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28 Dec 2011

RTW - My top 5

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
What were your top five favourite books of 2011?
 
1) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
This book is exactly why I want to write about ghosts in the future for YA.  The market needs a book like this - eerie, tense with a terrifying villain who can even scare you with her presence when she's not even around.  There are scenes in the book where Arthur Kipps hears a ghostly carriage and then screaming and crying but he never sees it.  He just hears it close by, hidden by the fog and I found that frightening because it's never seen.  We know the presence is there but where exactly? Is it happening right next to you or far away?
 
2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This has to be a favourite purely for how much it surprised me.  I'll admit I'm not really a fan of classics.  I've tried to make my way through Austen's books before and others like Wuthering Heights but I've never been able to get into them.  I'm ashamed to say I just gave up on them after a few pages.  Then we had to read Austen as part of our 19th Century module earlier this year when I was at university.  I began reading it and found myself enjoying it.  I appreciated the satire Austen used and I loved Lizzie as a heroine with her sharp, cheeky tongue.  The girl knew how to banter.  Although I still don't see the appeal of Mr Darcy I liked the novel nonetheless.  May give Austen a second chance in the future.  :)
 
3) Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
The witches are my favourite characters in the Discworld and I liked how he used fairy folklore with A Midsummer Night's Dream.  I have a book on the folklore he's used in Discworld and I was reading how he went back to old tales of fairies and elves etc where they weren't mischievous but downright dangerous and threatening.  I'm a sucker for the old stuff so this book only increased my admiration for Pratchett, not just with his humour but with his research and how he used legends and actual texts to create something so original.  Totally in awe of this guy.
 
4) The Time Machine by HG Wells
Wells also popped up in my 19th Century module and last year during the first semester we had to read The Island of Dr Moreau.  The book actually gave me nightmares.  I wanted to read more of his work so I got The Time Machine to see what that was like.  And I loved seeing what the future had become yet that simple fear of what the night brought had still stuck.  The ending was great even though I wanted more from it.  I won't spoil it but it's left to your imagination to decide what has happened. 
 
5) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I just liked the general silliness of the story sometimes with the answer to the meaning of life and Marvin the depressed robot.  It was fun without feeling like I was reading a hardcore sci-fi book full of terms and slang I didn't really understand.  And I do love the trip to the pub just as the earth is about to be destroyed. When there's a crisis, find the nearest drinking place!
 
What are your top five books of 2011?

24 Dec 2011

Christmas Love...

Merry Christmas everybody! It's such a magical time of the year that turns me into a kid again and as much as I love Christmas day and can't wait for it to arrive I also love the build up to it.  There are so many things I love about the holidays and December so here's a list of my top five things at Christmas:

1) Fairytale of New York - The Pogues and Kirsty McColl
This has been my favourite Christmas song for years.  As soon as I hear it I'm dancing around the kitchen and singing along with it (almost forgetting about the baking I'm doing!). 


2) Christmas baking
I love cooking but something about Christmas gets me in a crazy baking mood.  I take one step into the kitchen and I have my apron on and ingredients out ready to cook some goodies. 
This year I made my first Christmas cake and attempted mince pies too for the first time.  The cake was a success but I had trouble with the mince pies.  Apparently they taste fine but looks wise they're messy and the mincemeat leaked. 

3) The Muppet Christmas Carol
Blame the kid inside me.  I love this version of A Christmas Carol, not just because the awesome Michael Caine is Scrooge but also because the Muppets are involved.  They were my childhood and I cling onto childhood loves.  Hook taught me to never let go of your youth. 

4) Doctor Who Christmas Special
Christmas now means Doctor Who specials.  It always make a nice end to the day after filling up on Christmas dinners, treats, and puddings.  They're usually quite silly - last year there was a flying shark and this year it's Narnia inspired.  Fun to watch. :)

5) Decorating
I love decorating the flat at Christmas.  I'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to decorations.  Everything has to be red, green, and gold and we have a tiny little tree as well with mini baubles and tinsel on.  I have Christmas spray all around the flat and it always looks cosy and warm this time of year.  I love the way it looks and makes me feel.  I'm just happy the whole time!

