Saturday, 2 December 2017

Monthly Log: Realistic Goals, Dusting off Childhood Relics, and University Ideas

November hasn't been too bad at all this year. Usually November is my unlucky month, probably due to the weather being miserable, the lack of daylight, and the association of bad memories and low-mood that psychologically causes the month to become unfortunate for me, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
One thing that didn't go as planned, however, was NaNoWriMo. Less than a week before November, I cracked open my "Ready, Set, Novel" book, filled out most of the sheets that I found relevant to my story and creative process, and naively believed "Yeah, I think I can write 50,000 words in a month". Sure, Morris. Sure.
Not only did I find myself slightly unprepared (not majorly though - I just needed to spend more time on research and putting together information sheets on Scrivener that I could easily flip back to, as I found myself annoyed at the lack of everything being in the same place) I forgot to factor in that my productivity is varied at best, unpredictable and sometimes non-existent at worst.

My Great-Grandmother - © Ellie Morris

Some days I can easily hammer out 3,000+ words and feel absolutely great about it. I can also do about two hours sewing and other crafts or hobbies in the same day, when I'm kicking my conditions' butts. But on others, I don't get out of bed at all, either due to all-consuming fatigue and pain, depression/paranoia/anxiety, general malaise, or because I'm overwhelmed with stimulation and looming tasks. Or, even if I do get out of bed, my head is so filled with fog and tiredness that the most I can do is prop myself up in front of the TV or go to my grandparents' house for a cup of tea. Alternatively, even if I am feeling good enough to write lots and lots that day, I have other important things to do that I've been putting off for days, or doctors appointments...
It was kind of unrealistic to expect that much of myself in such a small space of time, when the conditions in my current day-to-day life aren't ideal for a big undertaking like that. I know other people can manage 50,000 words in a month when they have far bigger responsibilities than me, such as a full or part-time job, education and studying, looking after children, spending time with friends, etc - some may even have health conditions at the same time as all that! - and I applaud them for it.
Someday I wish to be like that (to manage lots of things all at once, I mean, not the hectic schedule!), but for now I'm just trying to get through daily life whilst spending time on my favourite activities when I'm able to. I'm on my gap year for a reason, and that is to spend time recovering. I would do well to remember this when I start beating myself up for only achieving x-amount of things in a day!

If you have a physical and/or mental health problem (or even if you don't), you shouldn't feel bad about taking time off or not quite completing tasks either, especially if they are rather unrealistic to start with. As long as you're trying your best and taking care of your needs, whether that's managing pain, taking your medication or eating well, that is the main thing.
Of course, it is always good and very satisfying to get things done - and I find that even just starting the activity helps a lot as I know I've tried, and most of the time I get so involved in it that I end up carrying on regardless of pain or fatigue. It's good to challenge yourself, but make sure that any goals that are set are achievable and realistic. Realistic goals vary from person to person depending on time, means and circumstance, but for example, goals such as "sew five complicated ballgowns before Christmas" or "get fit enough to run a marathon in two weeks" would be very difficult, for me at least! Remember that you're human and not a machine or a miracle-worker, and you shouldn't expect yourself to churn out essays like a laser printer spits out paper, or turn water into wine.
I'll step down off my soap-box now, haha.

So, to put it briefly, I did not succeed in writing 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year. But there is always next year, and the next, and the next after that... Not to mention, although I did not reach the target, it did help a lot with my goal of getting back into writing, which was a brilliant motivation!

My next step is to get together all the information on my characters/settings/plot lines that I have, and further research the subjects that I'm not too clear on. Once my info sheets are ready, I'm going to plot every tiny thing out and block in all of the emotions that my characters go through. Also, more planning with my workbook! You can tell I'm a "Planner" and not a "Pantser"!

Aside from writing and other crafty things, I spent a week or two of the month clearing and tidying in preparation for Christmas, and to help "aid creativity" by having a better environment to work in. It's been hard work physically, but mentally I feel great now that I have clear surfaces, a tidy desk, and have sorted out all my old clothes! One thing that I had to do was make space on the shelves above my desk, which included... dusting off and placing all of my old Pokemon toys in a bag in the wardrobe... It was rather saddening, as I could remember all the times I played with them, the happy days that I received each one, my old birthdays, and how I would make little items of clothing for my plushes, such as a satchel or neckerchief in the style of Mystery Dungeon... It was almost like discarding my childhood, to replace it with art materials, jewellery findings and sewing fabrics, but I know that I'll keep them forever as Pokemon was a big part of my childhood. The colours did clash with the wallpaper though, and I needed space for all my craft/art/sewing/writing things, because I have more hobbies that I've picked up than brain cells.

