Sunday, 29 April 2012

Picture Prompt

Writing for The Lightning and The Lightning Bug:

What do I see in this?

Home was a human's difficult climb away. A peak away. Swallowtail flutter along from flower to flower, sucking away it's last bit of life. As she rose, each flower crumpled into dust on the rocky floor, and was then softly blown away into the whispering breeze. The flower's ashes landed themselves on a grassy carpet near the edge of the cliff and, instantly, buds could be seen sprouting from the ground. The flowers were called Phoenix-hollyhock. They had five big, round petals, overlapping each other and a dark red centre, indicating fire for life. Each flower had a stem to itself, but they all liked to grow in a thick clump on a cold, grassy floor. Swallowtail loved to watch this transformation and usually sat herself on a pointed rock to watch as the flowers regrew. But today she was in a hurry, as dusk was coming.

It was known to all creatures on this mountain in Kendra that peak was not a good time to be out. As a result, the mayor of her homeland had created curfew hours, excused only on very special business. After-dusk was when the wolves came to play. They rampaged, they tumbled, they stamped - they were ruthless killers, especially towards creatures as small and light as little swallow. She has only been aloud out on her own a few times so far, and she didn't want to ruin any future chances. At 4 days old, butterflies were given certain responsibilities to practice, such as this gathering of food, without any help from others.

The curfew was coming dangerously close as swallow dived into the large crevasse at the very centre of the tall mountain. She flew swiftly past the security flats at the tip, past the posh houses, and the stores and down to her own small apartment which she had only recently been given. As she came in, she shook her wings, removed them and carefully hung them up before crawling over to her favourite corner in the room, where a shaft of the ever-decreasing lights fell onto her wings. Her flat consisted of two small rooms; one with her wardrobe of wings, the other with her emergency stashes of food.

Each butterfly in homeland was issued five pairs of wings to switch around from day today so that the creatures above never recognised any butterflies. The last thing they'd want is for a butterfly to befriend a creature and to lead them to the tip of the crevasse! That had happened once, and chaos had ensued. Without knowing it, the humans summoned by the creatures had taken the mayor as he flew out for food and many of those in security. The creatures had gained such a large amount of meat that day and had forever been stronger for it. The whole population of butterflies had had to migrate. This time, they'd found what they considered the perfect spot - a place at the very top of the tallest mountain for miles, where humans and creatures would struggle to reach. This is where Swallowtail had been born.

The mayors were always chosen by their looks. They knew how to look in front of the birds. Brown was usually chosen, as birds tended to prefer bright colours, but the most recent mayor had gone for dark greens to blend in with the grass. The less privileged butterflies, such as Swallow, had little choice over which wings  they chose. They got what they were given. Swallowtail had mostly yellow and black colours, with bits of blue and red here and there.

As the sun went down, a strange thing occurred in that very room. Within half an hour of sleeping, yellow flowers had sprouted up on the doorstep, and made a trail towards the wardrobe in the other room. Swallow slept away with sweet thoughts on her mind.

Half an hour passed, and, as she awoke, feeling fully refreshed, she peered about her, thinking she was still in a dream. In only an hour, she has somehow been left in a thick forest of tall, yellow flowers. Suddenly she was very alert. Where was she? Why was she here? What had happened?
The confusion made her feel very dizzy. Things like this just didn't happen to her! She crawled around the thick, green stems, wishing she had her wings on. She strained to see through the wilderness of flowers, and suddenly caught sight of colourful wings on a stone wall. She crawled towards them, her small legs already getting tired. What she spied was her own wardrobe! She reached up, the legs nearly buckling under her weight and grabbed a pair, any pair, of wings. As she fixed them on, a long and strenuous business, she tried to work out how her flat had turned into a yellow and green forest with no grass.

And then it hit her. She had taken the stupid risk yesterday of touching those flowers she so loved. They had tasted so lovely and she had just drank on and on, without a thought that their ashes might stick to her! No wonder she never saw anyone else drinking from them! Well, I guess we all have to learn at some point! she thought to herself.

At last, her wings were fixed on. Time to seek out the mayor. Up through homeland she flew and landed outside the mayor's archway, out of breath. She slowly fluttered into the mayor's flat where he sat designing some new wings. He started as he heard her footsteps and, instantly, new what had happened. The mayor had a strange habit of understanding people's thoughts from the most minor or expressions or body language.

He instantly flew up to security and gathered the strongest and biggest of the community. Swallow stayed by his archway, peering at the work being done below. Ten butterflies were hard at work pulling the flowers from the ground and throwing them down into the darkness below. A deep cleanse was then in need. Every bit of dust that had ever gathered in her flat was swept out with the use of some wings made at the creation centre (far away from here, each butterfly was given a job to create wings or hangers).

Swallow's old wings were then thrown away and replaced with new ones with a slightly darker yellow. When she was allowed back into her flat, she found it shiny and spotless. It didn't quite feel like her home anymore. Today she had learned a lesson. She didn't yet have enough responsibility to go out alone.

This is a hollyhock

This is a swallowtail butterfly
 I hope you liked my strange little story. It just came to me as I saw a butterfly flying into a crevasse in the picture above.
M. x

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Distractions

So, with the A-Z in the past, it's time for me to get down to some proper work. Now, I have to admit, I haven't got enough time to properly get down to it, so I'm going to write only 1-2 posts a week. That may, at any rate, give me something to write about!

