THIS MORNING WE MET A PUBLISHED AUTHOR AND AN ILLUSTRATOR!

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Hey, book lovers.

So, in university, studying Creative Writing, we sometimes have the opportunity to meet people from the writing industry. Today, we met local author Mike French and the illustrator of his graphic novel, Karl Brown. Both had a really good working dynamic between them, and it was quite funny to watch, but they both seemed like really nice people, who were happy to come in and speak to us final years about the industry. I found it really useful, considering I’m kind of in the position Mike was once in, with trying to send out my novels.

The book is his fourth published, and is about a novel-writing android. Karl has designed many of his drawings of his own accord, with Mike giving him free reign in many ways. I’d never actually met a published author face-to-face before, so it was interesting. I really enjoyed the session, and their Q&A really made me realise that this is what I want to do.

You can find the book and read the full description here: An Android Awakes Amazon

I love sessions like these. It makes me feel like maybe one day it can happen, for me, too. I just have to be determined enough!

For now, happy reading 😀

April

xxx

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BOOK NUMBER TWO FINISHED!

Hey, book lovers.

So, today was pretty awesome, to say the least. Have you ever had that awesome feeling when you’ve been writing a novel for a long time, and you’ve not planned too much but then suddenly, you know how it’s going to end, and you finish it? Well, that’s what happened to me today, and I am so damn happy about it.

I started writing this one for an assessment piece in the first year of uni, (I’m studying Creative Writing at Bedfordshire), and for some units, we’re able to write the beginning of a novel, so that’s what I did. I somehow managed to get myself an A- on it, the highest grade I’ve had in my degree, ever, so that was a nice achievement in itself. But, of course, it’s not about the grades, it’s about the story and the writing style. I was just very happy, at the time, to actually do that well in an assessment. So, yeah, anyway, as you might have guessed, this book is one I’ve only recently finished the first draft on, today. I am rather happy with how it went, although I know there are a lot of changes to be made, and some more chapters to be put into in the middle. But I have enjoyed writing my characters, and I want to continue the story, and have started writing the sequel, from another character’s perspective within the same world.

The basic concept is this: Anna is sixteen years old when she discovers a strange letter on her doorstep, which claims to be from her birth mother, although she didn’t know she was adopted. She later comes to find that the letter was passed onto her by her biological father, a gang leader, with his own dark intentions for bringing her back to them. 

She encounters many dangers, and her world changes completely. I have enjoyed writing this one, and can’t wait to get on with its sequel, because, you know, I’ve started to want to write in a series lately. Not sure why, but it works.

So, now I’m working on one finished novel, one first draft of a finished novel, the sequels to each of those, a fantasy novel for my Writing Fantasy Fiction assessment piece, and soon, my Special Project, which will also be a fantasy novel. God, I love writing!

Excuse my rant. Have you been writing? Let me know.

For now, happy reading 😀

April

xxx

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A LITTLE BIT OF FREE-WRITING!

Hey, book lovers.

So, today, at uni, we had a session where a friend of mine was giving us a slight ‘teaching session’, as she wants to go into primary teaching after university. She gave us various tasks, and a min 5 minute writing session, where we could write anything, but the only rule was that we weren’t allowed to cross out any mistakes we might have made;,It worked pretty well, and she did a good job of it! We all wrote something completely random. This was all I could think of at the time.

The morning was bright, a crimson sky with a rising sun. I gazed out, transfixed, upon the growing day, and waited for the others to arrive, but no one came and I was alone. I walked across a field that stretched out far ahead, as if for miles, hearing no sound but the wind through the trees and a bird calling out in a distant tree.

Yeah, it’s not much. I’m not the fastest writer in the world, especially in on-the-spot tasks like this, but it was pretty fun, and I think it worked. I love description, as you can probably see.

For now, happy reading.

April 😀

xxx

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WHAT MAKES A BELIEVABLE CHARACTER?

Hey, book lovers.

Since writing my post about world-building a few days ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing-based topics. I have recently had a lecture on creating characters, but it was something I had considered writing a post on for a little while before that. So, I think I will give my opinions on the topic. Perhaps I will continue these posts as a short series, whenever I can think of something worst posting about. I do have a few ideas.

You are welcome to disagree with me, and share your thoughts in the comment section below if you like, but this is just my opinion, and some of what I have been told in classes, through various youtube videos and from my own reading experiences.

Personally, I love writing well rounded characters, but I think they can be quite tricky to create, unless you already know them and their back-story well. It can depend on the character, sometimes, and the story, but a character won’t be realistic or believable to a reader if they do not have flaws, their own voice or opinions, and then they will be considered as flat or ‘2D’. Coming from a contemporary YA perspective, I can think of one specific example: Hannah from ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher. Clay, our narrator, is listening to a tape from which he is forced to discover the reasons behind Hannah’s suicide. Through his narrations, we hear of Hannah’s struggles that lead to her death. She’s real and relatable because of these struggles, and Clay is a realistic character because of how he comes to deal with the issue.

