Feeds:
Posts
Comments

           

If reading ‘A Clash of Kings’ was a wade through mud (a waist-deep one in addition), ‘A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow’ is  where I got out of this muddy lake and found a clean water reservoir in which I could refresh myself.

‘A Clash of Kings’ seemed a bit like a prologue to the occurrences in ‘A Storm of Swords’; it was long, boring, spiked with even more boring descriptions… nothing fancy. It was a build-up, I know, and somehow it made me appreciate ‘A Storm of Swords’ even more. Because reading the latter is like flying.

In ACoK I grew to despise Theon with all my heart. I really did put a lot of hatred into my thoughts while reading his chapters. This projection did come with a reward in the end.

Davos’ chapters were extremely boring, I couldn’t stand them to the point of flipping through his POV’s pages. With the airing of the first episode of the second season I came to realise that I might experience a reversal of a sort, since something similar had happened to me already (namely: my TV!Jon and TV!Sansa hatred vs book!Jon and book!Sansa love). As in: really appreciate Davos in the TV series. Guess what? I love him to death.

However, ACoK did have its good points. Renly Baratheon, for instance. Who doesn’t love Renly? The snarky, Robert-like comments, his unyielding faith that he can actually do everything. Cat vs Jaime. Cersei. Sansa, my poor Sansa. Tyrion exuding epicness left and right. Too bad Tyrion has resorted to thinking with his penis at such a terrifying frequency, though. It also had Jaquen H’Ghar. The guy has instantly become one of my favourites. I do hope Arya gets to meet him soon.

ACoK was not at all that bad. It just didn’t quite do it for me.

‘A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow’, on the other hand, earned its epicness points for feeding me with Jaime’s chapter straightaway. And I must admit, the guy’s amazing.  I’m really looking forward to his chapters every time I grab the book. The insight into his relationship with Cersei (which, with the passing of time, I found less and less incestuous – I just no longer see them as brother and sister, since the idea behind this is just too powerful – but that’s just me), how he treats other people, especially Brienne. How genuine he is, how he doesn’t even try to hide anything. His head is a wonderful place, really.

I’m only halfway through the book, so I can’t really write a proper review. I will, though, as soon as I’m finished. My expectations for ASoS were pretty high, and so far it hasn’t disappointed me.

It’s gratifying, really, to land yourself a tiny freelance writing job on the side. Since time immemorial I have wanted to earn money by writing… and experience deadlines.

A deadline is something that resembles a tip of a loaded gun pointed at your temple. Or a ticking timebomb. The deadline is something terrifying for me because I’m a bloody lazyass and it makes me want to curl up in a ball and whimper my days and nights away.

The deadline also forces me to do my best, even if it’s a last-minute best. I still meet the deadline ’cause I am so terrified of being a – quoth Twilight Sparkle – tardy.

It is quite easy for me to fall into the Pit of Desperation once the deadline is nearing its end. All because of me taking everything so seriously.

Instead, I ought to wind down a little bit, sip my favourite coffee, watch the clouds drift in the gray Irish skies and stop taking every single thing, every single moment of my life, every single mistake (be it a writing one or not) so seriously! This is what hinders me the most, to my mind.

This is what hinders my writing, my actions, my positive attitude.

So it’s best to remember that other people are not monsters and will not cut your head off if you don’t meet your deadline once due to personal problems.

 

What is more, the deadline set by a stranger is more powerful than the deadline you impose on yourself. So you have to give it everything you’ve got. In the end, it really pays off.

Stop worrying, self, and fill your days with reading and writing. It’s the least you can do to make yourself happy.

Jumping on the Six Sentence Sunday bandwagon. Do I hear a collective sigh or hoorays?

(I think I hear crickets.)

The Blacklands is my main novel. Main meaning: my first baby and the first novel to get published. Main, as in: every other novel/short story idea that has ever sprouted from my brain’s soil is somehow connected to this one. I have been working on The Blacklands for a really long time now. Should have finished the first draft by the end of 2011 but my laziness got in the way and ruined everything. Same old, same old.

I only have myself to blame.

With the arrival of 2012 I decided to put my heart into it. So far it’s working.

Here’s a snippet for you! The Severan Thieves Guild and the protagonist – Anfimeier – at your service:

Burglars and thieves, this collective bunch were, but not back-stabbers, no: they had decency and good manners engraved into their souls, despite being outlaws. No one would dare steal loot from another thief, though, as that would call for an execution, and everyone cherished having two hands.

Not that he would trust any of them to begin with. Guarding another thief’s possessions while they were out on a mission was not a wise thing to do, under any circumstances; the Severan thieves knew better than to put trust in each other.

Cheats, burglars, pick-pockets, looters, swindlers, pirates – all of them.

A family of a sort, Anfimeier thought fondly, locking his hands behind his head and relaxing in the chair.

The OfThePistol community for original fiction I have recently joined provided its members with a wonderful prompt.

I decided to share my response to said prompt in here. In this particular piece, two OCs from my 2009 NaNovel (an unfinished one, alas!) have been brought to life yet again. Unforseen, that; strangely liberating. Confusing, too. They have been silent for so long, these two, I haven’t the slightest as to why they re-appeared. I’m glad, though.

On with the prompt response, then~!

There is this hissing noise at first; she backs away slowly. The firework makes its way upwards, arrow-like and still hissing, booms overhead and sprays orange-red sparks in all directions. They highlight the night for a short while. Other colourful fountains join in and the sky’s blooming. The sky seems happy.
Emma looks at Henry; as opposed to the sky, the man appears irritated.

“Happy New Year,” she finally says.

“You too,” comes the reply, a strained one. “We should go back,” he almost growls, hands balling into fists.

