Monthly Archives: September 2012
Well another week has passed and another one is gradually edging closer, but for writers this can be a good thing, especially if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I am still planning to participate, but with my Creative Writing lectures beginning this Tuesday, it’s going to be tough. Granted, NaNoWriMo is designed for fairly busy people, but writing ‘x’ number of projects and essays for the degree, writing three posts a week for the blog, and writing 1,600 words a day could be a little tricky.The good thing is that I have my novel’s synopsis planned out, so all that needs to be done before the first of November is to draw a map, create character-bios, and possibly a more detailed chart of the story. It is feasible, but I also have many books to read for my course and I may not have a lot of free time. Basically what I’m saying is that I will probably attempt to participate, but it may end suddenly and brutally.
If I do begin my crazy yet wonderful journey in about a month, there will be two changes – one, during November the posts will almost always be an update on my NaNoWriMo novel, and also for others to share their endeavours. Two, I’m also sure that the blog posts will be shorter – maybe very much so – as I will have many other things to write as well.
Now, moving on to the ’50/50 stories’ part – this is the second idea that I had, talked about in Wednesday’s post. Essentially, the concept is this: you lovely readers will give me some sort of task to write about, whether that be going to the supermarket or a police officer trying to stop a bank robbery. Then I write a specific number of words (I haven’t decided the amount yet) and at the end of this word-count, a cliffhanger will take place, be that mundane or spectacular.
For example, let’s take the supermarket scene. At the end of this scene is a choice (50/50) – should the character talk to Mrs. Wesley or hide himself from her? Then whatever the decision is, in the next 50/50 post I have to write a 500 word scene based on that choice. Perhaps I’m not making any sense, I don’t know, but I do have one dilemma: do I leave it down to you readers to choose what happens, or do I flip a coin and decide that way (don’t worry; I won’t cheat if I flip a coint at home. Just trust me.)? I really need an answer to this, but seeing as the previous poll was a bit rubbish, I’m tempted to make the decision with the flip of a coin.
I think the 50/50 concept might challenge myself to write without really knowing where the story is going, and I find that quite exciting. Also it may give me story ideas; perhaps it will be of benefit to you readers as well, I don’t know. Anyway, leave a comment to tell me which way you think would be better, and if you want to comment on anything else – NaNoWriMo, a movie, a certain book – then that’s no problem: the more, the merrier!
It was great writing to you all again, and I hope that on Monday I will have many comments to read! 😀
Hello, everyone; I hope you’re all having a good week so far. To keep you up-to-date with my university freshers week, it is going quite well. A lot of things seem unnecessary, of course, but that’s part of the fun. Tomorrow we get to find out who are personal tutor is, and I think we’re also doing some ‘study skills’, which involves learning about academic writing and other sorts of things – at least, that’s what I think we’re doing!
Anyway, I was going to share the voting results of the two polls, but they were in fact very disappointing. Unless Polldaddy was incorrect with its stats, the number of people who voted isn’t even worth mentioning. However, there is a silver lining: because so few voted (I mean that), that means I get to choose what this blog will be doing next! So, I’ve currently got two untitled work-in-progress projects, one being the ‘write a post about a random sentence’ thing (still no official name for it yet), and another project which is making me even more excited. I’m not yet going to say what it is as it may not happen, but let’s just say that it involves me writing a story which can and should evolve with every post, and may even include you loyal readers! More information on that should be available within the next week or so.
Therefore, I close by saying that the untitled random page project should be happening in a few days, but just be patient. And by the way, it should be every two weeks, but that’s indefinite. Thanks for stopping by; enjoy the rest of your week. I’ll see you on Saturday. 🙂
P.S. If people did vote in the polls, could you please tell me in the comments below (and if possible the answers which you voted) so I can check if Polldaddy’s stats are correct. Thanks very much! 😀
It seems like a very momentous time in my life, and in some respects it is – the very first day at University, a mixture of feelings whizzing through both my head and stomach. But when your first day consists of choosing modules which are pretty much chosen for you, getting your hair very wet several times from walking in constant rain, and flicking plastic ducks off bridges to see who is the winner, it all seems a little different to what you wre expecting. That said, it was the first day, it was great to meet some new people and see new places, and I am looking forward to the lectures (which start next week).
