Month: October 2014

Daylight Savings Time + Toddlers

Ahhhh, the dreaded clock change that happens twice yearly…. that sacred extra hour you usually get in bed…pre parenthood.

WORST WEEK OF MY LIFE PEOPLE!!!

Babies apparently don’t appreciate this annual gift we are given of extra sleep, in fact, not only do they reject the gift, they completely ignore it, choosing instead to get up at the usual time (now an hour early) the joyous hour of 5am. Fuck the worm, I have never been a morning person. I choose to be a late bird, why oh why did my son not inherit this precious piece of me?!

This was genuinely me trying to get out of bed at 5am to get the boy this morning.

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The thing is, he is doesn’t just affect the morning its also affecting the evening. Instead of going to be at 7, like normal we get to half past 6, and he goes all

angry

Its horrendous. We have tried everything from distraction, to TV, to extra milk, and out and out bribery! nothing is working. So tomorrow we have asked friends to come round to try and distract him between half six and 7, in the vague hope ‘new faces’ might be exciting! sigh. My caffeine intake this week is actually offensive!

Anyone else suffering with Daylight Savings Time?

Writing Tips #3 The Evil INTJ – The Supervillain

hans21

Ok, so I promise that I won’t constantly talk about Myers Briggs, it is only because I wrote that first post, and then found this blog by Mandy Wallace, about traditional ‘evil’ characters and that they are often INTJ’s, but that writers often mistake what an INTJ is really like. I strongly advise you go read the whole blog – it is fascinating.

The blogger names a lot of typical evil INTJ characters such as: Professor Moriarty, Lex Luther, Emperor Palpatine and Khan, INTJs are the personality type that people love to hate. Which concerns me greatly, because as an ENTJ, I share a lot of similar characteristics! *worried*

The blog also goes into detail about why they are perfect as villains, from their arrogance, to their social awkwardness, and subsequent withdrawal. However, the blogger also notes the following points which are very poignant for any writer of villains:

  • “INTJs are extremely unconventional by most other type’s standards.
  • The INTJ doesn’t care about social rules or the standard way of doing things. He cares only if something works.
  • INTJs abhor going along with inefficient or ineffective tasks just because they’ve always been done that way. And the social conventions that keep the outdated in place have zero effect on the INTJ.
  • The INTJ will work tirelessly to change flawed methods, moving quickly and without “permission.”
  • Since INTJs aren’t always great at explaining their methods, nor do they understand that other people can’t see the patterns and problems that seem obvious to them, their actions can sometimes appear unpredictable and lacking good cause to outsiders.

Finally, I think the paragraphs that really sums up why INTJs are perfect super villains is:

“All of this analysis, coupled with an inability to explain these processes to others, plus their ultimate need to create systems that work means that the INTJ takes confident action while ignoring complainers, naysayers, and doubters. So what you have is a man who knows what he is doing and doesn’t care what other people think about it. “Smart” doesn’t really explain the INTJ’s thinking, though. Because they don’t just memorize data. They break it down to its principles to understand how it all works together and what it implies about every other fact. This makes them incredibly insightful by other people’s standards. Objectively, INTJs have the highest collective IQ of any other type.

This magic elixir: perceived arrogance + perceived lack of emotion + perceived unpredictability + intelligence = prime fictional villain. “

Here are several links to useful information about INTJs

INTJ Description

List of Famous INTJs

 

Writespiration #3

imaginary

I once wrote a short story from the perspective of an hallucination. So I couldn’t resist posting this when I saw it.

Whose imaginary friend are you? Do you just say goodbye and let them grow up? Or do you fight for your existence? What memories do you have from your time together? What will happen to you after you kid forgets about you? what about from the perspective of something else? something invisible to us?

Let me know if this inspired you to write something, and if it did what you wrote.

Happy writing

Forget terrible twos, why didn’t anyone tell me about the terrible ten months?

As I promised, this would be a blog of two halves, partly about my life as a mum, writer, and worker bee, and partly about writing, and my quest to get published.

So, this is a motherhood post.

Everybody knows about the terrible twos, how truly awful they are with screaming tantrums and public paddies.

giphy child

Hideously embarrassing and the phase I suspect most parents dread in young children. BUT SERIOUSLY…. why did no one tell me about the horrific change that happens at ten months? My son is now ten and a half approaching eleven months, and it was like an alien literally took over his body and possessed his previously calm temperament.

Nappy changing is simply an impossibility without an army of spare hands, arms and legs to pin your gremlin of a child in place while you change them. Ok, so distraction occasionally works too, but not as well as it used to! He now likes to pitch an absolute bitch of a screaming fit, when I get him dressed, try and do his teeth, or anything that even remotely changes his current situation.