She merely stares back.

“We have to – ”

“You know, I haven’t celebrated New Year for five years. This year, my brother promised to visit me, make it worthwhile. He’s not here, though, all thanks to you.”

You have to let me linger this time, her gaze tells him.

Henry frowns. Emma knows she went too far. Her brother will never be anywhere again. Unless he is, miraculously, alive; unless she finds him in a different timeline. She turns her back to Henry and observes the fireworks, wishing she hadn’t said anything, wishing she was at home, huddled in her rocking chair, sobbing into her blanket, wishing everything was different.

Now she’s with him.

She blames Henry, constantly, but he never walks away.

I have you, you should be enough.

Henry gulps down whatever alcohol’s left in his bottle, walks up to Emma and they remain there, never rejoicing, never exchanging looks or words, and the time flows by way too fast.

We only have each other.

For me the hardest part of the writing process is not paying attention to possible grammar and structural mistakes or dwelling on the first pages for too long. Regardless of how inspired I feel, the moment can get ruined (quite cruelly at that), since I cannot bring myself to focus on the writing itself; I already skip to tweaking whatever words I’ve managed to spit out, correcting a plethora of mistakes that may not actually be there… chiselling, shaping it into what, by my standards, might be perfection.

This is a mistake every writer should avoid doing.

The time for corrections and polishing your baby will come soon enough – for now you ought to be entirely immersed in the notion of sharing the story, getting to know the characters.. Not the most tiresome and boring process. Once you plunge into the depths of correcting and thesaurus-ing (don’t ask), you become nervous. You shy away from writing more because somehow you make yourself believe that you’re not good enough if you gave birth to so many errors! At least that’s the case with me.

Your self-esteem and the will to fight may, as a result, wither away, slowly, deliberately giving way to higher expectations.

Don’t do this. Focus on the joy of telling a story instead. Focus on unfolding history, doing research, an occasional rendez-vous with the lovely and charming thesaurus (spending every minute with the guy can be destructive for your relationship), but don’t overdo it. Too many cooks spoil the broth, as they say.

Nowadays, I tend to ditch the urge to go back and check everything I’ve typed/written by hand, as it has finally occurred to me that doing so inevitably leads to the Bloody Writer’s Block.
Said Bloody Writer’s Block usually clinges to me for weeks on end, months even, and eventually I am left with nothing, standing on the crossro… I mean, I feel abused by my own conviction (deeply rooted inside me since the beginnings of time) that my first draft should be perfect.

WRONG.

The second draft won’t be perfect, either. Same goes to the final draft! I am not telling you to suck big time and to pay little to no attention to what you’re scribbling. The point is, it’s what makes all authors different from one another. We make different mistakes, our outlooks on life are never the same, we create our own voices through those errors and victories. Every single one of us is unique and it shows through writing.

However, make sure you learn from your mistakes as you go because that’s important as well.

And happy writing!

I had a hard time choosing the right poem, you know? I was seeking one that would not reveal too much, nor be too vague. Had to have something in the middle; a balance.

With the written word I strip myself bare, admit things I would have never utterred out loud, even to myself. Some of my works can easily be deemed incomprehensible, however, they all serve a purpose: to make myself comprehend how my mind works. With the written word comes a bargain I couldn’t refuse.

The bigger portion of my poems orbits around forest imagery; around lakes, rivers, waterscapes; around the darkness, the stars and the moon; around mythical surroundings that breathe life into them. This are my ‘panic rooms’, so to speak. Let’s take all this one step further, then!


I TURNED TO GAZE UPON A GROVE

I turned to gaze upon a grove

Those quivering grasses

Tall to my thighs, palms of my hands;

Air claims the trees

As they sway in the liquid rhythm

The greens, the browns

Crouching between the grays



The grove in which I was born

The dryads have tended to

By force of habit, by rule of the forest;

Their giggles flew right to the bark

And crawled inside it, feeding, testing,

Gorging the treacherous tree-leeches,

Bankrupt gone the evil worm world


With sunrays detached from the sight

At times the core of the woods is gloomy

Its ghost-like demeanour

Stings the eyes

Of the newcomers who do not see the

Miniscule sun-symbols carved into the bark;

A lion’s share is what’s inside



I turned to gaze upon a grove,

Arrived to clean the branches

Render it unblurred and seemly

The perfect house to dwell in

The shift in space

And time occurred

And I – the fresh air – remain still

 Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend—the “rivals” to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds—pandemonium breaks loose. 

Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day! [snagged from Goodreads]

Let me tell you one thing: this is the most delightful and hilarious play I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

It is a humour-packed mockery of the best kind, the one that attacks the tenets imposed on the Victorian Society, the ever-present matchmaking process , the snobbery and, of course, hypocrisy of the Victorian people.  Last year, when I was writing my Master’s thesis I stumbled upon this particular book in a bookstore. I instantly latched onto it, read the synopsis and knew all at once my dissertation would greatly profit from it. I had no idea I would profit as well. Prior to reading it I spent my days immersed in books on Victorian Society, the societal analyses, books on females in Victorian fiction, the Victorian history, books by Thackeray, Dickens, Disraeli… The Importance of Being Earnest was a breath of fresh air: not only did it serve as a relaxation factor, it also made me fall head over heels with Wilde’s writing.

This play’s an insightful fast-paced read, Algernon is – to my mind – one of the most adorable and lovable protagonists ever, the girls are fantastic and Aunt Augusta is a perfect example of the Victorian snobbishness. Not only that – the book  almost in its entirety is deliciously quotable. It also lacks the seriousness that represents the majority of Victorian works. Which alone makes for a very entertaining adventure.