Writer’s Q&A!

Lynette over at her blog (http://lynettenoni.wordpress.com/) did this Q&A and encouraged us to think about our own responses. So, to pass the time on a sunny afternoon, I didn’t see why I shouldn’t give this a good go. This ought to help my readers see the writer side of me, and to see an insight into my life. So, enjoy!

1. Where do you write?

Call me clichéd, but I love writing in coffee shops. It gives me ample opportunity to people watch (a favourite sport of mine!), drink good coffee, and get my focus on my writing rather than on everything else around me. That said, I now have started to carry my trusty fountain pen and a notebook in my handbag now, so whenever a poem comes to mind, I can whip out my writing equipment and jot it down before I forget it. I like writing outside too, in the sunshine with a drink in one hand, pen and paper in the other.

2. What are your writing habits?

I like to drink fizzy pop if I’m writing at home, in the late hours, with cola being my drink of choice. I’ll drink all sorts of types of tea as well, although I’ve gotten back into coffee after two years of hating the stuff (I take it milky with a LOT of sugar). I also like to have a bowl of sugary snacks next to the PC, so I nibble and pick whilst I’m writing. Sherbert lemons are a favourite during all-nighters, whilst during the day I quite like jelly beans. Sometimes I shake things up and buy Doritos…

I write in solid bursts for 20 minutes, and take breaks for 10 minutes. It’s how lawyers get through all their paperwork, and how me and my friends work when we meet up for a study session. I like it because you race to get as much on the page as possible, before clearing your head for 10 minutes, and getting back to work. You don’t frazzle your brain, and you get more done! Result!

 

3. How do you write your first drafts?

When I’m writing poetry, I tend to hand draft it first, and type it up later. I find that when you go back to type up a poem later, you sometimes end up adding or taking words away, adding or taking lines away. I even once added a whole new stanza into a poem during the type-up. When I’m writing short stories, I take a similar approach, but when writing longer stories/novels, I write notes about what I want to happen in each chapter, much like a flow-chart, then write it straight onto the computer. Sometimes the plot will take control and deviate from the chart, but most of the time I write ‘the bare bones’, then go back later if something happens later on that I should add into the previous chapter.

4. Which writers have most influenced you or inspired you?

In my early teens, I would of said Jane Austen. My first NaNoWriMo was an attempt at Regency Romance, which failed miserably. But as I’ve been at university, and been able to meet writers, and listen and read a wider variety of work, I’ve realised that recently I’ve been influenced by Allen Ginsburg, and Jack Kerouac, two of the Beat Generation writers, writing experimental poetry and prose, pushing literary boundaries and changing the way that we see literature. Sometimes, though, I’m inspired more by individual works rather than writers as a whole. I loved The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, who won the Costa 2013 Prize with it, and now teaches at my university, which was about a nineteen year old man living with mental health issues, writing his story. I loved the way that professional paperwork weaved into the protagonist’s own writing, and the use of different fonts to show that he was writing in different formats. This would be something I’ll attempt in the future. Another book series I’m obsessed with is C.J Sansom’s Shardlake series. These five novels, set in Henry VIII’s England, are thriller-mysteries involving a hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake solving mysteries involving the politics of the day, all whilst living in a turbulent age. It’s a relief from all the historical romances out there, all the Philippa Gregory novels that actually irritate the heck out of me for not being properly accurate (I worked in a Tudor museum as a tour guide for a while, so hate inaccuracy about the period). And romance novels when not read on holiday, make me want to vomit. Just saying. So C.J Sansom (who is also a lovely guy, I met him whilst on the job!), has inspired me to try my hand at historical writing.

5. What genre(s) do you (aspire to) write?

I’m currently dabbling in writing historical fiction. I also enjoy experimental writing, both poetry and prose (I seem to be better at experimental poetry). I would like to attempt fantasy again, after writing a fantasy novel aged 17, and re-reading it and cringing at the Mary Sue characters, terrible clichéd plots and over complicated story lines, I might give it another go.

6. What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?

Writer’s Block. I also have issues with worrying that my work isn’t good enough, that it is badly written, or that the plot doesn’t flow right, or the character’s speech being wrong. I worry about inaccuracy, especially when I’m writing historical fiction, so spend way too much time googling everything rather than actually writing.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid of criticism, as long as it’s constructive. And never, I mean, NEVER allow non-writer friends or your partner read your WIP, as you’ll only get glowing reports, which is actually more destructive than someone telling you that certain things just don’t work. I have a couple of close writer friends at university who I let look over any work that I might submit at university for feedback, because they are honest, and straight with me. Leave work for a few weeks without reading it, then re-read it with fresh eyes, as then you are more likely to see flaws in plot, construction, etc, and feel more ready to edit. Writing is re-writing, but never do it alone. I tend to do my re-writing with my friends, for support and kicking up the ass when someone puts a cool Youtube video up that I struggle to resist watching.