Is Christmas your favourite time of the year? What's the best thing about the holidays for you?

21 Dec 2011

RTW - Book Buys

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.




This Week's Topic:
Where do you buy most of your books? No one is judging!



Unfortunately in my town there aren't many places to turn to for books.  We used to have a huge Borders that I'd have to be dragged out of because I spent so much time in there.  I could always rely on Borders to have what I was looking for.  But now that's closed I go to Waterstones, the only proper book store in the city centre where I get most of my buys from.  It's three floors of book paradise with a Costa Coffee inside and have a section dedicated to Stephen King books.  How awesome!

But I also love looking at the book stall in the city Market where I go crazy on bargain books.  I got Dracula the Undead for £1.50 straight after it's release.  When you're on a budget head to a market!

And if I'm really low on cash, the boyfriend is usually a good source to borrow from. His bookcase is full of sci-fi and fantasy and also has most of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.  He's my personal library!

19 Dec 2011

Starting out

As you know and can certainly tell, I'm completely new at blogging.  I'm still getting the hang of it and making that slow step into the community.  I'm searching for topics of interest that I can talk about, getting an idea of what regular features I can do and a possible schedule.  I'm joining in with RTW Wednesdays on YA Highway to help me get the confidence to just join in and speak.  I'm slowly getting this blog organised which I hope to do this holiday once I'm over the worst of this cold. 

I thought it'd be nice to hear other people's stories on blogging and how much they're enjoying it.  What made you start? Was it to talk books or writing or films etc? To stay in touch with friends or make new ones? I'm interested in hearing your story whether you've only just started or have been doing so for a while now.  :)

Mine started because of NaNo.  I wanted to join in with a worldwide experience of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month and I wanted to share my experiences.  Now that it's over it's purely to talk about writing and love for the YA market.  I did a degree in English and Creative Writing where I befriended other writers and we talked a lot about writing, showed each other our work and gave feedback.  I loved it because I was sharing my top passion with others, which I couldn't do in High School.  Now that most of them have moved back home for work and to save money I miss having people nearby to share writing with.  So that's why I started blogging.

15 Dec 2011

RTW - All He Wants For Christmas...

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
What would be the ideal holiday present for your main character (or favorite character)? 

Seeing as I put him through hell in the story I'll choose Caleb from Beast Inside and find an ideal Christmas present to him.  And I got the best one for him.  Caleb's a sci-fi fan, very into fantasy and science fiction but not really much of a horror fan.  He'll watch them but he's a total wimp - everything horror he watches ends up scaring him senseless and his mind will run away when its silent and night.  Suddenly everything around him is a monster waiting to kill him.

So his favourite is sci-fi.  And he's not much of an outdoor person.  His socialising is spent inside on social networking sites and trying to get to reach level 90 on an RPG game with Joshua.  So something to take him away from the computer but not forcing him outside...


Any Doctor Who series would be perfect for him.  Classic or New Who.  It's fun, cheesy sci-fi with bad effects and insane explanations of time and space.  Everything is just timey-wimey and wibbly wobbly with an eccentric and danger magnet Doctor. 

It's fun and something to watch over the holidays.  One downside to the present - his tendency to procrastinate won't improve.  Can't see any work being done over the holidays with this in his possession.

7 Dec 2011

RTW - How Far Would You Go?

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
How far would you go to get published?
 
So how far would I go to get a book published? I know for definite that I would not give into a trend, changing the genre or writing a plot that is popular.  I'll use my NaNo project as an example.  Now, it probably looks bad because it's about vampires.  Honestly, I'm not jumping on the vampire band wagon.  I just wanted to write about a folkloric creature that has fascinated me since I was a young girl.  But I would refuse to change the lore I put in, how they look, how they transform etc.  If I'd get asked to make the vampire sexy, less corpse-like, and bring in a LI I'd say no. 
 
It depends on revisions.  Like I said, if they wanted me to change the entire atmosphere of the story I'd do my best to fight for the horror genre and keep it that way.  But if there were suggestions such as working on a character or adding/taking out a scene I'll work on it with them and see whether or not it'll improve the story.  I'm always willing to take on suggestions.  But not on changing genre. 

