Writing Playlist: static/silence

I am weird about writing playlists — I absolutely love them, and I think they help me so much, but they’re really bloody difficult to create. Usually with a playlist, I’ll choose a few songs and then see a connecting story; that’s why I’m awful at sticking to themes. And probably part of all why I’m awful at finding what I actually want in a writing playlist. I end up describing characters as ‘this artist plus this artist plus some of that one’. XD

Not to mention all the different facets you have to cater for in a writing playlist: songs with lyrics that actually make sense with a character, mood songs with irrelevant lyrics, all the different plot points and emotions in a book. UGH. Anyone else who manages it, you’re fabulous. It’s taken me, like, several months to concoct this one. Whoops. It’s been working really well for my NaNoWriMo project so far, even if my plans have gone entirely out the window haha.

static silence cover

static/silence

for when the white noise becomes as familiar as your heartbeat. for running through darkened streets. for desperation and deceit and trying to find a reason to stay alive when your world is falling apart.
listen on soundcloud

female robbery – the neighbourhood
creep – scala & kolacny brothers
take me to church – ellie goulding
blood on my hands – danielle parente
control – halsey
forest fires – lauren aquilina
shadow preachers – zella day
forest fires – lauren aquilina
laura – bat for lashes
broke – lauren aquilina
little dawn – ted leo and the pharmacists

I had to condense it down a bit and remove some Lauren Aquilina songs, because, erm, I think I had most of her discography on it. Even if I could only get covers on Soundcloud. And also, the Ted Leo track isn’t there either, sorry! UGH I still haven’t found a good site to curate playlists on. Any recommendations, guys? 🙂

Do you like to use writing playlists? If you’re doing NaNoWriMo too then how’s it going?

Poetry: Ashore

poetry ashore

I sometimes…WRITE POETRY?!? *gasps* WHAT IS THIS?

I know, I know. It’s been a horrifically long time since I last wrote any poetry. (Longer than I’d thought.) I AM SO SORRY FOR THAT. But it was National Poetry Day last Thursday, so I thought that this might be a really good opportunity to post That New Thing I’ve been promising for months! And now I can go and hide in a wardrobe and go hide in Narnia for several more months.


Ashore

i drown myself in eyeliner
as if it will make me a siren. i’ve learnt
the lilts of the streets like a
lullaby but my scales remain dry
and darling

i could tell you all the eddies
of the city, but it’s pointless
because the comfort of cars is like tepid rain;
they’ve all gone verdigris anyway. they make me
feverish

bathwater-eyed, wading through zebra striped streets with
serene panic (water) mind manic (water)
gasping and grasping for the air that’s all around –

once i gave my tongue to your kiss, but know that
i didn’t love you with an ocean.
i loved the ocean
with you.

Game of Scones // Hear Me Speak

speech pattern scones

Writing dialogue is officially Super Super Difficult. Not only do you have to create realistic speech patterns – you also have to create DIFFERENT ONES. Whole different speech patterns for different characters based on their personality and background and situation. SUPER DIFFICULT, RIGHT?

I find it so fun to observe the way people speak. During NaNoWriMo I just camped out and eavesdropped on conversations out of ‘research’, and it was fabulous. 😉 Finding out differences in pronunciation and different words people use is so fascinating. Obviously, you’ve got accent & more well known language differences for different countries, but there’s so many subtleties within that. Mostly we’ll just think of a ‘generic’ American accent but there are so many. To be honest, most accents are stereotyped, which kinda sucks because the real subtle differences are so much more awesome.

There are a ton of different accents in the UK, too – just listening to people on the train or at school can produce a variety of different slang and pronunciations. I think this is maybe more true where I am because there are so many influences people can have for their speech pattern, but it sure makes for wonderful listening. I can pick up words very quickly from the company I’m in, or things I’ve read & watched. AND THEN IT ALL CHANGES DEPENDING ON THE PERSON I TALK TO. (The more uncomfortable I am, the more sarcasm and expletives get used.)

