Writing a Novel: Almost There!

Okay. Some of you may know that this summer I decided to embark on the huge task of writing a novel. I’ve always wanted to do it but never thought I would actually make it. Not unless I kicked my silly ass into gear anyway.

So this summer I did just that. I super kicked my ass into gear and I got through it.

I wrote almost an entire fricken novel.

I’m still writing it so I’m not even finished yet but to say that I’ve written 51,200 words over the space of this year is stupid crazy. Like I don’t even wanna mention how crazy. I seriously never thought I’d get this far.

Before, I only ever did things like this:

  1. Start a new novel idea
  2. Completely fall in love with it
  3. Never finish it
  4. Or worse, throw it away.

Talk about killing your darlings.

But I’m on the way to the end now and – Oh my God – I am loving it.

In July, I wrote over 20,000 words through signing up with Camp NaNoWriMo. I don’t think I would’ve made it without fellow campers cheering me on – virtually – until I got to the finish line. They were so helpful!

Now, it’s officially NaNoWriMo 2015 and although I haven’t been writing everyday like most talented people, I’m getting back to it after a bunch of uni deadlines and the flow is finally kicking back in. Get the kettle boiling and the teacups ready because this girl is on it!

As a writer and a reader, my heart lies in teen fiction so this is mainly what I write about. The characters I’ve created have stayed with me this long that I feel like I’m totally discrediting them if I don’t finish this story. Their voices need to be heard. So by Christmas I will have finished it.

This is both a promise to myself and to them. I think I definitely owe them that (not to mention myself!)

(On a side note, God knows how many cups of tea I’ve had while doing this project. My guess is in the hundreds.)

So, basically, my message to you is this. If you want to write a novel – even if the tiniest part of you thinks that you might – then go for it. Because your dreams are tangible.

You can create something out of nothing and, more importantly, only you can tell this story that’s in your head. I guess that’s what makes it so fun. Plus the feeling you get afterwards is amazing.

I’m so excited to finish this writing project.

So go write.

This summer I’ve almost written an entire novel

Ever had so many ideas for stories in your head that you feel like you might just explode?

I have but it was mostly when I was teen. Lately, I’ve been picking up the pace a bit more and it feels amazing for my creative head space.

So far, I’ve had three novel ideas. That is, for young adult fiction – the market I desperately want be in. I’ve had a couple of ideas for a sci-fi novel or two as well. But these require a lot of research and I’m not sure my brain’s cut out for all that right now. I’m thinking perhaps in my late twenties is when I’ll hit my sci-fi writing stride. A lot of my ideas involve space travel, time travel and if I’m really indulgent then a little bit of dinosaurs too. But I’ll save that for another time.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic.

So, like any writer does, I scribble these ideas down. I have an abundance of notebooks. And these tiny put-away-like-they’re-nothing ideas that might someday turn into something I keep hold of. You never know. One day these put away thoughts might well hold the key to my success.

I’m writing a novel right now – a Y/A one which I actually and genuinely love. I think, for a little while, I forgot what it could be like to let yourself get lost in fiction and how it feels for a project or a story to completely engulf your own world, for it to be all you think about.

I’m ashamed to admit it but as I got older I lost that creative bubble I used to never peep out of. I thought this was normal. I slowly became focused on the editorial side of writing that my fiction world consequently never even got past page 20 because I would slam it so hard it couldn’t fight hard enough to breathe. I was, to use a cliche, my own very worst critic.

I was beyond brutal with my own writing.

But this summer I’ve conquered that bad habit. I’ve been writing. (Ergo, sorry for the lack of posts). I’ve been getting lost in my own fiction world and I’ve almost successfully written an entire novel over the course of this long, hot and notoriously beautiful summer. (I live in Cornwall, so almost every day is beautiful here, yay!)

(A view from just over the road where I live)

I even signed up as a camper at Camp NaNoWriMo and even though I always seem to do this and it never usually gets me very far, this time I stuck at it and I completed my goal of writing over 10,000 words in a month. I can’t tell you the joy I got over achieving that goal.

For me, it was pretty phenomenal. So I’m carrying on with it.