Last night, I went out to my friends 18th birthday. I usually sit at home waiting to read my favourite blog posts on the A-Z and so on, facebook, even pottermore...so going out with loads of friends was a really nice change! I even made some new friends!
So with that happening, I didn't manage to catch up on my online life (with my phone out of battery as well...) but I have now. In the future, there will be a lot of these things getting in the way.
For example, I was going to go to a quite study room to check up on this part of me, and, instead, readers, guess what I met!!!
The one and only Esther Rantzen!

Yep! I was asked to tour the founder of childline, television presenter, helper of the Burma Campaign UK...THE Esther Rantzen. And she is really lovely! Incredibly posh voice that, even I - with my typical southern English accent - found hard to understand occasionally. I was asked by the headmaster of my school to show her round before a talk she was doing in the evening. I wasn't even going to the talk - I was going to my friends 18th (the one I just mentioned).

So, I'm afraid, my incredibly star-studded life is just too much of a distraction from this blog!
I'm kidding. This blog is always more important than any famous people I happen to bump into here and there. I don't have a remotely star studded life (though my mum's best friend is the Auntie of Will Young!).
Okay, I'm going to stop bragging about my non-existent celebrity life and get back to the real point of this post.
So. From now on, I will talk about life, the universe and everything that gets in the way and contributes to my novel, those things that inspire me and irritate me, those trivial bits of life that people probably don't care about, but I will say anyway.
Hope you enjoy!!
M.x
P.S. I'm feeling very mainstream at the moment, which is very unusual for me - I'm obsessed with the new N1 song in the charts!! Weird, huh?! It's Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson. Listen to it. It's SO cute!
x

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Z is for Zodiac

My A-Z blogging has finally come to an end! And as a result, I have learned so many weird and wonderful facts!#
- Umbrellas are very superstitious things
- Ants don't sleep (!)
- Art on wood is called Xylogrophy
- Dumbledore (must have) died because he kept a bird in the place where he lived
- Classical music calms dogs
- Red means beautiful in Russian
- Aerobatic Exercise increases one's creative potential
                          and so much more!
It's been a lot of fun and I'm going to miss having a challenge. I'll now have to really think about what to write! :S Only kidding, trust me, I took AGES deciding what to write for my A-Z blog posts...

So anyway, I'm going to finish of with Z for Zodiac.
Recently, I have been struggling with the creation of any characters as I was afraid they'd all end up very one dimensional with little depth to them. Therefore, I decided to take a look at the signs of the zodiac to see if it would help me create personalities. I found out about Virgo's (my star sign) in the mean time which scared me a little -  I had never really believed in star signs until I read about myself in the Virgo section! It had me down to a T! Kind of made me feel a little predictable...
So, here, I will post small extracts of each star sign, for you guys to check if it is telling the truth about yourself!
March 21st - April 20th
Aries
You're a natural leader, you shine brightly, taking the initiative in everything you do and people see that in you immediately. There are no half-measures with you. You have a sense of fearlessness and certainly aren't afraid to explore the unknown in life. You're lively, energetic and daring, and an fighter to. People admire your independence and freedom of expression in everything you do.

April 21st - May 21st
Taurus
"Cautious", "Practical", "Purposeful". One word you definitely wouldn't use is "impulsive".
When you are making important decisions in life, about things that are vital to your security and the welfare of those you live, you spend a long time on then. You want those decisions to be rock solid. Once your mind is made up, you have amazing persistence and follow through, plus tons of energy - you rarely give up on a task once you have decided on it. And you'll stick to your guns, even if you're being provoked, tempted or ridiculed. 
May 22nd - June 21st
Gemini
Gemini is all about intelligence and communication. You have a talent for and love of using your mind and expressing yourself fully. You take an interested in all sorts of different things. Anything that gets your mind ticking will grab you. You constantly try to challenge your mental abilities and will make extra efforts to understand anything you put your mind to.
June 22nd - July 23rd
Cancer
You have a highly emotional, caring a generous nature. 
You are highly evolved. You adapt when you have to, but you much prefer to make changed on your own terms. You will act as a support for many people in your own family and beyond.
July 24th - August 23rd
Leo
You are warm, bright and self-motivated, and you want to make an impression on everything you do - your work, your love life and your social life.
Because you are extremely generous, you expect others to be just as big-hearted. So when you see others holding back, you find it hard not to jump in and try to change that. You want to see everyone giving to the best of their ability. To other people, you can look a bit of a tyrant, asking for more than they can give.
August 24th - September 23rd
Virgo
You belong to a group of people known for their perfectionism and highly analytical minds. There's a bit of a joke about how precise and demanding Virgos are but when you think about it, what's wrong with being tidy, organised and clean? In a way, you are misunderstood and your attention to detail, your desire for excellence and hygiene is not as bad as some might think.
You have a rather unusual preoccupation of being extremely fastidious and also critical of the world. Some of the people you know feel as if your standards are way to high to live up to. If only they knew just how critical you are of yourself! You don't really expect any more of others than you do of yourself.
September 24th - October 23rd
Libra
People know you as someone who loves to socialize. Your outgoing nature and love of communication is one of your strengths. You're rarely at a loss for words...even on your worst day you have the gift of the gab!
You have the ability to share your ideas in a very natural way and people who don't agree with what you have to say can't resist you and will usually behave well around you - you're simply a nice person!
October 24th - November 22nd
Scorpio
Your star sign is probably one of the most misunderstood signs of the zodiac. People don't understand you fully. That cool aloofness is just the surface of your complex nature, and is by no means bad. Below the surface of your cool exterior is a scorching and passionate fire.
You are an emotional being and you often take it to the limits. You also want approval though you don't often verbalize that. You give 100% of yourself to those you love and expect the same.
November 23rd - December 22nd
Sagittarius
You're extremely confident in whatever you do. Fortune seems to favour you, whether you plan things or not. That's also the reason you don't mind taking the odd risk or two. You feel as if you can't possible lose. This almost cocky attitude is something that attracts people to you.
You're also very enthusiastic and this is contagious.
December 23rd - January 20th
Capricorn
Few people are as practical and ambitious as Capricorns. You are never afraid of hard work. You are ambitious and go for your dreams and usually end up successful. You like mo ney but not if it involves. risk. Others do not generally see you as too enthusiastic but when people get to know you, you do have a side to your nature which is humorous and affectionate. You like to work quietly and effectively without creating too much bother or attention to yourself.
January 23rd - February 19th
Aquarius
You don't want to be like others and take pride in the fact that you're so unique. Even if you're occasionally criticized for your cheeky attitude, you'd far prefer to be self-sufficient rather than being a sheep in society to follows everyone else's lead.
You are a zesty individual, having tremendous amounts of energy. You are determined and forceful in how you deal with people. You want to express your ground-breaking spirit in everything you do.
February 20th - March 20th
Pisces
You have a universal approach to the way you live and this is seen in most of your actions. Whenever you see someone suffering, or in some type of trouble, it touches your heart and you can't help but offer your assistance. Your heart goes out to them. Even if you're in a hurry or busy doing something else, you'll take time out of your busy day to lend a helping hand where you can. It is second nature for you do care.


