The First Chapter: Part One.

Currently Writing: Chapter One.
Words: 1575.

Over the last few days I have been actually writing. It feels so good to be able to type that. I was hoping to have written a lot more yesterday but I had a nightmare day, and spent my lunch break trying to get my tyre fixed and wolf down dinner before I got back to work (I’d run over a screw whilst stuck in ridiculously awful traffic en route to work. Such is life). By the time I got home I was so tired I barely kept my eyes open to watch Bake Off, then went to bed shortly after.

Today is another day and I have been a very busy bee (sort of) researching lots of lovely things for something else, which I will talk about in future posts when I know more and have more to tell you. But now I have put that to one side and am ready to get writing again. Dan is just reading what I’ve written thus far and I am about to make a coffee, just a simple black one because honestly I make enough with milk at work and actually they aren’t as good (in my opinion of course).

The first few pages seem quite wooden, as I read them back. I also kind of felt that when I was writing them, it wasn’t the same voice in my head reading the words to me as it usually is (not like, in a medical way just like, as you read stuff you hear it in your head). But Dan, having now finished reading the pages has just informed me it all reads the same. Maybe it’s just me and I’m just being picky. I feel like writing a novel is such a different experience than writing a script. Mostly because in the first draft there is so much room for error. In a script it’s either bad or good and I can just tell where I went wrong and how to fix it. But maybe that’s also because I’ve studied screenwriting intensely for three years and had numerous incredible tutors who have helped me in lots of different ways – this is like passing my driving test and flying solo for the first time. The only people I know who can help me are people in the same boat as me, some are obviously much better, but none are like, lecturer level/aren’t real grown ups yet with grown up successes.

Part of me wonders if things will ever change for me, and if it doesn’t then that’s cool because I can progress at work and slowly get used to writing around my job. But it would really suck if I didn’t get my work out there – not for money or fame or whatever but I just love writing so much. I just want to be able to do it all the time and have people want to read it because they like it.

It’s early days and I’m still feeling positive for the most part. Although that might change the more I research similar stuff (gotta know my audience). Be prepared for the “honeymoon” phase to end and the “crippling self doubt” to begin. I just hope I stay on track because this time I don’t have a tutor to make sure I keep going, or a consequence if I stop, other than it being a shame because I love this story. And also this is a novel and it’s much slower going than any script I’ve written. I’m not really sure where this rant went, it started so positive and now it’s just a mess. Sorry guys!

I need to get back to work. Slippers are on and the coffee is ready.

Happy Wednesday.
Don’t tread on the flowers.
F x.

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The First Draft Begins.

I finished planning last night. Good and proper, all the note cards arranged and blu-tacked to the walls (yes, plural) of my office ready to go. I missed this weekends Strictly to do it but with lots of shifts coming in at the coffee shop I need to prioritise my time. Although if anybody tells me who left I will cease speaking to them.

So I am sitting rather uncomfortably in Dan’s office, in his granddad chair ready to go. 100% battery on my laptop, cuppa steaming hot, slippers on, sleeves rolled up, glasses cleaned, spotify on, New Word Document ready and waiting.

My dudes, in mere minutes I will be writing the very first page of my novel. And you are here to witness it. It’s an honour to share this moment with you all. It’s already been so emotional, just a wonderful journey, such high’s, such lows. But this is it.

I’m going to keep a word count update on this blog so for any of you who may be interested you can follow along with my progress.

Actually I’ve noticed a lot of my friends have recently picked up a writing project too, and I think it’s going to be an awful lot of fun working in tandem, while we all write different stories in different formats and mediums, from childrens’ novels to dark AI sci-fi screenplays to comedic female-focused theatre scripts (you know who you are friends!)

So anyway I need to crack on, so wish me luck.

Don’t tread on the flowers

F x

writing aesthetic

Picture found on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/295337688050917784/) and not made by me, even though I wish it was.