In a fantasy view, Aelin/Celeana from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is real because she is physically and mentally strong; she has come from being a slave to an assassin, and wins many hearts along the way. She is loved, and often hated, by many, because of her bold actions. She fights, and she always keeps going, no matter what she is going through. But emotion does take hold of her, often, and she breaks down many times throughout the course of the books. I know I speak of these books a lot, but I couldn’t really recommend them enough. Her emotions make her raw and real, and I think this is something that is important when creating characters.

Every character must represent a new, real person, or the reader will not be able to relate to them. This may make them want to put the book down. Everyone has emotions, feelings, or a past of their own, which will alter their decisions and their actions. It is always important to take these into account when writing new characters. It’s something I really enjoy, and something I will always try to consider in my novels and in my short stories.

What do you think makes a good character? Let me know!

For now, happy reading.

April 😀

xxx

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INTO THE WORLD OF WORLD-BUILDING I GO!

Hey, book lovers.

I absolutely love writing fantasy pieces, lately. Throughout my first year of university, I was writing a lot of dystopian world stuff, because it was the sort of stuff I liked reading, (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Under The Never Sky, Matched, Atlantia, etc), and I’ve always enjoyed it, but mostly for the idea of writing strong, battle-minded characters, and secondary world settings and situations. In the second, I moved on to more of the realism area of the genre.

This, I am referring to, is of course, young adult fantasy. I don’t know why, but a lot of my characters tend to be teenagers dealing with things like growing up and the struggles related to that, as in my recently finished novel and its sequel, and the other one I am writing alongside those. It is only this year that I have started to lean more towards fantasy. I mean, we specifically have a Writing Fantasy Fiction unit this year, and I’ve been reading a lot of it over the summer anyway. Some of these have been:

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass

The Heir by Kiera Cass

There are also a few I have bought but not had the chance to read yet. I am currently reading:

A Thousand Nights by E. K Johnston

Some others I have bought but not yet read, were:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

The Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen

All of these books have really intriguing concepts, and most of them have worlds that I’m extremely jealous that the writer’s were able to create, but everyone has their strengths, and I’m getting better at going into this genre, as I progress with the unit, with my reading and with my writing in it. A lot of these books also have female protagonists, which is probably what drew me in a lot. Celeana from the Throne of Glass series is epic, for example. You can find the reviews of these books on this blog. She’s a kickass assassin who is also Fae, which is pretty damn awesome. I could probably describe all of these in detail but that would take me a long, long time, so I’ll pick out a few.

A Thousand Nights is set in a desert world where demon-like creatures control the king, where the people mostly live in small ‘tribes’, or villages, really, and religion is a big issue for them all. There will be a detailed review of this book up here when I have finished reading it, but for now I just want to say this is one of the most unique worlds I’ve seen in a while. There is definitely a Beauty and The Beast vibe to this book, as the king comes to the village and takes our protagonist, unnamed, throughout the book, who steps forward to protect her ‘more beautiful’ sister from marrying him, knowing that the king has a habit of taking these girls and killing them if they are not right for him. I just loved the setting, the beliefs of the characters and their ‘smallgods’, which they regularly pray to. I loved the sandy nature, their clothing, and I can imagine this all so clearly. And I’m not even finished reading it, yet.

The Selection series is set in a world where people are placed into numbers, from Eight to One, one being the highest, eight being the lowest, in regards to their social status. The royals set a national competition, where they elect a new princess, and one the prince and his family have chosen, narrowing it down from thirty to one. Our protagonist, America Singer, comes from Five, and the story develops from her perspective as at first she does not want to be there, but then later begins to fall in love with the prince, who has always wanted her, himself. I could really see the world of this one.

And then, there was The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, which also revolves around a status theme. There are two groups of people, those with red blood, and those with silver. Those with silver blood are seen as higher, and a larger priority than those with red blood. They also elect a new queen, but do not come to realise that our red-blooded protagonist has fallen into the running and when she is chosen, the royalty are forced to hide the truth from the world. There is war, here, and it’s effectively played.

I love unique worlds. I once wrote a short story piece, which was based in a dystopian female-lead society, run by a brutal female President. This was rather difficult to do, but I did a similar thing for a portfolio in my second year, which was both poetry and very short stories of 1,000 words each. I enjoyed all of these stories, and they were very much inspired by The Hunger Games and Divergent.

I now have plans for two fantasy novels, one I am writing for my fantasy unit and another that will be my university 12,000 word Special Project. I hope to be as imaginative as I can with these stories, and use my inspiration from my reading to help. Have you read any of these books? Would you recommend any others?

There will be more specific, detailed descriptions of each of these novels at a later date. For now, they are simple ideas forming in my mind. Do you write fantasy? Do you enjoy it? Let me know!