You ever read a book and think, ‘I could’ve done better than that’? Well, it turns out that I’m doing it, even if only just to say that I’ve written a complete novel.

I don’t want to be someone who waits until their retirement to get everything out onto the page. I want it now.

I know that when I’ve finished, that’s when the hard part really begins which is the editing process. Apparently, this is where a lot of the real writing gets done, to quote the theory books and all the other famous writers out there.

But I’m moving forward. I’m at just over 46,000 words so far and I’m probably not going to stop until I hit 80,000 which is the average length of a complete novel. As well as that, I’ve also found the time to submit to other writing competitions. I’ve hit a productive writing/creative streak and it’s not stopping.

My thoughts in general are that this summer has been a blessing. But in the end, I know, it all comes down to yourself.
Your motivation.
And whether you believe in yourself to do it.
And maybe if you can’t, then find someone else who does. Ride their motivational current to get yourself where you need to be.

You never know, it might be worth it in the end.

So, be right back. I’m novel writing.

Vintage Fair at Killerton

This weekend I’m going to a Vintage Fair at Killerton in Devon.

I – can’t – wait! If you live anywhere near Devon and have access to transport I highly recommend you go! It looks like it’s going to be fantastic. I am missing a kind of belated house warming party for it (it’s actually my own house warming party but hey I live in a student house – I’m sure my roommates will tell me all the shenanigans I miss!) because as soon as I got told about it I WAS IN. As far as I was concerned, all other plans could be thrown out of the window!

Not only does it feature lots of vintage clothing and – wait for it – fashion shows! but also there will be beauty parlour workshops too where attendees can have their hair and/or makeup done inspired by vintage fashion trends! Of course you have to pay and book in advance for these kinds of treats but if vintage/retro is ‘your thing’ then you owe it to yourself to book in and get a proper professional makeover to show all your friends! There will also be a professional photographer there to take your photograph if you wanted to keep the memories even longer!

There’s so much going on and it’s happening right throughout the entire weekend 21st – 22nd June so you won’t be bored! There’ll be fairground rides, classic cars, workshops, dancing, a Jazz band, a wedding marquee and, even better, there’ll be lots of stalls with over 100 antique/vintage inspired items to choose from, including clothing, accessories, homeware and knickknack things to indulge yourself with. It looks fantastic and the line up makes me feel all kinds of giddy inside.

Seriously, what is not to love about this?

It’s a ticketed event so make sure you get yours here.
For adults tickets in advance cost just £6. For children just £4. If you decide to buy tickets on the day these are slightly more, with adults costing £10.60 and children £5.30.

To visit their Facebook page for more information click here.

I hope to see you there!!

Perm!

So yesterday I got a perm. I was so excited all day. They washed my hair about three times and I had my hair in rollers for most of the duration of when I was in the salon. When they put all the lotion my hair STANK. I cannot even describe how offputting that smell is and it was so, so strong. I can still smell it on my hair now, but it’s faded a lot now (thankfully!)
So, well, here it is. After years of wanting curly hair permanently I FINALLY NOW HAVE IT! I text my best friend as soon as I got out the salon unashamedly declaring “FINISHED. I LOOK BEAUTIFUL NOW!” I didn’t really care if it was boastful of me. I HAD BEAUTIFUL HAIR! I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to be pleased about it. I even went straight to the toilets where I could privately do a little dance in front of the mirror, watching my curls flounce about.

Result! Now the only thing to do is head to the beach and pretend I’m a surfer babe because I totally rock the beach curls thing.

Prose Before Hoes

I’ve come to realise that I’m actually really, really lucky. To be in university – and such a unique, inspiring, close-knit and FRIENDLY university too – has been a Godsend to me. Studying my course has led me to writing pathways that little young teenage me would only ever dream about. It sounds cliche but cliche’s exist for a reason. I am incredibly lucky, to have the opportunities to work with amazing lecturers who are so attentive, to have so many resources available at the university where I’m studying, and to basically have this kind of an education!

So I came across a phrase today – ‘prose before hoes’. I took it lightly, but it kind of has significance. Sometimes, you just have to put your writing first if you want to get anywhere in this industry.