1 Dec 2011

NaNo - yay or nay?

Final word count: 50,128

NaNo is finished and done with.  Congratulations to anyone who won and took part - it's a wonderful achievement!

This was my first year taking part so it was quite a new challenge for me.  At the end of the day I'm really proud of learning how to discipline myself and letting myself write the story.  The inner editor was ignored.  Mostly.  But with pros comes some cons.  I like the challenge - it was really good for me.  However, I have to admit I'm just as glad finishing it than I was signing up to it. 

Towards the end the deadline did make me feel quite tired and I was ready to have my evenings to myself again.  It was hard for me to balance work, writing, house chores and squeeze in other things like getting my clothes and lunch ready for tomorrow and getting a bath and hair wash.  I felt a little bad because I was writing so much and felt like I was completely ignoring my boyfriend - not finding much time to spend time with him.  My left wrist is also in a lot of pain from writing so much in the last few days.  It hurts to bend.  Now I feel a little relaxed and able to get more things done on a night.  I can also enjoy focusing on Christmas now and getting ready for that.  So those were my cons.

The pros? I've come away with a finished first draft, ready to edit and take my first steps into polishing up a novel for querying in the future.  An amazing sense of achievement for taking on a challenge that doesn't fit to my writing style and getting on with it. 

What I've learnt? NaNo definitely doesn't fit to my writing style.  I'm slow but I hope I'll be a little bit faster in the future.  I'll also be happier working on the next W.I.P at my own speed. 

I'm still glad I've done this.  However I'll admit that I'm uncertain about whether or not I'll do it again next year.  Maybe I'll have disciplined myself more by that time.   Who knows?

I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on NaNo - have you done this year or another? Any good? Did it put you off signing up again?

23 Nov 2011

RTW: Giving Thanks

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.
 
This week's topic:
What writing or publishing-related thing(s) are you most thankful for?

A BIG thank you to three things:

My creative writing tutors
They were awesome.  Just pure awesome.  One I turned to for feedback on all stories because he was a prose guy and his suggestions always helped, letting me know when it was good to go for submitting for assessment.  He showed where my strengths and weaknesses lie, encouraging me to try styles and narratives that I was dead set on avoiding because it wasn't my comfort zone.  My other tutor actually introduced me to experimental writing, which I hated at first but then had fun with when I found out that alternate histories could be seen as experimental.  I was also introduced to ficto-criticism which I had loved and thanks to his suggestions, encouragement, and interest I have a story mapped out that I'll go back to one day and develop.  They taught me so much about writing and got me out of my comfort zone for assignments and class preparation pieces that I found other styles/genres I'd love to write in/for.  I haven't regretted choosing to study creative writing with English. 

Books
I have to thank books! They're the reason I write to begin with.  Since I was little I've read stories that I've enjoyed and left constantly thinking about in my head.  I would finish a book and think: 'I want to write something like that'.  I loved telling stories when I was little, mostly in my head where I would go off into a fantasy land and think of adventures to have.  They introduced me to amazing characters like Inigo Montoya, Granny Weatherwax, and Larten Crepsley and I just wanted to do the same.  Someday... hopefully. :)

Darren Shan, R.L.Stine, and Stephen King
When I was younger I loved the twist endings and creepy tales of R.L.Stine.  In my teenage years I was introduced to Darren Shan and I told myself that I want to write Young Adult supernatural horror just like he did.  Moving on into my late teens and present day it's Stephen King that takes up most of my bookshelves and Salem's Lot is constantly take on and skimmed through, again telling myself that this is the genre I want to write for most of all.  These three authors inspired my love for spooky tales. 

To everyone who celebrates Happy Thanksgiving, have a great holiday and enjoy it!

20 Nov 2011

NaNo Week 3 - Targets, Juggling, and Publication on the side

Word Count: 21,326

I said last Sunday that my target was to reach 20,000.  I did it! Last night, I achieved my target and today I'm hoping to get up 25000.  Hopefully some time in a coffee shop away from internet distractions will help write faster and get more done. 