It’s really difficult to convey all these nuances in writing. If you listen to someone speak, the direct transcription is often not how you’d think of writing their dialogue. Though accents are rather more difficult – JK Rowling writes them, but it doesn’t work for everyone – even subtle speech patterns can help differ between the way characters speak. Rainbow Rowell gives a lovely example of this when discussing why she changed one of Cath’s lines from the ARC: Cath is careful with what she says, and whilst Reagan might say something that could be painful, Cath wouldn’t do that. I thought that was a neat insight into her narrative voice.

Yep, not only are voices necessary for, you know, actual literary use of vocal cords — IT ALSO COUNTS IN THE NARRATION. *wipes brow* It depends a lot on the perspective you’re writing from, but in many instances the words you use to write your character is important. It’s not always going to be the way you would write. Which is rather difficult considering you’re the one writing it!

Speech patterns are just so complex and fascinating. If you could decode them and pinpoint words back to where they were picked up from; if you could examine someone’s different conversations and confidence — it could map out their life. (That word is from your grandma when she used to come and look after you and that’s one’s from your best friend and this one is the thing you say when you’re nervous. Like that.)

For me, that’s impossibly cool. If a speech pattern fandom exists, I AM DEFINITELY IN IT. Comparing accents and pronunciations gets me so excited, like: do you say scone like Mary Berry? I love Mary, but I’m sorry. SCONE IS TO GONE. Never to bone. And therefore Game of Scones is really a bit of an incorrect title.) Is it dinner, supper, or tea? Trainer, sneakers, gym shoes? *swoons over onto keyboard*

In the spirit of this: I have recorded myself! You can hear my actual voice. Right now. Speaking to you from the computer ether. I would say I did this because I’d written a bunch of posts on accents already and it would be dumb not to give you can example of mine, but that’s a lie. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages. I just like the sound of my own voice, okay? XD

How do you write dialogue? Yes or no to Game of Scones? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

How To Write a Novel, Roleplay-style

how to write a novel2

 

I used to spend a lot of time on adoptables sites. I do mean a lot. *coughs* 87% of that time was spent on fairly useless things like dressing up strange creatures in bowler hats and part streamers, but I also did a lot of roleplay. Right now I’m really realising that ROLEPLAY WAS ALMOST LIKE WRITING A BOOK, look!

It’s quite possible none of you have an inkling of what I’m talking about? I’m not sure if RPs are a A Thing That People Know About, because many random forum culture things are obsolete everywhere else on the internet. To give you a refresher: it is roleplay! Sherlock detective skills right there. 😉 So, you write a super super short snippet from your character’s POV, and then other people do the same. It’s like a book with very swift narrative changes. So, here is how to write a novel. As if you’re writing a roleplay.

Pitch your idea.

This needs to happen at the end too, but first you need to PITCH IT TO YOURSELF. It can be an idea-selling sandwich. (Channel your inner The Apprentice contestant. Play that part from Romeo and Juliet as you write. It should scare you sufficiently.) Make yourself excited about this world, because if you’re not excited then everyone else is much less likely to be.

Pitching an RP is probably the most important job of the creator. You’ve got to make the premise sound as intriguing as possible – and inform people of your setting – whilst still leaving things open for people to be creative. RPs are a literal gold mine for writing ideas. (GUYS, DON’T BECOME THIEVES BECAUSE I WROTE THAT. Stealing ideas = nope. But, you know, there are so many amazing creations. *swoons*) You’ve got to learn to sell, because otherwise your idea is going to sink like a stone weighted with the miseries of life. And you will probably be sad. And then Alan Sugar will fire you.

Create some characters.

Yes, go and fill out that form! Pay attention to the carefully constructed flaws box. Make sure that your book is not filled with a clone army of The Mysterious One Who Is Snarky And Mistrustful Until You Get To Know Them And Then Is Fiercely Loyal (And Also Has Green Eyes.) I’m still scarred from the last clone army I saw.

Okay, whilst a roleplay form can often feel all too much like a formula, it did help me get to know my characters. I threw random personality traits at it and went with whatever stuck. I mean, my old characters weren’t great – heartless manipulative characters are just too fun to write, okay? – but now I know the feeling of understanding a character. The ‘eureka!’ moment, if you will. 😉 Roleplay forms are also a super good way to tell how fan-edit-able your character is, because theme songs and pretty graphics are key.

Set up conflicts.

