Category Archives: General Things

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Who Am I? Delving into the Difficult Depths of Gender

Who am I? I’m Eilidh. I’m 18. I was born female. But I know I’m not – at least, not JUST female. I don’t want to put a label on myself; I don’t want to limit myself to thinking I identify only as a female, or only as a male, or even to identify as both. And I don’t want to feel I have to conform to any of these, either. I don’t want to be looking into terms like gender-fluid, bi-gender, or non-binary and think “Well, I think this is what I am, but maybe I need to be a bit more like this for it to be acceptable/accurate”.

I love being mistaken for a guy. It’s happened to me for years, ever since I first got my hair cut short, and it amuses me and actually makes me happy – which some people, myself included, struggle to understand. Why does being called “son” or “boy”, or hearing a young child say to her brother that I “don’t look like a lady” make my day? I don’t have a clue, but I DO know that I like it, and I do know that nobody needs to get offended on my behalf, as has happened a couple of times. I used to absolutely hate being referred to as a girl; the very thought of it made me feel physically sick and angry, but at that time I didn’t really know what transgender was; I didn’t really have an understanding of gender outside of “male” and “female”. So I resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do about it – I was a girl, I was going to be called a girl, and that was that. I had the feeling that if I asked my parents to stop referring to me as “their wee girl” or as a female in general, I would be either be laughed at and ridiculed, or told that it was just a phase.

In the years that have passed, I have often wondered what it would be like to be a guy, and I know it’s something I would prefer; it’s always seemed to me that being a guy would be, simply, easier and better. Even knowing that, though, I’ve never done anything about it – I never really thought that I could. Sure, I wear clothes that are maybe a little more masculine (certainly stereotypically so!), my hair is short, and I really dislike wearing make–up, but I’ve never tried to think too much about if I could be Trans, gender–fluid, or really anything other than the girl that I was born. Lately, however, it’s been playing on my mind a lot. I spent days on end doing online research and trying to look into all the terminology – although that nearly left me just as confused – and I realised that I’m not a cisgender female. I just can’t identify with that, and I don’t want to identify as that either.

How, then, do I identify? Well, that I still don’t know. Part of the not knowing stems from struggling to understand, and get to grips with, some of the terms and work out the differences between, say, gender fluid and bi–gender – they seem really similar to me. I’m trying not to think on it too much, as I’m sure over time I will work out how I identify, but at the same time I just want to know. I want to know if I’m bi–gender; I want to know if I may even be Trans (which seems more likely the more I think on it) so that I can start coming to terms with that and not spend my time worrying “Am I this? Am I just over–thinking things?”.

My ideal image of my self is generally pretty masculine, but at the same time I can’t imagine people actually referring to me as “he” – but that may be because the only times that has happened, have been accidental and misunderstandings. I’d feel awkward asking people to refer to me as “he”, too, because I don’t know how they would take it, especially if they’ve known me as “she” for so long. I’ve considered the use of “they” before too, but again it doesn’t sound quite right to me – but that’s just in my head, and in reality either “he” or “they” (or, indeed, any number of pronouns I’ve not even considered) could sound just right when used out loud by someone other than myself.

What I need to do is not try and put a label on how I feel – I don’t want to feel I have to try and match up to certain “criteria” in order to realise who I really am. I know I need to give myself time and the opportunity to explore my feelings; to experiment. I’ve ordered a couple of binders and some new shirts, and I’m getting my hair cut into what will hopefully be a slightly more masculine style – they’re not huge steps, but they’re a start, and hopefully they’ll help me realise how I feel most comfortable. I’m even at the stage where I’ve started to consider a small selection of both gender–neutral and masculine names, if it should get to the point where I want to change mine. Perhaps that’s me jumping into things unnecessarily, but putting a little thought into it and seeing how they may fit with how I want to express myself isn’t going to hurt.

