alex harlequin

More BIG News!

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A while ago I submitted my poem ‘Nutshell’ to The Student Wordsmith. And then yesterday came some wonderful words in my inbox …

I am writing to you to thank you for entering The Student Wordsmith’s debut creative writing competition,‘YOU’ is for University.

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that your work has been successful, being selected for print in our first creative collection, due for release this October.
I‘m feeling a bit giddy with happiness. That’s a 100% success rate! (So far only submitted one poem each to TSW and GN.) The overall winner is going to be announced Friday, but I know for certain I’m going to be in the publication. Woohoo!
Right, I’m going to calm down now and act a bit more mature.
Moving on, I’ve had a lot more thoughts about my project next year. Not that I’m finished with my coursework from last year yet, but it’s been on my mind nevertheless. I think I’ve decided what I want to do–expand on my Aquila idea as a television series, hopefully in order to someday submit a script to the BBC. I expect the project will be approved by my tutors, I already used the idea as a short story in one module but the script will be very different.
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Milky Aurora, Gospel Poems and Fiery Redheads

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I have for the first time submitted a poem for potential publication in an anthology The Gospel According to Poetry. Today is the deadline, so keep reading to find out if it’s accepted or not. I haven’t quite decided what else I will do with the poem in question, Reasons to Sing; I will decide after I find out.

Source: onebigphoto.com via Alex on Pinterest

I’ve added some images to my website pages, including banners on the Projects page. I will be adding them to the individual pages as well, and once I have named my ‘verses I will have a re-organise and make new, better banners.

I had a go at the fan fiction prompt from my first writing prompt post, using Donna and Amy from Doctor Who. An interesting plot bunny is spiralling! I don’t think I’ll end up with another epic in my backlog, but it might merit more than one chapter. I haven’t tried the others yet, haven’t had the opportunity, but I will. I’m also in the process of coming up with more prompts for future posts, so stay tuned.

Pin of the week is a stunning photo I stumbled across when hunting for Milky Way pictures, of the Milky Way and Northern Lights together.

Link of the week: Fanfiction and Literature

Jellyfish For Breakfast

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Thought for the day: I really wish chefs, when adding an unexpected strong flavour to a dish, would say so on the menu, so I don’t have to spend half an hour picking parsley and chilli out of my Chinese takeaway. It’s even more frustrating when said menu uses a ‘hot’ symbol–on other dishes! It’s discriminatory against sensitive tongues. Even more annoying when it’s specifically requested to be left out.

Rant over.

What is the correct way to spell chilli anyway, is it chilli or chili? Is one version American, or a case of Standard English vs colloquial, or what?

The jellyfish was otherwise good–my mouth did start burning but I managed to get through most of it before that. The flavour’s not too strong, and I like the squishy texture, though I can understand some people wouldn’t. Funny thing was I thought I was trying jellyfish for the first time, but once I saw it I was sure I’ve had it before and just forgotten. What am I like …

I’m not just writing about food today. Although I like discussing food, and can’t believe I haven’t written more about it before now. I’m also writing about art, another new topic for today’s post. I’ve been itching for a couple of weeks to paint again, which I haven’t been able to do–for various reasons–since my A-levels, and though I was never sure I was much good, I really enjoyed it.

When I move I have plans to buy a proper artist’s stand and start painting on canvas when the mood takes me, but I’m not sure I can wait that long! I haven’t done any art or crafts, save literally a couple of cards, since beginning uni. I’m a visual as well as lexical artist and I miss it, I really do.

I was struck with an idea the other day when I added in some description to my Not Alone story draft:

A few weeks ago, the alignment would have been a backdrop to a sparkling skyline—literally sparkling, the materials that formed the city’s architecture were crystallised, throwing rainbows over every surface come sundown. Once upon a time, their mother had said, tourists came from all over the galaxy to see it. Now, it was a pile of wreckage; the once-centrepiece, a thousand-floor luxury hotel skyscraper topped with a twelve-foot diamond, the instrument which had crushed their home when it fell, among hundreds of others.