For now, happy reading!

April

😀 xxx

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GETTING BUSY WITH NOVEL-WRITING (AND STUFF)!

Hey, book lovers.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts. I usually tend to post book reviews, but scarcely even those, lately. Term has started again, and the Christmas retail period, as well as actually trying to be social with loved ones, leaves little time to update. But, for now, I thought I would at least try to add something to this page. We can only start somewhere, right?

I’ve very, very recently finished writing my first, proper novel. I say proper, because my very first, which I wrote during my second year of A Levels in Sixth Form, has a lot of improvements still to be made. I think that book was my learning curve for writing a novel. I won’t give too much detail on that one. Maybe another time, once I’ve sat down to alter it. This one, which I now call my first, shows my development in writing since my course, I think.

I wrote this one not long after finishing the first draft of the practice-novel. It was completely different, altogether YA, and the kind of thing I wanted to write. I love young adult novels, reading them and writing them. I had a lot more fun with this one than with the last, and learned a lot about character development and plot through my experimentation. I’ve received some very, very useful feedback from this, which I am honestly so grateful for. Again, I don’t want to provide details, but I am so glad I had started to re-vamp this one again. I am now having a full edit of the whole manuscript again, and taking the advice into account, and it has honestly really helped me to see what exactly I was doing wrong, but I have a lot of confidence in the novel now, aswell.

I did this alongside writing the novel I am currently writing, which is also completely YA, and focused on another girl, of the same age, who makes a discovery about her family life. This discovery leads her into the world of a family she never knew existed, and she struggles through trainings and other dangers of her own. This novel is on its way to being finished, with maybe another five or six chapters to be written, but it is slowly coming to an end. For now, at least, as I’ve already had ideas for its sequel.

And, on this note, this brings me back to the recently completed one. As of tomorrow, I am going to be attempting NaNoWriMo this year, for the first time! I’ve heard lots about it, and thought it would be worth the challenge, at least. So, for this, I’m going to be writing the sequel to the one I have received feedback on, and then potentially, after that, I will come to write the sequel to the one I am currently writing.

In the meantime, my Special Project at university is also going to be the beginning of a novel, which I have an idea for, but that one won’t be started until after the Christmas term, as we have other units first. A presentation and an essay, for one unit, and a fantasy short story piece, for another. Busy! But I love being kept busy, and anyone who knows me well enough will tell you that.

Perhaps there will be more details of these in the future. For now, let me know if there’s anything you’re doing like this, or if you’re doing NaNoWriMo! It should definitely be fun.

Happy reading 😀

April

xxx

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TO BE READ (AND REVIEWED) LIST!

Hey, book lovers.

It’s been a little while. I’m still trying to read the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, Queen of Shadows. It’s an amazing book, as are all of the other books, but it’s taking me a long time to get through it, though I am nearing the end, and there will be a review on here very soon.

I also have a few other books to read and review, so when I have made my way through all of these, I will post them up on here so you can see if you like the sound of any of them. Well, don’t ask me why, but I’ve been reading a tonne of young adult fantasy books over the summer. Okay, you can ask me why. It’s because I have the chance to take part in a fantasy unit for university this year! How awesome is that? The classes haven’t started yet, tomorrow actually, and I think I’m almost 3,000 words (handwritten, so not sure yet) into my assessment piece for the unit, I’m just that excited. More on that later!

For now, here’s my list of books I will be reading and reviewing very, very soon. I have a very bad book-buying habit, but I secretly love it. (Okay, it’s not really a secret, but you get my gist.)

  1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (mentioned above)
  2. Here We Lie by Sophie McKenzie
  3. All My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie
  4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  5. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  6. Queen of The Tearling by Erika Johansen
  7. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  8. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  9. The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey
  10. Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Do you know of or have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think of them in the by dropping a comment below, if you like? But, please, no spoilers.

Until then, happy reading,

April

😀

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I BOUGHT A PRETTY USEFUL WRITING RESOURCE

Hey, book lovers.

So, I found something very useful today. Have any of you ever heard of or used the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook series before? I’ve heard good things about it, but never actually thought to buy it, until today. I’ve had a look through and there seem to be an awful lot of resources in there, and I don’t think I’ve even got to the book publisher’s/literary agent’s section yet! Has it helped you? Which parts do you think would be the best to use if looking into publishing in the YA genre?

I’ve never really looked into many of these resources before. I didn’t even know most of these things existed until I looked around properly!

I’ve got the latest edition. Hoping it will be helpful!

As always, happy reading 😀

April xxx

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MY WRITING PROJECTS FOR THE SECOND ACADEMIC YEAR OF MY DEGREE!

Hey, book lovers.

So I’m trying to get back into the swing of writing on here, and trying to consider some things I could write about, since I haven’t written a post in so, so long. Last year I posted about my units for my first year, and since I’m going to be heading into my third in just over a month, I thought I might as well talk about my second, too… (Elipsis used for emphasis, here, of course.)

