Writer’s Block (Bastard).

Please note: The “bastard” in the title should be read, and then said out loud, in the accent of Sean Bean’s Sharpe. Thank you.

Moving onto the actual subject of this blog post, today I am going to basically get angry and abusive towards writer’s block.

Anyone who writes a story, be it terrible (like in my case) or of the highest standard, will be faced with the bane of all writers: The Block.

Now, you may think that you know exactly what you want your story to contain, but writer’s block has other ideas. It stops you and your mind, midway through your story, and seems to mock you as you struggle to think why you can’t write what you want. You know what you want to happen next, you know how you want it to happen, but there’s a small, almost insignificant, block that has wormed its way into your mind and festered, causing you to struggle to write anything that sounds even capable of being literature. Then, if you’re like me, you give up completely and maybe try and come back to a few days later (…maybe a week later). For those truly determined souls, they power through and manage to write down something that is at least acceptable and go back to review and change the section later on.

In fairness, I get writer’s block whilst writing blog posts. I have a tactic (or tic-tac, as I used to call them…), which is: that whenever an idea pops into my head for a half-way interesting topic, I write down a note about it. Then, when it is time to write my blog, I bring it up and choose the best out of the list. At this point, I actually have to write the post. At the time that I thought of the idea, I tend to feel as though I have enough to write a post a reasonable length. When it comes to the daunting task of scribing upon a blank page, my mind decides it would be extremely comical to make me completely forget how I was planning on writing about the topic. So then it’s back to the drawing boards to try and re-envision my plan.

As for the story I’m writing at the moment (see previous blog post – totally not self-publicising here by the way…), I have never been the kind of person to plan beforehand. I always write the story chapter-by-chapter and, if I’m feeling organised, I write a brief plan about what I want the next chapter to contain. But that doesn’t happen very often. So, I get blocked again. I have an opening, and an idea for the ending. What comes in between is a mystery. I don’t know how I’m still writing…

So really, writer’s block is a bastard (Sean Bean style). It ruins my attempts at writing both stories and blogs, as well as ruining other people’s writing which is quite likely going to be better than mine.

 

Halls of Fire – Hobbit/LotR Fanfiction Snippet

Kyni smelt the burning before he saw it. The pungent smell came wafting down the halls of stone, towards where Kyni stood. He was fully armoured, with a sword and shield in each hand respectively. He was aware that he was shaking, yet he was determined. The smell grew ever more empowering. The ground began to shake beneath him, in the slow steady rhythm of footsteps, one after the other. Thump, thump, thump went the ground, and thump, thump, thump went Kyni’s heart. He could now see smoke curling around the edges of the small doorframe that was the entrance to the hall where he stood, alone. And trapped.

The smoke swirled around him, partially blinding him. He coughed, his eyes beginning to water. The heat was now becoming stifling and Kyni wiped his brow with the back of his padded gauntlet. The thumping of both heart and ground were getting louder. Kyni gripped his sword tighter, as the footsteps finally ceased. There was great exhale of air and another plume of smoke wove its way into the hall. There was a snarl and Kyni dropped his sword. An eye, a large eye, mostly yellow except for a diagonal black slit of an iris, had appeared in the doorframe. A deep, booming voice spoke.

“Ahh, how quaint. I have come for my vengeance.”

The eye narrowed, before being replaced by a mouth. Kyni saw an array of sharpened yellowing teeth, before the mouth opened and a warm glow was seen deep in the throat. Kyni let out a shout of fear, yet the sound was soon drowned out by an echoing  roar unlike any other. Then, he was engulfed by flame.

Kyni awoke, a cold sweat covering his body. He sat up, panting, his heart racing. He threw the covers off him, his chiselled chest shining in the light of the moon coming through the window. He crossed to it and flung it open. He took in a long deep breath, smelling the fresh, clean air of Dale. Yet he could still remember the smell of smoke. He could still taste the fear. And he could still see the eye. He shuddered, suddenly cold. He closed the window and climbed back into his bed. Yet he could not sleep. His nightmare still haunted him. Though he had not seen one before, he knew that the creature had been:

A dragon.

