NaNoWriMo 2017 Pep Talk To Myself

NaNoWriMo 2017

So, NaNoWriMo 2017 is literally 13 days away, and it’s safe to say, the panic has set in.

Well, not¬†panic¬†as such, I know what stories I’m focusing on, I’ve made starts on both of them, I know what direction I’m heading in.

My problem is finding the time to get this done.

For the last five years, I’ve¬†smashed¬†NaNoWriMo to bits, even from my first try. I’ve finished early and written past 50,000 words, I’ve barely broken a sweat most years doing it because I’ve always been so used to writing at least 700 words a day. For me, NaNoWriMo in previous years has just been a case of writing a bit more than usual.

This year, things are different.

This year, my entire life has changed, to the point where it’s nearly unrecognisable. I’m now a full-time carer, I’m more stressed than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve never felt as low as I do currently. I’ve been taking at least one day a week off writing, I’ve been running into roadblocks with my stories, nearly lost passion for them at times.

Never in my¬†life¬†have I been like this. I’ve always been so passionate about writing, and I still am, it’s all I want to do with my life. But, life itself is getting in the way.

For a while, I considered not doing NaNoWriMo this year, because I didn’t feel like I had the energy for it.

But, I decided that I’m not going to let life beat me in this. Life is kicking my ass in every single way possible, and I really should just focus on the more traditionally important things in my life.

I’m not going to, though. I’m going to¬†do¬†this. I’m going to¬†smash¬†NaNoWriMo 2017 again, I’m not going to let life beat me in this. NaNoWriMo is¬†my¬†month, and it’s going to be stressful, I’m going to be losing sleep as I hastily write at midnight to catch up with myself. But I’m going to do it.

NaNoWriMo is the month where I’m going to write like never before, I’m going to make up for all my missed days, and get myself back on track.

I’m going to write every day.

I’m going to stop taking breaks.

I’m going to focus on getting on top of my stories.

I’m going to write 50,000 words in a month.

Screw what life throws at me. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo during my A Levels¬†and¬†all three of my university years. This year, I’m at the beginning stages at creating a freelance writing business, while caring full time.

I can do this. I can write 50,000 words in a month. I have done it before, and I will not let myself down this year.

Interruptions, lack of ideas, dwindling passion for stories, I’m going to ignore it all. I’m going to fall in love with my ideas again, not let the pauses stop me, get the ideas flowing again.

NaNoWriMo 2017, I’m coming for you.

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Golden Kingsman

The Kingsman Are Golden

Suit jackets are buttoned, ties are tied, the Oxfords are on, not the Brogues. That can only mean one thing – the Kingsman are back!

Last night, the second outing for the Kingsman debuted, and what an adventure it was!

Robots, psychopathic villains¬†and character resurrections define The Golden Circle, in one of the maddest, out of this world films I’ve seen this year.

Think Kingsman 1, but bigger, better, and all round crazier, and you have the vaguest idea of this film.

The Golden Circle follows Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Rylance), the only surviving members of the Kingsman, after every hideout is blown to pieces, as they travel to America to find the US version of their organisation – The Statesman.

The two could not be more different, the Kingsman are the definition of stylish, discreet, and gentlemanly. The Statesman are quite a bit louder, brasher, and just about every stereotype an American secret service organisation could be Рbut with some very cool toys.

Naturally, Eggsy and Merlin clash terribly with Statesman agents Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Champs (Jeff Bridges), and Tequila (Channing Tatum), but have to work as best they can to take down The Golden Circle, who have a plan to kill millions with infected drugs.

Sound like enough to be dealing with? Well, there’s another thing to add to that list of problems –¬†Harry¬†is back.¬†That’s right, Harry Hart (Colin Firth), Eggsy’s mentor, previously shot-through-the-head-and-dead agent of Kingsman, is¬†alive.¬†Missing an eye, and all of his memories, but he’s alive. And Eggsy has no idea what to do, he has to complete the mission, but he needs Harry back to his old self, so the old crew are back together.

Hilarious, insane, and ruder than the first, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an unforgettable¬†thrill ride. Anyone who says it was too long, or suffered from thinking ‘bigger is better’ is entirely wrong, and clearly don’t know what the Kingsman franchise is all about. It’s about massive fight scenes, far-fetched plots, insane characters, it’s escapism in it’s truest form.

I laughed, I nearly cried, and loved every damn second of it. As Eggsy would say – it was fucking awesome – and well worth seeing several times over.

