Its been two weeks or so since I started this website and I have loved every second of it. So in celebration, here's a long blog! Yay! This is why I haven't been updating as much as I normally to. Energy is pretty down too at the moment.
Anyways, enough moaning and lets crack on!
The title of this post Who You Really Are is a soundtrack from Sherlock series 4: The Final Problem. Obviously I'm not going to give any spoilers, I would hate it if anyone did that to me. You can listen to the soundtrack above without worrying about spoilers.
I have listened to the soundtrack quite a few times and it’s inspired me a lot already. I love any music with incorporates violins, there's just something about them. As a whole, I love instrumental music. I mentioned another soundtrack in my blog post Short and Sweet. There is something really special about soundtracks for television shows and films. One of my ambitions is to, one day, go to the BBC Proms at the Albert Hall in London. It’s very easy to get swept along in the notes, the melodies and rhythm of instrumental music. Of course, I will always love lyrical music, but instrumental music has the power to inspire me, without getting influenced by lyrics. I think that's why I listen to instrumental music when I'm writing the very first draft. Nothing can distract me or influence my ideas apart from the notes. There is no verbal direction in instrumental music.
I've gone off on a tangent again. Sorry about that.
The real point of this blog is to tell you to accept who you really are.
As a writer (I don't know if I have told you that already?) I quickly learnt to accept my writing style and my preferred genre. I do prefer to read romantic period drama. Particular ones include Call Nurse Jenny by Maggie Ford, The Ribbon Weaver by Rosie Goodwin and A Wartime Nurse by Maggie Hope. I could go on and list all the books that are on my bookshelves. And my desk. And there’s a few piles on the floor too, I ran out of room on my bookshelves, you see.
However, I'm not going to. I love reading this genre, but I still don't know if I am able to write it convincingly. The manuscript I am currently writing at the moment has the genre of romantic period drama. I am slowly making my way through it and editing it by hand so it's taking a very long time. It's not at the word count I want it to be, I will have to write a few more chapters. Personally, I don’t think the piece is up to scratch, yet anyway. It needs a lot more work on it. I need to do in depth research about the time as I need to get details right to make it believable for the reader. If it isn't believable and realistic, I may as well throw it all in the bin and start something completely new. So I'm going to take my time with my manuscript. Because that's the kind of writer I am. I am precise, patient, thorough and methodical in everything I do. I don't like to cut corners, I like to do things properly and by the book. I follow the rules. Very boring I know. But if I’m going to do something, I need to do it correctly, for my own sanity. I don’t often go out on a whim without some research first. Very much like Hermione Granger. (I’m a Potterhead and Ravenclaw to the very end.)
Looking through my portfolio of my work, before and during university, I've come to realise that I tend to write pieces in the modern day. I like to write short fiction, mainly because most of my assessments for uni have all been below 3.000 words. This means that I don't have a lot of time or words to play with. I can't go into loads of detail, I can't have too many characters or too many scene changes. I have to be precise. Now, I understand that my writing reflects my personally. I really do like realism as it is happening right here, right now. I can incorporate 21st century ideas, technology and so on. I can use swearing in my work (only when necessary) I can easily put my characters into different settings. Pubs, restaurants, shops, places of work or educations without a problem. With realism, the possibilities really are endless. I don’t think you can do that when you're writing in the past. A character can't just pop to Tesco at one in the morning for some milk if the piece is set in the nineteenth century, can they?
(Unless they have a Vortex Manipulator. Or a Time Turner. Hey don’t judge, got to get my fandom references in somehow, haven’t I?)
In all seriousness, I'm still finding out who I really am. I'm still young, even if I feel about forty. My grandmother once said that I'm old before my time and I think that's true. I wasn't your normal teenager. I didn't go out drinking all the time, I didn’t had a sting of boyfriends or anything like that. Perhaps I'm being a little stereotypical and I hope no one takes offense before I meant none. I prefer and still do, evenings in on my own. Watching TV, listening to music, reading or writing are my favourite past times. They make me feel safe, they're a friend I can always come home to, especially if I’ve had a really rubbish day. That's who I am. I’m a bookworm, I'm a geek. I prefer tea to alcohol. I can happily sit for hours reading a book or editing a piece of work. Of course I haven't figured everything out yet. I don’t know what I’m going to do after uni. But I have plenty of time to sort of a plan.
I don't think any of us really know who we really are. It takes someone on the outside to tell us. But they men no offense when they do, even if we take what they have said to hart. They're only telling the truth. I think, as a writer, this could not be truer. We like to think we know our writing style, our preferred techniques. But it's the reader who ultimately decides for themselves. They're the one reading your work. They haven’t had to go through numerous editing and drafting of the piece. All they see is the finished product. All they see is who you really are.
For one of my modules, Focus on Short Fiction, we had to hand in a piece for the lecturer to review. I handed in Anniversary.
I received the piece back and had a tutorial with the lecturer. She seemed reasonably happy with it and suggested some things to change, for example a recurring sense of the main character reminding herself why she shouldn’t cry. I rewrote the first three hundred words or so and I like it a lot more now it’s been drafted.
Below is the redrafted opening paragraph of Anniversary.
A drop of rain fell on her cheek.
I will not cry.
Sara glanced up. The rapidly greying clouds glared back. She looked down, eyeing the gravestones in front of her as another drop of rain landed on her forehead and trickled down her skin. The rain drop finally came to a halt at her chin. A second later, it fell to the sodden grass.
Not today, I won’t cry.
Her vision focused sharply as she blinked, only to be obscured with moisture a moment later. Her numbing fingers curled around the bouquet of tulips, loose petals drifted to the sparse grass. Her hand trembled as she absentmindedly tucked a lose strand of blonde hair behind her ear.
I promised them I wouldn’t.
Several rain drops splashed on her face, creating more and more transparent lines down her pale skin. Soon, it became hard to distinguish the difference between rain drops and tears. Soon, her skin became rigid with the drying moisture, the lines on her face making her look years before her time, washed out and ill.
A twig snapped. Sara blinked. She shakily raised a hand to shield her eyes from the rain. The empty graveyard told her nothing, only solitude and silence.
I will not cry.
She scoffed quietly, shaking her head and sending rain drops flying from her hair. Why would anyone want to venture out in this weather? No one in their right mind would leave their warm and cosy house. Only she would. Only she ever would. Sara turned her eyes back down, anxiety fading away. Sorrow, guilt and loss replacing it.
I think who I really am, well is a writer. In this profession, we can’t stick to just one type of genre, one writing style. Because if we did, no one would read any of our work. We need to make changes, take chances. Push ourselves out of our comfort zone and see where it takes us. That’s what happened when I wrote the piece Friends, I Thought This Was Living. I was really scared about submitting that as part of my assessment. I loved the piece but it was my first proper attempt at writing realism with intent. But I took the chance and it payed off. I feel much more confident about writing for this genre now. Even though I don’t like taking chances, I hate changes and it’s rare I have the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone, we all have to do it. To improve, to perfect our skills and to learn new things. It doesn’t just apply to writers, it applies to everyone who walks this earth, past and present.
Go and discover who you really are. Ask your friends and try not to take their comments to heart. You have to be true to yourself and only yourself. That’s how we grow and develop, mature and learn. It’s who we are.
I’ll leave you with this quote.
“You know the man you truly are, Remus! This heart is where you truly live! This heart! Here!”-Sirius Black, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Until the next time.