Tuesday, 31 January 2012

How To Be Lazy

Since I've been feeling down over the past few hours, I thought I would write a funny and lighthearted post that doesn't require much effort. So I thought I'd write a quick guide on how to be lazy! Why? Because I am the laziest person in the world.

So here we go.
  1. Eat with your mouth open. It'll make you look disgusting. BONUS POINTS!
  2. Put your clothes on without ironing them. The creases will make it look like you literally just rolled out of bed. 
  3. For girls: don't brush your hair. You'll look like a bird just dropped its nest on your head. 
  4. Drink water out of a plastic bottle which was last used two weeks ago. The bottle may smell too. BONUS POINTS!
  5. Do only half the homework your teacher told you to. Act like you know when he/she points out it's incomplete. 
  6. Slouch your back. BONUS POINTS for resting your legs on the table. 
  7. Yawn. Loudly. Don't cover your mouth. 
  8. Phone your Mum on the phone to get her to bring up a glass of water. 
  9. Don't clean your room. BONUS POINTS for leaving dirty plates and glasses in your room. 
  10. Burp. A lot. 
  11. Rub your eyes. 
  12. Sit back. 
  13. Watch TV a lot. 
  14. Gain weight. 
  15. Eat lots of junk food. 
  16. Call for a pizza, leave the front door open. Tell them to bring it in. 
  17. Go to a restaurant. Don't order food. Tell them you need to think. Sleep. 
  18. Sleep. In public places. A lot. BONUS POINTS for wearing baggy and dirty clothes. 
  19. Call up your boss and use the excuse that you've temporarily lost the function of your legs. 
  20. Pretend to be sick. Sleep all day. 
  21. Don't shower or bathe. BONUS POINTS for smelling like cat vomit. 
  22. Let the mail collect in your letterbox. Only get the mail out once it starts to overflow. 
So there we go! That is my guide on how to be lazy! I hope you enjoyed it!

Would you add anything else to the list? How lazy are you on a scale of 1 to 10.

1 - What's laziness?
10 - *yawn*


Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Writer's Bible of Ideas

I don't know about other writers but this is something I do a lot. I have a notebook with about 200 pages and I write down every idea I have ever had in it. I used to write in an old notebook until I had to throw it away (I was writing in it in the bath and dropped it. Stupid, I know) and have now started a new one so I thought I would tell you about how I store my ideas.

On the top half of the page, I write down a small paragraph of what happens or my idea so far and then on the bottom half of the page, I write down some random notes and tidbits related to my idea.

I used to have more than 40 ideas in my last notebook and would turn to it every time I needed to refresh my brain. I also used to read through it for fun. It's quite nice to sit down with a cup of tea and read through it when bored or before going to sleep. And I often find that after a while, I have more substance to my ideas. It's like visiting an old friend and finding that you have more in common than you had previously thought.

If you're going through a rough patch in your writing, you can always turn to your little treasure trove of ideas and this will ensure you will never run out of ideas. It's also more fun than keeping a diary which is usually just a recollection of your life and not everyone has a life full of events. Those of us who have pretty bland lives won't really have much to talk about.

So buy a notebook and get a pen for the notebook and start with an idea or two to get you started. The best thing to do with these notebooks is to set yourself targets such as write down an idea every day or every week. Within a few months, you'll have a collection of ideas and will never forget them.

And a lesson that I've learnt: keep your notebooks safe and don't use them in the bath!


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Invasion Of The Dystopia

from www.infowars.net

from www.guardian.co.uk

(Above pictures: Welcome to London (There are more security cameras in the UK than in NYC))

One of the most mindblowingly annoying trends that has emerged in recent years is the Dystopia. We are currently facing an invasion. Every writer is writing about a dystopic world. Or at least they think they are. 

Dystopia has suddenly come from being a genre about being controlled by the government, being threatened by the government and being terrified of the government to being about the government stopping you from living happily ever after with your 16 year old puppy face boyfriend or a paranormal romance disguised as a Dystopia. 
Welcome to what I call Pop Music Dystopia. 

