Update!

Hello, folks!

Lots has happened in the time since I last posted. Last week was my birthday, which also, terrifyingly, fell on my A Level results day.

Picture: tumblr.com

Picture: tumblr.com

Fortunately, everything went well and I had a fantastic 18th birthday, which was extra special because all my family was around to spend it with me. Plus, I now know I am definitely going to university- which I am super excited about!

Picture: tumblr.com

Picture: tumblr.com

I think I mentioned before about my holiday in Syros, Greece, which was very chilled out (just what I needed in the run-up to results day!), but, if not, here are some photos!

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

 

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

The photo below is from a trip we took to Tinnos, a neighbouring island. It is home to a large Greek Orthodox church, which pilgrims were travelling to- women were crawling on their hands and knees up this hill on the carpet to the church at the top. We spoke to a shop owner, and it seems to be a pilgrimage for healing, perhaps for fertility or childbirth since all the pilgrims we saw were women.

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

This is a remote beach at the top of Syros, accessible only via boat. When we went there was only about 15 others on the beach, all from the same boat. The sailor that brought us came back with a floating crate and served everyone with drinks and melon- you’ve never had melon until you’ve eaten slices stood waist-high in cool sea water with the sun beating on your back and juice running down your hands, I’m telling you! The water was fantastically clear too, so the snorkelling was great.

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

Photo: Scribbley

I’m not sure about August, but I don’t leave home until the end of September so I will definitely be able to blog more than I have been doing then. When I start uni I’m going to try and figure out a routine for blogging and writing in the mornings, but I guess it depends if I can haul myself out of bed! I’ve done lots of reading, so maybe I can coax one review out a day or something (I’m aware I promised a couple of bloggers a review- I will do them, it’s just a question of when, sorry!). I’ve not been in the mood for reviewing recently, and I don’t see the point of writing a rubbish review for the sake of it.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m writing the first draft of my novel (it’s technically the second, but the actual first was short and abysmal) so once that’s done I’d quite like to do some posts about it. Maybe by Christmas?

To my lovely fanfiction readers, the next chapter of Of Snakes and Lions is done and dusted, but I’m waiting until the following chapter is complete before posting it because things are going to be a bit hectic as I prepare for uni and I don’t want to post a chapter when I’m not sure when the next one will be up. If that makes sense! To those on fanfiction.net, I’ve suggested a one-shot competition (see the last chapter of Of Snakes and Lions) and all the responses were positive, so full steam ahead with that, woo hoo! I’ll be extending the competition to Wattpad if it works out okay. Actually, I have an idea for a kind of compilation of Sevmione one-shots inspired by songs, but I’m going to be sensible and wait until I’ve finished Of Snakes and Lions before starting a new fic! I will jot ideas down though 🙂

Picture: giphy.com

Picture: giphy.com

Much love,

Scribbley

Reading over my first draft (and how to review yours)

I feel like I’ve finished my first draft. It’s like 10, maybe 20, thousand words long, which is like a short novella. That’s okay, though, because this story has morphed into something completely different to my original idea, and now I don’t have a plan to follow. I know I’ll be able to bulk up my story massively once I have an idea where it’s going. I don’t yet. I needed some time out before reviewing my first draft. Hence my putting my draft to the side for a couple of weeks and instead focusing on my fan fiction. Now, I’m ready to start revising it. Wish me luck!

Reading my first draft

Okay, so the first time I read my draft, I did just that. I read. No distractions. No highlighting. No annotating. Just reading.

Oh, the horror! My first draft is, without doubt, one of the worst things I’ve written in quite a while. I even switch tenses occasionally, something I’ve never had an issue with before. Reading through it the first time, I had to restrain myself from clicking on ‘delete’ and giving up. PLEASE DON’T EVER DO THIS. There are- and there always will be- gems amongst the rubbish. Even if it’s just one sentence, you will look at part of your first draft and think yes, nailed it there.

For the second read-through, I recommend you find yourself a rainbow of coloured pens or else make acquaintances with the editing functions on your word processor. I work on Microsoft Word, which means as well as the varying text colours and highlighting options, I can click on ‘Review’ and make use of various functions, such as ‘Comment’, which means you can select a piece of text and make notes in the bubble that pops up beside it- basically annotating via computer; ‘Track changes’, where any altering of the document is recorded, so you know exactly what you’ve changed about it, and can therefore revert back to the original if you so choose; and my new favourite ‘Start inking’- probably best if you have a touchscreen laptop as I do, or else a very steady hand on the computer mouse!- which gives you options for a pen, a highlighter and an eraser (with options for colour and thickness) to annotate and highlight to your heart’s content! (I assume there are similar functions on other word processors.)

Basically, your second read-through is the time to cover that black-and-white document in annotations of every colour. I had a colour code for things I liked and things I disliked, and I made comments on each of these things explaining why I did or didn’t like them, for example- “really in character”, “doesn’t fit here”, “hurried- work on pacing”. That way you know what you’ve done well, and what you need to work on when you move onto your second draft.

Third time round, have a notepad handy. In it you should jot down anything and everything that comes to mind as you read over your document and the annotations you made last time you read it. This can include notes on continuity errors, ideas on how to make things you dislike better second time round, thoughts on other scenes you could include etc. I actually ordered my notes chronologically, so I had a title of a scene then details about things that could be improved, then ideas about how to link this scene to the next, and so on. This way you get a ready-made, detailed plan for your second draft.

