Life, On Writing

jobs, batman, and public transport

I’m dividing my attention between writing this and watching Batman: Under The Red Hood. This is my reward, because today … today I started a new job.

Yes, it is at another supermarket. Yes, it isn’t the most flashy of jobs. But it’s a job. It’s not a bad one and – apart from the French which I’m frantically scrambling to learn (!!!) – it’s a job that I’m mostly familiar with.

Mostly‘ because I’m now on a different continent and not everything is the same. Heck, even the traffic lights are different.

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Which I discovered. To my cost. And pride. But I refuse to go over that particular story yet again.

WRITING

I haven’t done much, I’m afraid. I’ve been consumed with …

  1. realising that my French is incredibly rusty and also: terrible
  2. panicking
  3. trying to relearn and learn French
  4. panicking
  5. realising that French in Québec? Yeah. It sounds different to Metropolitan French.
  6. panicking
  7. immersing myself in French
  8. panicking some more
  9. Saying ‘to heck with that’

But the panic is over now (OR IS IT?!!!) and my pen shall be put to paper once more.

THE LIBRARY

One short bus ride away from me (I know! I’m using public transport. My faithful Rusty is at home. In a different country. On a different continent. So.) is a glorious, glorious library.

I just feel like I should put that here.

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Unfortunately, it isn’t this library (via Pinterest)

LIFE, IN GENERAL

(I had to give up writing this post until I’d finished the Batman movie. My poor old heart-strings. *heavy sigh*)

  • I still don’t have a Canadian mobile number
  • it’s been unusually warm (TMI translation: I have sweated)
  • there have been butterflies everywhere
  • it started raining this afternoon
  • I can understand … something … of the sermons on Sunday

Whilst lately, Montreal has been full of blue skies and butterflies, I can’t ignore the often ominous warnings of …

just you wait ’til winter

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me, in the future
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Books, Life, On Writing

Life, On A Different Continent

So. I’ve quit my job and left England. I’ve been planning it for a while, but quite frankly I’m stunned that I’m actually here in Montreal, Canada. This is happening.

I’ve been working for the greater part of a year to able to afford it, jamming in as many shifts as I possibly could, and neglecting my writing horribly.

But, no more. No more, I say.

ERM, WHY?!

Just why did you leave your own country? and WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU ABANDON ALL YOUR BELOVED BOOKS?!!! are perfectly legitimate questions to ask.

And I have answers:

  • I want to spot a lumberjack in its natural habitat. (The border official was like: ‘in Montreal?? Yeah. No.’ But you know what? I live in hope. Desperate, terrible hope.)
  • It’s time for me to speak fluent French. (Why didn’t you just go to France? I hear you ask. WELL EXCUSE ME FOR TAKING THE LONG WAY ROUND! THIS COUNTRY HAS MAPLE SYRUP!!! MAPLE. SYRUP.)
  • It was time to live on a different continent.
  • Why not?
  • I have a kindle. It was – and I am being perfectly serious right now – very hard to leave my books behind. But at least I have SOME books with me. Even if they are ebooks. Even if I can’t sniff ’em.

WHAT NOW?

I write. I write as hard as I can. This is the time to catch up on all the projects I haven’t finished.

And yes, I can hear select members of my family sniggering a continent away. My writing is a bit of running joke, you see. The joke being that I never finish a novel and have at least ten books on the go.

I would like to point out that a) Rome wasn’t built in a day, b) genius takes time, and c) there is nothing wrong with elongated multitasking. Nothing.

WHAT ABOUT THIS BLOG?

My aim is to go back to posting once a week – recountings of books, detailing what I’ve been up to (so far, I’ve set a house alarm off, explored some of Montreal, and have heard a report THAT THERE IS A LIBRARY NEARBY! WOOP!) and perhaps attempting to keep you enthralled with updates on my SO TOTALLY GOING TO BE FINISHED projects.

adieu for now!

On Writing

the writing stag

This tag is actually called ‘The Writer’s Tag’ but someone mentioned how much it looks like ‘The Writer Stag’ and this amuses me greatly. Thanks to Mirriam for tagging everybody, and so therefore tagging me.

"As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after thee."    As The Deer: Hymn:
// pinterest

WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?

