Uncategorized

To Capitalise or Not to Capitalise?

Posted on


Hello. It’s been a while, sorry! It’s always been a struggle to find topics to post about, but my writing routine seems to have perked up recently so I’m hoping I can finally crack this blog.

I don’t know how many other SFF authors agonise over capitalisation. When inventing something new, is it right to capitalise it or not? Obviously punctuation rules apply, so for place names and other proper nouns it’s a no-brainer.

But what about a new kind of plant? Or sport? Or animal?

My biggest literary hero, JKR, always capitalised, whether it was Quidditch or Niffler or Flitterbloom. Personally I always found that a bit odd, inconsistent with the real-life equivalents like football, hamster, oak tree, etc.

But now I’m doing it! Probably because I think a plant written as Dead Fingers is more effective than one called dead fingers. However I have just named one of my characters after one of my fictional flowers, and it’s going to look a bit weird if they’re both capitalised. And no … I’m not changing one of them. It’s a perfect fit and has taken me months to come up with.

I suppose I could go back to the nickname plan …

Advertisements

The Student Wordsmith Awards

Posted on

I’m back! And with some great news. Recently my poem “Nutshell” was awarded Best Poem in the You is For University 2014 anthology!

The Student Wordsmith Award Night was a great event and it was exciting to be there. Winning a prize was the cherry on the top!

2016-04-16 20.34.08

Day 10 of Camp Nano

Posted on

It’s Day 10 of Camp NaNoWriMo! And I’m way above my daily target, which is awesome, as well as past my halfway point. My real deadline is actually the 25th rather than the 31, because I’ll be at camp the last week of July, but I think I’m doing all right on that front as well. The last few days I was losing it a bit, but I think I regained my stride this morning. I decided to take a break from my struggling middle of the plot, and write some of the backstory. During the process of writing that, I not only captured the origin of a particular character, but also came up with more detail for his sister’s story, which enabled me to go back to a scene later on and add in more there.

The following is the beginning of the scene, a rough draft that’s been only slightly edited to give the fruit a name and so it makes grammatical sense. I chose not to post the whole thing because … well, it ended on an even bigger cliffhanger.


 

“Come on, Mirry, keep up!”

Maxie didn’t wait for his sister to answer, but plunged further into the woods. He loved Mirady, she was his best friend in the whole wide world, but little sisters were so slow.

“Maxie, wait for me!”

“We’ll never get there if you don’t keep up!” he said, irritated. “I want to see a Quinya tree!”

“You’re too fast!”

Maxie stopped with a heavy sigh. “All right, all right! We’ll never get back in time at this rate. Come on, I’ll give you a lift.”

Rustling undergrowth and panting breath announced her getting closer to him. Once Mirady reached Maxie, he lifted her up on his back, giving her a piggy back ride.

“Oof! You’re heavy!”

“I am not!”

“Let’s just go. I don’t want Father finding out where we went or he’ll be livid. Hold tight. No, not that tight! I still need to breathe!”

He jogged off into the wilderness, as fast as he could with an eight-year-old hanging on his back, arms clinging around his neck. It slowed him down, but hopefully without having to stop for her shorter legs to catch up all the time, they would get there quickly enough to be able to return before Father’s important meeting ended and he realised they were no longer playing in the street.

He panted, his ribs and back starting to ache. At eleven years old, he was much bigger than his little sister, but she was still practically a dead weight. Father would not approve; he would say Maxie needed to practice at being a man, meaning, among other things, being able to carry heavy loads. Except he wouldn’t say ‘Maxie’—only Mirady ever called him that nowadays, ever since their mother had died. Now everyone save his sister called him by his full name, Maximilian. He didn’t like it, he much preferred Maxie.

“Are we nearly there yet?” Mirady asked from somewhere above his shoulder.