The first semester is all compulsory, but in the second semester (on top of the compulsory ones) there is a choice to pick one of three modules: a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), something to do with archaeology, and a module entitled ‘From Gods to CGI’, which is taught by the School of Classics. This is the module that I have decided to do, as I presume it will broaden my horizons and will possibly give me story ideas.
Also, may I remind you to vote in my polls, deisigned to make my blog better. If you haven’t yet voted, vote here. Thanks for reading; see you all Wednesday!
I have a few things to say today, so bear with me. The first thing I wanted to say is that my induction day for university is tomorrow, and I’m getting very excited; it’s going to be great meeting everyone I’ve already talked to online. 🙂 Freshers week then starts this Monday, so I may be writing more posts about that for a little while.
Secondly, I’ve been browsing the web and came across an interesting idea which might be suitable for my blog. The premise is that I pick up a random book around the house, turn to a random page, and read the sixth sentence on that page (it doesn’t have to be the sixth, but this is what the article used, so I’m sticking with that). Now the idea is this: whatever that sixth sentence says, I have to write a post about it! It sounds like an interesting concept, and of course, the post could be 100 words long or 800 words long; it just depends on how difficult it is to write a post about that sentence and whether I feel strongly about a certain word/phrase/concept in that particular sentence. Anyway, I was thinking it could be either a weekly or bi-monthly thing. It’s all down to you, my readers, and that brings me to my final point…
Beneath this chunk of writing are two polls which I would like everyone to vote on (DO NOT VOTE UNTIL YOU HAVE READ ALL OF THIS!). Now this may make you groan and click to a different page, but hear me out. These polls are designed to make the blog you are reading currently even better, and even though my own ideas are relevant and significant, I still need input from all of you: after all, you are the ones that are reading this! They are very basic polls – simply click which answer you would like to vote on, then click the ‘vote’ button. There is an option to write your own answer in the first poll, if needs be. There is another poll directly below the first poll asking whether you want me to continue with this book-sentence idea, so you would really help me by voting on that issue, as well. Also, one last thing: you can click multiple choices in the first poll if you wish, but you cannot in the second. 🙂
Of course you don’t have to vote on either of these polls, or you can vote on only one topic, if you wish. But just bear in mind that this blog can be better if you vote, as I can weigh up options depending on the amount of votes. Thank you all very much, and I’ll see you on Monday! 😀
Don’t forget to vote on the polls below!
Hello again everyone! So here we are: the last post of this three-part series. It’s been a fun ride (it sounds like I’m giving up blogging altogether :P), but I’ve been taught many lessons because of it, and I hope you all have to. But enough chit-chat – we’ve run that race and we’ve crossed that finish line; the writing project is finished! Well, almost…
Winning the Race
“It is impossible to win the race unless you venture to run, impossible to win the victory unless you dare to battle.”
– Richard M. DeVos
You’ve prepared yourself for the race. You planned ahead. Then you ran, either fast and hard, or slow and steady. The finishing line was in your sights, and then…victory! You cross the line and you raise your arms in the air. But however amazing and proud you feel, there’s still work to be done.
1.) Keep your muscles moving – even after the race is finished, do not sit down. You have to keep moving, and this applies to writing also. Once your project is finished, don’t take a break (of course you can relax, but that’s a different thing). Instead, write a paragraph every day, about anything you want – just keep those writing muscles moving. A runner doesn’t stop practicing just because he’s won a race, and neither should you. Write very little compared to what you did do, and remember to read novels and books about writing as well: both are invaluable.
2.) Remember that you’ve finished the race! – even though you shouldn’t brag, be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Not everyone can do what you’ve just done. Congratulate any other ‘runners’ that have crossed the finish line and celebrate together. Victory is far sweeter when shared.
3.) Winning isn’t everything – especially in writing. Who cares if James from your class finished his novel before you finished your four-line poem? I’ll say it again: write your project at your pace. You’ll enjoy yourself far more, and it doesn’t matter what ‘position’ you are at the finish – what matters is that you’ve finished!
