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29 Jan 2012

Sunday writing: Editor, you may return

It's time to get cracking on that editing now.  I've taken a writing break since November, just concentrating on notes and things for other projects that I'd like to work on in the future.  But my NaNo project is getting a little bit dusty and neglected.  And the changes that I knew I wanted to make when writing the first draft are bugging me.  They want to be fixed.  Now.

Honestly, this W.I.P is a demanding diva!

Editing a novel seems a whole lot different to editing a short story.  When I wrote The Merry Maiden Wails I just went through and deleted this part or added something to this chapter.  Changed the way this guy spoke.  Axed that character and brought this one in.  I could just go through it page by page and edit.  With Beast Inside I have no clue where to start.  I think about editing this and it all feels so scattered and chaotic, if that makes sense. I thought the best thing would be to go back to the notebook I have with all the notes on research, lore, etc.  I've made new notes on the characters, changing a little bit about their personality or relationship.  I'm indecisive about the only female teenager involved.  I'm tempted to just axe her because she doesn't seem to be working.  But then that takes out quite a few parts of the story.  Eh, I'll leave her for now.  She doesn't appear until halfway through so I've got time to think.  The pace of the plot needs a lot of work.  So now that I have an idea of how the story goes I could do detailed chapter notes on what happens to help with the flow.  I've got a better idea of why the events occur in the beginning.  I'll see how that works out.

So time to get the playlist out, get all my vampire films on for inspiration, and get ready to mess up the lives of my characters. 

I've been a nasty writer to this lot.  I've put them all through hell.  Mwahahaha!

28 Jan 2012

News to Novels #4

More articles to spark some creativity!

I sailed the world at 16
Teenager Laura Dekker - the youngest round-the-world solo sailor.  Laura, 16, set off from St Maarten in the Caribbean on January 20th last year and returned on Saturday.
I've read so many articles like this in the past when a teenager that young has committed themselves to doing something remarkable.  What is their story? Why do they decide to do something like this? I find people like Laura so inspiring so it would be nice to see a story about a boy or a girl working to achieve a dream so young.  Their ambition is always so motivating.

Corpse in self-store
The remains of a granny have been found in a self-storage unit - 17 years after she died.
Sounds like the beginning of a Castle episode.  A good murder mystery is always enjoyable.

Mummy cat in my ceiling
Property renovator George Hartley shows off her new pet - a mummified cat that was entombed in the ceiling.
I'm thinking Egypt, horror, mummies, evil... I think this could trigger off a good supernatural horror.

27 Jan 2012

Make 'Em Laugh

On Absolute Write there has been topics on what we would like to see in YA.  It's been on my mind a while, especially with the ghost story obsession I have at the mo.  But there's another genre that I'd like to see more of that's been on my mind recently.  Comedy.  It's a random thing to think about and post but I'm sick at the moment and when I feel crappy I always grab the comedies and watch them.  Watching silly things and laughing just helps and it started to make me wonder if there were any good YA comedies or parodies out there. 

So far we got Pratchett, Adams and Goldman out there but is it time for somebody new? On the shelves in Waterstones I see the dark fantasy and drama. I hear people talking about writing teenage issues.  But at times we just need a good giggle. I know I do. Something silly and outrageous that really takes us away from life problems, illness and reality.  Can anyone recommend any good YA comedies?

And if parodies did start filling up the shelves what would you want to see satirised?

In the meantime Donald O'Connor is here to cheer us up...

26 Jan 2012

Award Shout Out

A big, big thanks to Elodie who has passed on the Versatile Blogger award.  It's my first ever blogging award so I'm really touched by it. :) It really means a lot.

And if you haven't been introduced to Elodie's blog yet then get clicking on that link! She writes fantastic posts on writing that I've always found interesting to read. 

For this award I have to share 7 things about me and pass the award onto 15 bloggers.  I'm quite new at blogging and still being introduced to blogs so I'm afraid the number will be quite low.  But I know who I'm passing this award onto.

