Creative Writing – Valentine’s Edition!

So I’ve challenged myself to write something every day for Lent – this is yesterday’s Valentine’s Day special! Technically I wrote this a few days ago, but it counts. I won’t be posting everything I write, but I hope to get at least a few posts written as well as creative pieces. Enjoy! ~R

‘Hello?’ She threw her keys into the tray, pulling off her scarf. Josie, the elderly mongrel she’d adopted the year before came lumbering in to greet her. She bent down and ruffled the wiry fur on Josie’s head, scratching behind her upright ears.

‘Where’s daddy, Josie?’

Josie yawned, trundling back to her bed, pushed up against the living room radiator. May shook her head and stood up straight, hearing typing coming from the office. She rolled her eyes. Working over, again. She hung her coat up and headed towards the noise, pulling her shoes off on the way.

 

‘Does it ever end?’ She smirked, leaning against the doorframe. Oscar looked up, still typing. He smiled shyly, amber eyes guilty as he shrugged.

‘I won’t be long, just finishing off some forward planning.’

‘And how far in advance is this planning?’

‘Babe, you know the more I do now the bett-‘ May came up behind him, chin pressing into his shoulder as she peered at the screen.

‘Two months?! Oscar, this can wait. You’ve done so much already this week! You need a break.’

‘I’m nearly finished.’

‘That’s not good enough Oscar, you’re exhausted. Come on, save it and turn off. I’ll run you a bath.’

‘There’s not much left to do, I really won’t be long.’

‘Nope.’

‘May, what are you-‘ She sat on his lap, saving his work and shutting the lid of his laptop.

‘I said enough, Oscar.’

‘I can’t believe you!’

‘It’s for your own good, now come on.’ She took his hand, trying to pull him out of the swivel chair. He resisted, holding on to the chair tightly with his other hand. She raised her eyebrow, trying not to smile.

‘Fine, have it your way.’ She grabbed the sides of the chair and pulled, rolling him towards the door. He couldn’t help but burst into laughter, grabbing the doorframe. She fell back as he stopped the chair. He grinned at her, a mischievous glint in his eye. He leaned forward.

‘Nice try.’ He kissed her as she picked herself up, glaring at him.

‘I’m trying to help you.’ She stood up, crossing her arms.

‘I know.’ He stood up. ‘I suppose I can call it a day.’

There it is! Let me know what you thought in the comments. 

See you soon,

Signature Jan 2018

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Sneak Peek Saturday!

So I don’t think this will really become a thing because I really don’t write creatively anywhere near as often as I should, but I’ve had these characters/this story kicking around for a really long time now and I’ve not really done much with it. 

Over the last 6 years or so I’ve had periods of time in my life where I’ve had the luxury of being able to do the writer-y thing and sit in a coffee shop and work for hours; bliss, right? This hasn’t been possible recently, but it is how I started the idea this piece is a part of. I worked in a charity shop over the summer of 2014 and in the quieter periods there was a lot of staring out of the window while stabbing myself with the tagging gun  being a totally competent employee with perfect hand-eye coordination who could tag clothes and daydream at the same time. I once watched an older lady eat lunch at a bench opposite the shop under an umbrella – on a perfectly sunny day. That’s how the main character of the actual story, Lyza (the grandmother in this extract) came to be. I’ve got my characters mapped out and a few small extracts like this but working out a full plot is a challenge and a half. It’s meant to just be a really fun, silly little story! 

 Just for some context, as this is an extract therefore not really meant to be read alone, Wyn and Lyza are vampires, Janey is half vampire but her dad Cal (Wyn’s husband) is a fire demon. Janey’s two, so trying to control her powers in the human world is tricky, to say the least. This extract is really, really short but I hope you enjoy it all the same.

 

‘Janey, we’re going to be late.’
‘I don’t want a hat!’ Janey screamed, throwing the straw hat onto the floor and stomping her foot. Wyn scooped the hat up and put it back on her daughter’s head.
‘You have to wear it, you’ll burn otherwise.’