Late Night Worries.

As the planning stage of my novel draws to a close (albeit slowly because I’ve started work this week – more on this later) a few things have struck me as I was falling asleep. I don’t know if anyone actually reads this, but if you are reading – especially this post, then feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on any of the following issues I’ve got swimming round my head (along with literally the entire Physics GCSE module on coffee. Like, honestly, my brain is fried!). Also I apologise if this is a bit of a ramble, I wanted to talk to someone, literally anyone, who has had similar issues to me and I’m the only awake being around, both physically and social media-ry.

1) I’m writing a story about sisters, as an only childI feel like maybe if I had a brother I could wing it a bit better, but my siblings growing up had four legs and a tail, and slept on the floor (the dog actually slept on my bed – sorry Mum!). There was no falling out, no sense of losing my best friend as we got older but still having to live with them. I don’t even think I had friends that I was like that with, we’d fall out for a few days and make up a few days later when we had had space.
My characters are ten and thirteen, the youngest of which is the protagonist. Part of me is like “Sisters are people dude you know how to be a people” (I don’t it’s all fake I’m a fraud), but then another part of me remembers being a kid and not understanding that when siblings fell out it wasn’t like when friends fell out, and I’ll never be on that level of bonding with someone my own age. I don’t feel like I missed out on anything and I wouldn’t change my upbringing for the world, but I really want this story to reflect that growing up as a girl is both exciting and godawful, that one can take it in their stride and also adamantly refuse to acknowledge it’s happening. Both my characters reflect me at their ages (obviously, I was once aged ten and thirteen, cooooiiiiiincidence!) but I want their interactions to be authentic. Not just so the readers will think of their own siblings, if they have them, but also just to make the characters stronger, better written, more real.
I know I can research, I recall Disney doing a session with all the women on their team with sisters, which I saw on a channel four documentary a few years ago. But they had women on the team who had sisters, which ultimately changed the plot, famously so. It was a song about sisters growing apart. Somebody help me reach that level. I’m not pissing around I want this to be good, and potentially sellable.

Which leads me to point number two…

2) Keeping my authory shit together whilst working a full time job. This is the first time I’ve had consistent full time hours (as opposed to fluctuating because of tourist season), and I want to make sure I can do both. Do not misunderstand me, as a rather rude person did not long ago (“Oh Froshie is a writer too!” “oh… really?”) I love my new job, and I loved my previous job, along with the many other jobs I’ve had since I was a little kid who mistook whitebait for white bread… that’s another story. No. It’s not that I’m worried some “menial job” will get in the way, it’s that I want to make sure I can juggle it all together, because it’s not menial to me, it’s equally as important. I did fine through uni, but as we all know, the masters really knocked me for six with work load, and my part time job, and social life, and boyfriend – I’m still amazed at how I didn’t fail, honestly wtf. I just want to find a balance that won’t make me miserable. Or over tired (she says, blogging at 2am), or worse, trigger anxiety because that would mean putting a stop to something, and we all know I can’t quit my job, because food, nor would I want to have to choose between any of it. Keeping everything afloat is going to be difficult, and it will take time getting used to it. I might have to go back to using a proper calendar book and schedule literally everything in, from writing hours to shifts to date night to strictly come dancing. Organisation is keyyyy… I should also probably get my sleep schedule sorted (it’s not 2-15am). I feel like if I want it badly enough, I will make it work, it’s just the concern which is making things difficult.

I thought there would be more issues in the final version of this, it’s taken me an hour to write it out and I vented a lot, but I edited more so there is much less for you to read than I actually got off my mind. My brain is totally tapped out anyway because it has been a long day with lots of numbers to try to remember.

I think the sisters issue is my biggest worry. But unless my parents magically adopt a kid in history and I woke up tomorrow with a sister, I feel like I need to buckle down, get writing and just send it to people with siblings who can give me honest and helpful feedback.

