wordzly

The world of words, reading and writing

Stay Focused!

I’ve fallen off the WordPress wagon it seems.

Not entirely true though. I’ve been neglecting this blog but I have been working on editing my novel.

I’ve edited the first two chapters and have started on the third. Funnily, I may be one of the only people to actually increase the word count during the editing process. Mostly, people cut out unnecessary parts but that’s just the way I’ve worked on the first draft; I wrote it down in its briefest form and am now expanding it into an actual novel.

I’m notoriously fickle and I’ve been side-tracked form this blog as I’ve started up another one. Yeah, my current obsession at the moment is the reality TV show Survivor. I joined a Survivor forum to share all my Survivor experiences, ideas and opinions and it still wasn’t enough so I created my own WordPress blog just for my Survivor thoughts!

If you’re interested you may of course check it out here: http://survivortribalcouncil.wordpress.com/

What’s the future hold for this blog? I may keep blogging here but I may find some new fascination in the next few days. Let’s see how it all goes.

Ta Ta!

Novel Aspirations

In 2008 I decided I wanted to write a novel. I was running low on unread Agatha Christie books and thought Welp! better write my own! I love me some crime fiction, and yet it’s so hard for me to find a crime novel I actually enjoy. I’m in love with those cozy mysteries from the Golden Age of detective fiction, where there was a limited pool of suspects, an assortment of clues and red herrings and someone to wrap it all up beautifully at the end. What I don’t love is the more modern ‘thriller’ angle of an alcoholic, divorced, world-weary cop with a strained relationship with his daughter. Almost every crime novel blurb I read in bookstores advertises ‘the most gruesome murder of Detective Sad-Sack’s career’. And you can bet the murderer’s next target is about to be Detective Sad-Sack!

Anyway, I’ve been side-tracked. I wanted to write the type of novel I liked to read. That makes sense. I came up with (what I thought to be) a rather ingenious plot with a clever murder and enjoyable characters. I was so pleased with myself. The only thing left was to write the bloody thing.

I meandered and procrastinated and did little actual writing. I thought up a bunch of plots for other mysteries until I finally sat myself down and said ‘listen boy-o, why don’t we actually finish this one before we start the next twenty?’

‘It’s too hard’, I replied, and I sent myself to my room without any supper.

I’ve side-tracked myself again. What I’m trying to say is I found out that the writing process is actually quite tricky. It takes a lot of dedication and persistence. And writing. I got about half-way through the novel and hit a slump. I had meticulously planned everything up until then and didn’t know what to write now that I was in unfamiliar territory. I left it.

After sulking around crying about how ‘I don’t know what happens next!’ I decided to bite the bullet and actually WRITE what happens next. That worked surprisingly well. I stuck to a writing plan. I wrote every morning for at least an hour. Two if I had time. In that time I had to get at least four A4 pages of writing. And it worked.

I wish I’d kept a better diary of the process but while the idea for my novel was fleshed out in late 2008, I think I didn’t really start writing until 2010. Then I got stuck. I wrote the second half in 2011/2012. Now the first draft is done. I’ve read through it and admitted it needs serious rewriting. (That’s what second drafts are for!) But I’m excited. I’m determined that I’ll have the second draft done by the end of the year. And it will be good. And I will love it. And I’m going to be such a wonderful and successful author. (Perhaps)

If I Lived in the 1920′s…

Ah, the 1920′s. What a glorious time to live in if you were white and rich.

So, THE GREAT GATSBY IS COMING and everywhere I go I am bombarded with news about THE GREAT GATSBY, which IS COMING! SOON!

That got me wistfully thinking (to think any other way is simply no-go) about what I would do were I alive in the 1920′s. So…

Jitterbug

Doesn’t Jitterbugging just sound wonderful? Why dance when you can jitterbug?!!! And it makes you sound very young and nimble, “Oh hello chaps, I can’t stay and chat. I’m just off for a spot of  jitterbugging. Pip pip!”

Throw sherry parties

I’ve never tasted sherry and it sounds like it tastes awful but I would drink it if it meant having a sherry party. I don’t think sherry parties are even about sherry, but you’d hardly have a Gin party. So uncouth. So un-sherry.