‘No.’ Janey glared at her mother in defiance. Wyn jumped behind the sofa, just as two rays of orange shot from Janey’s eyes and scorched the wall where her knees had been only a second before. The hat followed and Janey ran off. Wyn heard her struggling up the stairs, and took her chance.
‘Just like her father. Right then, desperate times call for desperate measures.’ She went to the wicker box next to the sofa and pulled out a thick, velvet throw. She swept out of the room, catching her daughter halfway up the stairs. In one smooth motion she had her covered from head to toe in the blanket, rushed outside and strapped into her car seat.

‘Hi mum, I’m really sorry but we’re going to be late. Janey would rather burn holes in the sofa than wear her hat. We’re on our way but I need to go to the shop and get another throw first, she’s gone through another two this afternoon.’
‘You should just let her go outside without it, she’ll be happy to wear it then.’
‘Oh let’s just give her garlic bread as well while we’re at it, shall we? I’m not letting her burn, mum.’
‘I’m kidding darling, just get here when you can. I’ll get Henry to speak to her when you get here, she’ll listen to him.’
‘Thanks mum, see you soon.’

Wyn parked the car and sighed in relief as she looked in her centre mirror; Janey was fast asleep. She silently prayed that she’d stay that way, at least until she could get her back in the car. She put on her own hat, a black sunhat with large rims, before gently placing the straw hat on Janey’s head.

‘Mumma?’ Janey rubbed her eyes, waking up just as they were at the checkout. She looked around, confused.
‘Well, look who’s awake! Hi there pretty girl!’ Wyn smiled at the cashier, an older woman with a strong Southern American drawl. ‘And isn’t that a lovely hat you’re wearing!’
Wyn froze, worried that Janey would get angry if she realised she was wearing the hat again. Janey, on the other hand, seemed quite happy to accept the compliment, giggling.
‘Thank you.’ She said, looking angelic. Wyn almost rolled her eyes as the cashier took a lollipop out of the box at the till.
‘Is she allowed one? My treat for being so good.’
‘Yes, thank you. You’re very kind.’ That’s why she was being so agreeable, Wyn thought, anything for sweets.

I know it’s short and unpolished but I hope you enjoyed – unfortunately not had much time this week but I will be back with a review for you on Wednesday! 

See you soon,

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PS I know the photo has nothing to do w this, I just didn’t have anything relevant! Plus it’s only part of my face so like, sneak peek? Kinda? It’s a stretch.

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May be where I got Cal’s name from. Maybe. [x]

 


Writing About Writing | Easy Inspo for Writers’ Block Sufferers

 

So you have writers’ block. Whether you’re a blogger, creative writer, journalist or any other kind of writer, it happens to the best of us and boy is it bad when it does. There are times when nothing seems to get the inspiration flowing; no level of playlist making, book reading, exercising or meditating on mountain tops helps (okay, I may not have actually tried the last one and I know you’re all laughing at the idea of exercise, work with me here). Don’t panic, there is still some hope for you yet!

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I’ve been writing properly for about 5 years now, and in that time I’ve been struck with writers’ block several (hundred) times. In that time, I’ve done what I’m sure many writers do; tried thousands of fruitless google searches to motivate myself, given up and binge watched box sets instead until another idea pops up. I have, however, collected several unique and interesting methods of writing, ways of getting new ideas and general tips for getting over writers’ block – so while I do still succumb to the box sets more often than I should (I am in fact searching for the remote so I can put Merlin on as I type), here are some ways that can be used to deal with the dreaded curse.

Written Prompts

Okay, this is an obvious one, but definitely effective. Oneword.com is a site dedicated to this – they have a new one-word prompt every day. The set-up of the site allows you to write as much as possible on the word in 60 seconds before submitting it to their forums, however you can of course just as easily use the word without setting a time limit. Setting a limit can be useful, and of course you can extend and edit after the minute is over, but it isn’t everyone’s style.