4.) Don’t stop there – you want to become the best writer you can be, so don’t stop learning and running other races! Try to realise what you did totally incorrectly in the race, what you could improve on, what you did well. All of this will help you to shape and hone your craft until you’re ready to become a professional athlete (published author)! But even then, you don’t stop learning. Every race changes you, usually for the better. Now go out there and put your running shoes on!
And that’s the end of the series. 🙂 If you want to suggest a topic for me to write about, or just want to ask a question or comment on my blog, then please write in the comment section below – I’ll be very happy! 😀 Don’t forget to like and share, and follow me if you want up-to-date posts. Thanks.
“It doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
– Fred Lebow
I know you were all expecting part three of my ‘On your marks…get set…go write’ series, but instead I’m going to give a post which you’ll (hopefully) like. I’ve answered a couple of questions about myself, and my reasoning is this: if all of you read my blog, it’s only fair that you know more about me. So have a look…
|50 Questions To Really Get To Know Someone|
|1) Are you a morning or night person?||Just to be awkward, afternoon.|
|2) Which do you prefer, sweet or salty foods?||Salty.|
|3) Ninjas or pirates?||Ninjas!|
|4) Ninjas vs pirates, discuss.||There’s no contest; the pirates wouldn’t even see the ninjas coming.|
|5) Autobots or Decepticons?||Decepticons.|
|6) What was your favorite childhood television program?||Arthur.|
|7) Are you a collector of anything?||Coins and holiday memorabilia.|
|8) If you could be any animal, what would you be?||Hedgehog – you get to sleep for a good bit of the year and free food gets given to you on a plate.|
|9) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?||Teleportation or invisibility.|
|10) What is usually your first thought when you wake up?||5 more minutes…|
|11) What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?||Whatever is playing a large part in my life at that moment.|
|12) What’s your favorite color?||Red.|
|13) What’s your favorite animal?||The first thing that came to my head was owls, but I also like dogs, cats, and cows.|
|14) Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?||No, although I do like to write about things like that!|
|15) Do you believe in ghosts?||I believe in spirits, not ghosts.|
|16) Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? Which one(s)?||Yes, pretty much any game involving role-playing/free-roaming|
|17) You’re given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on?||A nice apartment and a car.|
|18) Have any bad habits?||Plenty, thanks.|
|19) Which bad habits, if any, drive you crazy?||People chewing with their mouth open, and bad manners in general.|
|20) List 3 of your best personality traits:||Witty, friendly, imaginative.|
|21) List 3 of your worst personality traits:||Shy, cynical, lazy.|
|22) Have any celebrity crushes?||Yes, I would crush Justin Bieber with my fist.|
|23) List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself:||Be less cynical.|
|24) Any tattoos or piercings?||Nope.|
|25) What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?||Oh, they’re the opposite sex!|
|26) What personality traits do you look for in a partner?||Trustworthy, understanding, friendly.|
|27) What personality traits do you dislike in other people?||Shrill, over-busy, a blabber-mouth.|
|28) Do you see yourself getting married in the next 5 years?||No.|
|29) Are you mostly a clean or messy person?||Mostly clean.|
|30) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?||Somewhere in America.|
|31) If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?||America or Russia.|
|32) List 5 goals on your life’s to-do list:||Get published and sky-dive from a plane. That is all so far.|
|33) Name 1 regret you have:||I wish I’d written my first novel when I was younger.|
|34) Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid:||Playing with action figures. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t do it anymore.|
|35) Name 1 thing you love about being an adult:||Not needing a parent to buy 18-rated games. Yeah, I’m a nerd.|
|36) What’s your favorite song of the moment?||I’m at a Payphone, by Maroon 5.|
|37) What’s your favorite song of all time?||There’s too many to choose from, but probably a song from the 80s.|
|38) What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?||Have a pizza and watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S with my family.|
|39) What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?||Read my Bible.|
|40) Have any hidden talents?||I wouldn’t know – they’re hidden, after all.|