And there you have it! 
I hope you have learned at least one thing throughout my A-Z!
M. x

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Y = You Only Live Once


The A-Z is coming to a close and soon, my schooling life will too. Things seem to be changing a lot for me, now. I'm going to be living in my own flat soon!
Any adults reading this may think it's no big deal - just remember back to the times when you moved out! This is a scary time for me and my friends and it's really made me think about myself, my life, my advantages and disadvantages...I've started to realise that I may not be ready.
So in my gap year, I want to learn about life.
How to get on a plane without parental help? (I usually just follow my mum to the waiting room - I don't even know what it's called - and trust her word.
I'll have to learn for myself now.
So, when I decided to write this novel, it was because I thought, I only live once and this is a whole year of opportunity.
Right now I am ready to start writing, but, of course, I don't have the time with exams and all.
I only live once...
So, what can I do with a whole year of time?
I may go travelling around the East with my friend, Maisie (an earlier post of mine was dedicated to her).
I may go on a cycling holiday
A two week trip to friends in Scotland
An annual camping holiday to Wales
Campervanning (is that even a word?) round Ireland...
There are SO many possibilities! (And not nearly enough money to do all that!)
I guess I'm just scared I'll end up sitting in my room, learning how to be well and truly bored.
What did you guys do in your gap years? (if you had one, of course).
I guess I'm just about to learn how to live life.
Wow. What a scarily huge leap it is.
M. x

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

X is for Xylographic


Wow! Only three letters to go!
I was thinking that for my X I could do something more imaginative.
I thought everyone would be doing Xray or Xylophone so I decided to search up a really complicated word beginning with X and find out what it means :)
The definition of the word in the dictionary is...
The art, craft or process of printing from wooden blocks.
I wasn't quite sure by what it meant by 'printing' so I searched it up on google images:








I have no idea what is actually happening here, but this is a perfect example of Xylographic. These words and pictures are printed on wood. Just like a book is printed on paper, this is text and an image on wood.

Here are some particularly lovely examples:

I'm thinking of putting some highly important message or magic on a piece of wood in my novel :)
M. x

Time is mine once again!

At last, I have finished by major piece of English Coursework, so, hopefully, I will be able to use the extra time I now have to write more of my novel!
I know I should be doing work, but if I don't write, I tend to get strange withdrawal symptoms, and become desperate to put my interpretations on the world on paper! (well, on Microsoft Word...)
That's why this blog is so fun for me. I'm not one for alternative therapies, but if this is anything, it's therepuetic.
So up and onwards goes the project!
I have nearly finished Mockingjay (the 3rd Hunger Games book) and am waiting for that terrible but oh-so edictive Trudi Canavan finale to be released.
After that, I aim to just write whenever I can.
Exams will be my centre of focus, but this (and the gym once or twice a week) will hopefully de-stress me.
Thankyou for being my therapy session, blogspot!
M. x
P.S. I've been reading some blogs and I have a question...
What does WIP and YA mean?
I know I'm a teenager who should know all these new abreviations, but it appears i'm not nearly as in touch with them as I thought I was!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Wordless Week is for 'W'

Last week, I had what I would like to refer to as a Wordless Week.
Suddenly, all inspiration to write just left me!
I was desperately trying to write a huge piece of coursework for my English A Level and would just stare at the screen saying to myself "ican'tdothisican'tdothisican'tdothis!"
That, of course, just made me even more negative about it.
Everyone I put down seemed so sound terrible and wouldn't get my point across at all!
So, instead, I looked at blogs, laughed a lot, wrote blogs and realised I'm much better (though not brilliant) at doing this than writing essays and had a huge moan about my future, studying English art University.
Wow, it was a low point. Every thing was terrible.
And when I started to try and make my plot for my novel, all my imagination seemed to have dried up! I couldn't think of any interesting new animals or any back stories to anything.
Until today!
Today, I just said to myself: "Just blood well do it!"
And, at last, I have broken my block!
This is the way to do things, apparently!
M. x

I find beauty in....