I’ve also recently joined the forum Empty Closets, which is designed for LGBTQ+ people and their families/friends for any questions and discussions relating to things such as Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. I’ve not posted on it terribly often yet, but I have been reading other threads that I feel myself associating with and some have been really helpful so far – it’s definitely a site I recommend for anyone who perhaps doesn’t have anyone they can talk to comfortably, or would like information or help on a range of subjects. In fact, this post was inspired by a response to the thread I made regarding my gender, in which I was urged to think about the questions “Who am I?” and “Who do I want people to see me as?” – and I like to think I’ve made a start in that. I’m lucky to have people I can speak to about all of this, whether they’re online or friends I see often, as I know that is often not the case, but to anyone who is questioning their own gender/orientation/etc., I hope you know you’re not alone in that – and remember, there is always someone willing to listen, even if it doesn’t always feel that way 🙂

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Edinburgh Pride 2015

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Yesterday (the 20th of June) was the Pride festival in Edinburgh, and it was a great thing to be part of. It also marked 20 years of Pride in Scotland, so having this be my first Pride experience was that bit more special and I’m so glad that I could take part.

As much as I had been regularly checking the Pride Edinburgh website, and reading other bits and pieces on Pride, I still had no real idea as to what to expect so although I was excited going into Edinburgh, I couldn’t help but feel apprehensive at the same time. That said, it was really something to be sitting in a coffee shop with my friend and watching people start heading down to the Scottish Parliament, adorned with various LGBT+ flags, t-shirts, and an amazing fashion sense from all.

When it was time to start getting together at Parliament, I was slightly amazed at how many people were already gathered there and I must admit that I did feel quite out of place – I almost had no idea what I was doing there, as everyone I saw seemed so comfortable and confident, and there I was utterly convinced I was sticking out like a sore thumb. I wasn’t, of course, and after managing to find a friend of mine by chance, I lost any feelings of nerves or awkwardness, and started to really look forward to the march.

The walk up Edinburgh’s Royal Mile was quite surreal, as a good few people were around watching and taking photos, and it was wonderful being able to walk along surrounded by so many people all marching to celebrate being who they are. About halfway up the Mile, a big cheer went up from people in front of us, and it turns out we were walking past a (straight) couple who were just married, and the bride had taken one of the rainbow Nando’s “Worth coming out for!” flags that many of us held as we walked along, so that was very nice to see.

We stopped outside the City Chambers at the top of the Mile for speeches, and again I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. It turns out they were from members of the various political parties here in the UK, and I actually found them to be pretty interesting – I was also somewhat amazed that they (for the most part) managed to leave political matters and party jibes out of it. I have to say, my favourite moment from all of the speeches was when the member of the Green Party (I think) came out with “Give me a P! Give me an R! Give me an I! Give me a D! What have we got?!”, at which point my group and I almost yelled back “Pride!”, and then realised we only had…Prid. I’m still wondering how quickly it took for her to realise her error; nonetheless it was pretty damn funny for us, and was referenced a LOT throughout the day.

After the march ended, we wandered round a few of the stalls, where I was handed a couple of leaflets on fire safety (clearly they could just tell what a hazard I am!) and picked up the odd leaflet and Visi-BI-lity badge, as well as a “Some people are BI. Get over it” sticker, which I really love. We also paid a visit to the main arena, where they had the LGBT+ Youth Space and various other things going on, although it was a bit too crowded to really move freely and not get in anyone’s way. However, one thing I noticed throughout the march, and am thinking about again just now, is how diverse an age range there was. There was a lot of older people, and then on the other end of the scale a lot of young people – and I was almost surprised as to how young. I noticed a few people out with their young children, and it was lovely to see them getting so involved. From what I could see, the majority of people were made up of those of us aged 16-25, which was again really good to see as I hadn’t been too sure how likely young people would be to attend.