So, here we go. This year was more difficult, I found. I think I found the units more enjoyable, though. It was just trying to juggle everything that I found the hardest. I’m hoping I’ll manage a little better this year!

Again, we had the four units, each with two assessments due. But they spread the deadlines out more, leaving smaller gaps between them, which I found confusing, at times.

Creative Writing: Research Into Writing

This was one of our core units. For this unit, we focused on our own writing and the way ideas developed from the beginning. For this, we weren’t allowed to have thought of any ideas first- it all had to be done from scratch, to show the ways they went from something very small to something larger, and more specific. For this unit, I chose to write a story on Bletchley Park, something I had always had an interest in, being from Bletchley myself, and it went well, becoming a romance.

I liked this unit a lot. First, there was a proposal essay, where we were asked to discuss everything we had thought about and researched with our pieces so far, and I managed to get a B+ on this, somehow. It was a good one to write, I put a lot of effort into researching the time, which made the story more effective to write. I even made a trip to Bletchley Park, which helped a lot with developing my characters, especially my protagonist, Eva, and James, the soldier she comes to love. The story itself was 7,000 words and eventually became the beginning of a novel, because there is too much to think about in such a large subject.

Writing Horror and Dark Fantasy Fiction

This was one of my optional units. This year, we were offered a chance to choose two out of three of these, Horror, Scriptwriting and Innovative Writing. I loved this unit, and most people on my course took it. There were two pieces. For the first, and don’t judge me too much here, I was just experimenting with the genre, I wrote a piece that mixed sex and death. I won’t go into the gory details too much, but I kind of liked it, and I was told it was one of my best pieces that my lecturer had seen, which was saying something. Imagine a doctor with dark intentions, and a young woman who has become so taken over by grief that she wants to become her dead twin sister. Vile, of course, but strangely intriguing to write. My second piece was a ghost story, about a woman who lost her life in the Victorian times, to murder, and wanted to avenge the man’s family by possessing his distant descendant, Camryn, a photography student who stumbles across an old, abandoned theatre. Again, this was a lot of fun to write. Sometimes, you just have to test your limits and write the story, I suppose. I don’t think horror is my strong point at all, but it was good to experiment with the genre.

Scriptwriting

This was my second choice out of those optional ones for the year. I liked this one a lot. Our first assessment was to write a ten minute short film of our choice, the second a twenty minute short film. For the first, I wrote about a young girl who receives a futuristic doll for her birthday, a talking, moving doll which she talks to and tells everything, and a doll who comes to take over her life by the end of the story. This was difficult to write, but I enjoyed it a lot. My second film was a romantic comedy short film about a girl and a guy who don’t realise they see each other romantically until they are stuck in a lift together.

Poetics: Theory Into Practice

This was our other core unit, where we were asked to discuss and show the ways in which we see our writing. For the first piece, due at the end of the second term, I wrote a portfolio set in a dystopian world, called Verenia, a mixture of short stories and poems narrated by different characters living in that world. The second was an essay explaining how we feel about our writing, which I wrote about the origins of how I had come to write, and how much my influences helped me improve and develop my skill.

University is an amazing experience, and why not spend it doing a course you love? I couldn’t have chosen a better degree for myself, and I honestly mean that. Now, to keep writing.

As always, happy reading!

April xxx

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WHY DO I ALWAYS LEAVE?

Hey, book lovers.

Long time no blog post, right? I seem to be very bad at this, keeping up with the blog and writing about books and writing everything, as much as I love it. And, because I love it, I thought I would give it another shot.

I’m not at university at the moment, not for another month or so. The summer has been spent well, I think. I’ve been writing my novel (my third, now), and it’s going really well. I used to write on here all the time, and I kind of miss it. The truth is, I’m always too busy. I want to keep going with it, though, and since I have been keeping up my writing every day routine for the last month or so, perhaps I should add a little something on here each day, too. I usually go to work, then I come home in the evenings and read, and then I write. I’m on chapter sixteen now, and pretty happy with where it’s going! It’s been consuming me! I can’t stop myself, and it’s always in the worst moments that I find myself getting into it.

A brief description of the novel:

Anna Rose Fawkes is sixteen years old, when she receives a letter on her doorstep from her birth mother, telling her that she was adopted when she was three. It is only when Anna seeks out the address and clues provided to her in the letter that she discovers that it was not really her birth mother, but her biological father, who sent her the letter, tricking her into discovering him and spinning her life into his own deadly game. Nathan is the leader of a violent gang, vengeful and angry. Anna decides, after finding him, that she will save her mother and destroy everything he loves and appreciates in his work, and discovers new secrets along the way.

Anyway, university starts back up in the beginning of October, and for now I’m going to be working and writing and seeing friends and family. But I think I will post here some more book reviews every now and then, as there are so many books I’ve read this summer and not told anyone about! It’s all spinning around in my head and needs to be set free!