Old Art Journal Page - © Ellie Morris

Another thing that happened this month, was that I went to a nearby University's open day. It is a really good university, both in the national reviews and from what I saw when I went, so I was filled with inspiration! Usually I feel dread with anything to do with school environments, as primary/high school and college were hard for me, even though I did well academically, but it was actually really good. I'm feeling - dare I say it - excited at the thought of joining the Creative Writing course; they do modules on writing fiction, poetry and scripts (all of which I really enjoy), as well as help with publishing, which I really need to learn. I never thought that going to University would be good for me because of my dread, but the facilities and course just looks fantastic!

I also went through very old family photos (I will be adding more pictures like the first one above soon), had a haircut (the straggly ends cut off and a re-style with a fringe) and bought my first ball-jointed doll! She is MYOU Delia, ordered through Angelesque, and will be called Aika after my main character from When the Summer Ends. It will help with some of the art I want to produce for a future re-release of my books, and I can't wait to take photos and show her here on the blog too!

I've been liaising with a friend for an upcoming blog post recently, and it will be an interview of sorts on a subject that proves to be rather unusual from what I've heard.
Stay tuned for that, and I hope you have fun preparing for Christmas or any other holiday this month, if you celebrate!


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Alexandre's Sacred Heart: A Modern Tribute to Mourning Jewellery

Stories can be told in many formats. From the usual - but not to be overlooked! - novel or poem format, to fine art, illustration and photography, to a film, or even fashion.
Fashion, from vintage 1930's-70's style, to the Japanese street-style Lolita, to historical fashion, has always been a huge interest for me. In recent months when sewing my own style seems to be too much of a big undertaking, jewellery and jewellery-making has been a great option. One thing that particularly interests me is (surprise surprise) historical jewellery.

Obviously I don't have the funds or means to start splurging on emeralds and sapphires - though that is the dream, my friends! - but Victorian and Edwardian jewellery is very dear to me. I have a small collection of 1890's-1910's jewellery as well as some more vintage pieces which I may show in the future, however the idea of making modern jewellery out of more accessible materials, but inspired by the past, is a fascinating one.

I have a morbid side (which does actually come in useful for writing, a business that relies heavily on schadenfreude), and I suppose it reflects itself in a lot of other things that I create. I like the eerie, and the gothic and dramatic, as well as the romantic and sweet. Unlike Momoko from Kamikaze Girls, who claims that she only wants to fill herself with sweet things, packing her school lunch with candies and fruit - I admire both the sweet and the savory sides of life, at least through creativity.

Therefore, combining jewellery with romantic Victoriana and the macabre, you end up with something that would make my mother scream with repulsion: mourning and memento mori jewellery!

The Victorians often used locks of hair in their remembrance of loved ones, spending time braiding, weaving and making pieces of art out of the tiniest sections of hair. It was a way to keep a physical reminder of the deceased, as hair does not decay in most circumstances. I have seen examples of art made from individual hairs, carefully sculpted and preserved as a tribute to a loved one - though what really interested me was the brooches, lockets, and even bracelets; it was a way to carry a part of their family with them always, next to their heart or around their wrist. There are even existing examples of teeth used in jewellery as tribute to their beloved.

I used to find disembodied hair rather off-putting, but over time and through reading classical pieces of literature that touch on the subject, I grew to associate locks of hair with tenderness. There is something heartfelt about exchanging locks of hair, or using the hair of a deceased loved one to remember them by.
In recent years, it has definitely gone out of practice, at least where I live, and is even seen as a little disturbing.
Perhaps this could be put down to how modern society sees things such as death and mortality. Oftentimes, the subject is kept very quiet and only touched upon when absolutely necessary, such as when disaster and misfortune strikes a family and/or a nation. Even then it can be a difficult thing for people to wrap their heads around and talk about, almost like it is a little taboo to take an active part in preparing for death, taking care of the dead, and showing grief... This may not be the case everywhere, but from experience and through reading of other people's experiences, many people today seem to balk at anything that so much as implies death in relation to the real world.
Books such as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty and "The American Way of Death" by Jessica Mitford may be of interest to you if you'd like to read more on the topic of death practices in western society, however I should get back to mourning jewellery!