After reading through your first draft, try not to be discouraged- first drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect! I’ll be posting soon with ideas on how to go about writing your second draft. I hope you all had a good Christmas; please feel free to comment below any suggestions you have for writing and reading first and second drafts!

Weekly Writing Catch-up

Halfway through my second week of writing. I’m happy to say I’m having more fun now than at the start, and haven’t come to a spluttering halt just yet! The beginning of the story is more-or-less finished, and I’ve just got onto some exposition (introducing background info) so that’s interesting.

I thought I would share with you some of the things I found useful over the past week.

  • I mentioned this in my last post, but it really is helpful to write down other ideas. You can write them up in full, and (if you’re doing NaNoWriMo) they’ll still count towards your total. It’s handy to write down a scene as you think of it, because it’s clearer in your mind. Plus, you won’t have to write it later as you strain your memory to think of how it should go.
  • Thesaurus. Thesaurus, thesaurus, thesaurus. Not a dinosaur, as I once thought, but your best friend.
    First time I've used MS Paint on a touchscreen laptop... well, I think it's cute

    First time I’ve used MS Paint on a touchscreen laptop… well, I think it’s cute

    This babe gives you synonyms (other words to describe a given word). Use it so you don’t end up repeating the same word over and over again. Or if you’ve got a word, but it isn’t just right (hey, Goldilocks wouldn’t put up with it).

    *Note* some words have zillions of synonyms, and the thesaurus ain’t gonna list them all. Like, one time I was writing an essay, and I had a word but it didn’t quite have the feel I wanted. I used a thesaurus. Nope. I asked my parents. Nada. The word I wanted was at the back of my mind but- just out of reach. I only knew I’d read it in a fanfic. I ended up Google searching ‘Severus Snape’ and a whole load of adjectives to find the word I wanted: jaded. The lesson? Fangirl instincts>thesauruses.

  • I’ve found it quite useful to find pictures to help me describe things more accurately. I just downloaded them off the internet and put them in a folder- less lazy writers could make a mood-board. Just pictures of dresses etc so I have a picture to describe from instead of a vague idea of clothing in my mind.
  • Similar to the idea above, I’ve found it useful to watch videos on YouTube to get an idea of body language. This means you think of a character from a TV show or from a film that is relatively similar to one of your own, and watch a clip of them in a situation as similar as possible to the one your character’s in. I don’t mean copy what the character’s doing, but look at how they react and use it as guidance to help you describe how your character does.

All in all, pretty pleased with this week’s progress. I’ve had a chilled out weekend too- I went shopping yesterday with my friend, and we watched The Maze Runner in the cinema. The film was good- Will Poulter stood out especially (but maybe that’s just because I love him as Eustace in the Narnia movie)- but the story was a complete rip-off of The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies!

My mum and I made the Christmas cake today so I’m in a Christmassy mood already, and we’ve just watched a documentary on the Brontës so I’m having to restrain myself from picking up Jane Eyre again!

Hope everyone’s having fun with NaNoWriMo/ writing in general!

Byeee 🙂

 

First Draft and NaNoWriMo

I’ve started my first draft. Everything’s all planned out- what could go wrong? Har- har. Actually, nothing yet. I’ve just finished my first chapter, and I feel like I’ll have the hard part out of the way once the second is completed (I suspect this is naïve wishful thinking, though!). The first 300 words were the most difficult to write (at least so far!) but once I had that initial bit out of the way everything seemed to flow much better.

Seeing as NaNoWriMo starts in two days, and everyone partaking in it will be experiencing sort-of the same things as me, the first-drafter, I thought I would share what I’ve discovered in my first thousand-or-so words:

  • For all you’ve planned everything, new ideas pop up at the most unexpected times, so it’s useful to have a notebook handy to keep track of them. I actually use the notepad apps on my phone and laptop too.
  • Have a writing space cleared. Somewhere you’re comfortable writing, and where you won’t get disturbed. Like the “revision space” your teachers bleated about in school. I actually went one better and made two writing spaces (just had to get one up on y’all :P). One’s my desk, for when I use my laptop, and the other’s my comfy chair with like a zillion fluffy cushions on it for when I hand write.
  • What my writing spaces have in common: a desk lamp! Important for when you’re writing at the dead of night/ ridiculous o’clock in the morning, ’cause I know often inspiration hits in the middle of the night but, seriously, I’m looking out for your eyes, folks. If reading in bad light hasn’t ruined them yet, writing in bad light might just do the job (laughs nervously and pushes specs further up nose).
  • Get some killer tunes sorted. At the moment, that’s Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woods on a loop for me (ARE WE OUTTA THE WOODS, ARE WE OUTTA THE WOODS, ARE WE OUTTA THE WOODS). Maybe you like silence when you’re writing. But if you’re a background noise kinda writer, make sure you’ve got your jam sorted, be it heavy rock or whale music (though I’m not entirely sure if that’s not just for giving birth, hmm).
  • When you’re actually writing, bear in mind it doesn’t have to be perfect. Which is difficult if you’re a bit of a perfectionist, like me, but suck it. Embrace the fact that you’re vomiting words onto a page/ computer screen and not fretting that it doesn’t read well. Save your fretting for when you’re editing. If you don’t have a red pen in hand, don’t fret. Chill. You don’t even have to write in order. Write backwards. Write forwards. Write sideways. Write upside down. Common theme: write, whichever way you want.

Finally, good luck to my NaNoWriMo friends, hope you have fun! Let me know how it goes!