Thursday, 29 May 2014

Revision progress report

I had a good writing day yesterday and that's all. How very lame. But I've noticed that my writing blocks always coincide with increasing heat, which, in its turn, quite often coincides with my obsessing over something new. Last May I was sucked into the world of Star Trek. This May I started watching Friends. I've never actually watched all the seasons - just a few episodes here and there. In fact, there are so many TV-shows that I want to re-watch. Oh, and I've watched Maleficent today. It was great. I love this version of the story much better. Angelina Jolie was amazing. I loved her horns and wings and lipstick and her smile and her ring and the whole thing.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Revision progress report

It's moving along, though not as swiftly as last week. Still, I've revised a big piece and added several new pieces. I always add something new (or correct or throw something out) each time I reread the same piece. I can't be trusted with polishing my MS because I will most likely polish it within an inch of its life and there will be nothing left.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Revision progress report

Revision is going apace. The story becomes more dynamic as I cut out on exposition and scatter as much backstory as the books needs all over the place. I like it most of the time. However, I do have occasional moments of doubt and panic when I ask myself who is going to read my novel. It lacks violence, destruction, nudity and multiple deaths that seem to be a requisite for success in the entertainment industry these days, judging by books, TV-shows and films that garner the most readers or viewers. At least, that's the impression that I get when I read about books, TV-shows and films that millions of people are crazy about. I don't know... I often ask myself "Does a book/TV-show/film have to rip your heart out and cause misery to be considered great? Are there people who still want to feel like smiling after reading the book or watching something as opposed to feeling as though they have been punched one too many times and just want to crawl somewhere and die?"

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Revision progress report

"Every day this summer had been the same: the tension, the expectation, the temporary relief, and then mounting tension again... and always, growing more insistent all the time, the question of why nothing had happened yet." 
J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If you're reading this, then you probably wonder why I've posted a short extract from the fifth Harry Potter books in my revision progress report. Well, that piece perfectly sums up how I felt this week, ever since I found out that I got a spot on the Writer's Voice Competition. I didn't make it to the next round, but it was an exciting week all the same, with an almost tangible sensation of possibility. However,  when I wasn't checking my Twitter feed in hopes of catching a glimpse of my number, I kept myself busy with revision, and I'm happy to report that my main heroine has finally left the castle grounds that she has never left until now and set out on her journey.

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Writer's Voice 2014

I would like to present for your consideration ALMENDRA'S JOURNEY - a fantasy novel aimed at a young adult audience. It is approximately 60,000 words in length and it follows the story of Almendra - the seventeen-year-old High Lady of the Upper Kingdom - once a magical kingdom, ruled only by women, that shall lie in ruin and isolation on top of Mount Neemren until such a time when these words come true:

Once love is settled on this earth and vow is sealed by kiss,
The queen will be again a rose - her country will find peace.

Fifteen years ago, a band of shawlweavers attacked the kingdom in order kill Almendra and her mother, put an end to the race of the High Ladies and take over the land. However, Almendra, her granny and Woo, her wolf guardian, survived the attack. In their retreat, the shawlweavers left behind a curse that isolated the Upper Kingdom from the rest of the realm. In order to get rid of the curse Almendra must fulfill the fate-line that predicts the rebirth of the kingdom once she finds true love. 

Her granny believes that the fate-line refers to Prince Frederick of Lowland Kingdom and tells Almendra to put on her Throne Room Dress (that weighs no less than a baby elephant) and spend long, boredom-filled hours, day after day, in the Throne Room, waiting for him to come and set them free. However, when an unlikely messenger arrives and tells them that Prince Frederick has been poisoned and that the only thing that can save him is magic, Almendra decides that the time has come to fulfill the fate-line and that she must go to Ombropolis – the capital city of Lowland Kingdom – in order to do it. 

In the company of her wolf guardian and the messenger, she travels through the Realm of Ethelgrad towards her goal, equipped with a healing potion, a number of helpful magical contraptions and wrapped in an enchanted shawl with outstanding powers she is yet to discover. During her journey, Almendra unearths a heart-breaking secret of the past, buried deep under Spiderwood Manor – the shawlweavers' lair; not knowing that her life is in danger, because the plot to destroy the Upper Kingdom and its High Lady is still on, and that Prince Frederick might not be the one after all.

At present ALMENDRA'S JOURNEY is a stand-alone novel, but I'm thinking about the possibility of its sequel - ALMENDRA'S KINGDOM. Also, I have big plans for the Upper Kingdom, its High Ladies and the Realm of Ethelgrad as I intend to write more stories set in this constantly expanding fantasy world of my creation.

Thank you very much for your time. 
Yours sincerely, 
Farida Mestek 


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 on Woo's way out of the room. 

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

Behind the screen, 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.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Revision progress report

I forgot to report my revision progress for two weeks while I was actually busy revising and decided to do it now that I hit a sudden block. I fully blame all the writing advice that I have been exposed to ever since I started following different people on Twitter. It can be quite daunting and doubt-striking for someone who is revising the book in anticipation of submitting it to agents and if you care (though, I'm sure you don't) you can read more of my thoughts on the matter HERE

Anyway, back to revision, I added two new scenes, one of which took me completely by surprise. I often find myself complicating things for my MC on the second thought. "Why should I make things easy for her?" I ask myself. I'm not sure if it's the right attitude but I hope that it adds a bit more action and excitement to the story. I wasn't good at either before I started reworking my longish fairy-tale into a fantasy novel and so I regard it as a challenge to myself as a writer. I think I'm getting better...

Now it's time to get out of my funk and get back to revision! Fine! Fine! I will. Well... after I have sushi with my cousin :-)