It's getting easier to just write and build up the word count, especially that I'm far into the story now and moving into the middle.  I don't think I'll finish the story in 50,000 words - may need to carry on but the important thing at the moment is meeting that 50,000 word count.  What I wish I had done in the beginning was do 2000 words each day rather than 1000.  It meant I was really behind, especially when I had days where my cold made me feel awful and extremely weak so I avoided doing anything, even writing.  There's a nasty bug going around my school at the moment.  It left me with a sinus infection, the class teacher I work with had to take a day off feeling sick and a student teacher who is currently doing a placement in our class has been sick on and off for a week.  So that's been in the way of NaNo on a few occasions.

But to reach 20,000 this week I allowed myself to have a target of at least 2000 words that I would write each night after coming home from work and getting everything else ready for the next day like lunch and clothes etc.  2000 words meant I would have reached 20,000 by Friday.  It's not much and if you just sit down and write, the word count flies by.  I had one naughty day on Friday - lazy night in with the boyfriend with take-away and watching our favourite programmes together.  I'm trying not to feel guilty for that because I think it's good and healthy for people to just take a day or a night to rest up without having to worry about the cleaning, cooking, and writing.  Just one night to refresh your mind and relax.  Take-away is my hero for that, along with a bubble bath, candles and incense.   It meant the next day I went back to the writing and got those 4000 words onto the document and target was reached.  So if there's anyone out there doing NaNo who is feeling the pressure... try not to worry.  :) Just sit down whenever you have the time and write lots without thinking about it and when you feel you need to... relax for a night and take away the stress.  Everyone needs a break now and again.  All work and no play...

The anthology I contributed to has turned up on Amazon Kindle stores a day early! :D I have a few links for you...

First, a teaser to download if you want to check it out.

And the links to Amazon kindle stores for different countries:

UK Kindle Store: http://amzn.to/ReKindle
US Kindle Store: http://amzn.to/ReKindle-US
DE Kindle Store: http://amzn.to/ReKindle-DE
FR Kindle Store: http://amzn.to/ReKindle-FR

On iTunes: http://bit.ly/Re-iTunes

16 Nov 2011

RTW: Required Reading

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link -- or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments.

This week's topic:
In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

Since year nine I studied at least one Shakespeare play all the way until my second year at university  I think I studied about eight of them throughout my first two years there.  There were quite a few occasions where I studied a book two or three times in my education.  While it meant I knew the book quite well it was also a little boring re-studying a book again and wished there was more variety and definitely a little less Shakespeare. 

Maybe High School English could do with more classics aimed at a younger audience? When I was doing my GCSEs and A*Levels I would have loved to study a book where the characters were around my age or younger. At university we had a module based entirely around children's literature where we read Alice in Wonderland, What Katy Did, Peter Rabbit etc.  And it was fascinating - the issues and context explored were interesting.  My first essay on the module discussed how Alice in Wonderland and What Katy Did presented authority and the second essay talked about what the choice of colour, frame, and character position in picture books show the reader.My education just seemed to full of Shakespeare. So I'm not really rushing to read more Shakespeare at the moment.

So my suggestions?

 

Well, for a teenage audience I think S.E Hinton's The Outsiders would be an excellent addition to a reading list.  It discusses social divide between young people through subcultures and wealth - something that still goes on in high school today.  In The Outsiders it was greasers and socs.  At my high school I saw it was between the chavs and grungers/goths. 


Anything by Terry Pratchett in his Discworld Series.  Just to study the art of comic intertextuality and how Pratchett uses folklore, television, and social issues to satirise and create his own little world.  If there was an arc I had to choose for reading in school it would have to be the witches.  Agnes Nitt, Nanny Ogg, Magrat Garlick, and Granny Weatherwax.  Their story-arcs are my favourite.

And finally The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  I love my satire, I can't help it. :) And the narration is quite interesting and experimental, jumping from the story to the author interrupting and we, as readers, learning we're reading an abridgment of the actual novel by S.Morgenstern in the beginning. Very meta.  Teachers, go wild studying the metanarrative aspect of the novel!