If you’re looking for inspiration for an existing story, it can help to pick several mismatched or random words, and attempt to use them in a single paragraph, page or chapter. There are a lot of websites and sources (including other blogs) that have lists of words – I pick a list, then use a number generator and pick the words in line with 5-10 of those numbers. To get you started, have a few words on me – do with them what you will:

Stale

Jewellery

Ice Cream 

Undesirable 

Boiler

Strength 

Rain 

Jasmine 

Lucid 

Possibility

Photographic Prompts

I recently finished reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (come back on Wednesday for my review!). Ransom Riggs used photographs not only to inspire his work, but wrote them into the narrative. The peculiar children are based on real photos from Riggs’ collection, which are featured throughout the book. This is a style of writing that I’ve only tried once, but which can make for an interesting experience for both writer and reader – and with an image already there you don’t have to worry too much about description and focus on the story, which can be helpful when inspiration is waning.

Try this on for size:

 

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I’m sure it would seem a lot more mystical without my dog there, but there we go.

Music/Poetry

Try doing the same with music or poetry. Many writers use others’ works, particularly poems, as inspiration. They don’t have to be at the forefront of your work, but you could take the meaning or even just a line you like and turn it into a piece.

Found Pieces

Found poetry is where you take existing texts and use them to create something else – this could even work for prose. I once wrote a poem only using text messages from my inbox.

Be Nosy

Listen to conversations, people-watch, pay attention to things that seem interesting in your day to day life – you’d be amazed at where inspiration can come from. In the summer before my final year of university I worked at a charity shop. One day I watched an old lady eat her sandwiches on a bench outside under an umbrella on one of the hottest days of the year. 18 months later and I’m still working on a piece centred around that scene.

The Sky’s the Limit?

Try setting a time limit, or trying to write something to an exact word count. My first assignment for a university seminar was to write a love story of exactly 101 words. You could try only writing sentences with an odd number of words, or start every sentence with the same letter. Writing to strict rules can be difficult, but it’s also a really good exercise and could help get the imagination flowing in the way you write as well as what you write.

And if none of those work…

Take A Break – You Deserve It.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back, have a breather, and come back to your work with fresh eyes. Whether you go to work on something else or finish the aforementioned box sets, a break can be beneficial.

 I hope this has been somewhat helpful in curing writers’ block, or providing some new ways to approach writing. These are all things I’ve tried and while they don’t always help, they are a challenge and fun to try. Let me know if you give any of these a go and how useful you found them! (Or useless, as the case may be). 

See you soon,

 

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Always in the Write | Seven Month Itch?

One of the big pieces of advice bloggers give about blogging is to plan. Create posts in advance if possible, write down ideas, take photos, etc. They especially say this if, like many of us, you work full time. Going into this job I figured I wouldn’t need to worry, so naturally things are going, for wont of a better phrase, tits-up. This probably seems weird considering my last post was introducing a new blog series, but it’s time for a break.

I think I’m in a bit of a rut – a seven-month itch, if you will. I’m finding it difficult to motivate myself because I know I’m not happy with what I’m producing and it’s just creating a vicious cycle. I’m not in love with what I write, and that’s reflecting in the quality and quantity of my posts. I have good ideas, but I don’t have the time to work on them. I end up either posting something nowhere near as good as I know it could’ve been, or not posting it at all and having to move on to something else that won’t take as much time.

I’ve been trying to get the review for this beautiful book done for so long now.

I will not quit. I’m not a quitter – the sheer amount of sugar I eat proves that – and I don’t want to start now. I’ve been putting off admitting it, but the fact is I need to stop posting – just for a little while. It’s very late, but here’s the plan;
I’m taking two more weeks, maximum, of no posting. It’ll give me time to write and actually finalise a fair few posts. I’ll be able to break out of the pattern of trying to write and edit an entire post in an evening, while hopefully actually getting more written. This isn’t a break, it’s a crash course in reorganising and getting my shit together.