This post is dedicated to The Lightning and the Lightning-Bug-, a blog designed for writers.
They have asked us to explain what we find beauty in.
Now, I could say sunsets, the stars, laughing children and all the most typical things...
but, I find beauty in The Wild. Not just, the woods, the animals, the pretty flowers - I mean in Wildness.
In The Hunger Games, I found beauty in Katniss' incredible hunting skill, and in the dream that I could ever do the same. To others, hunting may not seem beautiful because of the blood and the death, but its not that aspect of it that I look at!
It's the human drive to stay alive, no matter the cost. The courage we have within us that we, in this day and age, don't really ever meet or even glimpse.
In the actual games themselves, I found beauty in the natural instincts that can be found in such a situation.
It makes me want to see and feel it for myself! Sounds strange, I know, to say I want to be in such a situation, but the beauty I see is not the sheer danger or adrenaline, it's the natural and wild side of humanity that rarely seems to be exercised. This is what I want to see and feel.
I hope this makes sense!
(My next A-Z post will come later today.)
M. x

Sunday, 22 April 2012

V for Very Stuck

I'm Very Stuck because I literally couldn't think of a thing beginning with V that was remotely interesting! So I'm gonna use this time to update my readers on my novel project, something I seem to have neglected recently.

So, I'm reading The Hunger Games and loving them (Though, the first one is the best and the third one just passes the 'good' boundary line for me) and they are, inevitably, giving me some sort of inspiration...I think...

I discovered recently, by joining  http://www.pottermore.com/ that JK made a back story for every one of her characters! She called them ghost plots. I've decided to do the same as I think it will help me form my characters and help me really know the world I'm going to create.
Yes, I'm going to create a fantastical world that is similar to ours, but...a little bit different. I'll use the traditional elves, unicorns, goblins etc, but I'll also create my own characters.
I have a general idea of what it will be like: I want my main character to have to journey across, pretty much the whole map. I will make a map. She will not be very educated in the ways of the world (I don't know, poverty or something?) and we'll be learning alongside her.
I'm going to have a brainstorming session with my little brother at some point, though, seeing as exams are coming every closer and my stress levels are already hiking up to the top of mount Everest, I think I may organise it for some time in the future when I'm feeling just a bit more relaxed!
I reckon I'm about there on the stress climb. Soon enough, my stick figure will be racing up the mountain, so I  should actually be savoring these last few moments of only minor stress - well, minor compared to how it will be...

I apologise for my lack of artistic skills. The other day, Mum was off making cupcakes again and a friend of  ours was staying over. He decided to make cupcake decorations as well and eventually persuaded me into trying some decorating as well. This, of course, just made me look like a 2 year old with no artistic talent. 

While he made some incredibly elegant cupcakes with white roses and pearls, I decided it would be funny to make a smiling sun, which just ended up looking like a cupcake with random coloured dots all over it.
(Well, I could see it was a smiling sun, but apparently nobody else could. It just about made the reject pile. I was surprised it's status was so high!)
So yeah, I have long acknowledged the fact that I have no artistic talent whatsoever when it comes to drawing or decorating. So, instead, I put any artistic drive into my school work. 
HAHA only kidding! I put it into making these relatively pointless blog posts and into writing a fantasy story which, at the moment, is just my own fantasy. 
It will happen. I know it will. 
Anyways, sorry for my strange, rambling post. I in a very rambling mood...
I'm signing off now. Final.
M. x

Saturday, 21 April 2012

U is for Umbrella

(Wow! We're already at 'U'!)
Well, my title cheats a bit as I'm actually going to talk about superstitions, but, seeing as umbrellas happen to play a small role in them, I guess the title counts:
- It is believed that it is bad luck to open an umbrella indoors.

Umbrella
Pretty umbrella, don't you think?
WHY?
This superstition originates back when umbrellas were mainly used for sunshades as well as a shield from the rain. Opening the umbrella inside was considered a direct insult to the sun gods, particularly Ra. This would result in the sun gods inflicting their 'wrath' on the entire house and all those who lived in it.
Another variation is that opening an umbrella inside is only bad luck if someone else gave the umbrella as a gift, if it has never been used outside before, if it is black and especially is there's already an ill or injured person inside the house.
Other umbrella superstitions:
- It is bad luck to give an umbrella as a gift
- If you drop an umbrella, do not pick it up. Instead, have someone else do it for you, or will be the recipient of bad luck.
- If a single woman drops an umbrella, she will never marry.
- If an umbrella is opened outside when it is not needed, bad weather will follow.
- Never place your umbrella on a table or a bed or you'll receive bad luck.

