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Literary Coins

I never thought I’d start collecting coins. But then in 2016 the Royal Mint made a Peter Rabbit coin, and finally working in retail had another perk! Our coin hunt started when we heard they were releasing a lot of other Beatrix Potter coins, some were harder to get than others, especially when people started collecting them to make money on ebay!

Here are my coins:

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Originally I only collected the Beatrix Potter 50ps but then I saw the library 50p (bottom of the picture). I started collecting all the literary ones after I found the Dickens coin, which is the first one in this picture, and the Shakespeare £2 coins (top of the picture). The scruffy one in the middle (need to clean it!) is celebrating Robert Burns. I do have some history ones too and the last coin in this picture is an Issac Newton coin, it’s just a lovely design and I had to keep it.

I’m not a coin collector really, I only keep those I like the look of. The coin I really want is the Jane Austen £2 coin, but I think it’s either very rare or it’s hard to get because of people selling them and not spending them. I’ve been a Austen fan for years (I was so happy when I found out she was going to be on our £10 notes, don’t save those though, they get spent!)

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It’s such a lovely coin! There’s more Beatrix Potter coins than I have collected, as time went on these coins got harder to find. First of all in 2016 they were everywhere but then they disapeared, I rarely see any of these coins anymore.

You can find more about this coin and all the other new Beatrix Potter coins they have released and will be releasing on the Royal Mint website you can buy the coins but they can retail up to £10 for a £2 coin, I think it’s more exciting if you find one in your change.

Do you collect coins?

 

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Reaching your CampNaNoWriMo (or any) writing goal

Life happens, it’s a sure thing and for me something always gets in the way of me meeting my writing goals. I started writing this knowing I had 3,715 words left to write to reach my 10,000 word count goal to win CampNaNoWriMo. It might not seem like much to some writers, my word count fluctuates, I get weeks where I can write 2,000 words in one sitting and then just 500. That’s normal. I haven’t been meeting my weekly writing goals, and now I’m sprinting to the end because I WILL DO THIS!

WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU THINK YOU WON’T MEET YOUR GOALS?

I go through a stage of a panic and worry that I will never reach my goals. After that moment has passed, I think how can I do this? My solution was to write a list of scenes I could write that would help me to get to my goal.

What else could you do?

  • Think of an amazing prize you could buy yourself when you reach your goal (the goal itself for me is motivation enough right now and  nothing I want)
  • Stop using social media or watching that tv programme and instead write
  • Write in short bursts, writing 500 words a day is more managable than 1,000 in one sitting
  • Get support or a buddy. I have a cabin and NaNoWriMo forums where I’ve shared my woes, sometimes just saying the problem can really help
  • Positive thinking?
  • Write somewhere different, go outside or write by hand. I have a typewriter and it’s more fun using it although my typing is bad, but you could use different coloured pens or write in a fun notebook
  • Be kind to yourself. In the end you tried and you know if you tried or not, you only really answer to yourself.  Try not to be too harsh if you don’t reach your goal we are all different. At the end of month feel proud of what you have achieved and learn from it. Do you need a lower goal? Or maybe you are taking on too much? What have you learnt that can help you to do better next time?

These have worked for me and now- after writing this post- I am so close to the finish line and reaching my goal, these are my CampNaNoWriMo stats for today (24/04/18 12:08 GMT)

I am so close. 🙂

Did you do CampNaNoWriMo this year? How’s yours going?

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Book Fairy

I love signing up to books swaps and parcel exchanges, I’ve recently done one for CampNaNoWriMo but before that I signed up on my favourite forum readitswapit to do a quarterly book fairy package. I had my first one a few months ago, it contained the book Thin Air by Michelle Paver which I’ve also ended up getting for someone else because it was so good.

I’ve just recieved my latest Book Fairy parcel and remembered to share on here. Here it is:

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All my favourites: notebook, bookmark, chocolate. A lovely postcard from my Book Fairy with a cup cake on it. Something I sorely needed: a internet address and password logbook,  because I never remember my passwords and spend ages trying them until I do a recovery and then it says ‘you can’t use a password you’ve used before’
Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman,  I haven’t long added  to my wishlist after seeing that they are making a tv series. I can’t wait to read it. So happy with my parcel, thank you 🙂

 

Next post will be my weekly Writing post.