I do actually need to go to sleep now though, and I feel like this has helped me an awful lot.
Don’t tread on the flowers.
F x

PS. The photo’s are of hot chocolates I made at home. Mostly for aesthetic insta pics…

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Overnight Change.

So yesterday I was feeling full of self doubt and misery and stress – needlessly I might add – about whether I’m ready to write the first draft or whether to keep planning etc. But I realised this morning that I’m actually really excited to just get on and do it.

So once I woke up and did the things I never have time to do at 6:30am because I’m normally asleep, I made a check list of things I actually need to do before I start, and then I can just start. Normally I’m really organised and do things that way with the scripts I’ve written but I don’t know really, since the masters degree ended it’s as if I forgot how to do it properly. Like, not the actual work, but the beloved bullet journal is still in a box, where it’s been since before we moved, no checklists were made, I don’t even have a proper desk, I’ve been using this weird desky-shelfy thing and the dining room table (which is old and wonky and came with the house). I feel like in order to stop those nagging thoughts I need to be organised af. Fingers crossed I can get my head in the game in that sense and then I won’t have any distractions when it comes to the actual work.

Just have to stop rabbiting and get on with it!

Don’t tread on the flowers!

F x

 

Planning and Preparation.

I feel like I am so close to being ready to start writing this novel. But at the same time it feels like I’m in danger of rushing into it. I’ve spent the same amount of man-hours slogging over the planning stage as I did with my last script, but part of me feels a bit weird about being almost ready to write it because normally this gestation period takes about a year – where I plan a little bit and leave it for a week or so, then I’ll do a bit more, leave it and so on and so on. But it’s not even like when I put it down for a bit anything happens, not like with a finished draft, where after a bit of time you can see all the mistakes etc. I just sort of left it and nothing happened until I picked it up again. Planning is like that, for me at least.

I guess having all this time to do it in one go is making me doubt myself. Surely though, someone who does this all the time for an actual living would be doing the same thing? So when (if) I get to that stage too this will become the norm? Things will happen much quicker without other priorities and actually this is supposed to be my number 1 priority anyway. Just feels weird and scary. And I’m doing it off my own back, and I’ve got a barista job (oh yeah, I got a barista job! Yay!) in order to be able to work full time hours in a job I know and love, so my brain isn’t filled with new training and other work things. I’ve been making coffee (and other things) for so long now that it doesn’t distract from my writing, and when I get back in the evenings I am so used to having to crack on with uni work that just changing from script writing to novel writing – in that sense – is an unnoticed transition.

One thing I have noticed about moving from script writing to novel writing is the amount that goes into a novel is so much. When I went in the other direction at the start of my film course it was so cathartic stripping away all the shit from my stories and only including the really important bits. So now I have to be really careful with what I’m putting in – I don’t want to pad out a good story with bullshit. I’m hoping that by just changing the format, and the narrative style, that will flesh it out without it being filler. I have a lot of anxious thoughts about this (not proper anxiety though, thankfully I seem to be on a good streak at the moment).

Another thing that I don’t want to do is fall into a perpetual planning stage, out of self-doubt that it’s ready to go. The last time I did that was out of self doubt of my ability, then I started uni and got better (so much better) at writing but that novel still hasn’t been written. I still keep going back to it and trying to change it and make it better and then dropping it again in favour for a different project. I can’t really afford to keep doing that, you can’t publish the planning stages.

I’ve reached the stage where I start to doubt everything. And that’s not a bad thing, as long as I don’t entertain it too long. On the one hand it pushes me to write better quality stuff and on the other hand once I get this bit out of the way I can just write the thing. The first drafts are always the worst right? I just have to push through and get it done. There’s nothing wrong with changing everything about it after I’ve written it. I’ve almost got everything I need so I just need to write the thing and get that done with. At least then the most difficult part over with. So what if there are plot holes and things don’t add up, that’s what editing is for.

