Poetry: lemonade lies

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So. It has been a LONG time since I posted any poetry. This is not to say that I haven’t been writing any — over the summer I did in fact do a lot of writing. The thing that makes it difficult is I go through phases with poetry, and it takes me a long time to warm my mind back up into it. So mostly that time is just writing and discarding. But THAT’S HOW WE IMPROVE, right? Or at least I hope haha.

This poem was written sometime in early summer, I think? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s not very recent. I just realised that I’d never shared it, so. (Summer is probably my favourite poetry writing time. For some reason it gets me super in the mood.) I was trying out some different styles, and I don’t know if I’d go back to this one, but I hope that you enjoy reading anyway. 🙂


lemonade lies

the sandstone wind is an arid, brittle heat that carves
through the canyons of your body. you are steeped

in the parched gold of grasses. the earth
is thirsty for more plum-perfumed words to

slip from your tongue like a bruise, like the way
your mother looks at you and your lungs crumple inside:

breathless, stormclouds flowering across eyes & hands
& hips. every place you have traced

the syntax of her skin.
(but that is a language she does not speak.)

//

at night your body entangles itself in sheets
like a feverish wasp, fingers locked
in the honey of
a sticky caesura.

quenched with chlorine, your thighs scale
into miniature maps

of your sins; of hair half undone
in a promise you cannot keep. but

the cool drains quickly. her eyes trickle elsewhere as
clouded insects catch the evening sun.
your structure hums in readiness of the snap.

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Beautiful Books (a nanowrimo update)

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You have probably seen a million and one things about it on social media already, but November means NaNoWriMo! I’m doing it again this year, for the 3rd time, although I do NaNo a little differently to many people I think… But that’s kind of what I’ll be sharing in this post, I guess. I’m linking up with the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In for Beautiful Books. 🙂

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

This is going to be a bit of a roundabout answer — so, this is my 3rd time doing NaNo, as well as more Camps. In the past I’ve written 30k, and that’s manageable. I can normalyl write 1k in around half an hour. But each time I’ve done this and had to abandon whatever I’d written, because it was basically just crap. I never produced anything good or worthwhile because I was always trying to get SOMETHING down. That whole approach just didn’t really work for me.

This year I’m aiming for 15k, which is 500 words a day. Although it isn’t much, it’s still loads more than I normally write. And I’m actually enjoying NaNo a lot more this time. I don’t want writing to be a chore for me! So I think it’s going pretty okay so far. My writing itself is kind of terrible but the basic framework is wayyy better, in my opinion. (Probably because I’ve been sitting on this idea for about a year.)

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

NOOOO. Starting is the worst. Also, any actual writing style has basically just died for this month in favour of, like, a kind of framework. But anyway, here’s my first paragraph:

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Lots of angst. That is Junjie. *nods*

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I’m gonna be real — I’ve only introduced two of the four mostly-main characters so far. Junjie’s narrating so, like, probably him? But also JEM IS REALLY SMOL AND CUTE. Even though they have spoken approximately three lines so far, but who cares.

What do you love about your novel so far?

*winces* THERE’S FUN STUFF COMING IN THE FUTURE, I PROMISE. I am currently enjoying my characters and the general internal dialogue, because I always give my characters stupid angsty internal dialogue. Otherwise, the cool technology is also pretty fun.

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

I mean, I haven’t been doing any crazy word wars so far so not as many as usual! Although I have picked up a habit of writing little notes to myself in square brackets as I go. So here are two of them. The second one just made me laugh as I scrolled through my document.

nanowrimo16-notes-to-self

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What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

HAHAHAHA. Well. I’ve never actually reached the end, and my middles always have no plot, so probably the beginning? But not the very beginning. Just after that.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

I sometimes to listen to music, and I do actually have a playlist for this WIP! But if I find it too distracting I put on some kind of background noises through my headphones. Or I just put my headphones on and don’t listen to anything, because I kind of like the weight and the way they block stuff out? Otherwise, I guess I normally just write after homework haha. And I’m also partial to a cup of tea. 😉

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

Eh, I’m pretty private. I don’t talk about my writing to anyone in real life and not even that much online! But what I do love is the whole atmosphere of writers writing together — like, that’s basically the reason I do NaNoWriMo. It makes a very solitary thing slightly less solitary. It’s really cool to cheer people on (or commiserate) on social media. 😀

