Friday, 9 August 2013

Beware your language!

All writers are guilty of it at some stage and I am no exception. Its a universal faux pas that we have all experienced and in cases, a bloody hard habit to climb out of the depths of. But also is inevitable to pick up at one point or another.

Yes boys and girls, I am referring to language. Did anyone else just have a flashback to their English lessons?

With the way we are all connected via the internet and all other mass media channels, we can access content and entertainment from all corners of the globe. I tend to immerse myself in the sunny world of the US a lot of the time, ranging from watching my menagerie of Friends to Desperate Housewives to House. And then of course I have shelves filled with American authors from Julie Krantz to Dan Brown.
Lately, I have recieved a few reviews on my latest project and the one that seems to crop up most; are the amount of Americanisms I've adopted sub-consciously.

Not that im saying Americanisms aren't cool. No, I love half of my weird and wonderful sayings that some people just don't 'get' - family included. But as someone who wants to be recognised at a British author, it's a little frustrating to write and then read over my workings to find that I had written 'gotten' as opposed to 'become'.

I think I can safely say that I've learned something from this experience though.

Monday, 5 August 2013

First Look: Beneath the Door - CHAPTER EXTRACT.

“I’m dreaming aren’t I?”

The blonde girl momentarily looked up from the freshly made daisy chain between her slender white fingers.
“What makes you think that?” She smiled sweetly, lips as rosy as her cheeks.

“The sheer fact I’m dreaming about someone I hardly know. Someone I met in the storeroom
of a mental institution. What does that say about me?” I could have smacked myself.

Rebecca’s ice cold eyes danced with amusement. She continued her daisy chain, humming under her breath as her fingers expertly tied each small flower to another.
“Don’t blame me. This is your dream.”

“Do me a favour and get out then.” I spat and moodily began to tear handfuls of lush green grass from the field we were sat in. A cool breeze swept over the cliff tops from the cerulean sea somewhere down below and carried the sound of seagulls and crickets singing, whilst the sun beat down comfortably from ahead.
To the left, was the big white door that I had long since given up trying to open. Rebecca finished her flowery new accessory and hung it proudly around her pale neck, surrounded by waves of her luxurious blonde curls.
I scowled at my strands of flat auburn hair and bitter-down nails.

“You need to relax.” Rebecca sighed. Even her sighs sounded musical.

“Sure, no problem. Attempted murder victim, psychologically damaged and socially handicapped. But I’ll stand over there and recite ‘knock-knock’ jokes, shall I?”

Rebecca rolled her eyes. “Mature. No - I mean you need to stop thinking and start living."

“I haven’t killed anyone yet. I think that’s a job well done if you ask me.” Who was she to start trying to be my personal life coach? I already had one annoyingly-enthusiastic blonde in my life. I didn’t want to start collecting them.

“Don’t you see? You’re so wrapped up in the injustice of what has happened, that you aren’t even bothering to live!”

“I am living!” I snarled. “Don’t dare try and tell me how I feel.” I was thoroughly tired and wound up. Rebecca barely battered an eyelid at my extremely crap mood and laid back on her hands, stretching and wiggling her naked toes in the long grass.

“I was just making an observation.” She sang quietly.
“Well, don’t. Keep it to yourself. Get out of my dream.” I rolled over onto my other side and viciously tore more grass from the field, balling it together in my hands. Silence gratefully filled the space and I stupidly thought for a second, that she actually listened to me.

Golden hair invaded my face, my eyes. She was stood above me, ice blue eyes gleaming under the thick curtain of her hair. She pierced me with those eyes and stripped me bare to my very core. I was both utterly bewildered and terrified at once.

“If you want things to change.. You change.” She whispered. “This concerns more than just yourself now.” Rebecca grabbed my arms with cold prying vice-like fingers and prodded me towards the door. For a fleeting moment, I thought she was going to kill me.

Her blue eyes softened, she smiled ruefully. “I’m not your enemy.”

“You aren’t a friend, either.”

Pink lips curled upwards. “I’m not a friend.”

Comments, opinions, feedback? Leave them in the comments below and thank you for reading!
- Holly

Does a degree define your skill?

We have all been there. Throw yourself back into the last months of mandatory schooling - that freaky feeling where you are on the very edge of the world and about to take the last breath and jump head fast into reality. Those who are confident of what they would like to do career-wise, fall into safety nets on the way down, whilst you're left free-falling and wondering where you would like to land. Years pass by, you've done nothing that you wanted to do and you're feeling panicked as life trickles by.

For those few lucky people who have fallen into nets and have ended up going to University and obtaining themselves a shiny new English or Creative Writing degree - well done you guys, you worked hard and was rewarded for it! But what about those who neither had the choice nor the money to be able to work for a degree? Does that make them any less of a writer?

Reading a LOT of literature in my 20 years on this little planet, I have read amazing works from both sides of the spectrum. But I never once noticed purely from the content, who was the Author with the full education and who ended up in full time employment. 

But DOES a degree define your skill as a writer?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!
- Holly

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Self Publishing versus 'The Good Old Fashioned Way'

If you're a keen writer/novelist/poet - or whatever you want to call yourself - you have successfully stayed in touch with the fast news and goings-on within the literary world - go you!

The act of Self-publishing has always had a negative edge to it. Publishing your own book? PAH. That just means that you aren't good enough to be properly taken on by a wildly amazing publishing house! Right?

No, wrong. Sooooo wrong.

In fact, more and more writers are now considering the option of taking their works into their owns hands and going that extra mile to do all of the hard slogging themselves. Aided by a literary consultant or Self-publishing houses, and of course a fair amount of money - it is becoming increasingly common to self publish.

Of course it will not completely take away the stigma, nor the fear of failure and a lot of hard work should the venture fail, writers are now keen to take their future into their own hands and make the dream a reality.

Admittedly, I have been doing research on the same issue. Yesterday after a long day at work, a literary agent from Author House called me and we discussed the highs and pitfalls (although declined to discuss pricing at this stage, there's a shocker).

The point is - dont be afraid to avoid the conventional route and shy away from hundreds of possible rejections from publishing houses. Do a little research into taking the time to control your own journey, and see where it takes you.

- H x