Learning how to set up a conflict in two paragraphs when you can only control one character would have been a great skill. Had I mastered it. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, but conflict is so important – an RP isn’t fun without it; neither is a book. If all else fails, start up a random argument or a dramatic chase scene! Because I’ve obviously never had to resort to that before. *coughs* If you didn’t set up a conflict when you pitched your idea, then I recommend now. Or some time in the near future.

WATCH YOUR CHARACTERS SQUIRM.

I think that writing as if you’re in an RP can be pretty useful, because it’s more of a chess game of characters. You’re not allowed to control anyone else so your character has to do stuff themselves. Static objects are not allowed. Characters just can’t spend every post having things done to them because.

It’s not good for the whole time. Things will need to happen to your characters, and also you probably don’t want to spend the entire time pretending to haggle with your alter ego over what those things should be. But: it will make you consider whether your protagonist is an actual protagonist or just, you know, a piece of cheese. With green eyes.

Have any of you roleplayed before? Would you ever have a go? How similar do you think RPs are to other forms of writing?

“I Want To Be a Writer.”

i want to be a writer

If you look on my social media profiles and whatnot, you might spot that the word ‘writer’ usually features. I mean, technically I don’t yet have a cohesive and linear novel *coughs*Ineedtostopprocrastinating*coughs* but I like to mess around with words. Somewhere along the way I assumed the title of writer. I like it. I like to call myself a writer. General public opinion of writers seems to be that they are be mythical, sleep-deprived & manic tea and/or coffee drinkers, which suits me just fine. 😉

I don’t ever introduce myself as a writer. I don’t even really discuss it in face-to-face conversations, like, at all. I see people who have brainstormed awesome things with their writer friends and it makes me wonder if I’m missing something. Am I missing something? I guess I don’t know.

I mean, I wouldn’t introduce myself as a writer, because most teenagers don’t announce themselves as their profession when you meet them. (In my experience. Maybe in the far reaches of not-my-one-school this is a thing??) But back in my wee days of primary school, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ was a pretty standard playground question. I said wanted to be a cat breeder. I think that says it all, really. 😛

Jokes aside, I also often said that I wanted to be a writer. Whilst it was true that I didn’t have a cohesive, linear novel then either – um, I really doubt I wrote anything actually longer than about a thousand words – I feel like it was more okay to say that then. I was far more confident about professing my love of books and stardust and magical worlds. Adults probably shared knowing looks but, whatever; I either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

Ah, the days of that. Now career choices are actually looming and I’m terrified. I don’t know what I want to do. I like writing – enough to call myself a writer – but I know some people don’t think it’s a proper goal. That it’s too difficult.

I know writing is super hard! I get this! I am the one doing it, after all. I understand that getting published is difficult and being successful even more so. I am 100% okay with writing on the side of something else, in the cracks. I do that right now. (Well, I at least try to.) I’m a bit of a Cath; I could see myself just spending uni writing and hoping I can write for another for years after that. Or not. Writing is pretty solitary. Mystical. Like a lone unicorn. BEHOLD MY MANE

Someday I’m going to write a book, and some people will read it. That’s the one thing in my future that I’m sure I’m going to make happen. What I love about it is that it’s something you can work at; I don’t know, I feel like a lot of opinions are based on whether you have ‘talent’ at, like, 14. Maybe there’s a certain amount of inner love for words, and to me, when I read blogs, it reads as if some people just have a natural eloquence, but you can improve. As long as you love writing, you can write. You aren’t – pardon the pun, hehe – written off just because you aren’t good at waffling about a literary device.

So I don’t say that I’m a writer very much in face-to-face conversation anymore. I’m not very good at navigating rocky conversational waters. I tell people that I have no plans for the future – which is mostly accurate – and then we move on. I breathe a sigh of relief. (That is, until the subject returns 24 hours later.)

Poetry: Persephone

poetry persephone

*rises from pit of nothingness* I LIVE! I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m actually still here. You know. I’m afraid that May favourites are probably going to be a little delayed this time round due to exams and all that, but they should be up by next weekend. (But that might have to allow for some wiggle room.)