Colin - I know Elodie's already passed on the award to you but I can't leave you out.  One of the first bloggers I met who always has a great response for Road Trip Wednesday and after being introduced to his characters Jasper and Pearl I'm looking forward to hearing more about them and their stories in the future.

Theresa - Such thoughtful posts on writing.  One that stuck in my mind was a post on fears and how we can't live in fear.  She linked it to writing which I found very motivational.  I'd recommend her blog.

Miss Cole - One of the most inspiring blogs I've come across.  She uses music and photos in her posts as sources on inspiration and motivation.  And there have been plenty of times where I've come away from her blog with all sorts of writing ideas buzzing around in my head. 

The Bookshelf Muse  - If you're a writer then this is THE blog for you.  I love love LOVE the thesauruses on character traits, weather, emotions, settings etc.  My writing weakness is description so this blog has been incredibly helpful with my writing in the past. 

And those are the blogs I think deserve the Versatile Blogger Award.  Check them out if you haven't already done so. :)

And seven things about me:

1) When I first came to university my dream career was in journalism.  A placement at a local newspaper proved that the job would bore me incredibly and wasn't actually the right career for me.  Since working as a teaching assistant I've realised that this is the job I'm meant to do.  I absolutely love my job and hope to train as a teacher in a year or so. 

2) I was on the netball team in primary school and regret not continuing in high school. 

3) When I was 13 I got my hair short and cropped, daring to try out a short hairdo.  I was then called Harry Potter at school until it finally grew longer.  Looking back at photos I really don't blame my classmates for calling me that.  The resemblance was ridiculous.  What on earth was I thinking? I was still wearing glasses at the time and I also had a scar on my forehead from having chicken pox months before. *face palm*

4) My first stories when I was younger were short stories about three dolls called Molly, Polly, and Dolly.  Creative, huh?

5) Yet I never thought of being a writer until I was 15.  Before that I was horrified at the thought of getting my work published for all to read.  But then some stories I wrote fell into the hands of my friends who really enjoyed them and I started to consider writing as a future career.  I've been writing away ever since.

6) My two favourite artists are David Bowie and Alice Cooper. 

7)  I'm the type to squee over cute animals.  I'm a complete softie.  I love monkeys and I currently have one cat called Imp.  He's a little devil, always doing something mischievous and naughty but he loves his cuddles and likes to curl up on my chest with his head tucked under my chin.  He also has a habit of walking across my laptop.  Once he managed to turn the magnifier on, turn my wireless off and then lock my computer all in one go.  Cheeky git! At least he's stopped climbing up the curtains now.