I think I just want people to read it and like it.

Don’t tread on the flowers.

F x

I’m Sorry Ms Jackson.

It is sunny today for the first time since I’ve moved to Wales. Ironically today is the day I decided I would sit in the office and do nothing but write. I think that might be postponed, I haven’t seen a sunny day in weeks and I would rather like to go for a walk. Although having said that, the hills round here make Cornwall look flat. When will I ever escape them! Mind you I am in a Valley (not the Valleys, just to be clear).

I also need to catch up with the Autumnal telly that’s going on right now, Stella and Strictly mostly. And the reason I haven’t spent the weekend watching them is because Shannon and Rosie, two of my favourite people in the whole world, came to stay. We ate chinese food and went out in Cardiff (best night out ever btw, should you ever get to go), and did a bit of shopping in the day time. I tried a pumpkin spice latte for the first time and it’s sugar, it’s just sugar and I don’t know how people drink so much of it. But these girls mean the world to me and I’m really glad we got to meet up again and spend some quality time together, for the first time in a long time. Next stop is Christmas and we’re hoping to go to Birmingham German Market. I need to keep lots of things planned otherwise I’m going to get a bit claustrophobic here.

In other news I have been planning this novel. On someone else’s blog they referred to it as ‘composting’ when you just digest the story and the characters until you’re ready to write. It’s true, sometimes I’ll compost for a year or two, particularly with feature scripts. Other times it won’t take me long at all. I think this is one of those times – although this may be to do with my current situation (read: hours upon hours of free time) rather than this composting bit speeding up. In all honesty though this weird stage of suddenly having hours free, where I would otherwise be working, is proving to make me quite productive. Aside from my busy weekend, I’ve written all the character bio’s I can think of needing, a brief synopsis and a more in-depth story outline, done the scenery and the maps of the sort of world building (easy because this world is a forest and a fictional town in our world), and today I want to do a chapter by chapter breakdown – this will be more time-consuming but the sooner I do it the sooner I can begin writing.

I’ve also been doing more in-depth reading of the Leshy creature I spoke about in the previous blog, and I have decided that I should embrace it in my story. Not directly, nothing in the story is going to change per se (well it’s not even written yet so it’s got nothing to change from), but I can embrace the fact that my monster is inspired by an actual slavic myth. And what is also interesting is that it’s quite a unique myth to our culture – my research isn’t as in depth as it could be right now but it’s early days yet, however when looking at Celtic culture all I can find so far about the forest protectors were actual animals, not creatures. However I am sure I have seen stuff before about elves or fairies etc. I need to keep reading that kind of stuff to inform my monster better but I have been preoccupied with the Leshy stuff. It’s very, very interesting. One thing I do want to be sure of is that my Birdman monster doesn’t look like a Leshy, which is believed to be human-like, a bit more like a peasant or a beggar with leaves and vines as his beard and hair. I have a very clear picture in my mind of what I want my monster to look like – hopefully if this should find success then an illustrator will do a very good job of it and I won’t have to attempt to draw it myself (I have zero skills in fine art, and it would be insulting to others if I tried).

And with that I better crack on. Gunna make myself some scrambled eggs on toasted ciabatta (We ran out of normal bread) and I am going to make a new wall decoration out of colour coded revision cards with scribbles on them.

Have a good day, enjoy the sunshine if you have it wherever you are, and fingers crossed you’ll be as productive as I aim to be (but probably won’t be because it’s me and I get distracted easily).

Don’t tread on the flowers.

F x

 

Ps. This photo is of Ms Jackson – I don’t know why we dubbed ourselves that, but it’s something to do with the song, hence the blog post title.

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WE MOVED!

