How to run a blog as a student

As the new academic year has drawn closer, I’ve been thinking back to when I first started my blog in college. When I started, I couldn’t find much advice on how to navigate all of this. I didn’t know how to plan my time, my content, I thought I needed loads of fancy equipment and I felt a bit lost and lonely in it all. At the moment, I feel that many people will probably be starting their own blogs as they want to document a new and exciting time in their life as they go to college or University. Starting a blog is an awesome hobby, I can never seem to get bored with it. So, for those of you considering starting a blog or have just started one, I wanted to share with you a few tips and a bit of advice that I wished someone had told me when I first started. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but I hope this can help you find your feet as you enter the blogging community.

Continue reading “How to run a blog as a student”

The villain doesn’t have to die – alternative endings for your book

When it came to outlining my book one of the biggest things I had to consider was how the story was going to end, what would the climax be? This was by far the longest part of the whole outlining process for me and arguably the most difficult. Since the age of 16 I’ve wrote YA, young adult fiction was what I read the most and by default was what I wrote the most of. This age range was fantastic because the reader was older enough to understand heavier topics and as a result there was a whole host of possible endings for you book. However, after studying children’s fiction at university I found myself wanting to write a children’s book and this presented me with a few unexpected challenges.

When you write for a different age group to the one that you’re in you have to do far more research. At university I got used to writing for adults, the age of those around me. My work became more mature and I had no issues with touching on hard hitting issues like abuse or murder. But as I stated outlining Mirrors and Magic (working title) I quickly realised this had to change. I was now writing for those under the age of ten and I was not going anywhere near those topics in the way I had done in the past.

In a lot of the short stories I’d drafted that followed the tradition hero’s journey (just like Mirrors and Magic will), I killed off the antagonist at the end and usually at the hands of the hero. But when it came to the ending of Mirrors and Magic, I wasn’t jumping at the idea of having my hero killing off the villain. I’m writing a children’s book with a protagonist who is under ten years old. I can’t say I feel comfortable with a child becoming a killer.

I appreciate that what I’m writing is fiction, so it doesn’t have to play into real world values, but as a writer of children’s fiction I wanted to explore other options and consider there being another ending. As well as it feeling slightly morally wrong, I felt that jumping straight for the hero kills the villain was a bit lazy, it was the easiest option (by the way, there’s nothing wrong with this ending I’m not criticising people who kill off the antagonist of their book. I just felt that I would only be choosing it because it required the less amount of thought for my book). So, I began to explore alternative endings where the villain didn’t have to die, and this lead me down a bit of a rabbit hole I want to share with you all today.

Continue reading “The villain doesn’t have to die – alternative endings for your book”

How to get out of a reading slump

We’ve all been there; you want to sit down with a book and relax but somehow, you’re just lacking the drive to. You feel unmotivated to read and nothing seems exciting anymore. You have a look at your bookshelf and there’s so many books that you’ve been meaning to read for ages, but you just can’t bring yourself to. If you’re feeling like this, chances are you’re in a reading slump.

Most readers will go through this at some point, even I experience them, and I love reading. With the current situation around the world, many people are returning to their books. I know many people (myself included) who have set reading goals at the moment. But like most things, we start strong but eventually the excitement runs out and you get into a reading slump. Thankfully they’re not impossible to overcome and I compiled a list of my favourite ways to get out of a reading slump.

If you’re struggling to get your motivation back for reading, give these a go and see if they help. Continue reading “How to get out of a reading slump”

Making a familiar place strange

Location: Coffee shop

Look at what people are ordering, do they drink what you’d expect, is there a pattern in what people have? Consider if coffee is worth it or could you have made instant coffee at your flat? Try to describe the smell of the coffee beans, take your time, spend too long finding the right word. Disregard that word, it doesn’t feel right.

Count the seconds of steam that is created with each cup of coffee, or find an odd layer of beauty in the time taken for it to disperse, absorbed into its surroundings. Concentrate on the sound it makes until it becomes white noise.

Watch the staff behind the counters, decipher any habits they may have. Do they reach for a certain appliance in a certain way, do they lean on a certain counter when they’re tired? Carry on watching then. People watch, and if you don’t know how to then this is a great time to learn. Coffee shops are good for that. Start with the person ahead of you. Notice the timing of their pen hitting the table. Tap… tap…tap… then occasionally there’s a pause then tap… tap tap… pause once more. Let yourself imagine what they’re working on. Are they a student? A professor? A member of the public? If they are a student what do you think they’re be studying? Take note of the lighting. The light is to the side of them, it’s not too bright but it casts a shadow. Sometimes a piece of dust floats by, focus on that. The smallest of things can be the most intriguing.  Continue reading “Making a familiar place strange”