The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman Review

REVIEW

An invisible library, filled with books taken from thousands of alternate worlds? Librarians, who go out to find books from these worlds? Some of these worlds infected with ‘chaos,’ and therefore have vampires, werewolves and other Fae creatures running around?

Sign me right up!

Except, that isn’t quite what I got.

Well, I¬†did¬†get that. I got the vampires, the Fae, the magical Library and it’s Librarians, trying to collect a certain version of Grimm’s Fairytales. But I didn’t really,¬†care¬†about it all.

Sure, the story line was incredibly inventive, and, quite frankly, like my ideal job, if I had the slightest bit of bravery in me. I just simply could not find myself to care about anything going on, and that was because of a few issues:

  1. The characters.
  2. Missing emotional context.
  3. Lack of common sense.

These three things all weave into each other, but essentially, our main character, Irene, is rather good at not seeing the obvious. Or even suspecting it. She’s too busy trying not to think about Kai, and trying to be a Good Librarian, that she doesn’t even consider several very obvious possibilities.

Without giving too much away, there’s an Evil Librarian, who is trying to kill Irene, her apprentice, Kai, and their associate, Vale. And when she gets betrayed by a fellow Librarian, she doesn’t stop to think that maybe, just¬†maybe,¬†the one betraying her is the one trying to kill her.

I don’t know about you, but if I was being hunted down by someone who’s gone rogue from my secret society, and then someone in my society betrayed me and left me to the mercy of¬†werewolves,¬†I’d think that maybe they were the same person. Or at least associated with each other.

But not Irene. She just continues to think that this is all because of her and her betrayer’s rivalry.

The same goes for when she finds out the other character’s secrets, she doesn’t pull them aside and get them to explain, or wonder why she’s been lied to. She just carries on, resolving to ask later on, and continuing to just¬†trust¬†her partner, who has¬†lied to her about who he is,¬†for the rest of the book.

Which was, frankly, infuriating. Which is the only emotion I felt through the entire book.

There are several scenes in this book that should have made me wince in pain, or at least feel something, but each one fell completely flat for me.

Irene is injured several times, and quite severely. Or she’s put in danger. Or she nearly dies. Each time, I could not have cared less. The scenes were described in such a way, that I felt nothing. Even during the fantastical scenes, such as a steam-powered centipede attacking the main characters, there was no shock or surprise.

At any point, I could have put the book down and never picked it back up again, and not cared one iota about the fate of the characters. Several times, I did put the book down on a cliff hanger and didn’t pick it back up for several days, and each time, I didn’t think once back to the characters fates.

The only reason why I finished the book was to avoid having another ‘DNF’ on my list because I hate doing that.

Essentially, I really, really did not care for this book at all. It had all the elements I love – steampunk, libraries, female protagonists who actually¬†do¬†something, along with¬†vampires,¬†and I just could not care about it. I wished I could have liked it, but I really couldn’t.

A great story idea, with brilliant plots, but poorly executed. But hey, at least the cover is pretty?

3/5 stars.

The Defenders Are In Business

The Defenders Are In Business

 

I’ve just spent the entire day, since 8 am this morning, watching the new Marvel Netflix show – Defenders.

And ohhhh boy, was it AMAZING!

The eight episodes chronicle previous Netflix series heroes – Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones), as they team up to finally put a stop to The Hand – an organisation both Iron Fist and Daredevil have faced before.

Without giving away spoilers, of which they are many, the TV show is an absolute thrill ride and brings Marvel’s Netflix world back on track.

Things, for me at least, fell apart a bit during Iron Fist’s first solo outing. The fight scenes did nothing for me, the story wasn’t all that interesting, and, quite frankly,¬†everyone¬†around Iron Fist was more interesting than Iron Fist himself.

But, Defenders brings Netflix back on track. A brilliant story line, excellent fight scenes for everyone, lots of blood, guts and gore, there’s something for everyone.

Also, Marvel has clearly taken the time to improve the character behind the Iron First, Danny Rand. His choreography was far better than before, and while naive (and, admittedly, still annoyingly head strong) Danny almost became likeable. 

Don’t get me wrong, I finished the series still not liking him, but I hated him¬†less¬†after this series. I still laughed at watching him get beaten up, but I wasn’t actively wanting him to get killed like I was in his solo series.

Personally, I think it was all down to how he was presented, and how he interacted with other characters.

His fellow Defenders really offset Danny’s annoying tendencies and stopped him rushing into danger a lot, as well as shut down his naive¬†moments. He still had them, but at least his ideas weren’t followed through with for the most part, so I didn’t feel like tearing my hair out with frustration with him.