 

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Update

I’ve come to post today and I had no idea what to write, my brain has been blocked when it comes to writing lately, so I thought I’d just post an update. Here’s what’s going on with my blog lately

  • I am reading some books to review
  • I have signed up for two book tours in May
  • I have a guest post series about a favourite literary character in process
  • I have sent a post to another blog as a guest feature

Writing update:

  • I’ve written 700 words this week only!
  • I’ve written 4,768 towards my goal of 10,000 for Camp NaNoWriMo

How has Camp been going?

Well, I’ve come to the middle/end of my novel and I’m struggling to find momentum, I’m just plodding along. I think I’ve just hit a tired spell and I’m hoping that before the end of the mouth I’ll have an inspirational spurt and then reach my goal! I’m writing this thinking that I should really push today and get some words down. Determined to reach my goal and not reduce it!

Sorry I didn’t have anything interesting to write today but we all have our off days or weeks.

 

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Anne of Green Gables

I had a copy of this book as a child but it’s been a long time since I’ve read it. I read this as part of a classic a month read-a-long which I am going to be continuing with.

Anne of Green Gables

I loved this book, the character of Anne is funny, loveable and charming. And the setting of Avonlea is gorgeous, a place which feeds Anne’s wonderful imagination:

“Listen to the trees talking in their sleep,” she whispered, as he lifted her to the ground. “What nice dreams they must have!”

There’s so much to like about chatting, dreamy Anne and I found myself recognising my own childhood dreamy self, though I was shy. I love her postitive outlook on the world, despite the fact that she is an orphan and has seen hardships in life she never loses her optimism, I envy that:

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

She seems like a good role model for a child if only she didn’t get herself into so many scrapes and have such a temper at times. However she is just a child and sometimes the mistakes she makes are because of Marilla neglecting to tell her she’s moved or switched something on the shelf!

The characters are so well developed that you could easily write a study on all of them. Marilla is a guarded, unemotional woman who tries to bring Anne up right but fails to see her own mistakes, although happily criticises Anne hers. Matthew is a gentle, kind soul painfully shy and always wanting the best for Anne.

Here’s my pick of my favourite quotes from Anne of Green Gables, I just couldn’t help highlighting them, sometimes she is so funny. She has such poignant words and also words of wisdom. I love her honesty and her spirit.

“We are rich,” said Anne staunchly. “Why, we have sixteen years to our credit, and we’re happy as queens, and we’ve all got imaginations, more or less. Look at that sea, girls—all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds. You wouldn’t change into any of those women if you could. Would you want to be that white-lace girl and wear a sour look all your life, as if you’d been born turning up your nose at the world? Or the pink lady, kind and nice as she is, so stout and short that you’d really no figure at all? Or even Mrs. Evans, with that sad, sad look in her eyes? She must have been dreadfully unhappy sometime to have such a look. You know you wouldn’t, Jane Andrews!”

This is the best:

Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes—what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows—what new landscapes—what new beauties—what curves and hills and valleys further on.”

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Planning VS Pantsing

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Definition of a pantser: those who write by the seat of their pants.

Or those who sit down and just write, I prefer the term discovery writer. You discover your characters and plot as you go along, the story developing naturally as you write.

Definition of a planner: writers who follow an outline and have their story mapped out before they write it.

I originally started off planning my novel, but I only got so far before I realised I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to happen. I’ve had the back story in my head and the final scene for a while but when I sat down to think what would happen inbetween my mind was blank. I even tried to write character profiles but that didn’t work. 

Ever since I was a child I could never plan a story, I’d start writing and make it up as I went along. My teacher in Primary school used to let me write the story first and then write the planning sheets at the end (who?what?when?where?how?). So why I thought I could plan now I don’t know, maybe I was following someone else’s advice. Advice is ok, as long as it doesn’t stop you from doing things your way and get in the way of your writing.

“If you spend enough time with your characters, plot simply happens.” – Chris Baty, No Plot? No Problem

I realised that I needed to start writing my novel and get to know my characters, so I did. Worried that I’d end up with a story of absolute drivel with no direction I started anyway. My characters came alive and minor characters popped into existence. When I was writing ideas for future scenes came into my head. My story was taking off and I felt great.

