Independent Project – How to Write a Novel in 30 Days

I may have briefly mentioned this in a previous post, but after dropping Performance Poetry, I was given the opportunity to transfer to the Independent Project module.

What this means is that I can choose to do any creative writing project I wish that doesn’t fit in with any of the usual modules taught at Bath Spa. I had a few ideas, but then I realised that both Camp NaNoWriMo and the deadline for the 4000 word Creative Portfolio for Writer’s Workshop 2 were creeping up on me…

Why not kill two birds with one stone?

So, ‘How to Write a Novel in 30 Days’ was born! Alongside the usual Camp NaNo process, I will be keeping a written journal about the progress of my challenge, how I’m feeling about it and what I’m learning as a writer/novelist in the 30 days of the challenge.  I’ve typed up the proposal for my tutorial with my IP tutor later on this afternoon, and I am really hopeful that I’ll be given the green light for this crazy idea.

The journal is already being started, with the planning process being carefully documented. As I’m giving myself over completely to the NaNo process, I am using the two books from the NaNo team, No Plot? No Problem! and Ready, Set, Novel! and using prompts, exercises, and tips from these books as my main resources. Kinda scary, considering that I’ve just written, without someone telling me how my writing process should happen. And that’s why I’ve decided to do that with this project. I want to show that I’ve grown, adapted and developed as a writer during the project.

I also have to write a reflective essay at the end of the project to hand in alongside the actual written work that I hand in. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel at the end of the 30 day challenge, and to write in detail about how I feel the project has gone and my final opinions/thoughts.

I actually can’t wait to get started!


Carpri Diem!

It’s been quite some time since I wrote that last post, and I’m so sorry about not keeping this blog as updated as I ought to. A lot has happened in a little while, and I just haven’t given myself the time to write!

Anyway, summer has well and truly kicked off! All of my friends have moved off campus now, and I’ve been given the keys to my new studio flat! I’m sat in it at the moment, writing this. I started moving some bits and pieces over yesterday evening, and slept here for the first time last night. I have my own kitchen, bathroom, dining room, my bed is in the corner of the kitchen, along with my wardrobe, and my desk is in a lovely little conservatory section, which I love when it’s sunnier (the rain has kicked off today, sadly).

Update on the guy, we’re actually now together, as a proper couple! I even met his father the other week, and I’ve been given the thumbs up, apparently! Next week we’ll have been together for two months, scary how the time flies! I’ve never met someone so supportive and understanding about me and my issues, and I often have him behind me every step of the way when I embark on new projects, go off to places and generally follow my dreams. It’s lovely, I feel beautiful when I’m with him, and it’s wonderful.

All my coursework is finally complete! All I have to do now is print the last bits off, which I’ll do today, and hand them into the registrar’s office, then I can sit back, and wait for my grades, which I’ll get in September before the new academic year starts. Yikes! As long as I pass, then it’ll be ok, I’ll be aiming higher next year!

Speaking of university, my job as Careleaver Liberation Rep starts properly as of now! Clearing is happening, and young people across the country are finding out if they got into their university of choice. Careleavers are doing this too, and I remember opening my results letter telling me I got into my university, and wondering ‘how is this going to work out?’. So I’ll be on Twitter today, with the hashtag #careleaverlibrep to answer any questions about leaving care and starting up at university as a careleaver. Exciting time to be had by all!

So, on top of everything else, I’ve helped out with the development of an app for careleavers to assist with pathway plans, education/work/training and identity. It’ll be promoted during Careleaver Week, in October half term, so I’ll be promoting it to my students, as well as you guys. Just because you grew up in care, it doesn’t mean that you’re society’s offcast. You still have so much to offer! I promise!

I’ve also started work on a WWI novel for young people, so am hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, I should really start moving some more stuff over…

I’m Writing!!!!!


For once, something good has come out of all the crap that I’ve been through in the past few days. So, before I go off to sit this awful English Literature exam in an hour or so, I thought I’d give you a good old catch up.

On Monday, I travelled back from London Comic-Con (I’ll dedicate a whole blog post to it another day). As I was sat on the train, I heard a little voice that I haven’t been able to quite catch in a while. It was Arthur.

“Hey, now that guy has gone, do you recon you could get on and write my story now?”

Considering that I was trying not to bawl my eyes out about a love that I can never have, he took me quite by surprise! I had missed attempting to write Arthur’s story, it’s taken so many forms, it’s crazy. He’s morphed from an angry detective to a love-lorn knight, to an English Literature professor. But he is always best when he ambles into my mind in an awkward manner, a young man without a clue, tripping up on his undone sneaker laces and smiling with a crooked grin, much like I do. Often, when I’m in a relationship, I tend to engage how well it’s going by how productive I am with novel/poetry writing. Considering in the two years I was with my ex that I wasn’t able to properly put pen to paper, that says a lot about how I feel. I’m just putting it out there.

So, after clearing my head with letter burning, lake side walks in the rain and borrowing books for revision that I intended to do, but never got round to actually doing, I sat down at 11pm and began writing furiously…

And the first chapter of Arthur’s story was written.