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

The knowledge that it’s supposed to be hard. Like, writing is hard. I know this. The people who write the books I love say that writing is hard, and sometimes I don’t enjoy it that much. But my story is one that I want to read, and if I want to grow as a writer I have to write it.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Okay: me, writing advice?! Yeah, no, I don’t really have that much. *scratches head* LOTS OF FOOD. Or another reward. Something to motivate you. (Even if it’s just writing an extremely gratuitous scene which is basically what I do.) I’m trying to think of things other people have told me, but quite frankly all pretense of good writing is abandoned for NaNo. JUST GO FOR IT, MY FRIENDS.

are you doing nanowrimo this year? if so, how is it going? or are you doing any other writing at the moment

Beautiful Books // introducing my nano novel

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IT IS THAT TIME AGAIN. November, aka NaNoWriMo, aka I try to juggle way too many responsibilities at once and fail to write a novel. But despite this bout of pessimism, I am still very much here and thinking about The WIP. You may have seen me discussing it here and there on the blog, but overall I think you guys should hear a bit more. Because I like to talk about my smol children. 😉

Beautiful Books is a great link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Please don’t laugh at me, because I have an extremely embarrassing origin story for this idea. (Even more embarrassing to people I know in real life. SAVE ME.) So I went to see my school’s production of King Henry V, and Henry (as well as a bunch of others because you know the original is almost all-male) was played by a girl. And I just thought… This seems really cool. And it would be EVEN COOLER in space.

Describe what your novel is about!

My WIP is essentially war, extremely-hyped-up-Wikipedia, and angst ALL IN SPACE. It revolves around four characters surviving through a conflict semi-started by one of the characters. (That is, Eleanor.) And there is also another royal who spends her time hating everything, a moody guy who doesn’t at all want to be in the armed forces, and a small mechanic who is possibly the only positive character in the whole book.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Here I direct you to my Pinterest board. All the time I have spent making that board should have been spent on planning, because now I have like 2 weeks to rewrite my whole plan, but NEVER MIIIND. *laughs manically*

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Okay, I’ll interest you to the four main characters and tell you a bit about them:
-> Junjie, an accidental hacker who roped himself into serving in the armed forces in order for his various wrongdoings to not be released. His mother is pretty important in the government, but she and Eleanor hate each other’s guts. And Eleanor doesn’t know that he’s in the army. Also, he has a cool cyborgised hand. (Is that a word? That’s super not a word. Oh well.)  Although no one thinks it’s cool because they all hate androids, but there we go.
-> Eleanor, a very determined newly ascended space queen. Originally my Henry V figure, although I’m not really retelling it anymore. But THAT’S WHAT SHE’S LIKE. She can have a very volatile temper but she is super patriotic.
-> Neus, who is also the heir to her city — I mean, there is a really weird political system that is still slightly in the works. So there is voting but also…not voting. (I KNOW AND I AM SORRY.) But she takes it in a completely different way; she doesn’t want to govern at all, and basically no one else wants her to, but she feels like she’s letting everyone down. THERE IS A LOT OF ANGST AND GUILT WITH THIS ONE.
-> Jem, a small mechanic who is literally still completing school but somehow is old enough to help out with military things. In an actual war. I’M SORRY I NEED TO THINK THIS THROUGH BUT NEVER MIND. They are a precious science-loving person. And also they are very sceptical of Junjie’s ‘I DO NOT CARE’ attitude. Hmm.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Well… I’ve been trying to write this for about a year now, and I do have an 8k plan filed away on my computer. I’ve done a bunch of patchy worldbuilding and I also have character sheets, but I’ve basically had to abandon the first draft of my plan. *cries* I’ve been trying to do a bit of general research to help me with my character backgrounds and stuff — because I really want to get them right. And I also did read Henry V when i first thought it was going to be more a retelling.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Being able to write the character interactions. I am absolutely TERRIBLE at plot, but I’m kind of just looking forward to getting all my characters to finally meet up. (I don’t know. As I write this I’m actually realising that most of this novel has been STRESS. And I think that I do need to remind myself why I wanted tot do it in the first place.)