The Hunger Games is a pretty good dystopia series but the books that have followed are not so much. All these dystopias are about the main character moping because she can't be with her one true love or something else that would cause a teen to mope. Stop moping and overthrow the government! Start a revolution for god's sake!

Dystopia is about a repressive government that is feared among the entire population. It's about the horrors of a world where we are controlled and scared into conformity.

I've come across some YA dystopias that are okay but the worlds are shallow and lacking in logic, the world is shown to you to be repressive and terrible and yet doesn't look that bad and many of these YA dystopias are really just YA romances set in a dystopic setting. 

The worlds are unrealistic from what I'm noticing. The worlds look somewhat better than our own and that is worrying. We are currently living in a dystopia. We are experiencing it ourselves and yet we have all these dystopias about people falling in love with their soulmates. 

This is what I would be doing in a full blown dystopic world:
  • Helping to take part in a revolution.
  • Trying to convince people that something needs to be done. 
  • Trying to find a place to run to if everything goes wrong. 
I wouldn't be doing the following:
  • Going to school. 
  • Falling in love with 16 year old boy who has never loved someone apart from me. 
What I've found is that a lot of these books are dull and all over the place. There are so many, I can't seem to find any good ones.

So yeah, I don't really like YA dystopia but this may be because I've never been a huge fan of dystopia in general. It's weird. I do love reading about dystopias that are heavily based on our world and have many parallels to the world as it is today. That's interesting and it makes you more aware of how we aren't living in a free society.

I don't want a dystopia where everyone is the same. I want one where people are aware of their differences, want to be their own person and yet face struggles against the repressive and controlling government. I want a dystopia which will change my perceptions. I don't want a dystopia which makes me cringe. So please, no more insta-love. And a bit more logically sound world-building please. 

I would argue that the best dystopias came out before The Hunger Games. I haven't found anything post-HG that has been somewhat interesting.

If you disagree, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. Do you like dystopia? What are your views on the genre? Know any recent books you think I may like? Just let me know! I give you a hug if you do! :D


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

On Researching Ghosts And Research Tips

 This is a picture of the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, UK. This picture was taken by photographers from the Country Life magazine in 1936. Here's a picture of Raynham Hall (below):

Before I start my post, look to the right and you will see the link for my Twitter page! Please clicky and follow me! I'm feeling lonely.

Ok so back to the post.

I've been thinking about writing a ghost story for the past few days and decided today that I would research on ghosts. But I was kind of stuck. How do you research a ghost story? Ghosts don't exist! Or do they?

I read some articles on ghosts and haunting spirits in gardens and then proceeded to Youtube where I watched some videos of British ghostly tales and am now too scared to look out of the window into the dark night. So I think that's enough research on ghosts for now although I am now spooked enough to write a spooky ghost story.

I'm looking forward to actually writing the story though! It should be fun!

Being a writer, you have to do a lot of research and it can be tough. Lucky for me, I'm a paranormal freak and had to compile an entire lecture on ghosts back in Year 9. That was fun but everyone called me Ghost Girl for a while after that (remember I was called Ghostie Girl in the first few blog posts!).

So here are some tips for anyone who is researching for a book:

  1. Make it clear what you need to research. Just typing ghosts/vampires/zombies into Google won't get you an optimal result. 
  2. Have a folder dedicated to your research. 
  3. Read everything you can about your topic in detail. This is important in helping you build up your world. 
  4. Refine what you about your topic into what is going to be included in your work. For you imaginative folk, use about 50% of your research and existing mythology and make up the other 50% but remember to use your extensive research as a guideline so you don't go off and write about fairies sparkling vampires.
  5. Write an article on your topic but ensure it is refined and includes all you need for your writing. I would suggest an introduction, about 8 points about the topic in detail and a conclusion. (For my research on magic and witchcraft in the UK, I wrote a 3000 word article on my findings. About 40% of my article is fiction and 60% is based off previous beliefs and facts).
So there we go! Those are my tips for research!

So how do you research? Is it an exciting part of writing or would you rather not have to go through it? What would your advice be? I would love to know what you think so feel free to leave a comment.