One thing that really jumped out at me was especially prevalent in the speeches, which is that a large part of the focus was on the LG parts of LGBT+. A couple mentioned transgender and intersex rights, and one at least mentioned bisexuals (only once, mind), but there was no mention at all of asexuality or anything else – and sexuality was definitely the main feature, with gender becoming a seemingly non–existent concept. It made me realise that although things have definitely changed over the years, so much more has to happen in terms of awareness. Just as gender doesn’t stop with “male and female”, sexuality doesn’t stop at “heterosexual and homosexual”. People identify as so many different things, and it’s important to be aware and inclusive to the best of your ability. In the speeches we heard at Pride, they all mentioned being lesbian or gay, and as I said only a few included bisexuality, transgender, and intersex, and I believe some did use the LGBT acronym too – but as my friend pointed out, “how hard would it be to say LGBT+? It’s only an extra syllable”. And I feel she made a very valid point; to some it may just be an extra syllable and so no big deal, but to others it could be a way to feel more accepted and less alone – and surely that can only be seen as a good thing?

All in all, I had a great first experience at Pride, and as well as being good fun it also really made you think; though perhaps not very coherently if the above paragraph is anything to go by! I’m looking forward to many more years of Pride, and I would urge people to go to any local ones if they ever get the opportunity.

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Teens Can Write, Too! February Blog Chain

How does music relate to your writing?

A music-related Teens Can Write, Too! What could be better – it is, after all, a combination of two of my favourite things (unfortunately, raindrops, roses, and girls in white dresses were totally neglected), and so something I was very eager to write about. And yet I still left it to the last minute… Nevertheless, I’m writing it now! And what do you know, listening to music too (The Pretty Reckless, if anyone’s wondering) – so without further ado, let’s get started!

I adore music, and always have – just as I always have, and always will, loved writing. For me, you can’t have one without the other. I’m always playing music, whether I’m reading, writing, or going to sleep, and usually it doesn’t matter what I listen to (as long as it’s, you know, good), but in the past few years what I write has definitely become influenced by what I’m listening to at the time – or perhaps it’s the other way around? It used to be I would find a few artists that I like, create a playlist, hit shuffle and go from there, but it was when I first took part in NaNoWriMo all the way back in 2013 that that changed. The story I had started writing at that point was a horror/paranormal one, and if I’m honest I didn’t always listen to music when writing it – mostly because I was working on it at school, and I didn’t want anyone creeping up behind me or reading over my shoulder without my knowledge! However, when I was home, my earphones would be in, I’d have my story up, and I’d be listening to… The score for the 2012 film of The Woman in Black. I enjoyed the film, but the music is really something else – I’ve tried to go to sleep many times and the music has come on through shuffle, leaving me about ready to dissolve into a puddle of fear! The music is really rather beautiful at points, but is most definitely the kind of thing that WILL leave shivers running through you – on the plus side, it always helps to create a great atmosphere, and I really get into my writing when I listen to it. My favourite is the first track; Tea For Three Plus One

Film scores will likely be a running theme in this post, as I find they’re so good at inspiring a scene or even helping to get past a bit of writer’s block. Of course, it all depends on what I’m writing – if I’m writing a sad scene, listening to something really upbeat isn’t going to make it come across as well as I want it to, as I won’t be in the right mind-set for it. Sometimes it’s not so much for inspiration as just listening to something that fits – for instance, at the moment I’m trying to write something that’s more sci-fi based and as I can’t abide the sound of silence, I’ve been alternating between the scores for Star Wars Episode III and Guardians of the Galaxy (whilst I’m not a fan of the film, there’s no denying how good the music is).

Sometimes, though, I can’t define a genre or find the perfect piece of music so will listen to anything that puts a smile on my face and makes me want to write. One such piece is Lost But Won by Hans Zimmer, from the film Rush (that entire score is excellent though). Words can’t describe how I feel when it reaches the two minute mark; it’s truly wonderful and I highly recommend listening to it, and watching the film.

