Friday, 26 February 2016

Beating the Block!


What do you do when faced with the horrible blank brick wall that is writer's block? 
Do you turn around and hope that next time you come back the wall will have fallen down, crumbled away? Or do you grab the beast by the horns and wrestle with it until you have bested it and sent it scampering back to it's cave?

I, like every single other writer in the world, hate writer's block. Hate it with a passion, with a vengeance, with a cruel, calculated malice... ok I'm getting a little over theatrical here, let's all calm down a bit.

There's nothing quite like the dizzying emptiness of that blank page as it stares accusingly up at you. Or the sad little flicker of the black line on the screen, the only interruption in an empty sea of white, just waiting forlornly for you to start typing and give it some companions. 
That hopeless feeling inside as you try desperately to claw at your characters intentions, wishing there was some way they could just come to life and tell you what they wanted to do. The frustration as you string words together into sentences that sound as if they were written by a five year old in his first English class...

So, back to the original question... what do you do when you've got writer's block? 
In black and white, there are two things you can do; stop writing and come back later, or push on through and hope something good will come out.
The problem with the former option is that you don't get any writing done.
The problem with the latter option is the potential for frustration, anger and the total destruction of all your work in an incensed rage at not being able to create anything decent.


Sooo...

I have previously found that taking a short break helps, just long enough to natter with your partner (or friend or whatever) while you make a cup of tea and grab a biscuit. 

Or read a chapter of a book. I have heard some people say they don't read when they're writing because it's confusing, but I for one love to be able to escape into someone else's world after I've spent an evening struggling with my own. Plus, if you read the same genre that you write then you can find other peoples books to be a well of inspiration... just be careful not to steal their ideas too blatantly!

How about putting aside the writing your struggling with and writing something completely different? I've done this on several occasions, thrown my work down (not literally because it's on my laptop and I can't afford a new laptop at the moment) and stormed through the internet looking for something to take my mind off my frustration. There I have found an ocean full of flash fiction competitions, most of which supply you with a story prompt. That word or sentence catches your eye and suddenly you've got something to say again! It's nothing to do with what you were writing about (or maybe it is, I don't know I'm not you) but it helps to restore your faith in your ability again, even if only for a short while, and you never know, you might even get some inspiration out of it! Plus if you send it off there's a chance you might win the comp!

Alternately, you could take an hour or so out, go for a walk, or a run, or a cycle, or a swim, or whatever you prefer. Ring your mum. Draw a picture. Write a poem (unless it's poetry your struggling with, then don't write a poem). Listen to some really loud music. Sing your heart out to your favourite song. Have a shower (everything feels better when your clean). Tidy your house. Play an instrument (Unless you can't play, then don't because it will probably sound terrible and your neighbours will probably complain). Pet your cat/dog/fish/whatever. Just do something else for a little while, preferably something active because that releases happy-good-feel-nice chemicals in your brain.

My last word of advice? Make some food, (unless you've just eaten, in which case don't make any more food until your hungry). Doing anything on an empty stomach is usually fairly counter productive, your body functions better when it's well fed and happy. So if you've been sat at your computer or desk or whatever all morning and you can't think what to write and your stomach's growling at you, go feed it, I promise you'll feel better (even if you still can't think of anything to write)!

If it's really still not coming to you, sleep on it, most things are easier/better when you look at them with a fresh mind after a good night's sleep :) 

That's all the advice I can think of folks. I hope that some of it has been at least moderately helpful to at least a few of you. 

I'd love to hear any other ways that you've got for dealing with this particular problem. Please leave me a comment if you've got any more suggestions, or if you've tried one my suggestions let me know how it worked for you :) 


Happy writing!


Rach x





Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Published!


Hello beautiful people! 


I am very excited because today I received my copy of the book that my short story 'The Mermaid' is published in! 


