Currently…

Sometimes I participate in the Currently series on Tuesdays…

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Loving

That there will be a new Five Nights at Freddy’s game. Okay, I don’t play the series, but I enjoy watching YouTubers like Markiplier and 8BitGaming playing it. As I mentioned in my review of the novel, I enjoy the lore and the elements of mystery the way Scott Cawthon has woven them through the games.

Reading

AlexB_Curse1A CURSE OF ASH AND IRON by Christine Norris. It’s a Steampunk Cinderella retelling, and it’s keeping me on my toes, even though I’m less than halfway through the novel yet. Another Curiosity Quills Press novel (I got it with Hour of Mischief), this flows around merrily (or not so 😉 ) and has two voices from compelling characters.

 

Watching

Well, Star Trek: The Next Generation has just popped up on Netflix, so I’ve been watching a couple of episodes every night and relishing in nostalgia for a show I’ve always loved, but not seen for a number of years.

Writing

An old collaborative piece about that I have recently been inspired by my packing to work on. It’s coming to its end, and I don’t want to lose the work we have done, simply because the story is incomplete.

Whilst my chapters from 2009 are abysmal to say the least, you can read the story here.

Thinking About…

Packing. My mum is moving house mid-July whilst I will be on holiday in Poland, so all my packing has to be done before we go to Italy this week, and packing has been consuming my mind.

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Anticipating…

It goes without saying that I’m anxious about the state of Great Britain at the moment. Never have so many young people cared about the politics and seen it go so far the opposite of what they wanted. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen next, but we must remember to not descend into negativity.

Making me happy…

The Boyfriend. He knows exactly how to cheer me up when I’ve not seen him for a couple of weeks, and I get to see him again tomorrow, then we’re heading to Venice, which lightens my heart.

On the Thames

Did you write a Currently post this week? What have you been up to?

I Am The Most 3D Character I Know.

Don’t be surprised there’s no Photo of the Week today/yesterday*. I was working on my dissertation; I was in my department since two and only got home at 8. Anyway, I was talking to someone earlier, and with my answers to their questions, I realised that my different motives and personalities would seem to pull me different ways, both the quirky and the serious.

For starters, one would think that I would ‘fangirl’ over characters, ‘ship them mercilessly, and try and pally with them, but I’m actually what I would call a ‘cold reader’. I can empathise, but I rarely feel strongly for them. At least, in books. in films, it’s easier to fall for relationships between characters. One day, I might write a post considering that. (See Miriam Joy’s commentary)

Invite me swimming and I will gush yes, but the sports I’ve been doing are Quidditch and Swing Dance – and, through that, I suppose (at least in part) my interest in vintage fashion has arisen.

Following that, I’m the studious type, but I love dressing up. Sure, I can be found most days in comfy hoodies and black trousers, but give me time and the right weather, and I can be found in a petticoat, a swing dress, a headband. Or, if the mood suits, a corset and a host of accessories. And, to match that, you’ll find me in vintage makeup and/or hair.

I count myself as a performer, with a passion in music. I used to drum and write music and lyrics, but those days… I still weekly spend three hours as a soprano at chamber choir, three hours of taught singing – and if one were to add to that the casual singing and listening to music I do. The surrounding myself with music and life.

And writing. Writing is a BIG (caps for emphasis) part of my life, something I think about every day. Not including my writing of academic papers or non-fiction (could one consider Twitter as a form of writing? For another post, maybe…), I write creative writing and edit just as much. I try and go to the creative writing group at uni every week. When someone asks what do you do? I answer first that I’m a student, and second that I moonlight as a writer. I have to. I am tied to writing and my characters now, having spent so long with them. To let them go would almost be murder.

Don’t forget, though, I also do a lot for my faith. I go to Mass twice a week, I sing in the choir, I try and go to Rosary, I host food and discussion of faith every week. I will definitely say that me, as a character, is defined by my faith for what I do.