You won’t be getting rid of me that easily, though. I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to hear I’ll still be on social media and in a fortnight it’ll be business as usual.

As always,
See you soon.

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Me Monday | Creative Piece: Commuter Conundrum

So I got this idea on the train (unsurprisingly) this morning. I haven’t done more than a cursory initial edit so apologies for any spelling mistakes/grammatical errors! The image of the two doing puzzles has been bubbling away in my head all day, and while I did consider lengthening it and giving them a proper story I quite like the snapshot as is right now. It’s been a while since I’ve posted something creative, so I hope you enjoy!

Tim looked up as someone sat down heavily opposite him. A young woman was going through her bag, a dark green headscarf wrapped neatly around her hair. She must’ve only been in her 20s, he thought, and reddened as he considered how he may appear to her. An older, white male with the Daily Mail in front of him – he was surprised that she’d even considered sitting there; he certainly wouldn’t have.
‘Rough day?’ He said with a smile, noticing the stressed look on her face.
‘You could say that.’ She smiled back meekly. She looked down at her hands, and by extension his newspaper, on the table.
‘I don’t read this drivel, for the record. Unfortunately it seems to have the best crossword; I suppose there’s no need for fact checking there.’
Some fellow commuters turned to stare at them as she laughed.
‘I’m a Sudoku fan myself.’
‘That’s on the opposite page, if you’d like to take a look? I’m awful with numbers, could never get my head around them.’
‘I’d love to, if you don’t mind.’
‘Of course not, it’d only on the fire with the rest of it otherwise.’ He tore the page, handing her half of the newspaper to lean on.
‘Thank you. I’m Aliya, by the way.’
‘Tim.’

See you soon,

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[x]


Fandom Friday | The Stages of NaNoWriMo

It’s officially National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo is the writing challenge to top all writing challenges: 50,000 words in 30 days. The challenge was created to inspire and encourage writers to stop putting it off and get that first draft written. I’ve started the challenge several times, and won twice – and although I’m not doing it this year I am excited to see what my friends come up with and cheer them on.

This is not an easy feat, and can definitely be a struggle! Here are some of the stages I’ve noticed over the years;

  1. Remembering NaNo is coming halfway through October…and having no ideas whatsoever. nano1
  2. Getting a great idea, planning it out and actually feeling prepared to start.

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3. The 1st of November hits, and you’re ready to go…

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4. …and you’ve suddenly never been so popular. Everyone wants to cut into valuable writing time spend time with you.

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5. You actually get ahead of your target and it feels so gooooood…

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6. …and then you discover a huge plot hole and have to redo a huge chunk.

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7. But you keep going. You skip showers, binge eat junk food and set up a caffeine IV drip. You don’t see anyone for days and your room/office starts to smell, but you’re determined to keep at it. Even when you’re not writing, you’re thinking about your novel.

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8. You get really close to quitting a LOT.

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9. But finally reaching the finish line feels amazing. You’ve done yourself (and your characters) proud – now go brush your teeth.

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Winning NaNoWriMo is so rewarding and all of the blood, sweat, tears and cancelled social events are worth it in the end! It’s so easy to give up, especially if you get busy or come across problems with your work, but being able to say you did it feels so good. Keep going, and remember that this is only the first draft – it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is also worth saying that you should be realistic; look after yourself, and if the default 50,000 words is too much you can set a smaller target on the website. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do this!

Are you doing NaNo this year? What’s your novel about? If not, have you done it before and what advice do you have?

See you soon,

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Harry Potter and Social Issues -Could JK Rowling Have Gone Further?

It is undeniable that the Harry Potter series deals with social issues in many ways – they are written into the text in such a way that has shaped the way generations have and continue to view the world. Millions of young people have grown up with Harry, often looking to the Wizarding World for guidance. It is unsurprising, then, that as we and our society develop, that we both appreciate the ways the series explores social injustice and acknowledge the aspects that are unsatisfying. While the series tackles many issues in an immensely overt way, there are things that could be improved.

