Sunday, 29 June 2014

Writing, Dissertation, and YALC!

It's been a while since I've updated anything writing wise on this blog. I had a couple of exciting things happen quite recently though (I hate writing about this, so I apologise. It's just kinda exciting).

The first was that one of my short stories, a YA story called 'If I Remember' was a runner up in a competition. I was delighted about that - especially as it was a YA story, and I want to go back and do more work on that sometime.

The next was that I have been shortlisted for another IdeasTap competition, this time one that is in association with the Norwich Writer's Centre. Being shortlisted means that I get to attend an exciting day long writing workshop in July. More here.

Otherwise, things are plodding on as usual.

I'm still writing for MuggleNet, something that I absolutely adore and it's so much fun. One of the best things that has happened to me -  in fact I can't believe that I've only been writing for them since last November. It feels like much longer than that. It's the best team to work for, and everyone's so lovely and of course getting to write about Harry Potter... it's a no brainer! Actually, internships are currently open if you're interested in writing for the site. Check them out here.

I just finished the first draft of a story I started back in April. I was delighted to finish, although I dragged out writing the last few chapters. I don't think that I was looking forward to actually leaving the world yet. But there's still lots of work to do - I wrote it by hand, so I've got to type it up (sort of a first edit really, and a great way to see where there are plot holes etc. I really like working that way. And you feel like you get to know the story again, in a different way).

I'm also still working on Treading Water, more edits, trying to get it as good as possible! This summer I'll mostly be working on my dissertation however, which is due in at the end of August. I'm nearly at the end of my course though, hurrah!

In other book-y news, there are so many AWESOME books out this summer that I can't wait to read. I think my most anticipated book is Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, although I was super excited about The Silkworm coming out. Anything J.K. writes is golden.

And in a couple of weeks, it's YALC - the first YA con in the UK. I can't wait! It's going to be fantastic, with so many amazing authors there, as well as lots of lovely friends. I can't wait! Who's going? Maybe I'll see you there!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Back to the Countryside

I returned to Sussex nearly a couple of weeks ago, after five years in Exeter, this time not only for the summer, but for the indefinite future. I don't think the full reality of that has sunk in, and it probably won't sink in until the end of the summer, when it's going back to school time, and I won't be. It'll be the first time that I won't be returning to education, and that will be strange.

But I don't want to think about that yet.

For now, it's the summer and one of my favourite times of year. It's great to be back in the country, and be surrounded by green and fields and trees.

The sun has been shining, and everything just looks so wonderful. The colours in the flower beds are fabulous, so many great colours. There's so much life and I love summer. There's so much to soak up, and I just love being back in the country, taking in all the smells, and sights. It's so pretty, and it's so quiet. The only things you can hear are tractors in the distance, cows mooing, and planes overheard. Oh, and at the moment, the tennis on the TV.

I love summer: there's so much expectation and hope hanging in the air. The evenings are light until late, and you can sit outside, on the grass, in the sun, and enjoy all the benefits of summer. There's nothing better than a lazy day reading on the lawn, the sun blazing.

I am so glad to be away from the city. I can't imagine wanting to be there during the summer, so it's amazing to be back in the countryside. Right now, I am still totally in love with the country - and summer time!

Next time: cows, bees, and a blind dog.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

End of an Era

"I'm going back to a time when we owned this town
Down Powdermill lane and the Battle grounds
We were friends and lovers and clueless clowns

I didn't know I was finding out how I'd be torn from you
When we talked about things we were gonna do
We were wide-eyed dreamers and wiser too"
Sovereign Light Cafe - Keane
And so, my last few days living in Exeter are coming to an end (for now). I'm leaving soon, heading back to the countryside after five years, and I can't wait. I'm ready to leave this city, although I love it here and have so many happy memories. I'm ready to get back to the country and enjoy the summer (while writing my disseration...).

Over the last few days however, of course I've grown nostalgic, and there are going to be many things I'll miss.

Of course I'll miss the wonderful people, and my wonderful friends.

I'll miss being able to walk to the Boston Tea Party and hanging out there and writing, and being able to walk to the library and Waterstones when I fancy it.

I'll miss walking down to the river and the quay, and up to campus.

I'll miss only being two hours from Fowey.

But it's been a wonderful five years, with it's ups and downs, and it'll be tough to leave. I've got my dissertation still to write, and then it'll be the end of my university career (for now anyway). I can't believe it's been a whole five years - so nearly there now. I'll be glad to finish, but I'm so glad I've done it. I wouldn't change anything in the world.

In the last few days, I've said lots of goodbyes and gone over lots of happy memories, many of which seem to have happened a long time ago! But they're good memories to have. It's hard to leave, but it's the right thing to do.

So, in the slightly changed words of Darren Criss/Harry Potter/Starkid:

"take it easy Exeter... it's been totally awesome." 

See you soon Exeter! It's not goodbye, just.... see you soon*.

*That's totally a quote from something, but I'm not sure what. Anyone know?

And here's some bonus nostalgic Starkid lyrics:
"You can't hold on to what's gone
Don't try to fix it, just move on
Only then you'll see the world
All brand new"
Everything Ends 
2I don't wanna see you go
But it's not forever, not forever!
Even it was, you know that
I would never let it get me down

'Cause you're the part of me
That makes me better, wherever I go!
So I will try, not to cry
But no one needs to say goodbye... "
Days of Summer