Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Masque of Red Death Re-imagined

While I haven't blogged much lately I have been silently working on my ECP. Not just writing either. As it's me I have probably done more drawings for my story than actual writing. It's a curse. I think it does help though, as now I know what my characters look like, and not just in my head, but on paper. Lenore keeps changing however, I can never seem to get her quite how I like, which is probably why I am having such difficulty doing her Character Profile.

This is a drawing of one of the scariest characters from my story. The red-faced man. Okay, he doesn't have a very scary name, but boy, is he creepy. Here's when Lenore first sees him.

'A man stood by the dining hall doors. Not just any man. His lips were torn back to reveal deadly sharp teeth. The flesh around his nose had peeled away leaving only twisted holes instead of nostrils. And even though his sockets were empty he was definitely staring straight at her. The worst was the colour of his skin. It was a bright red like freshly spilt blood.'

This is the monster that haunts Lenore's new friend, Perry. He is a creation of the evil Edgar Allan Poe, and his origins stem from The Masque of Red Death. To me he looks like a mixture of Darth Maul and Marvel's Red Skull. Either way, it would still be creepy to have this guy following you around. 

When I get my printer/scanner working properly again I will scan my other drawings. And they're a lot nicer to look at. 

Thursday, 27 September 2012

National Novel Writing Month

I have been absolutely atrocious at updating this blog lately and for that I apologise. However, I do have valid reasons. Like I've returned to university so there has been loads going on. Such as, moving into a new house, which is filled with spiders. Then, killing all the spiders. Okay, so that didn't take too much time. Though I did have a lot of work involving the Ultimate Frisbee team and Freshers Fayre. And there have been many, many nights out. To top that all off, I got Fresher's Flu. Yes, it's a real thing, and yes it's hideous. I actually thought I was going to die. But now I'm better and ready to write! Oh, of course there have been lectures. Well, one so far. It was Writing History Fiction. And you can kinda guess it was a bit boring. I have to read Wolf Hall by next week. At this exact moment I have read 100 pages out of's not looking good. I mean, look how thick it is! At least I have it on Kindle so it's not too much of a strain on my arms in bed.

Anyway, this post isn't about that. It's about NANO, or National Novel Writing Month! A friend on my course made a group on Facebook about it and suggested we all join. I had heard of it before from another friend but never really considered it. The aim of NANO is to write your entire novel, around 50,000 words, in the month of November with no editing allowed. Everyone on my course has to write 8,000 words for their ECPs. But I'm sure they have a great idea in their head they want to write it all down and not just stop at 8,000 words, like me. I figure this is a great way of motivation and maybe I will have my first complete novel at the end of it. However, it will mean a tonne of editing. And what if Judy, my supervisor, doesn't like it? I'll have 50,000 words of waste.

Ah! No negative thinking!

There's 30 days in November so that means 333.3333 words a day. And since I already have 5,000 words that's even less. Only by a little bit, I know. I'm really feeling good about this. Pity November is a while away yet. I guess that means I'll have a little head start. Luckily, as I'm not planning on doing NANO officially I don't have to follow the November rule strictly. Besides I think my supervisor would be worried if I hadn't written anything by November.

I am thinking of posting the beginnings of my ECP; it's shaping up quite nicely. I want to show it to my supervisor first though to see what she thinks. Fingers crossed she really likes it.

Also, I have a new aim. To write 'but' less. I've noticed that I write it a lot, sometimes unnecessarily. I'm finding it surprisingly hard!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Meg Cabot on Twitter

This is somewhat old news but I found this email again and got excited. The amazing moment when a celebrity follows you on twitter. And not just any old celebrity, but the one who inspired you to start writing. I swear my heart stopped when I saw this email.

Meg Cabot was one of the authors who got me into reading (as well as J.K Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson) I just loved the Princess Diaries and couldn't get enough of them. Then, as I grew older, and read more of her books, I appreciated her style and decided I wanted to write just like her. Well, things have changed and I don't want to write just like her any more, but I do find her ability to write teenage girls amazing and I think of her whenever I write from a teenage perspective. She is definitely a master of her craft as well as a huge inspiration.