Genre: Fantasy – because you can borrow from all of history and throw in a dragon and it will be legit. I love history, but fantasy is unrestricted – if I want to mesh a Viking and Mongol culture together … I can. AND NO ONE CAN TELL ME NAY!!!

Styles: I do write some serious content, but humour always creeps through. I love funny things, and sometimes I find myself writing a line with true glee. Or struggling to get a joke that is HILARIOUS!!!! in my head onto paper. That’s less fun.

Topics: Oh – everything. I try to put themes and topics into my stories but my characters always refuse to participate. They see right through my puny attempts and go on tangents about wanting to be a medicine woman or something.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?

Years. Years and years. I completed my first novel in 2014, but I have piles and piles of unfinished and finished short stories banging about from the time I thought revision was spelled with an ‘h’. (Dude. Think about it. It still makes sense.) I won first prize for gore once. I was bemused. Did no one else write realistically?

WHY DO YOU WRITE?

Because I love stories. Because that love bubbles over until I have to write something down. Sometimes the magic happens – my fingers fly over the keyboard and the characters talk and events unfold seamlessly onto the page. But that doesn’t happen often; I have to work for it – but the stories …

I write because I love them.

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WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?

Much to my annoyance, at night. When everything is quite and all is dark (‘… silllllleeeeennnt niiiiiggghhhhttt ….’) and my mine is emptied of stresses and there is nothing but the words and I. You have no idea how much I resent this flaw of mine; I’d much rather write easily in the morning.

PARTS OF WRITING YOU LOVE VS PARTS YOU HATE?

What I love? Finishing. There is nothing quite like the feeling of knowing the story is finished; you’ve told it. It’s done. The end. It’s beautiful. A moment to be savoured.

What I hate? The bringing myself to sit and write. My mind leaps like an antsy frog on coals and has this kind of conversation:

ME: Little grey cells, shall we write?

BRAIN: Cool. Cool, cool, cool. Good idea. BUT WAIT YOU HAVE TO VACUUM BEFORE YOU DO THIS.

ME: … but … what?

BRAIN: CLEAN! DUST! WASH! ORGANISE YOUR BOOKSHELF! WASH YOUR CAR! ONLY THEN CAN YOUR WORDS FLOW. ONNNLLLY THEN!!

Me: Okay. That sounds like a good plan.

(spoiler: it’s never a good plan)

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HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK?

Nowadays? I exhaust my procrastination muscles, and then do a surprise leap into a Word Document. Takes time, but works like a charm. Sometimes. So a faulty charm, basically.

ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?

Yes. Insalted is on draft 2.5 and The Mediocre Title That I Need To Change is ticking along alright. I’ve really let my creativity run wild on that one – there’s a crime lord dragon and the heroine’s kidnapping a husband.

Everyday activities, really.

WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?

  • Finish editing Sandwiches
  • Prepare Insalted for querying. But finish it first. (That’s rather important, I hear.)
  • Finish the 1st draft of The Mediocre Title That I need To Change

right. so i’d better get going to that, then

Life, On Writing

highlights of text butchery

thepunone.JPGI’ve been quietly editing Insalted for some time now. However, only recently did I bite the bullet and print the whole thing out.

There’s a lot of it. I don’t know if it’s my dramatic usage of paragraphs, the halts for Bolded Lists (I haven’t a better name for them), or if I’ve completely got the spacing wrong, but I’ve ended up with 334 pages to edit.

!!!

Usually, I just employ a liberal use of a pen, butchering this and scribbling out that. HOWEVER, with this manuscript, I have a better plan. As per usual, I butcher … but I also use highlighters and sticky notes.

I have four colours and these stand for a sub-plot, a mega-plot, background info, and THE ROMANCE THREAD.

(And yes. That deserves capitals. I’m quietly proud that this story HAS A ROMANTICLE ELEMENT!!!!)