Throw Sherry

Smug bitch. Thinks she can show up to my sherry parties and make it all about her.

Play bridge

I don’t know how to play bridge and I can’t be bothered to learn but if I lived in the 20′s then oh boy I would be all about bridge. Bridge parties. With sherry! Oh, what a world it would be…

Solve murders

Did well-to-do lads and dames even do anything else besides solve murders in the 1920′s? I mean, seriously? And after you solved a murder you could celebrate by throwing a sherry party!

Read THE GREAT GATSBY!!!

Actually, I’d probably wait for it to come out in theatres. I hear it’s going to be AMAZEBALLS!

Well sorry chums. I’d love to stay and continue this little list but I really must be off, you see. Throwing another of my sherry parties. Oh yes, there’ll  be bridge and jitterbugging. Such a right royal knees-up. Ta-ta!

Violent Movies, Violent Minds?

Does watching violent movies inspire violence in the real world?

Really, the question boils down to how susceptible people are to cultural factors.

I’m a big fan of horror. Stephen King is my homeboy. I, like most people, am exposed to violent images on a daily basis. I watch Criminal Minds, I play Grand Theft Auto, I get my Pokémon to beat up other Pokémon. Strangely, I’ve never killed anyone.

Certainly, a person is influenced by their culture. Popular culture influences what we wear, listen to and read about in trashy magazines. And certainly, we attempt to duplicate it on some level. That’s how culture works. If Jennifer Lawrence is swanning about in platform sneakers and a velour tracksuit, and you want to be cool, then by gosh you better go out and rustle up some platform sneakers and a velour tracksuit. (Please don’t do this! Fashion begs you!) But this doesn’t cause much harm (except to fashion!).

So can the media influence us to do things we wouldn’t usually? Like hurt somebody else? Let’s have a personal example. I was watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation recently. I would advise you not to do so. It was terrible. Afterwards I wanted to erase the experience from my memory. what I didn’t do was pull out my chainsaw and go to town on my neighbours. For violence in movies to inspire violence in yourself, I think you need to be predisposed towards violence. I doubt it encourages us to re-enact violence. But I think it may desensitise us to violence. If violence saturates the media then it becomes just another everyday occurrence and, to an extent, normalised. I think that perhaps violence in the media influences our reaction to violence: over-exposure leads us to view violent acts as less shocking than they really are. But I don’t think it causes us to be violent. To say so would be to believe humans have no agency of their own.

To put the blame solely on violent movies or video games neglects the influence other social factors have on us, such as family, friends, education and religion. If violent media does influence violent tendencies, then it is simply one part of a bigger problem; indicative of a society that tolerates violence.

Well that’s what I think. This post was inspired by a Daily Post challenge. If you want, read what others are saying, or add your own thoughts in a comment or blog post of your own. But why do that when you can just read what I think?! A hardy-ha-ha. ‘Til next time!

Catch-Up Time

Gosh! It’s been three and a half months of zero activity. This site’s been barer than a baby with a Brazilian! So what have we all been up to in this time? I’ll go first.

I finished the first draft of my book. That’s right! I wrote a whole freaking book! Actually, it’s horribly under the average word count of a novel but it’s only the first draft. There’s still a lot of work to be done before it’s at all where I want it to be. It’s actually really exciting to post about stuff like this because I’m such a shy and secretive person. I conduct all my writing in total secrecy, ready to stash it all away in a second if I fear it’s in danger of being read and appraised.  It sounds silly to be that fearful of showing people my work but writing is very personal and I believe that you shouldn’t show it to anyone until you’re happy with it because otherwise people are going to make suggestions and critiques and suddenly you’re writing for other people instead of yourself.

What’s the book about, you whisper into your computer. I’ll give you two guesses. (Any regular visitors will be familiar with the only two genres I rave on about.) Give up? Well maybe I’ll make a post about it. Keep your eyes, and bananas, peeled.

What else is new? Well, I’ve become once again obsessed with creepypasta. To any not in the know, creepypasta is the name for short stories with a decidedly creepy or scary bent. I’ve been voraciously devouring the stories on Creepypasta.com and even submitted my own! It’s titled ‘If You Go Down To The Woods’, which I posted on my blog last year. How did it go? You can read the comments here. It’s received a fairly positive reaction although some of those commenters are decidedly blunt and harsh. That doesn’t bother me too greatly. I knew that regulars to the site prefer long stories, usually with a supernatural bent, and that’s pretty much the opposite of what I was going for. To each their own! I enjoy the story and I see it as a good chance for me to get my work out in public and receive feedback.