“Yes, nearly!” That was a guess; in truth Maxie thought he might be lost. The conversation they had eavesdropped on (not on purpose, of course; well behaved children should never listen in on adults’ conversations), Father’s colleague had told him where he could find the Quinya tree, and she had said to leave the path at the lightning struck oak and head north. Since Maxie had no compass, he had had to work out the direction from what he could see of the sun’s position, which was not easy and he was not positive he had got it absolutely correct.

But on the plus side, at least Quinya glowed when it was still attached to the tree, so hopefully if their direction was a bit off, they would be able to see it anyway.

Maxie was excited. He had only ever seen Quinya before when it had been processed into Quops, small drops of golden jelly, and then it had been the most fascinating moment of his life. He had had trouble believing that such a tiny thing could be overflowing with magic, and that anyone who ate one would be able to pull off the most complex and powerful spells. Quinya was the most powerful magic source, and the rarest, and he had only ever seen one single Quop. Father dealt in magic sources, but most of the time he kept his goods to himself.

Magic had always fascinated Maxie, even more than it fascinated any child. He wanted to be a magician when he was grown up, but only the luckiest people got the training for it. Father wanted him to follow his footsteps into dealing in magic sources, not using them himself.

As Maxie hunted for the tree, a crazy thought came to him. Maybe if he could prove he was cut out to be a magician, Father would reconsider. If Father was on his side, and approved his dreams, he could get him the training he needed to achieve them. But to do that, he needed a magic source to begin with.

Maybe if he picked one of the Quinya …

“There!” Mirady squealed suddenly, almost deafening Maxie. He couldn’t believe she had seen the tree first—he had been too engrossed in his daydreams to realise they had reached the end of their quest.

The tree stood alone in the centre of a clearing, and gave off a kind of aura. It wasn’t the fruit alone—although the Quinya were indeed glowing a yellow-pink colour, Maxie could feel the power radiating from the tree from about twenty feet away.

He dropped Mirady, who yelled, “Ouch!”

“Sorry,” he said, but his eyes and thoughts were fixed firmly on the fruit. He stared, entranced.

“They’re amazing,” Mirady said, but she didn’t seem keen on getting any nearer. Maxie, on the other hand, was all too keen on it.

“Maxie?” she asked hesitantly and he began walking forwards. “I don’t think we should get too close. Father says they’re dangerous.”

He barely heard her, too intent on getting one of them. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he didn’t care. He felt drawn to the fruit, as if it were deliberately pulling him in, whispering promises that it could help him achieve his dreams.

“Maxie!” Now Mirady sounded frightened. She also sounded very far away.

Maxie reached the tree, and reached out a hand, brushing the skin of one of the Quinya. It was soft as a peach and sent tingles all through his body, as if he had been struck by lightning.

Someone ran up to him and grabbed his arm, trying to pull him away. “Maxie, come on, let’s go!”

“Not yet,” he grunted, shaking his sister off of him. He grasped a Quinya and pulled.

“What are you doing? No!” Mirady cried as he lifted it to his lips. “You can’t! It’s too strong, it has to be processed! MAXIE!” She tried to pull it out of his grip, she tried stamping on his feet, even punching him, but he pushed her away so hard she fell down hard with a crack. She began sobbing.

Maxie ignored her and bit into the Quinya.

From the moment a single drop of juice touched his tongue, his mind exploded.


 

In addition to the above scene, I also have a new scene posted on my NaNo profile.

Yet Another Blog Revamp On its Way

Posted on

So, thanks to bad planning and deteriorating health, my blog’s slowed to a halt. If anyone is still actually reading it, thanks for sticking by me.

I’ve had trouble finding things to write about because, due to previously mentioned health issues, my life consists of little more than doing coursework (very slowly), telly and fanfic. I have concentration issues and very low energy levels, which means trying to write book reviews or the like is impossible.

But I may have found a solution. They say write what you’re passionate about, write what you know, and write what your target readership will be interested in (not necessarily in that order). So I’ve decided to stick (mostly) with the only subject I can be expert (enough) in without too much extra effort: fandom.

