Monday, August 23, 2010


Last week was the busiest time of year for my job (I work at a University and the A-level results were released), but thankfully everything is quietening down now and I can find time to blog again.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Inverness for a short break. It was absolutely beautiful. I think if I was to run away, I might run away to there. We went on a wildlife watching boat trip at Cromarty with Ecoventures, and got to see dolphins, visited Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Experience, and also Cawdor Castle. If anyone's looking for a short break, then I'd really recommend it.

I've just finished reading The Age of Five trilogy by Trudi Canavan. I am in awe of her world-building skills. The novels are told in third person, from multiple viewpoints so you gradually piece together this exquisite world of different races, religions, landscapes and environments. I felt Auraya's compassion for the Siyee so much that I almost cried when they were sent off to war to fulfil the terms of their alliance. It definitely left me wanting more, so I'm wondering whether the author is planning on writing more fiction set in this universe, as she is with the world she established in The Black Magician Trilogy.

Am now reading Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar, the sequel to one of my favourite novel's Lonely Werewolf Girl (published 2007). Don't want to give any sort of review yet, as I'm only on chapter 10, but I'm enjoying it so far. I'm not sure you'd be able to read it without reading the original though, and I think everyone should read Lonely Werewolf Girl, so go check it out!

Anyone reading this blog going to the Fringe: you've still time to catch Stitched Up! written by my friend and fellow Momentum alumni Robin Johnson (Website) (Review).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Story So Far...

I started my blog on 11th August 2006 (4 years ago today!) as an online writing journal to track my progression from "aspiring" to "published" author. At the beginning, I was involved in the Momentum playwriting workshop, and my writing was more tailored towards scripts rather than prose. From 2006 - 2007 I wrote 2 plays - Red and the Wolf and Hoodies, the latter receiving a professional rehearsed reading at the Momentum New Writing Festival in 2007. After Momentum, I tried to continue working on Hoodies, but after successfully completing NaNoWriMo and getting my first meeting with an agent at the Writing Industries Conference in 2008, I turned away from scriptwriting back to prose. Since 2008, I have completed four novels of at least 50,000 words each. Three of which are still first drafts; the first (Inter Vivos) is around 120,000 words in its sixth or seventh draft but has been abandoned because it doesn't work (soggy foundations). Meanwhile, since the beginning of this blog, I have had 6 short stories published (albeit without pay) and one story recorded by an almost-professional actor. I have also racked up 18 rejection emails and letters.

I still don't consider myself a "published" author - I know I am technically, but because I haven't been paid (in the last 10 years at least) I don't think it counts. What I want to do is to increase my output, complete more short stories as well as finish the first draft for my novel as outlined below and develop a couple of the first drafts I have already written. This won't happen if I spend all weekend playing The Sims 2. In the next 4 years, at the very least I'd like to say that I have a pretty good novel written that I'm scouting around the agencies, and that it is a serious contender for publication. I'd like to have a couple of stories professionally published too. I would like to return to script writing again, although in what form, I'm not yet sure. I think all this is possible, if I put in the work.

On one of my reports at primary school, my year 5 teacher said that I could "do anything I put my mind to". For years I only saw the positive in that statement, my teacher thought "I could do anything!" But the important point as I saw later was that I had to "put my mind" to it. So I will increase my creative output and set my mind to completing the goals above. Happy birthday, blog, and here's to the next four years.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The New Novel

OK folks, here it is. A basic summary of my new novel.
Firstly, I should record that I came up with the idea some time ago in June this year whilst at a Speculators meeting, sitting under a tree in the Quakers' garden. Originally, I had the idea of a girl who could control nature, and anything connected to that. Trees, plants, animals, the weather, earthquakes, the Earth's rotation. All that stuff. Then I decided to give her a sister, an opposite almost, and so she has power over humanity - she can heal or destroy the human body. She can read and manipulate minds. She can create life, just as she can extinguish it. My protagonist and antagonist were born.

And yet, I decided that I liked my "antagonist" more, and so decided to write the story mainly from her point of view. Matti is the "evil" one to Eva's "good" one, but what makes Matti so interesting is that she doesn't consider herself to be evil at all.

Currently, the story is being told via a series of chapters which relates to a particular year of the sisters' lives. As they are potentially immortal, in this story it spans almost 70 years. It starts with the sisters as children. Eva was born with her powers to control nature, and has always been special as a result. Matti, the older sibling, discovers her powers after an accident that should have killed her. Suddenly the dynamics of the family are changed. This is the seed for the resentment and bitterness that lead to the sisters' war against each other. But despite the decades of fighting, they are still sisters, still drawn together because of family ties (and burdens), and an ongoing moral argument.

It's not going to be one of those stories that ends happily. And it's as much about coping with death and the consequences of your actions, as it is about immortality and (for want of a better word) superpowers.
More updates will follow. For now, I'm still working on chapter one - which, because it includes a lot of flashback, will probably get cut somewhere later along the line. Hey ho!

(Picture: "Storm Goddess" by Firnadi Iqbal