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

1. It is in space, and there are space pirates, and there are also spaceships and planets and lots of geeky space things.
2. Everyone is obsessed with finding new information and uploading it to, like, a giant inter-galactic Wikipedia. This is kind of sad because creativity isn’t really valued. 😦
3. I need to desperately do worldbuilding… *coughs*

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

I’ve flitted a lot between who actually is the main focus of this book, and I feel like it will probably change yet. It used to be Eleanor, and her goal is to achieve the respect of her people and live up to her parents’ legacy. But now it’s more about Junjie and he…kind of needs a goal? I guess that is his goal at the start. But then I think he comes to realise that he needs to escape and find his own life. And the main thing standing in the way of that is that THERE IS A WAR HELP.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Are we going with Junjie for this? Yeah, okay, let’s do that. At the end he’s learning that it’s okay to express his emotions instead of repressing them — and how to care about people and things again.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I’d like to think that the main themes are what it means to be human, how people value information in a digital age, and self-acceptance, I guess? Those sound really cheesy… I promise it’s better in the context of the book ahaha. The end that I currently have planned is a very strings-heavy epilogue. (As in, violin strings.) I slightly constructed it around Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die; if you listen to that song really loudly then it will give you an idea.

Okay, this exercise has DEFINITELY highlighted for me some things that I need to work on. It makes me a little nervous to write so much about this idea, because I’m kind of scared? And I do actually want to finish it. But PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GIVE ME YOUR FEEDBACK. ❤

are you doing nanowrimo this year? if you plan your writing, how do you go about it?

Beautiful People: May Edition (feat. space royals)

beautiful people

I’m back from Camp NaNo and taking a break from writing for exams, but TRUST ME. I am still thinking about my project a lot. I’m still working on a title that isn’t just The Project, but the WIP title seems to have become Revenge Across the Stars. *nods* Today I’m linking up with Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In for Beautiful People!

My main problem for doing Beautiful People is that I DON’T KNOW WHICH CHARACTERS I SHOULD DO. I have, like, four and a half main characters. (Four at a stretch, but I don’t want to leave my baby lioness politician out.) I decided to do this one with my various royal characters rather than the slightly more cheery ones. I swear, I’ll do one with them later!

If you’ve missed my various updates, feel free to check out my Pinterest board or my writing playlist. As a brief recap: my current pitch is lesbian Henry V (the Shakespeare one) in space. Featuring in this post will be Eleanor Lin, passionate space queen of Eiwan, and Neus Felices, very unwilling heir to the merchant planet Florisante. PLEASE DO NOT KILL ME OVER THE NAMES. I hate naming. I’m really proud of how I’ve dealt with this, actually…? 😛

1. How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?

Eleanor is not a smiley person. She wouldn’t smile at a stranger, for sure; I think she’d most likely smile at a witty joke about something very very intelligent. She’s very guarded most of the time.

I think Neus would be more likely to smile? She’s still quite guarded, except a lot worse at it, and she likes to laugh. Sometimes it’s bitter and sometimes it is just pure laughter.

2. What is the cruellest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

Eleanor’s been told a lot that she can’t be a strong leader, but I think what’s worse for her is being doubted as the scary space queen uh, ruler. Because that’s basically her cause and her goal in life. She’d hide it well, but I think she was hit hard when those suggestions first came through.

Neus is a small emotional person who takes everything way too personally. The cruellest thing she’s been told was her brother when he said her emotions were just made up. I mean, I don’t think he was exactly going for horribleness although he’s a pretty terrible sibling but hearing you’ve made up your problems makes them all seem worse.

3. What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

HA. I see where you’re going with this. Eleanor hasn’t been told the kindest things throughout her life, let’s say. Or what I’d define as kind. I think she’d most value some kind of praise of her fighting skills — she’d hide it, but I know if it came from an opponent she valued she’d secretly be super pleased.

Neus was told by one of her childhood (ish) friends that she had a kind heart, and although that’s rather generic she treasured those words.

4. What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

All of these questions are HARD. Eleanor’s childhood memory is being shown the galaxy from a spaceship — and feeling that she can explore that. She’ll be the one to go out there and find new planets. SPAAACE

For Neus it’s looking up at the gold ceiling of the palace and feeling at home. Having her responsibilities seem so far away. She’s a bit overwhelmed by feeling like a stranger in her own home at the moment.

5. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

For Eleanor it’s the Raven Cycle, because KINGS and MAGIC and ENTITLED STUDENTS. I think a lot of these would appeal to Eleanor, and also she needs to learn that acting like an Aglionby student is not always a good plan. Plus, I definitely didn’t choose this because I was struck by extreme Eleanor/Gansey with the Henry V quote at the start of The Raven King. (Literally: SO. MANY. PARALLELS. It’s ridiculous.)

Neus should read Carry On, because a) I think she would be a crazy Potterhead and appreciate the references and b) DESTRUCTION OF CHOSEN ONE NARRATIVE. Oh, and c) queer characters. She really feels like she’s let down all the people who’ve placed responsibility on her, and learning that it’s okay to not always follow the path first set out for you would be wonderful.

6. Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

Eleanor is basically a scary space queen veteran, guys. But she learnt to fight a lot from more underground, rule-breaking fights. She’s broken her leg once, but once she got over the initial pain it wasn’t too difficult to fix with Fancy Medical Technology. Yes, that’s the technical term. (Seriously. IF I CAN MAKE SPACE MEDICINE I WILL YAY.)

Neus once twisted her ankle, but that’s basically it. She isn’t the biggest fan of voluntary exercise anymore. 😛

7. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

It would probably have been more useful to not choose the royal characters for this. Since they don’t really have neighbours…? There’s just a scary palace/spaceship/thing. If we are going to talk interplanetary: NO for Eleanor. She’s not amiable to her neighbours at all AHAHAHA. I mean, let’s remember that the entire point of this is that she starts a war.

Neus…is a lot more chill. She doesn’t mind her actual neighbours in Florisante, even if they’re also irritating regal people. She’s not big on politics, to be honest.

8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?
Eleanor is Your Awesome Charismatic Leader when she is in charismatic leader mode, but otherwise she’s like… 7 or 8. She can and will attack you. And also is extremely volatile. But if she wants something she can turn on the charm.

Neus is a lot more easy to get along with — yes, yes, I know these two are practically opposites, but that is sort of the point. I’m going to go with 4, because she whilst chatty she also has rather a lot of pessimistic moods.

9. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

I’m feeling like these questions are not designed for space travel. Eleanor wouldn’t want to go anywhere; she’d just want to stay put in her own planet Eiwan. PATRIOTISM, GUYS. *waves hands*

Neus wants to go to the commercial systems, which are basically the planets colonised by commercial space travel where it’s just super aggressively capitalist and there are zero rules. Because then freedom and fun things and no responsibilities. Like, literally she just wants to get as far as she can from home, I guess?

10. Who was the last person they held hands with?

For Eleanor it’s her father (probably as she made an overdramatic promise) as he was dying. Because SHE IS A GOOD DAUGHTER. And also she wanted to prove she could be an awesome space regnant. *nods*

Neus might have last held hands with Eleanor…? Maybe that’s too sappy. Like, even though Eleanor visited Florisante quite a while ago I feel as though holding hands is quite personal. Neus wouldn’t do it for someone she didn’t like or care about.

*flails* YAY this was super fun! Now I’m really pumped up to get some writing done. I hope you enjoyed hearing a bit more about my WIP — fellow writers, tell me about yours!

Poetry: in transit

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This is my first actual poem since…about October. I just went to look and it is actually October oh my god I guess I took a little break, but lately I’ve been training up my poetry muscles again. I’ve been writing from prompts and such, mostly. This one was written in the wake of a burst of sunshine, and I’d like to think my style has developed a bit since I list posted…?

As ever, I hope you all enjoy, and any feedback is wonderful. (A revised version of this piece was published in the lit journal werkloos.)


in transit

on warm days i can feel the atoms
humming beneath my skin, thawing like
old gods. my fingers furl and unfurl
in mimicry of

clay in stop motion; a sudden progression
from the static that isn’t quite movement but
the anticipation of it. or maybe
when unseen it is

both.

it is eyes tripping over themselves like
d     o   m   i n oes,
like the rush and rising of blood,
like the heady awakening of adjectives on my
tongue. i’m left bleeding connectives.
yet the curl of my toes is a

question mark. a prerequisite to the
whisked and fluttering glances at the clock.
i will the hands to move
in every direction at once.

Playlist: starcross (my camp nano project!!)

