Thursday, 13 June 2013

What I learned by conquering the Iron Throne

Okay, I didn't really conquer the Iron Throne. But it was fun to pretend for a few moments.

The Game Of Thrones costumes and props exhibition is in Belfast at the moment on the last stop of the tour. The studios where they film in Belfast are a matter of minutes down the road, and I can only imagine that some of the props will be heading down there for Season 4!

My Dad and I got some tickets to go down and see it. Below is a picture spam. Please forgive me if your internet connections are slow!

Note: I'm trying to look empowered here. I just look uncomfortable.
This is why I'm not an actor.

But I learned something very important from the exhibition. The name of the game is detail. It was mind boggling to wrap my head around the detailing on some of these costumes. On Sansa's Winterfell dress (2nd from the left on the top picture) there are stitched gold leaves on her collar. Why? I mean, why when it already takes so long to make costumes would you put in so much detail into something that won't even show up on camera?

Because it needs to feel real. If the Game of Thrones world was real, that character would actually have put little gold leaves onto her collar.

The same goes for writing. Why would you put in extra details that have nothing to do with the story? Because it gives your characters depth and colour beyond the story. They feel alive, and that's because the details breathe life into them.

But at the same time, you can't go overboard with detail or your plot and characters will get lost, suffocated under all that detail. Lets keep the costume metaphor going. If there had been gold leaves all over the dress then it would have looked ridiculous, and fake.

An example of little useless details that I've put into writing: In my current WIP my protagonist is getting her feat measured for boots by her friend who is a leather tanner. She knew him as a child when he was a kind of Grandfather figure to her and he taps a mole on her foot and makes a 'boop' noise the way you would to make a kid giggle.
This isn't important information at all. But it colours that scene a bit more than it would have been and I really like it.

What useless little details have you put into your writing, or anything else that you do just because you could?

Sarah x

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Settling down... or not

I've recently started back into my WIP because summer's here and I finally have the time to do it now that Uni is over. Of course, when you have the time to do something you've really wanted to do, the inspiration suddenly skips off down the street and flips you off from a safe distance.

I'd already 15,000 words written but I was in desperate need of a refresh, so I decided that I would print out what I had already written and go through and edit bits and pieces as sort of a refresher. So I went and printed it all out and dug myself out a cute little binder to put it all in and sat down with my different colour pens.

Then, all hell broke loose. Now I know why every writers whose blog I've seen talking about editing SCREAMS: Don't edit before you've finished your first draft.

I just want to do this to my desk. (Which wouldn't work as my desk is against the wall but that's neither here nor there)

I thought the edit would settle me back into writing again, when I think what it's actually done is to put me off. 

I just feel so uninspired and uncreative.

Also, the weather's been really sunny and I've been lying outside soaking up the rays (and the burn). Ouch - contrary to popular belief, you can get sunburnt in Ireland.

Have you any tips or tricks to settling yourself into writing after a long break? Except NOT editing, I guess I've figured out that one all by myself. 

Sarah x

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

IWSG - Rejection

If you've read my last post, you know that I've recently had my first real taste of rejection. And boy did it hurt! I've either been very fortunate, or never really tried to grasp anything beyond my reach, but I'm pretty sure that (with the exception of trying to put the moves on some men that caught my fancy) this is my first real taste of rejection.

So, what is the particular flavour of rejection? Well it's seven hells of pain that's for sure. Then there is a distinct bitter after taste that lingers. Followed by a dessert course of self-pity and sadness.

As a writer, or rather 'wannabe' writer, I know that I'm going to have to face my fair share of rejection. But after the last few days of turmoil that I've been through, why would I ever subject myself to the hell of querying when you face a constant stream of rejection after rejection?

Well, because being rejected from a course on teaching is really not the same kettle of fish. For a start I know for certain that if/when I submit a manuscript for publication, I'll be rejected. It's a fact of the writing world, and I will be expecting it. No-one has built me up on a false pedestal about my writing the way they did about teaching. No-one has told me that "I'm bound to get it" and that it's a "foregone certainty".

At the end of the day, it's easier to deal with a punch you're expecting than one that comes out from nowhere. I'll be able to get back on my feet and pat down my clothes, rather than lying in the dust wondering where the hell that came from.

Do you have a particular way of dealing with rejection? Maybe from a job you really wanted, or maybe even you've been through the hell of querying your manuscript? How did you deal with it and keep yourself sane?

Sarah x

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Closing doors

No, this isn't a post about my pet peeve of not closing the door behind you in winter.

It's about life's doors closing.

Quick recap: about this time last year I was really confused about what I wanted to do with my life after my approaching final year of my degree. I didn't really like my course well enough to pursue the careers open to me.

Then, slowly, I began to come around to the idea of teaching Biology to High schoolers. It was something that I'd never really considered, but as soon as I did everything seemed to fall into place. I'm involved in various youth groups and teach Sunday school so it was almost like a natural progression. Everything went according to plan, I put in my application (to the one institution in my country that does teacher training for Biology at High School level), I had my interview in March and then began the long wait. About a week ago we were informed that the acceptance letters had been sent.

So I waited... and waited... as most of the other applicants I knew received their letters. It is now way past the time that conceivably could be 'late post' and there is no offer for me. I could be on a reserve list, but that in itself is a long shot.

So what now?

Well I have to wait out the summer to see if I get in on reserve. Then the arduous task of finding work begins while I re-apply for teaching for 2014.

So this is rejection. This is what I'll have to face if I ever pursue publishing.

It really hurts.

Sarah x

P.s. if another person tells me that when one door closes another opens, I'm going to punch them. I will eventually come round to that idea on my own. But for now I just want to wallow in the pool of self pity under the blanket fort that I have created.