Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Olympic Fever!

I don't know where the last few weeks has gone, but it seems to have absoutely flown by, and I was very surprised to see how long ago my lost blog post was! It's been a busy time though, and I have been making the most of the wonderful weather the UK has been enjoying, until now that is, because it is a rare thing here, and so I didn't relaly switch my laptop on, which was probably a good thing! But now I'm back.

Over the last few weeks I have enjoyed the brilliant weather, had my graduation (which was terrifying and stressful, but actually went very well!), had a brief trip to Cornwall, watched the Olympic opening and lots of Olympics on the TV and got very excited, and have been watching lots of tennis, swimming and diving, and trying out some other things with entertaining results (seriously some sports are just so.... well bizarre!). I was very excited to see JK Rowling in the opening ceremony, and the wonderful tribute to children's literature. Oh yes! I also had to deal with a bee swarm (terrifying, bees have been haunting me for days now) and got to enjoy some amazing weather. (I was going to post some pictures here, but I will add them later). I sat outside all day every day (mostly) in the gazebo, which I made my makeshift office, and did lots of reading, writing and bracelet making (and lots of swimming too). Very productive week I was very pleased.

I managed to do an edit of one of my stories, on paper, reading most of it out loud (very tiring!). I still need to type up the edits, and probably go through it again and do a more detailed edit, but now it's all good. I also started the first story in my new series, which I'm very excited about and so far seems to be going well. I made so many notes and things over the last few weeks however it is being a little bit of a nightmare trying to work out what I meant when I put a star by a name or something silly like that.

What else can I tell you?

I think that's all for now. Looking forward to watching some more swimming later, and lots of tennis (come on Murray!) and some windsurfing!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Second Chance Summer

You know sometimes when you just need an afternoon reading?? Well yesterday afternoon I ended up sitting in bed for a few hours just reading soldily, apart fromt he breaks for tea of course, but even they were scarce.

The book that kept me so gripped?

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

I loved Amy and Rodger’s Epic Detour so when I saw this one on the library shelf (obsessively using our local libraries at home at the minute, I have stacks of books from them. I love it), I had to get it out despite the pile I already had! And I’m so glad I did. I adored it. I didn’t really know what to expect, a nice summer novel maybe, but it wasn’t necessarily something I had been anticipating.

It was a nice summer novel. But it was more than that. It was fantastic. It made me sob, properly, without really thinking about it it just did, and laugh too and smile and everything, and it was just so WONDERFUL. I loved Taylor. I loved Henry. I loved Taylor’s family. I loved their lake house (I want one, and I want summers like that). As always there were some American things I didn’t get, but it was so wonderfully written and it was so weird what was relevant. I don’t want to give the plot away, but it became a book about loss, second chances, family and love. And it was so wonderful. I’m still thinking about it, now. And I adored the cover. It’s so pretty (the UK one).

I think I’m going to have to read it again.

(also posted on my tumblr in case you notice...)

Monday, 9 July 2012

a year in the ya world

It's been about a year since I started properly writing my first YA book. I'd written tonnes before that, and even the children's story that I am still working on (but more on that in a moment), but the idea I had in the months running up to the summer was the first thing when my brain went, this is a good story..... wait, it's about a sixteen year old girl.... how about teenage fiction? So in some ways it was the first time I ever considered writing for teenagers. Writing Young Adult fiction. Becoming interested specifically in that world. I know it is said that you write for yourself and all that, and that the audience doesn't matter so much (or something like that) but you have to have some sort of focus don't you? Anyway, I wrote this draft of this story, alongside doing the first major edit of my children's story. I hadn't properly read any recent young adult fiction. I love Harry Potter, I read Twilight (to my shame) and so I think I assumed (unfairly as many do) that it was full of sparkly vampires and annoying teenage girls. I think part of it is that as a teenager ya didn't really appeal to me, as it was then. There wasn't so much choice and somehow when I was that age, it may be relevant to others too, I felt like I wanted to be more grown up and read grown up books, not books for teenagers! I always felt like it wasn't the thing to be done, and I think it's changed so much just in the last few years. YA is more of a thing than it was then. I also didn't like that most of the books I picked up were about American teenagers. I wanted to read about British teenagers, like me, not ones who knew lots of boys and were drinking and going to parties because I did none of that. That was another world. SO I suppose that was another reason why it didn't appeal. Instead I read grown up books about adult worlds that I still didn't really understand, but hey ho. At least I was reading right? There was that whole thing when I was a teenager that you wanted to be grown up, but you didn't at the same time. It's probably something a lot of teenagers struggle with, it's such a horrible age. Anyway, I'm rambling. Where was I? Oh yes, I didn't really read ya when I was a teenager. I didn't shun it completely, but when I became an older teen there wasn't so much choice. Ironic that I now devour the stuff.