Until then,

Happy reading 😀

April xx

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A SMALL REFRESHER

Hey, book lovers.

So you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been on here much, yet again. I suppose handling my mixture of uni, classes and assessments and working, as well as this blog in addition, isn’t exactly my strongest suit. I apologise, sincerely. But now is the summer and officially the end of my second year of university, and I’m pretty happy with how everything is going right now. I am going to try to get back into the swing of writing on here, because I do enjoy it!

I will post some more book reviews as I have lots of books to add to my list of favourites. When I’m not writing I am reading, and it’s one of the best things to do as a writer. It really helps.

I am now twenty-one years of age, and have just finished my second year at the University of Bedfordshire, studying a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing. As I may or may not have mentioned before, I love university. I’ve met so many amazing people, I’ve found myself some more experience in many things, and I’ve improved my craft in something I adore doing. If writing wasn’t something I wanted to do before uni, it definitely is now. (It was, but that is not the point.) I have a confidence in myself and my writing now, through trying more genres and giving more things a go. I couldn’t have made a better choice, and I’m so happy now.

So on this blog, very soon, I’ll probably review some more, and talk some more about writing and my novels and short stories, if you’re interested!

Thanks,

April

😀

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BOOKS, BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS!

Hey, book lovers.

Long time no blog post. I’ve been a littlle busy with the beginning of my second year at Uni, getting myself back into the swing of things after the summer ended. I passed with some grades I’m pretty happy with and next week I get the grades for the first couple of assessments I handed in for year 2, so that’s pretty exciting (and pretty terrifying).

But of course, I love reading books, writing books and talking about books. So the only New Years resolution (or goal, really) that I’ve thought about is to write more book reviews. Some of the others, if I were to think of some off the top of my head, would probably be to write more in general (edit the book I finished over the summer, start writing a new one, do my best in my assignments and write more short stories and poetry that aren’t related to my uni work).

And with that in mind, I’ve recently received two new bookcases that I’ve ordered (and are yet to be built), and a full set of new books that I’ve been quite interested in reading. This list includes:

Devoted by Hilary Duff (sequel to Elixir, which I am currently reading and will be reviewing soon)

True by Hilary Duff (sequel to Devoted)

Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (sequel to Throne of Glass, which I have recently finished reading and will be reviewing soon)

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (sequel to Crown of Midnight)

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (prequel novellas to Throne of Glass)

(Yes, I tend to buy books in groups if I enjoy reading them enough. More fun that way, because you can just jump right into the sequel as soon as you’ve finished the book before it if you are feeling ruthless.)

So reviews for each of these books will be coming soon, but I definitely recommend the Throne of Glass series if you like a good fantasy novel with elements of romance, a fiery, kick-ass protagonist- she’s an assassin, I guess she has to be- and the first book pulled me in so much and I just could not put it down. I am yet to read the sequels but I’m hopeful that they will do the same. It’s definitely, definitely without a doubt on top of my list of favourite books, but that’s just in personal preference. I started reading Elixir last night and if I wasn’t falling asleep I probably would have read it through the night because I started reading it around half ten after finishing another book called Stolen, which is one of the books I will be reviewing very soon.

So, I have lots of books to think about and read at the moment, and to fill my next two bookcases with. On the way to building that library!

Happy reading!

😀

April

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FIRST DRAFTS!

Hey, book lovers.

So I finished the first draft of my novel earlier today. I mean there’s still a ton of edits to do and some of it has to be typed up, but apart from that I’m able to say I’ve completed another novel. And I’m so happy that I couldn’t even think about reading one of my favourite books earlier. I’m so excited about where this could go if I do enough edits and make it go well. Isn’t that just part of the fun of being a writer, though? I guess you could say I have a bit of a book hangover.

And it feels strangely amazing. But I’m kind of numb at the same time. Please do tell me if you have ever felt the same way. I felt exactly the same when I finished my last novel, but that one was far longer (about 130, 000 words to be more specific) and so I think mildly too long for a first novel. But you never know what could happen. So I’m now seeking representation for one and on the way to seeking representation for the other just as soon as the edits are finished.

So it’s a bit of a writerly feeling, if you know what I mean? I don’t know what to do with myself. But I know there will be a sequel on the way, I just think I need to give my head a chance to clear first. So I guess I’ll see how it all goes with the edits and then try and get it out there! Wish me luck! (And I give exactly the same to anyone in the same position!) Hope it all goes well. Would love to hear some publishing stories, as I don’t really know any published writers and I think it would be cool.

Hope to hear from you!

For now, happy reading! (And writing!)

April

😀

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MY WRITING PROJECTS FOR THE FIRST ACADEMIC YEAR OF MY DEGREE!

Hey, book lovers.

