few days, on Friday. Sorry about that! See you then. 🙂

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Write Every Day

Hi all, I hope you’re all enjoying whatever you’re doing – that’s a little too vague, isn’t it? *Laughs* But enough of the chit-chat: I’ve got a blog to write!

PLEASE NOTE – I WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING THE WORDS ‘every day’ IN BOLD TO SHOW THEIR IMPORTANCE.

So as you all know by now, I’m on holiday at the moment. But that’s not what I want to talk to you about; I want to talk about writing every day, wherever you are. Whilst I think that every writer has a different routine, different habits, and a different time schedule, I also think that they (you) should try to write every day.

Come on, pick them up and start writing!

Now it isn’t terrible if you miss a day – two or three even, but try not to. The reason I am saying that we should write every day might sound oh-so simple and oh-so boring, but the fact is that writing every day betters one’s writing, and also is just good ol’ fashioned PRACTICE.I’m even writing on holiday. Every day I plan to write either a scene from my up-coming post-apocalyptic novel, or just mix two things together (e.g. a tree and an egg) and try to create a scene from them. Perhaps I’ll throw every single piece of paper that I write on into the bin; perhaps I’ll scrunch them up in frustration. But I will have written something. Writing helps writing, if that makes any sense. And even if your writing doesn’t become better (which is stupidly unlikely) then at least you’ll be writing something. And writers enjoy writing, even if they don’t show it 😛

So basically all I am saying to you is please write – I’ve even put it in bold and underlined it so you can understand its importance. If you only take three things away from this post today, let it be these:

  1. Write every day
  2. Write every day
  3. Write every day

And just like that, you’ll become better. Ever notice why people who teach instruments to themselves without a teacher become better? They play their instruments every day. Let that be the same for you – use the instrument of your mind and imagination every day.

Or this, if you prefer! Although don’t pick it up.

Thanks for reading; I trust that you found this post helpful. If you want to comment, ask a question, or just want to share your thoughts and opinions about writing every day, then please go ahead, although I won’t be able to read all the comments for a little while. Maybe I’ll even post a few of my daily writing attempts from my holiday up on here when I get back (both my best and worst). Again, thanks, and I’ll see you Tuesday – another post about writing, but this time it won’t be so harsh! 😀

Books! (Part three)

Hello everyone, and I hope everything is going well. In case you’re new here, or if you don’t remember, I’m on holiday in France at the moment, and I set this message to be sent whilst I’m away (it’s a bit of a strange thought, really :/) Anyway, this post will be concluding the ‘Books!’ series, although I may do something similar in the future. Let’s begin then, shall we?

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The Colour of Magic– I read this book either two or three years ago, and to be honest, I didn’t find it that great. However, I expect this is because I was still a bit young and didn’t really understand the humour – so I’m reading it again 🙂 I pretty much know what happens, but maybe I’ll appreciate it more this time around.

Giving it another go.

The Man who Broke into Auschwitz – Non-fiction books are definitely not my favourite thing (except when I’m doing research for my writing – I get a thrill from doing that :P) but I received this book from a friend as a gift a few months go, and now I’m deciding to read it. Mainly it’s just to broaden my horizons, but it may lead to some new ideas or something similar for my writing. Not really sure what to expect, but I presume it’ll be a nice short break from reading fiction.

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So those are all the books I’m going to read on holiday – one or two I may have already read! Hopefully though I’ll be able to have a bunch of reviews to post on here over the course of a few weeks when I get back. I was going to dedicate a part of this post to books that I want to buy, but I think I’ll leave it for another time (it won’t be one of the posts whilst I’m away, either). Nevertheless, relish the summer sun, if indeed you have any at this time; Friday’s post will be about writing. See you then! 🙂

Books! (Part two)

Well helloooo! I’m both sad and happy today – sad to be leaving the blog, happy to go on holiday. 🙂 As I said yesterday, this post will be looking at what books I will be reading next.