YES. This Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a new writing project! I’ve been planning it for a few months now, and I’m super excited to get started. The current pitch is lesbian Henry V in space — which I know sounds slightly crazy, but I am slightly crazy. I’m not keeping strictly to the plot — Shakespeare buffs, please don’t kill me, I seriously chose to swoop in on this on a whim. IT WORKS IN MY HEAD, at least. 😛

Pretty soon I realised I was going to actually need to plan this project. ME, a pantser. The very thought made me want to cry.  But I’ve…actually rather enjoyed it? Hopefully it means I can get down to actual writing this April!

My first line of development with any writing project is picking music. I find it extremely difficult to write without songs. They help me to get into the mindset of my writing infinitely better. Within this playlist I have songs for all my main characters, whom I have briefly described below. (my smol children) Bonus points if you can figure out which song goes to which character! 😛

-> Eleanor Lin, a volatile young space queen/general/queen sounds way better though right. Newly ascended to the leader of her system after somewhat manic teenage years.
-> Neus Felices, self-loathing angsty heir to the bustling interstellar empire.
-> Jem, an excitable small mechanic with a lot of enthusiasm for flying.
-> Junjie, angsty son of a general with secret illegal doings he has yet to inform his mother of.

And also there is idolisation of a universe-wide Wikipedia, travel at the speed of light, and artificial intelligence. *dances in excitement*

starcross

starcross v2
cross me and i’ll cross the stars to get my revenge.
listen on spotify / youtube

judge and jury (paul dinletir remix) – audiomachine
can’t kill us – the glitch mob
radioactive – imagine dragons
gasoline – halsey
dance anthem of the 80s – regina spektor
elastic heart – sia
glory and gore – lorde
born to die – lana del rey

I know it starts off with very scary electronic songs. It gets less scary and electronic as you progress. (Although scary and electronic is probably quite an accurate aesthetic description of my WIP.)

are you participating in camp nano? are you a plotter or a pantser? do you make playlists for your writing?

Chronicles at Hogwarts: Epilogue – Indira Marshall

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I can’t believe the Story Mash Up has come to the end! I’ve had such a fantastic time reading everyone’s chapters and seeing how the plot developed. Especially since I had such a different idea of what might happen to start off with! 😛 But before I have to let these characters go (*sniffs*), we’re each going to be posting our epilogues following the events of the day.

The Story Mash Up is a collaborative writing project hosted by Joan @ Fiddler Blue where we all write a chapter following the lives of our characters at Hogwarts. (Which I sadly do not own. So copyright JK Rowling!)  You can read all the previous chapters here:

Chapter I: Indira by me @ here
Chapter II: Aislin by Joan @ Fiddler Blue
Chappter III: Min Hye by Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff
Chapter IV: Yokitori by Tasha @ The Bookgasm Blog
Chapter V: Percy by Ash @ Teabears & Co.
Chapter VI: Dalton by Vineeth @ The Lousy Design
Chapter VII: Ashley by Kaycee @ Kaycee K

I’ll be linking everyone’s epilogues here once they’ve been also been posted. 🙂

{Ashley} {Yoki} {Indira} {Aislin} {Min Hye} {Percy} {Dalton}

epilogue: indira

Indira hovered in the door of the hospital wing, watching the visitors drift out to head to the Quidditch match. The stone walls were dappled with sunlight, but it didn’t do anything to ease the tension in her clenched fists. Breathe, she told herself.
“Hello?” Emily asked, voice hesitant and quietened by the distance. Because obviously her bed was all the way across the other side of the room, forcing walk in front of all the other patients to reach her. Indira didn’t see why scratches on the arm required the patient to be bed-bound. She couldn’t even

Indira hovered in the door of the hospital wing, watching the visitors drift out to head to the Quidditch match. The stone walls were dappled with sunlight, but it didn’t do anything to ease the tension in her clenched fists. Breathe, she told herself.

“Hello?” Emily asked, voice hesitant and quietened by the distance. Because obviously her bed was all the way across the other side of the room, forcing walk in front of all the other patients to reach her. Indira didn’t see why scratches on the arm required the patient to be bed-bound. She couldn’t even understand why Emily was even still in the hospital wing. It was a waste of space –

She took another deep breath, released her fingers from their fist, and stepped out of the shadows. She kept her eyes down walking all the way over to Emily’s bed.

She looked down at Emily’s crinkled brows. “Hi.” Bloody hell, it would have been better to do this when there were more people around, not less; her voice echoed so unpleasantly in this empty room.

