A Day in the Life (June 27th 2016)

Screenshot 2016-06-27 at 10.05.19I think I’ve had literally almost the perfect day. Morning started off with taking my little sister to an event she is going to, which happened with surprisingly little fuss considering I was the ‘navigator’ (never leave me in charge of a RAC route planner!)

Next up, a trip to Beamish with family and then a lovely meal at my all time favourite pub – the one where I had my eighteenth birthday meal. Pictures hopefully coming soon. Followed up by watching Suffragette with my Mum and now, late in the evening, am going to do a little writing before bed.

Good thing I’m not an England supporter as my day might have taken a tumble for the worst considering the match result! Have that kind of warm and fuzzy feeling when a day is just perfect, aside from minor niggles like discomfort in my leg, EU news and my kitty waking me at half four in the morning in a bid to steal my bed for her own.

The last one is cute at least though. 🙂

 

Beginnings and Endings

Excuse the maudlin title, I’m still upset about the EU Referendum result. Good thing my Twitter is currently locked behind some pretty strong privacy settings or you might just find yourself bogged down in my feelings about that.

There’s moving out of my student house this week too, on Friday, which feels much longer ago than I can believe. That was more sweet than bitter, in direct contrast to the victory obtained by the close fought referendum battle.

Exam results were only four days ago. That seems insane from where I’m sitting, in my armchair at home having already read two books (The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet and Me Before You), begun writing a second draft of The Last Days, begun planning for Ghosts of the Tower aided by Megan and planned trips out with family.

It’s been a busy few days, all combined to make this quite the odd week. Busy, tiring, in a more bone deep way than the usual fatigue of filling the Durham summer days with something to do.

I’ve changed dissertation topics too, flitting away from an idea that reflected my love of writing far more than any actual historical sense.

From last Thursday onwards was a string of goodbyes, meeting up with friends for the last time this (academic) year, some I may not see again and some I almost certainly won’t.

Went to the theatre to see the first half of Angels in America, with my favourite scene chopped out to make it seem oddly sanitised. The last line though – Prior’s despair – bled through clear enough.

The pictures at the top of this post are from one of the DUCWS events that didn’t actually involve putting pen to paper but was great fun anyway – the picnic. First time I’ve actually got a sunburn in England in quite a long time, possibly ever, so did well on that front.

Weather in this part of England is absolutely abysmal currently, contrasting the incredible heat of this Tuesday, and things are just a little bit different.

The summer is stretching in front of me, alive with possibility, despite the currently a bit dullness of it all – the politics, the weather, the apathy brought about by doing far too much for too long.

To round off this overly thoughtful post (can you tell how devastated I am at the EU news and how confused I am at the idea of a summer to fill with my own things?): here’s a picture of my family’s cat.

Note the word ‘family’, not mine. She’s very particular about who she gets close to and I don’t usually meet her exacting standards but look, isn’t she cute. In this photo she’s stealing my bed:

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Being back at home is different, but I know one thing:

I’m going to make this summer count.

I Did It!

Without going into masses of details…

Exam results and the shakiness of my hands as I sat in my student bedroom with the curtains open staring at a computer screen waiting for the system clock to tick to 11am. Listening to Nickelback as I’ve got a weird addiction to Rockstar the last few weeks, distractions.

Logging on. Knowing that one of the exams hadn’t gone as well as I had hoped, my hand like a claw or a pincer as I struggled to write as time run out.

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Exhausted, energy running low all year, like a Duracell battery running on empty. But hey, I got a First overall in my second year at uni.

Compared to last year, that’s even more of an achievement.

This is a writing blog, not a blog about my university experience, naturally — but I thought you might like to know.

E

A Day in the Life (June 15th – 16th 2016)

I’ve been absent a while, what with visits home and massive dissertation pre-occupation, creative writing socials and the milieu of different things that become massive once exams no longer loom. Life is honestly so different without the constant work related stress, which I’m still growing accustomed to.

In the meantime, let’s get my creative head on! My other project, which I think I was around 60,000 words in, started last July and I can’t really remember enough details about it to keep on going with the first draft as it is so I think I’m going to rebound and start the second draft from the start and then come back and write the ending — otherwise I don’t think I’ll ever get around to finishing it.

