The Life of a Wannabe Mogul Review

This review has been a long time coming. I just finished my thesis so I feel I finally have time to catch up on some of my blog ideas that I have. But first, I need to talk about Bella Thorne’s new book, The Life of a Wannabe Mogul: Mental Disarray.

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I first heard about this book through Instagram, I believe. Bella Thorne was posting a lot about her new book. Now, I was one of those people who was apprehensive to buy her book. I don’t know. I feel like I want to support the unknown writers so they have more of a chance to make a living as a writer. Whereas Bella Thorne has a massive following and doesn’t need this book to increase her fame.

But when I saw what she was releasing, my interest was peaked. I have been reading a lot of poetry books, so to get back into the swing of reading. So when I saw some of the style of Bella’s poetry and the use of drawings, I just knew I had to get it.

Another thing I appreciate about Bella’s book is the raw emotions and technique used. Throughout the book, it is unedited and reveals Bella’s mistakes as she picks up a pen and writes. This was intentional and thats what makes her poetry so inspiring. You know as you read that she wrote from her heart and there was little monitoring done to it.

The books discusses dark themes, such as child molestation, torn up families and self loathing. I couldn’t put it down when I started reading it. A lot of the poetry grabbed me on the first line, but there were a few that I related to a lot.

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These are a couple of poems where Bella showcases her talent to elicit emotions with her words. Its powerful stuff. She talks about how much she hates herself and how she always looks for someone else to love her, instead of her loving herself. That’s dark and I relate to that idea. It’s so hard to love yourself that you try to find that love in other people. I just want that person to tell me how they love me and how much they care. I don’t believe it myself so I’ll believe it when it comes from someone else. It’s really haunting and beautiful. And her poetry is accompanied with drawings made by bella.

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The drawings bring out the dark emotions of her poetry. And she even chose to throw words around the page to show how distorted and fractured these thoughts are. Her style represents the emotions she felt as she wrote them, such as with this piece. 20190915_122608.jpg

Overall, this book are a thrilling ride to pick up and read. I highly recommend you check it out. It is worth the money. I wont show anymore poetry from the book so you can check it out yourself. Hope you enjoyed this review. I’ll be back with regular content as my masters programme is done. I submitted my thesis and I have more free time on my hands. I have so many more blog posts planned and so much I want to share with you. Glad to be back. See you in the next post.

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What Literature Means to Me

Since I started my Masters programme, I have gone on a journey to delve into as much literary texts as I possibly can. Part of my course is to look at Literature and define it. What is your own definition of literature? Do you only see elitist literature as part of the canon of literature? Can only a select few of works by writers, such as the Brontë’s and Austen, be considered a part of canon? What counts as literature?

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This a big question in literary academia and it is quite contested. Literary critics/theorists argue that certain significant works will be considered a part of this grand literary catalogue. However, this becomes elitist. The literary canon consists mainly of classics and works that critics deem exceptional within the literary world. An example of an elitist work would be Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. 

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Austen’s novel became influential for its time. I read somewhere that many male readers believed Pride & Prejudice to be women’s literature. Therefore, they didn’t take it seriously. However, Austen’s work places a new perspective on her current society and how it treated women. Moreover, she created the progressive character, Elizabeth Bennet who subverted societies thoughts of women at the time. Pride & Prejudice is up there on the elitist list of literature. However, can a series like Harry Potter, be considered elitist?

harry potter

Harry Potter would be considered popular fiction. However, does it discredit it as an influential book? As of February 2018, the books have sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into eighty languages. The books have touched so many generations of readers. But it isn’t considered elitist. However, what a critic will think is exceptional, you may think its tripe. Therefore, the literary canon becomes subjective and the question of literature comes into question. To me, literature are works that really grapple you, works that amaze you, leave you speechless and change your view on the world.

I dont consider popular fiction, or elitist fiction when I read. I read what interests me, and what grabs me as a reader. But more importantly, I read something that teaches me something. I want a novel that doesn’t provide me with all the answers. I want to be on the tips of my toes when I read a novel, and many things to be left up to interpretation.