25 Jan 2012

RTW: Meeting Up

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:  
Write a dialogue between two of your favorite YA characters
***Warning: Spoilers***
This one was fun to do.  I choose Julian from The Forbidden Game trilogy by L.J Smith and Simon from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.  Both boys haven't had a great time in their books with dying, being rejected, and going through changes in personality that really ruined their lives.  I thought it would be fun to take their bad luck and make it slightly humourous as they rant about their roles and where it's led them. 
If you want to read more about the books here's the wiki pages for The Mortal Instruments and The Forbidden Game.
The Trouble with Genres and Girls
The two had made an unlikely friendship.  They sat in the corner of a bar, sipping their drinks and turning their eyes away every time a girl walked past and did a double take.  The girls saw gorgeous.  The boys saw trouble.
“Not even going there,” Simon muttered.
Julian sniffed and a scowl formed on his face as another girl walked past.  She was with a friend who stayed glued to her phone, fingers dancing around the buttons on it.  The girl glanced once and back to her friend.  Then again, staring straight into Julian’s eyes.  He turned his nose up and shook his head at her. 
“I become a rat.  I’m humiliated in front of everyone thanks to faeries.  Then I die.  I become a damn vampire…” Simon muttered, staring into his drink.
Julian sat back. “Well, I just died.  At least you got to come back.  I sacrificed myself and that’s it.  She just waltzes off back into the arms of her jock boyfriend.  And he’s completely forgiven of mistreating her.  I’m still the bad guy who’s finally dead and out of everyone’s way. “
“Well, she thought they were brother and sister.  And she still had feelings! For this prejudice asshole who she had only just met.  Best friends don’t mean anything, you know.  Not with these girls and this genre.”
“You give up everything for them and this is the thanks you get,” Julian sighed.  He tapped his fingers against the table.  Another girl walked past and actually stopped to gawp at them.  Simon and Julian turned, lips forming into a scowl but their unfriendly faces didn’t do anything to stop the redness appearing in her cheeks.
Julian’s tone was clipped but quiet. “Sorry, not interested.”
The girl opened and closed her mouth like a goldfish, still staring at the two boys, and finally she ducked her head and rushed off. 
“It’s not worth the risk,” Simon said.
Julian nodded. “Of course not.  With Jenny, I died.  The next one could get me locked up and castrated.”
“I need a change of genre,” Simon said. “Maybe thriller.  Or some comedy.  This PR business is making me completely depressed at the moment.”
“I’m thinking of going slasher. I heard the killers never die and the death rate is very good,” Julian said. “PR is not satisfying me either.  The working conditions are so poor.” He checked his watch again. “The others should be arriving now.  We’ll be able to sort out the complaint properly soon.  And get this game finally started.”
“Now, promise me this,” Simon said. “This isn’t one of your funny games is it? I don’t want to be sucked into one of your freaky Norse worlds where my life is in danger.”
Julian sighed. “I’m deceased remember? My career with the Shadow Men is over.  I lost my precious Game when I lost my life.”
Simon shook his head. “Fucking women.”
Julian raised his glass. “Hear, hear.” He downed the rest of his drink and got his cloak ready. “But I am still charge of any games that we do.”
Simon rolled his eyes. "You know, you'll have to let someone else be Dungeon Master sometime."

23 Jan 2012

Review: Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger—needs to be stronger—because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah’s only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders.
When Jonah's self-destructive spiral accelerates and he hits rock bottom, will he find true strength or surrender to his breaking point?

The one thing that sucks here in the UK is being unable to find books that are being raved about in America.  The minute I read this blurb I wanted to read it.  Unfortunately every Waterstones around Yorkshire aren't selling it.  Thank god for Kindle. 

Let's start with Jonah.  The author's strength is definitely characterisation.  I loved Jonah and reading in first person only strengthened him.  I felt every emotion he was feeling - anger, desperation, worry - and I could see him spiralling out of control even before he knew it himself.  I thought he was a perfectly balanced character.  His strengths and virtues revolved around his devotion to his brother and desperation to see Jesse have a normal life.  He wanted to take charge and be there for him.  He always had his brother in mind to the point where he worried about every single thing.  He had flaws, taking his frustration out on Naomi and messing around with Charlotte's feelings.  There I saw a normal teenage boy who was probably not ready to do the whole relationship thing but the character had his douche bag moments.  Jonah had strengths and weaknesses which made him real and rounded.  I actually understood why he believed breaking his bones would make him stronger.  It was still extreme and dangerous but I saw the motivation.  His best relationship was with his brother.  Jesse and Jonah were strong together despite the health problems in both characters.  Jonah was fiercely protective over Jesse and vice versa.  They were there for each other all the way, putting up with each others actions when they thought it was too dangerous. 