Just checked my current word count on it and it’s at 53,000 and a bit of a weird part – I guess the reason I felt able to let it decline there was that I’d wrote my Absolute Favourite scene and then… got busy with uni work and wasn’t very well for a few months. When I got out of that haze I started my next project and this one sort of fell by the wayside.

Time to rectify that.

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A Day in the Writing Life (June 6th 2016)

It’s very hot here at the moment, sun is shining, which just in a way serves to make me a little frustrated that I’m in Durham where I have no deckchair or sun lounger, rather than somewhere that might have one of those things. Today I found to someone I’d love to have as my dissertation, who really got my idea which was exciting, and spoke to another lecturer too who seemed interested although it’s not their speciality.

Anyhow, writing time! For some reason I write best in the evenings, which can be slightly irritating when that’s also when you’re supposed to sleep. Oh well.

Just over 1600 words written and I really should go to bed now. Why? Well, it’s almost 25C tomorrow according to the Google Weather forecast and I’d really like to enjoy that. It’s the only day this week when I have much actually free time without something stressful happening in the same day, what with dissertations and other things, so I’m looking forward to it.

Much love

E

A Day in the Writing Life (June 5th 2016)

T o m o r r o w i s D i s s e r t a t i o n d a y. EEP. 

What do you mean, I hear you ask? Well, my uni has a ‘dissertations fair’ where you get to speak to potential supervisors.  It’s quite a stressful idea to me as it makes me think of X-Factor when I consider the very idea of pitching topics like that. Ask me to pitch a novel at a conference and sure I’ll do it — I’ve done it before — or ask me to deliver a presentation on something I care about. Sure. This is just odd. Reminds me of the Black Mirror episode on reality TV somehow.

I suppose I just have to get over it.

Walked to Palace Green today to see how the brass band was. Spoiler: I missed the one I actually wanted to see and the second one or third one or whatever didn’t hold my attention in the same way. Le sigh. Still, was nice to get out of the house for a bit.

I also bought a memo block and some ribbon so I can plan my novel in a pretty way.

But I also want to write my story today too as yesterday I hosted the DUCWS end of year event and distributed our anthologies.

So strange. It’s been almost three hours since I wrote the main body of this message and it’s been I feel a weirdly productive latter part of the evening. Strangely though, only once it was completely dark and I was reclined in my armchair with the lights low then off with the only noise from my music. As if I could have been the only person in the world.

It was actually only around 1,300 words but I guess that will be because it was a really emotionally charged scene, one of the climaxes of this part of the story. It’s also one of the last parts of the novel that came to me almost fully formed, the idea behind it anyway, although it changed a little from my envisaging. We’re getting close to the 50,000 words marker at this point, which will be an interesting point to pass. After that we’re getting into the second half of the story and the part where I’ll be working sadly towards the conclusion.

As if often the case with my stories, I have only a certain level planned out. For this project, I know the beginning and the middle. For the one prior, which is around 60,000 words in and will be returned to once this first draft is written, I have the beginning and the end with the middle as a gap. And for my next project I know how it starts and its inevitable conclusion.

The project before all of those I knew the start and the end only and had no clue about the middle or anything other than the message I wanted and the feelings I tried to convey — that one was more something for me than that needed to be shared in hindsight. And the one before that? It was written, apart from the start, in a blur of motion so fast I cannot remember if I knew what was coming. It expanded almost 20,000 words in redrafting, it was that short in its first incarnation.

And it’s late at night now so I should probably stop rambling on as the aforementioned dissertation stuffs is happening tomorrow.

Bye-bye.

E x

A Day in the Writing Life Sort-Of (June 4th 2016)

 

Hello!

I’ve just set up my noticeboard with the scene markers I’ll be using to plan my next novel project. I don’t usually plan and it’s worked out badly once before when I’ve tried, but I’d like to have a first draft that once I’m done I can easily work out how to make it better… rather than having to summarise the plot twists and turns as they stand before I even begin.