I had a conversation with my Gender & Sexuality professor, about this topic. She started to compare two novels: Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. Both are well-known Irish novelists and both books portray similar scenes or themes. Asking For It delves into the trauma of sexual assault and the continued assaults made to the victim by society after the event. According to my professor, O’ Neill’s novel delivers a simple story with an obvious message behind it. It starts a conversation, but it doesn’t create new avenues to explore that. Whereas with Conversations with Friends, you have to read between the lines to explore the full extent of the story. The narrative is not taken on face-value. You must read further into the plot thats given to you.

And thats what literature is.

Stories that leaves you with more questions than answers. Stories that make you return to the same characters over and over again. Stories where you take away something different each time you read it. Literature insights so much emotions and intrigue. It is a beautiful form of art and knowledge. Ill find a place in the literary world. It’s my home and that’ll never change.

 

 

 

 

BookTuber/Writing Channels I Love

I dont watch that many booktubers or writing videos on YouTube. I have been trying to find more writing vlog to watch, because I find watching these type of YouTubers inspire me to keep writing. My writing has slowed down within the last couple of years.

Sometimes I hated these YouTubers for talking about reading and writing. With my reading slump, I felt like a failure when watching these people. They would talk about the 10 books they had read in the past month, whereas I barely get through one book. However, these channels helped me to get back into writing.

They talk about stories they love in these books and they talk about their writing process. I mean you cant say that watching these types of videos, wont make you feel inspired by the end. I wanted to write a blog post about these channels so that if any of you need some inspiration or you feel discouraged by your reading or writing, check out these channels. You may find the next best book for you to read and they could help you start writing again.

And for any of you who do watch some booktubers or writing channels, let me know of anymore channels I could watch. I’m trying to broaden my watchlist.

Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia)

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The first booktuber I need to talk about is Sasha Alsberg. Her channel is called @abookutopia. She was the first booktuber I came across and her channel was the reason I got into watching other literature channels. She is very bubbly, outgoing and brilliant to watch. Moreover, she has become a writer, as she published her first book in January 2018, called Zenith. She has made a few vlogs about her writing process through the time she was writing Zenith. She got me excited to write again. I just wanted to sit down, and write my own adventures again, after watching her vlogs.

She also makes videos about her favourite books of the year etc. She is a great source to go to, if you are looking for new books to read. She is one of teh more popular booktubers as she has met and interviewed several celebrities on her channel, such as Stephanie Meyer:

She is a young upcoming writer and a fun YouTuber to watch. I have yet to read her book, Zenith, but I have it ready on my bookshelf.

Lindsay Cummings 

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Next is Lindsay Cummings. I discovered her through Sasha’s channel. Since she co-wrote Zenith with Sasha, she appears in several of her videos. Lindsay has a channel of her own, where she discusses her love of reading and her own experiences with publishing. She is one of the more experienced writers I have come across on YouTuber, as she has published several novels. Overall, she has published 7 novels; The Murder Complex, The Fear Trials, The Death Code, The Balance Keepers Triology and Zenith. Her channel focuses more on the writing process and how to get published. I love the writing vlogs she does as you can see into her day as she goes through a draft of her novels.

She does a lot of videos on writing tips. She discusses NaNoWriMo and the difficulties of getting through your novel.

She is less bubbly than Sasha, but I love her writing advice. She makes a calm atmosphere in her videos, which makes it easier to feel inspired and listen to what she says. She is updating less on YouTube as she has moved house and having her first child with her husband. I wish her all the best in her endeavours, with her new life and her next novel, Nexus.

Shaelin Bishop (ShaelinWrites)

Her channel is more about the art of writing and she discusses her own projects she is working. I love Shaelin’s channel as she discusses her own projects, her own novels and short stories. She has published a couple of short stories, so I feel confident watching her advice videos and feel more inspired to write after her discussions. She took a hiatus from her channel, so I didnt go back to her channel for a while. She recently came back to her channel so I came back to her old and new content. My favourite videos from her are her discussing her works:

 

I love when she discusses how she came up with her ideas, and how she delves into these different worlds she writes about. She also talks about her set-backs, such as her growing disinterest in a project she used to love or the hardships of writing a particular work:

But my favourite videos of hers, are the more recent writing vlogs she is doing, where she writes out a short story and discusses what happens while she is writing it. She provides great advice on how to create an engaging story, interesting characters and unique dialogue. I love her simple set-up in her videos. It is just her and the camera. She just sits down and talks about writing. And I love it.