There are so many facets, even more than those which I talk about here. I could bore myself alone by going on. My degree is important, too, yet I am also interested in academics beyond my degree, such as Linguistics. I am interested in people (which, one could argue, comes from and/or relates to my creative writing) and thus my studies have nearly always been based this way. I was more language-based for my GCSEs than world-based (eg. history, geography). For my A-Levels, I again looked to essays and people: Psychology, Latin (which included Latin literature comprehension, yes in Latin), Religious Studies, Theatre Studies, Physics (which, agreed, breaks the mould, but one must consider the aliens’ feelings, too 😉 ).

I also write this blog. Sometimes.

All in all, it adds up to me, a complete figure that fiction cannot describe. These interests link and lead to others. Can writers craft characters with so many facets; how can one aptly write a character who had a past interest (for instance of my ice skating years) that in no way matches up with their present self and would not need to be relayed through the story?

*As if in show of how hectic life is, I managed to fail to post this the Mon I planned to.

Photo of the Week: Selfie.2

Another selfie from me. I’m rather in love with a new lipstick set I bought for myself for Christmas. One of which was a nude lipstick, which I thought I would be going and repackaging as a present for a friend. But, actually, once I tried it, I found it very lovely and silky. Plus, I am rather enamoured with the way my hair is in this photo…

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Wearing Limecrime Buffy on my lips. Dress by CollectIf Clothing.

 

Beautiful People: The Resolutions Edition

Hello, blogosphere. 🙂 Today, I’m linking up with Cait and Sky’s beautiful monthly linkup Beautiful People. And this month it’s about the authors – new year, new goals (supposedly). So I guess that makes me a Beautiful Person.

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  1. What were your writing achievements last year?

I culled and rewrote so many darhlings… I got some industry interest in my novel. I gave two talks to my creative writing group: one about blogging – the other about tradition publishing and querying. I wrote a 16,000-word short contemporary romance. I wrote about 6,000 words of a Steampunk novella. I wrote about 45,000 words and completed a Steampunk novella for Camp NaNo July, then edited some of it.

I did a lot of research.

  1. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year.

Editing, I think. Editing my novel. Editing my novella. Doing some subbing. Tell you? Okay, the premise of my novella, codenamed ASB303:

It’s 1870 and Lady Summer is two months away from completing her MA dissertation study of a brain, kept animated by a jar of its neural fluid. When she stumbles upon an activating tesla MRI machine during some of her night-research, however, Summer is shocked to find her brain hooked up to it. And worse—the monster that forms from it, threatening to destroy the Psychobiology department’s reputation, the lives of the many university students in campus over autumn, and Summer’s precious brain dissertation.

  1. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

Spend more focused editing time. Listen to more science TED talks/podcasts instead of watching YouTube. Stick to, and be inspired by, a motivational star-chart. Work on more compelling character motivations in scenes, chapters, and arcs. Work on improving first- and early-draft pacing.

  1. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I’ll do Camp NaNoWriMo in July like I do every year, but I don’t have a specific plan just yet. I have several book ideas, but I’m not pushing them out into the open until I actually have time to write. So I’m not sure which yet I’m going to focus on, whether novel or novella, fantasy or contemporary.

  1. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

I always have plans to expand, but, when it comes to Critique Partners, my eyes are bigger than my stomach. That is, I took on two new Critique Partners last year and managed to crit some of their stuff without editing my own to send to them; and vice versa. Adding to that, that I neglected my first CP (who got a two-book deal last year!), I’ve decided that I can’t take on any others without neglecting one (or more) arm of what I already have.

  1. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

No, I don’t yet have any plans to read any writing/skill books. I’ve got a couple of Linguistics books and articles to read for uni research, as I will have expectantly for the next three months alongside my textbooks.

  1. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

I’d love to learn more about the MC of my novel’s family, Mr. and Mrs. Masters and their two elder daughters and son. I’ve extensively explored the family history of my other MC/the love interest, but this is because the Costellos’ money makes them more inclined to scandal and foul behaviour. Their morals are twisted by societal success and boasting. Plus, they are more crooked by nature than the Masters who are only seeking to elevate their daughters into better society. The irony!