“So,” Emily said, fiddling her own hands in her bedsheet. “Who forced you to come?”

“No one forced me to come,” Indira said sharply, then tilted her head and relented. “Well. Maybe – maybe it was the Ravenclaw girls and Min Hye. But they didn’t exactly force me.”

“You’re missing a Quidditch match.”

Emily’s voice was pointed. Through the crosses of the window, Indira could see the Quidditch stands and hoops. Her team captain usually got too carried away to take notes on tactics by the end; she could be losing Slytherin the Quidditch cup for this.

She sighed. “Believe me, I know. I…they thought it would be better to come if it was, you know. Quiet.” You are going to do this well, she repeated to herself for what must been the twentieth time this morning.

After a moment’s pause, Emily said quietly, avoiding eye contact “You know that I’m sorry. I – I didn’t…”

“You didn’t mean to reveal that I was a werewolf to the entire school?” she sneered. Her voice must have been loud, Emily’s eyes darted around at the other inhabitants of the hospital. “It’s fine. They were going to figure it out sometime. It might be better – oh, Merlin.”

Indira really had wanted to not turn this into a bitter revenge speech. She rubbed her temples, trying to recall the somewhat severe list of how-not-to-mess-up Min Hye had given her. (The Hufflepuff commentator have appeared sweet, but she certainly wasn’t the pushover Indira had anticipated.)

“Okay, I’m just going to start that again. I have literally no idea what you thought you were doing and I don’t think it was alright, but – anyway, I’m supposed to be forgiving you.” She swallowed, and her eyes drifted to the light silver scars on Emily’s arm. She said a little quieter, “That doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven you now, but I’m probably going to.”

As soon as Indira finished speaking, Emily shook her head with vehemence. “No, it – it shouldn’t be you doing this. I acted awfully. I was just tired of all the stupid Muggleborn stuff. I mean….Slytherins aren’t always the most welcoming lot.” She looked up at Indira, giving a weak and hopeful smile. Indira could feel her walls crumble like a stale biscuit.

“I’m not going to argue with that,” she said, returning the smile with what she hoped was warmth. They kept smiling at each other, and Indira stared a little helplessly for a second before looking back down at her hands. The knot that had remained in her stomach for so long felt like it was finally loosening. And it was wonderful. “Although it would be good if you could, like, not try and reveal me as a werewolf in the most humiliating way possible again.”

Emily pushed herself up so she was sitting against the backboard. “I’m not going to argue with that.”

If Indira was going to try and start this year anew, now was her chance. “So…” she said, her eyes drifting out the window again to the Quidditch players swooping around the pitch. “Do you want to come to Hogsmeade after the match with me?”

Emily fixed Indira with a serious glare before pushing aside her bedsheets. “Madame Pomfrey must never know.”


I’ve had SUCH an amazing time with this project and it’s been wonderful to meet so many lovely new people! I’m really looking forward to reading all the epilogues, and I hope you are as well. 🙂

Beautiful People: Writerly Resolutions and Goals

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I swear that I’m trying to be a better writer this year. So I’ve decided to — finally, I know — link up with Cait and Sky for Beautiful People! I realised halfway through writing this that maybe it would have been better to go in with an actual functioning WIP, but STUFF CONVENTION. I did it anyway. I have to start somewhere, right? 😛

what were your writing achievements last year?
The Glass Kite Anthology workshop over the summer was awesome. I got longlisted for a poetry competition as well, which was pretty nice? Yeah. *nods*

tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
*manic laughter* WHAT WRITING PROJECT? No, seriously, I don’t really have anything I’m working on right now. (Though I wish I could say I did.) It was fun to get out my NaNo idea, but I’ve been working on that for ages and to be honest I just want something new. Maybe one of those many space opera retellings that I’ve been thinking about. (Guys. SO MANY THINGS ARE IMPROVED BY SPACE, okay?)

list 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
1. FINISHING STUFF.
2. Writing frequently and not just going crazy during one month a year.
3. Making actual plans with actual plot.
4. Thinking at least a tiny bit about what I’m writing and not going mad just to reach my daily goal. sensing a trend? pfft
5. Yeah. Just generally be more organised in the how and when I write.

are you participating in any writing challenges?
Um, not right now? I DON’T KNOW. But I’d like to. (Is NaNoWriMo a writing challenge? Because despite the complaints of literally everyone I know, I’ll probably be doing that again because I can’t write in any other situation.)