Planning Vs Pantsing

Plotting Pantsing
  • You know where your story is going so you won’t get stuck
  • If you have a new idea you have to change your whole plan
  • Plotting can take time, time which could be spent writing
  • Makes writing a synopsis and organising your plot easier
  • With everything being mapped out you won’t be staring at a blank page, you will know about your characters and what will happen
  • You enjoy plotting so plot

 

  • Discovering your story as you go makes things happen more organically, the reader won’t know whats going to happen next if you don’t
  • It gives more fleixibility for plot changes and little gems of ideas
  • It’s a bit disorganised and you could have huge plot holes and not even know
  • Spending all that time and energy planning you might sit down and feel that the story is already told, there’s no motivation to write it
  • You will want to continue writing to find out what happens next
  • Plotting is not for you so you pants it!

I did eventually come to a stop, so I’d skip ahead and write scenes that were in the future and then jump back, writing wherever my muse took me. Now though I worry that I have a disorganised novel, with gaps I need to fill in. And to make it even harder some is handwritten and some typed up. But:

Image result for the first draft is just you telling yourself the story

I’m hoping that in the rewriting stage I can organise the plot, thinking of Terry Prachett’s words makes me hopeful, I can figure it all out in the next stage. You never know I might find gems of ideas and my story might seem less drivel and more exciting than I thought.

I still need to be more organised though: I started to keep a chart of minor characters so I knew who I’d written, forgetting to update it of course. I could make a note of each scene I finish so then I know what I’ve written and can see the story in note form before my eyes.

I wish I’d thought of this earliar because over 40,000 words in going back and organising my papers is a big job. But it’s a lesson I can keep in mind for next time. I’m so concerned with getting the words down, that I forget to be organised. Organising is a big job, but it’s something I need to learn to do -I try but fail- to make my writing life easier.

Plan or not?

In the end, it all comes down to personal preference, just find what works for you. And like me learn from your experience. I’ve learnt that planning doesn’t work for me. I’ve learnt that I need to be more organised so that I can avoid being stuck and forgetting what happens next. You learn so much about writing and your process just by getting it done.

 

Are you a planner or a pantser/ discovery writer?

Word count update/ CampNaNoWriMo update: GOAL: 2,500 words a week

Finally made up last weeks word count yesterday and wrote 966 today. The weeks not over yet, had a few scene ideas today after sticking it out and looking over my novel so far 🙂 

review

Sherlock Holmes

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I started reading Sherlock Holmes a while ago but never finished all the books. I bought cheap paperbacks but the writing is tiny so I resorted to my Kindle. I enjoyed Study in Scarlet but was put off by the end, where the perpetrator of the crime has his story told. But I enjoyed The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Sign of the four.

I’ve watched both films starring Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. and did start watching the BBC series Sherlock but I don’t have the attention span for tv somedays. Books and more books 🙂 I enjoyed it but I’m not sure I like that it’s modernised, I think of Sherlock Holmes as being suited for his particular era, that’s the charm of classic book,s and I feel that he has inspired other fictional characters like Dr Gregory House for example, and that’s good enough for me. Not saying I won’t continue watching it, I just need to be in the right mood, you know?

Unless I am mistaken Holmes was before his time, nobody really bothered with crime scene investigations during the time these books were written! Maybe Sherlock Holmes could’ve figured out who Jack the ripper was?

If you like audio books Stephen Fry is reading them on audible! It’s great because it’s Stephen Fry, and he played Mycroft Holmes in the films! 🙂

It took some time to work out what order to read them, I gave up and read this one next.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is of course an amazing literary character, I love the way he talks and Arthur Conan Doyle is such a genius with description that you can visualise him perfectly. This book is a series of short stories of some of the cases Sherlock and Watson work on together, told like the other books in Watson’s viewpoint.

The thing I like about Sherlock Holmes mysteries is that they are always weird or there’s always something to grab your attention. I love the way Holmes figures things out, his process of deduction:

“You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.”

“Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

The stories are all engaging and interesting: an advert for ginger haired people to attend an interview, how could that end up being a crime? In this book there’s also mention of the infamous Irene Adler and her story is told at the start. The ones that stood out for me are: The Red Headed League (mentioned above), The Five Orange Pips (presented to a person before they are found dead), The Man With The Twisted Lip and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches which had some dark moments. I enjoyed every story in this book, the word yarn springs to mind but in the nicest possible way.

I can’t really rate Sherlock Holmes enough, I think if I’d read him in my teens he’d be my favourite literary character but that vacancy has already been filled.