The plot kept me reading.  I zoomed through the story, wanting to know where it was leading to.  When we first enter the story we're immediately sucked into the issues.  Jonah's problems have been going on for a while now so you wonder where it will lead to.  He's already going to the extreme of breaking his bones... so what's next? You just know it's going to get worse and you can't stop reading.  The plot is a roller coaster, starting slowly until it takes the final plunge and BAM! Everything is chaotic and Jonah is losing control of the situation and his mind more and more.  I did feel like the plot suddenly got moving towards the end rather than straight away.  The beginning and middle moved gradually at a calm pace and then the end came where there was drama after drama after drama until we came to an abrupt ending.  While Jonah says he is healing I'm not convinced that everything is immediately alright.  Apart from his own health problems that are revealed to us the ending felt like all the issues that have occurred are better now.  Jonah was also damaged psychologically, even if he denies it and is going to need help for a while after the events of the book.  Health-wise, yes he's been dealt with but the character has been really affected by his family. 

I probably could have done without Naomi.  Out of all the characters she was the weakest, feeling like she had been placed there to fill in a gap.  She didn't seem to add to the plot, just being there for Jonah to unleash his anger on.  I understand Jonah would have needed help to the hospital but maybe another character like Jesse or his fellow employees would have been best to replace her.  As a character I didn't take to her or feel that she was rounded.  Just taking the role of quirky best friend/side kick. 

But I knew I was going to be satisfied with this book overall and I was right.  I love psychology and reading about people who are damaged is fascinating.  I'm just generally interested in what makes a person act they way they do.  And to get inside Jonah's mind was intriguing.  Scary but understandable.  It's definitely a good read so if you have the opportunity to buy it I would recommend it.  It's a nice, fast read with some powerful characters.

22 Jan 2012

News to Novels #3

Still rummaging through the newspapers for more story ideas.  Found a few interesting ones that sparked some plot lines so I hope they'll be of some use to you as well!

10 pints a day for girl.
A teenage girl who had been guzzling 10 and a half pints a day cider a day since she was 14 needed two ops to save her life.
It makes you wonder how this started.  Is a cry for attention or a way of escaping issues? What about the future? Could you see the character trying to change her life and stay healthy or could there be further problems? Addiction, unable to face her troubles, in denial that she's in danger etc?

Hidden victims of Austerity Britain
An article in a paper showed cases from different children who were talking about how the recession had affected their lives.  The article was making a claim that children as young as eight were aware of the money problems their parents were going through.  Most of the children interviewed told the paper how it seemed to be destroying the relationship their parents had, noticing they were arguing more and taking their frustration out on their children.  Some had siblings who didn't understand and made it difficult for the family because they still wanted luxury.  One child gives all her birthday money to her mother for food and bills.  Another hardly gets to see her parents because they've had to do more hours and days to get earn more.  I've seen it throughout my life... children who have to grow up quickly.  I've had friends who had to be the ones who raised their siblings because their parents either fail to do so or haven't got the time to with extra work hours.  I've seen classmates face detention because they have struggled to fit in homework with part-time work.  The teachers would just yell at them for taking on a job in the first place but work was necessary for them because they needed the money for university or to help their parents. 

Boy or girl? The parents who refused to say for FIVE years finally reveal sex of their 'gender-neutral' child
His fairy wings, pink tutu and ballet pumps suggest this little boy has raided the dressing up box.  But if five-year-old Sasha wanted to wear this every day, his parents would have no problem at all.  In fact, as they are bringing him up to be ‘gender neutral’, they would see it simply as their son expressing himself.
What if the parents continued to do this? Raise a child and refuse to reveal the gender, even to him or her? How would that child turn out?

15 Jan 2012

Sunday writing: Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

It's that time of year again.  Last year Jill Baguchinsky won with her novel Spookygirl so who knows? It could be you this year.

The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award brings together talented writers, reviewers, and publishing experts to find and develop new voices in fiction. The 2012 international contest will award two grand prizes: one for General Fiction and one for Young Adult Fiction. Each winner will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance.  Open submissions for manuscripts will begin on January 23, 2012 and run through February 5, 2012. (Taken from Amazon)

Here's the web page for more details which will link to contest rules, how to enter and helpful communities.

Next week I'll get round to reviewing.  I thought I might alternate between talking about writing and reviewing each week because weekends are the best time for me to blog.  When I get in from work I just want to relax and not move at all.   

