Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Writers Journal

Hey guys, its Lydia here! I've just finished another creative writing practice piece in preparation for my exams. I hope you like it, leave me a comment of how you think it could be improved or just some of your opinions. I hope to be finishing and reviewing the book Ashes to Ashes soon, go and check it out once I've uploaded. 

Just before I shut my eyes, I write on the clean blank lines of a new entry. I describe and recount whatever comes to mind, all the thoughts and trepidations that pass, but never can be brave enough to utter. They are all bound and safe within the brown leather cover, hidden from all wandering eyes.

It’s like a friend that never leaves my room, or causes me pain. It keeps all secrets and memories, and with just a turn of the page I’m brought back to the thoughts I had ten years ago. 

A journal is a writer’s second conscious, the part of you that transfers what you see and know into words, building the bridge from your life to the limitless ends of fiction. Here, the language I use will never be shamed or critiqued; it can be in any form, whether that be prose or poetry. It is the foundation to any author’s career, the first test to see how well I can describe my day to no one, and the final prize to see if I can display my language to millions. 

When I’m finished, as my pen leaves the paper, and my thoughts have been channeled. Its like I’m looking at my own reflection, the verbs and nouns creating eyes, a nose and lips. The face speaks to me, forming the fears and worries that loop within mind, and with each word that expels its mouth I grow calmer and my body sinks into the warmth, ready for sleep. In my unconsciousness I no longer feel tense and twisted with negative thoughts of doubt. I’m free and soring through my dreams like an eagle.

When each day comes to an end, as the light disappears, I look forward to writing in my journal, as in every new entry I understand my mind better, I’m inches closer to discovering who I can become.

Monday, 17 April 2017

When Lucifer Met Calamity

Hello! It’s Heather again, hope anyone celebrating Easter had a lovely weekend! Here’s a book review for a contemporary comedy/romance.

Author: D. Alyce Domain
Published: April 2016
Publisher: Self-published
Length: 328 pages

Rating (all out of five)
Characters: ★★★
Plot: ★★★★
Writing Quality: ★★★ ½
Overall: ★★★

When Calamity uses her ninja skills to hit back at her boss after they sexually assault her, she finds herself hauled into trouble and a (very rightful) thirst for justice. This leads into herself, twin sister Charisma and her friend Reese following a plan to get evidence of the boss’ dodgy behaviour and get a legal case against him. Soon, Calamity manages to enlist the help of her crush, a lawyer named Lucifer, and together they find a more professional way to register the inappropriateness of Perkins. Sadly, sexual assault is a common issue in the workplace, so it was interesting to see how much effort goes into proving it.

The main characters all had rather unusually fitting names – Charisma, Calamity, Lucifer. Calamity is a fiery, sassy, independent protagonist that strives for justice but often her schemes result in the meaning of her name; I still find it a little odd that her parents would name her that, literally foreshadowing disaster. I liked how the author gave her flaws, like lying, which added to the realism of the book. Her twin, Charisma is presented as a likeable person that gets pulled into Calamity’s scandals frequently, including this one despite being pregnant. I found Reese and Sly stand-out characters though and really enjoyed their input, both having powerfully eccentric personalities. The squabbling between Sly and Calamity was definitely my favourite scene; it’s evident that the author had some fun writing this part.

Whilst many elements of the book were really great, there were some bits that I was less keen on. The use ‘eh’ was slightly overused at points! I also found it difficult to actually like Lucifer; I know that his dazzling looks, deep voice and chilling personality are supposed to make him an attractive individual, I’ll admit that at first I warmed a little to him after he stopped being so distant… then he removed Calamity’s clothes while she was sleeping without consent… and he quickly became creepy. Though he did redeem himself somewhat by helping Calamity so much, being an honest guy and simply owning a cat, and I’m sure other readers will find him more appealing. I did also note a few missing apostrophes but this didn’t really bother me.

