“I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.”

“Had it not been for this unscheduled series of events, her daughter and I would not have fallen in love. And I would still be eating lobster every Tuesday night.
Incredible.”

Opening and Closing Lines from “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion.

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Writing Inspiration: The Rosie Project

Quotations, Quotes, writing inspiration

Book Quotes: The Carrie Diaries

Books, confessions, Quotations, Quotes, Young Adult

The Internet is full of quotes, many of which are from books, and many of which are inspirational. I am one of those crazy people, who refuses to highlight or write in a hard copy of a book, because I just feel like books should be given more respect than that. Therefore, one of the things that I like most about my Kindle, is the fact that I can highlight things without physically marking them and damaging them.

A lot of the time, the quotes that I highlight aren’t necessarily inspirational, but more things that I find easy to relate to, so I felt that I wanted to share of few of those with you.

The Carrie Diaries

The Carrie Diaries

Page 9.

“What if I’m a Princess on another planet? And no one on this planet knows it?” That question still kind of blows me away. I mean, isn’t it the truth? Whoever we are here, we might be princesses somewhere else.

I love this quote because it reminds me of a story that I read in a magazine years ago about a guy who spent all of his childhood being bullied for the fact that he has ginger hair. On his travels, the guy visited a country (I can’t remember what country it was) where ginger hair is unknown and his unique hair colouring made him very popular with the ladies. In fact, he ended up staying and marrying a local girl.

The moral of the story – for me, atleast – being that just because people don’t “get you”, doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t people who will – you just haven’t met them yet.

Page 17.

I highlight an equation in yellow, thinking about how useless it is to highlight. It makes you think you’re learning, but all you’re really learning is how to use a highlighter.

When I was studying History at school, we had a teacher who had the idea that just getting us to read entire chapters from Text Books and making notes on each of those chapters was the best way of learning. I don’t agree, because I spent all my time thinking that it was all important. At that age, I just was not very good at knowing which bits to write, so in my naive wisdom I decided to just write out the entire chapters, occasionally missing out paragraphs that I knew were irrelevant. I was absolutely convinced that my teacher would realise what I was doing, when we had to hand in our exercise books to check that we were making adequate notes. However, my exercise book came back with red inking stating how good I was at taking notes! I’d love to know if she really read them, or if she just looked at the sheer volume of how much I had written!

Either way, looking back – I learnt nothing from this exercise, because all it taught me – in my opinion – was how to copy things. I think that I learnt more from answering the questions at the end of the chapter, when I had to prove that I had read it!

Page 78.

“Because life happens to people. Life is bigger than people. It’s all about nature. The life cycle…It’s out of our control!”

This quote scares me a little, because it represents the realisation that whether we like it or not, there are just some things that are going to happen that we will never be able to control. People will get sick, people will die, people will leave us and none of that is their fault, because it’s no ones fault and that is really scary.

Page 201.

“You don’t want to peak in high school. If you do, the rest of your life is a disaster.”

When you watch films or TV shows, or read books about school, the chances are that the unpopular kids are always trying to fit in with the popular kids; to fit in and get invited to all of the cool parties and have everyone realise how awesome they are. When I was at school, I was definitely not popular or cool and I definitely did not get invited to any parties. At the time, that sucked – a lot. However, looking back, I’m really glad, because imagine if life had been awesome back them, and I mean really awesome without any worries or problems, then I’d probably spend the rest of my life looking back and wishing for those five short years of my life. And that is the point: we spend five years trying to be cool and popular among people who won’t even matter at the end of those five years. School seems important, then, but in the grand scheme of things, being unpopular for those five years, is far better than spending the rest of your life wishing to be young again, instead of living it.

Page 384.

I have this theory: If you forgive someone, they can’t hurt you anymore.”

I think that everyone can relate to this. Forgiving someone who has hurt you is one of the toughest things that we have to face. However, being able to forgive them means that we are able to move on, and let go of those festering feelings of anger towards them.

It doesn’t mean that you have to let them back into your life. It just means that you no long dwell on the hurt.

 

 What are your favourite book quotes,

and why do you love them?

What is SEO?