what’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
I don’t have either of these, although it would be pretty cool! This year I’d really love to become more involved generally in the writing community — and to actually produce something decent to show you all. I’m hoping those two things will go hand in hand… I can provide you with many virtual cookies & hugs if you can nag at me to write!

do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?
Pfft, every book is research. 😉 No, actually: I jus downloaded a copy of Henry V because I got some awesome ideas from seeing it on stage. I mean, I generally think it would be fun to read Shakespeare when it’s not being slaughtered by English lessons. But that one in particular.

pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
Hmm, doing this link-up with basically no WIP might have been a silly idea. But I want to make sure that I get to know all of my characters, not one or two. I always intend to write with a really small cast of characters, and then realise halfway through that it’s not going to work and adding some stupid filler ones. To be honest all elements of my writing in their current state need improvement in their current state. XD

do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
I might go back and edit my NaNo novel. Who knows. Yeah. I’m hoping to get a chance at editing… I think I need to let go of my perfectionism, since I always end up rewriting rather than editing the original. (I think it has got better, in all fairness, but I really do want to start something new.)

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
HAHAHA. Filling the gaps in my reading material is my basic writing motivation. It’s very self-gratuitous. The things I most enjoy reading about are a) dark storylines, b) revolutions, and c) girlkissing. (Okay, it’s possible that those aren’t actual holes in the market, but there you go.) On a more serious note, I also really want to see more diversity in fantasy and general friendships happening.

what do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
If you haven’t grasped this already: AN ACTUAL FINISHED MANUSCRIPT. An idea that I reasonably like. Yep. And some more poetry would also be good, though preferably not tacked on as an afterthought like it appeared to there!

do you have any 2016 writerly resolutions? what would you like to see more of in books? just here for the cookies? oh well, here you are… *hands plate* 😉

Story Mash-Up: Chapter I

storymashupicon

i. premonition

The dissent grew quietly, lodging itself between the laughter and the crackling fires and the gentle hum of work. Indira might even have missed it – hell, she would have, because she was too stupidly focused on Quidditch and trying to avoid any remnants of last year. Even consciously thinking about anything before the summer sharpened the dull ache sharpen.

It didn’t matter. She could get by well enough on chatter with the people in her lessons, even if they didn’t really have anything in common besides a surname towards the middle of the alphabet. In some ways it was a blessing, anyway; it wasn’t like she didn’t have training to do. And there was no way in hell Ravenclaw were winning the Quidditch cup again this year.

Two weeks into term, the amount of people turning up to Quidditch training was still suspiciously small. They’d gone through the whole fiasco of try-outs – they’d gained a second year Beater, and there were a few others who could be decent with practice – but several of the players from last year hadn’t yet turned up. Although Indira knew that not everyone would get up in the mornings for extra training like she would, the team was close-knit; she had at least felt like they were friends. (Well. You had to be. After all those hours.)

Indira entered the common room and dumped her broom by the door, rubbing her hands together and trying to get at least something that resembled feeling into her fingers. Apart from the other players filing in from practice behind her, the common room was unusually quiet; the candles meant it was pretty difficult to do homework here anyway, although some people still tried it.

Emily was across the room, sitting on one of those melodramatic throne-like chairs that dwarfed anyone who sat in them. A textbook sat limply in her hands. Her eyes were unfocused.

Indira strode towards her. “Oh my god, please don’t tell me you quit the team to focus on studying,” she said. She had barely seen Emily at all…now that she both was a fifth year and no longer playing Quidditch as it seemed, Indira only spotted her in snatches at the dinner table.

The clouds only lifted from Emily’s eyes in part. Indira drummed her hands across the carpeted arm of the seat. “If you don’t play, we’ll have to recruit some awful first-year to play Seeker.  You don’t want to embarrass us like that, right?” She cracked a smile.

“I can’t play,” Emily said flatly.

Indira’s fingers stopped moving. “What?”

“You won’t be able to train soon, anyway.”

“What?” Apparently Indira wasn’t capable of doing anything but echoing the same word. Multiplying it. She stared. A bubble of quiet had fallen across the surrounding areas. (As soon as Indira turned around, they’d be reading again, but she had done this often enough herself to know what a listening sort of silence felt like.)