Basically, Arthur is a university student studying creative writing, all whilst balancing a demanding long distance relationship with a girl who never loved him in the first place. So when she unceremoniously dumps him, he draws up a ‘bucket-list’ of things he wants to do with his life, hoping that he’ll finally discover who he really is… So, here’s a quick extract to tease you with before I start properly uploading chapters onto this blog!

 So, this is a story about love. I say that, not because I’m a soppy bastard, but because it’s what the story involves. It also involves adventure, impulse and rebellion. all stories involve love, you can’t escape that. It’s what happens in between that, that’s what people want to read. So I thought it was about time I told my story. I’ve ummed and erred about it for a while. But, you know what?

Fuck it.

It’s a story that ought to be told. A story about how a boring, lonely guy went on the adventure of his life, how he changed his stars forever. And the girl that showed him that there is so much more to life than wishful thinking, what-ifs and maybes. This is her story, just as much as it is mine.

So, I guess you want me to get on and actually tell you this story, reader. You are probably wondering why this story is worth telling. Why is this something you’d want to read, rather than some other story on the shelf? You could of chosen any other story, any other love. You could of gone on a wild adventure to another universe, hung out with people who are out of the ordinary, even mythical. But you chose to read this story instead. And I’m grateful.

This is a story about love. A story where two lives were forever changed, when a girl decided to share her dream, and a lonely guy decided to close his eyes, and leap into the unknown…

Let me know what you think!

In the meantime, I have to get my exam stuff together, and make a break for the exam hall, where I’ll reemerge in two and a half hours even more muddled up than when I went in…


31 Day Blog Challenge


So, I spotted this on 18yearsyoung’s blog, and thought that it would be a pretty cool thing for me to have a go at, especially as I’ve only just started this blog nearly a month ago, so it might help you guys get to know me a bit better!

I’ll have to do Day One later, when I will be able to take a photo of myself in order to start it all off for real, but for now, stay tuned!

My Other Hobby

I don’t just write and attempt cosplay, I also knit in my spare time. I have popped a photograph of my latest project, a blanket for the winter months. This is due to the fact that the university that I am hoping to get into will get chilly at that time of year, as the campus is right out in the open. I don’t want to fork out for heating, so am knitting this blanket. I like the width of it, I just need to get some length so it will cover my legs when it gets nippy. What colour wool to get next?

The Summer Journal

As you all are aware, I will have finally left college as of the end of the day.

Every summer I try to write a journal to talk about my experiences of the holiday. It gives me some routine, as I will always write the entry at the same sort of time each day. One thing that I as an awkward human being can’t stand (blame the Autism for this) the summer, because my routine is completly broken down to the point where there is no routine, which causes me a lot of stress and annoyance. So this journal helps me keep some form of normality during the terribly long summer break.

I didn’t keep one last year because I was really busy, and because it wasn’t a life changing one. However, the one that I kept during the summer between my GCSEs and the start of college was one that was highly important. I still have that summer journal actually. I cringe when I read it, because the sixteen year old me wa sa heck of a lot more naieve than the me of the now. I wonder what I’ll think of my nineteen year old self in a few years time when I read this year, the year between college and either university or plan B.


A Poem to Celebrate the Fact that I Cannot Write It

(I wrote this poem off of the top of my head, as I’m going to be taking some pieces up to the university on Monday in order to hopefully get a better chance of getting a place, considering that I am highly likely not to get the grade I want)

A Poem to Celebrate the Fact that I Cannot Write It

By HJ Street


It is fair to say that I cannot

Write a Poem to save my life

No matter how I try and Try

The life of a Poet is not for me


I strive to write it, I really do

No matter the time of day

But, alas, I cannot rhyme

I know the life of a Romantic is not for me


I now recall at this point

My last attempt to rhyme

It was but two long years ago

When sat at my school desk during my GCSEs

The task was to write a poem

In the style of John Clare

A Romantic poet most sublime

But alas I did not know

Whether a free verse about a dead dog would do


So I tried, I really did

To win a losing fight

But, try as I might,

The mangled mess raised the most concerned of brows


Perhaps I was too blunt with the imagery?

Perhaps my rhythm didn’t quite work?

But I shall never learn,

Why that dead dog didn’t quite cut it as a poem


But indeed there is something I do know.


I know that I shall celebrate,

The fact that I cannot write poetry, 

But there is one thing that I shall forever do, 

I shall surely stick to prose from this day on!



So, Here it Is!

So, this is the very first chapter of my new writing adventure, posted on here for your feedback, so I can add to it and make it better, as I prefer to edit as I go along rather than once I have the final manuscript in front of me. So, go ahead, tell me what you think. In the meantime, enjoy!