Hermione, for instance. In the current stage show, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hermione is played by Noma Dumezweni. Many were unhappy with the idea of a black actress playing her. Others however, myself included, feel that Hermione as a black woman adds to Hermione’s story. She faces racism in the wizarding world for her ‘blood status’ – she’s a muggleborn, which is frowned on by some “purebloods” – wizards born into wizarding families. She faces immense prejudice at the hands of Draco Malfoy and other purebloods, and in the film series has a racial slur, “mudblood”, carved into her arm by Bellatrix Lestrange (Deathly Hallows, Part 1).

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Noma Dumezweni. Found here

In the novels, JK Rowling doesn’t specify the colour of Hermione’s skin. While I believe that writers should limit character descriptions and leave the reader to garner their own impressions of the characters, stating that Hermione had dark skin could have strengthened the impact her struggle with racism stronger.

Another aspect I feel could have been explored was Dumbledore’s sexuality. Rowling revealed on a book tour for the last novel in the series that Dumbledore was gay. Many LGBT+ people look to the series for it’s messages of acceptance and love, and relate to struggles such as Hermione’s. A gay character further opens up the world to LGBT+ people, however Rowling chose not to write in Dumbledore’s sexuality – at least not overtly. Of course it would be difficult to publish a children’s book, particularly in the 90s and early 00s, with an openly gay character – but considering the immense success of the Potter series, I seriously doubt sales would have been that affected if she had written it into one of the later novels.

In a book series that has taught me and so many others about acceptance, love and equality it is disheartening that some things like these examples that could have easily been included were left out. At the same time, the series isn’t solely a social commentary, and manages to balance discussion of several important issues with magic, dragons, mermaids, Dark Lords and even the odd Quidditch match. We can make several real life comparisons and learn a lot from the series, even if it isn’t perfect.

See you soon,

Ro x

Featured Image by Vondell Swain


Book Review – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

‘Love is not breathlessness; it is not excitement; it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.’

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is a novel by Louis de Bernieres. Set in 1940s Cephalonia, the novel explores the realities of love, life and war for the people of the island. This review will have spoilers but it was published the year I was born so I think it’s been around long enough!

I’ll admit that it took me a long time to finish this book. The writing is incredibly detailed and rich, and as a result can be quite difficult to get into. It’s certainly worth the effort though, and de Bernieres’ characters are incredibly realistic and multidimensional, as is his description of the island.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is for the most part almost like a collection of short stories, as opposed to one novel – it is told through various peoples’ viewpoints, which eventually overlap and merge into one story. Although it was hard to get into, it is easier to tackle if you read it part-by-part. This method of writing is an interesting one, and certainly something de Bernieres does well. In using different viewpoints to tell the story he not only keeps the writing interesting and varied for the reader, but also adds to the effect of the story. This way of writing builds up the world in a way that simple physical description can’t –realistically we all see the world in different ways, and de Bernieres’ characters are no different. Dr Iannis, for example, sees Cephalonia in a largely intellectual way; he sees history, his pride for his home is built on hundreds of years of imperialism and rebellion, survival and victory. Captain Corelli, on the other hand, has no such connection – he simply sees it as a beautiful island. He grows a connection to it, but one completely different to anyone else’s and unaffected by the history and ancestry Dr Iannis associates with the place.

In the same way, we see many different views on life and the war. De Bernieres’ characters are all sympathetic in some way – readers even find themselves sympathising with Gunter Weber, a German soldier who follows Nazi ideology quite firmly. In fact I think while reading it I found myself sympathetic to almost all of the characters – Mussolini and Hitler being obvious exceptions.