I haven’t posted any poetry in a while, and since I have a few odds and ends collecting dust in the depths of my computer I decided to dig one of those out for you today. And look! Line breaks! Impressive, right? 😉 No, seriously. I usually struggle a lot with line breaks (sometimes just omitting them) so I’m rather pleased with that. I can’t for the life of me fix the middle section, but SOMEDAY. SOMEDAY. *nods head vigorously*

Also I’m awful with titles and this didn’t turn out how I meant it to so it’s not so relevant BLEURGHH plus I reused all my old lines


Persephone

your ring is polished from
nights of skin and guilt you’re
trying to erase her but the
vanish isn’t working

on your body
either: you insist that
you’re fine but your fingernails tell a
different story, one of caffeine and corpses and
lipstick accusations in the
mirror
still there. (the

fridge light watches, dispassionate, your
ungodly tears. see, you’ve twisted the
game too much:

the hell you made for her haunts
you instead.)

Poetry: Funeral March in F

poetry funeral march

After having enormous fun writing my last prose poetry/numbered poem, I then went on a spree and wrote several more. (Not all of which I’m going to share, because a) during that kind of writing process I tend to reuse all my best lines and b) THEY ARE COMPLETELY ATROCIOUS AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE.)

Weirdly, I went through my music phase before orchestra. This one was kind of inspired by someone I know who found their old transcription of Enya’s Watermark. I had to play a with lot with the weird formatting in order to make it work with WordPress *glares*.

I don’t like it as much as my last one. I feel like it’s maybe missing something, but I’ve been editing it for way too long now to tell exactly what. I think I just need to take a break. As ever, comments and critique are much appreciated. 🙂 (Though just a warning: If you’re sensitive to language, then maybe pass over this one.)


Funeral March in F
i. you play in F sharp major from our out of tune piano. the keys cut your skin to a bloody mess, but you brush me away: it’s nothing, you say as you transcribe with dripping fingers. it makes no difference. (but you still stained the photo.)
ii. I don’t want a fucking gift, you seethe as we leave the concert hall. you tell me to the trundles of the bus that a gift is nothing but the whim of a god, that you’d rather build from your own blood and bone than cut someone else. (but don’t they say that the knife always knows its master?)
iii. you live in the fridge light from three in the morning, when the kitchen is cast in empty fifths. the piano is your midnight company, your dance partner across dark keys: I try to mimic your skeleton chords, but you refuse my touch with durezza.
iv. you’re spinning to fast, too far. you confide in me with shaking vocals how you cry in the bedroom, the bathroom, the shower. I know your theory is gone when you go on to preach of stars and spontaneous combustion and things you never used to believe in, about how the universe will make an exception for you just this once. (I should have seen the madness in your eyes. I should have known what would come.)
iv. you’re standing, and it’s wrong wrong wrong –
you were supposed to –
no
nonononononoNO
NO
no
v. I used to think that the world was full of too much beauty, but not anymore. remember, I watched your body fall like a broken bird. I watched you as you stood poised to fly, soaring, until your bones fell heavy with heartaches and you crumpled to the floor. I remember, and I do not forgive.
vii. their sighs merge into an endless stream of sorrysorrysorry that comes in and out with the days like the tide. my steps are slow, syncopated; grave, they’d say in italy. (but have no fear, darling: I’m not quite ready to give up this metronome yet.)
viii. I remember how you played F sharp major, the keys cutting your fingers to a bloody mess. I look down at my own perfect palms and at last, with your silver-scarred hands folded across your corpse in prayer, I cry.

7 British Words (That Aren’t ‘Bloody’)

British words that aren't bloody

(WordPress is really not liking me at the moment. I hope this posts. Otherwise, come over to my actual blog page and view everything from there.)

I am tired of ‘bloody’ and ‘mate’ being the only words used to identify a person with a British accent in books. I hate to tell you, but there are actually other accents in Britain and not all of us drink tea. As such, I have a compiled a* list of words used by a knowledgeable Londoner such as myself, which authors should endeavour to use in their writing.

*(not entirely serious)

1. Naff Ooh, I’m feeling quite urban here, aren’t I? Naff is a curious word which means the opposite of tasteful, but not the same as distasteful. Synonyms include gaudy, trashy, a large proportion of Camden market.

2. Term I know I’ve said this before, but THE AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM IS VERY CONFUSING. (And maybe other places too. I haven’t read enough books to make judgements, really.) In this wonderful country, we have three terms instead of, like, two semesters, or whatever they have across they have across the Atlantic. I’m not really sure.