————-

Hey guys, sorry this is a bit of a cheat post – I’m currently extremely busy, not to mention tired (possibly a tad hungover as well but shh, let’s not talk about that) so I thought that, instead of racking my brain for an interesting topic to write about, I’d share a sneakpeak of a Hobbit/LotR Fanfiction called The Return of Smaug that I am currently writing. If you are at all interested in this extract, and feel like reading more of my story (or as far as I’ve got in the story at this point in time…) then you can find it on Wattpad here. I don’t think you have to create an account to read it but if you do, then I apologise.

If any of you feel like giving me feedback, positive or negative, then please do! I am well aware that it’s not great literature but it keeps me entertained so that has to count for something, right?

Reading Habits

Personally, when it comes to reading, I have an extremely complicated schedule. Can I really call it a schedule? Either way, I don’t read in any sort of format. This probably makes reading even more difficult.

When I say I have no format, I mean that I have several books on the go. But not books that I read frequently. In fact, I started reading The Silmarillion about a year ago and still haven’t finished reading it. This is partly due to the fact that I got about halfway through, got majorly distracted by school work, tried to come back to it and didn’t understand anything that was going on anymore…

On top of this ongoing trauma, I keep on reading The Discworld Novels at random intervals. This becomes exceptionally confusing, as Pratchett’s novels are hard enough to follow anyway without leaving massive periods of time in between them. If you add the Game of Thrones books into the equation, you are guaranteed a tornado of confusion and crossed-over stories. That’s not to say I don’t like fanfictions, in fact I spend a large chunk of time on a story website called Wattpad, which involves many fanfictions. This website probably furthers my confusion about books… Why do I do this to myself?

So, to summarise, I have long-term books (Silmarillion), short-term books (Wattpad), and books that I just pick it up and start to read (Discworld, Game of Thrones). Maybe I should stop reading so much…

Anyway, what are your reading habits like? Do you, like me, read excessive amounts of books at once? Please, let me know that I’m not the only insane person out there.

 

Damn this post was terribly boring…

Friendly Publicising (Music/Band)

This is a bit of a dubious blog post which I have no particular desire to write about and the only reason I am writing it is to help my friends out. That sounds like I don’t want to help them out… I do, just… Oh never mind, read on.

Basically I have four friends. The end.

No, I have four friends who happen to be in a promising and up-rising band called The Mango Conspiracy (fantastic name, right?). What I’m hoping to possibly spark in this blog post, is more views upon their video on YouTube. The link to which can be found here.

Also, just a heads up, despite the first line, none of them are actually alcoholics… I don’t think? Anyway…

I’d highly recommend listening to them. Apparently they class themselves as a ‘punk-rock’ band which I suppose I can go with. I don’t really know where music genres become music genres in all honesty.

But yes, it’s a very nice song to listen to and one of the band members actually looks exactly like Richard Armitage, which is a bit weird…

Sorry, I get sidetracked very easily. The bottom line is that I would implore you to give them a listen – if you don’t like them then hey, it doesn’t matter. If you do like them then… I don’t know? Show it to your friends or like it or whatever. Just do something positive. Please?

They are also on Facebook and Twitter if you were/are interested:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mango-Conspiracy/194226890764021

https://twitter.com/MangoConspiracy

BECOME A MANGOHEAD (yeah, that’s a thing I’m afraid). Anyways, enjoy!

Thank you and good night/morning/afternoon/evening to you all.

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Why the Changes, PJ?

Peter Jackson changed many things for his film versions of the Lord of the Rings. He cut out some seemingly vital characters (the replacement of Radagast with a moth has always seemed hilarious to me), made small changes to the journeys the remaining characters went on, and, the purpose of this post, changed the attributes and personality of some characters. That’s not to say I don’t like the movies – heck, I love them! Yet when it comes to the characters, there are a few that I can’t help but find rather annoying.

The main one being Frodo. Now, I know that he has this great burden to carry, yet he could try and do so without so much complaining. If it weren’t for Sam, Frodo would’ve just collapsed and given up in the very first film. In the book however, Frodo is cast in a completely different light. he is cool, calm, and collected. Exactly how a hero should be. I’m not faulting Elijah Wood’s portrayal of Frodo – I think he did a fantastic job, yet I don’t like how pathetically he is interpreted by Peter Jackson.