So as you will know if you’ve read my recent book review of Dance of Ashes by Yelena Black, I’ve been very busy working on assessments due for the first year of my degree in Creative Writing at the University of Bedfordshire. Like many others on this website that I’ve come across, reading and writing are everything to me, and I want to of course keep writing and to develop my craft in the subject in order to write the best possible books I can! Because isn’t that what every writer wants? And this is coming from someone who’s friends now are mostly writers. Before University I didn’t know personally anyone who had written a novel. Well, now I do!

So, this post is a little different to my usual book reviews. I want to get back into posting regular content and I still have a lot of books left to talk about, so I won’t be going anywhere soon. Moving swiftly on, I thought I’d talk about the first four assessments I wrote for my first year. I may do another post about my most recent stories soon, but just as soon as our work has all been handed back and we’ve received our feedback and grades.

There were four units, all with their different topics and requirements. There were two assessments due for each of these modules; one due for each module in January and the second batch being due in May.

Writers Reading

This unit is very much like the title. We write a story that in some way links to our reading during our time on the course. I read an awful lot of Young Adult novels, so my piece for this unit was based on The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, a short story fanfiction/adaptation piece called A Touch Of Death. I was happy to receive a B+ for this piece, a happy 13 out of 16 marks. This piece was a lot of fun to write, because it was like fan fiction in that you play around with the story.

Writing Practices

The requirements here were simply to write a short-story piece. It could be about anything, it just depended on the form. For this piece I wrote a dystopian fiction piece. I got a C for this one.

Composition 1

The requirements for this unit were that you could write pretty much any form of writing; poetry, a short story, a script, etc. My short story for this one was about finding love after experiencing grief. I got another C for this one.

Creative Writing Theory and Practice

For this one, you could write in any form as long as you involved in your contextual study (a kind of essay that goes with each creative piece, discussing and explaining your aims and objectives and what went well and what didn’t) some kind of theory that could be linked to your story. Mine was an extract of a novel that I am going to be writing about a girl called Anna who receives a letter on the doorstep from her mother from birth and realises that she is actually adopted. She is angry, and in the chapter decides to run away and find her loving mother from the address given to her in the letter. I was able to link this to the theories of Freud and Jung and spoke a lot about the genre. I had thought this was my weakest piece when I submitted them but I actually received some amazing feedback and an equally amazing A-, both of which made me very happy indeed.

I will talk about the recent four stories in another post, but they are still going through the marking process and so I think it would be better to keep them as four little secrets for now. I was pretty happy with these stories overall and received some wonderful feedback from my lecturers. So I’m so proud of myself for completing all of these and am now just awaiting the feedback and results for the last lot!

And for now, happy reading! I’m off to read the sequel to Night School by C.J Daugherty now, Legacy. It’s good so far. There will be a review up soon, plus my friend’s even leant me the sequel that comes after it so I’m pretty excited for that one too, as I’ve been really drawn into this series.

April

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IT SEEMS I HAVE A LOT TO GET THROUGH!

Hey, book lovers.

So, on the topic of the wonderful collection that is my bedroom bookshelf, it seems that I have quite a lot more books to get through and review on this blog than I had originally thought.  When you love the literary world as much as I do, it feels amazing to be able to say that you have TOO MANY to think of reading. If you’ve read one of my previous posts where I list all of the books I have left to review, you might be happy to read my update to this list. So, here goes.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- I’m currently reading this one, I’m about half way through so there will be a review up very soon.

2. Shift by Hugh Howey (I am meeting him tomorrow as he is coming in to talk to us about writing)

3. Night School by C.J Daughterty

And more!

I also have plenty more short stories and poems to share with you on this blog, so watch this space!

Happy reading!

April

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A LITTLE BIT OF MY OWN WRITING!

wattpad

Hello, book lovers.

This post is going to be something a little different to my usual book reviews and Why do we write? posts.

As you may have read in my About Me page, I am a writer. I’m a Creative Writing student at the University of Bedfordshire. I like to write my own stuff just as much as I love to read. So in this post, I thought I would share with you a little bit of my own internet writing presence, my Wattpad stories!

I’m not published. I have written a novel which I am trying to get published at the moment through agents, but unfortunately have not been too successful with. I am also writing another, which I will have done by the middle of this year at least, (as soon as I have finished my assessments that are due in May). They are two completely different novels, but the one I am writing at the moment is more of the YA genre than the first, like the ones I am about to show you.

Admittedly, this book/story on Wattpad was written when I was around fifteen, and I’m now 19. It is not the best quality of writing I have done, but I have been told the premise of the story is good, so I will share it with you in case you wish to read it.

So, here you go.

http://www.wattpad.com/user/AprilGraceable

Happy reading!

April

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MORE BOOKS AND MORE BOOK REVIEWS!

Hey, book lovers.