3. Converse It took me several re-reads and a film to discover that when Hazel Grace wears Chuck Taylors, she means converse. I just call all of those shoes converse, even if they’re actually £4.99 fakes from Primark.

4. Nick Something that will happen to your Liberty bag if you leave it on the bus, i.e. get stolen.

5. Train Do they even have much public transport in America? Characters seem to drive or fly everywhere. I know the USA is crazy big, but I managed to take an 8 hour train from London to Aberdeen. (On which I left my pencil case and books, by the way. Never going on it again.) And, just to confuse everyone, you’ve got the Tube and the Underground and the Overground and the Eurostar and the DLR. Fun times.

6. Shops Yes, I am going shopping to the shopping centre to visit the bookshop. IT’S IN THE VERB.

7. Lessons Because school does not deserve to be classy.

Oh, and one more: “Isn’t it just chucking it down?”

Dear authors, I hope you have taken note and will do your best to include these in your next novel, undoubtedly set on this glorious island of ours. Old chaps, thank you for reading, and cheerio; for those fellow Britons of mine, are there any I have missed out?

Poetry: Lady of the Lake

Poetry lady of the lake

So, this is my first go at prose poetry…? (If that’s what it actually is. I fail at definitions of poetry form.) I took some inspiration from the Merlin/Nimue myth, but I think that this did evolve from that into its own story. I’m happy with some parts, I think. though not all. I feel like I’m getting a little better at this editing lark. A little. Maybe.

As ever, comments & critique are much appreciated! I also have some exciting bookish things happening at the moment, but I’m sadly not allowed to talk about them yet. (I promise, I’m not just giving annoying cliffhangers. *glares at Pierce Brown* Though that wouldn’t be too far a stretch of the imagination. But I’m not, I swear! 😉 )


Lady of the Lake
i. she is volatile, mercurial. she likes to bait the sleeping bear just for the fun of it, but you look away because she’s a wild thing, too.
ii. your skin is stained with her consonants and coffee breath rhythms. her eyeliner is as much a drug as her cigarettes and all of it is addictive.
iii. when you asked for a wizard and received a witch, you didn’t realise how different they were. her contradictions are your cure, but they tell you they’re a curse. you don’t listen. you tell her everything, anyway.
iv. you sign away your heart at the altar whilst she kisses another behind the church walls. she is a fickle being, but you love her, anyway.
v. you don’t know how to calculate theorems anymore, unless it’s from the geometry of her face. her mind is filled with star birth and supernovae against your own worn torchlight.
vi. she is a broken thing, but isn’t that the way geniuses always are? she falls apart from the fault lines on her skin and you can’t seem to unravel the strings between you.
vii. you know that she is your death and your drowning, but as you surrender yourself to her lips you start to think that maybe it no longer matters.

In Which I Obsess Over Poetry

poetry title page

You thought that my obsessions had come to an end at books and movies and comics and TV shows? Well, I hate to say it, but apparently not. I have since discovered the wonderful resource of Tumblr to feed my poetry addiction, and I think it’s fair to say that I now have more quotes written in my school calendar than ever before. So, yeah, I wrote a poem about how I’m obsessed with poetry.

I feel like I’m getting a tiny bit better at this writing lark in relation to decent stand-alone lines, but I still find it hard to make a cohesive piece of work. I have about a gazillion half-finished poems on my computer and in the backs on notebooks. As ever, though, comments are completely welcome; I apologise that you have to see this somewhat cringe-inducing writing, but hey! *self-motivational mode activates* This is the only way I’m going to improve, right?


I Fall Asleep With the Pain of Poetry Staining my Fingers

What they don’t tell you is that this gift is really a curse,
a chemical equation set to carbon that will
stab at your nerve endings
until you don’t know who you are except for the pain.

What they don’t tell you is how before long you’ll be addicted to this ink;
how before long you’ll be begging it to carve into your skin
its truths that aren’t really truths at all.
(Because I don’t know what the truth is, darling,
but I don’t think it tastes of starlight.)

Well I’m sorry if you were looking for
the heroine that preached a different lexis, but I only tell the story how it is:
me, smoking poem after poem into the fading evening light.