If, one day, I am as good a writer as Meg Cabot I will have fulfilled my dream. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Doctor Who Convention - David Tennant & James Moran

This weekend I went to yet another Doctor Who convention, The Lords of Time, in Birmingham. This one was slightly better than the official one in Cardiff as we actually got to meet and talk to the celebrities. Que lots of fan girl squeeing. It was really exciting and I was nervous at first but at the end of the weekend I actually felt calm while talking to them. There were some really amazing guests including, Anthony Head, Frazer Hines, and the one and only David Tennant!

It was also another opportunity to wear my Dalek dress again.

Another great thing was the writers workshop run by James Moran, he wrote the Doctor Who episode Fires of Pompei as well as some Torchwood episodes. Here's more information on his blog: or follow him on twitter @jamesmoran. It was interesting to know about how he got into the writing industry. Obviously it was a little different to how I plan to do it because he works primarily on screenplays and scripts, whereas I want to do children's books. His main advice was keep trying, be persistent and don't let it get you down. He said he nearly gave up on a script after its 13th draft but his wife convinced him to keep going, and he realised that if he didn't complete it then he would have wasted six months on it.

When I met him for his autograph (he didn't have a photo opportunity) I asked him if he had any tips on writing sci-fi, as I am taking a sci-fi and fantasy module next term. He said to make sure that anything you write isn't hollow, or that things aren't just for show. I really liked this bit of advice as sometimes I do write things just for effect but really don't have much purpose. I see it happen a lot in films and tv shows and it's starting to annoy me now. Sometimes I hate being a writer because you can stop thinking with a writer's head on.

James Moran also said that when writing sci-fi or horror stories the plot should still make sense and be interesting without the sciency or scary bits. I think this is great advice but in the end he told me to ignore everything he said, as he wrote on my photo.

He had so much more to say but the excitement of the weekend has blown it from my head. I still have the celebrity shakes. I just can't believe I actually spoke to David Tennant! My second Doctor in a year.

Who will I meet next year?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Writing Motivation with Kittens and Gods

So it's now September and I never did post a Character Profile Sheet in August like I said I would. Woops. Don't be too mad. I did attempt to do one but my heart wasn't in it. However, I have written the beginnings of two drafts - one is 4000 words long, that's half my ECP already!

Part of this massive amount of writing was due to this cute writing site called Written? Kitten! It gives you a photo of a kitten every time you write 100 words. It is so great, it even saves your work. I think simply not writing on a Word document is so freeing. I would definitely give it a try. But if you're not fond of cats, just Google 'written (insert anything you like)', they literally do anything. I was using Written? Chihuahua! earlier.

Another reason for this amount of writing was a huge burst of motivation, which may have had something to do with reading the Percy Jackson series. I feel like I've been going on about this series for a while now but I had forgotten my love for it. I'm not saying it beats Harry Potter or anything, but it's definitely up there! I just love the writing style and it has obviously influenced my own. It's so natural and easy to read. I fear that reading any other books, especially grown up books, will interfere with my writing and it'll be naff again.

I did start getting some weird withdrawal-esque symptoms once I had finished reading the Percy Jackson series. In the end I resorted to buying Rick Riordan's new series, Heroes of Olympus, which has satisfied my need somewhat. It's not as good as the original but is still fun. While it includes some of the same characters, the writing style is different. For starters it's is the complete opposite of Percy Jackson, with multiple viewpoints (like I'm planning on doing) and the third person (also something I'm going to do). This works out perfectly as it is a best seller and current, something that I will be required to mention in my rationale. This series is also a textual intervention on the Greek myths, so even better as mine is a textual intervention on Gothic authors and their novels.

It has also given me new found confidence in my story as I was worried that having a female viewpoint would put the boy readers off, and I want mine to include both genders. Piper, the main female protagonist in The Lost Hero, is not a super girlie girl, and my character Lenore won't be either, so I don't think the boys would mind reading her sections (fingers crossed). I was worried that boys wouldn't want to hear about bitchy girls and love issues, but Riordan deals with this well, and it's not OTT or too cliché.

Sometimes I do feel that you lose intimacy with having too many viewpoints but it works well in both this series and the Gone series, which I am also obsessed with at the moment. I suppose it can go either way, but I hope I can pull it off.

I will probably post the two beginnings soon to see what you guys think, comments would be really helpful. Then, once I'm back at university I will be having meetings with my supervisor to see what she thinks. It is a complete change to what I started off with, but I have a good feeling about it.