Jargon, Tips, Website, Writers Resources, Writing

The other day someone asked me what exactly SEO is. It’s a good question, and one that I’m amazed I’ve never thought to answer on the blog before, because I know that I have mentioned it in posts a few times, in the past.

SEO basically stands for Search Engine Optimisation.

In Layman’s Terms this means optimising, or setting your website up, so that Search Engine’s (predominantly Google, but also Bing, Yahoo etc) can find the website and index it appropriately.

Search Engine’s being able to index your website well is incredibly important, because this is how people will find you when they search for specific keywords or terms. Therefore, SEO is the act of placing relevant keywords and terms into your content, so that people can find you – easily – through whichever search engine they choose to use.

For most people, SEO comes relatively naturally, because you instinctively create content that is relevant to your target audience. Sometimes, it is helpful to do some research to discover which keywords are popular at the moment, but if you know your audience well, it is often a matter of “common sense” and just using your initiative.

Nevertheless, never be tempted to “stuff” your content with keywords that you know are guaranteed to get a lot of hits, unless they are genuinely relevant to your content.

The problem with stuffing content with irrelevant but popular keywords is that you will:

  1. Annoy anyone who clicks on your link, on Google, only to discover that your website has absolutely nothing to do with what you are looking for
  2. What is the point of drawing in a lot of people who are not interested in what you have to offer? Sure, you’ll have big hits, but don’t expect any follow-throughs (sales, queries etc!)
  3.  Search Engines are actually pretty smart – they can tell when a website is attempting to, some might say “deceive”, people into coming to their site, and there is a potential that your site will be penalised for doing it, which probably won’t do you any favours.

 

Is Fan Fiction Really That Bad?

Debate, Writing

As writers, we all know that there are certain genres that are generally frowned upon, whether as an actual writer (as in “there is no way I would ever write that kind of thing”) or as a reader (as in “I wouldn’t be seen dead reading that kind of fiction). Stereotypically, Mills and Boon-type novels have received a large proportion of the backlash of this kind, however, over the past few years – with the boom of the Internet – another form of fiction has received just as much scorn; that is, of course Fan Fiction.

What is Fan Fiction?

Fan Fiction is a form of fiction-based writing that involves a writer taking the works of someone else; such as characters and environment, and creating their own stories out of it. This often comes in several forms, such as just creating new adventures for the characters, or even re-shaping them – so-to-speak – into completely new characters, building different relationships and even personalities.

What is the Point of Fan Fiction?

For many fans, writing (or reading) Fan Fiction is about holding on – for dear life – to a series of books, or films, or even a TV shows that they have really enjoyed, and helping to breathe life into it, so that it isn’t forgotten, but is able to continue for longer than the author has chosen to. It is sort of a sense of not wanting to let go to something.

Other reasons for creating Fan Fiction is because the fan doesn’t feel entirely happy with the direction the author has taken the book and/or its  characters in. So, they take the opportunity to “make it right” in their own words.

Would I Ever Write Fan Fiction?

Honestly? No.

For me, personally, the idea of using someone else’s characters tears apart my love for creating them. There is something so special about creating these people, and moulding them into what they become, and for me, using someone else’s characters feels a little like treading on another writers toes – what, for example – gives me the right to say that a character they have created is somehow wrong? But, for me, it’s not a case of not changing the character, because as a writer, I just cannot do that. I have to be the one to mould them, otherwise I don’t feel that I can get in their heads well enough to truly tell their story.

I need to know the character as if they were my best friend, and I don’t think that I could do that with a character that I couldn’t twist and move around in my own personal way.

Don’t get me wrong, I have attempted Fan Fiction (I attempted – during my Uni days – to write a story bringing together various characters from the different Final Fantasy video games) and I absolutely sucked at it. I mean, really sucked. It drove me crazy, because I didn’t feel like I could get into their heads. I didn’t know them well enough, because someone else created them.

Needless to say, I didn’t get very far with that work of crap!

Does that Make Fan Fiction a Bad Thing?

Of course not. Fan Fiction might not be my cup of tea, but that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. Admittedly, there is this growing trend out there for truly bad Fan Fiction, and I mean appallingly bad. But then again, there are works that show a great deal of imagination, as well as talent.