There are a couple of modern tutorials for hair jewellery online, however I preferred to try things my own way as a part of an experiment first. It actually turned out really well and I am pleased with the results!

Nobody I know, in my entire lifetime, has ever passed away, except for my poor old dog Frasier, when I was 12 (rest in peace in doggy Heaven). In that regard I am extremely lucky. So instead of making a trinket for a real person, I decided to make one inspired by the fictional universe instead. It sounds kind of silly to make a memento inspired by a fictional character, but I liked the concept too much to resist.

Inside of the finished pendant - © Ellie Morris

Seeing as I am going through a strong resurgence of love for the French novel and film Les Amitiés Particulières (I watch it probably once or twice every year, in order to preserve my tears, haha), I decided to base it off one of my favourite characters - Alexandre Motier.
It's no secret that the boy commits suicide in the story, as I think everybody that goes to watch or read the story knows beforehand, so I don't think I needed to warn for spoilers? Either way, I rather like him a lot as I feel like I can identify with him and his feelings in places, and he was such a bright and blameless character that I think he deserved so much better than what he got.
His death was probably one that has affected me the most in canon, both because it was so horrific and unjust - what frustrates me the most was that it could definitely have been prevented, had the timing been right, has Georges not miscalculated or cracked under pressure, or had it taken place in a different era... - and because of his very young age.
It really breaks my heart every time I watch or read, and I always end up stopping the film or closing the book just before things take a very depressing turn, so I thought that a story with such an emotional impact on me would be perfect for my experimental mourning-inspired locket.

Before trimming the ribbon - © Ellie Morris

In Les Amities Particulieres, the main characters Georges and Alexandre exchange locks of hair to show their adoration of each other, as back then that was a romantic gesture. Book-version Alexandre is a blonde boy, and there are many in-jokes between the two particular friends about that. By coincidence, I had about 15 inches or so cut off my hair four years ago and kept the remains. My hair is blonde too, so I decided to use a small section of that to represent the lock of Alexandre's hair that he gave to Georges.
I tied it with white silk ribbon. Silk ribbon was used a lot in the 1920's (you can see many examples of silk ribbon embroidery in textiles and sewing guides), and I had some on hand. I considered dying it but in the end I kept it in its original white state, to represent purity, and because it made a jarring contrast to the reds, yellows and golden and bronze shades I also used.
I backed the hair section with red velvet-effect fabric which I frayed and distressed in places for an uneven colour and antique feel. The red went nicely with the hues of the images I pasted to the locket, but it also reminded me a bit of the matching red ties that Georges and Alexandre wore. (Yes, it was a very minor detail, but I absorb tiny details and facts like a symbolism sponge. I know I'm weirdly obsessive over random things *hides face*).

Finished pendant - © Ellie Morris

The image I used of Alexandre was the one that Father Lauzon showed to Georges after the boy's death, where he was sleeping peacefully in a chair during happier times. For the front of the locket, I used an image of the Sacred Heart, which I got from the Graphics Fairy; it is from a French Holy card that was supposedly glued into the front of an 1851 religious book. I thought it was really beautiful, and could represent Alexandre's Catholicism, the religious environment of the school around him, and his love and brightness. Mourning jewellery often ties with religious symbolism and meaning, so  I found it fitting. The colours were also gorgeous and looked lovely with the vintage brass lockets that I purchased on Etsy.

Outside of locket - © Ellie Morris

Finally, I also used a silver cross that I found in my jewellery box for contrast, and made a rosary-style beaded chain from 8mm faceted clear beads, and antique gold-coloured head pins from the craft store.
If I were to make a similar style in the future, I would definitely use eye pins instead as the tutorial I followed recommended, as it was really tough on my hands to bend both sides of the head pins with pliers. The only reason I used head pins was that I couldn't find any eye pins locally, so next time I'll order them online!
I'd like to do something similar out of amethyst beads, or even rose quartz, jet, or lapis-lazuli in the future, as it has been such a fun project and I'm rather pleased with the results! Of course, the hair segment that I made was nothing compared to what those nimble-fingered Victorians could do, but I still like how it looks.