Now, this one is more of me being picky, as I quite like the portrayals of the character in both the books and films. The character of Faramir, played by the fantastic David Wenham, is not nearly as collected as he is in the books. Obviously, his relationship with his father before and after his brother’s death make a whole new storyline appear which is only briefly touched upon in the books, which in turn, creates more drama and so on. But Faramir was one of my favourite characters in the book. I could only think of one word to describe him when reading it: suave. In the film I liked him a lot, just you couldn’t call him suave in that. Noble would be a better way to describe him during the films (and his father, Denethor, is played by a man called Jon Noble).

Now for the Hobbit. I’ll stick with one major change, ignoring the blatant one of making it a Trilogy instead of just one film, which it could’ve easily been.

What really peeved me off about Jackson’s choice here, is that he decided to bring Azog in as the big bad guy. I was really rather annoyed about this when I first found out. Azog is meant to be dead before the Hobbit begins. Not even in the way that Thorin believes he is: he’s meant to have been killed by Dain, after Azog took Moria and beheaded Thror. I know that by making him the arch-nemesis of Thorin it makes the story in the film more sinister, yet why couldn’t you just have stuck with Bolg as the bad guy? He had just as much reason to hate the dwarves, and he isn’t even dead. Bolg appeared in the films, much to my confusion and annoyance, as one of Azog’s servants who is sent to hunt down Thorin whilst Azog mustered the orc-army for the Necromancer (or Sauron, if you wish). going off the Azog subject, I don’t mind the whole Necromancer storyline really. As Jackson had already decided to make three films, he might as well try and tie it into the Lord of the Rings. But Azog. I’m sorry, but no. There was no need. He doesn’t even mention that Azog and Bolg are father and son. Incidentally, does anyone actually know how orcs have children? I’ve always been slightly disconcerted by that…

After seeing the first Hobbit film once, I decided that if I go see it again (which I did, multiple times), I would try to completely forget about the book whilst watching it, and just try to embrace the storyline as something new and exciting. I actually ended up enjoying it a lot more this way, as well as the second film (also seen multiple times). So that’s my advice to anyone who feels the same as me: try and neglect the book when you watch the Hobbit. Lord of the Rings is manageable with the books in mind, but the Hobbit is not.

I sound really against Peter Jackson, don’t I? I’m not, I promise. I probably prefer the films to the books actually (well, not the Hobbit…). I just don’t class the Hobbit films as anything to do with Tolkien. There, those are my views. Deal with them. Please?

 

Cheating Liebster Award

Okay, so I can’t really accept this one. I nominated J.P.W for the Liebster Award a while back and he, very eloquently might I add, answered all my questions, leaving me rolling on the floor with mirth (not quite but I did laugh for about 5 minutes at one of his answers). However, he’d already told me that he was planning on nominating me again which is what brings us to this post. Due to the fact that this reward would just go around in circles otherwise, I have decided to solely answers Jack’s questions and send it back to him, whilst reveling in the tags that come with writing blog posts. So, we begin:

1. What is your favourite film?

As Jack said, it has got to be the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And I completely agree it has to be the extended editions! I can’t even remember the last time I watched the theatrical versions…

2. What is your favourite book?

This is quite a tricky one for me. I don’t actually have a favourite book, in terms of one which I can read over and over again without getting bored. Instead, I’ve narrowed it down to my three favourite series of books that I like. These are: the Lord of the Rings (obviously), including the Hobbit; Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels, and George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books.

3. What country would you most like to visit in the world?

New Zealand. I am not ashamed to say that part of the reason is because of Lord of the Rings. Yet that’s not all of it. I severely hate the weather in England, so a chance to go to New Zealand and bask in the glorious sunshine would be a dream come true.

4. What is your aim in life?

Aims, hmm… They’re not something I’m very good at. I tend to try not to think about the future too much, as I suppose I fear it. Short term though, I aim to keep my blog going regularly for as long as possible! It’s the first thing that I’ve actually kept going without any external influence/motivation that has lasted more than three months.

5. If you had a dinner party, what fictional characters would you invite, and why?

Embracing my childish side, I would have to say one of the minions from Despicable Me. They are utterly hilarious and I can imagine one of them being sat at a dinner party, surrounded by people who are attempting to be formal, would truly be ludicrously entertaining to behold.