You will notice, if you look on my blog, that for now I only have three reviews on my page. This is because I am trying my hardest to juggle University life (so, assessments mostly, and seeing and spending time with friends and often visiting family), my own writing, including the book I have finished and have edited and so am trying to get published by contacting agents about it, as well as the one I am about half way through writing as of now. I started this blog a little while before  assessment week, which was, admittedly, a very bad idea.

But assessment week, for my last lot, is finished. In fact, I could tell you that I’m really very happy with these assessments. There were four modules, Writers Reading, which is where you had to write a piece that links to your reading in some way, this was my favourite one, there was Writing Practices which required a fully finished and completed short story with all of the normal conventions included, Composition 1, for this piece you could literally write anything creative, an essay, a short story, an extract of a novel/novel idea, a script. And then Creative Writing Theory and Practices meant you had to discuss or include the theory behind writing in some way, so I generally made references to Freud and the human behaviour through this piece. This piece actually turned out to be my best grade, even though I hadn’t really workshopped it and therefore my lecturer hadn’t seen it before. In Writers Reading I got 13 out of 16 marks, so a B+. I was really, really happy with this grade. For this piece I basically did a short story adaptation of a novel called The Book Thief by Markus Zusak about the world of a little girl called Liesel Meminger, a girl in Germany experiencing the second world war as it happens. For Writing Practices I wrote a Dystopian fiction short story about a female-led world with a dramatic ending and a very brutal kind of world. I got a C on this piece, 9 out of 16 marks, and have recently entered this story into the Bristol Prize Short Story competition for 2014, so I’m hoping they like it. For Composition 1, I also wrote a short story, one about a young man called Edward who meets a young woman after his Aunt’s funeral and falls in love with her. I also got a C on this piece. And for Creative Writing Theory and Practices, I wrote the first chapter of a novel idea about a girl who discovers that her parents have lied to her about who she really is when she recieves a letter from her birth mother. This grade was the one that surprised me the most. I got an A- ! I quite literally gasped when I saw it. I was in the classroom, with the rest of the group and when I recieved my work back, I looked through the front sheet (yes, through it, I was worried), and gasped so loud that they all stared at me like I was an idiot.

So yeah, back to books. Because of University, I have an Aspire card where I can spend £300 in the University bookshop, so I went out today and bought four new books. I buy books a lot, so I will have a lot of books to review as I go through the three years I’m here, and beyond, of course!

I’m a writer, and I just counted all of the books on my shelf. 68! I thought I would share some of the books that I will soon be reviewing for you! So here you go!

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
3. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
5. Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman (Sequel to Noughts and Crosses)
6. Checkmate by Malorie Blackman (Sequel to Knife Edge)
7. Double Cross by Malorie Blackman (Sequel to Checkmate)
8. Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie (Sequel to Girl, Missing)
9. Missing Me by Sophie McKenzie (Sequel to Sister, Missing)
10. Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie
11. The Setup by Sophie McKenzie
12. Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie
13. Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie (Sequel to Blood Ties)
14. Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie
15. Split Second by Sophie McKenzie
16. Viking Gold by V. Campbell
17. One Day by David Nicholls
18. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
19. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
20. Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart
21. Shift by Em Bailey
22. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
23. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Sequel to Suzanne Collins)
24. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Sequel to Catching Fire)
25. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
26. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
27. Ashes by Ilsa J.Bick
28. The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King
29. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
30. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
31. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tenessee Williams (Play)
32. City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare
33. Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
34. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
35. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt
36. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
37. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
38. A Game of Thrones by George R. R Martin
39. The Book Of Summers by Emylia Hall
40. The Cuckoo Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling)
41. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
42. Shift by Hugh Howey
43. Life and Laughing by Michael McIntyre
44. Awakened by P.C and Kristin Cast
45. The Perfect World by Suzanne Bugler
46. Legacy by Danielle Steel
47. Othello by Shakespeare (Play)
48. Before The Poison by Peter Robinson
49. The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
50. The Killables by Gemma Malley
51. Property by Valerie Martin
52. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
53. Divergent by Veronica Roth
54. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Sequel to Divergent)
55. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Sequel to Insurgent)
56. Lullaby by Amanda Hocking
57. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
58. The Selection by Keira Cass
59. Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

These, of course, are not all of them. But there will be lots coming soon, so watch this space! Just need to find the time to write all of these, but I’m hoping to fill my blog with them very soon and I will update as much as I can!

Until then, happy reading.

April

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BOOKS, BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS!

Hello, book lovers.

I’ve become a bit of a book fanatic over the last few weeks, and I now have a shockingly large collection compared to the amount I owned before moving to University. Of course, I’ve been planning on doing book reviews on this blog and I tend to review each and every one after I have read it. I am a Creative Writing student and, perhaps with some naivety, I feel like these are a necessity. Perhaps others on my course would feel the same, I certainly have friends who do.

I have a hunger for going into book shops like Waterstones (when I’m back in Milton Keynes as unfortunately there is not one in Luton), WH Smiths, John Smiths University Shop and more recently, The Works.