For the first time I am now officially a published author! :D


 Check out the Bookers Corner Anthology of Award Winning Short Stories Vol 1 'Voices in The Dark'! Available at book stores and online :) 


Stay tuned for more exciting up dates and stories, there's nothing quite like a little bit of success to motivate you even more than you already were!


And if you like my style please have a look at my online series 'Clara' over at Channillo.com :)


Happy reading and writing folks :) 


Rach x



Friday, 19 February 2016

Book Review - The Girl on the Train

Book Review - The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins 


"Every day the same.
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens.
She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
Until Today.
And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough.
Now everything's changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she's only watched from afar.
Now they'll see: she's much more than just the girl on the train..."


I received this book as a Christmas present from my Nan and was really quite excited to read it, it's been very widely publicised and seems to be liked by a lot of people. It's not usually the sort of book I would read (I'm much more into fantasy and speculative fiction) but having received it as a present I thought I would give it go. So having finished it, here's my review. 

Overall, I think it's a good book, although I probably wouldn't read it again.

The Writing - It's very well written (in first person) from the perspectives of several characters, which I think is great because it lets you see the different characters thoughts, as well as giving you a deeper understanding of what is going on for them. It also casts more light on the characters themselves as you see each of them from the other characters perspectives. The sentence structure was really good and the narrative flowed really well and definitely kept the reader engaged. 

The Plot - I think the plot was great. For almost the entire book Paula keeps you guessing, feeding you tidbits and clues that seem to point in one direction and then another. It's a classic 'whodunnit' but told in a new and clever way with a great twist at the end that I didn't see coming until I was almost on top of it. Paula gives you a lot of distractions as well, your so busy following one avenue of thought created by a new character that she's introduced or a new scenario that a character finds themselves in that it doesn't really occur to you to look in another direction. I definitely changed my mind several times on who I thought had done it throughout the story. 

The End - Personally I found the ending quite dark, it explained a lot about the character interactions and how they had been shaped into the people they were. And if you really think into it (like I did) then you can see how the actions of one person can so dramatically effect, and in some cases damage, the lives of the people around them in such a poignant and enduring way. Not just the events that happen to them but the thought patterns that are created in their minds. However, I would not slate this as although it is dark and somewhat scary it is also a brilliantly realistic reflection of people and how their minds work.

The Characters - This was where I had trouble. Paula's characters are brilliantly written, they are very realistic and through the first person narrative you can really get into their heads. Paula has given them depth and at times it feels as if you are reading someone's diary instead of a book written by an author. However, I didn't find the characters very likeable. I could understand where some of them were coming from and why they acted the way they did, and with the sub-characters I felt like I understood them. However, the main character, Rachel, I really struggled with. I couldn't really relate to her on any level, at first I was curious by her, then I felt sorry for her and then about half way through the book I just thought she was an idiot. To me she seemed wimpy and rather pathetic and I got a bit frustrated with her, I sort of wished I could reach through the pages and tell her to stop being so stupid, pull herself together and man up a bit for gods sake! I found myself cringing almost every time she made a decision, I wouldn't have done any of the things that she did. Having said that, she was a very well written character and Paula has obviously spent a lot of time getting into the mindset of a person that struggles in the way that Rachel did. 


Overall I think it was a good book, well written and entertaining, with a good plot that certainly kept me guessing, but I probably wouldn't read it again. 


Rach x

Through the Trees

Hello Hello Hello! Happy friday :)

This morning I uploaded the second chapter of my fantasy series 'Clara' on Channillo.com.

I struggled with this chapter a bit, even though I knew where I wanted to go with it the words just didn't seem to want to fit together in a way that I was happy with. But after a lot of tiresome editing I am finally very pleased with it. It was tough but I got there in the end!

Chapter two is called 'Through the Trees' and begins Clara's strange journey after the terrible plane flight in chapter one, 'Flight'.

No Spoilers!

The next chapter will be posted on Friday 4th March!