In spite of the fact I’ve read a million mum blogs, help sites read books and compared notes with a hundred friends, it kind of doesn’t matter what they say or suggest because baby black, is just going to make life difficult his own way! When I find a solution I’ll report back!

 

Writespiration #2

fairy tale

Neil Gaiman has inspired this post, with his soon to be out ‘Sleeper and the Spindle‘ fairytale where there are not one, but two princesses. Which is coming out later this month.

Why don’t you try writing a brand new fairytale, maybe something set in this village, what happens? is it traditional? Or are there two princesses? Or two princes’? Are there fairies, dragons, or made up creatures? Who is your target audience? Is it children? or adults, or teens? Who do these houses belong to? or maybe you could just remix a current fairytale.

let me know if this helped, and if you wrote a fairy tale.

WriteTips #2 Myers Briggs and Character Development

MYERS

I am a real proponent of Myers Briggs (MB) at the best of times, I have done the test twice, and come out with the same profile. When I first learnt about MB it kinda blew my mind. If you do the official test you get all kinds of information from it, like – how you react under stress, how others perceive you, and what your weaknesses are likely to be. I know I’ve said it, but it really did blow my mind! It was how others perceive me that had the greatest impact on me. My point – is that it got me thinking about how my characters might be seen by each other, or by the readers, or by anyone really other than me. The MB types kind of give you key personality types and I really like working out which types my characters are. Above should be a picture explaining the key characteristics of each type, and a quick google of Myers Briggs will give you countless websites where there are free tests – you could even do the test in character to give you their profile, and obviously google will give you lots of info about the types.

Let me know if you think this is helpful

Writespiration #1

This is the series of posts that should help my fellow writers with writers block or if your just in need of some inspiration.

Why is the name blacked out? What’s the story behind it? What does it mean? How would your character investigate or react to finding a blacked out name? What happens next?

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Write Tips #1 Scene Lists

heller

I am going to run a series of writing tips posts, and a series of writing inspiration posts. As an aspiring writer myself, I am constantly researching and reading other peoples blogs and tips, so I figured why not share the nuggets of wisdom I’ve found for all the other aspiring writers out there.

Scene Lists –

When drawing up your novel structure, something to think about is a scene list – akin to an outline – it helps to formalise the order and details of your scenes – in order. If you use a spreadsheet or table it also makes it super easy to rearrange them. Plus when you need to quickly remember your story – or certain aspects this sheet will provide an easy to read, easy to navigate summary for you.

Key things to include in your scene structure:

  • Chapter title
  • Chapter number
  • Summary sentences of content / key action points
  • Proposed word count
  • Actual word count
  • Scene location
  • Any foreshadowing

Theres a link here to nine famous authors scene charts.

Write Tips #0 Seven Point Plot System

Struct1

I am a planner, down to my core, and no more so then when planning my novel. I have been toying with trying to understand how much planning is too much, and it’s always a difficulty, particularly for someone who really does love all things planned, structured and organised!

I had been having issues understanding exactly how to structure my novel, how to ensure that it was structured correctly, whether the structure I was creating was even a ‘story structure’ you know – one of the ones you find in an actual book – a published one!

Anyway in amidst my writing strife, I recently discovered the seven-point plot structure, and a lecture by Dan Wells, a pretty successful writer, who has written and published several successful novels.

He talks through the seven-point plot structure in detail with examples of famous stories to make it ’real’. The summary is:

Hook –   (HERE 2nd ) If you know your ending – your start is generally the opposite stance – if you end with someone in prison – then they need to start free.

Plot Turn 1    (HERE 4th) introduce conflict here, it’s the point that moves you from the hook to the midpoint

Pinch 1           (HERE 6th) Apply pressure, force the characters into action (often introduces the villain.

Midpoint        (HERE 3rd ) this is the exact point in the story where your characters move from reaction, to action. Note it doesn’t have to be physically in the middle of the book.

Pinch 2           (HERE LAST) apply even more pressure – make the situation seem hopeless.

Plot Turn 2    (HERE 5th ) This moves you from midpoint to ending, its where you obtain the final piece of the puzzle in order to get to the end.

 Resolution   (START HERE) Everything leads to this point – make sure you know  what your ending is.

To watch the whole lecture (which I strongly advocate) visit youtube here.

The reason I love this so much, is because it was simple, clear, and only 7 sentences, it gave me such a clear understanding of my story arc, that my head felt clear and able to pad out the subplots, character sheets and all the other faff that comes with planning a novel. Its clear and simple, and forces you to go back to basics – if you can’t write your story into this structure then there’s probably something fundamentally wrong with your novel.

Hope it helps – let me know what you think of it.