All right, it’s exposition too. But that’s not the point–the point is it struck me that I wanted to paint the scene (before, though possibly after as well). I’m not certain I could do justice to it, there is a reason I’m pursuing a career in writing rather than illustration, but I want to try. I was also thinking about trying to paint other landscapes for the ‘verse.

I’ve also had some thoughts on illustrating The Caterpillar That Stood On Its Head. I might post a sample image when I’m happy with one–but since it would be most practical to try and get that one published traditionally, that’s all you’ll get.

Blog Hop!

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Thank you to MissTiffany for tagging me in the blog hop. I think I’ve figured out what I do now!

What is the (working) title of your book?

Conturbus Chronicles (1): Crossfire

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Good question. It was conceived about a week into NaNoWrimo 2011. I had almost given up participating that year, but then two plot twists came at me suddenly, which gave me a starting point and an end. The rest was pretty much improvised; I took a couple of days to brainstorm some characters, and the rest is history.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA urban fantasy adventure

Which actors and/or actresses would you choose to play your characters in the movie rendition?

I don’t know … I picture Justin as a bit like how Alex Pettyfer was in Stormbreaker, but he’s a bit older now! As for the others, I can’t think of anyone specific. I know I’d want to do as JK Rowling did, and insist on British actors, except the characters who are supposed to have an accent. I could live with Tam being played by an American since she has roots there, though I’d prefer a Brit.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Justin’s quest to find the Conturbus key before the evil Marotte takes him through a world of cape-wearing villains, dragons and vampires*, and magic that’s fully compatible with the latest smartphone.

*Not the sparkly kind!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Too early to say. I read ebooks but I would want my book in print as well, and I can’t see that being financed myself.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

If by first draft that includes the occasional scene in note form and great stretches lacking punctuation or speech tags … about three weeks. However re-reading it, about 60% needs cutting. At present I have a chapter plan, notes for future books in the series, a synopsis and the first chapter in full–so don’t hold your breath.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmm, tricky one. I did tackle this task as part of my writing course–my first chapter and synopsis formed part of my Fiction module–and found it difficult to find something quite in the same vein. The plot’s perhaps closest to the Percy Jackson series, but for older readers and without all the Greek gods.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I have to hand it to JK Rowling, if it weren’t for her I would not be a writer–or to be more precise, I would not be attempting it as a profession. And that’s nothing to do with fame and fortune, I mean her books inspired me, more than I can describe in a few sentences! I’ve been inspired by too many things (more than books) to name–television shows, photographs …

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Psychic scorpions, dragons who don’t look like dragons, a wizard hermit called Hobble, magic carpets and a smartphone app to help you find one … that enough to whet your appetite? And of course it wouldn’t be a London-based fantasy without something wacky happening on the Underground …

Now I pass this Blog Hop along to:

Thank you for reading! I’m sorry to say my novel will be some time in coming, but I’ve heard it said you can’t start talking about it too early …

Alienated Talking Bricks (in Bubbles …?)

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Had a good week. A very good week! My Genre coursework is AT LAST completed and submitted, now I can take a nice long break from unicorns and superheroes. Unfortunately I still have work to do–meh–but the big one’s done. Done! Hooray! I was beginning to think I’d never finish it.

And I’ve finished the second song to submit for Lyrics. Well, I think I have. I’m going to wait a while and have another look at the second verse, see if it does need another tweak, but I think it’s finished or at least virtually finished, which means I’m up to my quota on lyrics to submit for marking–just the critique to go, which while trickier than I anticipated is still looking to be much easier than the Genre critique was.

I also finished another song–not one I’m submitting, as it’s based on Shadow Charge and harder to appreciate without knowledge of the story. I had planned for it to be my second song for coursework, but wasn’t sure when it was finished and showed it to a third party with no knowledge of my novel, who agreed it didn’t really stand alone. But in the context of the story, I’m happy with it, so it wasn’t a waste.

Extract from ‘Leave Me Alone’:

Leave me alone! Let me go!
I can’t take the past’s torment
If bricks couldn’t talk I would be all right
But they can and they whisper through the night
Haunted by what I never wanted
I was only trying to make things right

Posting more would spoil the novel plot, so that’s all you get!