And enjoy it! Don’t carry on writing something your heart isn’t in, you should be enjoying your work, feeling passionate about what you are writing. Or, if you’re writing to a brief, find a subject in that brief you feel you can enjoy writing about, for whatever reason.

 

 

 

And, on that note, I’d love to hear your responses to this! I’ll be going back to writing the rest of this short story now, and get it sent off for feedback. That’s if I’m not watching cute cat videos…

Peanut Butter Brownies

Heidi Street:

These look so good! When I get scales at uni, these are being made!

Originally posted on cook bake and eat:

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all having a fabulous Sunday morning and that the Easter bunny was super kind to you. I’m rather happy to be tucking into an absurd amount of mini eggs this morning – whilst still in my pajamas of course. Lucky me!

As it’s Easter, and that’s a LOT to do with family and chocolate – at least if you’re not religious and me, I thought I’d share a chocolatey recipe that is one of our family’s favourites – the humble peanut butter brownie. I made these yesterday for a barbecue and surprise surprise we’ve got only a couple left – they’re that good. We’ve mentioned these in the past but never shared our slightly amended version of the Life is Peachy recipe. So we thought it was high time we did – enjoy this Easter gift!

Ingredients

  • 150g Dairy Milk chocolate
  • 100g smooth peanut…

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La Vi Boheme – Promotional Post

It’s not all that often that I promote any WIP, but I feel the need to create a stir, get my blog readers, and my friends properly excited about my first proper anthology! I’m really excited about putting it together, even though it’s been happening in stops and starts due to the fact that I am away on Spring Break, and that I’ve had to start sorting out my university work.

But I have decided that as it won’t be long until the Big Day of Publication, that I really ought to start promoting it now.

La Vi Boheme will be based around the themes of bohemia, rebellion, growing up and becoming a writer, with most of the work I have done for my first year of university being featured, a mix of mainstream and experimental prose and poetry. Most of the work is already featured on my Deviantart page (although I’m not going to tell you straight away which pieces are going in) and there will also be some exclusive work written especially for the anthology! Very exciting stuff!

So, when is this being published?

*Drumroll*

2ND MAY 2014!

Yes, you heard that right, 2nd May 2014, at around 4pm!

I’ll be writing weekly updates of the progress of La Vi Boheme, and might even have a competition or two… Yes, you heard that right, a competition. But I need to decide how I’ll work that out first, before properly announcing that!

So, keep a good eye out on this here blog for the updates, I’ll also be publishing a link to Amazon.com when the book is on sale!

 

On Writing Poetry…

I thought that today I would write a blog post on something to do with writing.

I started properly writing poetry at the start of this academic year, as I had to as part of my university course. I was very cynical about poetry, because I’d always been so terrible at it. However, I was fifteen, naïve and in the ‘teen angst’ stage of my writing life, where my diary entries consisted of how ‘in love’ I was with ‘boyfriends’ that I was too shy to kiss, and how I was fed up with being told what to do by my foster mother, and was writing a fantasy novel full of romance and what I thought was intrigue. Five years later, I’m in the ‘liberated rebel’ stage of my writing life, and prose writing doesn’t fit it as much as I would of liked. I did write a Jack Kerouac style prose piece called ‘Grey Souls and Dancing Minds’, which turned into a long prose poem after feedback, but the original, pure version is on my deviantart page if you want to check that out (see my ‘where else can I check out HJ’s work’ on this blog for the link). But I feel that there is something about poetry that is wonderful for the rebellious writer.

With poetry, you can actually play with word sounds, fiddle around with rhythm and rhyme. You can learn the traditional poetry styles, then break all the rules for a cool effect (I did write a poem using haiku in order to create each verse, which worked better than I thought it would) and you can play with imagery in a way that is tricky to do with prose without sounding way too wordy. In poetry you can get away with being a lot more emotional than with prose, so you can get angry, like I did in ‘That’s so Retarded’, you can get wistful, like in my poem ‘The Book’ and use humour, like in ‘Alternative Valentine’. Again, check out all these on my dA page, if you want to read them.

I used to hate writing poetry because when I had to write it at school, you had to rhyme, you had to follow all these rules and conventions that I didn’t realise that they didn’t need to be there if it made the poem tricky to write. I hated it because of the fact that when I read out my work, it wasn’t received well by the teachers, because I was either too emotional, or I broke away from the convention that they desired from my young imagination. I will always be the first to admit that I was a terrible poet when I was fifteen, but that was because I was turned right off of writing and reading poetry by most of the teachers at school who took away the magic and power that poetry can have on a growing mind.