As for the other Defenders, they were all still on complete top form. They blended together perfectly in my opinion. They didn’t like each other all that much, and certainly didn’t get along for most of the show, but they still blended together well.

I had been worried that this series wouldn’t work, as the characters are too different in personality and too similar in powers. But it actually worked incredibly well.

Worked so well, in fact, I was near tears by the end. Honestly, I very nearly¬†cried¬†at the end. At the very least, I was terrified that someone wasn’t going to come back.

From the cinematography to the plot, to the comic references, this show is truly bringing Marvel back on track.

If you’re someone who loves Marvel, violence, gore, or just Netflix TV shows, I would highly recommend Marvel’s The Defenders. It’s clever, funny in places, violent to the extreme at points, and restored my faith in Marvel’s Netflix universe.

The Defenders are officially in business, and I cannot wait to see what they do next, individually or together.

Whatever they do next, it will certainly be one hell of a ride.

The Murdstone Trilogy By Mal Peet – Review

murdstone

What does every writer want, more than anything? More than a book deal, along with a movie adaption deal?

Someone to write the book for them, that’s what. And don’t try to tell me you don’t, every writer has, at least¬†once¬†in their writing life, wished the book would either write itself, or for someone to do it for them.

That’s exactly what Philip Murdstone gets.

Murdstone starts this book as an established writer, but he hasn’t published anything in years, and his sales are going through the floor. He usually writes books for ‘sensitive boys,’ overcoming some sort of trial in their lives, and that kind of thing just isn’t selling anymore.

What is selling, though, is fantasy. Fantasy is selling by the bucket loads. Every literary agent, publishing house, and writer, is looking to create the next Harry Potter.

There’s one problem. Murdstone¬†hates¬†fantasy, abhors it, wants it banished from the world. He’d rather¬†die¬†than write a fantasy.

‚ÄúI hate Tolkien. I mean. Bloody pretentious escapist nonsense, isn‚Äôt it?‚ÄĚ

His agent doesn’t like the genre very much either, but it sells, so who cares?

But when he is faced with no other choice, he gives in, and that’s where this story starts.

Murdstone ends up meeting Pocket, a swearing, uncouth, yet strangely likeable, Greme from another land, who agrees to tell him about Morl, a dark necromancer trying expand his Thule. The book becomes an instant classic, Murdstone soars to J.K Rowelling levels of fame.

It all comes at a price, though. And that price is Morl trying to use a sacred Amulet to get into this world, an Amulet that Murdstone possesses, and uses, to translate Pocket’s stories into our language.

Every writer’s dream, and worst nightmare, wrapped into one.

But, for a reader, it’s brilliant.

For a reader, who also happens to be a writer, or knowledgeable in the publishing industry, it is dream, to read.

Full of sass, snark, and just about every insult to Tolkien, Rowelling, and the fantasy genre as a whole, The Murdstone Trilogy is an unrelenting, yet hilarious, story, with twists and turns galore. Nothing is safe from Murdstone and his ire.

‚ÄúWriters no longer work in solitude, crafting meaningful and elegant prose. No. They have to spend most of their time selling themselves on the fucking internet. Blogging and tweeting and updating their bloody Facebook pages and their wretched narcissistic websites.‚ÄĚ

In between the Hamlet-esque ‘is he mad, or is this actually happening,’ diatribes against just about everything, and the fear for Murdstone’s life, there are moments where the audience can really sympathise with Murdstone’s plight.

Every writer has thought that they couldn’t finish the book, or face huge deadlines that loom overhead, or have been so unbelievably stuck, they didn’t think they could ever get out of it.

Every writer has wished that they were as successful as J K Rowelling.

Every writer has definitely wished for someone to take the story away and magically complete it for them.

And that’s the magic of this book. It’s wacky, and insane, but it speaks to the authors, the publishers, the editors. It creates a story focused around the world of publishing, while keeping the most fantastical elements flowing.

I loved every second of this book. It was truly a wonderful read, that had me laughing throughout, and half wishing I could have my own Murdstone-style adventure.

Witty, uncompromising, definitely not for the faint of heart, but, an absolute must read for anyone who loves books.

Valerian And The Intense Special Effects

For weeks now, every time I’ve gone to the cinema, I’ve seen adverts for Valerian and The City Of A Thousand Planets. I feel like it’s been everywhere for ages now, so I decided to go and see what it was all about.

Now that I’ve seen it, I’m still not entirely sure.