So there you have it! Umbrellas are important things with important rules!...apparently.
I know it seems load of mumbo jumbo but, some people really do believe these things.
Anyways, I'm not really saying all this to arbitrarily talk about umbrellas... I've been thinking of interpreting some of these superstitions into my novel, or maybe even making some of my own.
Can anyone think of any ideas of superstitions I could make up?

For you benefit, if you consider it a benefit, here is a lovely list of more crazy superstitions:

- A bird in the house is a sign of death.













So that's why Dumbledore died!




- A loaf of bread should never be turned upside-down after a slice has been cut from it.
- If the first butterfly you see in the year is white, you'll have good luck all year
- If a black cat walks towards you, it brings good fortune, but if it walks away, it takes the good luck with it.
- It's bad luck to leave a house through a different door than the one used to come in.
- If you catch a leaf on the first day of autumn, you will not catch a cold all winter
- It is bad luck to walk under a ladder
And, my favourite: To dream of a lizard is a sign that you have an secret enemy

T is for Trombone Hatred/Adoration

Yet again, I have broken my promise of one post a day. woops :/
Well, I'll keep on track by doing two today...
I am well aware that the title of this post may be very perplexing. But read on and you'll hopefully understand. When I about thirteen, my brother decided to learn to play the trombone. He was so excited about his rented trombone from the school we were at, so he decided to show us how far he'd got in the lessons.
It was then that we discovered the fatal flaw of practicing at home.
As soon as he started to play, my Brown Labrador (I only had one at the time) started howling like there was no tomorrow!
Like he was watching some sort of blood bath, or, perhaps that he was in the middle of one! Crying wolf, literally (and non-literally!) We, being cruel humans, found this utterly hilarious and continued on my brother playing, of course.
The dog howled and howled, and continued howling about half an hour after my brother had stopped playing.!
What was even more hilarious was how he stuck his nose in the air, as if it took tremendous amounts of effort to get the noise out!
What was it that made him do this?
My brother lost interest in the trombone about two years later (maybe less) and a few years after that, we got a Black Labrador as well.
Meanwhile, we had discovered that harmonicas did the same.
So, we thought, at last, we have a normal dog!
Until I started to learn the guitar and mum bought an electric whisk.
Now it's the black Lab howling first, and, perhaps, my brown dog tries to join in and provide harmony. Mum's a singing teacher, so maybe she could help their abysmal noises?
So now we have two ridiculous noses sticking high up in the air, eyes closed, howling with all their might. Makes me wonder why they bother, when the brown Lab is too lazy to even greet guests. Isn't that a Labrador thing? Mum seems to think he's got a dog form of autism, but she seems to think that anyone who is not exactly like her must have some form of autism, however slight.
Well, anyway, to this day, we've never really worked out why they do it and whether they like it or not.
So, for your benefit, just so you could learn something by reading this, I bothered to google it.

According to the Universities Federarton of Animal Welfare, the effect of music on dogs has been proven. Listening to certain types of music may actually help with the welfare of dogs - for example, music with soothing qualities.
However, there are also certain types of music which agitate dogs and should not be played around them.
For example, heavy metal agitates them while Classical Music soothes them.
In my opinion, this seems suspiciously human. I think dogs mostly work off body language, so when we play classical music, we are calmed, and therefore so are the dogs. However, my hypothesis is just that; a hypothesis and has not been 'proven' as this information supposedly has been.

What is your opinion?
M. x

Thursday, 19 April 2012

"Seven is a particularly special number" begins with S.


Seven is a particularly special number, especially to me. Even though fifteen is my lucky number, I've always seen seven as a particularly magical one :)          It seems and Angie Sage, the author of the Septimus Heap books, agrees with me, having Septimus' father the seventh son of seven boys and the same for Septimus himself.                                                                                         And then I began to think...is seven a universally magical number? Or is it just a coincidence that people tend to find seven magical?












Just think of the importance of the number seven in our society.
We have seven:
- Wonders of the World
- Ages of Man
- Deadly Sins
- Heavenly Virtues
- Days of the week
- Colours of the rainbow
- Seven Harry Potter books :)
             and many more.


George Miller (some scientist) observed that most people can consciously only deal with out 7 bits of information in their mind at one time.

In the earliest civilisations, man considered all celestial bodies as deities and, as far as they were concerned, there were seven such bodies. It was believed that they not only influenced human affairs and personalities, but also supernatural things such as luck and fate.
Later, more 'heavenly bodies' were discovered, but by that time, civilisations were committed to the seven Gods.
The Egyptians had 7 Gods
The Parsees had seven Angels
The Persians had seven sacred horses
and Islam teaches seven articles of faith
in Japan there are 7 Gods

In Gambling, 777 is a winning line on a slot machine
Being dealth three 7's in blackjack is a winner
The opposite sides of a six-sided die always add up to seven

The moon changes phase every seven days
There are seven continents in the world
There are even seven musical notes of the diatonic scale:
 Do, re, mi, far, so, la, ti

So yeah, as we can see, seven is a very important number. And this may well influence part of my novel.
It influenced JK with 7 books and 7 years at Hogwarts and Angie Sage with 7 brothers so could influence me too!

I found this particularly freaky picture, that I just had to post:

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"Red is my favourite colour" begins with R.