13 Nov 2011

NaNo: Second Week

Word count so far: 10,369

What I'm learning from the story so far...

1) Some characters may need a personality transplant.  My three MCs do come across as jerks a little.  I kinda wanted to punch them in the face when I was writing their dialogue.  What was supposed to come off as sibling and friend bantering just came off as arrogant and annoying.  So I need to work on how I present Josh, Caleb, and Luca in the beginning when the editing begins. 

2) Caleb is also a complete and utter wimp.  But I kind of like that he's come across as a character who cannot watch a horror film without letting it get to his head.  Might keep that trait and work on it for the edits.  I like a character who shows that they do get scared. :)

3) Haven't quite got the horror atmosphere right.  It's not really scaring me so in the editing I'll need to really look at the writing and put in some notes on what to change/take out/add and how to creepify it more.

I'm honestly trying to hold the inner editor back and it is working.  I've learnt to just write and let the story come out first but I am keeping mental notes of what I can focus on to begin with when it is time to let the inner editor out.  Keep the little monster happy for now.

Made it to the 10,000 mark at last! And I've seen some people have already reached the 50,000 word target.  Congrats to anyone who has done that! I'm very much in awe! I still feel so slow but I know writing huge word counts in a day isn't my writing style so I don't feel too bad about it.  Everyone writes differently - fast or slow, around noise or in need of silence, at home or in a coffee shop - and I think NaNo can play a huge part in helping us realise what our style is.  I'm really enjoying the experience of it and learning a bit more of how I write and what I'm comfortable with and not. :)

So.... perhaps I can reach 20,000 by next Sunday? Challenge accepted! Let's see how well I can discipline myself and see if I can keep this 'just write and get it typed on that bloody word document already!' attitude.

To add to this blog, I put a link up for the short story coming out soon.  Not shamelessly promoting it and obsessively talking about it I swear... *whistles innocently*

6 Nov 2011

NaNo: The First Week

Word count so far: 4,046

Okay, not bad :) Haven't done as much as I thought I would, which I'm a little disappointed in myself for, but so far I'm succeeding in tucking away my inner editor and just focusing on writing the story.  That would have to be one of my writing flaws.  I let the editor work alongside me as I write but rather than being nice and offering constructive criticism it's mainly there hanging next to my ear snapping "This is rubbish.  Where did you get this character from? That dialogue is awful!"

Yeah, I'm my own worst enemy at times.  It gets in the way of writing and slowly I lose motivation to write because I've convinced myself it's terrible.  I'm spending so much time thinking about what will need some serious editing that the excitement and enthusiasm for just writing that first draft disappears.

NaNo is actually helping here.  Occasionally the editor pops out to tut and whisper 'I don't like that part' but I just keep going and focus on what's next in the story to write.  My determination to reach 50,000 is stronger than the editor, thank goodness.  Now all I need to work on is writing more each day.  So far I've made sure I've written at least a thousand words each day.  The only days I didn't go near the W.I.P were Friday and Saturday - I came home from work with a stinking cold and complete exhaustion from supporting 4 and 5 years old in class.  I just needed to rest and make sure I got better for Monday.  I've been at my new job a week so hopefully I'm now used to the routines.  I'm hoping I won't be as tired next week and my cold seems to be disappearing quickly so maybe I'll feel 100% better tomorrow.

Roll on 10,000 words! I will reach that target this week.

I hope everyone else is doing well! :)

In other writing news, I've just seen the cover and web page for the short story anthology I've contributed a story to.  I've signed my contract, done my edits and submitted my bio for the publisher's website which should be on soon.  I'm going to have my first writing piece published! Yay! It'll be published in a digital edition first and then in March 2012 as paperback.  I think for the electronic version they're going for the 25th November as a publishing date. 

Lookie here! http://www.elsewhen.co.uk/

I'm so excited for this! I'll give you more info on the story I've submitted for it next time!

Good luck for the next week, fellow NaNo-ers!

29 Oct 2011

NaNo Essentials

So in terms of research, outlines, and character info I'm prepared to actually write the story.  But for my writing process I sometimes need a little more to get in the mood for writing.  I feel like some of these are completely crazy but I've always felt they really help me write.