In case you are interested, here are some mourning hair jewellery examples that I found at Chatsworth House earlier this summer. They truly are works of art.

Chatsworth Hair Jewellery - © Ellie Morris

Chatsworth Memorial Locket for Blanche - © Ellie Morris

I hope you like how it turned out too, and (hopefully) found my reasoning behind my findings choices and imagery interesting!


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Poetry: To Snatch the Moon

Fairy Moon - © Ellie Morris
To Snatch the Moon:
Dazzling, Olympian, full fairy moon,
Solid and gilded, like silver spoon.
Fractions of light reflect on puddles of ice,
Mournful, tender, ignorant of vice.
Her peaceful watch over civilians below,
Guiding strangers with sky aglow.
Deep, dark dusky clouds sail to spirit her away,
“Throw her in prison, hide her, make her pay!”
Squashing her radiant shine, flooding paths with darkness.
Pitch black, ghastly, ensnared by starkness.
Held hostage by the sky, she seeks asylum behind the sea.
Back to nightfall’s silence; swirling, dim reality.
Stars may flicker and burst, and fruit bats soar,
But the Celestial Goddess to rule the sky, is no more.
-- Ellie Morris

I had a go at some more poetry the other day, and it turns out that I rather enjoy rhyming verses. Usually I don't bother with rhyme, but I'm not really sure why now, as I found this really simple and fun to do despite it being a rather straightforward, no-nonsense verse.
The main inspiration behind this was from a week ago, when I went downstairs past midnight to spend time with my dog, as I couldn't sleep. On the landing there is a big window overlooking the street, and I caught sight of the full moon reflected in a puddle. It was so bright and clear reflected in the water, that I watched it until some clouds covered the moon and removed the sight.
Oh, and sorry for the blurry photograph - I had a hard time focusing my camera because of the low light!


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Maxime the Ferocious Tiger Lily - NaNoWriMo Week 1

The tale of Maxime de Faye, a bold, vivacious and precocious child star, but troubled and suffocated by a hectic schedule and the need to keep his personal life secret. His films and performance may be otherworldly, but reality can be jarring in the head space of young teenage boy who is overworked, bombarded with the responsibility of an adult three times his age, and forced to smile despite feeling lonely in a world filled with countless names and faces. 
That is the summary so far, though it will most probably change by the time the book has been finished. It is set in the 1960's and has a m/m relationship, though that isn't the main part of my story, as there are other themes too. It brings me back to when I used to write m/m couples though, which is fun!

Villa in France - © Ellie Morris

So it's week two of NaNoWriMo! In fact, I did decide to be more active on the NaNo site, but mainly in the way of updating my word-count and occasionally writing in the forum. Still not sure about the technical or social side of things, like digital and physical write-ins, but it's actually an achievement for me that I'm writing on a daily basis; I had been so exhausted and demotivated in the weeks before November, but reading the NaNoWriMo workbook and deciding to take the challenge changed that somewhat.

And it was going so well! Close to 1,700 words or more every day, I had enjoyed every second of it. Things flowed so naturally for the first week, and I couldn't wait to start writing again every evening; sometimes I would stay up until two or so in the morning because I was so inspired.

But then I caught the flu... (or a cold, as my Dad says, but I think it's the flu as I haven't felt this ill with a 'common' illness since I was eleven, and that was swine flu, so...) I had to put a stop to writing for a couple of days so that I could rest, but I spend most of my time daydreaming about my characters and smiling about their exploits that are yet to come!

I hope that tomorrow I can get back to Maxime and his associates, as I find myself missing him already; it's rather like being separated from a new and exciting friend that one just wants to spend all their time with!


Monday, 30 October 2017

Monthly Log: By Jeeves, Beatrix Potter and a Postcard from Home!

Hello everyone! I thought a nice type of post for the blog would be a monthly summary of interests, activities and photos, so that I can keep track of where my mind was on this month, and what caught my attention. I don't want to bore you too much, so I'll try to keep it light (try is the key word)!

Peter cards and rose tea!