We have now moved from rainy Cornwall to rainy Wales. And the big move was less exciting as it looks in the movies. After a lovely goodbye with all the Falmouth lot I set off at 8pm in the evening, and arrived at half past midnight and after reuniting with my partner in crime, ate some food, watched some telly and went to bed. Since then we haven’t done anything particularly exciting. Monday, I recovered from the long drive and the huge amount of work I did before I left. Tuesday we visited Bridgend for like, two hours which included a miniature food shop and then today, well Dan was very productive. I was less so. We took down the wallpaper in what will eventually be the bathroom, but until then will be a smaller office which I think I will be using until we get something else sorted. But then while Dan painted and cleaned I worked on my PhD portfolio. And the novel I might just write off my own back if I don’t get accepted.

We’ve got the homesick blues. I need a job but I made myself take a week off before job hunting, just to take a break and get the things done that need doing – like the PhD application. And sorting out whose names are on what bills. Ew.

But this novel research has led me down a very interesting path. I discovered a Slavic mythological creature called a Leshy which kind of resembles the ‘Monster’ of my story. Which makes for interesting research, because it seems that its very split down the middle in terms of personality types: one is a very strong stoic guardian and healer of the forest (the vibes I’m going for) and the other is very mischievous, leading wanderers astray in the woods and confusing them in order to get them lost if the Leshy doesn’t think s/he’s a good person. One source said that the Leshy goes as far as to disguise himself (always a male) as a human homeless man and lures people into the woods to mess with them. I could add those elements in quite easily and have it add to the overall story. But I’m obviously not ready to write it yet. I want to look into them more thoroughly, and see if there’s an equivalent in mythologies from other cultures.

I’ve also been looking into the symbolism of common blackbirds but there isn’t much beyond baking them in pies and that they’re known for their beautiful songs, like most thrush breeds. I kind of gave up on that pretty quickly as a research area though.

Well I’m off to bed because there’s not a lot else for me to do this evening. I will leave you with a picture I found of a Leshy on pinterest which I’ve saved as inspiration for my story. Unfortunately I don’t know who the creator is.

Don’t tread on the flowers

F x

Leshy - pinterest

Sorry I’ve Been Absent.

Hello readers of the blog I have neglected.

For the last few days of my masters I was really poorly, so it took all my strength to get the work done and finished on time. Worth it though because I’ve come out with a merit overall (thank god!).

Since then I’ve been reading all the fiction I can get my hands on and recovering, mostly under a cosy blanket because the weather has been awful. And working on the John Yorke coursework. I have just uploaded my final project, a treatment for a TV Pilot episode. I’m really proud of it and I have been working harder on that than I feel I have throughout my whole masters course, which is a bit silly of me but what’s done is done.

Other than that I have been preparing to move out of Cornwall. In one week and two whole days I will be a confirmed Welsh resident. I need a job, and an agent, but I’ve got projects to keep me in the writing game, and plenty of shite for you to read (or not, I won’t judge). I’m also applying for PhD things so it’s all systems go for me. Fingers crossed, by Christmas my life should be in some sort of order and that order will be writing. The projects in question are: October – Myself and the other half will be doing 31 days of horror, where we watch a horror film a day and write about it. I will also be pairing this with my own project (although it’s probably a thing already) where I will read one horror book every week in October and reviewing it. And November is NANOWRIMO – so that’s a thing I will be doing. I’ve always wanted to do it but education has been my priority for the last decade since I first heard about it. This year will be my year. I’m all signed up and ready to go. Links to follow at a later date.

I’ve also got my Creative Writing Anthology open for business. A year in the making, Camomile Creative is now in Open Submission phase. So if you would like to submit anything, follow the link at the bottom for more info (and another word press website).

Anyway, I ought to go, I’m working all day tomorrow with my pal Hulsifer. Gots to get that dolla dolla as a float for Wales until I find new job. Priority number one.

Don’t tread on the flowers.

F x

https://camomilecreative.wordpress.com/

Reflective Essay Woes.

First things first why are people loud?

