Thursday, 2 July 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #11

If you could change one thing in book one, what would it be?

I can't wait to get my hands on the new cover!
That's a tricky one. I think that the first book is perfect in every way. It has a magical effect on you, doesn't it? The moment I opened it, I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down. Ever. I will never forget reading it for the first time and I think I can say that  I've never read anything like that before or after - nothing that effected me in such a way and made me a lifelong convert. It is pure joy of magic, adventure and unstoppable imagination, liberally sprinkled with J.K. Rowling's wicked sense of humour.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Can no one appreciate a slowly unfolding story any more?

Can no one appreciate a slowly unfolding story any more? Does the author have to rush the readers into the action without inviting them in first and acquainting them with the characters over a cup of tea? Personally, as a reader, I prefer a slow introduction. I want to know the characters. I need to make sure that I'm invested in their fate before I follow them on their journey. I hope I am not the only one who feels the same way about it. I find that such books are the ones that stay with you forever – the ones you return to again and again. 

I don't buy this ridiculous notion, that seems to be the order of the day, that the readers must be plunged into action from the word go. You must hook them with your first line, paragraph, page and chapter. But what happens afterwards? How many times have I picked up a book to be hooked by the first line, paragraph, page and chapter only to see the story fall apart by the second, swiftly disintegrating into trivial and boring... 

And are adverbs really so evil they are considered the enemies of modern prose? And what is wrong with wordy, flowery speech? Do we all have to write like some robots? The less words – the better? I admit there are certain genres that benefit from such rules but what of fairy-tales and fantasies – doesn't such a language make them more mysterious and poetic? I don't know. I feel like giving up... 

It is very depressing to think that my book might never reach the reader because I love a slow introduction into the story, an intimate acquaintance with its characters first, that (in my private opinion) must be what ultimately hooks the reader, and a certain amount of adverbs.

Monday, 8 June 2015

I'm losing faith...

I think I've started writing less. Much less. I don't know when it started happening but I was looking through stuff that I was working on just several years ago the other day and I was astonished by the amount of writing I did back then. I started writing what I thought was my first actual 'novel' (which was actually just a novella) back at the university. I was so naive back then! I remember working on it, plotting it out, writing and rewriting, thinking that I had a solid thing there, that it would surely get published to major praise and mass adoration. I believe that all newbie writers go through this))

Well... looking at it now, I see just how inconsistent, illogical and ridden with plot holes it is. I want to believe that I've learned my lesson. I didn't write for some time after that, because it was only in 2009 that I finally had the courage to write 'Margaret's Rematch". After I finished it (a year later), I wrote a novella, another novel and huge chunks of two novels that I later abandoned. These two novels are the ones that I've been writing on and off ever since. Last year I finished writing my YA fantasy novel that originated from my very first not really a novel thing. It's longer than anything I've ever written but with all that I do believe that I've started writing less.

I wonder why. I have a lot of different ideas but I often lack inspiration or will to actually write. I want to but I can't make myself. Is it because I'm more busy than ever with work, sport, drawing? Is it because I'm getting old or is it because I'm tired and disillusioned with the idea that I will ever get published? What is robbing me of my wish and will to proceed? Don't get me wrong, I keep going, because no matter how little I write, I can't really do without it, but I don't feel that inspiration, that lightness, that feeling that dreams do come true. I'm losing faith and I'm afraid that unless my latest novel gets published I won't get it back.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Summer writing plans

I haven't been blogging nor writing as much as I intended or wanted to at the start of the year but it's summer now, which means that I have more free time and I'm ready to rectify that! I have lots of writing plans and ideas (as always) but I'm going to concentrate on three main things: a fairy-tale, a fantasy novel, and a regency romance. I've started doing bits of writing here and there but in order to make my work more efficient I will probably have to come up with some sort of schedule. We'll see. I'll talk about my projects in more detail later; I think that they all merit to have separate posts dedicated to them.