A while ago, one afternoon over coffee dregs, I drafted a couple of Trock songs, something I’d wanted to do for ages but didn’t actually plan on trying before I’d finished all my coursework. But my brain had given up on everything else and I thought, why not? Probably because my brain had given up on everything else, only one chorus is actually more than note form. I quite like it though I wish I had more than that. Still, one day …

On the subject of geeky writing, I surprised myself by making progress on two fan fictions in the last couple of afternoons that hadn’t changed a jot in months. Both Doctor Who, well, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Still neither are at a point in which I’d feel comfortable making them public, alas, but still, progress is progress.

I know what you’re thinking, but fan fiction falls into the same category as fan songs, or anything fan-based really: only when my brain has exhausted everything else. Which is sadly why most afternoons you will find me watching the telly, too knackered to finish all the one-chapter wonders I started posting online prematurely over the last seven years (wow, has it been that long?). Which is why I’m being a lot more careful with the newer ideas, i.e. the Doctor Who ones.

I’ll stop talking geek now, not that I’m apologising for being one (never!), but just not to alienate (pun not intended) too much anyone just stumbled on this blog. I promise I don’t only write about geeky things.

I also write about … stars! I like stars. I’m still learning the constellations, I’m quite a newbie to astronomy, but loving it. And I write about other things too, can’t think of specifics off the top of my head but I do.

I’m coming close to leaving home. As in, for good as opposed to during term time. It’s a scary thought. Not in one go, I’m moving into a flat in a town near my parents, so the idea is over time I’ll gradually clear out my old bedroom so one of my brothers can have it. Might take a while, living in two places basically means having two of everything–or it does for me anyway. I’ve been lacking the energy for a real clear-out for years, but being closer to home is looking to be the time to do it.

I’m going to miss London, but I’ll still be going to Neo Writers and astronomy meets (not all of them every month). In the probably naive hope that one day I’ll be able to afford to move back there on a permanent basis. (Don’t burst my bubble, people.) And my friends had better visit or else …

Losunsdonex

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Well, I’ve almost finished my presentation. Just need to check one detail when I get home, then print it out. My laptop internet’s been playing up for about two weeks now, I have to find somewhere with The Cloud wifi (the only one that’s working) just to check my emails because my TARDIS phone is still being serviced. Ah, isn’t technology wonderful. And all this after switching from paper diary to online calendar. Great timing.

Still, I had a weekend off, sort of. Since it was Mother’s Day I went home to surprise my mum–although it turned out she’d guessed I was coming; you should never try and surprise your mum two years running–and just spent some time with the family, trying not to think too much about coursework or accommodation next year.

Tip for presents: Years ago, my mum got a pair of treble clef earrings for a present, which she loved, but the first time she wore them she dropped one, and we never ever found it. So I had the genius idea of getting her another pair, and she was delighted. Personally I love to give homemade gifts, but haven’t for a long time due to the energy needed to make them–but you can show the love with a bit of thought, much better than going for the old cliches.

On a less positive note, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just can’t continue living in London next year. Thanks to government cuts and all that. I really don’t want to move away from the little social life I have, but needs must. My parents have been telling me this for months, I think they’re relieved I’ve finally accepted it. Still, I’ll be coming to London a lot, so once I’ve moved I’ll change my ‘location’ on Twitter and the like to ‘Losunsdonex’ (London and Sussex). Well, why not?

Well, I could just be boring and put ‘London & Sussex’. Then people would actually know what I mean. Hmm …

Finally finished my ‘projects’ poem yesterday (couldn’t find a link to the prompt, it’s in a book my tutor uses). Well I say finished, just got to add in a quote or something, then I’ll have a complete first draft. The poem is called “The Gift of Soup” and is my third attempt to write something with the prompt (and the first success at it). Unfortunately since it was hard enough making it into a poem, I still need to write a prompted song. So I’m going back to the ekphrastic idea. Just have to find some inspiring art. Well, what’s the internet for?