More generally I’ve kept myself busy coming up with new ideas for stories and novels, plotting and doing some writing. One curse of a fertile imagination is that I can never finish one project before thinking up a new one! I’m continuously flitting between several different pieces.

FYI, I do have a life outside of the written word. But that’s hardly interesting.

And there we have it. See, it’s just like old times. How I’ve missed you! Until next time, my little kitten whiskers!

I’m Back, Baby!

Hello computer.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’d tried the whole blogging thing for a while and while it was fun I wasn’t really getting the result I was looking for. I never set out thinking I would be world-famous and everyone would read my blog but I’ll admit I was a little disillusioned with the tiny number of readers I was attracting. Again, I never started this blog for attention but it seemed like I was putting in a lot more effort than I was getting out of it. There were still lots of things I could have blogged about but seeming as it was basically just me reading them it seemed easier to just think about them by myself and not bother with the whole typing up and maintaining the blog business.

But…

The odd thing is this blog is actually maintaining visitors. In fact, visitor numbers have actually increased since I stopped blogging. (Oh! That sounds a lot sadder now that I’ve typed it.)

Anyway…

I’ve been doing a lot of Wordzly-related stuff in real life. I’m busy writing and reading and I’m really serious about expanding on and solidifying that. Seeing those increased numbers (they’re still really low lol!) has buoyed my confidence and I want to give this blog another go. Who knows how long it will last? But I’m willing to start up again now that I have a new focus. In the past, I engaged with sort of abstract ideas on reading, writing and words. I’ll still probably continue to engage with that but also incorporate a lot more of a personal element. My passion in life is to become a writer (OMG!! I’ve never actually told anyone this before!) so I’m hoping this blog will document my journey. And maybe when I’m an amazing established author I can look back and see my journey to success!! Basically, there will be more of a focus on my own writing, my plans for the future and how I perceive the realm of writing. Or whatever. Who knows!!

I am excited though to give this another shot and hopefully things will keep getting better. :) Link me to all your friends!!!!!!!! (JK but maybe?…)

New Year’s Resolutions

As 2012 draws to a close and we anticipate the arrival of a new year, many will also start forming their new year’s resolutions. Amidst the resolves to ‘get super skinny’ and ‘stop being so alone’ I think it important that we all resolve to better our own grammar. For a truly wonderful 2013 we should all resolve to:

Use adverbs when they are called for

I’m not saying we need to use adverbs more frequently, just when intending to use one please actually use the adverb and not its adjective form. People run quickly, they do not run quick. My opinion of you drops significantly when you misuse adverbs.

Do not apostrophise plurals

Notice I typed plurals, not plural’s. This actually hurts me when I see this. Apostrophes denote possession, they have nothing to do with plurals.

Learn the difference between Its and It‘s

Its is the possessive, just like hers and his, as in ‘the dog wagged its tail’. It’s is a contraction for it is, as in ‘It’s sunny today’. If anyone says that it’s is the plural of it I will simply die.

Use actual words

Why say ain’t when you can say aren’t and not sound like a half-aborted degenerate? Anyone finding something irregardless will also find themselves copping the full brunt of my most withering glare. Further, there’s no need to say you done something. Say you did it, it’s fewer letters.

Don’t get too caught up in proper grammar

OK, this sounds like a contradiction after everything I’ve just written but there are things more important than proper grammar, like not having everyone hate you. Correct someone’s spelling mistake if it’s for something important; that’s helpful. Don’t bother pointing out spelling mistakes on their Facebook statuses because that’s just being bitchy.

Happy New Year!

End of the World

So the world didn’t even end. Bummer.

But wait, there’s still time! With NASA officially stating that there was no impending doom from the usual suspects – meteors, volcanoes, George Bush’s surprise re-election – we may have to look to some less-likely apocalypses. Here’s my pick for 2012!