This is a funny and very different romance to the norm that addresses the issue of sexual assault well. There’s some kissing and implied other bits but nothing too graphic, making the book a comfortable read for adults.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

How and why I write

Hi guys! It's Lydia here! I know I haven't posted in a while, I've been busy studying and doing work for my exams. But today I thought I would share with you a practice creative writing question. 

I often find myself sitting at my desk and writing for hours and not realising that the world is continuing on around me. I’m so entranced within in my story or poem that I don't think to check my phone, or tear my eyes away from the computer. As I’ve grown up, my parents have always taught me to never diminish my imagination, and this is why I’ve spent most of my teenage years writing and creating. Writing improves and tests our imagination, you can create a world and person that doesn’t exist and turn them into reality. When I write I feel limitless. There are no barriers or restrictions to language; you can describe anything and everything.

After a stressful and frustrating day, I find writing very therapeutic. It helps me escape from the chaos of life, school and exams. It takes me to a world where I’m in control, as for someone who has high anxiety; I will often feel vulnerable and lost within situations that I cannot overcome. Writing uplifts and improves my mental health and self esteem, it makes me feel confident that I can face any challenges life throws.

Writing was mainly a hobby, which I experimented with in my free time. But now, since doing the subject as an A level, as well as English Literature, I want to become an author as a profession and see if I can get my work published. My love in writing and literature has given me some wonderful friends during my time at sixth form, who share similar opinions and interests in writing. As I talk to my friends and within my writing I don’t care that I seem rather eccentric and over the top. I sincerely thank my dedication and imagination to writing, as it made me the person I am today.

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Miseries of Mr. Sparrows

Hello dearies, this is Heather! Like a very dreary twist on Alice in Wonderland, we’ve all fallen down a rabbit hole, sadly filled with textbooks and spring revision materials, so if we’re a little less frequent with the updates then that’ll be why. Thank you to the author for sending us this book in exchange for an honest review!

Author: Matthew A.J. Timmins
Published: November 2015
Publisher: Self-published
Length: 179 pages

Rating (all out of five)
Characters: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★ ½
Writing Quality: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★

“Directly over the clerks’ room, on the ground floor—nearer to Heaven by elevation only—was the office of the Winstons, two thirds of Winston Winston & Crumpet: perhaps the most powerful, certainly the wickedest firm in all the Empire.”

The Miseries of Mr. Sparrow tells the story of Robin Sparrow; a clerk working for the law firm Winston Winston and Crumpet, as he embarks on a quest to deliver a parcel to Mr. Tarnish. Set within the Victorian era any fans of Dickens will be sure to enjoy this quirky tale as they follow the troublesome and somewhat fatal adventures of Robin.

The plot to description ratio was excellent. I found the plot fairly easy to follow, my only slight (and I mean very minor indeed) criticism being that there could be more information about how Robin found all the places and people he visited. I particularly enjoyed the ending, and was pleased to find that it was not at all rushed; a consistency of quality writing being apparent throughout. The entire story was coherently written, Robin having the sole aim of delivering the package, there were no unnecessary romances blossoming or bizarre additions. The characterisation was another element to be praised. The reader pities dear Robin who is rather thrown into the task of locating Mr. Tarnish without any kindness from his evil employees, and seems to be blamed for a multitude of extraordinary things. The police team were perhaps my favourite – with outstandingly wild theories over how Mr. Tarnish had committed some deeds, they proved to be very comedic.

The writing style is confident, witty and intelligent with all the warmth that the best authors carry. From the genre description of somewhat Dickensian I knew that this would be a good read and I was certainly not wrong there – it’s rare that I’ll write an honest review for an author’s first novel and struggle to find any improvements at all but in this circumstance even the font was beautiful! The book contains lots of literature goodies, with minor references to Greek mythology, Dante’s Inferno, Sherlock Holmes and character comparisons to Iago (Othello) and Merlin. As an English Literature student, naturally this meant I was beaming at each.

Normally I’d write a longer review but I’m not sure what else I can say except that it is an excellent read. There’s nothing in it that stands out as inappropriate so I’d recommend this to all ages. I look forward to reading more of Timmin’s work in the future!