And please follow me on Twitter! I love you! I want to hear from you! And now I'm starting to sound like a stalker.


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Book Love: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After two posts of declaring books that I don't like, I thought I needed one that was about a book I love to find a balance between positivity and negativity. I chose The Graveyard Book since it was the most recent book I read and fell in love with.

I actually remember when I bought this book. My train was delayed by about 30 minutes so I decided to take a walk through WH Smith (who sell stuff like stationary, books, magazines, food, drinks) and decided to pick a book. I was about to pick up a shitty YA paranormal romance until I saw the title and remembered Mr Gaiman mentioning it during a speech thing at this book festival in America. I loved the extract he had read out and so decided to buy it.

I started reading it on the train at around 1:45 and finished it just after 7:00 (I had taken an hour and a half out to do other stuff). I cried. And then I re-read it.

I loved seeing Bod grow from being a young child to a boy and felt like I knew him by the time I'd finished the book. I felt like the ghosts had also been my family. This was one of those books that stayed with me for a long time after I'd finished.

This book is about family, love, adventure, growing up and venturing into the big, wide world. And I could relate to all of that. It was short enough to enjoy as long books can sometimes be a bit of a trek. The book in my opinion could have been longer but I think it was great that Gaiman left it to the reader to think about Bod's life after he leaves the Graveyard.

I also loved the illustrations which brought some life to the story and helped me visualise what was happening. I think YA books should have illustrations. No, all books should have illustrations. All text can sometimes be dull. And I like knowing how others visualise the scenes. This is a book I will definitely be reading to my children and it even inspired a story of my own.

Plus, the cover looks awesome!

So there's my Book Love post. I think I'll do more of these. They're quite enjoyable. I'm gonna go ahead with my BIHTEL post on I Am Number 4 though since that book deserves it. I wasted my money on a book that bored me to death.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Reflections On My Writing Life - 2011

I had originally planned to do this for every month but forgot about it so this post is going to focus on mostly November and December and a little about 2011 as a whole.

So here is November and December:
  • I've somehow ventured back to my YA Paranormal novel and did some work on it but promptly put it to the side to complete college coursework. I also developed the idea for another YA Paranormal series which will require extensive planning so I've started making notes for that project.
  • In November, I discovered that writing late at night was no longer working for me. I've found that I tend to work much better from about 2pm to 9pm and after that, I get tired and just want to sleep. 
  • My Children's fantasy has started to stall probably because I feel like I'm not experienced enough to write about it yet. 
  • Sometime in late December, I developed an odd interest in the writing habits of other writers and their processes. I'm also interested in reading about writer's and their lives and have no idea why. It's becoming quite obsessive. It's also contributing to me wasting a lot of time. 
  • My illness (Hidradenitis Supportativa) made the actual writing quite difficult because I was either ill or struggling to catch up with work I had fallen behind with. 
  • I began to really take my writing seriously and have created a deadline for myself. I need a finished manuscript by the end of August 2012 and it doesn't matter what the genre is.
So I think that's everything for Nov/Dec.

Here is a summary of 2011:
  • I began writing children's fiction again. 
  • I stopped writing on the computer and began working my mojo longhand since I focus better when writing on paper. 
  • I started blogging properly and actually making an effort with my posts. 
  • I stepped away from YA for a bit. 
  • I wrote a dystopic piece of fiction for a college class and got an A for it! I don't like dystopic fiction though.
  • I told a friend I'm a writer. Turns out, she's a writer too!
And that's it! It felt like a short year as a writer since I usually tend to do more but on reflection, it seems like it wasn't such a bad year after all!

So how was your year? Was it as productive as you'd hoped? What is your outlook for this year?

I'd love to know so feel free to leave a comment!


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How To Cram For An Exam

It's the night before the exam and you finally get your books out.

If this is you, I have one sentence that is going to be important:

Expect the worst and don't expect any miracles.

The best you can do now is to get through the main stuff and do your best in the exam. Unless you've attended every lesson, done all the assignments and haven't fallen behind once, you will not get a top grade. And chances are that if you did all this work in the first place, you wouldn't be in the position of having to cram.