So obviously I’m going on holiday tomorrow and basically doing nothing over the course of two weeks; ( 😀 ) I have PLENTY of new books to be getting on with. Whilst I highly doubt I’ll finish them all, I prefer to have a choice of what to read next – yes, even on holiday. 😛 The books which will be of most interest to all of you (I am a Christian and therefore I will have a few Christian books as well) are The Road (by Cormac McCarthy), Shadow of the Scorpion (Neal Asher), The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum), The Colour of Magic (Terry Pratchett), and finally The Man who Broke into Auschwitz (by Denis Avey and Rob Broomby). Now that you know them all, I will try to go through each one individually to say why I am excited to read the book, and also what I expect from it.

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The Road – This one hasn’t really intruiged me until very recently, when I decided to plan/write a post-apocalyptic novel soon (more on this in a later post). However, now that I’ve picked it up and glanced at the layout and writing, I have to say I am eager to review this book; its small scenes and snappy (I mean it) dialogue make it out to be an easy read, but even if it is, it looks to be enjoyable.

Shadow of the Scorpion – I must confess: part of me picked this science-fiction novel up because of the colourful, interesting cover. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, (after all, that’s why they make covers) I tend to buy a book either because it’s been recommended to me, or because I liked the sound of the blurb at the back of the book – this is why most people read books, in’t it? Anyway, the blurb of this book also looked quite good. I’m not expecting anything groundbreaking, but I’m at least expecting a good, solid read.

The Bourne Identity – This one I picked up from Amazon because of the upcoming release of the film, The Bourne Legacy. Now I’m not a huge fan of thrillers and fast-paced movies, which is why I’ve never watched any of the Bourne films as yet. But after a bit of digging, I discovered that the films were in fact indebted to a series of books originating from the 80s and still continuing today. So I’m giving it a shot – I’m not really expecting much, but who knows?

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Even though there are two more books to talk about, I will instead cut this into two parts (therefore being a three-part series) and post the final one next week, although the computer will be doing that for me – I’ll already be enjoying the sun in southern France! So here is the thought for while I am away: I will be posting twice a week, starting from next week; one on Tuesday and one on Friday. This makes a total of four posts by the time I’m back, but on the 7th of August blogging will continue daily, as usual! I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to be posting, but I will tell you that the four posts are more focused on writing and reading, rather than films. Thanks for reading, see you in two weeks. 😀

P.S. I will be a little bit sad unil I get back, but mainly I’ll just be happy to be away. 😛

On my holiday

Okay – fellow writers, film addicts, and avid book readers, I have some *slightly* sad news for you. This Sunday I will be leaving this blog to go on my holidays, where I will be spending two wonderful weeks in France! 😀 On a more serious point, though, I’m going to be away until August the 6th, but due to tiredness after coming home (quite ironic considering it’ll be a holiday :P) I probably won’t be posting anything until the 7th or 8th. Tomorrow I will try to write a few posts in advance, so whilst I’m away you can still read things on my blog, but even if I do manage to write something extra before I go, I doubt it’ll be anything more than a once (maybe twice) a week post. Very sorry about this, and if I could blog on holiday I would, but paying for internet is quite expensive, yet if I have the money I will happily have a go at writing 🙂

*Looks around in suspicion* This isn’t where I’m going…who put this picture here?!?

Some pictures and a quick overview of my holiday may be posted on here after I return, but not excessively. Mind you, I will have plenty of book reviews and a couple of film reviews for you when I get back, although some of the films I review may be a little late if you want to see them in the cinema! However, I do not think this is too much of a problem.

Enjoy your two weeks away from me (haha!) and I look forward to writing for you all again. Still, look out for my ‘Books! Part Two’ post tomorrow, where I will be talking about books I want to read, and also books I need to buy to read – if that makes any sense at all. If I find that tomorrow’s post will be too long, I will cut it into two parts and you can read it whilst I’m away!

Thanks for your time; see you tomorrow.

‘Ice Age 4’ Film Review

Unless you haven’t guessed already, this post is essentially a review of the film ‘Ice Age 4: Continental Drift’, which I happened to watch last night. Also, another thing which you probably haven’t guessed yet: I’m a film buff. Now, the Web Definition of this is, “I have something to say about this movie!” and I think it’s safe to say that I have something to say about most things, especially films, books, and video games (yes, my boyishness is seeping through again). So here it is – a fairly quick review of Ice Age 4; I hope you enjoy.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Director/Directors: Steve Martino, Mike Thermeier

Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, et al.

