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I haven’t added many words, but that’s okay, right?

If I apologise to you all that I’ve not added any more than 3364 words to my NaNoWriMo novel, I’ll be honest, it’s not really going to work. But if I apologise to my inner writer for being a lazy bum, then I’m sure I’ll feel a little ashamed and disappointed.

Fortunately for me, though, I haven’t been a lazy bum – the reason I haven’t paid much attention to my work-in-progress novel, 30 Days, is because I’ve had to write 2500-word essay about whether men and women read literature in the same way. Not really my thing, and let’s face it, I’m not an academic writer. Anyway, preparing and writing that essay has taken a huge chunk of my time. However, dawn is finally here, as with my essay now submitted, I can crack on with my pos-apocalyptic novel again! Three cheers for me! Come on, I can’t see you jumping and clapping at my pleasant turn of events! ūüėõ

All jokes aside, this week I’m hoping to reach the 35k mark – even with uni starting up again (this week was reading week) I’m determined to do it! Has anyone else faced similar problems, or even just hit a bump in the road or writer’s block? Write in the comments below and share it all with the Writer’ Cabinet community; a problem shared is a problem halved.

Here is the second extract of my novel. Hopefully you enjoy it,¬†but maybe you won’t – just¬†tell me why either way! See you all¬†next week. ūüôā

30 Days Extract (Chapter Three)

The rain was so severe that Abraham literally thought that buckets full to the brim with freezing water were being dropped frantically from the black sky. The wind howled like a pack of hungry wolves and the cold bit into his flesh like thousands of spiders. He screamed uselessly, crying for someone to help. It was obvious that no one would come, but it was the only thing he could do. Going onwards was not an option, as the storm would rip him to pieces if he didn’t find shelter soon, and going back to where he just came from…

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The grass was squelching beneath his feet and the mud coated itself onto his boots ‚Äď they were already ruined. He stumbled on a few more steps, although every step he did take was sapping a large part of his strength and will. Lifting a trembling hand from his coat pocket, he felt his face. Freezing. In this state he could be dead within minutes. The water had already soaked into every possible dry area, making him quiver with cold. It was hopeless.

            Hurtling to the ground, tears from his eyes began to mix into the rain, just like that Warden with his cut leg. The Warden.

            What have I done?

            His eyes were getting heavy; he struggled to stay awake.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ‚ÄėI can‚Äôt sleep,‚Äô he yelled to himself. ‚ÄėI must stay awake, I must go on‚Ķ‚Äô

            But what was the point in going on? He already knew that it would be a wasted effort. So why did he have to continue forwards? Suddenly sleep felt far more important and satisfying, and his head drooped; his eyes gradually closed, and within a minute his body was lying face-down in the mud and waterways of rain.

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50/50 Stories and NaNoWriMo

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.

Ask the audience or 50/50?
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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! ūüėÄ

‘A Song of Ice and Fire Book 1’ Review (Game of Thrones)

Game of Thrones

By George R.R. Martin (Fantasy, Drama)

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

The book begins with a simple prologue – three men walk through¬†a forest, talking and arguing with one another. They are cold, irritable, and simply want to turn back. The wind whistles in the trees; the sound of wolves are filling the air…in the first chapter, one of these men is executed, and that’s the nature of Game of Thrones. The first chapter immediately brings you out of the classic ‚Äėmagic and fairies‚Äô land and into George Martin‚Äôs well-crafted one instead: depressing, cold, harsh, and bleak. Only a few spots of hope are seen throughout, and they are spread sparsely. Perhaps you were expecting more of a plot synopsis from this review, but you’re not going to get it: if you want to read this book, believe me, you won’t want any spoilers.

The cover of this book (see picture, below)¬†suggests a gritty medieval¬†fantasy drama revolving around¬†a battle of the throne, and that is exactly what you are going to get. Whilst other sub-plots come into play at certain times in the novel, George Martin really makes a clich√©d plot exciting and gripping again, and that’s exactly what readers want. However, don’t expect an easy read. It may not be full of words that you don’t understand, but the book is large, and the paragraphs long. Even the dialogue is¬†interspersed with lots of¬†description. Of course, this is great for a fantasy¬†series, but this is merely a warning that for slow readers like me, it won’t be a walk in the park.

This is the cover that is on my copy.

Martin manages to engage the reader by writing his novel without using magic or dragons (although he hints a few times at these, suggesting something more to come), and he does so quite successfully.¬†His bleak land is stunning, and several times unexpected things happen,¬†clearly showing that the author¬†is not afraid to shape his world the way he wants it to be. Scenes involving the council and the king are no less than superb, and every sentence the characters say has meaning and weight, and anything they say could drastically change the course of events.And speaking of characters, they further add to the bleakness of the world; each one is fleshed out (except Sansa) and their motivations seem real. Personally, my favourite charcters are Tyrion and¬†Bran, and I will give an extract of both to show why I like them so much. First, then, is Tyrion:“Some of us may,” Tyrion told him. “I am not fond of eating horse. Particularly my horse.”

