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

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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.

Hmmmm

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!