For my birthday I was lucky enough to travel to the Lake District to see a musical - one which I have had on DVD for four years now! It was "By Jeeves!" at the Old Laundry Theatre in Windermere, and situated in the same building as the World of Beatrix Potter, which came as a surprise!
Unfortunately I was too excited to take any photos of the area (and photos of the show were prohibited for obvious reasons), but I did get two miniature cards of Peter Rabbit as keepsakes of the day.
I'm rather fond of Peter Rabbit, and Beatrix Potter in general, as my family has a lop-eared rabbit who I called Peter, due to his striking blue eyes and similar colouration to Peter (well, he is my brother's rabbit, but seeing as my brother - who is nearly eight - keeps changing the poor thing's name, I decided to just call him Peter in my own head, for my sanity). Of course, it's been a while since I read Beatrix Potter's books, but she was a Victorian woman that wrote stories about anthropomorphic animals and made beautiful water colour illustrations; what isn't to like? Not only that, but I watched a programme which explained her very important work as a conservationist for the National Trust. I was very pleased to learn that!

But as for the show... I loved it so much that I grinned for the entire afternoon matinee and evening, and will continue to do so for quite possibly the rest of the year. My jaw hurt from laughing and smiling the whole time! It was really a dream come true, as I wasn't sure if it would come to the stage again anytime soon. That was a few years ago, and of course I was delighted to be proven wrong!
It was so charming to see Bertie, Jeeves, and the usual suspects on stage (and so close to the stage too - the people in the row in front were being sung to, and handed flowers and business cards as a part of the entertainment!)
The one girl that was sung to by Bertie, I wasn't sure how she kept a relatively-sane expression on her face... I would have turned into a helplessly sobbing-with-laughter puddle - but this is coming from me, the one that burst out giggling and dancing on the spot when happening upon an actor portraying Henry VIII in a nearly-deserted corridor at Hampton Court (if he happened to actually be a ghost rather than an actor, I think he may need to work on his haunting technique). So, I was better off for not being interacted with, as I would never be taken out to a show by my parents again, for fear of mortifying them. ;)

Art by Ellie Morris, water colour and ink

This month I also had a visit from a friend living near Manchester. We dressed up together in Angelic Pretty and Baby the Stars Shine Bright styles (I was the latter, by the way, wearing BtSSB's Shirring Princess JSK - now one of my 'new' old favourite dresses, seeing as I've lost enough weight for it to suit me again). I had a lot of fun, and it was almost like acting as a tourist in my own town!
For lunch we had afternoon tea at a tearoom, and visited some antique book stores filled with musty tomes from the olden days, seashells, age-worn stamps, and semi-precious stones. One store had many floors and creaking steps, with bookcases towering well above my head to the extended ceilings, ladders, and smaller turrets of books in piles around the room. I even found some Ladies' guides from the mid 1860's, complete with coloured fashion plates! The second store was a Waterstones, but the architecture outside makes it special in my opinion.
We also went to a Victorian glass shopping arcade and sat at a balcony eating hard sweets from the old-fashioned sweet store below. As well as that, we visited the local art gallery and library, where there was an exhibition based around the British Victorian's views of Ancient Egypt, through travel, art, antiques, artifacts, and letters. A few weeks beforehand, I had visited the same exhibition for a history lecture on the same subject, which was very interesting.
I had an excellent time with her, wandering around my hometown and seeing the history still remaining. I'm there so often that I often overlook how pretty it really is, so I'm glad to live where I do.

Collage by Ellie Morris, using postcard from antique store.

However, it's unfortunately common to be harassed by strangers (men, namely) for wearing Japanese street fashion, which usually makes me very flighty and stressed, but this time I could just laugh at them and move on without paying them much attention, which shows my current balanced mindset, I think! Still, some of that negative attention gave me some ideas for my upcoming story.
Weird how the mind works, right? A lot of the things swirling around in my grey matter tend to all come together and form a story for future use, no matter how irrelevant they seem paired with other ideas, until it turns into something else that actually seems feasible. Shows how much I feel connected to my characters, maybe!