Go away I am working – I shout internally as I drag my eyes away from my computer screen for the first time in days. I look out the window, there is a world outside, a world that I have forgotten. I have been sitting here for hours, my back hunched forward and my arms looked in the T-Rex position behind the window of the room I have locked myself away in, like a shit rendition of Quasimodo.

Reflective essays are the hardest part of this course. I, of course, have been spending time recently with two very lovely ladies who know an awful lot about magical history, in particular the Golden Dawn which had a lot of very good writers in it and thus I have been allowing myself to get distracted by their work with the incredibly poor excuse that it is helping with mine. This is not entirely bollocks but it is definitely not as useful as I am making it out to be because I am supposed to be writing about my own processes and not that of very old very dead play-writes and poets.

So today as I sit sipping ribena from a wine glass behind a pile of books so tall I can’t see the other side of my bedroom, I am attempting to get something written about why I have written what I have written. The short answer is, I don’t actually know. The long answer is much more along the lines of ‘I think I know until I start trying to figure out what the thing I think I know is and then it all falls apart and I have to drink a childs’ drink out of an adults glass while still wearing my pyjama’s lest I get another headache.”

Two weeks left. This time in two entire weeks I will be done and I will have nothing else to do other than make milkshakes at work and read all the books that I want to read and sit and talk for hours about all the wonderful work that my two lovely lady friends are researching. And in turn put all this silly nonsense behind me and move on to a better, brighter and more magical (hint hint) future as a hopeful PhD researcher in a years time (as long as it all goes to plan). The end is in sight now, I am on the precipice of a home run. But I can’t seem to get there any quicker.

Just a short (*in terms of time spent writing this blog) one today as I have to get my head back in the game soon. And I also need to refill my glass.

Don’t tread on the flowers.

F x.

Sixteen Days To Go.

All I can think about is that scene in Braveheart where Mel Gibson chats shit and shouts about freedom. Not for the cultural history, but because there is sixteen days until my deadline.

My stress levels have been through the roof since I got back from France, which is the total opposite of what I wanted and it’s all because I can’t get out of my head that I have a lot left to do in not a lot of time. Which I knew from the start. And I’m ahead of my targets so I don’t know what on Earth I thought I was going to do if I fell behind. Never mind.

I’ve not been blogging because I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall. Figuratively in that I’m trying to type up my feature while my insides squirm with cringing and I want to crawl into a hole and bury myself in the cold damp earth and just wait until I am flower food, and also literally in that migraines are happening and thus I am losing valuable working time.

This is the low point in my writing for uni, where I hate everything I’ve written and don’t want to do it any more. Or at least, I do, but at my own pace and for my own benefit. I don’t think you can rush this sort of work, you can’t make a flower bloom any quicker by looking at it and willing it to burst open. And if you pop them like I did as a kid (sorry Nanna for your fuchsias) you damage the flower and hurt the plant. But I feel like my work is being popped and I’m aggressively trying to will it into something beautiful before it gets damaged and my writing is ruined and worthless.

But I have decided that to cut out all this stress I am doing it on my own terms, in my own way. Migraines do not benefit anyone so I am simply not going to have another one. I am going to rearrange the furniture so that I can be as close to the outside as possible in this pathetic excuse for summer weather and edit and type up and make the conditions perfect for my writing to flourish. None of this sitting in a cave with fluorescent light and unhelpful droning of useless white noise. This needs natural light, vitamin D, healthy home cooked food, good company and lot’s of care and lot’s of lavender oil. And lots’ of Coldplay. Who play with the idea of using light as musical motifs and also in their concerts and thus is actually relevant to my work. But that’s okay. 16 days.

AND THEN NEXT STOP IS WALES.

I can’t wait to finally get out of Falmouth and be somewhere new. And hopefully start my PhD sooner than I had previously thought. But that’s another story for after my deadline which I won’t fail because sunlight and no more stress.

And lot’s of sage.

All the sage.

Don’t tread on the flowers,
F x