Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sometimes, like lately

Sometimes things get away from you, you’re managing alright with all the things you have to do until you don’t complete your list one day and it spills over to the next day and then the next. When that happens I feel there comes a point where you have to stop and reset, you have to forget about catching up, even though that’s really hard to do.

It’s been such a busy time of late and blogging, although I love it, has been forced into the backseat. Considering this I’m pretty please I’m managing to put up only one less post this week than normal (all thanks to my love of Fourteen Fiction, otherwise it would have been one). My new blogging schedule (not that I had one before) -write on Monday, put together on Friday- is working great, it’s just last week something had to give and it was the blog.

I’m working hard to get back into a solid schedule, but a good schedule is flexible and mine certainly had to be this past month. I just have to work on making writing a priority, my efforts to do this is the main reason my blogging schedule got a bit messed up.
Sometimes I let myself get carried away doing the little things on my list before the stuff I want/really need to do like writing. The little things take up a lot of time if you put them together, so I’m trying to write first. Basically make writing as have-to-do as my study was. Hard because I don’t have the same kind of pressure, but doable.

I’ve gotten back into writing daily lists and that’s really helped me be more organised over the last month, I just need to work on not over-filling it, which is so tempting!

There’s lots to work on and my schedule system seems to change every once and awhile, but that’s okay because I feel like, for now, it’s working really well.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Fourteen Fiction | last woman standing

This month’s Fourteen Fiction is an unusual case. Normally I write my Fourteen Fiction, am pretty happy with it (lately, at least) and then move on. That’s where it ends.
But these characters and their situation have captured my interest; I feel there’s more to them than what I’ve written here and that’s actually kind of exciting.

The Words:
The Last Woman Standing {calendar prompt}
Hat {Christopher}
Deluge {Amy, via The Hobbit movie, which we were watching as I wrote, one of the dwarves said it and Amy chose it.}

‘Not here yet?’ Esme asked, sweetly. Her smirk was barely contained.

‘No,’ Sebastian said, shortly, trying to exhibit an air of unconcern.

‘You’d hate for her to be late,’

Sebastian couldn’t help but glance into the dark courtyard; the clouds had turned the day into night long before dusk. Esme grinned and he cursed his falter. ‘I’m not concerned.’ He assured her.

‘Of course, you aren’t,’ she said in mock believe, before flouncing off. He glared after her until she disappeared into the main hall. Her exit released the chaos of the tournament into the hall for a second, and then only rain was left to fill the silence.

Sebastian closed his eyes and tried to allow the rain to wash out his anxiety. It didn’t work, so he turned his attention onto the festive tapestries. He was in the middle of discerning whether a crimson blub was a dancing woman or a fish when the sound of heels on stone prepared him for company. She stepped into the candle-lit hall and pushed back her hood, revealing wind ruffled hair and a wide grin. Sebastian tried not to let relief show on his face.

‘Lucy,’ he almost sighed, then quickly pulled himself up. ‘This rain has cursed us no end of trouble. The tournament had to be moved inside, some events have been cancelled. Not to mention you had to make your way through this deluge.’

‘I don’t mind it,’ Lucy said, slightly out of breath from her walk.

Sebastian looked down at her wet and muddy skirt and flicked his hand. Her hem dried in an instant. Lucy raised an eyebrow. He narrowed his eyes, taking in her rain frizzed hair. He tucked a strand behind her ear and her hair pulled itself together.

‘I could have done that,’

Sebastian shook his head and held out an arm. ‘We can’t have you wasting any magic.’

‘Always the thoughtful one, Sebastian, thank you.’ Lucy took his arm and he led her to the competitor’s entrance. The familiar panelled door looked rather more foreboding in the dim. Sebastian glanced at Lucy but she seemed unfazed. She patted her head, frowning. ‘I forgot my hat.’

Sebastian reached up and clicked his fingers; her tall, gray casting hat appeared in his hand. Lucy exchanged it for her wet cloak and place in on her head, just so.

‘Remember,’ Sebastian said, nervously folding the cloak. ‘Stay calm, you have everything you need to win.’

‘Don’t worry,’ Lucy said. She flashed him a reassuring look, before pulling out her wand and setting her face in a confident smile. ‘I’ll make sure I’m the last woman standing.’

Friday, 11 April 2014

A note on The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.

This novel felt like diving into memory.

I’ve been curious about Neil Gaiman for some time, especially after discovering one of my favourite films – Stardust – and I was excited to finally try a book.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is short and sweet but perfectly satisfying at the same time. The unnamed protagonist and the Hempstock women were charming and likeable. The description painted a world partly make-believe and partly real with beauty and interest.