 

Why being a lesbian mum is exactly the same and completely different

There are some fundamental things about motherhood that just don’t change. You will change umpteen nappies, and as a result you will get baby poop and other bodily liquids over most of your limbs at one point or another. Generally speaking however you obtain a child (no, not theft, I’m talking adoption, fertility treatment or in a plethora of other ways) it’s come from the same place – a womb. There will be a time – if you have a newborn or very young baby – where you don’t sleep, you will feel like the walking dead and you won’t know who you are; one day you will find you self sat on the sofa in yesterday’s underwear, bloodshot eyes with bags the size of houses, unbrushed teeth that still look clean because you can’t remember the last time you ate, smeared with poop, a few bubbles of sick down one arm, and some crusty snot thrown in for good measure. That happens. To everyone who’s a parent believe me. There’s other things, like the fact that once your a parent there really is no going back – particularly for those that have carried and birthed a child, once you have that baby your life will never be the same again. It takes time to go back to feeling like yourself, but that self is very much a different self. Whoever you were before you had a child is gone, held captive by your long forgotten and never to return youth. Whoever you were is most definitely not returning. But that’s ok. This new you is a better you anyway!

Thats the stuff that’s the same. Seems like everything, right? Wrong. The differences are invariably cultural. Its always cultural. It’s those little things that make our lives that bit harder. The worst bit, is it starts before your child’s even born.

Take your antenatal classes – a class full of straight couples. Where does the non birth mother sit? For the sake of this and any ongoing blogs I post (and my word count!) the non birth mother will be referred to as ‘mama’ and birth mother (mum). Where should the mama sit? It’s not really with the mums – they are all discussing the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and their fears of labour. But it’s also not really with the dads who are more concerned with discussing where the closest dominoes pizza place is to the hospital.

Throughout pregnancy I felt sorry for my wife – she would tell people she’s having a child and within about three seconds a haze of confusion would melt over their face as their eyes would unsubtly drop to her stomach and back to her face a few times. It’s still not ‘normal’ enough for people to just accept that two women can have a baby.

Even after pregnancy and labour it continues – but the problem is – the differences are between your friends and you. I am sure that to a certain extent straight couples who have kids young experience similar things. The friends who begin to slip away because they ‘just don’t get it’. They are incapable of compromising or being understanding to the fact that organising a night out is the equivalent to party planning for the royals. It takes serious time and effort, you can’t just go out at the drop of a hat. And, lets be honest, most of the time you don’t want too either, not because you’re a bore, but because if you do go out – the consequences will reach further than just a saturday morning hangover. You’re going to be tired long into thursday – especially when your child decides to start teething again – at that very moment you went out and let your hair down – commence a week or two of exhaustion. That bit – is probably the same.

But for the LGBT circle, the current generation of young’uns (17-35) we seem to be taking life in the slow lane. The majority of people who are having children in this gayby boom are 35 plus in the LGBT world – obviously I’m not saying everyone, there are also pockets of exceptions – but in my world – most if not all the LGBT parents I have met are 35 plus – in fact thats kind of mimicked with the hetero-parents I’ve met too. The difference this makes is – most of my friends are still in the culture of being concerned with where the next night out is coming from and who’s round is next. most still live at home with mum and dad, and few have careers sorted or any kind of concept of where they want to be when they grow up. Indeed any kind of mention of commitment and you got yourself a full on epi pen needing allergic reaction. Why is our generation of young LGBT so frightened of commitment? few if any of my friends have had relationships longer than a couple of years. It makes me feel like a freakshow – not only am I LGBT and therefore in a minority group as it is – but I’m a minority within a minority – a young LGBT person with a child, who actually had the child in a lesbian relationship and whats more, gave birth.

Other major differences include the ‘questioning’ when you come across a straight couple with a newborn – usual questions include: Oh how adorable – how much did they weigh? How was the birth? Do they sleep?

Now – we tend to get one or two of those normal questions and then you get hit with the- ‘I’m going to look really awkward and shift from foot to foot because I know what I’m about to ask is rude, but I’m going to do it anyway!’ – face and then the barrage of “oh so, er, how did you do it then?” most of the time I feel like responding with an equally stupid answer “do what? get my hair styled this way?, do what look this good on no sleep?” etc etc. Other stupid questions include “do you know the donor?” “are you both called mum”

Seriously, next time a straight couple asks me how I ‘did it’ I’m going to ask them how they got pregnant too, see how they like them apples!

I’m ranting – but I have a point, we face regular interrogations from joe public, and even from our parents. My own dad commented that he wasn’t really sure how it would ‘be’ raising a male child with two mums. “Where’s the balance” I remember him saying. He ate his own words though when he visited because he then said “I don’t think I’ve met a happier child.”

There are probably a million other differences I could name, but my rant just ran out of steam! For any of you LGBT mummies out there – anyone else able to add irritations to the list?