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like this cover. but with more clothing

Why Using Highlighters Is A Highlight of Editing:

  • You can look back on a butchered page and think: my gosh, this looks legit! Maybe I am a Proper Writer after all!
  • It teaches you to never underestimate the importance of the highlighter in validating your career choices.
  • You can actually keep track of each plot line – how much of this plot is in this chapter? Do I need more? Less? How much ROMANTICLE ELEMENT!!!! is in it?
  • If you are a visual person, you can sum up what happens per plot line at the beginning of the chapter, and strike it through with the appropriate highlighter. It looks very pretty! And is useful. That’s 100% my reason for using them.

workspaceistidyMy work space isn’t very tidy. I have several coloured labels that er, I thought were sticky notes when I bought them. (SPOLIER: they weren’t.)

Now, they hang about like I did around other earthlings, wanting to be cool and useful but never quite making it.

(HANG IN THERE, LABELS! YOU’LL FIND YOUR SPACE YET!!)

I have highlighters, sticky notes, pens, hair things, soap, books, tea, an empty purse, and a laptop for music just chilling on the desk with me.

It is clutter, but I am of the opinion that I work better with clutter than without. (I have no wish to test this theory.)

Recently, I butchered into the wee hours and  … I felt like a Proper Writer. I was haunted and hunched over with a blanket about my shoulders, eyes stinging, hand wielding pen and highlighter with fervor.

It was a wonderful feeling; I am doomed to plenty more of it.

SIDE NOTE: I’ve discovered that THE ROMANTICLE ELEMENT!!!!!! comes more easily when I’m tired. I haven’t re-read what I corrected last night, but I’m sure that it’s all coherent.

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I think I just rambled, Life, On Writing

resolutions that we can keep

This evening, I’m feeling a little weary. I’m a people person. I love people. I like people. I find people fascinating. In small doses. Eight hours of them? Non-stop? I run out. Like a battery prone to coughing fits and accidental slips of tongue.

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But that’s not the point of this post. (There is a point). The point of this post is to belatedly discuss resolutions. I could sum up the whole post in one sentence, but, as I enjoy explaining things at length, I’m going to stretch it out into an entire post.

*maniacal laughter interrupted by coughing fit*

Last year, I wrote a post about the classic books I wanted to read that year. I read two of them: King Solomon’s Mines and The Three Musketeers. Two out of six is not successful. It is awful and no good. I’m not impressed with myself. To be frank, I’m disappointed in two things.

two disappointing disappointments:

  1. my lack of motivation
  2. my delusion that ‘heh, one month left in the year is plenty of time to read THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PAGES’

This year, to be disgustingly optimistic is not my objective. Nope. I’m going to be depressingly realistic. I know me. And I know that I am often optimistic and wildly unrealistic. Just look at my to do lists – they are as missing of ticks as my future cat will be. (That sounded better in my head.)

I think we all would do better if we set achievable goals. Now, if you’re one of those sickeningly optimistic and motivated people who set goals as high as Everest AND MEET EVERY SINGLE WHITE CHOCOLATE LOVIN’ ONE OF THEM, I am not talking to you. I’m sure I would like you if I met you (hi!) and would only envy you a teeny-weeny bit, but I’m addressing people who suffer from goalfailuretitus.

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thaaat would be me. i’m addressing me

By ‘set achievable goals’, I mean the sort of goals that you know you can do. Sure, stretch yourself a bit (AND RISK PULLING A MUSCLE WHY DON’T YOU) but don’t over do it. There is a difference between saying ‘I’m going to swim thirty lengths at the swimming pool’ and announcing ‘I’m going to swim across the English Channel. Nay. THE INDIAN OCEAN!’

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This year, I’m giving myself goals that I know are possible for me to achieve. Yes, some of them are a little bit of a stretch, but these are my goals, darn it, I’ve got to let a tiny pinch of optimism creep through.

my thirty lengths* at the swimming pool:

  1. Read a Dickens. Just one. Survive it.
  2. Read Lorna Doone.
  3. Finish The Library Lass (that’s a working title. honest)
  4. Publish Sandwiches
  5. Work on The Salt Pun (also a working title. a brilliant working title)

*I’m not actually going to be swimming thirty lengths. The very thought leaves me limp with exhaustion.

And so, to conclude, to sum up, to finish, to end, to wind up, to wrap up etc etc etc:

set achievable goals

(or don’t. Set wildly unrealistic ones. Aim for the moon. Try and try and you never know, with enough elbow grease and will power, you just might make it. I’ll be here, with my two classics read, cheering you on)

happy reading!