14 Jan 2012

News to Novels #2

I've tried to stay clear off the wacky and weird this week and also tried to find more stories involving teenagers.  The collection this week:

Teen lands £1.3m
Eloise Hutchinson, 19, hit the jackpot after buying a £1 Lucky Dip ticket at the Co-op store where she works.
I'm not sure if it's the same in other countries but in the UK we can legally buy lottery tickets at 16.  How awesome would it have been to win the jackpot at that age?

Ski Brit's Snow Hell
Thousands of British holidaymakers remained trapped in an avalanche-hit Swiss ski resorts yesterday.
A survival story for a group of teenagers.  It would be fascinating to see character development with teenagers who have never experienced anything like this before. 

Cambridge Uni Reality TV Fury
Students at posh Cambridge University are furious at plans for a TOWIE-style reality show to be set in the historic city.
Like it or not reality TV plagues the channels.  It's everywhere unfortunately and probably won't be disappearing for a while.  Could it take over the world? Possibly.  I haven't read The Hunger Games yet I know that but that involves dangerous reality TV and the Doctor Who episodes Bad Wolf and The Parting of Ways shows a society who are stuck indoors and constantly watching reality shows where the losers being killed.  Maybe we've had a lot of fiction that focuses on dangerous reality TV but how about a story that highlights how obsessed people can get with getting into reality TV and doing whatever it takes - being sexually exploited, giving up friends, family, and health, altering yourself with plastic surgery. 

Separated at birth: The young couple who got together as strangers... then found a photo of themselves both as babies.
I wouldn't really consider myself a romantic but this has to be my favourite story of the week.  It's not an exciting and conflicted romantic tale but it's sweet that they sort of met as babies and then met again at the same university.  

11 Jan 2012

RTW - Hi, My Name Is...

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic

If you couldn't use your own name, what would your pseudonym or penname be?

Already using one. :) The one you see on my profile here and my twitter account isn't my real name.  I've never wanted to use my real name for writing.  I just want to keep that and the day job totally separate from each other.  Gives the teaching assistant me a bit of privacy. 

I chose Robin because it was androgynous and I like the idea of throwing people off when they first see the name.  If I ever make it into the YA market I know that I mainly want to write horror.  Vampires, werewolves, ghosts etc.  Except that I worry a little that people will come up with this equation: supernatural + female = another writer creating brooding, supernatural hunks.  So I'll admit I'm a little worried people are going to assume I'm trying to bring in more sexy vampires or troubled, hot fallen angels when my supernatural creatures are actually kind of disgusting and paranormal romance isn't my genre to begin with.  I thought if I chose a unisex name that also sounded more male than female I won't be judged.  And I really am worried about that.   

But Moran is my real surname.  I didn't want to come up with a completely fake name.  And there isn't much story to Kate either.  The middle name was chosen when Robin Moran was already being used for twitter as was RMoran, RobinM, Robin_Moran etc.  Quite a boring story.

So, hi! I'm Robin Kate Moran, I'm a writer, and this is the identity that I want you guys to get to know. 

9 Jan 2012

To Tweet!

I'm all modern now! I'm trying out twitter to see how it goes for posting blog updates and just general curiosity.  So I'll test it out for now and see if it doesn't drive me crazy figuring it out. 

Got my profile here and let's start following!

How does everyone find twitter as a social network? Because honestly, if I didn't have a blog I probably wouldn't have signed up for it.  I'm fine with just facebook.  But I'll admit twitter also seemed like a good thing to join for mentioning updates.  So has it worked for you or do you prefer to use something else?

8 Jan 2012

Review: The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps. a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House, unaware of the tragic secrets which lie hidden behind the sheltered windows.  The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose...

