7 Quick Takes: Exam Confidence

7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Work at things until they’re rote. If revising a certain topic bores you, you’re probably at the stage where you understand it.

~2~

Use acronyms, aphorisms, ascriptions. Start associating the names you probably won’t remember by themselves with phrases that you’ll be able to roll off your tongue.

~3~

Talk to yourself. Stare out of the window. Just don’t read over what you’ve written time and time again. It does nothing to your long-term memory; there are very little significant or vibrant chemical associations that will occur from reading. Your short-term memory might be fine, but I assure you that tomorrow will have swept the knowledge from your head.

~4~

Instead, opt for writing essay plans or structuring sentences as arguments so that you’re contemplating what you will have to in the exam.

~5~

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some things do need clarifying – some topics are tricky to get one’s head around. As such, you won’t always be able to go it alone. Ask, confirm, support. It’s the best way to understand a topic.

Alexb_revisionstudy

Revision.

~6~

Relax. Actually, the worst thing one can do in an exam is overthink and spiral into anxiety. A clear mind is a successful mind, and through that, exam essays are simpler than you think.

Plus, God does not judge by one’s academic score, for He knows your true knowledge.

~7~

Pray. Not out of desperation, of course, but in an optimistic in-God-I-trust approach. Acknowledge that He is there for you; appreciate that He has guided you this far. He is on your side, and will continue to support you.

As funny as it sounds, God is my ultimately cheerleader. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without his support.

Have a blessed weekend.

On Originality

(Or, its existence, which if is, is scarce)

What makes your novel unique?

They say it a lot, as if originality is a rite of passage a novel must go through. Chances are, though, not much. We all know the problem the modern writer faces: of writing the novel of our heart only to find that someone’s got there first or got their ‘big break’ with something so similar to yours.

It is devastating.

Recently, I was watching an old Doctor Who – The Time of Angels, in fact – for River Song kicks, when The Doctor mentioned the phrase ‘time energy’. Time-energy. What rather ravels the threads of my novel. Of the trilogy.

What’s more, there was a crack in time and people disappeared from memory.

‘Hang on,’ I said to myself, ‘wasn’t that the premise of my novel, the first draft of which I wrote five years ago…? Three before Doctor Who used it.’

It happens, and it’s a ruddy pain.

So, what’s a budding author to do? Well, for starters, consider the differences. Don’t get hung up on those similarities that must indeed stick out for you. My novel is set in an alternat/ive timeline, not the future. There is no one in Doctor Who who is trying to harvest the time-energy; it is purely wild. And, though, I mean my time-energy is wild, unpredictable, and partly antagonist, it can also be tangible when it wants to be.

It’s an entity, yo.

For others in a similar position to me – don’t give up! Don’t abandon your projects simply because there are others on the market with similar faces to yours.

That’s my advice, in any case. Make your novel yours, not anyone else’s.

Further, look with respect to those books and films and materials that are similar to yours. They help, they train – and you can support those who keep your genre and ideas thriving.

I wouldn’t even say the issue is genre-related; romance novels, for instance, still fall under the issue of the same plot, over and over. But, of course, a novel or fictitious story is not made solely of plot. For romance, it’s a little simpler to focus on the personality and quirks of your characters, but for science-fiction fantasy you could also give interesting traits that a reader wouldn’t suspect.

Don’t stick to stereotypes. That’s what the unoriginal is made of. I personally like subverting the tropes.

The writing, too, is the glamorous essence of reading a new novel. Voice. Imagery. Style. Those aren’t just buzzwords. And, unfortunately, voice is not something we can ever put words to so precisely. It’s the communication between the writer and their characters – a dash of each to the recipe that crafts the tone, vocabulary, even syntax of the story. 

The way a story is told can change anything. Make us forget what was similar.

It’s an unfortunate situation, I know – more than anyone, so it feels with my passion in temporal science, when every inciting incident is of people disappearing from time – but for writers facing this same problem, all I can say is that, though your story might not be the most original, you can paint something new with your characters and settings.

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How Do I Become A Writer?

Great advice for those thinking of writing as an income by Katie Teller.

Aussie Writers

I get asked this question a lot, especially by my “non” writer friends. I think it’s interesting because I know it secretly means How do they become a writer? I’m also fairly certain most of the people who ask me haven’t read my books, but that’s another issue at this point.

So I’ll begin with one thing: a burning need to write a story. Then another, then another. This need needs to be more than just an idea. You need to write it down, hash out the plot, the twists and turns, develop the characters.

No time? Congrats, I don’t have time either. I’m a mother and wife, which in themselves are crazy busy gigs, I have a baby and almost five year old, have church and family commitments, and work. Yes, my work is mostly edits, but that leaves very little time for actually writing, and before I received…

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Diction: Latinate versus Anglo-Saxon

Reblog Thursday is back! (Ish) This reblog post is from all the way back in 2012, but I only stumbled across it a couple of days ago, as I only started following Lara’s blog last year.

Ever wondered why synonyms are sometimes so very different to each other? Or why some words, especially in writing, are sesquipedalian and polysyllablic ( 😉 ) whilst others are short and simple? In this post, Lara explains how the roots of words can effect how they are read and which genres they better suit.

Kind of explains how my Latin studies effected my propensity for lengthy sentences and florid oratories! 😛

Lara Willard

Diction = word choice

Synonym = a word’s twin in meaning, e.g. “big” and “large” are synonyms.