Those are all the booktuber channels that I love. Go check them out. They have really inspired to keep writing and reading. It’s a section on YouTube where I felt was what I was into. It’s not all prank videos or drama videos, which is nice to find. And if you have any other book/writing I can check out, let me know in the comments. I’d love to watch some more. See you in the next post x

5 books I didn’t like

I’m surprised I never talked about some books I disliked. I wrote reviews on novels that I liked, so its only fair that I write a post about a few of the novels I didn’t like. Now, this is all going to be based on my opinion. I may talk some shit about popular books from popular authors. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I have no hate towards the authors of the novels. Mostly, I love their work. Just not the ones I am going to talk about in this post.

Ill only be talking about 5 books as thats all I have at the moment. This is in no particular order. There may be spoilers to these novels down below, so forewarned.

Paper Towns by John Green

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Synopsis: After an all-night adventure, Quentin’s lifelong crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime.

I loved The Fault in Our Stars, but I didn’t like this novel. After reading it, I just felt like it was a waste of my time. I thought, “why did I read this?”

The mystery behind the character Margo, drove the story. I loved the concept of this mysterious Margo. No one knew the real Margo and Quentin was one of the many people who saw her as almost an angelic figure. Throughout, I was interested in who the real Margo was. I didn’t care about the rest of the novel. The rest didn’t hold my interest that much. The story was mainly to discover the real Margo. Now, when you find Margo, thats when the story was ruined for me.

I hated it.

I dont care if Quentin ends up with Margo in the end, or if they get a happy ending. But, I hated Margo at the end of the novel. Now, I guess it was John Green’s intent to show the real Margo, behind all the mystery and I guess I just didn’t like what I found. Overall, I felt the book was uneventful. After I finished it, I asked myself why did I even read this?  It just wasn’t for me.

 

The Vampire Diaries The Return: Nightfall

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Synopsis:

To save the two vampire brothers who love her, Elena Gilbert sacrificed her life.

Now that a supernatural force has brought Elena back from the dead, all handsome, brooding Stefan wants is to keep her safe. But when he is lured away from Fell’s Church, sleek, powerful Damon seizes his chance to win Elena over, unaware of the danger they’re both in. A malevolent being has infiltrated the town and is growing stronger. Able to possess Damon at will, the creature is also drawn to Elena and the new power she has acquired. But it’s after more than Elena’s power: It thirsts for her death.

 

I loved L.J Smith’s works. I read most of her Vampire Diaries books and loved her Secret Circle series. I loved the shows that are inspired from her works. But dont be mistaken. The book series is nothing like the tv show. Sure, the tv show is dark and sexy, but the books are sexier and more f***ed up. But I loved them. I’ve always loved dark stories and I liked L.J Smith’s writing style at the time.

However, I never finished the series. Why? This book is the reason.

I dont remember much of this book, except for one part. It was a scene where, Elena and Damon are running away from Damon in a forest. They come to a clearing and whenever they try to leave the clearing, Damon prevents them from leaving, using his powers. Then Damon forces Elena and Matt to have sex in front of him, while he watches.

Now, I was a young teen when I read this. This scene shocked me. I actually still remember this scene to this day, years after reading it. I thought I stopped reading the series after that, but I found a bookmark in The Vampire Diaries The Return: Shadow Souls, which means I continued onto the next book in the series. I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading after that scene. Come to think of it, I’m surprised I didn’t stop reading the series sooner, because it has so many of those types of scenes, such as Tyler almost raping Elena in the first or second book in the series.

 

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

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Synopsis: 

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

My sister loved this book. She begged me to read it for ages and then I finally read it. It wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t great. It didn’t wow me, or hold anything special for me. I hardly remembering it to be honest. I remember picking up the sequel in O’ Mahoney’s and I loved the blurb of it. It got me interested in the story. But I didn’t realise it was a sequel to If I Stay.

It was good. It just wasn’t for me. No shade to Gayle Forman. I actually the writing style in the novel. It was just…I dont know. It didn’t captivate me, like other books did. Now, I can barely remember the novel.