The setting of Cephallonia itself is an interesting one, and lends itself to incredibly tragic historical context. In 1943, the island was the location of one of the biggest prisoner of war massacres of World War Two, and yet it isn’t widely known about or discussed. The Massacre of the Acqui Division saw over 5000 Italian soldiers killed. De Bernieres uses Captain Corelli’s Mandolin to give a voice, not only to the island and normal people in the war, but also to those killed in this tragic event. It seems a shame to me that events like this aren’t put into history books, and that we often only see the facts and figures, rather than real stories. De Bernieres is an advocate for social history, and this is obvious throughout Corelli.

Okay, let’s get on to the unpopular opinions. The ending. I know a lot of people who love this book, and for the most part I agree, but I found the ending largely unsatisfying. I understand what de Bernieres was trying to do in separating and later reuniting Pelagia and Corelli, and I realise the effect that leaving the novel on a hopeful note has, particularly in a social commentary like this, but I’d almost have preferred the book to end without the reader knowing what happened to Corelli. Maybe I’m just cynical but it felt like de Bernieres was told to make the ending happier by his publisher. It’s been a few weeks since I finished it, and in that time I’ve come to terms with the ending and why de Bernieres chose to end it that way, but I still can’t say I like it, personally.

All in all, this is a brilliant piece of historical fiction and portrayal of smaller social groups in a largely generalised and politically regarded historical era. Corelli is realistic, funny and surprisingly optimistic. Maybe one day I’ll learn to love the ending. Maybe.

See you soon,

Ro x


Theatre Review-A Midsummer Night’s Dream

‘The nation’s favourite Shakespeare play is performed as never before; Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman directs 18 professional actors with local amateur groups around the UK as Shakespeare’s Mechanicals.’

This year, the Royal Shakespeare Company have been touring a production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ around the UK. Not only have they taken the show to 12 different venues, but have performed it in collaboration with 14 amateur groups. Although the tour has now finished, they are still performing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford Upon Avon until mid-July. The amateurs play “the mechanicals” – a group of workers who are themselves a kind of amateur theatre group – throughout the play they are rehearsing their play, ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’, to perform at Theseus’ wedding to Hippolyta. One of these workers, Bottom (the weaver) is quite a central character, and I was impressed to see at this role was also filled by amateur actors – in the performance I saw, done with The Bear Pit, the role was played by David Mears.

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The Bear Pit as “The Mechanicals”

The Bear Pit is one of two companies based in Stratford-Upon-Avon that are involved in this project – the other is a group called The Nonentities. The Bear Pit were very good and worked seamlessly with the professional cast, however it would be interesting to see what other groups brought to the production as well. The production itself certainly lived up to the RSC’s infamous high standards. Lucy Ellison’s Puck was particularly brilliant – she performed with all the mischief and sparkle expected from the character and completely stole the show. Ayesha Dharkar’s Titania was beautifully regal, while her Oberon, Chu Omambala was intense and domineering – both were incredibly captivating. The four human “lovers” all worked incredibly well together, both in more serious scenes and highly comedic moments. As I only stand at 5ft1 myself, the short jokes made at Hermia’s expense were all too familiar!

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Chu Omambala as Oberon and Lucy Ellison as Puck

The one thing about this production that I wasn’t entirely convinced by was the setting. The cast were mostly dressed in 1940s, typically British style clothing, with Titania being the main exception in a bright red sari. The music and backdrops fit, but it seemed to me that there was no real interaction between the play itself and a 1940s/world war setting. It looked good, and was more engaging than traditional Elizabethan dress, for example, but the lack of engagement with the play made this setting fall a little flat for me. The recent production of Hamlet was set in an African dictatorship, and this worked well and was blended perfectly with the plot of the play. Shakespeare has remained so popular for so long because his work can be translated to so many different situations, (particularly ‘Dream’ as ‘a play for the nation’) but the 1940s setting for this production just seemed a bit stuck-on, like they had already prepared the play and chose the set and costuming after. It was aesthetically pleasing, don’t get me wrong, especially the forest, however it didn’t feel like the aesthetics engaged with the play as well as they could’ve.