Give it a read, subscribe, let me know what you think :)

Most importantly, Enjoy!

Rach x


Follow the link   -->>   Clara

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A Touch of Spring

Upon this green grassy hill,
Beneath the golden sun,
This world is calm and free,
A map of fields laid out below,
Villages nestled between hedgerows,
Silver sparkling river in the distance.

The breeze is chill,
But the sun is warm,
Chatter in the background,
Insects buzzing through the grass,
Here I feel the touch of spring,
Beneath the clear blue sky.

Oh what wonders there are,
On a clear spring day,
A laugh upon the breeze,
A smile through the sunrays,
Come sit here with me my love,
Upon this green grassy hill.


Friday, 12 February 2016

Salt Spray

A smile,
A touch,
A laugh,
Sensations like honey seep into my senses.

The heat of the sun on my skin,
The fingers of the wind in my hair,
The cold splash of ocean spray,
I close my eyes and let them envelope me.

I am nothing,
Here and now,
In this very moment,
I am nothing and I am everything.

I am the smile that slips into a laugh,
I am the heat of the sun,
I am the soft touch of the wind caressing my skin,
I am the cool salt water spray.

Somewhere among the golden sands,
There is a girl,
Who wears a smile,
And speaks a laugh.

Beneath a sky of brilliant blue,
Warmed by the midday sun,
Lost amidst glinting gold,
She smiles for you.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

How did it come to this?

The half moon hangs high in the dark blue sky, and wisps of cloud, like smoke, drift lazily past it's dull white surface.
There is no wind tonight, not at ground level anyway, far from the sky and the lazy clouds.
The night is dark and still, no thing moves, no sound can be heard.
It is cold, and the temperature is still dropping, it will most likely freeze tonight.
Beyond the edge of the farmers fields the trees at the edge of the forest stand still and black against the sky, like soldiers waiting for instruction.
I am still, like the sentinel trees.
I am cold, like the tips of the grasses.
I stand in the field, tall and still.
My wide eyes drink in the landscape surrounding me, fuzzy in the darkness, like an impressionist painting.
I sigh and it is the only sound in an otherwise noiseless night.
My warm breath leaves my slightly open mouth and hangs like mist in the cold air in front of my face.
I become aware that my nose is numb and I try to wiggle it up and down.
My feet are wet, or maybe they are just very cold, I cannot tell any more.
I look down at my feet, planted firmly upon the ground, lost somewhere beneath the tangle of grasses covering the field floor.
The grass needs cutting, a bizarre thought at this moment in time.
My eyes drift from the dark blades of grass covering my bare feet to the still silhouette of the body lying in front of me.
He is not breathing and although in the darkness I cannot see clearly I know that blood stains his clothes.
I raise my head to look again at the pale half moon in the dark blue sky.
A single thought hangs in my mind, suspended like the moon.
How did it come to this?

Friday, 5 February 2016

New Fantasy Series

Hello Beautiful Readers!

I'm sorry I know I've been particularly lame and rubbishy at not putting up many posts recently, but that is only because I have been working on a new fantasy series for Channillo.com!

The series is called Clara and the first two part chapter, 'Flight', is available to read on Channillo.com now!
Here is the short bio;

'A horrible revelation forces Clara to make a decision that she would never have dreamed of making, to leave home. A life long sufferer of anxiety and regular panic attacks Clara has never been one to dream of adventure, yet now she finds herself boarding a plane to another country, alone and with no clear plan. 
The journey through the airport and onto the plane itself is bad enough but when things start to go horribly wrong Clara finds it harder and harder to quell the sickening panic. And when she wakes up to find herself lost and alone in a strange world she must find her strength in order to find her way home. '

I'm rather proud of this so far and really do hope that you will head over there and check it out, see if you like it, subscribe, follow, start a discussion, let me know what you think :)

The next Chapter will be uploaded on the 19/02/16.

Click 'Clara' below to follow the link to the story :) 

Clara