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Synopsis: Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

This was a book I started and never finished. I started the book, got through two chapters and put it down. I just couldn’t get through it. The premise of teh story is fascinating and I really wanted to read it. But I couldn’t. I didn’t like the way it was written. I just couldn’t get through it. I tried a second time, when I had to read the book for a college module. Same thing happened again. I guess I just dont like Ishiguro’s writing style.

I loved the film though, with Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.

 

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

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Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

I ended up reading this book, before watching the film. I love dystopian novels and I wanted to see how they would take this. Again, this novel didn’t really wow me. There was no real explanation as to why this war started. It is left up in the air. Daisy’s love story in the novel and movie was with her cousin, which I’m sorry. I’m not into incestuous relationships. They are not close cousins but still. It was an interesting novel, but not my cup of tea. I liked the ending though, where she finds the cousin and he is completely shell-shocked. He cant speak or interact. He cant remember Daisy. It is traumatic when you see him like that. Other than that, I wasn’t a big fan of it. I wasn’t a big fan of the film either. I only watched it for Saoirse Ronan, fellow Irish queen.

 

I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post. I want to know what you think. Are there any books you didn’t like? What about the books I mentioned? Have you read them and did you like them yourselves? I respect and love most of these writers, but sometimes, even the best writers come out with some bad novels. Thats all part of the process.

 

 

The Night at the Villa Diodati

Today, I am going to give you a history lesson. This blog post discusses a historical night in literature which produced massive works, such as Frankenstein and The Vampyre. I learnt of this piece of history in a Sensibility and Romanticism class I took in college. My professor told the class the brief tale of the stormy summer at the villa in 1816. After class, I watched a documentary she recommended, which discussed the events of that summer.

I fell in love with this piece of history, about these extraordinary, literary people and the works they produced. This post changes from my original content, from literature to history. However, this piece of history shaped our literature today. This night at the Villa Diodati shaped the horror genre into what it is today. Therefore, I want to talk about it. SO lets get into it.

In 1816, a tremendous storm rolled over Europe. Thunderstorms and rain hit the villas around the Lake Geneva in Switzerland. One of those villas was the Villa Diodati.

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Inside the Villa Diodati, a group of five people sat around a fire and told ghost stories. These people were:

Lord Byron, the famous writer and poet

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Mary Shelley, writer behind Frankenstein:

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Percy Shelley, famous poet and Mary Shelley’s lover at the time:

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John Polidori, writer of The Vampyre and Lord Byron’s doctor:

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And Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley’s step-sister:

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These five people arrived at this location, for different reasons. Each had their own secrets and scandals, they needed to avoid. The Villa Diodati was a place like no other. a place for them to escape. As told by Mary Shelley, the area around the Villa Diodati was breathtaking:

“To what a different scene are we, now arrived. To the warm sunshine, and to the humming of sun-loving insects. From the windows of our hotel, we see the lovely lake, blue as the heavens, which it reflects, sparkling with golden beams. I feel as happy as a new fledged bird, and hardly care what twig I fly to, so that I may try my new found wings.”

Each member of the group escaped to Switzerland, which was a perfect location for these literary inspired people. People looking for some sensation, they found in the Alpine mountains, the forestry and lakes of Geneva, surrounding the Villa. It was perfect for the building storm, that was about to occur.

Lord Byron was a famous English writer and poet. Whenever he published his works, they were almost as big as the release of a Beatles album. People would line up to receive their copies of his works. He was the equivalent of a Rockstar, back in the day. Moreover, he was well known for being a ladies man, and living an exciting lifestyle through drugs and alcohol. One of his lovers, Caroline Lamb stated;

Byron was “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

However, Byron’s lifestyle caught up with him, when he was accused of having an incestuous relationship with his half-sister, Augusta.

So he fled England, with his doctor, John Polidori. Polidori’s job was to keep Byron alive, as due to his lifestyle, Byron suffered from liver problems and had been diagnosised with gonorrhea. However, Polidori had his own ambitions, to become a writer and seeked Byron’s approval.

Due to Byron’s fame, he had many female admirers/groups, and Claire Clairmont was a huge example of one. She fell in love with Byron, slept with him and he had no interest in her after that. But that did not stop her from pursuing him. According to Claire;

I do assure you, your future will shall be mine. And everything that you shall do or say, I shall not question.”