Hopefully, this will breathe new life into the blog. I’ll occasionally post news updates and other relevant or semi-relevant things, but that’s my focus now. Most of my writing projects have been on hold for ages, but as I pick them up again I’ll be able to write more about them as well.

Quick News Update:

The poetry reading at the “YOU is for University” book launch went brilliantly. I was absolutely terrified but it was fine! Link to the launch report is on the homepage.

I have finished my Pilot script for “Aquila”, finally! Am now working on the critique, which is all I have left to do before my final deadline.

There, now you’re all up to speed.

To Be Or Not To Be Steampunk

Posted on

It is National Poetry Month, and for that reason, I will be focusing on poetry–mine and others’–in my blog postings during April. I’m moving my micropoetry (formerly referred to as Twitter poetry) to The Micropoet’s Society, and linking there instead.

The otherday I mused on whether or not I was a steampunk. I have considered this before and usually come to the conclusion that I am not. I do enjoy some steampunk, but don’t seek to write it, although elements of the aesthetics do creep in now and then, for example:

If only
They would hinder the cogs,
Every click bringing closer
The hands that say ‘This
Is final’

(from “To Ascend, Maybe”, a work in progress)

However I found my conviction when I was inspired to Google “steampunk poetry”, and realised that none of it is really even close to what I write. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but I know now I merely have a streak of streampunk in me.

Out of interest, I found these among the search results: Twelve Steampunk Sonnets, and a neo-Victorian poet whose work I will be reviewing shortly.

Pin of the week:

c675176ddb179b255f99f97d54c2ad4e

Fiery Villains, Yearbook Dilemma, Anthologies

Posted on

I’m currently agonising over the last question for my yearbook profile. “What experience at uni will you always remember?” Well to be honest, most of my good experiences over the last three and a bit years have nothing to do directly with my uni. Most of the friends I’ve made during that time are through outside things–NaNoWriMo and church. The friends I made in Fresher’s Week I had a great time with then, but lost somewhere down the line. Because I’ve never done much social stuff at uni, I was out of mind.

Okay, I’m going to stop this here before it turns into a poor-little-me routine. That’s not the intention. I’m just expressing my dilemma. I will probably end up saying something about Fresher’s Week, but I wish I knew what to write.

Anyway, moving on, I spent an interesting Monday morning plotting one of my villains for Aquila. It’s the second time I’ve used my giant whiteboard, which is a great tool as long as I write it all down somewhere permanent and wipe it off fairly quickly. I took a photo this time, although I’ve had to black a few points out to avoid spoiling too badly. OK, half the points.

Here’s a little taster:

blackedoutversion

I’m getting there with the first draft. I reached the end of my plan with 2,000 words to go, but since plotting my villain(?s) out I’m making progress with filling the gaps. It still reads a bit stilted to me, but maybe I’m being a bit hard on myself. I need to print out the whole thing and scribble on it. That always helps. I might even post an extract.

One last thing. I’m considering submitting the Aquila original short story in a competition to be published in a YA anthology. Maybe one of my other stories as well (it accepts multiple submissions). Watch this space! Unfortunately one of my poems, Reasons to Sing, might not now be published due to the anthology not receiving adequate funding. This is the donation link.

 

Call For (Constructive) Criticism, Aquila Extract

Posted on

My Aquila project has officially begun. I have drafted a plan of the pilot and begun researching the genre and other things. You may find I am talking about superheroes a lot for the coming months! I’ve invested in plenty of books on writing for television, as well as a few box sets to work my way through. I need to be a superhero expert by the time I come to write my critical essay, so that seems like a good place to start.

I began writing the plan out in script form, and feel it’s falling rather flat–it’s also turning out a lot shorter than it needs to be, which is worrying.

Extract:

Hospital Waiting Room

(DAD is staring at a magazine without reading it. FIONA comes rushing in.)

DAD: Fiona! (stands up quickly) Well?

FIONA: I’m fine. Just a bit of a bump, nothing to worry about.