The thing I love the most about music, and scores in particular, is how it opens up so much to you, and I find it’s just like reading in that way – you can be totally transported, and it’s amazing how two different mediums can have that same effect. It opens so much into your own writing too, even if you don’t realise it at first, and I love how music has the potential to completely change what may have been an otherwise bland scene.

Now excuse me whilst I finish listening to Harry In Winter and cry from how beautiful and sad but so full of hope it is.

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:

6thhttp://jasperlindell.blogspot.com/ and http://vergeofexisting.wordpress.com/

7thhttp://novelexemplar.wordpress.com/

8thhttp://www.juliathewritergirl.com/

9thhttp://www.freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

10thhttps://ramblingsofaravis.wordpress.com/

11thhttp://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/ and http://www.pamelanicolewrites.com/

12thhttp://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

13thhttp://miriamjoywrites.com/ and http://whileishouldbedoingprecal.weebly.com/

14thhttp://kirabudge.weebly.com/

15thhttp://lillianmwoodall.wordpress.com/ and http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

16thhttp://theedfiles.blogspot.com/ and http://fantasiesofapockethuman.blogspot.com/

17thhttp://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/ and https://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

18thhttp://semilegacy.blogspot.com/ and http://from-stacy.blogspot.com/

19thhttp://horsfeathersblog.wordpress.com/

20thhttps://clockworkdesires.wordpress.com/

21sthttps://stayandwatchthestars.wordpress.com/ and http://arielkalati.blogspot.com/

22ndhttp://loonyliterate.com/ and https://www.mirrormadeofwords.wordpress.com/

23rdhttp://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

24thhttp://themagicviolinist.blogspot.com/ and http://allisonthewriter.wordpress.com/

25thhttp://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/

26thhttp://awritersfaith.blogspot.com/ and https://thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl.wordpress.com/

27thhttp://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/ and http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

28th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for March’s chain!)

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Teens Can Write, Too! September Blog Chain

What are your favourite book beginnings and/or endings?

I’ve thought long and hard about what I consider to be a book with a great beginning, and although there are the obvious choices like Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (I mean, who doesn’t know the start of that?!) and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there are three books whose opening have amazed me for very different reasons.

So, in 3rd place I have Gone by Michael Grant; the first time I read that, I was hooked from the opening paragraph:

“One minute the teacher was talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.

There.

Gone.

No ‘poof’. No flash of light. No explosion”

It immediately grabs your attention, which is something I feel is particularly important in a book for teens. It can be so difficult to encourage teenagers to read, in particular boys (I’m speaking through experience with my brother and some friends here, I’m not just totally making things up!), so something with such a sharp and engaging opening leaves you with little choice but to read on! Although the rest of the book is a great read, I’m afraid the same can’t be said for the next five books in the series; they just go more and more downhill – though the fourth book, Plague, is amazing – and just lacks the enjoyment of the first book.

The second book is one I’ve previously reviewed here and I briefly mentioned the beginning, but it’s such a good one that it really deserves to be written about again. The first line of Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas caught me so off–guard and I had to re–read it many times to ensure I wasn’t imagining it. And really, when that line is “Someone must have bitten off her nose.”, do you blame me?! As with Gone, it makes you curious as to what has happened, and entices you to read on – but unlike Gone, it doesn’t tell you straight away what peculiar thing has occurred. Gone at least lets you know that, somehow, a teacher has disappeared; in Quarantine you’re left thinking “Did I really just read that?” It’s certainly a unique way to start a book, and I’ve still never read anything like it.

However, my favourite beginning isn’t one which catches me so unaware, or makes me curious to find out how it happened. No, this is one which, every time I read it, just breaks my heart a little more. Annabel Pitcher’s My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is an altogether beautifully written book (and is again reviewed here), but the beginning of it is just so emotional. I can’t really narrow it down to any particular sentence or paragraph, but the first four pages just have me in tears every single time. If I absolutely had to pick a segment, then it would be the first four sentences:

“My sister Rose lives on the mantelpiece. Well, some of her does. Three of her fingers, her right elbow and her kneecap are buried in a graveyard in London. Mum and Dad had a big argument when the police found ten bits of her body.”