Chapter One

So, let’s just say that today is one of my bright days. I have bright days, an I have dark days, just like everyone else, except I know what day is which, whilst others don’t really pay much attention to them, almost taking them for granted.  It’s definably one of those days when my imagination is like a rainbow explosion, almost like in a paint factory, like the one my mother used to say to me when I had my post it notes every where when I was seven. It’s almost the feeling that everything I see is inspiration for the next story. I can see it in my head, I can almost feel it becoming words onto the page. It’s like magic, if that even existed….


Arthur carefully shut the door to his bedroom. He slung his bag onto the floor and tossed his jacket on his bed. His mind was whirring, a regular occurrence, as he dumped himself into his desk chair and lifted the lid to his laptop. As he waited for it to load, he grabbed hold of a battered old notebook and a packet of frazzles, opening them thoughtfully as he watched the software load up. Arthur popped a frazzle in his mouth and sucked it, letting the bacon flavoured maize snack turn into mush as he pondered. The word processer was finally opened onto a blank new word document, the cursor flashing cheerfully onto the white blank page. He stared at it thoughtfully, and added the title, ‘chapter one’.


Then he stopped.


As usual, the dreaded Blank Page Syndrome. His mind was drawn to a complete and utter stop. This always happened, always stopped him right on his tracks. It annoyed him, it was the worst feeling in the entire world. Arthur took a deep breath, and looked into his notebook, and then smiled with relief. Thank goodness for pre planning on the bus home from college, he thought to himself as he began to type.


As he typed, he didn’t notice footsteps going towards the stairs for dinner, or the shouts that his meal was on the table and that it was getting cold. He didn’t notice that the night was getting longer, and that the house was growing ever quiet. He carried on, and ignored the fact that his stomach was beginning to rumble, or that his eyes were slowly beginning to droop. There wasn’t any idea in his mind about the fact that the sun was slowly rising up in his bedroom window, or that his door had knocked, telling him to knock it off and actually go to bed. He was writing, and was in an entire world of his own. It was simply him, and the fantasy within him, it was just him and the now filling up pages.


The alarm bleeped at seven o clock the next morning. Arthur had stayed up the entire night writing. Well, he’d knocked at least five chapters of his latest fantasy novel out onto his first draft, which was pretty good. He rubbed his eyes and yawned. Suddenly, his stomach rumbled and he sighed.


Arthur stripped, changing his boxer shorts and socks, before opening the wardrobe door, staring into the racks of neatly hung up clothes. The t shirts, the shirts, the trousers, the jeans, the shorts,  the jumpers, the jackets , were all organised into neat sections, and the shoes, sneakers and trainers were sat at the bottom in a neat line in rainbow order. The clothes were organised in the exact same way, and even then were organised into sub categories, such as long sleeved and short sleeved, quarter length and full length. Even the different shorts styles were organised in regimental format. He looked outside, and decided that it looked rather bleak, a bit cold. Very cold, almost like ice, freezing even just by looking through the window. Oh, must note that down, he thought to himself as he grabbed his notebook and scribbled it in with a slightly immature scrawl. After that, he turned back to the wardrobe, and picked out a pair of blue jeans, a white and blue checked shirt with long sleeves and a black sweater. He then slipped the battered black sneakers that were right at the end of the footwear line up, and grabbed his college bag and coat, before heading downstairs for tea and toast.


Sue, the carer, looked at him with bleary eyes as he trampled down the stairs, pen tucked behind his ear, the battered notebook tucked into his pocket, peeking out ever so slightly.


“You do realise that you kept me up all night Arthur?”


“I did? I’m so sorry.”


“You say that every time. And last night you disturbed Shawn and Rachel with the loud music you were playing, and I do believe the neighbours actually knocked on the door to get you to be quiet, and ended up having a shouting match with me!”


“So, what’s the big deal?” Arthur sighed, rolling his eyes. It was going to be a dark day today, he knew it. It just wasn’t fair, everyone was constantly yelling at him to conform, to be normal, not to be ‘selfish’ or ‘rude’, but to be ‘empathetic’ and ‘thoughtful towards others’. It wasn’t like other people were like that to him, he’d even looked up empathy in the dictionary, and that meant understanding and relating to how other people feel in various situations. But why should he empathise with others when others didn’t empathise with him? How very hypocritical of the world, he thought to himself ruefully.


“The big deal is, Arthur, is that Shawn had to leave for a trip that left at six o clock this morning, so needed to be able to be out by half four, and that Rachel has her dance exam today, so needed decent sleep so that she could perform to the best that she can. You have to think of other people, I don’t care that you had to get how ever many chapters written, or that it had to be an even number on the blinking word count before you could stop, but you have to think of other people, you don’t live alone, and, at this rate, you never will. How you’ll survive in September I’ll hardly know…”


Arthur shrugged, this would probably blow over, and he’d come home from college at four o clock exactly, and that she’d of made him macaroni cheese like she always did on a Thursday, and would smile at him and devote her whole attention to him whilst he talked about his day, like this whole conflict had never happened in the first place. But he still knew it was going to be a dark day, he’d had at least three bright days this week, which was actually rather unusual,  so he had it coming whether he liked it or not.


And the day was only just getting started.