Personally, I think that if you are a truly talented writer then it does not matter what you write, as long as you are writing. Unfortunately, it does build-up a few bridges for yourself, which are a little sad, especially if your wok is good.

The biggest wall is that ultimately, you will never be able to earn money from your work, as the rights to those characters and worlds belong to the person who created them. They only possible way to make money is if you are somehow able to get permission from the original author. This, of course can and has happened, but it’s unlikely.

There are, however, websites that are dedicated to be spaces to share Fan Fiction, and many Fan Fiction writers take to blogs to do it, so it is not completely impossible to at least get a little recognition from it. So, if you’re not bothered about monetary gains, then who cares, right?

I do also think that Fan Fiction is capable of leading a writer towards something much bigger. For example, a story might start out as a Twilight Fan Fiction (naming no names) and it gradually evolves into a story of its own with completely different characters in a very different environment.

Film as Fan Fiction

My film buff other half, who also happens to be a writer, commented that “these days Hollywood films are becoming a form of Fan Fiction.”

It was an interesting point, because it’s something that I have never even consider, and it would be interesting to know how much creative input, for example, George Lucas has had in the writing and plotting of the upcoming Star Wars films. If he has had little input, then the new films could easily be considered as being written by fans – just fans with a bit more money and power, than the average writer of Fan Fiction. Staying with J.J. Abrams films, the latest Star Trek films could also be called Fan Fiction as the original creators of the series are no longer alive. So, are films just an “accepted” form of Fan Fiction? And also, the only financially-rewarding.

 

What are your thoughts on Fan Fiction?

Do you think that there is plenty of room for all varieties of writing, no matter what style or genre?

Or do you think that Fan Fiction is the spawn of the Devil?

 

Writing Inspiration: The Lift Button Conundrum

Writing, writing inspiration

writing inspiration

Honestly? I never push the button in lifts more than once (except when I’m not convinced that I have pressed it hard enough –71ecb29f739da13fa624ce313716718b some buttons are so stupid!). However, when I was at Uni (many moons ago), I had a male friend who used to tap incessantly at the pedestrian crossing button, because he was absolutely convinced that it made it turn to green quicker. Do I believe him? Er…definitely not! I think that’s more down to the order of traffic movement that the crossings are programmed to, so we still have to wait our turn, no matter how many times that you tap the button.

On the other hand, ask me if I tap the screen on my mobile phone because I somehow think that this is going to speed up the loading of an app, then I am guilty as charged!

Obviously, this is more a test of showing how impatient we are as Human Beings, because we always seem to be in so much of a hurry in life.

How about you?

Do you push the button on the lift more than once?

A Letter to My 22-year-old Self

Writing

Dear Kathryn,

Seriously, stop introducing yourself as “Kathryn” – it’s not you, and within the next four years, everyone will know you as “Kat” anyway, so you might as well just start doing it now – you’ll thank me later 😉 Also, this big fantastical dream that you have of working in Publishing? Yeah, it’s not going to happen. Yes, your work placement at Bloomsbury was an amazing experience (even eight years on, you do genuinely think fondly of your time there!) but, do you really want to live in London? Do you really think that working there would be all it’s cracked up to be? Trust me, you’d hate it! It would suck. It would drain the life out of you, and you’d realise very quickly that you’re a small-town gal and you’re happy with that! Stop applying for jobs in Publishing. Right now, stop it.

Start a blog. About anything. Honestly, I think a beauty blog would be lots of fun, and they are really going to take off over the next few years 😉 Just a little tip there for you! But whatever, just blog about anything, you’re a writer, you should be writing to your hearts content, because that’s what you do. Why do you keep pushing it to the side, like a pathetic hobby? Is it because you’ve spent your entire life being told that’s all it will ever be? Well, it doesn’t have to be! You can make your writing into so much more! And you will, trust me, writing is what you were born to do, so just do it. No more excuses.

