Saturday, 8 April 2017

"Saving my dead father"



As some of you may know, I've recently uploaded the first episode of my podcast in English, where I elaborated a little on why exactly I decided to start writing fiction in English.

But what's been really bothering me for a while now was why have I bothered with all of my Ukrainian projects for so long before switching my keyboard from UK to EN. Over the time I've had a lot of projects that were aimed at promoting Ukrainian language and culture or creating content in Ukrainian. I've had a couple of blogs and rpg-forums, a youtube channel and I even volunteered for a few translation projects. There are at least a handful of Wikipedia articles translated by yours truly and I've also subtitled some TED talks. I'll stop here before it starts looking like I'm bragging, but I did a lot of stuff which could put me in the category of a patriot and language enthusiast. But I'm not... Not really.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

10k Celebration Post | #amwriting

This week I've hit a new milestone. I know that 10k words might not seem like alot but considering that it's the first time I'm actually serious about my writing project, I see it as quite an accomplishment.

What I've got so far.

• 10 078 words

• 2 chapters that I consider finished

• about a dozen scenes and dialogues for chapters to come

• an actual outline that doesn't look too bad and it wasn't forced unlike the ones for my previous projects

I love my characters and I really enjoy writing this story. I'm still learning, but I don't let this discourage me. Even if I'm doing something wrong, I'll have plenty of time to fix everything when I get to editing.

I've noticed that every other time when I'm writing a scene a thought pops into my mind "wouldn't it be funny if he did this or said that?". Because of that I'm now pondering if I was right when identifying my genre as romance. There's still plenty of conflict and drama but whenever I see an opportunity to make it funny I just can't help it. And there's only been one kiss so far...

Okay, so maybe it's not romance after all. Is it women's fiction? Well, you know... because my protagonist is a woman... Is this how it works? I honestly have no idea. I've tried looking up some "determine your novel's genre" checklists but that didn't help much. Maybe I'll ask my alpha readers to help me figure that out.

Getting some initial feedback was another thing I've been dealing with this week. The mere thought of showing my manuscript to anyone other than my family makes me panic and question my plot and writing skills. I told my friend about a funny scene I'd just written and by the time I finished telling it I was thinking that it's stupid and not funny at all. But my friend laughed at my scene and offered some of his own speculations as to where the story is going. So at least there's one more person in this world that thinks that my jokes are funny.

My main goal in writing is to make my stories easy to read and funny. I'd like my readers to feel the same things I feel when I'm writing them. But to get to that goal I still have to write many thousands of words.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Researching Characters | #amwriting

I've been working on some character development this week. And let me tell you! It's not an easy task to manage!

They say that you should write what you know. But who'd want to read a book where every other character is a writer or a blogger? And maybe an English tutor, an accountant and a QA engineer (kudos to mom and sis). I guess there is a handful of other professions that I'm slightly familiar with thanks to my relatives and friends. But is this knowledge enough to write a proper MC? I don't think so.

But thank goodness for the Internet! If you don't know something from experience you can always google it. So writing an interesting character really boils down to lots of research.

I've decided to make a few of my characters lawyers and I have absolutely no frikkin idea about lawyers and what they actually do. Okay, I've seen lawyers on TV. But that's already a fictional representation, so it's probably not a very good idea to use other works of fiction while researching for your novel. Instead, I've pulled up a few articles on Wikipedia and some random websites about law schools, how to get a job as a lawyer, what kind of career paths there are for law students and so on. And then I'd like to find out more about the law itself. What is it and what do you do with it? I know that I'll only brush the surface, but at least I'll figure out why my character is so fascinated with it and how do I convey it through my writing.

But research is important not only for your character's career choice. Another thing I'm researching is psychology of an individual. And in particular children psychology. It's easier to write about adults, because I am one. The same goes for teenagers because I remember being one. But one of my characters who has quite a big role in the story is a four-year-old. He's old enough to have something to say for himself, but too young to communicate on the same level as an adult. Writing this character scares me the most because I want him to act his age, but I don't have enough experience with little children (last time I've tried talking to a 4 y.o. the kid got so shy that he head bumped me in the face) so I can't just write him on a whim. He'll have a lot of dialogue and I wouldn't want him to sound too old for his age.

So that's something fun to look forward to. Discovering my own characters and learn something interesting about them and maybe even from them.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

Change of plans | #amwriting

I haven't updated my blog in a month. I've promised myself to be consistent. I've decided to do it the right way this time. I even had nearly finished drafts of blog posts waiting to be published. And still I haven't made an effort to polish them off and update my blog.