Waterstones has always been my favourite book shop, I will have to admit. I adore book shops of all kinds but something just draws me to this one in particular, (perhaps the fact that there is a Costa on the upstairs floor and that this is the place where I used to go to do most of my writing before University as I  did not own a desk then). So, basically, I’m a book fanatic. And this is my favourite shop. WH Smiths is equally awesome, though. They’re usually around the same kind of price here, aswell. I’m more of a YA lover but I go for any genre, but still novels like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Noughts and Crosses, The Fault in Our Stars are the kind of thing I like to read. I am looking into different genres however, especially for my course.

John Smiths University Shop is in Luton town centre and is a great bookshop with books of all different genres, from fiction to everything non-fiction related, educational books mostly but others of different ranges, and they also sell lots of stationery and art equipment and many other things. The Works is another good bookshop that I really love, because the books they sell are always cheap. I went in there today and bought three books for £5! These are books I have seen in shops like Waterstones and WH Smiths that are usually of around £6.99, and I usually buy books that I have heard lots of good things about through reviews on the internet.

I will be posting many reviews of the books I read, and each one from my collection on my bookshelf in my room will be included. (Seriously, I just counted them all, there are 63, my shelf is now full and I think it might just break soon.)

So, my friends, basically watch this space as there will be plenty to come very soon!

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writing
Hello, book lovers.

This post, if you hadn’t already noticed, is no book review. For now, I have decided to write a post of a different kind, something a little more general and writing-based.

I have only been working on this blog for about two days now and I have planned out all of the book reviews I will be doing over the next month or so but I would also like to be able to discuss other issues that are related to writing, and on a more general basis.

Feel free to give me your opinions of the topics discussed in these posts in the comments below. I will do my best to respond quickly to any feedback.

You might think that because I am only in my first year of doing my Creative Writing and have not been writing on a more (hopeful) professional level for very long that I do not know much about the subject. But I would like to think that I have some kind of a knowledge of it, so I thought I would discuss some issues on the topic, on a more personal level. Hopefully this will be relatable for you, too.

One of the questions that came to mind when I was thinking of possible ideas I could have for posts on this blog is the titled question above: why do we write? What is it about writing that makes some of us want to study words and well, to put the pen to paper and express stories through a mixture of words?

One of the most important reasons in answer to this question is, I feel, how liberating writing can be. When you are at a low point in your life, suffering from grief, depression or other personal issues, expressing yourself through words, whether it be through stories or poetry or even the beginning of a novel, you can relieve yourself of the tension that has been building up inside you through the characters and scenarios you have created, allowing yourself a form of stress relief while at the same time creating a good story for others to read. Even the simplest forms of expression can be helpful to the mental health in this case; a few lines or stanzas of a poem or a piece of flash fiction can relieve any emotional stress and bring you back on your way to being happy again. It is often difficult to understand why this might be, but if you really think about it, the answer is simple. Well, because there is some truth in every piece of fiction, we often base our stories on true events, and if we do this when we are at our low points, using the characters we have created and putting them in our position, there is bound to be some kind of emotional liberation! A form of relief, like pulling off a plaster, it might hurt for a little while but then the irritation is gone. Simply put, you express your truths and feel better in the long-run.

bleed

Another reason we write is to communicate- whether it be through letters, newspapers, emails, scripts, non-fiction books, we all have something we wish to get across to other people. Though writing letters seems to be a rare commodity in this day and age, with all of the latest technology, it still happens. And it is a good way of getting across a message to a specific person. Even though we may not know it, we will often use some of the elements of writing in our letters: narrative voice, humour, grammar, it is all there. Newspapers are another form of communication, a good way of expressing often formal information to a wide range of people. Emails, like letters, often focus specifically on passing on a message to a person but can also be sent to a larger range of people. Scripts and non-fiction books will also focus on larger audiences and are effective ways of conveying a message, either for information (television documentaries), fiction (dramas, sitcoms) and in the form of the non-fiction books for informational purposes such as cookbooks.

The last reason in answer to this question is simply that we often write for pleasure. We enjoy writing. It is a kind of addiction, to become so enticed in the words on the page that even once you have decided to take a short break, you will feel a sudden urge to write again is a strange yet wonderful thing. As writers, we will be inspired by any and every little thing in life that passes us by and these things may mean that we will acquire an idea that just will not leave, or at least until we have started to consider the story in our minds and thought about character backgrounds and scenarios of which these characters will become involved in, before the writing itself even occurs. With these kinds of ideas in our minds, we will have our obsession. Something uncontrollable, an idea that we just cannot put away until we have started to let the story unfold.

I guess all I can say is that I’m thankful to writers everywhere for giving us such wonderful stories! We write because writing is something special, a form of emotional pain relief, a way to communicate and something we enjoy doing; an addiction.

Happy reading!

April 😀

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