Inspiration
I'm guilty of lacking motivation and inspiration sometimes.  But for whatever story I'm working on I always need either music, a film, and all my research notes surrounding me or playing in the background.  For my NaNo project I'm writing about vampires so I'm definitely going to have the following near me:

1) Salem's Lot by Stephen King
Stephen King's tale of a small USA town slowly being taken over by vampires is one of my main inspirations.  I saw both adaptations, read the book, and fell completely in love with the story.  I liked the idea of these people slowly dying, succumbing to this vampire plague, and in the 1979 I became a fan straight away of their appearance.  Yellow eyed, rotting teeth and fangs, and generally acting uber creepy by floating outside windows and scratching at the glass to be let in.  I keep the book near me to be reminded of why I want to write this story: to bring the old school vamp back and turn them into the horror icons I love them to be.

2) Vampire films playing in the background
The poor boyfriend is going to have to put up with the numerous vampire films I'll be putting into the DVD player.  I don't know why but I always write better if something is on in the background, especially if it's the same genre that I'm writing for or a similar kind of story to what I want to write.  It helps keep me inspired.

3) Playlist
Yep, I'm another writer who uses music.  Although sometimes it is distracting for me so I don't listen to songs when I'm writing that much.  But when I'm not writing - either taking a break or getting some chores done - I like to have a playlist of songs that, like the films, inspire me.  Sometimes a song will create a scene in my head or a character so when I'm doing something else I like to listen to those chosen songs to keep me thinking about the story.

4) The research
I like to keep my research nearby so I can keep going back to it in case I want to find out more or just wanting to double check sometimes.
My research for the NaNo project includes:
  • The Case of Mercy Brown
  • Bite: A Vampire Handbook by Kevin Jackson
  • Vampires by Nigel Suckling
  • The Giaour: A Fragment of a Turkish Tale by Lord Byron

These books, Mercy Brown's case, and Byron really helped me get an idea of what vampires were going to be like in the story.  The books on vampires are also really fascinating so if you're also a vampire fan I definitely recommend them!

Goodies
Chocolate, snacks, coffees and maybe the odd lucozade if I've been good and avoiding the sugary drinks for a while.  Gotta keep the energy up! So I've stocked up on Terry's Chocolate Orange, Mr Kipling's Lemon Slices, marshmallows, and mochas.  Also bought fruit so I don't feel completely guilty for eating unhealthy snacks all the time.

Hair tied back and a long, winter cardigan
Now this one you might think is weird but my hair feels like it just gets in the way if it isn't tied up and out of my eyes.  The cardigan? I honestly don't have an explanation for that one.  Just it's cosy and makes me feel more of a writer.  I know, it's a tad bizarre but I never said I was normal to begin with. ;)

Word Count Widget
To track my progress as I go along and also keep me determined to reach the 50,000 target.

And those are my (slightly weird) writing essentials. :) Anyone else need certain things or a certain atmosphere to write in?

27 Oct 2011

Let's get started then...

After years of putting it off purely because I'm a coward with these things I've finally signed up to NaNo and I'm doing it this year. :)

I always used university as an excuse, saying I was going to be too busy with essay assignments or getting my reading lists finished etc.  In reality I was shit scared because I thought I couldn't do it and didn't want to look stupid by signing up and coming out with only 1000 words due to bad procrastination on my part.  But recently I've written a short story for an anthology my friend's parents are involved in so a few of us have written either one story or more for it.  Mine is finished, sent, and currently waiting on any edits or changes I should do but overall... it's going to be my first published work.  I know it's not a novel but it's still a big deal for me and it's something small to start out with. :)  Other people will have submitted stories so I'm not as nervous as I would be with a debut novel since it isn't just my story being focused on. 

It's definitely given me more motivation to get this NaNo project finished so I'll have my first completed draft and that's the goal really.  To finish something without letting the brutal editor inside of me insult and criticise it to the point where I give up on it because I'm convinced it's rubbish.  I do have a bad habit of doing that, unfortunately.  Maybe learn to have a little more faith in myself?