The story was perfectly uncomplicated plot-wise but was full of nostalgia. The protagonist’s childhood is very different to my own but the child’s observations were so relatable that the book was thick with the feeling of memories.

There were quirks and ideas in Gaiman’s world that inspired the writer side of me and delighted the reader side.

This was my last read of 2013 and a very good one it was too.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

one fine morning

A couple of weeks ago, I woke to the rare and rather delightful sight of thick fog. I decided to take the camera out and wander around the garden, taking a photo or two – another sight that’s too rare. And, of course, Holly came out and explored a little bit, too.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Diploma | in review

I officially graduate from my Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing) tomorrow so it seems an appropriate day to share a brief review/musing/thing on my diploma.

It’s crazy to think about how long I’ve been studying – 4 years! I clearly remember getting the acceptance letter, how stunned I was to have gotten in and how daunted I was to have committed myself to such an unimaginably long time – it was hard to believe I’d be 21 by the time I finished.

Now that I’ve settled into a new routine, focused on other writing projects, I don’t miss my diploma as much, until I start thinking about it and how fun it was. But it was also challenging and stressful and while I miss it, I’m perfectly happy to be working on my own projects now.

I’ve grown so much as a writer (and a person) during these last four years; my horizons are bigger (poetry and screen now fascinate me) and my dedication stronger. Not to mention my want and willingness to improve my incomplete knowledge of grammar and my limited vocab, something I use to not be fussed about.

This diploma has cemented my passion for storytelling and given me challenges that have pushed me to grow. I haven’t always enjoyed the challenges, but with every module I could see there was potential to learn, all I had to do was my best. My philosophy was “there is always something to learn”.

Some of my most challenging modules were Manage a Writing Business and Write Reviews. But nothing compares to The Law and the Writer, my most challenging, confusing and stressful module, which I actually managed to do quite well in.

Some of my favourite, most inspiring and enjoyable modules were Write for Film and Television and Write Poetry. But, of course, my most fondly remembered was my Extended Projectworking with an amazing mentor and being given free range to do what I want.

I feel the diploma given me a solid foundation for my writing, I knew so little setting out and I know so much more now. Really I’d recommend this to any foundling writer looking to be taught the basics of all forms and given good feedback and encouragement. Even in modules you think are totally opposite to what you want to do, there is something to be learnt, gained and applied to your own form.

I’m not sure whether I’d have actually completed a novel by now, know as much, improved so greatly or feel as able if I hadn’t done this diploma. Possibly, but I’m not convinced. I may have done one or two of those things but probably not all.

I enjoyed being given a challenge, finding an idea and then giving it my all. Of course, there’s been a great deal of stress but even that’s not all bad, I’ve been forced to get better at dealing with it and I hope I have. It makes me smile to think of the last four years and I’m excited for the next four.

I’m extremely pleased with all I’ve accomplished during this diploma. It’s been marvellous.
Four years very well spent.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

365 | day eighty three

March was so busy and April promises more of the same. Busy is good, but it’s also pretty tiring. It’s all about trying to not get swept away in the things to do and remember ‘one thing at a time’.

The 24th of March’s daily writing (the day after we got Miss Holly).

The grass swayed like a sea of emeralds, vivid and sparkling. The house sat in a lone patch of sunlight, on the edge of the cliff.

It looked the picture of homely warmth, but she knew the witch dwelling inside and wouldn’t have normally dared to come this far, let alone go inside and sit for tea like a long missed friend.

She steeled herself and continued up the path.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Extended Project | in review

How to review something like this? My extended project was such an amazing experience and, as is common after such things, I find it slightly surreal to recall.

Being mentored by Michael Pryor was incredible. Michael was a very thoughtful mentor who taught me a great deal and pushed me to do my very, very best.

The time pressures showed me just how fast and well I could write, giving me confidence and, hopefully, a good sense of my limits as I continue my writing journey on my own.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity this extended project gave me to work with a writer I so greatly admire and get his insights into what to improve in my work. I’m also extremely happy to have written a tribute to my love of fantasy. This project really did capture what I love about this varied genre.

The structure of the semester meant I could focus solely on my project during the writing of the first draft, which was lovely. But that did mean I was challenged by two other modules and editing the novella during the second half of the semester. It was crazy and at times overwhelming, but I did it in the end.

So, yeah, you could say it was the most intense semester I had, but you could also say this was one of the best.