Valerian follows Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevigne), who are agents working for the space police in the future, and their adventure around Alpha. Alpha is a conglomeration of a thousand planets, who pool all their knowledge together for the greater good. But there’s a problem, according to the general, there’s an area in the centre of the station which is heavily irradiated, and it’s killed every agent who’s gone inside it.

At least, that’s the plot line I picked up on. There’s about four going through the film, to do with general, an alien species and their dead planet, and the fact that Valerian wants to marry Laureline, but she doesn’t want to, until he’s decided to grow up.

These plots weave in and out of each other, quite heavy-handedly at points, with fight and chase scenes interspersed throughout. I found it really quite difficult to pick out exactly what the plot was supposed to be,  it felt like there were so many things going on constantly, with no real cohesion, until the end.

For the most part, I didn’t feel much for anybody. The film threw it’s audience into the action, without giving anybody the chance to find out anything about any of the characters. Not that there was much to say about the characters themselves, really. I found both Valerian and Laureline to be stereotypes, with barely any padding on them, and any chance for them to become more was completely ignored.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that every chance for the story line to break away from stereotype was ignored. There was¬†so much¬†this story could have explored, the writers had an incredible play ground to play in, with so much they could have explored, and instead we got the same old tired space story.

The best part of this film was definitely the special effects. The special effects team deserve medals to say the least. Every alien, space scene, and chase looked real. I was utterly convinced of the special effects, which did so much more to transport me into this sci-fi world, than the story line.

If the writers had spent as much time working on the script, as the special effects team clearly did on their part, this film could have been amazing. Instead, it felt rushed, and left me wanting so much more than what I got. Maybe if I had read the comic book by Peirre Christin first, I would have gotten more from it, but personally, if you’re going to adapt a book into a film, it should be made for die hard fans, and complete newbies too. Without it, you lose half your audience’s interest.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Is Out Of This World

 

Alright, I’ve had 4 hours sleep, which was interrupted thanks to a lovely pounding headache, but I have to write this now because I cannot stop thinking about Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, as I do with all the films Marvel releases, but the Guardians have had a special place in my heart for a while. The first film was a triumph, and made me fall in love with how different they are from other superheros in the franchise, how the humour is kicked up a notch, and just simply how lighthearted this rag-tag team of misfits are.

But Volume 2 hit me sideways. I was not expecting the turns this film took, I was expecting a laugh out loud comedy action film, instead I got a funny, but poignant, film focusing entirely on one important thing: family.

When we left the Guardians Of The Galaxy had just learnt to work together as a group, and in this film, they still work together, but they’ve become a family. And by family, I mean a very dysfunctional one. Peter and Rocket argue constantly, Gamora is ignoring all of Peter’s advances, Drax doesn’t listen to a word anybody else says. Groot mostly stays out of it, because he’s just a tiny baby tree (and by just I mean the cutest thing Marvel have ever created), who is in essence a toddler who likes to cause trouble. The arguing is getting worse and worse, they all love each other in their own ways, but they haven’t learnt to live together, and they are getting close to tearing each other apart.

Meanwhile, Yondu’s crew have mutinied against him, The Sovereign are after the Guardian’s, and there’s a mysterious man hanging around with an alien claiming to be Peter’s dad. That’s right, Peter’s¬†dad¬†has found him, and we finally find out why Peter could hold an Infinity Stone without dying instantly.

I won’t say who he is for spoiler reasons, though if you’re on the internet as much as I am, you’ll know by now, as it was announced months ago. All I’ll say is that the man is full of mystery, and thanks to him, we find out so much more about each member of the team, things that we were desperate to know, some we really weren’t.

I’m making this sound like it’s really angsty all the way through, and it really isn’t. The essence of what makes Guardians Of The Galaxy is still there, the humour definitely more adult in places, but this is still as fun as the first one, if not more so. The plot is great, with some fantastic plot twists that hit me so hard in the chest I nearly wanted to cry. The stakes are higher, the bad guys are more powerful, and most importantly, the films heart got bigger. The Guardians have always been about family, and this time it shines brighter in the most beautiful way.

Volume 2 is like Volume 1, dialed up 100 notches, it’s brilliant, fantastic, just as mind-blowing as the first. I loved every second. I laughed, I nearly cried, I¬†freaked out¬†in places at references as to what is to come later in the MCU. Essentially, I loved it. Plain and simple.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 is an awesome mix of fun, love, and consequences. A film I feel that everyone should watch. Marvel have once again hit the nail on the head, and made one amazing film.