She was determined to win him over, so she planned to follow him across Europe. Claire asked her half sister, Mary Shelley and her lover, Percy Shelley to accompany her on her journey. They accepted, as they were running away from their own scandal. Percy Shelley followed the expression of free love, which was frowned upon in the 1800s. Percy and Mary fled England, while Percy was still married to another woman.

The Villa Diodati was each persons place of refuge, but also a place for desires and inspiration to boil over.

The party had been at the Villa for a week, when the volcanic storm, caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora, hit Lake Geneva. The rain, thunderstorms and flooding was immense. The most terrifying storm the group had ever seen. It was a new thrilling experience for these people, who were highly literary and excitable. As Mary wrote;

An almost perpetual rain confines us, principally, to the house. The thunderstorms that visits us, are grander, and more terrific, than I have ever seen before. One night, we enjoyed a finer storm than I have ever beheld. The lake was lit up. The pines were made visible, and all the scene illuminated for an instant, when a pitchy blackness succeeded. And the thunder came in frightful bursts over our heads, amidst the darkness.

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The scenery and the storms, set the scene as, Byron began to read ghost stories to the group. Surrounded by a lit fire, Byron read passages from Fantasmagoriana, and Christabel. 

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These horror stories put the group on edge and Byron called for a challenge. Can they do better? Can each of them write a better story, more vivid and more terrifying than these? From this challenge, Byron produced an unfinished vampire story called Fragment of a Novel. Polidori wrote his own vampire tale, basing his vampire character off Lord Byron. Providing this Byron-esque quality, Polidori created the first aristocratic vampire in literature. His vampire provided inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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There was nothing left of Percy Shelley’s story, however, his lover, Mary’s novel lives on. Desperate to prove her literary skills to Lord Byron, she worked at producing a story, more terrifying than any other story out there. Than one night, Mary woke from a nightmare, producing a vision that formed to idea for Frankenstein;

I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy half-vital motion.”

She had found her idea. While at the Villa Diodati, she wrote the first draft of Frankenstein. These stormy nights at the Villa Diodati, produced two influential works, The Vampyre and Frankenstein.

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These two works, spawned a new wave of thinking and revitalization of the horror genre. Mary Shelley’s work analysed the world of science at the time, through the creation of the monster and externalized the actions and mistreatment from humanity. Polidori’s The Vampyre, provided a new look at the face of evil. Changing the formula of a vampire from a mythical monster to a respected aristocrat, his novel showcased the fear of the Other, walking amongst society. It was a focused look at the higher class in the 1800s.

However, the events at the Villa Diodati lead to its own tragedies. Claire Clairmont got what she desired and ended up in Byron’s bed. At the end of the summer, Claire discovered she was pregnant with his child. This led to Claire, Mary and Percy fleeing back to England, so Claire could have her baby in secret. Claire continued to write Byron many years later, however, Byron refused to see or speak to her. He would later call her, “a damned bitch.” Claire never got over Byron and never married.

As for Byron and Polidori, Byron fired Polidori and parted ways.

Polidori died in 1821, just short of his 26th birthday, from suicide by acid. Percy Shelley drowned the following year, on a shipwreck. He was not quite 30 years old. In 1824, Byron died of an illness, when he joined the cause of the Greek nationalists in their battle against the Turks. He was 36 years old.

Mary Shelley established herself as a writer, and lived till the age of 53.

This piece of history fascinated me, due to the effects of that summer on this group of people, the literary works that came from it and how it established the literature we read today. It was a small piece of history, but significant none the less. As Neil Gaiman said,

We know where the twin pillars of horror fiction, that we stand on today, began.

I got most of my information for this blog from the documentary called, Frankenstein and the Vampyre: A Dark and Stormy Night. If you are interested, check out this documentary. Check out these amazing writers works. I hope you enjoyed this post. Its a bit different, but I have always been interested in this event. Imagine, sitting in a room with other literary inspired people, bouncing ideas off each other, surrounded by the eruption of storms and darkness. A gathering like this, doesn’t happen very often, and thats what made it spectacular. If you found this post interesting, let me know if you want me to do more literary history pieces.