|41) You’re about to walk the green mile, what do you have as your last meal?||A large slice of lasagne with a huge bowl of chips, topped off with some onion rings. If I was allowed a pudding, it would be caramel pie.|
|42) What would be your dream job?||Full-time author.|
|43) Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love?||Right now, 100 million dollars, but in a few years it would probably be true love.|
|44) If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be?||That I would be published, that I was less cynical, and that I could have an infinite number of wishes (cliché, I know).|
|45) Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? If so, why?||Sometimes, as I hate heavy-labour and people telling me that I need to be more ‘manly.’|
|46) Name 1 thing not many people know about you:||I listen to ‘It’s Raining Men’ and ‘Fame’ more often than I should.|
|47) If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to?||James, or something more Biblical, like Solomon.|
|48) Do you believe in the afterlife?||Yes, I believe that you will go to heaven if you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins and that you’re truly sorry.|
|49) On the topic of abortion, how do you feel about cookies?||Abortion, no. Cookies, yes.|
I’m not sure why this is called ’50 Questions To Really Get To Know Someone’, as it only has 49 questions, but maybe I’ll leave it up to you readers to ask the final question! Nothing rude or offensive, although very silly questions are allowed. Just to make it even more fun, I’ll answer the first three questions that are asked (by seperate people). 🙂 Quickly, now!
Hey everyone, welcome to part two of my three-part series. If you haven’t read part one yet, it’s here. Anyway, hope you enjoy this next installment. 🙂
Running the Race
“There is a moment in every race. A moment where you can either quit, fold, or say to yourself, ‘I can do this.'”
– Gatorade Advert
So, you’ve prepared yourself for the ‘race’. You’ve read all the books you can read (within reason) and you’ve kept your stress levels to a minimum. But now that you’re in that starting lane, the finishing-line seems so far away, and there’s so much work involved.
And then the gun goes off!
Don’t panic! There are plenty of tips and hints that will get you to that finish line, and I’m just going to write a few of them here. As before, ‘runner’ and ‘writer’ are pretty mch interchangeable. 🙂
1.) Have a hydration plan – it’s all well and good if you’re doing a short race, say 100m (short story or poem), but what if you have a longer race (a novel or collection of work)? You need a certain amount of water at certain times of the race; it’s no good to only pace yourself. You have to take ‘breaks’ from your writing. Now I’m not saying that short stories are easy, but what I am saying is that novel writing is (generally) longer, meaning that writers can soon run out of steam. So be like runners who drink water throughout the race. Take breaks, and don’t manically write until you’ve finished your project.
2.) Use other runners to keep yourself going – if and when you feel tired after a long hard slog of writing, it’s a good tactic to keep to the pace of other ‘runners.’ What I’m saying is that writing groups and forums can help you along, and can make you feel refreshed so you can make it to that finish line. Just remember that other writers need you just as much as you need them – a word of encouragement or advice can mean a lot, even if you never see its outcome. Pace yourself.
3.) Break the race down – instead of running a full 15 kilometer race, why not ‘break it down’? Try to think of it as three 5km sections instead, or even five 3km sections. Now, back to the writing aspect: it can be far easier and less daunting if you break your project into little sections. For example, maybe you could write 3000 words a day, or another way is to write only 2 chapters a day. Don’t think of it as restricted though; write as little or as much as you like; whatever suits your style and timetable. Whatever you decide, doing this will make you feel good when you’ve reached every small target, and can make the whole project much less stressful.
4.) Enjoy the experience – no matter how many projects you’ve done, you have to enjoy what you’re doing. It’s no good running just because you’re good at it, or because other people have told you to. Similarly, writers shouldn’t write for the sake of writing. They should revel in creating a piece of prose or poetry because they simply love to do it, not just because they’re good at it. Runners enjoy what they do, and so should writers.
Thanks for reading part two of my series, and I hope this was up to the same standard as the first. 🙂 I always welcome comments, suggestions, likes, and followers. 😉 Part three should be available to read either Monday or Wednesday, depending on how busy I am. Thank you for dropping by!
“Get out there and do what you love!”