Rating: U (Forget this bit if you’re not from the UK!)

Genre: Family Comedy

Release Date: 2012

Rating: 3½ stars (Recommended)

Things are about to heat up. This becomes very clear during the first few minutes of Ice Age 4. While the past three films did focus on ice caps melting and dinosaurs interrupting, the fourth one turns it all up a notch, with lands breaking apart to become what we know today as the continents. Manny, Sid, Diego, and an insulting relative known only as ‘Granny’ are thrust apart from their ‘herd’, causing them to go on a wild sea adventure to reach them again before they are seperated forever. Along the way they encounter pirates, ships, and storms; can these four unlikely heroes manage to find their way home?

The premise of this film is a simple one, but also a predictable one. While I understand that this is an adventure comedy for both young and old, it felt far more plodding than the previous three. Since we follow characters on both land and sea, the film’s scenes can become choppy and jarring, sometimes creating an uneven experience. The script was good overall, and the animation fashioned some very amusing scenes, such as Sid’s paralysis. But it was the plot itself that was a let down; while there was comedy interspersed throughout, there was always feeling of dullness that could only come from a clichéd plot.

The voice acting was great, however, and perfectly suited their animated selves. Manny (Ray Romano) in particular has an hilarious personality, especially with his voice mixed in. The film’s background music was basic but effective, and it didn’t feel like it was too loud or forceful during the scenes. Nevertheless there is a pirate shanty that, whilst clever in its wording and structure, is unnecessary and didn’t feel like it was supposed to be in an Ice Age movie.

But it isn’t terrible by any means. While the film could be good as a standalone, it is the characters within it that really make us come back to watch the next installment. Worth watching then, if you enjoy some clever slapstick, good voice actors, and great animation. A recommended watch.

Please comment if you want me to add anything to my next review, and remember to Follow my blog if you want to keep up to date! This review should be going into the review section soon. 🙂

Good post…Cristian liked my post, so I checked him out, and it turns out that his blog is really great. So great, in fact, that I decided to reblog one of his posts. Enjoy! P.S. I don’t really have a habit, but I concentrate best in the afternoon, (between 2pm-6pm) and I like to write little and often. 🙂

Books!

Today I will be talking about the current books I am reading, and then on Saturday I will be continuing with what I would like to read, and what I will be reading in the future. Basically, I’m going to talk about books. 🙂 I hope you don’t mind.

My preferred genres of books are twofold – Science-fiction and Fantasy. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, he’s just a typical boy, only reading those types of books.” Well, I guess I am a typical boy (although I hate sports) but I find these two genres the most exciting – building imaginary worlds and universes from scratch, creating epic series that span a vast amount of books; learning and reading about new creatures that exist only in that certain world/universe; a place that is completely different from this earth, yet similar enough in our problems and crises? YES PLEASE!

And that’s why I write these genres, too. I’ve tried to write thrillers, tried to think of plots that would rival the likes of To Kill a Mockingbird and Hamlet. But it’s just not me. I’m still trying to accept that, but it is getting easier.

I leave this type of stuff to the pros. *Winks*

 

I am currently reading two books at the moment: Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, and The Ghost Brigades, written by John Scalzi (yes, I can read more than one book at once, and no, it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of them). GoT is quite an interesting read at the moment. I won’t go into detail, but basically it’s a fantasy which isn’t quite so crazy as witches, wizards, orcs, and elves (at least not yet – if there are, please don’t tell me!). Instead it focuses more on the harsh, cruel, less pleasant things in life, and is more of a medieval book with fantasy bits put in. There are things which I am not fond of in it (too many points of view and too much sex/swearing for my liking) but right now I can see myself finishing it and there is a likelihood that I will be buying the next book in the series.

The Ghost Brigades has me hooked. This novel is a sci-fi book, and is the second in the series. I presumed that the main character from the first book would also be included in the second book, but presently that is not the case. Instead it has focused on different characters and plot points, although I am sure that it will all come together in the end (again, don’t tell me). There is, however, a flaw – in my opinion there ar far too many ‘saids’, which for me detracts from the experience. But there are plenty of things that grab me: John Scalzi has crafted his universe perfectly, and it feels like a real place; culture, history, weapons, technology. Everything seems genuine.