Also, I intend to keep drawing and painting. Perhaps, it's not as important for me as writing (I can't live without writing!), but it's certainly takes the second place. I'd been taking a course in fashion illustration for two months and I loved it. Now I just have to learn to implement it in my writing somehow - it can't be hard, because most of my characters are females and they really love wearing pretty things and setting trends)) I'm thinking about making character sketches, maybe even postcards and calendars. I need to do something if I don't want to lose the skills I've acquired.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Writer's Voice 2015


Genre: YA Fantasy

Word count: 80,000


Fifteen years ago Almendra's magic kingdom - the Upper Kingdom - was attacked by the shawlweavers. Her mother was dethroned and sent into the Halls of Eternity, her people were slaughtered and those who managed to survive fled never to return; its magic was gone. At a great cost the shawlweavers were repelled. Almendra, her granny and her wolf friend and guardian were the only ones who remained behind. In their retreat, the shawlweavers left behind a curse that isolated the Upper Kingdom from the rest of the realm.

Almendra's only chance to restore her kingdom is to fulfill the fate-line that predicts its rebirth once she finds her true love. Her granny believes that the fate-line refers to Prince Frederick of Lowland Kingdom and orders Almendra to sit and wait for him to come and set them free. However, when an unlikely messenger arrives and tells them that there is no curse, that Prince Frederick has been poisoned and that the only thing that can cure him is magic, Almendra doesn't think twice. She journeys through the realm to save the prince, make him fall in love with her and thus fulfill the fate-line.

Equipped with a special healing potion and wrapped in an enchanted shawl with outstanding powers she is yet to discover, Almendra uncovers an underground town deep underneath the shawlweavers' lair with the surviving remnants of her people and learns that her life and that of her kingdom is even in greater danger because the shawlweavers are unstoppable in their desire to wipe it from the face of the realm for good. Almendra must reach Prince Frederick before she is killed and the shawlweavers' long-awaited plan finally succeeds.

The problem is that Almendra begins to suspect that Prince Frederick is not the one she needs to fulfill the fate-line after all. It's too bad that she has no time to figure out who is as she finds herself on the chopping block for murder.

ALMENDRA'S JOURNEY (first 250 words)

Almendra opened her eyes on the seventh chime of the clock. She quickly sat up, stretched and smiled. Just then the door to her room opened and in entered a large, grey wolf with a tray on his back. 

“Good morning, Woo,” said Almendra, her face splitting into a grin. She pecked the wolf on the nose and took a large mug of hot tea from the tray. Breathing in the familiar scent of mint, she clutched the cup in her hands and raised it into the air like one would a goblet at a feast, her hazel eyes alight with humour. 

“Cheers!” she said loudly and “May today be the day!” before bringing the cup to her lips. 

Woo walked towards the window and drew back the curtains with his teeth – the sky outside was dull grey. Almendra drank her tea and placed it back onto the tray as Woo was leaving the room. 

In one big leap, she bounded out of bed, ran across the carpeted floor and hid behind the screen, her long, brown, fluffy hair flying in her wake. 

Almendra picked up a thick rope, lying in a coil on the floor, with an iron hook on one end, then wound it around a huge wheel it was fixed to on the other end, opened the window and threw the rope down. 

A second later the hook hit the ground with a clunk.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

I have a confession to make: I've been doing much writing - but I haven't been working on my own stuff! Instead, I've had a relapse and written a fanfic! That's always been my guilty writing pleasure. I didn't think that I would ever come to fanfic-writing again but here I am writing away. I want to write two fanfics (maybe that will get it out of my system) and I've almost completed the first one with word count of around 20K. So there... If only it was something of my own, something I could share with the world instead of just a select few. But it's still writing, right? Right?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Having no agent or published books make it seem like I haven't accomplished anything at all writing-wise last year. However, as I sat down to make a new entry in my Writing Diary, I realized that I did accomplish something after all! I've finally completed my YA fantasy novel, after two years of writing, it now stands at about 90K, started plotting out the rest of the series, which will include at least two more books and an assortment of short stories and other stuff, and translated my fairy-tale from English into Ukrainian.

So, it might not be much for someone more prolific than me, of course, but I think it an accomplishment nevertheless, considering that I have very little time for actual writing. At the moment I'm planning on polishing my fairy-tale in order to try and get it published here in Ukraine. After that I want to return to an abandoned novel, set in Regency England, and maybe even post my writing process and progress here on my blog in order to get some feedback as I go along. I think it could be an exciting, if nerve-wrecking experience!