Red is my favourite colour. In my bedroom, I have a red carpet, red curtains, red bin, red pillows, red sheet, red duvet, red sofa and my favourite school subjects have red folders. Red is so much my favourite colour, that I don't really think about how great the colour is! I just suddenly realise, occasionally, that I tend to buy things that are red. My Mum's car used to be red...it was such a nice car!
I have recently had this sudden realisation again, as you can tell, and so I have decided that I will try to put as many red things into my novel as possible without making it too obvious... i mean, I'm not going to have red trees and red people, but I could have red rooms and red clothes :)
I love red because it can vary, from scarlet, rose red, to blood red, to pomegranate, to apple, to cherry, strawberry, fire engine, crimson, deep red, indian red, ruby red and there is SO many more! 
Red stands for danger, red is warm, red is evil, and red reminds me of vampires and strange fantasies. 
Red is very interesting :)
Here are some red pictures: 
Red rose
And here are some interesting facts about the colour:
- the colour red doesn't really make bulls angry - they are colour-blind
- Red means beautiful in Russian
- There are atleast 3 different shades of red in crayons
- seeing the colour red can make your heart beat faster
M. x

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Q is for Quote

I thought, seeing as I need to make this post a short one too, I would just post a few inspiring quotes from fantasy authors...
"All fantasy should have a solid base in reality" - Max Beerbohm
"I think one of the best guides to telling you who you are, and I think children use it all the time for this purpose, is fantasy." - Peter Shaffer
"Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can." - Terry Pratchett (The Wee Free Men)
"I always channel my emotions into my work. That way, I know I won't hurt anyone, but myself" - Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games)
Now, I know this is not to do with fantasy, but these are my personal favorites, all from one, outstanding woman:
"Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies."
"It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to switch on the light."
"In dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own."
"Indifference and neglect often does much more damage than outright dislike"
"It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness"
"Never underestimate the powers of obsessive love"
This outstanding woman is, of course, the one and only J.K. Rowling. <3

M. x
P.S. Today I learned not to take what we have for granted.
I watched The Hunger Games movie and The Pursuit of Happiness and both of them taught me how unfairly privileged I am. It kind of annoys me, though I know it shouldn't - I should embrace it and use it as much as possible. But for some reason, I find that I want to test myself - I want to see if I can live in the conditions of District 12, of The Hunger Games themselves. I know this may sound crazy, but I've realised how comfortable I am and how uncomfortable many others are. I feel untested, and, I think, with a bit of courage and willpower, I may be able to achieve things like that - you know, hunting, setting traps, shooting, making fires, making shelters.
I want to test myself, yet I know I'll probably never get the chance.
I feel silly, foolish, even, for complaining about my life. I know there are people out there who have no shelter at all, and I have a room all to myself. Is it stupid to feel so spoiled? Or should I just accept that I'm lucky and move on? I don't know...

Time to catch up! P is for Pandora's Box

I apologize for not posting these past two days, they have been full of revision for my A Levels and my head hasn't really been screwed on straight...
P is for Pandora's Box, a frequently used idea in fantasy fiction.
Pandora's Box is supposedly a large jar which contained all the evils of the world. See, the word pithos in Greek was mistranslated in box and it has been the same since. When Pandora opened the jar, all its contents except for one item were released into the world. The one remaining item was Hope. Sounds lovely doesn't it! To have only hope remaining. Someone said in a film I watched today (matter of fact, I think it was said in The Hunger Games! Yes! By president Snow!!) that hope is the strongest emotion one can have - so strong, that it can override fear. That filled me with...hope, I guess.
Anyways, 
today, to open Pandora's box means to create evil that cannot be undone.
So perhaps we're just a bit more pessimistic nowadays!
Here is a gorgeous painting of Pandora and her box:
Well, I don't really have much to say on this subject and apoligize for the short post. Busy times...need to sleep! 
Next post (which I am about to make) will be on today's letter :)
M. x

Monday, 16 April 2012

Old ideas begins with an O



Today, I was sitting and talking with my brother and his friend about the originality of ideas...
How, for example, JK created the bowtruckle
Bowtruckle.JPG
A Bowtruckle
and the hinkypunk, but took the giants, the goblins, the ghosts from elsewhere.
Then I began to think about the strange phenomenon that allows any fantasy novelist nowadays to use mythical beings, such as giants and centaurs, but disallows the use of beings created in modern books.
JK created the hippogriff, yes? And when I say 'hippogriff', everyone knows what I mean, just as they know what a unicorn or a werewolf is. So why is it so frowned upon to take modern ideas such as these from modern novels?
Is it seen as copying?


When we write about Vampires - Twilight, for example



- we are not accused of copying Dracula. Or when we use a sea monster - Pirates of The Caribbean - we are not accused of using The Lochness Monster. Yet, if I were to use Hippogriffs and Thestrals, it would be seen as out-right copying, from lack of my own imagination perhaps, or even plagiarizing.
And this lead me to that depressing thought that, I'm sure, almost every modern fantasy novelist but get: The slower I am to write this book, the less creatures there will be for me to make.
Scary thought, huh! One day, the only truly magnificent fantasy novels will be those created by people with the most incredible imaginations, those with minds like the comedian, Noel Fielding or JK herself.

This is Noel Fielding in various disguises designed by himself.