I've been interested in this novel since my friends in high school took drama for GSCEs.  They had to go see The Woman in Black for a drama trip and told me everything about the play.  Everyone insisted it was the scariest story they had heard and with me being a total horror fanatic I wanted to find out more about it.  Now that my English degree is finished with I've managed to find more time to read the books on my shelf that have been gathering dust, having temporarily been replaced by the books on my required reading lists and textbooks.

Immediately I knew that I had picked up a good book.  I guess it was a feeling I had but I knew it was going to be a good buy.  I began reading it straight away that night, slowly reading the first chapter that was building up to the beginning of Arthur Kipps' terrifying story.  It's not until chapter four where we get the first glimpse of the supernatural antagonist but Hill can still suck you into the story as you anxiously wait for the horror to begin.  The author can still get her characters and the main location introduced quickly without dawdling and the build up to the first appearance of the woman in black flows well without feeling like the story is going purposely slow for the sake of increasing the tension.  Arthur Kipps moves the story well without becoming passive and letting the story move him.  While there were times I wanted him to just leave things alone and get out of that house I understood his decision to stay and explore with the intent of facing the spectre and not let it frighten him.  If I had been in that house I probably would have fled but I know I would also be reluctant to as well.  I'd still be curious and want to see more.  This situation is all new to Arthur who is quite a logical man, so when he experiences these supernatural events that contrasts against his beliefs I can see why he would be so fascinated.  And for a man his age to be spooked by it and left bewildered I can also understand why he grew angry and had the determination to face it.  Arthur is a professional man who refuses to let ghosts stop him from doing his work.  I really would have said "screw this" and hopped on the next train home.  I confess I can be a scaredy-cat at times. So I admire his determination.  He's quite a focused character.

The ghostly experiences themselves are few and mainly unseen.  Just your familiar bumps and creaks in the night with an unseen pony and trap going through a loop in the afterlife.  There are a couple of times when Arthur is in the middle of a thick fog and all he can hear is a mysterious horse trotting nearby but it never appears.  Then it stops and Arthur describes hearing a 'curious draining, sucking, churning sound'.  The horse is panicking and a child starts weeping.  And it's never seen.  The woman in black is always seen in the background, never saying anything.  Just standing silently, drawn and ill-looking and waiting to inflict her curse.  I felt it made her a strong villain because you never knew when she would be ready to strike and what she was going to do.  Just when Arthur Kipps thinks he has escaped she's back and prepared to destroy lives.  There could be no reasoning with this ghost; no way to help it move on.  She's there for good and she doesn't want peace.  She only wants to carry out her one purpose. 

Hill's writing reminded me of a nineteenth century novel.  University gave me a love for 19th century stories and narration so I appreciated her style and felt it fit perfectly for the tone of the tale.  It was Gothic, sombre, and very atmospheric.  The constant mist around Eel Marsh House gave me chills.  While the story is set in November, I could feel winter creeping closer.  Days becoming darker earlier and the constant chilly fogs.  This was my favourite description from the book:
"It was a yellow fog, a filthy, evil-smelling fog, a fog that choked and blinded, smeared and stained."
It makes London sound absolutely horrid, suffocating and blinding its residents with thick, stained fog.  Wonderful description.  Susan Hill has an eye for setting.

The length of the story is just right, under 200 pages.  Short and sweet, getting the story told without having any chapters or scenes that just feel like fillers to keep the story long.  I like a book that stays straight to the point without any waffle in between so I wouldn't have asked for more in the tale.  The book's ending was sad but satisfying, closing off the battle between Arthur Kipps and the woman in black.  It's tragic but I found it realistic for Arthur to be helpless against the spectre.  He's a human being terrorised by a spirit who is hardly seen and lurking in the shadows.  He's never dealt with ghosts before so he has no idea how to stop it.  In the end, running away from it and going back home seems like the only way to escape her.  And even that doesn't work. 