– Kara Goucher
“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.”
– Priscilla Welch
Now, this quote could apply to many things in life, but since this is a blog about writing, I think I’ll stick with that. I’m going to split this into three parts, part one being today’s post: preparing yourself. I hope you enjoy.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
– Benjamin Franklin
A runner has to psych himself up mentally before the race starts, and this is very similar for writers, whether they are doing their first big project or their twenty-second. Here are a few points that both runners and writers have to do before starting:
1.) Picture the race in your mind – a runner looks at the lane ahead of him and works out his strategy depending on the type of race: 100m, 1,000m, 10,000m. He does not look at the contenders next to him, but rather focuses on himself, what he can do. His personal best. And so writers must do the same. If it’s the writer’s first attempt at a major piece (novel, short story, a poem, etc.), then he must decide the ‘length’ of race he is running; a short-story writer is not going to plan and write in the same way as a novelist, or whatever else. The writer must work out what he is comfortable with, to do his personal best.
Think of the olympics. Many runners, swimmers, and high-jumpers entered fit, ready, and prepared to do their best. Some walked away medal-winners, but others simply went away with a big smile on their face – they may not have won any medals, but they ran, swam, or jumped a new personal best for themselves, and that’s more than anyone can ask for. A writer must do the same. He must not think of the other contenders in taht sense, but of himself. If he thinks of others, then he will depress himself and he will not be able to run as fast as he can. Do your best, not anyone else’s.
2) Let go of any fears – maybe you’re afraid of losing the race, that you won’t be able to make it. But let me tell you straight away – if you go in with that attitude, of course you won’t make it! I remember running outside during a P.E. lesson (not my greatest moment), the mud and the cold seeping slowly into my body until I thought I was going to freeze. However, I simply said to myself, ‘surely I’m not going to quit now; I’ll just try to get to that tree over there.’ Once I managed that, I would set another target for myself, then another. I didn’t think ‘Oh man I have like twenty minutes of running left and I won’t be able to make it and I’m gonna die of cold…’ because then I would’ve given up far earlier. If you begin the race with the right attitude, you may just find yourself at the finish line far sooner than you thought.
3.) Learn from everyone – when a runner wants to be the best, he tries to learn from the best. He trains with the best and eventually – with a bit of experience and good fortune – becomes the best. But he doesn’t just watch and learn from the best; he looks at the worst, the ways runners are not meant to run. He may also look at new ways of running, ways that are just as effective as his ways. Through researching all of this, he can become better, become the best he can be.
Writers must also do the same. Writers must read the best-sellers and the great books that didn’t quite make it to the top. They must learn how to craft a piece of writing, hone it until it is nigh on as perfect as it can be. But as with the runners, writers must also read terrible books – not to get jealous that they were published, but rather be thankful that it was not them who had written the tripe. They must take notes on how not to write a novel or a short story. Remember also that writers also need to read things that perhaps they don’t want to read; read new ways of writing like runners do with running. Maybe you’ll like the way they write and take many tips away with you, making your writing even better. Perhaps you only take one tip or maybe even none at all, but at least they now know that the style they have read is not for them.
Learn from the best, learn from the worst, learn from the different.
So that concludes part one; part two should be up next post unless I decide to post something else, which is unlikely. Please follow me if you liked the post, as you can get up-to-date stuff! 😉 Thanks.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
– Stephen King
Hello – I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend 😀 Mine was a mixture of feelings, as my ill Grandmother passed away last night. On a lighter note, however, I have received a further few updates on my Creative Writing degree. 🙂
I now have a degree start date, and that is September 24th. There is an Open Day for the university this Saturday (15th), and it should be a day when I find out far more about the course itself and the books I need to read beforehand, etc. I have already found one other person doing the same degree as me, so I will probably be talking to them before we start so I at least know someone when it all starts proper.
Financially, progress is slow but steady. Some things are already in the post to be sorted out, and I’ve managed to create a quick budget for myself to know how much I should be spending, and on what.
So there you have it. A little bit more news until things really begin to explode, my brain included – my stomach is beginning to churn as I think I’m worrying/speculating too much.
