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. Almendra, her granny and her wolf guardian were saved by the Upper Kingdom's protection spell that repelled the shawlweavers before they could get their hands on Almendra and succeed in overtaking the land. 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!

Friday, 2 January 2015

2015 New Year Writing Resolutions

Here are my 2014 New Year Writing Resolutions:

1. To complete my current fantasy novel. UPDATE: done!
2. To revise and polish it. UPDATE: done!
3. To find an agent.
4. To find a publisher.
5. To blog. UPDATE: done!
6. To return to Regency-writing.

And here are my 2015 New Year Writing Resolutions:

1. To revise and polish my current fantasy novel. AGAIN.
2. To plot out the rest of the series and work on its world. METICULOUSLY.
3. To find an agent.
4. To find a publisher.
5. To blog about writing. CONSISTENTLY.
6. To write another Regency-set novel, novella or a script.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #10

Favourite magical pet?

Ah! Too many to name. But I will try)) So... if I were looking for a magical pet, I would seriously consider an Owl, a Phoenix, a Crup, a Puffskein or a Pygmy Puff. But the first that always comes to mind when I think about magical pets and that always makes me go squee is definitely a Niffler. Unfortunately, it would be totally disastrous  to keep one as an actual pet unless I lived in a cave or under the ground. We first encountered these creatures in GoF during Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures lesson and I immediately fell in love with them, because they are totally cute and useful too (if you're looking for treasure)! Here's their description from Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander:

M.O.M. Classification: XXX
The Niffler is a British beast. Fluffy, black and long-snouted, this burrowing creature has a predilection for anything glittery. Nifflers are often kept by goblins to burrow deep into the earth for treasure. Though the Niffler is gentle and even affectionate, it can be destructive to belongings and should never be kept in a house. Nifflers live in lairs up to twenty feet below the surface and produce six to eight young in a litter. (The picture is take from The Harry Potter Lexicon)

Just look at it! What a cutie))

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #9

How do you feel about the HP film cast? Any that don't fit with the image you had?

I think the debate about HP film casting can be an endless one, especially for those who read the books before they saw the movies. I consider it quite lucky that I saw the first movie before reading the first book and, therefore, had a fixed image of the main trio as well as the other characters that we meet in the first movie and book in my mind. Of course, one can constantly argue the fact that in the movies Harry's eyes are not green, his hair doesn't stick out all over the place, Ron isn't lanky and gangly and Hermione's hair isn't bushy enough or at all. However, these are minor quibbles that I can let go, because I do love the main trio and the main cast and I can enjoy watching the movies without getting all riled up about it - it's the script, the dialogues and the often misinterpreted actions of the characters that bother me more at this point.

But it's the casting choice for the GoF that particularly angers me and that I can't reconcile with the images of the characters that I'd had established in my mind long before seeing the movie. 

First of all, it's the casting of Madame Maxime. This is the one that gets me every time, because I think the actress, who played her (no matter how great and excellent she is as an actress) just didn't fit the description in the book and was a far cry from what I'd expected to see when I imagined a handsome half-giantess. 

"As she stepped into the light flooding the Entrance Hall, she was revealed to have a handsome, olive-skinned face, large, black, liquid-looking eyes and a rather beaky nose. Her hair was drawn back in a shining knob at the base of her neck. She was dressed from head to foot in black satin, and many magnificent opals gleamed at her throat and on her thick fingers." (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter Fifteen). 

To tell the truth, I imagined Madame Maxime to look something like Montserrat Caballe and I was very disappointed when she turned out to look completely different in the movie. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I believe the she looks more the part than the actress that they chose.

Also, Victor Krum. "Victor Krum was thin, dark and sallow-skinned, with a large curved nose and thick black eyebrows. He looked like an overgrown bird of prey." (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter Eight).

For me, he always looked more like this guy than the actual actor who played him. Once again, the casting didn't fit the bill, at least, as far as I'm concerned.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

As it is free week I've decided to have some fun and share with whoever is reading my posts my old attempt at writing a-Rita-Skeeter-type of article about Ginny in Witch Weekly Magazine, under the section 'Fashion Flops'. Here it goes:

Miss Ginevra Weasley, 19, shocked the gathered witches and wizards as she struck a pose at the Ministry of Magic Annual Charity Ball in  an offensively extravagant gown and a matchless Pygmy Puff-style clutch. "It looked like she made it herself," said one of the guests of honour, outraged by such a ghastly display.

Many of you, of course, remember her as the girl who captured Harry Potter's heart, breaking hundreds of other hopeful and, undoubtedly, more deserving hearts in the process. And, by the looks of it, she isn't going to stop there, if her recent fashion antics are anything to go by.

"I don't know who she's fooling," said Pansy Parkinson, who was also in attendance, "but if she was going for class, then she shouldn't have purchased what looked like a multicoloured knitted rag from a Muggle second-hand shop. But then again, the Weasleys have always been notoriously poor and I sincerely hope that she'll benefit from this ball. After all, its purpose is charity."

Meanwhile, the staff of our magazine wonders what Harry Potter himself thinks of his girlfriend's abysmal lack of style and is deeply concerned whether it will not damage his public image. We believe and we are sure that our readers and fervent admirers of Mr. Potter will agree that he deserves a more suitable candidate for his heart than a flighty Quidditch player.

So what do you, guys, think? I mean to say, I'm pretty sure that wizarding newspapers and magazines wouldn't pass up a chance to write some scathing articles about Ginny.