How do I plan to go about it? Vignettes and scenes. And quite a bit of daydreaming. That always works.

  1. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I am currently editing my main novel and going through the rounds with it already, and, although I don’t expect to get my quota in every month with my uni expectations, I hope to continue working on it with similar rhythm. On the other hand, I have a little pile of books waiting to be edited – my YA contemporary murder mystery; my Steampunk novella (which is chapter-by-chapter slowly going through my Beta).

  1. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

Ooh, difficult question. Love that quote, though. I guess I’d like to see more unusual/fantasy university-set fiction. I mean, I’m biased because the aforementioned Steampunk novella is a fantasy set in a fictitious English university town, cogs and all. I have no objection to the boarding school novel, but we always see those, with their narrow halls and fixed staff-set, and we rarely see the insides of universities, where it takes one 30 minutes to get from lecture to lecture and one gets lost in a single building. Or only for contemporary romance.

  1. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

It’s really difficult to say at this stage. Well, no, it’s not, but few of my current wishlist achievements are writing/work related: graduate with a good grade, get healthy, spend a good summer with my darling partner, start post-graduate plans – whatever they end up being. Oh, and write something, read more, and get an agent.

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A motivational star-chart (example from November).

That’s me done, then. Now I’m off to read some others in the linky. *waves and skips off*

I Have All I Want: A Birthday Post

As is the way around birthday times, people were asking me what I wanted for my birthday (which is today, in case I didn’t make that clear enough).

IT IS MY BIRTHDAY

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I maked this cake today ^_^

Now, to that question, I replied the same as I generally do: I don’t know. Other people’s birthdays are hard enough to buy for, and, in all honesty, I’m not a big birthday celebrator. It’s just another day in the life of the universe. It is a celebration of a single person, but not a celebration that others can appreciate as a community.

At least last year, though, I kind of had ideas for presents, even if they were little things or things that helped me with life, cooking, existence. 😛 But, I don’t know, last year was a weird year. I knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday – what I’d always wanted every year – but I knew I wouldn’t get what I’d wished, so any presents were just filling the space.

Yet, this year, I have not been so bothered. Regardless of having two exams on Monday and Tuesday (the two days before my birthday), and trying to focus on them, I also have not been interested in presents – or even in people knowing that it was a day on which I was born 20 years ago.

Maybe it’s because I don’t really get attached to material things. I mean, if you’re going to buy my dinner or a drink, you get a grin from me, but I don’t want chocolate or jewellery or makeup or clothes. I don’t want flashy items. I am, by nature, a pragmatic person; I like doing. Besides, as a spoilt only child, I’ve had enough of things.

And, sure, I’d love to say that I don’t want material gains because material things mean nothing to me – as in, there is Him whom is greater than worldly positions. Part of my desire to push away material possessions stems from my faith.

But I think it runs deeper than that, runs deeper than my convictions. Maybe I am just a person of simple interests. *cough* Unlikely. *cough*

My personal desires and levels of happiness in and of themselves have turned birthdays into less consequential days than they used to be. And I like that.

The point is, this year I have everything I’ve wanted – within reason. I know I have to wait and persevere for career and family advancements – but no material possessions, no magic changes in my academic scores, or even no free drinks or experiences can change the feelings of lightness I have been blessed to feel in the last few months. Most significantly (if we must move into specifics), I have someone who is happy for me to look after him, and him to look after me; I feel as if God has opened my eyes to my purpose again with a wonderful gentleman.

I may not be working at my optimal, yet, emotionally and physically and even mentally, I have been more than averagely well. That for me this year has been better than any present, gift, or experience. That for me is a birthday present that lasts beyond a single day, event, or box.

7 Quick Takes: I’ve Been Absent, But That’s the End of Term…

Wow, it seems these days that I’m so busy I forget even to blog. It’s not that it’s not important to me – and not that I don’t have ideas – the issue is simply one of time or lack thereof. Which is why 7 Quick Takes Friday is so rewarding. I do apologise for any shortnesses, though. Hosted by Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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~1~

So, what’s been going on in my life that I’m so busy, eh?

