National Poetry Month | On Making Inspiration

April was National Poetry month, and I set myself a challenge of writing a poem every day of the month. I was expecting to give up quite early on, but I made it to day 25!? Okay, so I didn’t make it through the entire 30 days, but I nearly did – so I’m counting it as an achievement. I clearly have very high expectations of myself.
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My Weather | A Poem

My weather is not delicate, soft and lukewarm.
My summer is not a light brush of shoulders in between crowded doors,
Or a gentle, light laugh that shyly forms
In low-tide waters far from shores.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 | Update #1

I thought today would be a good day to write my first NaNoWriMo update, given that today is the day I actually started writing. Yes, it has taken me four days to finally write that first word! And I haven’t even reached the daily word count.

But let’s be positive: I finally started!

I also wanted to give an update on what I’m actually writing, because my plans have changed a bit!

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NaNoWriMo 2K16

This year is the year I plan to kind of do NaNoWriMo.

I say ‘kind of’ because I’m not particularly following the rules…

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (or, National Novel Writing Month) happens every year in November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in that month. That’s a lot of writing – especially in amongst studies and work! Which is why I have never participated in it before.

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On Writing | What am I writing?

Once I mentioned that I was writing a novel, I got a few questions about what it is exactly that I’m writing. At the moment, I don’t want to share the exact details of the story. Partly because it is still being planned and structured, and things may either change, and partly because it still feels so personal and secret to me that I don’t want to share it right now. However, I do want to let you know some of the basics of the story, so you know what sort of thing it is that I’m writing! So here’s a few bullet points…

  • It’s a YA fantasy novel (If you’ve been with me a while, you probably would have guessed that!).
  • I’m not yet sure whether it will be 3 or 5 books (depending on how much I can get into each book!)
  • The main character is called Iola
  • The story came to me whilst watching The Hunchback of Notre Dame (yep, the Disney movie!) and there’s one specific scene that the whole story has stemmed from – but I can’t mention which scene because… spoilers!!
  • The story begins at the end of a war (rather than at the start of one), and the world and characters that have been left in the aftermath. Pretty much every epic fantasy series has a war in it, but I thought it would be interesting to think about what life would be like once a war was over.
  • There are elves and dragons, as well as plain old humans and magical humans.
  • I have been working with the title ‘Songs of Dreams’ (although that is most likely going to change), because singing and dreams are central to Iola’s magic (which includes mind control through song).
  • The magic in this world is based on the mind and psychology.

So that’s all I’m going to share at this point. I am aware it all sounds a little generic so far, but I just don’t feel ready to give away any real details yet!

I thought it would be more interesting though, to show you some of the pictures and songs that have been inspiring this novel, because that’s how you can really get a little picture of what is going on inside my head!


As you can see, my mood board is basically lots of greens, plants, and dream-like gazes off into the distance. Which all makes sense to the story, and Iola’s character and world.


And some of the songs that have inspired certain scenes in my story…


Mononoke Hime (AKA the song this book could not have existed without! Particularly from 5 minutes in. I pretty much wrote the whole of the first draft of the story to Joe Hisaishi’s 25 year Concert!)

Starvation – Thomas Bergerson (this is the song that fits with the scene that the Hunchback of Notre Dame inspired, which probably makes absolutely no sense when you listen to it, but it does in my own crazy head! In fact, there’s a lot of Thomas Bergerson’s music on my playlist – I just find it so moving and emotional!)

The Bioluminescence of the Night – AVATAR  (This song helps me picture one of the lands in the book very well. A land with dragons in, of course!)

The Equator – Brooke Fraser (this is one of the very few songs on my writing playlist with actual singing. I usually prefer instrumentals, because the words in the singing can put me off from the words I’m trying to get on the page. But this song is an exception, and a very recent addition to my playlist, because it is so atmospheric and fits right in with the feel of my story!)

That’s all I can share right now. Hopefully I can share more with you as I write more!

On Writing | Breaking the Break

I have decided that now is about time to start using this blog for the other half of it’s initially intended purpose: to talk about writing!

I love writing stories; I always have done. In the past couple of years, however, I have become more sure that it is something I want to do professionally.

Two years ago today exactly, (I promise that wasn’t even planned!) I completed my very first complete, finished draft of a novel. This is the novel that I have been most passionate about, out of all that I have ever written. It has been the story I have spent most time in my head in, even when writing something else. It has been the story that when I have a good idea, it automatically gets added to that story over any other. It has been the story that I see unfold in my mind through music – something that just hasn’t happened with my other stories.

So after taking almost a year of not writing this novel, I decided that it was time to seriously pick it back up again. Reading through my first draft, I have realised just how much bigger this world has become in my mind, how many more characters there are, and the truth behind some of the relationships that I had created. And it has got me thinking about taking breaks from stories, and how useful that can be.

As I said, this is the first novel that I ever finished a first draft of, which of course makes it really special in itself. However, it also makes it probably the least well-written and structured story I have written too! It has been through writing other things, however, that I have been able to develop a writing style, rather than being focused simply on developing a story. It has just happened to be a huge bonus that through writing other stories, and wanting to add these new ideas to this original one, that I have also been able to develop the storyline of this novel too!

Taking a break has also let me reflect on the story, world and characters in a way that I just wouldn’t have been able to had I not taken such a break. In the past year especially, I have had revelations about this story that have made it all make so much more sense in my mind. It has made me realise that it is a much more complex and long story than I had originally thought. It made me realise that characters I had thought I knew, have much more complex personalities, motives and backgrounds than I had originally conceived. Relationships that I thought would work, have now revealed their issues in greater clarity. If I had just carried on editing straight away upon completing the first draft, I don’t think I would have allowed myself to reveal this story in so much more detail.

When I write, I don’t write with a detailed plan. I have an overall idea of where the story is going to go, and who my main characters are, but from there I’m completely in the dark! I discover the story as I go. Considering I’m a detailed planner in all other aspects of my life, it’s actually quite annoying that I don’t write stories that way. I have tried it – it just doesn’t work for me. Writing without a plan means that I don’t have much control, and that’s quite scary. But its also exciting, and means that what I write is as spontaneous as real life events, which makes it more real. But I don’t read to read real life. I read for a new world. And a new world requires detailed planning! (You can see the vicious cycle here!) And I think this is what has been putting me off from starting to edit this story – just how much editing and planning needs to be done to sort out and organise the main plots, as well as the more intricate subplots of the story, and details of the wider world, in order to make a whole new world that readers can still understand and connect with. That’s the most daunting part of all!

Recently, I have been immersing myself back into this story, and have started to more carefully go through some outlines of the series as a whole, and the storylines of individual characters. I think this will take a while, and it may be even a few months before I can get back to writing the second draft for real! But I’m feeling so much excitement at being back in this world I created, and planning a story that is so much bigger and better than I had originally planned and written.

I’m hoping to be able to keep you up to date with my writing process on my blog (what I had intended to do from the beginning – only took me 1 year to get on with it!!!) Hopefully it will keep me motivated too, as well as letting you know about some of the techniques, tricks and methods I have, and will, learn and discover through this writing journey!