Even just typing it out makes me sad! It’s hard to decide whether I prefer books which immediately catch my interest, or which make me feel something right from the very beginning, but I think that My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece does both at the same time. And of course you want to read a book which sounds interesting and doesn’t look like it will drag, such as Gone and Quarantine: The Loners, but I suppose it’s better to have an equal mix of both rather than reading a book which does occasionally make you feel some form of emotion but lacks in interest and character – even worse (in my opinion) would be a book which is an enjoyable read, but you don’t feel anything or care about any of the characters. And books which are both uninteresting and lack any form of character – hello The Dream Thieves! – are just the bane of a book lover’s existence. Luckily, these three books have such great openings and I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of reading them.

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:

7th – http://vergeofexisting.wordpress.com/

8th – http://zarahoffman.com/

9th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

10th – http://www.elizamcfarlish.weebly.com/

11th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/

12th – http://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/

13th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

14th – http://fantasiesofapockethuman.blogspot.com/

15th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

16th – http://magicandwriting.wordpress.com/

17th – http://ttkesley.wordpress.com/

18th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/

19th – http://www.freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

20th – http://roomble.wordpress.com/

21st – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

22nd – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

23rd – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

24th – http://lillianmwoodall.wordpress.com/

and http://www.paperdaydreams.com/

25th – http://write-where-you-are.blogspot.de/

and http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/

26th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/

and http://anmksmeanderingmind.wordpress.com/

27th – http://semilegacy.blogspot.com/

and http://dynamicramblings.wordpress.com/

28th – http://oliviarivers.wordpress.com/

and http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

29th – http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/

30th – https://thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl.wordpress.com/

and http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for October’s chain!)

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Teens Can Write Too – August Blog Chain!

Which characters are you most like?

When I saw the question for this month’s Teens Can Write Too blog chain, my initial reaction was “Oh, this will be easy!” But when I actually tried to write my post, I realised there was one tiny problem: I didn’t know any characters I was most like. I stared at my bookcases for at least 10 minutes and wracked my brain for even longer, desperately trying to think of a character I was like. But I came up with nothing and I found myself wondering if my second attempt at the blog chain would be over before I’d even started. However, I was determined to find a book with just the character I was looking for (basically, myself), and luckily I didn’t have too long to wait as I was going into town the next day. I found myself in WH Smith, trying to find a book which looked interesting, and I ended up finding two – both in the ‘buy one, get one for £1’, conveniently – and whilst I thought The Rain by Virginia Bergin did sound like a really good book, it was when I read the synopsis for Alice Oseman’s Solitaire that I thought for the first time in years, if not ever, “this is just like me.

I hadn’t even started the book, but from reading that main character Tori Spring likes ‘[…] to sleep and I like to blog’, I figured it couldn’t hurt to see if I could work something out from those two things alone – well, and that she’s pretty cynical of everything too! In all honestly, it’s a little unnerving how alike we are, and it’s not always good aspects either. Tori is often talking about how much she dislikes socialising and people (I can most definitely relate to both), but there is one scene in particular where she reacts to something in exactly the same way I would. Tori walks past two girls in the street, one of whom is asking who Lewis Carroll was, and Tori’s reaction was “’in my imagination I pull a gun out of my pocket, shoot them both and then shoot myself’”. When I read that, I just sat in my room with a huge grin on my face, saying “Yes!” emphatically and repeatedly. It was a little morbid perhaps, but also absolutely perfect – hearing people ask questions like that in reality is something which always leaves me stunned and no longer wanting to have to live on this world, and I honestly don’t think that scene could be better if it tried.