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Chu Omambala as Oberon, Ayesha Dharkar as Titania

The use of children from the local primary school as the fairies worked surprisingly well – they were focused and had clearly put a lot of work in, although their part was small. Some critics weren’t sold on the song the fairies sung to help Titania sleep, however I found it sweet and a good way to show the fairies’ relationship with their queen – Oberon has very little interaction with fairies other than Puck, and the lullaby scene just added to the contrast between the two. The use of local children also compliments the use of amateur groups, and in my opinion they seemed just as polished as if they had been professional child actors. Overall, the production was very well put together and showed a fantastic collaboration between the professionals and amateurs – and that’s what this was. If you hadn’t known amateurs were in the performance I don’t think you could’ve been able to tell. The Bear Pit did a fantastic job and helped create another fantastic performance at the RSC.

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The Lovers – Mercy Ojelade as Hermia, Jack Holden as Lysander, Chris Nayak as Demetrius and Laura Riseborough as Helena (L to R)

I am very lucky to live fairly close to Stratford and the RSC – however up until recently I’d never actually seen a Shakespeare play live on stage; ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was the second Shakespeare play I’d seen, and the first of his comedies – the other play being the recent RSC production of Hamlet. I’m hoping to see the RSC’s productions of King Lear in August/September and The Tempest in November. If ‘Dream’ is anything to go by, I can’t wait.

Images found here

Watch the trailer here.

See you soon,

Ro x


Writing About Writing: Who Should We Write For?

Since starting university three years ago, I’ve met a lot of writers – most in the same position as me, at university learning to hone their skills and now many of us are graduating and being thrown into the big wide world. In these three years, the same topic of conversation to do with writing has come around a lot; who should we write for?

The question is one that I struggle with personally a lot more now that I have this blog. I created it for myself, as a way to keep myself reading and writing, and so far that has also happened to be quite successful with readers; by no means is the blog popular as such, and I’m certainly not going to become a full-time, professional blogger any time soon, but my audience is steadily increasing and I think I’m doing fairly well considering it’s only been about a month. In posting what I write online, although it is from and for myself first and foremost, the reader becomes a part of the reason for writing.

I think it’s quite common with things like blogs to become easily discouraged, and for me I think writing solely for readers will do that to me; I need a schedule and I need to make myself write things on time, simply to keep me motivated, but pushing myself to write things that readers will want to see all the time will just make me tire of it. I’m currently tackling this attitude quite well; I’m not letting it bother me if my posts aren’t very successful, and instead focusing on writing the next one. This is often easier said than done, but making a conscious effort to do so is helping massively. Writing for me means writing things that interest me – and if other people aren’t interested by that thing, I have a million other things to write/review/discuss.

A friend of mine recently admitted that she was scared to set up a dedicated place on the internet for her creative writing, in case no one read it. My response to this, and I know it’s a hypocritical one, was this – who cares? It’s really scary to put your work out there, and I certainly worry that no one will read or like my creative stuff, but it’s better to have it out where someone can read it than leaving things gather dust in a 5 year old folder with an embarrassing title buried deep in your laptop.

On the topic of creative writing, we must discuss books and publishing works on paper. Historically speaking, many writers wrote for the money; Dickens was often paid by the word to write his serials, which we now of course read in the form of huge novels. It would be naive to say that many popular authors today write without money in mind, however for the majority of writers nowadays this isn’t a lucrative business; only the very bestselling authors earn enough money to live on, much less the fortunes earned by the likes of JK Rowling. Going into writing with the sole purpose of making money would be largely disappointing.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that people don’t write with the intention of getting published – there would be little point in spending all that time creating something to then not show anyone­, whether we publish for free or for profit.

So, who (or what) should we write for? Ourselves? Our audience? Money? Personally, I believe a mix is probably the best bet for success, but that’s just my personal opinion – I’ll get back to you when I’m a bestselling author!

See you soon,

Ro x