Unfortunately, that is the end of this post. I’ll be continuing it on Saturday, however, talking about what I want to read and the books I will be reading next. I hope you enjoyed my blabbering, and I’ll write tomorrow!

1 secret every writer should know…

So I’m sure a few of you (perhaps even a lot of you) clicked to this post because of the title. You thought in anticipation, “What on earth could this secret be? Will it help my writing? Will I be a better writer?” Well, I can tell you now: yes it will help your writing, and yes, it will definitely make you a better writer. But enough delay. The show must go on!

The other day I was watching Friends with Benefits (not a good film, by the way) and I was lazily lying on the couch with a chocolate bar, laughing *occasionally* at the crude humour. But then a moment came when one of the characters said a few lines that almost made me jump up from my seat. “That’s it!” I cried aloud, “that’s the secret to good writing!”

But as I thought more about it, my opinion changed. “No, it’s not really a secret. It’s just that most people who want to write don’t know this one thing; everyone KNOWS about it, but they just don’t seem to PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.”

The quote I am about to write comes from a character named Tommy, played by Woody Harrelson. The ‘secret’ does not come from the quote directly, but it uses the same principle:

My guide book is very simple. You wanna lose weight? Stop eating, fatty! You wanna make money? Work your ass off, lazy! You wanna be happy? Find someone you like and never let him go.

Now while this is a slightly rude and unsympathetic way of looking at it, these sentences have a point – you want to do something? Then go and do it!

This also works for writing, especially for people who want to write but simply don’t know where to start. Well, for all of you out there who feel like that, here’s an extra sentence that I added:

You wanna be a writer? Then start writing, wannabe!

This may also sound very horrible and too direct, but unless you follow the advice, that’s all you’ll ever be: a wannabe.

And I’m not just saying that because I’m a ‘holier-than-thou’ writer; I have actually had experience in this area. For years I started writing the beginning of ‘novels’, only to find myself giving up on them days later. Lack of experience? Yes, I suppose so. Didn’t plan enough? Definitely. But the main reason that I never finished was because I didn’t WRITE. I had no motivation.

WRITERS WRITE.

It’s no secret. It’s not a classified document that only government officials can read. It’s a known thing that simply isn’t put into practice by young, inexperienced wannabe writers. Stop daydreaming about what you ‘might’ write if you had the chance; take that chance and just put the words onto paper or onto a computer!

Secret

Not really, guys!

So that’s it for today. If you feel differently, or simply want to comment or question something, then please, leave a comment in the section below, or by my email which you can find in the ‘Contact’ section above. And if you want to keep up to date with my new posts, then please follow me by clicking the ‘Follow’ button on the right hand side.

Thanks! 😀

Blogging plan – Day one!

Okay, so I trust that everyone had a good weekend. 😀 This is the first ‘official’ day of my blogging plan, and I’ve decided that I’m going to tell you a little bit more about my novel in progress, if that’s alright with you guys (I suppose it’ll have to be!).

If you haven’t read my earlier posts, I am currently working on a science-fiction novel that is planned for an audience of older teenagers – I am quite young, and therefore I simply asked myself, “what would I want to read?” and after a couple of weeks’ thought, swiftly went to work (I will be doing a post on this in a few weeks).

I began chapter one in the October of 2011, and now I have managed to arrive at my second draft, which presently stands at 65, 000 words. Hopefully both my second and third draft will be finished by Christmas 2012, but who knows.

After I have written it (I think ahead a LOT) I would like to write a post-apocalyptic novel for slightly older readers, although it won’t involve any nuclear wars!

I think that’s all I have to say about my project at the moment, but snippets of information may wriggle their way into my posts at any time. Do YOU have any projects, either short-story or a novel; perhaps a newspaper article? Well if you do, or you are thinking of writing one, please leave a comment, or email me if you want it to be more private (you can find the address in the ‘Contact’ section. After all, that is what this blog is for – helping and encouraging others to bring out their writing voice!

Tomorrow is a post about writing, so keep a look out. Thanks for reading! 🙂