Hope you are having a wonderful day and Ill see you in the next post.

 

 

 

 

Your Voice

I feel like I havent done an advice post for writers in a while. I was watching a YouTube video of a writer I admire talking about the voice in your novel or in your work. When I started out, I didn’t really have a so-called voice in my work…

I just wanted to be like J.K Rowling or Stephan King or any other authors I admired. The first novel I ever composited was a sort of fanfiction about Kingdom Hearts but I just changed the names of the characters to pretend it wasn’t inspired by Kingdom Hearts. (Btw it was really obvious that I based that novel on Kingdom Hearts. Instead of Disney characters, I put Harry Potter characters into it. I’m so sorry J.K Rowling).

Anyway, your voice….I didn’t really know my voice until I did a creative writing module in my college. I never found I had a specific voice or style. I just wrote for fun. However, my creative writing professor said in class that, she could tell which piece of writing was whose. She said, my style of writing is very descriptive. I agree with that because I feel when I write, I make the conscious decision to ensure that my character and the people reading my stories, are immersed. I dont want to present something as fake. I want people to imagine themselves into that world. If youre in a club, I want to describe the colours used, the crowds, every little detail I want conveyed in just a few lines.

However, I dont believe I have found my voice in my writing. I have a particular style that I stand by, but I dont have a voice that is consistent. Your voice is yours. It is authentic. It is the one thing that makes you a different writer, compared to J.K Rowling or Stephan King or any other writers. It is your way of putting words to paper and how you want to make your truth on the page. Your voice evolves through the different genres you will delve into as you go along. But, it remains your voice. The way you write the words, is your unique way. I dont know if I have found my voice yet. I dont feel I am experienced enough yet, to say that I have found my voice. I havent found what I want to say or how I want to say it. I still feel like I am imitating my favourite authors throughout the years, such as:

J.K Rowling

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Maggie Stiefvater

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Stephanie Meyer

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Sylvia Plath

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Oscar Wilde

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and many, many more.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery but I need to find my own voice. What makes me stand out against the crowd? What do I stand for? Writers such as Louise O’ Neill who wrote Asking for It and Almost Love, take a feminist approach to her writing and write about difficult topics that are not addressed properly such sexual harassment and rape. I want to form my own voice and I feel Ill find it through the big novel I am working on. The thing I would say about finding your voice, is just keep writing. You will find your voice with time and experience. Keep a pen and paper on hand. Write everything down. Write your own experiences and that way, you will find your voice. If you want to know more about voice in writing, check out this article by Writers Digest.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/voice-in-writing-developing-a-unique-writing-voice

I hope you are having a fantastic day and I love you guys for sticking by with my messy upload schedule. I have more planned for this blog, so stay tuned x

 

Just Thinking (Update)

Things are looking up.

 

I got excellent results in my college exams and that means I get to do my masters in September. Also, I recently got a job so I am feeling much better after my last blog post. Everything seems to be going well. However, I feel stuck. I am being told I need to go down one path for my career. You need to get a “real career” in order to have a great life. Start a family, get a home and then pursue your dreams. What does that even mean? Get a “real career”?! Does it mean for me to become a lawyer or a teacher? To follow the status quo and get a job just for the sake of security or what society deems a “real career.”

I want to have a career that is creatively stimulating. I just dont want to be stuck in a job that I dont want. And I feel like my plans for the future are going down that route. I watched the film, Still Alice and this scene resonated with me:

 

Recently, I feel like people are telling me what I should do with my life and a lot of their advice makes me feel nauseous. These future plans that are not my own. I just want to get out, get my own place, live my own life, instead of being told what to do.

One of my new years resolutions for 2018 is to send my work out and get published in magazines. I want to try and get published, establish myself in someway as a writer. That is my dream. I want to work as a full-time author which is an undesirable job. “You wont make money out of that”, “What if you are not good enough?”

Well I want to try. My journey is starting this year. As I work on the most important novel I have ever worked on, I am going to start sending out my work everywhere. I cant have this mentality that this wont work out if I dont, at least, try.

Thats what has been happening with me. I hope you are all doing well. It has been a bit of time since I last posted. The review took up too much time, so I decided to just post this. Let you know what has been happening with me. I shall have the review up in a few days. Thanks for being here. I appreciate it. Talk to you next time.