I think that fact that the author is only about 19 is the reason I’m able to relate so much to Tori; it’s not an adult trying to write about the teenage mind, it’s instead a teenager herself writing so brilliantly honestly about another teenager and I feel she captures it wonderfully. It’s impossible to read this and not find at least one thing that makes you think “That’s exactly how I feel!” – and I imagine that the discussion of the sexual tension between Harry and Draco is something that will appeal to a good few of us! It’s little things like that which make this such an honest representation of most, if not all, young people, and not just myself.

Sure, lots of things she says or the way she acts may be things only I relate to (e.g. “‘This is because I have a very low opinion of most people’”), and okay the title of this month’s blog chain is which character are you most like – but I think, in one way or another, all of us here are a little bit like Tori Spring. A little bit cynical, a little bit morbid, and a little bit moody – but we’re teenagers. It’s expected of us, and Alice Oseman gets that perfectly.

5th – http:// semilegacy.blogspot.com/

6th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

7th – http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/

8th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/

9th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

10th – http://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/

11th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/

12th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

13th – http://uniquelyanonymous.wordpress.com/

14th – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

15th – http://novelexemplar.wordpress.com/

16th – http://nutfreenerd.wordpress.com/

17th – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

18th – http://writers-place-for-you.blogspot.de/

19th – http://roomble.wordpress.com/

20th – https://taratherese.wordpress.com/

21st – http://thependanttrilogy.wordpress.com/

22nd – http://freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

23rd – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

24th – http://theweirdystation.wordpress.com/

25th – http://teenageink.wordpress.com/

26th – http://www.adventuringthroughpages.wordpress.com/

27th – http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

28th – http://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/

29th – http://dynamicramblings.wordpress.com/

and https://thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl.wordpress.com/

30th – http://fantasiesofapockethuman.blogspot.com/

and http://www.turtlesinmysoup.blogspot.com/

31st – http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/

and http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (Look for the announcement to next month’s chain!)

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Teens Can Write Too – July Blog Chain!

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started writing?

Only one thing? Anyone who wishes to have known only one things before they began writing is a far superior writer to myself; when I first thought about how to answer this, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to, as there was nothing I wish I had known. However, having given it more thought I quickly realised there’s a wee list of things.

The first thing is something I’ve constantly had drilled into me by teachers at school: plan. “You need a beginning, a middle, and an end” is what I was always told; it was almost a mantra with how firmly the believed in it. I suppose I can’t really say planning is something I wish I knew to do, as I did know – I just didn’t do it. In Primary school we would be given little character sheets to fill in: name, age, description, friends, what they’re doing and why. Whilst my classmates filled these in, probably making it as “them” a character as possible, I would give them an age and then stare at the sheet for a while, trying to conjure a character up from nowhere. After a few minutes of staring blankly, I would start on the plot; I didn’t care who they were, I just wanted to know what they were doing and what tragic accident could befall upon them. Even now, I’m still not very interested in my characters – giving them a name is one of the worst parts of writing in my opinion. It used to be I’d get friends to give suggestions; now I just give them the first thing I can think of, and I change it later if necessary. The naming process if part of the reason I hate planning my characters. I just feel that if you’re stumped at the first question, don’t even continue. I want my characters to develop as I go along – with a plan, it feels to me as if you can’t deviate from this original idea, you need to continue writing about this regular John Doe you don’t even care about!

But it turns out, a little bit of planning can make all the difference. I have a character in my current Camp NaNoWriMo project. His name is Eric, but he was born Erin – he’s transgender. When I started writing, that’s all I knew about him; that and his family didn’t accept it. I liked Eric well enough, but I didn’t know him, and he didn’t feel real to me. Then, at Camp NaNoWriMo, someone posted a 46–question long character profile for you to fill in if you wished. I thought I’d give it a go, because I was getting nowhere with the story. Whilst I’ve not yet finished the profile, I now have over 2,000 words all about Eric – I know his favourite bands and films, I know where he lives, and I know his dreams and fears, and much more besides. And even if I’ve not incorporated any of this into the story, I now know more about Eric and these things can be written with ease when/if the time comes – I won’t have to sit for 10 minutes wondering where he’s living when something life–changing happens. And do you know what? I even found that I enjoyed planning!