I'm still working through my workbook for my story to be written in November, and I've very, very excited to be working on it!! - however I think that I'll step back from the social network/website side of NaNoWriMo, and just focus on getting it down in my computer rather than turning it into a big thing in my own head. I don't know... something about joining the website and filling in the daily challenge word count things and connecting with other writers, just makes me nervous. There's also the fact that I can be unpredictable with hobbies and goals, as every day the amount I can do is different, due to health issues. Some days I might not do anything at all (aside from binge-watching Allo Allo), but on others I can spend nearly nine hours straight on one thing, uninterrupted, as I get so engaged. (The x-hours straight thing can also apply to staring into space or falling asleep in the day, so it's a bit of a mixed bag of productivity when one has brain problems).
That aside, I think it's more the social/networking side of things that fills me with some hesitation, as I'm very socially withdrawn at the moment (aside from what I mentioned above) and don't feel like I can communicate well with other people. Writing a story is fine, I can get emotional for my characters, but if it comes to having a written or verbal conversation with a real person, I feel like a very blank slate, or a tall and heavy brick wall that nobody can go over or around. Not sure if it's an energy thing or not, but I feel a bit like a solitary ghost-like being at the moment, faint, sickly, sleepy, and quieter than usual, or as though I'm sleepwalking through a lot of daily life. I'd like to talk to and see people more often, as I am actually a very sociable person with the people I know well and like, but tiredness, constant illness/infection/chronic pain, and feeling like I'm not a very interesting conversationalist (or an awkward one that keeps falling asleep mid-sentence and losing the train of thought as soon as it leaves the station) keeps me from being as active and joyful enough to engage with friends as I'd like. I'm not feeling depressed or negative at all, just quiet, like a mouse burrowed in its nest.
Rather like this, I suppose! - But instead of peas, I would be surrounded by cheese and crackers, like the true mouse I am. :)

Johnny Town-Mouse by Beatrix Potter (image from Gutenberg and edited a bit by me)

With that sweet image, I shall sign off this post!


Friday, 27 October 2017

Changing Plans - NaNoWriMo Plotting with "Ready, Set, Novel!"

Well, plans change. I typically can't stand changing things, especially after saying that I'm going to do one thing and then do another, but since it's nearly November and I was given a wonderful workbook on writing for my recent birthday... I think it's time to fight my ardent dislike of the unexpected, and give myself a kick in the pants, as "Ready, Set, Novel!" has inspired myself to do. Literally. There is a page entirely dedicated to getting a hefty boot in the butt, and one for a high five, too.

The land of "Roses For Margaret" is a bit of a barren wasteland right now in my addled head, and I just can't think of the direction I want to marshal Margaret and co. in. Left or right? Happy or sad? Up or down? Alive, or... dead? Just kidding, nobody will die in that novel, but even so, the idea is rather tempting sometimes (just think of Paul Sheldon in Stephen King's "Misery", who grows to dislike his main heroine after spending so much time chronicling her life).
I don't quite dislike her that much, but her fuzzy lack of direction and the amount of staring contests that I've had with my Scrivener document for the novel, has given me too much irritation to be entirely pleased with the young miss. (Yes, that's right - I'm blaming my character Margaret, and not myself. Charming, aren't I?) I suppose some novels just give the author a lot of grief and prove to be more challenging than the others; I didn't have a very linear frame for RFM, and I dipped in and out of it very infrequently over the course of three/four years, so I think it truly would be worth it to move on to other stories, and come back afresh another time, with a better battle plan.
Or bin it. Binning it sounds good right now... But as my Writer's Workbook by the NaNoWriMo authors says, sometimes you will be in love with your novel, and sometimes you'll just want to rip it to shreds - but some time you will fall back in love with it. I'm hoping that will be the case in a year or so.

But a new idea has come to me, and I think it may be a good one, as I'm already besotted with the main characters and have a good timeline planned out. I just love them so much! I had that kind of love for Aika Rowland and Carrie Knox when I started "When the Summer Ends", so it's exhilarating to get that love for my characters and thrill for writing back!
As I go through the "Ready, Set, Novel!" workbook, I get more and more excited about it each time and so many ideas come flooding in. I stayed up until half two in the morning scribbling away in the book - starting at around seven pm - and was shocked to see how late it was, as I was really engaged! As you can probably tell, writer or not, this kind of excitement for a new story is much more constructive to writing than trying to slug your way through a book you started at fifteen years old, and never quite managed to pin down the characters and plot and whip them into shape.