The End of an Era: A Work in Progress #1

Today, I submitted the last round of work I needed for college. I’m officially finished college. 4 years has really gone by. I am excited for this new path in my life, however, I am also sad. It is the end of an era. Ill be saying goodbye to the good old days, to the friends I made these past 4 years and see where life takes me. 4 years of my life gone in a flash. Ill miss it.

But when one doors closes, another opens. Now that I have finished my last year of college, I can now start my novel. It has been a long time coming and I am so excited to start this new task. From now on, I shall post every couple of weeks or so with updates on my novel: what progress have I made? What struggles I have been facing and any advice I can give to any aspiring writers who wish to do the same?

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My novel has been a long time coming. The original premise for the story came when I was in my 5th year of secondary school (high school). I started developing and writing the story during my last year of secondary school, at the end of my teenage years. However, the novel became a project of my own anger. Whenever I looked at it, it reminded me how much I hated what it was, what it represented. So….I put it on hold.

 

I knew I would come back to it down the line, when I was less angry and became more mature. The renewal of this idea came to me last October or November during the time I was doing my FYP. I really wanted to go back to the drawing board and create a new story off the same premise. Whether itll work or not, that remains to be seen, but I feel like this novel may be the one I have been wanting to write. All my other novels have always felt like I was writing it for entertainment reasons. There was never a purpose or meaning to it. Its not that I didn’t like my other novel ideas. I love them and I want to start them again. But I just felt like they had nothing to offer to me in terms meaning or influence. I wanted to write something that would mean a lot to me so I can inspire myself further and inspire other people (if anyone will ever get to read someday).

And I feel this novel is it.

Since November of last year, I have flushed out the central characters of the story. I have their backstories, motives and personalities. The plot, itself, needs more planning. I have certain things that need to happen in the story thought out but I need to fill in the rest of the blanks. However, I had to stop before I could do that due to college work (look at my “On Hold” post). Now that I have finished college, I can start up the process again. I hope to keep you updated with my journey and I hope you stick with me as I go on with this novel. I probably wont tell you what the novel will be about, but Ill give some details about it along the way.

First detail: The novel will be set in Limerick City, Ireland.

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I hope to see you in the next post. I might post a couple more blog posts this week since I have more time on my hands. We shall see. Talk to you next time.

A Clockwork Orange: Review

Recently, I had to read this novel for a college course: Post-War British Literature. It is a shame I haven’t read this before. It is such a classic book and film that I am surprised I have never read or seen it before. I have seen it now and Id like to share my thoughts about the book and film.

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Everyone has heard of A Clockwork Orange, whether you have read it or not. It is on all the lists of books you need to read before you die. The same can be said for the film by Stanley Kubrick. Before the British Literature course, I heard of A Clockwork Orange, but I never knew what it was about. The story was a mystery to me and to hear that it had controversy around it, I was interested in delving into it and understand why. After reading it, I understand why this was such a controversial story.

The story of A Clockwork Orange is about a dystopian world of Britain where youth can run rampant and commit a bit of “ultra-violence” every night. The story follows the protagonist, fifteen year old, Alex on his adventures with his “droogs” (friends) and committing a bit of the “shop-crasting” (robbing) and a bit of a violent “in-and-out” (raping). Eventually, Alex’s violent antics get him caught and sent to jail. In order to leave jail early, Alex agrees to take part in “The Ludovico Technique,” which is an aversion therapy that psychologically affects Alex when we witnesses or experiences violence. Alex is released from jail, prone to violent illness when he has thoughts of the violence he was akin to at the beginning of the novel. After he was released, everything went against him. His parents threw him out, he was beaten with an inch of his life from the police and became a toy within a bigger political agenda.

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My thoughts? Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it was an engaging story. I liked following in the footsteps of a unique villain such as Alex. Anthony Burgess did a brilliant job of conveying the hopelessness within Alex’s world through the treatment of authority in the novel. He created a convincing dystopian world with an interesting main character. However, I did have a few problems with it.

 

First, the language of the novel.

