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50k, Onesies, and Fatigue

50k, Onesies, and Fatigue

I hit 50k for NaNoWriMo on the 11th November. I didn’t say much at the time because I still have a long way to go before I finish the book and, for me, hitting 50k is not especially remarkable. It wasn’t my fastest year (2013 only took me three days), but also wasn’t my slowest (last year I hit 50k on on Day 26). It felt like an achievement, but in many ways one I only managed by virtue of…

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First Drafts And Second Guesses

First Drafts And Second Guesses

I spent a lot of time second-guessing my decision to do NaNoWriMo this year. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, committing to write fifty thousand words this month when I have multiple essays, dissertation drafts, translations, and other work-related things to do. It would mean I couldn’t read as much, and would generally be one stress more than I needed. I also couldn’t face the thought of failing. I have never lost NaNo, not since I was thirteen…

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Walls Full Of Plot

Walls Full Of Plot

I am not, and have never really been, what you might call a ‘plotter’. Or to use George RR Martin’s analogy, I’m not an architect. I’m not the kind of writer who sits down with a spreadsheet or a file full of notes or even an outline, knowing before I start exactly what I’m going to do and then doing it with minimal changes. I would go as far as to say I’m not even really a gardener, if we’re…

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Plot Dominoes, Falling

Plot Dominoes, Falling

For a while now, I’ve been writing a novel called Bard and posting it, chapter by chapter, on Wattpad. This is a terrifying experience for me, as it’s about five years since I lasted posted anything vaguely novel-length on the internet (some of my Protagonize stories might have edged over 50k, but none of them were nearing 100k the way this is), and in all that time, I don’t think I’ve ever posted something as totally unedited as this, of…

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Expections Vs Reality

Expections Vs Reality

As you’ll know if you spend any time in bookish internet communities (or just read my blog), The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater came out this week. Mine, despite having been pre-ordered, didn’t come until the day after release day, but I’m counting myself lucky compared to some folks in the US where Amazon sold out and couldn’t ship even the pre-orders — how does that happen? Once the book arrived, I spent a bit of time admiring the cover,…

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Twitter Isn’t Competing With Books

Twitter Isn’t Competing With Books

I saw a newspaper article yesterday (in The Times, which I don’t usually read) that really annoyed me (and that’s why I don’t normally read it). A professor was arguing that books will outlive Twitter, and then mocked Twitter users by condensing the plot of books down into 140 characters, which he managed primarily by using text speak and other contractions. Yes, I think books will outlive Twitter. Books have already been around for centuries, and social media changes rapidly,…

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Thinking Is The Hardest Part Of Writing

Thinking Is The Hardest Part Of Writing

The most exhausting aspect of writing is how much thinking it involves. Recently I’ve been working on a second draft of my novel Bloodied Wings, trying to resolve some structural problems and improve the plot as well as working generally on character and prose. It’s taken me possibly longer than any other book, due to a period of writer’s block in the middle and the constraints of university on my time: I started the draft on the first of November,…

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Time-Travelling Writer Assassins

Time-Travelling Writer Assassins

Operation ASNaC is progressing! Yesterday was my last day of lessons ever, prompting the realisation that I’ll never again be set a piece of homework, and this morning I took my first written exam, although I had a speaking exam a couple of weeks back. I don’t have another until the sixth of June, when I’ll be sitting English Literature, so I’ve got a little bit of time to revise thoroughly and make good headway into working for the four…

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Novel Assassinations

Novel Assassinations

I’m still alive. Very, very stressed. I’m in the last two weeks of school before exams properly start but, in blatant disregard for the limitations of ordinary calendars, I had a French speaking exam today which might have gone pretty well and might have gone terribly, so I’m taking half an hour out to blog and try and ignore my migraine. Hooray. So all the teachers are setting us multiple essays to hand in the following day (okay, that’s just…

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Break Your Characters

Break Your Characters

There’s a song by the Christian songwriter Graham Kendrick* that says, “You’re the perfume, I’m the jar | When the jar is broken on the ground | There’ll be fragrance all around.” And whatever you believe about a higher power, I think this is generally true of people – and characters. You see, characters are blank slates. They’ve got personality and voice, but we still don’t really know who they are – until they’re broken. Then, suddenly, it all comes…

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