I can now tell my uptight self that change isn't so bad after all. Maybe, whether you are a fellow Aspie or not, you have had the same problem? It's very easy to get an idea and stick to it no matter how challenging and demotivating the plan is, as I saw with my idea last year to "get Roses For Margaret done, seeing as it's already got about 50,000 words". I didn't want to change or latch onto a new idea, as the thought of it made me very nervous and irritated with myself - but if you're in the same situation, I'd say go for it and try something new! That's how I got my passion for writing and plotting stories back! And it's a wonderful feeling that I very nearly forgot.

As for the new plot itself, I have a lot of it penned down, but I don't think I should reveal too much just yet, as things may be slightly different in a month or so, whether it is a change of name or a new viewpoint. But it's set in 1960's France, predominantly in Paris - so despite going there often, I have a fair bit to research! The basic premise is about a teenage boy wanting freedom, despite having a life that other people would dream of.

I know it's early to start NaNoWriMo now, but I was too excited to wait for planning a week at a time, that I just had to get it all out. The workbook by Chris Baty, Lindsay Grant, and Tavia Stewart-Streit is truly wonderful, I would really recommend it to anyone that wants to write a book, whether it be the first one, or the thirtieth. Not only is the content great, amusing, and thought-provoking, the layout and style is simple but effective and elegant - just perfect!
November will be a month of being chained to my laptop and writing like a slave (I say hopefully). Wish me luck!


Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Margaret's Barbed Roses - A Quote for Getting Back to Writing

Quote by Sappho
The quote above, which I rediscovered on my unused Tumblr blog, I thought was a perfect fit for my story, "Roses For Margaret", as it expresses how my main character has to be patient to find meaningful love with a woman, the thorns representing her old loves that proved to be painful and unsuccessful. That's how I read into the quote and spun it to have a likeness to my own novel - I am no expert on Ancient Greece or Sappho by any means, so my take on it may be incorrect, but I find this quote fascinating. I think a lot of sapphic women can relate to this idea of waiting for an idyllic love - or a less thorny rose - to come along, after a series of unhappy relationships, or to keep calm under adversity from society.

It awakened my excitement to get back to writing my books, but at the same time, it made me rather nervous due to how difficult Margaret is to write. To combat my slight anxiety at opening my "Roses For Margaret" file for the first time since about June, I thought it would be best to start with reviewing the plot outline, then write a poem to get back into the swing of things.

Dewy Roses at the Park - © Ellie Morris

This is the synopsis so far, though I may add to it at some point:
Platonic, was a very good word to describe her relationship with Evangeline Bassett, thought Margaret. In class they had been studying the different types of love, and Margaret had come to the realisation that her love for Evangeline was platonic. She fixated on that word with a passion, and at the same time acknowledged that she loved Evangeline with all her heart. It would never do to love a girl with more than Plato’s ideals in mind, she thought, and pushed all her summer love dreams to the back of her mind. Besides, she thought; I’m not a lesbian; she looked upon the word with disgust and thinly veiled interest, like a dead bird on the corner of the road, rotting yet fascinating in a distant, morbid kind of way. Through love and life, Margaret is faced with many trials, each person as confusing and complex as the next.

Transitional Rose  - © Ellie Morris
Let's see how that goes! I received some books on writing for my birthday, so I'm going to see if they inspire me and get me out of my block. I have so many ideas, and am getting new ones every day, but unfortunately not many for the book I'm actually trying to write! Anybody else have that problem?

Fading Light  - © Ellie Morris
I just want to get some content out there and hammer away at my keyboard for a short while before moving on to other tasks! It sounds simple, but my muse for Margaret seems to have escaped through the window in my down time. These comments on my book probably don't make the story sound promising, but I'm hoping that the story that gives me the most trouble will turn out to be one of my most successful novels - fingers crossed!

I have also included some photos of the roses at a nearby park that I took a couple of Sundays ago on a stroll with my family. The light was fading as the nights draw in, so I got a kind of scenic, cold but soft atmosphere - or at least I think so. I love orange roses (or any colour really), so there are two of them!
I hope you like the pictures, and feel free to follow by clicking the blue button at the side!


P.S. Time seems to have slipped me by a bit for posting, as it was my 19th birthday on Sunday, and I had a busy day yesterday, so I'm still recovering from all the social activity! I want to post more regularly, at least once a week.

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