Anthony Burgess created a new language for Alexand his droogs to speak in A Clockowork Orange which was called Nadsat. It is a Russian-influence English that is only spoken by the teenagers in Burgess’s novel. Burgess was a linguist and decided when writing the novel, to create his own language so it wouldn’t be outdated by the time the novel was published. Personally, I liked the language. When I listened to the audiobook version of A Clockwork Orange, I liked the sound of the Nadsat language such as “devotchka” (young woman), “gulliver” (head) and “moloko” (milk). There are many more examples within the novel and it represents the voice of Alex in the novel. However, I did find it difficult to translate when I first started reading it. I had to have a wiki in front of me so I could look up the meaning behind each word. It was difficult at first, but I adapted to it quite quickly and began to love it. The language makes what the novel, A Clockwork Orange, what it is. It represents the youth of this novel and it gives a perfect insight into Alex’s character. But I can understand why Stanley Kubrick’s film left out most of the Nadsat language.

Second, the violence.

Now, compared to the film, the violence in the book was necessary to portray the world Alex lived in and showcase how much of a callous person Alex was. However, I didn’t like the violent scenes within the book. There is a lot of rape and beatings in the novel that are quite graphic. They serve a purpose to the story, but I still didn’t appreciate some of the scenes within the novel.

Overall, A Clockwork Orange was an interesting read. My favourite part of reading this novel was to exploration of Alex as the protagonist. Throughout the novel, Alex commits deplorable acts of violence and doesn’t feel any empathy towards the people he hurts. There is a divided opinion on whether people feel sorry for Alex in the second half of the book where he gets punished for his misdeeds. Do you think he deserved and you didn’t feel sorry for him or do you think that the punishments put on him were too much?

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Personally, I didn’t feel sorry for Alex throughout the second half of the book. I felt that he deserved everything that came to him. However, I did feel sorry for him during two instances. One was when he couldn’t sleep because of the affects of the Ludivocko treatment and when his parents threw him out. Even though he is a terrible human being, he was still a teenager and in the end, he needed his parents in that moment when he got out of jail. I don’t condone his character and I believe he deserved all the misfortune he got. However, Burgess does a great job at portraying this character is a despicable way and in the end, provide him with a hopeful ending.

A Clockwork Orange was a great read and got me thinking of my FYP. The thought of criminals and heroes in literature strike me in this novel and I am currently writing an essay about this novel in relation to the representation of heroes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear answer to this question, especially in relation to Alex in A Clockwork Orange. It is an interesting concept though and I feel A Clockwork Orange would make an interesting case study. If you are interested in looking into this story, give it a read or watch the Stanley Kubrick’s film.  Personally, I prefer the book.

 

Pen to Paper

In recent years, it seems a common thread has disappeared, the use of a pen to paper. As a writer, I used the traditional way of creating my stories, with a notebook and pen. It was the conventional way to write novels and poems. However, I have seen more and more times where writers have exchanged the use of a pen for typing on a laptop. Whatever works for you when it comes to writing your work, go for it. But I do feel like we have lost touch with the traditional ways of writing with the new use of technology. Recently, I went to a March event with Stanzas. Stanzas is the writing group I go to every month where you share your works with many people (more info about Stanzas in my previous posts). Anyway, I went to a Stanzas event, and I remember someone going up to the mic and saying they had written down their poem instead of on their phone. It has become a standard thing in Stanzas with people having their stories/poetry written on their phones, and they speak through the microphones with their eyes glued to their phones. Even one of the head of Stanzas mentioned this at one of the events. It was nice to see someone read from paper instead of reading off a tablet or phone. It is the same with reading. More and more people read books on Kindle or online, instead of just holding a book in their hands.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the use of technology. I even use it to transfer my stories from paper onto a different medium. I plan to write a story on the perspective of social media or the use of it on paper. I love the use of technology in other mediums, especially in different mediums of storytelling. I love elements of texting and social media in films such as Personal Shopper:

 

Or Unfriended:

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and many more. Technology is a part of our psyche as a community. We use it to communicate our thoughts and emotions and to connect with others. It is a valuable tool for the new wave of storytellers. That is a very interesting evolution foir writers and civilization in general. However, I will always prefer my pen to scribble my ideas on paper before I use my computer or phone. What do you guys think? Are you an old-fashioned writer like me or do you write all your stories on your technological devices?