Do you like Sherlock Holmes? Let me know of any blogs etc you find I’d love to read more opinions and posts about him.

I seem to be reading a classic a month at the moment, doing a readalong April with the lovely people on readitswapit forum of Anne of Green Gables, a must read, really! I love it already (it’s actually a reread but it’s been some time)

 

 

writing

Thoughts on writing: how to keep on writing

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

We all have our ups and downs, things can get in the way: life, triedness, stress. Some days I’m writing a story and I’ll be thinking ‘this is great’ and other days I’ll think ‘this is terrible’. We all have our little problems that can bring us down when writing I wrote about mine in a recent blog post, you can find it here But  despite these issues I keep going. I think that’s the most important thing to keep on keeping on. 

Know when to push yourself and know when to take a break.

I try to remember to be kind to myself, to know when I need to stop and take a break, letting go of the worrying about not getting things done. I know when I go back it will be easier after taking some time to do something else.

I need to trust that I will get it done!

The more I write I realise that I will get the story or novel finished. I never used to be a productive writer but I kept trying and forced myself to write or tried to get inspired and now I find myself writing at times I never would’ve before- like after a long shift at work.
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What can you do to keep going?

  • Find writing quotes. I bought a book but you can find many online, find the ones that resonate with you, write them down and when you’re stuck read them.
  • Listen to music when you write to get into the characters mood or the atmosphere of the story
  • When  are you most productive? Morning or evening? Write then to make it easier for yourself
  • Let yourself write drivel, stick with it and the words will come
  • Don’t worry about how terrible the first draft is. That’s stopped me finishing novels in the past, just keep going you can change it in the editing.
  • Find a friendly ear to listen to your problems, find someone to read your work to help you when you’re stuck.
  • Join National Novel Writing Month. I’ve joined the Camp National Novel Writing Month this April, you get the support of your camp cabin and then you get the feeling of accomplishment when you’ve won/met your goal at the end of the month
  • Little successes can really boast your confidence so make smaller goals as well as big ones. Today I read over a short story I’ve been dreading editing.
  • Find some blogs or youtube videos to help when you are stuck. I love reading writing blogs.

Find a community

Find a local writing group. Or if you can’t do that find a forum or some writers on twitter and follow them.  The writing community has always been supportive, never judging and always understanding when you’re having a minor crisis (or melt down). Giving wise words of advice and sometimes a kick in the butt.

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Here’s some links:

https://www.scribophile.com/forums/ 

https://www.writingforums.com/

https://talkback.writers-online.co.uk/

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

What do you do when you’re struggling?

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Hollow City by Ransom Riggs *spoilers of book one*

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I first discovered Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children some time ago in my local library. The gorgeous cover and weird photographs gripped me as much as the plot. I love weird! This book seemed perfect for me.

In book one of the trilogy, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, we meet Jacob a perfectly ordinary boy-or so he seems/thinks- who sees his grandfather die and suffers as a result with his parents sending him to see a psychiatrist. His grandfather left behind a mystery: photographs of peculiar children, Jacob doesn’t know if they’re real or fake. He ends up visiting the island in Wales where his grandfather lived and met these children, hoping it will solve the mystery.

I loved book one but I have a habit of not continuing reading trilogies or series. So it wasn’t until the Tim Burton film came out that I decided to buy the complete boxset. A gorgeous hardback set with photos from the books

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The photos are a brilliant addition!

And only now I’ve finished reading the second book:

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

The story picks up where the first left off, with the children on a boat escaping from the wights. This book is never dull, full of adventure on their constant quest to save their ymbryne Miss Peregrine. I loved getting back into the Peculiar world and learning more about the history and discovering new people along the journey. Each character is distinct and everything that happens is natural and intriguing.

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Some impatient readers may feel that this could’ve been shortened, or added to book one, (impatient readers should not read fantasy 🙂 ) as some of the scenes may not have been necessary to the action of the story. Instead providing more information about the fantasy world or showing us more Peculiar people. But I loved it and think that fantasy stories like this should be allowed to be unfolded in their own time. This book is riveting and because of this a quick read. It is a young adult or children’s book? I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series: Library Of Souls.

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I loved the film but they did rush the film’s ending because the resolution is not going to be unil book three. But that’s usually the case. I always mean to do a books vs. film post but I’m never reading the books the same time as watching the film. So if you’ve seen one, let me know, I like reading them. 🙂