Essays, my friends. Essays and lab reports. I finished the latter and started writing the former today. I have two full weeks left of terms, so I must be on my guard and sharp to complete everything I need to.

~2~

Whilst I (once again – sorry!) neglected/forgot to post a Quick Takes last week, I did have somewhat of a post detailing my travels on Wed, and, for the thousand photographs I could spill here, I’ll stick to one.

Rules for etiquette...
Rules for etiquette…

~3~

I think I might be getting a cold, but I’m getting through with honey, Lemsip, and camomile tea. Oddly enough – compared the other times colds have hit me, and those are many – my bad synapses haven’t much affected my singing. I’m hoping this is a sign that I’m using my diaphragm, lungs, and soft palate to better and more lovely extent. One day, I’d love to learn the Bel Canto way properly, but, again, it’s something for which I have no time.

~4~

I am really getting into the swing of saying grace before mealtimes. In a crowded university hall, I haven’t yet the strength to say a full prayer to myself, but I can at least cross myself and remember that it’s God who has put me in this place at this time. Twice a week I have meals with fellow Christians, which is so helpful in ideas for the words to say, too. I’m not giving anything up for Lent, but I’m finding my cravings for meat have been less on days where abstinence is not necessitated.

~5~

I have been so blessed lately, with the friends and the life choices I’ve been given. It’s easy to get lost in ‘real life’ and forget the One who has created and allowed us to look after His world, so this is my little praise to God today. I hope to blog about that later in the week, but for now I’ll just nod and smile.

~6~

In terms of the writerly side of life, I have actually had the gears in my mind whirring this week. I’m managed to get some editing in – I finished the rewrite I was doing, and sent those pages off to two Betas, and now I’m playing the adjective elimination game, one page at a time.

~7~

Patience and Milo face danger as a mechanical beast* rounds on their hiding place. I’ve been jotting down notes for The Mallard: Cosmic Train short story for the last couple of weeks, but, with the little time I have, I’ve not met them in running script yet. Writing in first person from Patience’s view (I have yet to decide if I want to see from Milo’s perspective, too) is interesting – unusual for my fantasy genres – but I think it’s working. Patience is a kindly maid, but she’s intelligent enough to question the so-called facts and orders when necessary.

Indeed: the clanking of a metal-adapted beast as it trailed its elongated limbs from the rear carriage. The strained grinding of the internal gear-cores, choking under their own weight and the oil I’d watched the creature guzzle, stumbled closer. Our hiding spot. With a nose no doubt amplified with certain measures of pewter and fibreglass curling from its orifices, the beast drew out a sniff and its scraping spilled again into their room.

*I have yet to decide what animal I want here, so this is deliberately rather vague for the moment!

Hello, My Name is Writer

As part of Cait and Sky’s Beautiful People monthly meme, this month we’re looking at – gulp! – the authors. So, me…

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  1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?

Hum, I guess I officially considered myself a writer when I finished my first longer-than-short-story piece of work, aged thirteen. However, I was writing creatively long before that…regardless of how poor those pieces were. (Let’s not mention the Bug’s Life fanfiction…)

  1. How/why did you start writing?

I started writing longer projects when inspired by a murder mystery game at school. I didn’t intend to do anything more with my inspiration until I went on holiday later that year and narrated what had happened to one of the other girls on the trip. She suggested I write it down, and, as we all say, the rest is history.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that. I devised a plot, started writing in the back of my notebooks, and pressed on with this story. It wasn’t the greatest of things, but it got me started writing bigger things, even if it is dependent on genre and the plot itself. Some move forward, some stop me at their posts.

  1. What’s your favourite part of writing?

When things come together. I like that 3/4s part of the story where I can see the end in sight, but still have the writing coming, the good part, the finale, the fight-scene.