Maybe, just maybe, all of us out there, trying to create a new world with new places and new creatures - we are not just looking to create a book that people enjoy; we are looking to be the next imaginative genius, the next Dali - even if it is subconsciously.
Well, this is definitely what I'm aiming for. I know it's a difficult mountain to climb, but hey! Why aim at all if you don't aim big?
Here is a fact about creativity for you fact of the day:
In fact, I have found 2:
It is scientifically proven that:
- Creative thinkers have slower nerves
and
- Aerobatic exercise increases one's creative potential
I hope you found this post interesting.
M. x

Saturday, 14 April 2012

N is for Networks

I didn't really know what to write for this post. But I knew I had to write it to stick with my one post a day thing. Today, and recently, I have been experiencing a terrible writers block. I stare at the screen and I just don't know what to write. Maybe I fear that what comes out will be terrible, maybe I fear that I'll discover I can't actually write - I don't know. I've been doing my huge essay for English Coursework (A-Levels) and, as my previous post shows, I was having a major breakdown over it. That was, until I realised that I had been forcing myself to write and now I realise that doing that will only make it harder. I went to my Dad's house today to get some help on it and I realised that all I needed to do was to write while speaking to somebody about it, so that it truly came out in my words...and then it was fine, until I was alone again.
Anyway, this little story is here to say that this post may not be my best because of this little crisis I've had, but I might as well try, so here we go:
N is for Networking.
There are many different types of networking:
- Underworld (criminal maybe?)
- black markets
- Modern day Internet: the spreading of ideas through facebook (student riots, for example)
because I have noticed the tendency to use a sort of black market in many books (especially fantasy). The Hunger Games, my new favourite, has it's black market (called The Hub) and Trudi Canavan's The Magician's Guild has an underworld of sorts. (In fact, JK mentions Mundungus Fletcher using the black market a lot). Maybe I could have one myself?
The black market links to the underworld because of the people who work there -  they all seem to know each other and to, in a way, understand each other's motives, plus, a message can go through the black market really quickly.
I love the idea of the underworld - a place in which the only people who can enter are those who know where to go. A secret world which only applies to certain people. I also love the idea of secret societies - the mystery draws me in: worlds of secrets.
A modern day example of networking, as mentioned above, can be seen from the student riots in London this Summer. The events were purely organised through facebook...






Do you not find it odd how we all know what this means, yet all it is is a little 'f' symbol?






In the olden days, such stories and events would spread through word of mouth.
I've been thinking, in my book, I could use an underworld or secret society of sorts who spread rumours, harbor major secrets, know the knowledge of magic etc.
Now I know I've gone a bit of a rant about not much here, but I think it's a thing to think about: how did the modern day networking malarkey come about?
First of all, to get the back story, watch the film The Social Network. I haven't actually seen it myself, but I know it's all about the creation of facebook.
Here's a small piece of knowledge for your ever-learning brains:
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee developed a system to simplify navigation on the Internet. In time, this system became known as the World Wide Web. It didn't take long for some people to mistakenly identify the internet and the Web as the same thing. The Internet is a global interconnection of computer networks; the World Wide Web is a way to navigate this massive network. In sailing terms, it's like comparing an ocean to a ship.
So there you go. I tried, and went on a bit of a rant about what ever I interpret networking as. This is more of a thought-shower of random ideas so I hope it makes sense!
M. x - still struggling with writer's block.

Writer's Breakdown

I'm calling for help from any writers out there!
I'm desperately trying to write my English Coursework but when I come to writing something, all ideas just escape me, anything I do write sounds terrible and I am consequently having a writer's confidence breakdown. I just can't do it!
What do you guys do to help this? I have to have it done by the end of next week (all 3000 words of it) and I'm stuck as stuck can be.
What do I do?
Help, please.
M x

Friday, 13 April 2012

M is for Maisie









(<< I apologize, I couldn't find a better picture..I'm not sure what the jam jar thing behind it is meant to be...)


I'd like to take the time today to thank my friend Maisie.
Not only is she funny, good company and a very good friend, she has, perhaps without knowing it, taught me many things since I've known her.
First of all, never to judge a person by their cover, to live with and accept what you've got, to make good in everything you have, to keep your imagination open and, most importantly (for me, anyway), to keep a level mind and not get too het up about things.
Maisie influenced me to write this novel. She said (while on a camping holiday in Wales) that she usually likes books that had imagination in them, and that the books I like have little imagination and this is why she didn't like them. I wanted to prove to her that this is not the case!
I also wanted to make a book that she would like, so this project is for her and once the novel is written, it will be there for her to enjoy. :)
So thank you, Maisie. 

Here is the fact of the day:
The name Maisie originated from the Scottish name Margaret (meaning a pearl) and from the Greek word, Margarites, which is derived from maragon (a pearl).


Nicknames for Maisie include: 
- Mai
-May and
-Maiz


These are examples of where Maisie's can be found:
                            
Maisie Dobbs, title character of Jacqueline Winspear's mystery book series
'Daisie-Head Mayzie', a popular Dr Seuss book
'What Maisie New', novel by Henry James
Maise Williams actress, plays Arya Stark in 'Game of Thrones'
The adventures of Maisie by Ann Southern
And my favourite: Maisy Mouse


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Losers and Winners

Losers and Winners starts with an 'L'
In my novel, I want to get the sense that there is a confusion between who is the winner and who is the loser. Who is the bad guy and who is the good guy? 
Although I love Harry Potter, it has to be said that the distinction is almost patronizingly clear - 
Harry, Ron and Hermione are good, Voldemort is bad:





GOOD
(What a nice picture!)