So, you’ve been with Chris for over two weeks now huh? How’s that going? Well, the bugger is still going to be around in eight years time, so that’s good news right? You’re going to go through a lot together – and I mean, A LOT! But he is going to be your rock, and yeah, things are going to get tough, but the fight is worth it in the end, and things are going to be okay on that front, so don’t waste your time worrying about it.

Stop thinking about the past. Some people are only meant to be a part of your life for a brief whisper of a moment. Yes, they were a major part of it, but they were only tiny fragment of  a part of it, and they are not worth wasting your time thinking about. Move on, because they are not important anymore. What they think doesn’t matter. There are more important people in your life, who will play a much bigger role in the years to come – some you already know, and some you’re going to meet along the way.

Also, don’t be afraid to take risks. Taking risks is the reason that I’m where I am today, and you need to learn to take them, so that you can get here too.

Last but not least – don’t be afraid to be who you are. If people think that you’re weird, that’s okay. If they have a problem with it, that’s their problem and not yours. Be confident in yourself. You are an amazing writer, and I believe in you.

Love,

30-year-old you (Freelance Writer and Blogger)

PS – Put down the cakes and biscuits! Seriously, you are killing me!

Grammar: Useful Rhyme

Word of the Week, Writing

I can’t take any credit for this rhyme, but I find it useful for remembering the difference between nouns, pronouns, adjectives etc and I thought that you guys might find it useful as well:

Every name is called a NOUN,

As FIELD and FOUNTAIN, STREET and TOWN;

In place of noun, the PRONOUN stands,

As HE and SHE can clap their HANDS;

The ADJECTIVE describes a thing,

As MAGIC wand and BRIDAL ring;

The VERB means actions, something done –

TO READ, TO WRITE, TO JUMP, TO RUN;

How things are done, the ADVERBS tell,

As QUICKLY, SLOWLY, BADLY, WELL;

The PREPOSITION shows relation,

As IN street, or AT the station;

CONJUNCTIONS join in many ways,

Sentences, words OR phrase AND phrase;

The INTERJECTION cries out “Hark!”

I need an exclamation mark!

Through poetry, we learn each of these

Make up THE PARTS OF SPEECH.

Grammar: One Word or Two?

Writing

Something that I touched on in my blog post about word that I commonly misspell, related to “all right” and “a lot” being two words. Since writing that post, I’ve come to realise that there are actually quite a few words that are similar, whereby getting it wrong creates the completely wrong mean or you’re just using a word that doesn’t actually exist. Here are a few of the one that trip me up, and how you should really be spelling them:

Alright / All right

The word “alright” does not exist, so just remember the phrase “It is either All Right or All Wrong” to remind you that it is either two words, or it’s wrong!

Alot / A lot

Again, the word “alot” doesn’t exist either, so it is always two words…try to remember that if you have a lot of something you can spread them out, so imagine that you’re spreading a lot of letter out! Yeah, that made sense in my head, but doesn’t sound quite so good now that I’ve typed it out, but hopefully you can grasp the point that I was at least trying to make!

Altogether / All together

Anyone / Any one

Everyday / Every day

Everyone / Every one

This time, both spellings are correct, depending on your overall meaning. However, for me, this is a confusing one, because both words have quite similar meanings, no matter how they are spelt, but the word that you use alters the way that you say it.

This is actually my second attempt at explaining this, because – as I’ve said – I do find it a little confusing, and I wanted to make it as easy as possible. The easiest way, I feel, to describe which word is correct, is to determine what you are trying to convey.

For example, if you are describing something as a collective, or as a whole then you only want one word – which makes sense. Nevertheless, if you are describing something that is a small part of the collective, then it is two words.

 Into / In To

I’ve noticed that “into” and “in to” have been catching me out a lot recently, and I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to decide which one is the correct usage for what I am writing.

The term “into” is the action of literally doing an action, for example: “I’m going to dive into the ocean”, whilst “in to” is more a description of what you are going to do, for example: “When I reach the ocean, I go in to a dive.”

Always / All Ways

Always is similar to “into” and “in to”, but I think this rhyme helps to remember which spelling you want:

I always get lost at the Shopping Centre

All ways lead to the Shopping Centre

Okay, so all ways probably don’t lead to the Shopping Centre, but hopefully it helps to figure it out 😉