UNDER CONSTRUCTION #1: Life Updates

I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with this blog. My last few weeks have been pretty busy with non-book stuff happening so I haven’t really had time to think of any ideas for fun posts. Now that everything is over and it’s summer and I have all this free time, things will hopefully start to pick up and get more entertaining. For now, though, I’m kind of just in the mood to ramble about my life and some stuff that’s been going on, and figured that I might as well take inspiration from some newsletters that I’m subscribed to (Erin Bowman, Alex Bracken, Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard specifically!) and… well, just talk about stuff that’s going on in my life!

Who knows, this might become a thing I do every so often, or it might not, I guess we’ll have to wait and see if anything interesting or exciting happens in my life!


What I’ve Been Up To

The Dissertation

A few weeks ago I was just finishing up with my final year of University, and that meant I was finishing up with my dissertation. It was something that, for four years, I knew I was going to have to do, but I never really took the time to think about what I was going to actually write about. At the beginning of the University year, I was in classes and lectures and workshops that the Uni ran to help prepare us for actually doing the dissertation, and while everyone I spoke to had firm ideas on what they were going to write about and how they were going to go about their research, I was kind of stuck in limbo. I had this one vague idea where I was going to study fantasy books and do some stuff to do with allegories in them, but I was never really set on the idea. I was just going to do it because I didn’t have any other ideas.

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About a week before it was time to submit a final project outline so that the department could set supervisors and the work could really start, I completely changed my mind. I threw out the idea I had — including all of the plans that I had already done for it — in favour of doing what I really wanted to do but think I was subconsciously too afraid to; a Creative Writing piece. I had been reading Sara Bareilles’ autobiography, Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song, and was hit by an idea that wouldn’t leave me: of a boy in a run-down pub in Glasgow playing at an open-mic night for five people. From that image, my entire dissertation came to life and I instantly started to write.

Flashforward to ten months later, and I’ve finally submitted it. Ten months of working, of meetings with my supervisor, of re-drafting it to trim it to the 10,000 word limit (my first draft clocked in at 20,000ish (well, actually, 80,000ish, but more on that in a minute)), of more meetings, more re-drafting, editing, revising, editing, revising, nights of banging my head on the desk and hating every word I’ve ever written, and here I am. I’m so proud of how it ended up, and in a way, I don’t really care what grade I get for it. I’m happy with it, and that’s enough for me. (I mean, I care enough about my grade because it’ll influence my degree, but you know what I mean.)

The Work-in-Progress

So, I mentioned something about 80,000 words. When I wrote the first draft of my dissertation, I did it without caring about the 10k word limit. When I hit 20k, I had written everything that was in the dissertation, but the main story wasn’t quite done yet. And so, over the Christmas break, I just wrote. Every day, no exceptions. I got 2,000 words done on Christmas Day, I was that dedicated to the story and so driven to write it. I just couldn’t let go of the characters, and wanted to know what happened, where they went, who they met, how their lives changed. And, over the course of a month and two days, I wrote an entire 80,000 word novel. I went a week where I wrote over 5,000 words 5 days in a row. It was insane, and brilliant, and I’ve never felt so good about writing anything before.

Since finishing the dissertation, I’ve started to go back to the novel. I’m trying to re-draft it right now, where I’ve changed one sentence a character says which has ended up changing a lot of what drives the plot. I’ve always preferred writing the first draft to revising, which is why I often give up on projects after I finish a first draft, but I don’t want to do that this time. Every night brings new challenges with the project, but I just plug in my headphones, get in the zone, and work for 6 straight hours until I need to sleep!

If you’ve seen me on Twitter over the last few months talking about writing, or my MS (or WIP), that’s what it’s been about. The novel has a title, but I’m going to be annoying and not tell you it — for now, I think I’ll refer to it as #ProjectNYC (not as fun as readbyzoe’s #ProjectMilkshake, I know, I’m sorry, I wish my idea had come to me because of a milkshake, but alas.)

Meeting Cassandra Clare

A final exciting thing that happened recently; I met Cassandra Clare last week! I don’t know if I’ve IMG_5660ever mentioned before, but The Mortal Instruments was the book series that got me firmly into YA, so when it was announced that she was coming to Glasgow, I had to go meet her. She done a brief Q&A, during which she apologised for killing off a Scottish Shadowhunter in one of her novellas, and then took the time to sign peoples books and take pictures. It was all-in-all just a really nice time, and I’m so happy that I got to meet one of my favourite authors!

What I’ve Been Reading

 I just finished a book that came out a few years ago by Rebecca Stead callWhen_you_reach_meed When You Reach Me, and it was mind-blowingly good. I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it. I think it’s technically classed as Middle Grade (because the main character is 12), but when I read it I thought of it as YA.

SS&DSince finishing that, I’ve finally started reading Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard — this book has been on my shelf since 2013, and I’m so happy I picked it up at last. It’s set in an alternate nineteenth-century Philadelphia and follows a girl who sets out to rescue her brother, who she believes has been taken by an evil necromancer in control of an army of Undead. It’s pretty epic.

What I’ve Been Watching

Over the past week I’ve just been binge-watching vlogs from so many BookTubers. I re-watched all of Tashapolis‘s Vidcon 2015 vlogs, then I watched Zoë’s Study Abroad vlogs (she’s in Stirling for a little bit in one, and I could see my Uni in one shot, and I wish I’d known she was there so I could have said hello to her somewhere!). If you haven’t already, I recommend binge-watching BookTube (even just normal videos that aren’t vlogs), because they’re so fun and addictive and they make me smile a lot!


Aaaand I think that’s about everything that’s been going on recently! If you made it all the way through this post, congrats! If you didn’t, how are you reading this?

As always, I’ll be trying to think up things to do with this blog. Maybe more tags? Maybe some more lists of my favourite things? Let me know what kind of things you want to see me talking about; I have a look of bookish thoughts in my head, I just don’t have a lot of ideas of how to give them to you!

MichaelSig

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