Now, on to the second part of this post, even though it’s a quick one. I want to give you another link to another brilliant blog. It’s called Nine Writes, and I know it’s well written because she enjoys blogging and writing, and when someone enjoys something, it tends to be of a good quality, and this one is. Check it out: http://2bnine.wordpress.com. She’s also in my blogroll!
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I’ll hopefully write again on Wednesday. Bye for now! 🙂
Director/Directors: Len Wiseman
Cast: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, et al
Rating: 12 (U.K.)/PG-13 (U.S.A.)
Genre: Sci-fi, action
Release Date: 2012
Rating: 3 stars (Average)
Is it real, is it recall: this is the tagline of the movie remake Total Recall, but is it the correct tagline? Science-fiction and action fans better buckle up; you’re in for a flawed yet entertaining time.
In this remake of the 1990 original, factory worker Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is fed up of his mundane, down-to-earth (pun intended) life, wishing there was something more. But once he visits Rekall, a mind-bending experience that allows you to live your wildest fantasies without ever leaving a chair, things begin to change for the worse. Suddenly everyone is after him, and Quaid begins to realise just how much danger he’s in. Enter a hover-car chase, plenty of shootouts, and an angry woman set on killing Quaid.
The story takes place entirely on Earth (unlike the Arnold Schwarzenegger original, which takes place on Mars), and the city is hard to ignore: it’s a beautiful, Blade Runner-come-Venice type deal, complete with higher and lower levels of construction. If there are any gamers out there, think of the place as the new Deus Ex game, and you’ll get the picture. The film is CGI-heavy, but it doesn’t detract from the experience, apart from maybe one or two scenes which look obviously fake. Basically, what this means is the backdrops of the story are just as important to take in as everything else, especially if you love technology and gadgets. The movie is far slicker than the original too, and one particular gadget really caught my eye: a fridge with an LCD screen to write messages. Small things like this really enhance the experience and draw you in, and ‘The Fall’ (a very interesting way of traveling between the United Kingdom and Australia) is just incredible to watch, and for writers, readers, and film-buffs who let their imagination run wild, stuff like this really makes the film worthwhile to watch. Even though, sadly, the invention wouldn’t quite work. Still, one can hope.
Unfortunately, there were some things which did not quite make this film a modern masterpiece. There were no outstanding acting performances in the film, and even Colin Farrell fails to make the main character memorable (Arnie’s charm in the original is undeniable). The beginning is terrible in the case of intense flashing lights, and I’m sorry to say that it was so bad that I had to look away, making me miss the first few minutes of the film. Of course it probably won’t be as bad when it’s released on DVD. Also, the two actresses, one ‘good’ and one ‘bad’, are sometimes hard to differentiate, especially during fight scenes, as neither have any unique features which set them apart from one another. Another minor point is that Bill Nighy’s American accent fails to impress, and seeing as his character’s stay is short, it definitely is a shame.
However, one thing continues to grate on me, and that’s the tagline: Is it real, is it recall. In the original movie, there are hints of the whole thing being Recall (meaning Arnold Schwarzenegger was imagining the entire thing the whole time) and also hints that it is indeed comletely true, making it the viewer’s choice to decide which it was. Whilst I am not going to spoil which it is in the remake, it’s pretty clear whether it is real or not, and that almost defeats the whole point of the film. Hint: in the original Arnie has to take a pill to ‘wake up’ in Recall, but let’s say in the remake the way to ‘wake up’ is a little more…drastic, and also it is a plothole. However, as I don’t like giving spoilers away (I hate them myself), I will say no more. 😛
To sum up, then, Total Recall is neither a genius piece of filmmaking nor is it a radically different step forwards in the genre. But as either a night in or a night out (depending on when you watch it), this is a film that will deliver action-packed sequences and a good time, and for those of you who have seen the original, there are a couple of cheeky nods towards the original. For those of you who haven’t seen the original and would like to, I suggest watching it before this one – it’s much better. And even though this Douglas Quaid wasn’t in quite as much of a predicament as the original Quaid, it is still worth the watch.