However, I still reject “you need a beginning, a middle, and end” as pure nonsense. When an idea comes to me, I get the end, then the beginning, and maybe a few tiny suggestions of things that could happen. I don’t usually want to know the middle, so I don’t often write down anything for it. I want to be surprised by what happens as I write – because there’s a high chance your readers will be surprised too. Likewise, if you know exactly what’s going to happen before you even write it, it’s likely your readers will guess it too. I like reading books which keep you guessing, which throw in unexpected plot movements and character development – and that the kind of books I want to write.

I also wish I knew how difficult writing actually is. It’s always been my ambition to write, and I think I’ve always assumed it’s something easy – just look at all the books out there! However as I’ve got older, I’ve realised it’s one thing to say “I’m going to be a writer”, but it’s something else entirely to succeed at it. Sure, anyone can write, but not everyone can write well. Now, of course everyone has their own opinions of what makes a good book, but there are some books you read and they make you think that nobody in their right mind would ever like – To Love a Vampire and Any Red – Blooded Girl (both reviewed here) are two prime examples of such books. Books like that do two things for me – on one hand they make me despair of what’s becoming passable for a book, but at the same time it gives me hope and reassurance than I can write something better, so that’s something!

Above all, I think that the best advice I’ve been given, and the best advice I can give, is: don’t give up. Many a time have I started writing something, only to give up after a few pages, whether due to lack of inspiration or having no time to write. Last November I took part in NaNoWriMo, and by the end of the month I had written 11,347 words. As the goal was to reach 50,000 words I wasn’t very pleased with myself, but then the powers that be over at NaNoWriMo sent out little emails/notifications just congratulating everyone for what they’d achieved, whether it was 500 words or 5,000. And through that I realised it didn’t matter that I’d only written a little over 11,000 words – what counts is that I started it; I wrote the longest story I’ve written in my life. And okay, it’s still not finished, but it will be one day, and thanks to NaNoWriMo I managed to write more than I would have if left to my own devices. Even if you feel like your writing is going nowhere, make an effort to write just a little every day – whether you write a sentence or a bit dialogue, or even a little bit about your character(s) it all adds up in the long run, and I know it personally makes me feel better about my writing and like I might actually get somewhere. Admittedly, I don’t often stick to this advice myself, but it’s certainly something I’m going to start doing, for everything I write.

I feel like I didn’t quite manage to express what I was trying to say there – honestly, that last paragraph is a mess! – but hey ho, it’s now the 19th and I REALLY need to get this up!

And the rest of the blog chain participants:

5th – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/
6th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/
7th – http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/
8th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/
9th – http://lillianmwoodall.wordpress.com/
10th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/
11th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/
12th – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/
13th – http://theweirdystation.blogspot.com/
14th – http://taratherese.wordpress.com/
15th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/
16th – http://eighthundredninety.blogspot.com/
17th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/
18th – http://novelexemplar.wordpress.com/
19th – https://thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl.wordpress.com/
20th – https://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/
21st – http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/
22nd – http://roomble.wordpress.com/
23rd – http://thependanttrilogy.wordpress.com/
24th – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ – The topic for August’s blog chain will be announced.

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Happy Holidays!

Hello! Just a quick wee post to wish everyone who may (or may not!) be reading a very merry Christmas, or happy holidays if you don’t celebrate it! I hope everyone’s had a lovely day, and continues to enjoy the rest of the holidays. And to those who don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re enjoying any time off from school/work/wherever 🙂 And, if I don’t post again until then, I wish everyone a happy New Year!

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