DAD: Sweetheart, you have amnesia. I’d say that’s something to worry about.

FIONA: Dad, I’m fine. Look, they’re letting me go, see? And if my memories come back, they come back; if they don’t, well, I can live with that. Come on, let’s get out of here. Please.

Fiona’s Bedroom, Night

(FIONA is in her own bed, asleep but fitful. The flashes continue.)

DAD (v.o.): Sweetheart, you have amnesia. I’d say that’s something to worry about.

NURSE #1 (v.o.): I can’t make out what this is–it looks like some kind of implant …

(The words BEWARE REDTHORN is superimposed over her.)

GEORGIA REDTHORN (V.o.): Come on in my dear, let’s get you dried off and warm, and then something to eat …

(FIONA sits up with a gasp.)

Major’s Kitchen, Morning

DAD is brewing coffee. ALFIE is in school uniform eating breakfast, wide awake. MUM is on the phone, holding a list.

MUM: … I know we should have called, but it was the early hours and our primary concern was getting her to bed safely. … Of course, I’ll give her your love. Bye, Dad.

(Phone is replaced. MUM crosses a name off her list.)

MUM: So that’s Grandad notified …

FIONA enters in her dressing-gown. The room stills as they all look at her.

FIONA: Um, morning.

MUM: Morning, love. What do you want for breakfast?

DAD: Do you want some coffee? Or tea, I could put the kettle back on.

MUM: You could let her answer, Doug.

ALFIE: Mm, Daddy’s being rude.

DAD: Alfie!

FIONA: Do we have any bacon?

MUM and DAD look at each other.

MUM: No, but I could pick some up when I drop Alfie off at school. Come on, Alfie, you’ll be late.

(ALFIE finishes his breakfast speedily while DAD proffers the cafetiere at FIONA.)

FIONA: Coffee, please, Dad.

(FIONA sits down while DAD pours her a coffee. MUM ushers ALFIE out into the hall.)

ALFIE: (from hall) Fiona, you’ll still be here when I come home, right?

FIONA: Of course I will.

(Sounds of MUM and ALFIE leaving house.)

DAD: Are you all right, sweetheart?

FIONA: You’re all acting so weird.

DAD: You can hardly blame us, it hasn’t exactly been a normal few weeks.

FIONA: No, it hasn’t.

DAD: We all want things to go back to normal as soon as possible.

FIONA: I know, Dad. I just wish it were that easy.

Fiona’s Bedroom, Morning

(FIONA is alone with her laptop, and searches REDTHORN online. Too many results. She tries REDTHORN SUPER EYESIGHT and REDTHORN IMPLANTS but also gets nowhere. Tries variants with RED THORN, still nothing useful.)

School Gates, Morning

(FIONA stands in a milling crowd of students, nervous. She looks around, noticing minute details. She looks behind her and reads the menu of a cafe the other end of the road. Swallows, but with great reluctance joins the crowds.)

VICTORIA: Fiona?

(FIONA turns and sees VICTORIA and EMMA standing behind her.)

FIONA: Vicks! Emma!

FIONA goes to hug them both but they don’t respond.

EMMA: Where’ve you been?

FIONA: I … I’m not sure. Amnesia.

VICTORIA: That’s not what I heard. Everyone’s saying you ran out on us for the Gymnastics Championships.

FIONA: What? They’re not! That’s not what–

EMMA: No, you just chose then to do a disappearing act on us, your teammates. We always said you were a drama queen.

FIONA: But–I didn’t–really–

VICTORIA: Have a nice life, Fiona.

(VICTORIA and EMMA walk off, arm in arm. FIONA stands there, stunned. The bell goes and she runs into school.)

I’m looking for some constructive criticism (not about the format, I had to do some jiggling to get it to be readable as a blog post). This is the first time I’ve posted something on this blog specifically for feedback, I’m hoping to do it  more in future. I’m very very sorry for neglecting my blog, but the stress has I’m afraid been getting to me.

Funny-Pictures-Anti-stress