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28 May 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals.

1) What I'm Reading
Or rather what I haven't been reading.  For shame on me.  Honestly, Cress is a great book so far.  I love it and I love the whole series so far.  It's just been pushed down to the bottom on priority list while other things have risen to the top.

2) What I'm Writing
Now this I can write a lot about.  I've been doing the second draft of rebellious witchy story, writing up a short story on zombies, and going over an old series I started writing as a teen which I'm just revising and rewriting for myself as the moment.  It's something I'm not exactly sure about getting published in the future.  But it was one of the first things I ever worked on and I suddenly got back into the whole world and the characters at Easter and been working on it ever since.  The stories were really short too so it hasn't taken long.  I'm also hoping to squeeze some time in for Beast Inside.  It's a stage closer writing wise and I wanna keep going on it! Really work towards making this year I get it finally ready for querying!

3) What Else I've Been Up To
Half term began last Friday and up until yesterday I was in Darlington celebrating Pete's sister's 18th and spending time with his family.  It was my first every motorway trip too! I'm still digging driving.  It's so amazing! We're already planning a couple of summer holiday trips!

More maths revision too! Fun times! I have the test on Saturday and spending every single day doing a practice test and making more notes.  On the plus side I'm passing these practice ones now so maybe this time I'll actually get the mark I need.  I was two marks away from passing last time.  How annoying!

I've also taken up another hobby.  I'm seriously into craftiness at the moment.  I'm sewing, making my own cards, and now I've got back into drawing.  It's something that's been quite relaxing at night and it reminds me of the awesome Art GCSE days where we constantly hung around in the art building working in our sketchbooks.  The teachers were awesome.  They always had their doors open so we could come in, hang around and draw.

4) What Inspires Me Right Now
Getting back into an old project has been quite inspiring.  It's nice working on something that I don't feel I need to rush.  I'm really pushing Beast Inside because that's always been the first story I thought I had a chance at publishing with and a story I didn't think was silly to try and share.  This old project I started writing as a teenager isn't perfect.  It's rubbish at times (lots of times) but it's been sort of a way to chill out and enjoy writing for fun.  It's something I probably wouldn't want to see on shelves but it's been nice working on a world and characters I know a lot about and really loved at one point.

Also the playlist is inspiring.  It's full of  70s and 80s songs which is strange because the stories aren't even set in the 80s but they all suit the story and it keeps me writing.  It's a very long playlist but here are a few of the songs:
 Fright Night - J. Geils Band

Cherry Bomb - The Runaways

Shadows of the Night - Pat Benatar

 Life on Mars - David Bowie

12 May 2014

My Writing Process

'My Writing Process' is a blog tour that asks authors/writers to give us an insight into and talk about their writing.  I was invited to participate by Colin D Smith, an as-yet unpublished writer who is currently working with beta readers on his YA Historical/Sci-Fi novel A Teenage Alien in Victorian London.  So thank you very much, Colin, and here are my answers! :)

What am I working on?

At the moment I'm in the last stages of revising my YA horror novel Beast Inside before I start looking for beta readers.  It mainly revolves around Luca, my MC, who loses his twin brother, Caleb, to a sudden and mysterious illness.  However, after his brother's funeral he finds that Caleb had come back from the dead and there's something very inhuman about him.  As more people start to go missing or are found dead thanks to Caleb, Luca realises that he might have to take on the responsibility of putting a stop to his brother for good... that is, if he can actually do it.

Apart from that I've started writing the second draft of a project involving modern day witch hunts and a small group of teenage witches who dangerously start a rebellion against their government's ban on witchcraft.  I've also started a couple of short stories, both horror.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In a way I'm not being very different because I'm writing about vampires and there's a whole list of vampire fiction out there, way before I even came up with this story or was born in fact.  I guess what might be different is the kind of vampire I'm writing about.  My story is no way in hell romantic and the vampires aren't the good looking kind you get these days.  I've gone back to the times when vampires were always the antagonists.  They were the epitome of evil and needed to be stopped.  They're pretty much walking corpses as well.  Nothing hot about them.  Don't expect me to have any vampires like Spike from Buffy or Edward Cullen from Twilight.  Mine stink of death, they look dead and have a very grey, vein-y look going on.  Not a great look.  Think the 1979 version of 'Salem's Lot.  Actually, that film pretty much inspired how mine look so here's a picture:

 Why do I write what I do?

I've always been a horror nut.  When I was a kid in the 90s I grew up with the likes of Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?. When I was a teenager in the 00s I was hooked on Point Horror stories and The Saga of Darren Shan.  I've always watched or read things that had horror/paranormal elements to them.  It was just something I have always loved.  I liked to read about characters who were thrown into unusual and scary situations whether it's due to a slasher roaming the woods or a paranormal threat.  And I think with horror you can really mess around with characters which I'll admit I like to do. ;) You can push them and throw a ton of horrific scenarios in their face and watch them go into this determined survival mode as they try to overcome the threat.  Horror is a very merciless genre and I think I can get away more with unhappier or bittersweet endings.  By the way, I am actually a very nice person. =D

Why did I want to write about vampires especially? In horror, vampires have always been my favourite.  Again, not the romantic sort we get today.  I like the scary ones. The nasty, demonic villains that try and ruin your life.  I grew up with The Lost Boys, Fright Night (the 1985 version) Near Dark and Buffy where vampires were plain evil (let's ignore that soul thing Angel and Spike were into) and I love that type of vampire.  They're fun to write about when they're wreaking havoc around the suburbs. It's how I personally prefer my vampires.

How does your writing process work?

I'm in that in between part of being a pantser or a plotter.  I make notes on characters, I write out the research I find and want to use for the WiP I'm working on, and I like to have a beginning, middle, and end.  And that's as far as I'll go with planning.  I used to try and plot every little detail but then I found that whatever I wrote ended up going in a different direction or characters would end up having a completely different role to what I originally came up with for them.  In the end I learned that all I need is a brief and basic idea of what's going to happen and I wing it from there.  I think the characters are the one thing I go very detailed on.  Even if I don't use half the things I come up with for them in the story I always like to know my characters very well.

I'm one of those writers who has playlists.  Yep, I raise my hand to admit it but I don't go starting a playlist intentionally. I just end up hearing songs that fit well and keep the inspiration going so I create one.  Sometimes when I'm not writing and I'm doing something like getting ready on a morning, cooking or tidying the house I'll have a playlist on for a certain WiP and listening to the songs can help come up with further ideas or what could happen in the next chapter.

I always write the first draft on the computer and I've usually completed the draft during NaNo which has really helped me to get into the mind set of getting on with things and write a story without worrying about the quality of it and trying not to let the inner editor out.  I write the second draft longhand, working mainly on the plot and the writing, and when that's finished it's back to typing it all up on the computer.

As for when I write, I squeeze it in whenever I can.  I work as a teaching assistant at the moment so my free time is at weekends, evenings, and school holidays.  If I'm writing longhand for a draft I'll take my notebook in to work and see if I can get a little bit of writing done during my lunch break.  I don't write every day which I know a lot of authors advise you to do but I have hypermobility and get a lot of strain in my wrists and fingers if I use the computer a lot.  Luckily it's benign but it's still enough to get quite painful, even to write longhand. 

And that's everything! Be sure to check out the next two participants next Monday!

Laura Crampton is an aspiring YA author who is currently editing two novels: The Invincible Penny Lane and The Moment to Live For, a YA Sci-Fi and YA Contemporary.

Rebecca Barrow is another aspiring YA author who writes contemporary and a fellow Brit who you're most likely to find at the library.