Justin Bieber fan-girl rampage

Cooties outbreak

Squirrel uprising

Everyone runs in the same direction, speeding up the Earth’s rotation and causing it to age 1 billion years

Pluto’s revenge

Poisoned M & M’s

Somebody turns off the sun

Exploding puppies

The 75th Hunger Games

Tectonic plates pretend to be bumper cars

Sparkly vampires

Sparkly zombies

Vampire-zombies

Vesuvius: This Time It’s Personal!

The internet breaks – Oh God! We’re doomed!!!

 

Happy end of the world, everyone!

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Common Misconceptions about Classic Fictional Characters

There are some characters everyone knows about, even if they haven’t read the book. And then there are the characters we think we know so much about, and really, we know so little. Here are three fictional characters we probably all know well. But how well do we really know them?

Frankenstein is a monster

Oh, this one drives me crazy! Frankenstein must be the most commonly mistaken fictional character of all time. But please understand that Frankenstein is not the monster but the creator. ‘Dr’ Victor Frankenstein is the man who creates the regenerated creature. The creature goes unnamed throughout the novel, often referred to as just The Creature. It also seems pertinent to point out that the popular image of Frankenstein’s monster deviates greatly from the description Shelley gives in her book. The most recognisable characteristics of the monster – green skin and bolts in the neck – do not feature in the novel. The creature’s skin is described as yellow and no mention of bolts is made. Further, the creature is quite eloquent, ruminating on his place in the world and reading classic literature such as Milton’s Paradise Lost. It also seems slightly unfair to paint the creature as the monster of the piece. Instantly spurned by his creator and regarded as a monster by everyone he encounters, the creature really had no hopes of ever finding happiness. Yes, he does turn to violence and murder, but Shelley makes it obvious that these acts are the result of his unjust treatment.

Poor Mr Monster.

Oh, and there is no Igor, FYI. Frankenstein has no little hunchback minion.

Dracula vs. Edward

Dracula is perhaps the best known monster of all time but Dracula fans that dismiss Twilight as bastardising the vampire mythos may be shocked to discover Edwards isn’t so different from ol’ Drac. Yes, Dracula could go in the sunlight. Perhaps he didn’t sparkle but that number one rule of vampires – they are killed by sunlight – did not originate from Stoker’s novel. The sunlight weakened Dracula and drained him of his powers but it did not outright kill him.

That second rule of vampires – kill them with a stake through the heart – is again not present in Stoker’s novel. Having caught Dracula slumbering in his coffin, Van Helsing and his crew first cut the Count’s throat and then stab him in the heart – with a bowie knife. Wait, was Dracula killed by Crocodile Dundee?

There’s also the well-known image of Dracula as a tall, imposing man with slicked jet-black hair, a dapper gentleman with a sinister side. This image is probably based of Bela Lugosi’s famous 1931 portrayal. So it’s slightly incongruous to know that the Dracula of Stoker’s novel is actually described as an elderly man with a grey moustache.

The more you know.

Lolita is a seductress

This one really disturbs me. Lolita is a twelve-year-old girl who is sexually and emotionally abused by her step-father. To say that the twelve-year-old is the villain of the book is horribly misguided. Humbert rapes her, bribes her, considers murdering her mother and fondly contemplates impregnating her to create a new generation of Lolita’s. Lolita is not a temptress or a seductress.

This misconception comes from the term ‘lolita’, which does in fact refer to a female seductress, but which has totally bastardised the titular character of Lolita.

The idea we have of Lolita is also complicated as we only learn about Lolita through Humbert’s description. This is a highly unreliable source given he is the man molesting the girl. Yes, Lolita does initiate sexual encounters with Humbert and yes she does bribe him with sexual acts but she has little choice. Her mother is dead, she is under the complete control of her paedophilic step-father and she knows that this is the only way she can exercise and sense of control. Let’s not forget too that Humbert never declines these sexual offers. If we demonise the girl that ‘uses’ sex to get what she wants, what should we do about the man that forces her into this position in the first place?

Also, her name isn’t actually Lolita, it’s Dolores. Seeming ‘Lolita’ is such a trigger-word now that people will automatically assume ‘seductress’, it would be interesting to describe Dolores to people unfamiliar with the book and see what they thought of the character.

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