Anyway, back to this rather long winded story of last summer. I wrote this draft without reading any recent ya, but it was my first intended ya story. I finished it. I went back to uni.  I was already by this time following tonnes of ya authors on twitter because they were funny, interesting and brilliant, and I loved the insight to other writer's lives (my all time favourite author is well, dead and being able to connect with these wonderful authors is amazing). I then thought I should pick up their books. The first two I ordered were Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star and Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss. Oh man. I was in love at this point. I went to the library and got out stacks of ya books, knowing I had a lot of catching up to do. I'm still getting out stacks of ya books from the library. I followed blogs, I started this blog properly, suddenly having a proper focus and intention, instead of writing all these NaNo drafts which always seemed a bit aimless and not really focused. I never knew what I wanted to write. I wanted to write children's books, and had done for a while, but I was still writing the dreary nano drafts, and now I wanted to write for teenagers too. I Incorporated my ya reading and writing into my creative writing course that term, not ashamed any more of what I wanted to write. I was determined. I wrote another NaNo, another ya focused novel, and I flew through it, without struggling much. This was the focus I had been looking for clearly!

After that I started to edit that summer novel. I worked on it on and off for months. And it's still horrible. And I finally decided a few weeks/months ago to leave it. To let it rest. It's a story I really wanted to write, but somehow I dont' think I was ready. It was like that was my apprenticeship. I'd written all those other horrible stories over the years and this one was to join them. Bu tit helped me, with pace and story telling and structure and I loved it. I still want to write that story and I hope I will some day. Over this year I have written two more ya novel drafts. Both very different and exploring different kinds of worlds, and I think they were things I needed to write. For now I'm letting those drafts sit where they are, hidden on my computer, but I may come back to them in due course.

I am so glad that I become so immersed in this world. There are so many new authors I love and adore and I have so many new favourite books. i love this world. I have seen it said that is one of the most open and loving in the online book world and I totally agree. I have met so many wonderful people. I have been able to share so many wonderful things and I am totally sticking with it. I have been inspired and encouraged so much. I adore it. This was the writing community I was looking for and I'm definitely sticking with it.

But while doing all this, I have gone back to my children's novel I wrote and have been editing that. I have planned out the sequel and promised myself I would write it over the summer. I am doing that now, handwriting it, because that seems to be so much better for these stories and I love being able to hand write it, as I mentioned in a previous post. I have also planned another series I'm really excited about and have come up with so many details for it's insane. SO I'm excited about that. And for now that's the focus I think I want to make - writing for children, as opposed to YA. I say this, I'll probably have a brilliant idea next week and have to resist that! And I'll probably write a ya story for nano this year, because they're longer stories. I'm not quite sure what I was trying to say here. I think I wanted to say how I couldn't believe a year had passed since that time, and also that I'm glad to have a focus, and talk about what I've discovered over the past year and how wonderful it has been.

Saturday, 7 July 2012


A brief post to say MURRAY IN THE FINAL!

First British man in the final since Bunny Austin, in 1938? Crazy.

So excited! Finally! Tomorrow is going to be a BIG match!

Come on Murray!

(Except he's playing Federer, and Federer is well.... Federer)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Being Creative

Wow! July, when did that happen?

It is the Men's Quarter Finals at Wimbledon today and once again Murray has reached the semis - it's going to be a tense afternoon! I can 't believe how quickly these two weeks have gone though. The rest of the summer is going to speed by too - my graduation is coming up in a couple of weeks (scary) and the rest of it is going to sped by. We have had some lovely days weather wise, with lots of reading and writing outside, and I have got into bracelet making and have just ordered lots of beads and stuff (very exciting) and I've been teaching myself to make exciting friendship bracelets I always wanted to know how to make, and it's surprisingly easy! Need to buy some more thread though, which is irritating. Feeling quite creative at the moment, with lots of ideas buzzing around, not just for stories and writing, but other things, which I like. I like this feeling of proper creativity. On glow* there is a post (I must find it - visit glow knowyourglow.com it's amazing, it is really inspiring) about doing something creative every day, and that's what I try to do, because I know it makes me so much happier. I know I have editing to do too - and I'm going to do some this morning as it's rather gloomy out. The worries are also settling in about other stuff, which isn't helping. I know that really I need to get a summer job, but I can't really find anything at the moment and it's difficult and worrying me a little bit now.

Well, I'm going to go do some editing and writing now. Enjoy Wimbledon (if you're following that is!).