So I only rediscovered poetry when I started university, after I transferred from scriptwriting to the poetry class, and being allowed the freedom to explore and dream. I dipped my toe into the waters, and wrote a couple of hesitant verses. But one day, I just started to get a lot more confident in what I was doing. I started writing bigger, better poems. I was even beginning to share my work with other students, and my lecturers. Before I knew it, I was then sharing my new passion with the world by starting up a new dA page, so I could avoid the one I was using as a young girl, and I was loving it. I’ve even picked a poetry module for next year, so I can hone in my performance poetry skills, to write bigger, better and angrier poetry to use as a platform to have my say about the world I live in, a world that needs to change for the better, rather than for the worse, which it is currently doing.

I am but a Ginsburg, writing furiously to challenge and defy, using my words as a tool to tell the world that it is time to listen to those that are ignored.

And that’s what poetry is all about.

Tomorrow, We Fly!

Well, in the early hours, anyways.

This past few days has been hectic! We have been packing, picking up supplies, tidying, cleaning and generally preparing for our week in the sun.

Sunday was great, because my father – in – law ran the London Marathon for Barnardo’s, a children’s charity for disadvantaged children around the world. I did want to go to London, but because I still haven’t got the hang of big crowds yet, I stayed home. But I was able to borrow Josh’s laptop to track the father – in – law’s progress, and he didn’t do too badly, actually!

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Yesterday I went shopping with the sister in law, as I needed some swimwear and sandals. Luckily the summer ranges are just coming out, otherwise I would of had some problems.

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I love the rainbow bikini, as it’s funky and quirky, and the orange flowered swimsuit has a cute skirt and tummy control, just so I can feel more confident on the beach or by the pool. The white one looked nice, but didn’t fit over my chest comfortably, so when I get back, I will be taking another trip to Portsmouth to take it back.

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These sandals are brilliant for me, as I am so clumsy, I will trip up over the thinner soles. The current fashion for thick soles, has made me feel much more confident with walking around without scuffing the sandals, or doing my toes a mischief, which I do every summer.

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I did attempt the traditional pout selfie on the way back, but obviously failed miserably, but it was fun to attempt. I know I’ll always be the goofy sister – in – law, but that is what I do best!

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I also bought some nail polish, as I like having a pedicure and manicure when I get ready for holiday. It was three for two on Barry M products, and the gel polishes look similar to getting a shelliac manicure, and blue is a nice holiday colour, so I got three shades of blue, then did my manicure and pedicure after a full on bath. I couldn’t decide which one to go for, so I did all three in a running pattern, and they don’t look too bad, if I’m honest.

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And the mother – in – law fixed my Kindle Fire, so I’ve been downloading a load of free ebooks onto it, so I’m excited to have some new things to curl up on the pool chair with. Mostly some classics on the public domain, like King Arthur, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, as I might write a novel set in these domains for young people.

So, we leave here at 3am, and then will be getting a 6:30am flight to the sun and sand, very exciting! To be honest, I could seriously do with the holiday, if I’m honest, university has been very stressful, and I’ve been feeling awfully uninspired to write much for either the anthology or any university stuff. I am hoping that I can get some really good prose down so I can hand in most of the stuff for when I get back after Spring Break. But I guess  we shall have to wait and see!

Spring Break Is HERE!

So, I’m home for Spring Break!

It has been a long couple of weeks, with battling deadlines (I lost, but mitigated circumstances have become my best friends), dealing with some rocky stuff with ‘friends’ and losing, and then finding myself along the way, but now I’m back in Hampshire.

I got the train to Fareham in the afternoon, after all my usual meetings, (my mentor got me coffee so I’d attempt to work), and got back home in time for tea. So it was a quiet one watching telly and cuddling the cat.

Yesterday me and Josh took my sister in law out for coffee, which was nice, and even though they didn’t have prawns, I did enjoy a tuna salad, and then we wandered around the charity shops.

And today, I’m sat in front of the telly, enjoying coffee and cuddling with our cat.

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I’m trying to relax as much as I can, whilst catching up with my prose writing and edit some poetry. But, that said, only a few days to go until holiday! I need to get some sandals, a couple of new swim suits (one piece or two, I can’t decide), and I might purchase some reading material for by the pool…

The endless possibilities…

But that’s for Monday, and I’ll be catching up with my carer, and my housemate, so that should be good :)

In the meantime, perhaps some plans for writing might be good…