Here's a step by step guide of what to do when cramming. Use this guide if you have less than 24 hours till the exam:

  1. Get all your notes together and texts used during your course. Make sure you have a copy of the specification. 
  2. Get a wad of plain paper or lined. It doesn't matter. Just get some paper. A pen helps too. Different coloured pens also help. 
  3. Use your specification to get the heading of each topic and write one topic on the top of one separate page until you have a few sheets with headings on the top. 
  4. Go through your notes and text and write down at least 5 points for each sheet. 
  5. Once you have your points, get out a sample paper and a sheet of paper. 
  6. Write down the questions on the paper with enough space to write down some notes under the question. If you want you can skip points 3 and 4 and use the questions to make points instead. 
What to do if you have more than 24 hours:

  1. Do everything as said above but instead, write down the questions you can find and answer each and every one of them. 
  2. Condense these answers into key points and type them up onto the computer. 
  3. Revise from these notes. 
If you have less than 8 hours till the exam, you're in a very difficult position. I can't really recommend anything unless you're still in secondary school. If you're in college, these tips won't help much.You're best bet would be to get some sleep and just try your best. You won't learn much in those 8 hours and at least you'll learn your lesson.

If you ever find yourself in this position then learn from this mistake. Write down exactly what it feels like and stick that note on the wall. It'll be a constant reminder.

I hope this helps but I do understand it won't help everyone. You learn in your own way. But remember this: You won't be able to cover everything so just go through the main ideas.

And good luck. You'll be needing it. 


Friday, 13 January 2012

How To Study For A Test When You're Lazy

If you're reading this, chances are that you're a pathetically lazy student with exams approaching. Don't worry because I'm just like you.

If you're topic is something you're genuinely interested in, then good for you. The process of studying and revision will be fairly easy. You will enjoy it and will willingly try your best.

This is going to be dedicated for everyone who doesn't like the topics their exam is on.

Approaching this problem can be quite tricky. Most students with courses they aren't interested in will struggle to find the motivation to work hard. Despite what some people think, good grades isn't mostly dependent on one's intelligence levels. The key to doing well as a student is: motivation.

The only problem is that most schools will not focus on motivating students. They have jam packed schedules and guidelines that leave very little time for the things that will help you get the best grade possible.


Motivation will get you ready to sit down and get on with your work. 
Here's a definition of 'Motivation':

  1. The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  2. The general desire or willingness of someone to do something. 

The main word is desire. If you don't want to sit and study, it's going to be very difficult. 

One way to gain motivation to study is to make a list of all the topics in order from the ones you're most interested in to the ones you're least interested in. 

The first topic needs to be the third most interesting and the last two topics needs need to the the second and first most interesting topics. In the middle, include all the other topics in any order you want and then work through the list in order. 

Next, make sure you have everything you need. Do you have all your notes? 

If not, then a few weeks before the exam, find some study materials and use it to make notes. When you have an adequate amount of notes, take a break. Spend an hour or two doing something fun and exciting. Remember that exam time doesn't necessarily mean you have to bore yourself to death. 

Then get back into studying mode. This is the hardest bit. You know a long struggle is ahead of you and you would much rather watch cartoons than get to work. But you need to put fun stuff behind you and seriously have a think about which will serve you better in the long term. 

Answer this question: 

Would you rather have one bar of chocolate now or not have any for a month and then get a hundred?

This question can be rephrased?

Would you rather have fun now or have no fun for a month and then have fun? 

We can go further:

Would you rather spend all your time with friends or ignore them and study for a month and get good grades so you can celebrate with them? 

This is a case of considering the short and long term benefits and consequences. 

What would you rather look like on results day?

Or this:

You can decide which.

Three years of being a lazy bum has taught me that wasting time is not going to get me the good grades I need to get into a good university.

Being lazy is fun. But remember, it can also be dangerous.

Find something fun about your course or make it fun. And think about the consequences.

Work hard now and you can have fun and be lazy when you've smashed your exams. 

Keep some snacks close with you and make sure your study space is well lit, ventilated and free from distractions. 