I discovered today through a writing correspondent that students can actually attend the London Book Fair for FREE.
How incredible! To actually be able to be at an event with published authors and writers, book agents and people who work for real life publishing houses! It’s a dream, and I hope to go there next year – one year in the future at least! I’m so grateful to have a lot of things right now. I also have so much to look forward to recently it’s unbelievable!

  • I have recently been fortunate enough to work with award winning author Lionel Shriver, who is a pleasure to work with and have her read my work and give positive (and negative) feedback is something I still can’t quite believe I’m doing …
  • I am an official weekly features writer for an online magazine, Her Campus. I know I’ve mentioned this before but knowing I’m a part of it still a few weeks on after being asked to do it is still exciting to me! I love writing features and coming up with ideas every week, and some of the posts on there are actually really funny!
  • Lionel Shriver signed my book/writing ideas notepad at a book signing and actually recognised me! It was awesome.
  • I got to spend some time with another published author C.J Flood. I spoke to her about her books, how she finds writing and my own novel I’ve been writing for some time now. It was an experience I hope I am never, ever going to forget. She offered to sign her book for me and even wrote an inspirational message inside the front cover!
  • I’ve also spent some time with a really lovely second year student, who writes for Booked Magazine which is aimed towards 11-18 year olds on general pop culture topics, like films, music, book reviews etc. She opened up windows for me and made me realise I can actually do this. Hearing her speak about all the amazing things she has done was uplifting and so inspirational for me. It gives me hope!
  • On a non-writing note, I am going to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London at the end of May, leaving at 2am and spending the WHOLE DAY THERE!!! I am going to spend so much money in the gift shop. I just know it.
  • Also, I AM SEEING MCBUSTED AT THE END OF MAY as well!!!! I am perfectly accepting of the fact that if I spontaneously combust through lack of air or just pure excitement then that’s a good way to go. I kind of embrace that. Seeing them has been my dream for oh so many years, I was just always too scared to do it. But now, finally, at aged nineteen, I AM DOING IT.
  • Hopefully, I will go to the Fowey Festival of Words & Music this coming May as well. I am in the process of writing an article on the festival for Her Campus so will be sure to post it up here as a link once it’s up and running on the site!

I can’t believe how lucky I am. I am looking to get some writing or editorial work experience/internship this summer as my first year finishes late May so will have a lot of free time to keep busy in! If you know anyone or ARE anyone who would like to have me work for them this summer, let me know!

Lionel Shriver

Her Campus

C. J Flood

Booked Magazine

Harry Potter Studio Tour

McBusted!!!

If you know  anyone who would like to have me work for them this summer, let me know! I don’t even care if it’s unpaid!

The Scarlet Spa

This is the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever seen and ever had the privilege to work for.
It’s located, buried away, in St Mawgan, a cute little village located in Cornwall. It’s right next to the sea, like almost everything on this coast. During the summer, I got to work one evening as co-housekeeper inside the beautiful modern-art like building. When I got inside, I was truly astounded. I had never seen anything like it. 

Staff: lovely and intricately perfect. It’s literally like they handpick them and polish them up to be like children of the hotel and its beauty.
Interiors: Stunning (even the bathrooms which I had to clean!)
Spa areas: Mind mesmerising?!
Pool area: Looked so good.

Take a look see!
Home-Reception-Lobby

Lobby Area

Home-Indoor-Pool

Pool Area

Home-Restaurant

Restaurant Area

It’s intricate hard earned beauty is astounding, and I cannot wait to go. 
Because I just booked a room to stay there for one night. It’ll be during the early bursts of summer so it should be lovely.
The rooms are even better, but I’ll let you go and look at them for yourself. http://www.scarlethotel.co.uk/ 
It’s worth it. Honest.

The prices may be steep. Celebrities dine there, after all. But I was just so enchanted I couldn’t resist.
If you’re interested in ‘escaping’ away to Cornwall like so many characters from Du Maurier’s novels, I plead with you to try this hotel. Unless you’re a camper. If you’re a camper, you can roam around anywhere. And it’s just as beautiful – (but make sure you go in the summer!)

Go on, go ahead and pry into its delicious possibilities, amplified by Ben Howard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X28D55cshAg#t=25