If you're searching for a good ghost story The Woman in Black will be a perfect buy.  It gives you the chills you want and the scares are few and short.  They're not over-the-top with gore and extreme possessions.  The terror is subtle and lurking.  I'd love to see more books like this one in the horror genre, especially for YA.  I think it's time for ghost stories to haunt the book shelves again. 

7 Jan 2012

News to Novels #1

My boyfriend and I have this habit of going through the newspapers my neighbour passes on to us and cutting up interesting stories that we could use for novel ideas.  I tend to search for very wacky ones that I could turn into a supernatural or comedy.  We started this after a task in our creative course at university.  To get ideas for our final writing project our lecturer told us to go through newspapers and share with the class what we found and how we'd use it as inspiration. 

I thought this could make a good regular feature since my only posts have been on RTW.  And one of my resolutions for 2012 was to come up with a few features. 

Ice Scream
"Shocked relatives found a woman's body stuffed in Frank Julian's freezer after he died aged 80 in Maine, US."
I love these sort of stories - not to sound weird and creepy.  I like them in a 'could totally turn that into a horror story' way.  It sounds like the type of story that could become an urban legend in a quiet but gossiping suburban neighbourhood.

Satan Sacrifice
"Two teenagers survived being set on fire as "sacrifices" during a Satanic ritual in Johannesburg, South Africa."
I kept this article for a W.I.P I'll develop in the future.  It was also part of my writing project where I was writing about teenagers getting involved with cults and becoming increasingly fascinated with the Occult as it led to dangerous activities. 

Lunar-tic 999 call
"A panicking 999 caller reported a mystery light hovering over his house one night - before realising it was the moon."
I could see an article like this becoming a version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.  And how ironic would it be if he actually saw a UFO coming towards him one night to beam him up? Might work best as a comic short story.

Standing tall: Battery-operated boy who can walk again after doctors 'rewired' his brain to stop his body twisting.
I think I'd like to read a story like this.  People getting a little bit of good luck when they live with an illness or conditions.  I always find these stories touching. 

Does anyone else turn to newspapers and magazines for story ideas?

4 Jan 2012

RTW: Writing Retreat

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic

Describe your dream writing retreat. Where would you go? Who and what would you bring?


My first thought went to Italy or France.  A nice little villa near the beach where it's warm and sunny.  But then if I went somewhere like that I'd be out all the time, finding my way back to Paris or pigging out on Italian food.  No writing would be done at all. 

I thought about lakeside lodges.  A little cabin overlooking a lake like those I've seen in Secret Window and The Lake House.  Somewhere quiet where I couldn't get internet access otherwise I'd procrastinate and have peace to write but also not too far away from civilisation so I can still have trips to the pub for food and drink. 

I've always liked the idea of being in a lake house.  There's something peaceful about waking up and seeing a lake flowing next to your cabin. And wouldn't it be nice to sit on the pier and have a BBQ?

I keep talking about barbecues and pub trips during this writing retreat.  Writing would happen! Honest!

This Lakeside Lodge would be perfect.  The view looks fantastic.  Expensive price but I'd save up for it for the summer.  I'd bring my notes, research, netbook and my kindle.  My boyfriend's also invited himself along for writing.  I'd pack a few DVDs as well to watch on a night but not a lot to avoid distraction. 

2 Jan 2012

2012 YA Reading Challenge

The second will be the YA Reading challenge hosted by The Eclectic Bookshelf.  Again, I'm keeping the books small and going for The Mini YA Reading Challenge which is 12 books.

Another resolution was to read more Young Adult this year.  Let the challenges begin!

Off the Shelf 2012

One of my News Years Resolutions is to partake in book challenges.  I've got tons of books that desperately need to be read - the poor dears were shoved into the background for university.  Now it's time to dig in to book deliciousness.

The first challenge: Off the Shelf 2012
It's hosted by Bookish Ardour if you're interested in trying it out as well this year.  I'm going to start small this year and try 15 books to read for the year.  There are seven challenge levels to choose from so you can stay small with 5 books or attempt 136-200.