“Meat is meat,” Bronn said with a shrug. “The Dothraki like horse more than beef or pork.”

“Do you take me for a Dothraki?” Tyrion asked sourly.

As you can see, Tyrion is a witty fellow, considering he is a dwarf who does not have any say in most matters. Many characters laugh at him, but he always comes back around with a snappy remark. I would say that he is my favourite character so far.

Bran thought about it. “Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?”

“That is the only time a man can be brave,” his father told him. “Do you understand why I did it?”

“He was a wildling,” Bran said. “They carry off women and sell them to the Others.”

Bran is a lot like me: young and innocent, with no idea what life is really like, and this helps me to empathise with the character. Though these are my favourite charcters, there are many others –¬†another six, to be precise, and this is one of the negatives of this series. Eight characters is too much for one book, and it was hard to remember what certain characters did three or four chapters before. This makes it hard to understand what’s going on, and it can pull you out of the experience somtimes. Another aspect I didn’t care for was the amount of sex in the book – it was too much, and most of the time it was described in gratuitous detail. Whilst this is more of an opinion than a negative point, it does need to be said if there are people out there who do not like sex in novels (including me).

Overall, though, George R.R. Martin has created a world that is truly excellent, with characters brimming with secrets and dark pasts. It isn’t easy to write a good¬†fantasy series these days, but Martin has managed it almost seamlessly. The way it is written intruiged me, and I look forward to reading the next title in the series and watching the first season on DVD. Bravo!

4/5 stars (a well written novel that has a truly excellent world and shady characters; pick this one up when you can!).

NaNoWriMo (Part 2)

Hello fellow readers and bloggers, and welcome to my very much belated second¬†post about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Let’s just recap: NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge that taunts you into writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It requires excessive planning (you don’t have time to look over it or change anything as you go!) and will probably tire you out by the end (I have no idea though, as this¬†will be¬†my first time).

What I’m keen to do is tell you a little bit about the novel I plan to write, and during this month (November),¬†I’m hoping to do a journal of my attempts, wordcount, and thoughts about the challenge –¬†roughly 12 posts in all. If any of you are also thinking/going to do NaNoWriMo as well, it would be great if you would share your attempts on this blog too!¬†My novel will be set in a¬†post-apocalyptic future, although it won’t be because of zombies or nuclear fallout, and this is the premise (but I don’t like sharing lots of my ideas, sorry; I’m very secretive with my work):

After discovering a blood-smeared diary that may hold the answer to where his true family lies, a small-town sheriff decides to risk everything he has in order to find them. With the help of a budding woman survivalist and her dog, he traipses across a barren wasteland. But trouble soon rears its ugly head: the sheriff is captured and beaten, leaving the woman to face a difficult decision – risk her life rescuing the sheriff, or continuing the long journey alone…

This is my idea so far, but since I have not delved into deep planning and reading around certain subjects yet, it may change radically (one of the books I’m going to read is¬†a survival book¬†in association with the Royal Marines Commandos).¬†But I’m fairly happy with it; I have a title in mind (which actually ties in with NaNoWriMo, coincidentally!) but it’s all very hush-hush! ūüėõ So that’s it for today –¬†if you want to join or know more about the challenge, click this link: http://www.nanowrimo.org/. On Saturday I will either be talking more about NaNoWriMo, or I will be posting¬†excerpts of the writing I did on¬†holiday¬†with you all. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to what you all have to say!

Are you going to join in with the challenge? What are you going to write about? Let me know in the comments! ūüôā

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. ūüôā

Blogging plan – Day one!

Okay, so I trust that everyone had a good weekend. ūüėÄ 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! ūüôā

Ready?

Hello again!

It’s really great to be writing another post; it feels good to write something everyday, besides my current novel (which I’ll get to later in this post). But really this post is just¬†introducing myself,¬†and ‘officially’ becoming¬†a blogger¬†by writing¬†a second post. So, are you ready to meet me?

My name is Thomas, and I am an aspiring writer, mainly looking to publish novels (although it is undecided whether I want to self-publish or commercially publish). I am currently unemployed but looking for a job, but to be honest I’m¬†just enjoying writing¬†whenever I want to in the day¬†*laughs*.

As for my novel, which I mentioned earlier, I am currently working on my second draft (which stands at 65,000 words) and is teenage-fiction for older teens – at least, that is what I’m aiming for.

As for what this blog will (hopefully) include, it should be a mixture of things: Book and Film reviews, Top Ten lists, My Thoughts, Website Links to do with writing, etc. If and when I get more traffic coming to this blog, perhaps I’ll even create some competitions for other writers, readers, and film buffs (This gets me excited, and I won’t even get to win!).

Anyway, that’s all for now, although I will be reblogging something later on today, so watch out for that. Also, feel free to introduce yourself in the comment section below, if you want.

Thanks,

Thomas.