Emily’s hands tightened around her book. Indira look down; it was Ancient Runes. The same page had been open for their entire conversation. A black wire curled out from under the pages and into the back of the seat.

Her gut clenched. “Oh,” she said tightly, and started to turn away to retrieve her broomstick. “I get it. You’re too busy playing with you Muggle toys. Don’t blame us when we lose all our matches.”

***

As soon as she got up to the girl’s dormitory, the tension in her body released like an elastic band. God. It nagged at her that Emily had quit the team for, of all things, her weird obsession with trying to get her Muggle electronics. (God knew what had happened to the rest of the team.) But she shouldn’t have said that. People would talk. The House divides weren’t nearly as strong as they used to be – but despite that, Slytherin still had somewhat of a reputation. And some words stuck, you know?

She dropped her broom beside the bed and dug inside the bottom of the drawer to find her lunar calendar. Maybe it was a full moon. She could have lost count… The run-up to school had been so rushed. It was possible.

She flicked past September three times before she found it. There was still another ten days to go in the cycle.

It would have been a lot easier if she could blame this on the wolf, wouldn’t it? That’s what normally caused this distinct feeling of wrongness. Because that’s what it was: there was something in walls of the castle that wasn’t right. That didn’t fit in with everything else. And Indira didn’t understand any of it.


 

*cackles* I’m evil. I’m an evil person who is really invested in Christmas and Harry Potter right now. I’m actually about to break up, yay! I still have two essays due in tomorrow, though… Ahem. I’d better get on with those. 😉

This post is the first chapter in the Story Mash-Up, hosted by Joan @ Fiddler Blue. She’ll also be the next to write, so keep an eye out on her blog! I also need to write a disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling, but all the characters and text from this project belong to their respective authors. 🙂

The Faceless Characters That Inhabit My Bookshelves // On Facecasting

facecasting

You know when you read a book, you usually end up playing out the scene in your head — what do the characters look like? And that’s not just general descriptions. Can you actually picture their face?

If so: ARE YOU A MAGICIAN? How do you work this wondrous piece of imagination? I never picture real people. I hate facecasting. I’m pretty much never satisfied with an actor — I mean, there are good ones, but they’re never perfect. Instead of describing from a photograph when I write, I’ll piece together descriptions from people I know until I find what I want.

I like to get the feeling of a character being there. Like, Levi from Fangirl — he’s just a sort of perpetually hazy and sunny presence in my imagination. For some reason, even though I hate to picture people, I can work with illustrations way more easily. Where I can’t find a perfect facecast, I often can find my ideal fanart. And when I play out scenes from a novel, it will always have the vague idea of a place I’ve been before. Example: I will always picture school halls as my junior hall. ALWAYS. I have no idea why. And for any book set in US high school, my brain will probably pick a room from a bad high school movie/possibly a Disney channel show and uses that. Because obviously those are accurate representations of school. I DON’T EVEN KNOW. Sometimes my brain just conjures up random buildings and rooms to feed my reading habits and I don’t even know where they come from. Everything just sort of blurs together.

Buuut I think that sometimes the movies/art become meshed with the books in my mind. I’m kind of upset the Harry Potter movies got to me before I read the books, and I’m upset for kids reading them now — because I defaulted to a weird blurred face of Daniel Radcliffe. I’d rather be able to headcanon characters myself! Even if, like, I don’t headcanon them whilst reading, because I am a Strange Person with invisible people walking around in her head as she stares at pieces of trees. When a series become so intermeshed with the image of someone (or when they have a ton of faces on the covers, yeugh) the image becomes intermeshed with the character. *nods* If I enjoy a romance in the book, I’ll probably be less into it when I watch the movie. My brain doesn’t like seeing people in images that it has already seen in words.

I don’t know why I have such a disconnection between the appearance and actions of fictional characters. I’m a rather visual person; I always picture my friend’s faces rather than their names. I think I often find it hard to get past a first impression… Maybe that’s why I enjoy books so much. Because you’re connecting empathetically with the characters right from the very start. (It’s not that I don’t sympathise with real people, because I do. It’s just difficult to see into someone’s soul at first meeting, you know?) (Not that the reader always experiences that in books. But it’s closer to that than to meeting your average stranger on the street.)

How do you picture fictional characters? Do you have a dream cast for your favourite book? Writers, what do you think of describing from images?