Ever wonder why English has so many freaking synonyms? Because it’s the lovechild of Germanic and French languages. (French isn’t called a romance language for no reason. ) While having so many choices can be a wonderful thing, it can also be disastrous. With great vocabulary comes great responsibility. I’m talking to you, Christopher Paolini. Step away from the thesaurus.

You’ll notice the language split when two political candidates start campaigning and one plays the “smarter than thou” card and the other plays the “average joe” card. Smarter-than-thou is going to try to dazzle you with a academic, million-dollar vocabulary. Average Joe is going to give you a pat on the back with neighbor-speak. John Kerry vs. W. Bush. I’d watch their debates for examples if I didn’t hate politics so much.

Latinate

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Is There A Knack To Writing (Steampunk)?

Credit to Cait, because I can’t art like she can.

Credit to Cait, because I can’t art like she can.

Well, actually I’m writing a novella*.

Academic work has been tough lately – getting on top of things. I was chatting to my boyfriend, whose weeks consist of 9-5s or similar days in work; whilst mine are few in contact, as I listed the things I have to do today (writing a blog post notwithstanding), I realised that I have so much yet to do as the term wears on.

So, before I go on, here’s a video of Hank Green giving tips on how to do all the things (If you’ve not watched How To Adult before, I highly recommend it).

Anyway, where were we? Ah, Steampunk. Much-talked-about topic if you search the internet. I don’t know how much it’s been talked about how to write steampunk, though. I’ve not searched. But Steampunk is the easiest genre for me to write when I need to write in the midst of academic work – I realised at the weekend that it’s what the inside of my brain looks like: shiny things, science, long frilly dresses, and magic.

But is it the easiest? A good example of judging the quality of prose is whether it can be smoothly performed or read aloud. At the Surrey Steampunk convivial last Sunday gone, I had the pleasure of listening to a steampunk short story and a snippet of a steampunk-esque biopic-esque play. What I noticed most was the wonderfully sprightly prose characteristic of steampunk.

It made my writing feel dangerously inadequate.

The problem (at least, I’ve found with WTCB) is that my first draft are needlessly florid. To deal with this, editing has concentrated on removing overwriting – but, with that, I’ve lost…something. Some shininess in steampunk written voice and style.

Do I have any tips from what I’ve learnt? Well, part of steampunk is that it’s each to their own – so, if you want to develop the satire or humour element of steampunk, you’ll be using a different tone of language to if you’re painting a work of elegant structures and grand societies in steampunk.

> There is different slang, different vocab, and different self-concept in the Victorian area. Part of the quirk (and hook) of steampunk is the oft-elaborate and dialogue.

> Antiquated whimsy. In the same vein of thought, steampunk has a certain element or pizazz to its specific genre that other genres won’t or don’t (need to) include.

> The world. Writing a fantasy world is no mean feat, certainly, but it at least has some kind of ready template of an expected map; writing a steampunk landscape is a combination of the rusty, oily mechanics and the lush, greenery better found in Tolkien.

> Following on from that, don’t be afraid to be inspired by what you see around you. Write what you know, and if that’s the soft colours of your garden or the colder colours of your bathroom or study or something completely out of the usual, then that’s the perfect inspiration for a realistic setting.

> The characters. Some steampunk (particularly if utilising satire or humour) applies stereotypes or types to characters: the wacky scientist, the aristocratic elder, the tough air pirate.

Of course, I would never advise of writing a stereotype, but they are a place to start. This allows readers who know steampunk and its umbrella/links to connect with the characters and types they know.

> There is still a story and plot in the glamour and soot. Despite what I’ve said, you cannot forfeit a good, well-woven plot for beautiful and elaborate or complex prose. Balance is crucial, and, yes – balance is difficult.

Of course, there are so many different ways to tackle writing steampunk, and, as we any genre, each writing has their own, personal tactics. Me? I’m going to be reading more Shakespeare, after finding that it conjures up images and characters bright to my imagination. I’m also going to be searching our more ethereal harp music like this sonatina. I don’t tend to write with music, but some draw for me.

The verdict? Steampunk, like every other genre of writing, is difficult. But don’t despair! There are ways of working on it! 😛

*Well, actually, since writing the first draft of this post, I’ve started writing another novel, as well.

Q&A: Starting Is the Hard Part (Or, How to Get Creatively Re-Inspired)

Over at the Teens Can Write, Too blog (which has great writing tips for those of us who aren’t teens as well!), they’re talking about rebooting one’s writing creativity after a hiatus, be that from editing or simply not-writing. Useful and pragmatic. 🙂

Teens Can Write, Too!

Quick side note before the post: today, TCWT is participating in action/2015, a global campaign (in conjunction with the organization Save The Children and supported by the UN) that encourages young people to speak out with a unified voice against issues of extreme poverty, gender inequality, and climate change. If you have some time, I encourage you to check out this page I made with more details about the campaign and how to help out. See that here.

Action 2015

***

Hi everyone! Today I’m doing something a little different–a mini Q&A. As I’ve mentioned before, you can always email questions to the TCWT team, and, considering this blog is dedicated to helping out awesome writers in any way we can, we love being able to offer some advice. We’ve gotten some great questions, but, with the author’s permission, I’ve decided to answer this one in particular on the blog because I know it’s something that…

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