6. What is the most shocking thing you have ever witnessed?

Somehow I have managed to go through my life to this decrepit age of 17 without very many shocking experiences occurring. Not really shocking, but the most disconcerting event that has ever happened around me was during a sports lesson when I was in year 9. In said lesson, we were doing some weird circuit training involving trampolines and lots of other odd objects. Firstly, a boy who, in fairness, probably was too cocky for his own good, decided to attempt a front flip off a trampoline and ended up chipping his front tooth on a bench. In the same lesson, not 10 minutes later, one of my friends somehow managed to break their arm, vaulting over some obstacle that I can no longer remember the name of. That wasn’t a nice sight, nor a nice noise…

7. If you had the chance to meet your favourite author/actor/actress/sports star/celebrity, who would it be, and why?

Oh Jesus Christ. I’ve only just managed to narrow down my celebrity “crushes” to five (both male and female worryingly), let alone choose one! But very well, I shall endeavor to choose one and say why…

Okay, I have decided upon Jennifer Lawrence. My first reason is that she rather attractive. My second, and possibly more respectable reason, is that if you’ve seen her in any interviews, you’ll know she’s utterly bonkers. She does not think before she speaks and this is why I think meeting her would be a great honour. She’d eradicate all awkwardness straight away.

8. What is your favourite word? (A little nerdy, sorry)

It’s a tie between two: unctuous, and agglomeration.

Funny story, when I was younger I used to have a fixation with the word ‘festooned’ and used to use it in completely the wrong situations and sentences, leading to lots of confusion amongst my teachers.

9.  What is your favourite animal?

Penguins! The way they waddle and just… yeah. I can’t explain really. I’ve just always loved them.

10. What is your aim for your blog?

As is written in my ‘about’ section, this blog is nothing more than just writing down thoughts that are battling within my brain. I suppose the aim has changed slightly since achieving some followers, as I now try and think of vaguely interesting things to talk about, rather than really dull topics (if you need an example of a dull topic, see my post about sleeping positions…).

 

There you go, Jack! That one didn’t actually take me too long, which I’m quite happy about. Thank you again for the re-nomination, it was a pleasure to answer your questions! If anyone’s interested, Jack’s blog can, once again, be found here.

Revisiting Escapism into the World of Fantasy, via Science!

One of my first blog posts was entitled “Escapism into the World of Fantasy” (it can also be found here). Within it, I spoke about how fantasy books and games are used to escape from the bonds that life has ensnared us with.

Currently in my Psychology class, we are being taught about Supernatural Phenomenons or Anomalistic Experiences. How does this relate? Well, we were discussing people who suffer from neuroticism and why they are more likely to people in the Paranormal. It appears that they try use the paranormal to escape from reality, therefore making it a defence mechanism or even a safety mechanism in order to run away from real life. See the similarity? If you class the paranormal as Fantasy (which I do, as I don’t believe in any form of the paranormal), then this is essentially the same as using books or games to escape, except that it displays you have a more vivid imagination. In fact, these beliefs in the paranormal could have easily been inspired by fantasy novels, or even truly great literature!

Take A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Supernatural phenomena plays a big part in this story. So, it is equally possible that a person who is convinced that the paranormal exists will have enjoyed this book and used it as some form of escapism in early life. Then, if this person has a very lively imagination, they may start to believe that they are living in their own adaptation of A Christmas Carol, using it to hide from the iron fist that is reality. Quite possibly, due to a disorder such as neuroticism or just strong beliefs, they might start to perceive the world as being filled with ghosts and will therefore, in their eyes, be living in a paranormal world.

I suppose the same concept can be applied to any Fantasy book or game: a person enjoys a story too much and become immersed in it to the point of concern and then use it to escape. I imagine Sherlock’s ‘Mind Palace’ whenever I picture this: someone being bullied or shouted at and they just close their eyes, block out the noise and retreat into a story where they are the singularly most important person.

I can’t say my use of fantasy is in anyway science-y. I am, in fact, a very anti-science person. That’s not to say I don’t understand the importance of science in the world, I just don’t enjoy learning about it. Which is why I’m surprised I enjoy Psychology. I suppose it is a “social” science, but even so. It’s still got the word ‘science’ in it so I’m quite proud of myself! Saying that, our most recent lesson did involve having to watch a tedious TV programme about Joe Swash trying to decide whether he believed in ghosts or not… there were two reasons I disliked this. Firstly, I find the whole possibility of believing in the supernatural ridiculous. And secondly, Joe’s voice annoys me beyond reason. Not a great mix in all honesty.