Last time I tried to use the Save the Cat method and that didn’t really do it for me as it was quite restrictive by nature of its intended use to create roughly 2 hour long screenplays.

So this time I’ll be trying a new method, which has seventeen stages and creates an interesting circular pattern — will be utilising that when planning to try and make my planning diagram look pretty. Of course, I won’t be able to keep it up on the wall forever, so I’ll be making it, taking a photo and then trying to transfer that knowledge of my story onto a Word document.

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Image from: http://jbuchbinder.com/2015/08/28/the-monomyth-saving-the-cat-and-consistency/

This one is interesting as it requires a lot of historical research and not in the way my time travel story did. The time travel novel requires research after the fact, so when I go back to do my second draft then I’ll uncover all of the historical truths.

 

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This one is entirely based on historical events and a understanding of them, through an intrigue, so without the history there is no plot. It’s dual narrative, or so I’m thinking right now, and involves real historical figures.

Which means I’ll need to get to know them inside and out in order to make this believable 😀

This afternoon I’m going to be meeting friends, but until then I have some free time.

Edit: The planned writing didn’t happen. Turns out it’s tough waiting around for a certain time to come, as it means that all you’re focused on is waiting, if you don’t otherwise have the energy spare to leave the house and do things prior to that. 

Never mind that though, I had a lovely evening with DUCWS peoples and it was nice to see everyone again! 

 

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A Day in the Writing Life (June 2nd 2016)

Today’s picture is a little bit different. It’s a picture of my bedroom door back home during the revision period, with self-adhesive Post It notes taking up every inch of available space at reading height. Handwritten, no less. While I won’t be dwelling here13319962_10206012508943114_5345479144705090840_n on the difficulties of university exams, I thought it a good idea to share a little bit of what it’s like, the work invading into your personal space both mentally and physically — until you’re thinking more about memorising facts and figures than your own likes and dislikes.

Which becomes a little odd once the exams are over and you’re free again, with time stretching out in front of you. I had plans for this summer that I sadly had to cancel as I’m still not at full health after the exhaustion of this year.

Instead, I’ll be focusing on making sure that I’m ready for another year of difficult uni work — although this time at least I might actually enjoy the modules I’ve got as I had much more choice in them, rather than being given second or even third choices…

On my first day of uni I felt like the experience was going to last forever, but that’s obviously never the case. Time seems to move faster than ever, hurtling forward, and I have dreams I’ve always wanted to try and fulfil. This summer seems like a good chance to work on those, as well as making sure I’m well.

I’ve pulled down my postcards from the noticeboard in my university bedroom and have left just a calendar there — I have big plans for how to use that space in the next few weeks before leaving it for good. When I got back to Durham today I piled loads of my work into a H+M carrier bag ready to recycle when the bin’s empty, sent some folders on their way home and have been rewatching How to Get Away With Murder.

It’s a beautiful thing to know that this academic year is done and I’ve absolutely done my best.

I’ve been using a new writing assistant tool called Fighter’s Block! which is quite simply awesome. If you get the chance you should definitely check it out. You simply set a writing target and some other settings, and then fight the Egg Monster for the health points of your character.

It’s late as I’ve been helping my Mum web-search for something, but here goes. Having the time and space to write means a lot to me.

Over a thousand words written today and I have some social time ahead of me in the next few days, which makes a change from the loneliness of the exam period, but I may hopefully still have time to update on my progress.

For the project that I have been INCREDIBLY excited to start over the last few months, I have the noticeboard space and now it’s just a matter of collecting some research materials and starting to plan. This one I’m planning properly, because I can feel a touch of magic to it.

I even have epigraphs ready for when the three planned sections of the draft are completed, to intersect with them. Those were last edited on the 13th April, although I can remember thinking about the format of them a little earlier, while spending the Easter vacation in the library working on my independent project.

Rather than actually share what they are, I’ll share the name of one of these sections.

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Those blocked out bits are obviously the quotes, but since they aren’t mine and sharing too much about a project in progress can take away the magic, I’ll leave it at that.

And with that, I must say goodbye for now, as I really ought to get some sleep so I’m ready to meet friends for the first time in months without the glare of upcoming exams.

Much love,

Emma