  1. What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Motivation. It’s so easy to lose track of one’s thoughts and plans and never get on with anything. Sometimes, it will be the smallest of things, and I just cannot write, but not from lack of want or plan. I just don’t have the enthusiasm.

  1. Do you write best at night or day?

I…don’t know. Sometimes, I wake up full of vitality and go on to do my best writing in the morning when I am ready for the day and wide-eyed, and in my evening, I hit 10 or 11 and can barely concentrate on just waking moments; other times, I write better in the evenings when I can have some tv show on in the background (to wipe out the white noise from my mind), but my mornings are disengaged and the show is me. Yes, the same is true of the afternoon.

So, it depends. On my mood, on how I’ve slept the previous night, on the genre or even the scene! It depends.

  1. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

My writing space is in that good place between neat and messy. Stationary to my left, books on the floor to my right; my laptop perched on the desk just at the right height (my chair extended to its highest).

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Aww, yeahh, pictures!

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Why, yes, that is the linkup you see.

 

  1. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?

Honestly? It depends on the draft. My contemporary romance has been on the burner, since August-ish, and it’s still only about 20-thousand. However, I know it is possibly for me to write 60-thousand in a single month (NaNo, anyone? 🙂 ) – that was my alt-history fantasy. On the SFF front, I have ideas and can write quite quickly; with contemporaries, I need to think.

  1. How many projects do you work on at once?

I’m terrible. About three. I’m probably writing a first draft of one thing, whilst considering how to rewrite a middle-draft of something else (even just in my head in the middle of a lecture), and, knowing me, I’ll be polishing another work in the meanwhile. Besides, querying makes the writer divide their attention to something new.

  1. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?

I prefer happy endings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t write sad ones – or, rather, ones in between. I like resolved endings, and whilst I understand that sad ones are not unresolved, there is something about happy endings that make me feel more satisfied with my writing. Though, the ones with the hint of mystery – the will-it-end-won’t-it – are the most fun to write, even though they might frustrate the reader the most.

  1. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.

Agatha Christie; Lewis Carroll; Caroline Lawrence; Samantha Shannon

  1. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?

Me first reaction was:

Writing, especially the first few drafts, is way too close and messy to share. But, actually, my boyfriend is reading the second draft of my most-recently-completed (ie. last July) manuscript, steampunk Horology – and I do like to have Betas on hand. In fact, I’m always looking for new readers, but there’s a catch. They probably can’t be people I know in real life, who I’ll see on a frequent basis whilst they’re reading the manuscript. I just know they’re judging me inside.

Chalk that up to my shyness and social phobia.

  1. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?

I mean, it would be great to be published and acclaimed.

  1. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?

Compose music. Not in an official way – I’d probably still be studying Psychology and Philosophy in the way I do with writing as my creative career, but I ultimately gave up writing music&lyrics, recording, and videoing, because it took up too much of my writing time. I was lazy. Writing was easier.

  1. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?

Lots and lots, I suppose. Partly, due to academic time-constraints I feel I can’t take on a project without giving it my all. Specifics…the ends of my trilogies. I’ve started them both, but written very little of either. I think it’s partly because I don’t want to let either of the star characters or the overall plot go, but also because I’m not ready to attempt to write such continuations when new incarnations of stories are bothering me.

  1. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

The Agnetha King Mysteries Trilogy. Okay, that’s three books, but, all in all, it’s one story of Agnetha as she grows up and finds her passions and pains and solves a few murders along the way. It counts as the first book I wrote even if that was a novella rather than the novel thirteen-year-old me thought it was, but before then, I’d only completed beginnings, and short stories, and playscripts.

Nevertheless, Agnetha’s character is one of my favourites and she’s stuck with me, despite trunking various drafts at various times in my life. Her first book, now on its 7th draft, is probably the best of my YA works in terms of voice and relatability.

I have no idea who that character is, but she’s blonde, curly, and crying over characters. ‘Nuff said.

So, that was me. What about you? Got any interesting stories about how you started writing? Have any of your stories clung to you? And, scientifically, do you write better during the day or night – or neither?