Keep to the 50/10 rule. Work for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break. Any longer than 10 minutes and you run the risk of never returning back to your studying. 

And to those of you lazy bums who won't be studying, don't worry. I'll update with a blog post soon on how to cram for an exam when you're lazy soon. 

In the meantime, get studying!


Thursday, 12 January 2012

In Which I Venture Over To Inkpop

Earlier this year (I think it was this year), I ran away from Inkpop as fast as I could and made the decision to stay away for a while. Today, I crept back and I still can't get around the changes. Everything is weird and complicated now.

I also realised that my projects are still there. Which is funny because I thought I had deleted them. Weirdly enough, I'm still hesitating in pressing the delete button.

I used to love Inkpop but now it's just strange.

I've also found that you can thread reply to comments in the comments section which is cool. If I hadn't read other blogs, I never would have discovered this haha!

And I had an exam today. Which sucked. Oh well, time to go revise for a load of other exams.




Sunday, 8 January 2012

Love Writing, Hate Reading

If there is one lie that I have mastered to perfection over the past few years, it is that I love reading. I don't. I hate reading.

And this is where everyone reading will fall of their chairs and go "But you're a writer!"

Yes and I still hate reading.

I love books but the actual process of reading is boring and slow. I have enjoyed reading some books such as The Graveyard Book and the first three HP books and the first Twilight book (hate the series but I still read the book if I'm having a bath or something. Something about the dullness makes me sleepy).

I don't have the patience. In fact, I'm so impatient I struggle to wait in queues longer than 1 minute. If I'm reading and the pace slows down, I skip to the next page.

But I also have an overactive imagination. When I'm reading someone else's book, I get bored and feel restricted and often have to stop to let myself run wild for a while. I feel much more comfortable with my writing as I tend to be in my own world.

But sometimes, I come across a book which I fall in love with. It's imaginative. It's funny. And most of all, it's a great story.

Unfortunately, it's hard to come across books with great stories.

So, is there anyone else who doesn't like reading all that much? What do you love more: reading or writing?

I love writing far more. I really only read as much as I can to help me learn to write better.

I will be honest and say that I love books! I especially love smelling them!


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Genre Dumping

First of all, thanks to everyone who cheered me up and wished me luck when I had a flare up. I'm feeling much better now thanks! I'll get ill again but I'm hoping I have at least two months off!

So here is my post. I've missed regular blogging! And I've missed you guys too! You're seriously the most awesome people I've met! Especially Heather.

I went to a creative writing group a while ago and usually I tend to stay well away but I thought I'd try it out to see how it goes.

The people there were lovely and we were doing a humongous collaboration.

That is where the problem started. No one could decide upon a genre.

The solution: use every genre possible.

Woah! That's a bit extreme I know! But this is how it went down.

"Lets give her some problems like grief to deal with."

"Lets put some vampires in! But scary ones."

"Lets put some dytopia in! We need a weird government for no reason whatsoever."

"And some mystery, adventure, action, suspense, horror, thriller and romance but because we're intelligent peoples, the romance has to be a back-story! All good writers avoid writing romance!"

"And we need a mysterious title"

Everyone wanted a bit of everything. It was only when we looked at it all again, I realised we'd have to write it. I mean GOD! How do you do that? And the plot wasn't even fully fleshed. But these guys wanted to write it within six months.

I've been planning my fantasy series since 2008 and I'm not even properly at the writing stage! I can't write a novel in six months! Well no, I can but it would be no good. I'm not that kind of a writer. And the mashup of genres was awful. Seriously, if you're going to use multiple genres, at least have one main genre and sprinklings of other genres. These guys wanted all the genres to be important though and it didn't work.

They were prepared to jump in and then I realised that I wasn't that kind of a writer at all. I like to think and relax. I like to mix and match but I also want my ideas to complement each other.

And yes, I have been planning my children's fantasy since 2008. I've gone through many different plot changes though and mixed so many ideas together that the current plot is a stark contrast to my previous plots!


Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012 Is Here!

Happy New Year everyone!

2011 was a poor year for me but I'll miss it! Here's to hoping 2012 is going to be better!