I can think of many excuses for why I've failed to stick to my own commitments. But the truth is... I wasn't even thinking about my blog in the last month. I didn't feel the need to update it.

I've only started blogging here a few months ago, so it's not like I'm ditching a serious project. I'm not yet serious here with this blog. It's just a place for me to let out some steam and practice my English writing. So I won't let the fact that I haven't updated for a month worry me too much.

I was thinking about the bar that I was trying to set for this blog. I came up with a few interesting ideas for it, like the DLS. But I'm not that sure that I really want to write that. I like the idea, but there are other things I want to work on, that are more important for me in the long run. And I think that my blog should reflect that. I should learn to let go of interesting ideas and stop trying to juggle a few projects at the same time.

I don't want to let this blog become another stress factor for me. So for now I don't know if I'll be updating it regularly or at all. I just know that if I feel like writing and publishing a blog post or two, I'll do it without any feeling of guilt or regret.

Another thing that I wanted to talk about was this whole #amwriting thing that some of you may have noticed from my twitter feed. And I think I've mentioned it once here too... I'm working on a novel right now, so some of my blog posts may be about that as well. I think it even might be more interesting than the DLS. That's also one of the reasons why I don't want to make this blog the main focus of my writing. If I ever want to publish this book then I should be writing it instead of weekly blog updates. I want to focus on my real goals and stop distracting myself with side projects all the time.


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Random Ramblings

I was supposed to have a DLS blog post ready for today but it's not ready yet due to some unfortunate circumstances so I've decided to write and upload something more random today. Who knows, maybe this will eventually become a tradition.

I will let my train of thoughts lead me wherever it wants to go and maybe later pick out interesting thoughts for more serious standalone blog posts.



Thursday, 2 February 2017

Quotes | The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy by Agota Kristof

I was going through some old blog entries from the times when I was blogging in my native language, and came across a collection of quotes from one of my favorite books The Notebook by Agota Kristof. It's actually a trilogy but for some reason the Russian translation which I was reading goes by the name of the first book from The Book of Lies - Twins Trilogy.

I read this book in the summer of 2012. The Twins Trilogy was hands down one of the weirdest books I've ever read. The plot kept on twisting and turning and by the end I wasn't sure what to believe. It's probably high time to re-read this book and see if I now have a different perception of it.

It is a story of two twin boys during the Second World War. Or at least that's what's on the surface. I dare you to read this book and discover its mysteries for yourself!

Here are some of the quotes from the book that I would like to share with you today. I couldn't find these particular quotes in English so all this is my own attempt at translating them.
At dinner time Grandmother says:
"You understood. You have to work for shelter and food."
We say:
"It's not about that. Working is hard but what's even harder is to do nothing and watch someone else work. Especially if it's an elderly person."
Grandmother smirks:
"Sons of a bitch! So you felt sorry for me?"
"No, Grandmother. We just felt ashamed."


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Reasons Why I Get Angry | Let's Get Personal

Sometimes I get really angry and frustrated with myself. My head is overfilled with ideas but I keep on tripping over my own feet and can't move forward. I get jealous looking at people who bring my ideas to life and succeed whereas I can't even get started.

I'm not angry because they came up with the same ideas. No. I'm not that sort of naive people who think that they can claim ownership of ideas or are afraid to tell someone the idea for their novel because they don't want anyone to "steal" it. Many people observe the same world that you do, the same laws of logic apply to everyone, so it's not surprising that the same idea may pop up in the minds of different people. What really counts is how you act on it.

The problem is that I more than often lack the proper resources to make my ideas a reality. And it makes me so angry.

As a part of my plan to get over these circumstances, I've decided to start this blog. This is going to be my outlet. A breath of fresh air. Something to remind me that it's not like this everywhere in the world.

I've started writing this post frustrated at the fact that my microphone makes a high pitched sound every time I try to record a screencast for my youtube channel. This silly thing has been on my mind for the last month or so. And no one can tell me whether it's because of the mic, my computer, or maybe the software I'm using for recording and editing. And whether buying an expensive microphone will fix the problem. So I've been browsing high-quality mics all morning today, not even knowing if by buying one I'll be making an investment. Can I afford it? Will that money be well spent?

That's just one thing that ticked me off today. But it all piles up.