BAD








Okay, there are exceptions like Snape, but, by the end of the books, we are told exactly how we are meant to think of him.
Or even in Lord of the Rings. Hobbits are good, Elves are creepy, Sauron is bad. End of.
Then you get The Hunger Games, my new obsession: each character has good and bad sides to them!
(I have only read the first book, so, anyone who wants to comment, please don't give away any details :) )
I think books are far cleverer when you never know whether to like the character or not -  it makes the characters far closer to humans - it is a very human thing to have a good and bad side to one person.
Okay, it was a short rant, but I think it is over :)
Sorry you didn't learn much today, but this did contribute to my novel project!


Why don't I put in a random fact of the day?


Ants don't sleep.


Weird! I find that really odd.
Anyways, hope you enjoyed this rather odd post :)
M. x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Hunger Games

Now, I like Harry Potter - and those of you who have read my posts will understand just how much I like it. I always thought it was very well written as well. It was my favourite book.
Until another book came onto my shelves. 
The Hunger Games, I had been told, was brilliant. They were making a film of it now! But I have heard many people say how brilliant a book is and that a film is being made from it (Cormac McCarthy's The Road, for example) which I have thought were terrible! Then my mum bought it for me and insisted I try it out, so that she could read it after me if it was any good, so I did. I tried it out.
I then I spent the majority of the next two days riveted to the most brilliantly written, exciting and riveting book I had ever come across! 
Yes, Harry Potter is all very imaginative and very lovely to read - but I really got to know Katniss! I was in her world! 
So it is true! The Hunger Games is the new Harry Potter. 
Absolutely brilliant!
(This does not stop my love of Harry Potter, it has just proved to me that books can get better than it!)
M x

King of Swaziland















My K is for King of Swaziland because when I was little...I met him.
Now, this may make me seem all very high and mighty, but I assure you, it wasn't at all like that, on my part.

When I was seven, I went to Swaziland and South Africa for a month with my brothers, my Mum, her boyfriend and his two daughters. One day, as we arrived in one the safari resorts in Swaziland, - where we were staying for a few nights - we were informed that the little hut we were to sleep in was being taken over by the King! Now, I was too little to properly process this. In fact, I hardly remember hearing the warning! We were turfed out and had to spend a few hours outside on the hot, sandy floor. Being children, my two brothers, the two daughters and I manage to easily pass the time by playing who knows what game.

Suddenly, a group of posh, black cars drive in, followed by the car with the King in it, followed by men in traditional dress holding spears, marching along behind the vehicles. The men in the cars get out carrying huge guns and, when they're all assembled, the King decides to go on a tour of the park. In the meantime, we discover that Mum's boyfriend is cousins with the park's owner and he asks us as question I will probably never here again: "Would you like to meet the King?". So when the King arrives back at the park's entrance where he arrived, we are all taken over to meet him! What an extraordinary turn of events! We say as we walk over.

When we see him, our confusion is doubled. Now, what would one imagine an African King to be dressed in? Some sort of royal garb? And what would a 7 year old child - for I was that old at that time - imagine him wearing? Well, I imagined the old-fashioned red cloak and some sort of kingly red robes.

But no. The King is wearing a baggy grey hoody, trackies and trainers! (Shame we didn't get a picture, really! But I think I recall a sanction on photos when he was there).

He shakes our hands like he's met us before, then, to our utter amazement, all his guards with guns are given food...so their guns are put onto the floor and they go and eat off paper plates. My brother's eyes light up at the sight of so many guns, but they have sense enough not to touch any of them.

Now, you may be thinking, what am I learning from this? Well, maybe you have learned this lesson already but I learned that one should never trust another who's shrouded in such glory. Isn't the old story: the one with the money is the wise man. Think of The Fiddler On The Roof...no other examples come to mind, but you get my drift! Being a child, I was wowed at first, by the money he had, the incredible entourage, the whole show of it! As he leaves, I learn that he upped the taxes of the people just to buy a private jet, has 13 wives and is the younger brother of the two sons of the late king. What huge amounts of pandering that must have taken!






<< This is him






And from that day on, I forever learned never to trust someone just because they wow you.


(This relates to my novel project because my character will learn the very same lesson).

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Jupiter and Mythology


Today, J is for Jupiter because I’ve always been interested in the stars and planets. In this blog you will (hopefully) gain some knowledge about Jupiter and the stars etc. (I’m also interested in the beliefs surrounding star signs).
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest within the Solar System. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These four planets are sometimes referred to as the Jovian or outer planets.

- The Romans named the planet after the Roman god, Jupiter
- To the Babylonians, this object represented their God Marduk.




In astrology, Jupiter is like a beacon in the birth chart, guiding you to realize 'Self' within you. It's essence is said to generate potential for expanding beyond your sense of who you are. Jupiter guides you to your biggest dreams. This planet pulls you toward your aspirations, sense of destiny, serendipity, helpful friends and fateful events.
Sometimes Jupiter may cause you to take risks.


How does it link with my book?: I’m going to be using references to the planets and any stories surrounding them...I’ve always found them really interesting and mystical. 

Monday, 9 April 2012

UPDATE

I have at last finished the first three Trudi Canavan books and am now on the second trilogy. For some reason I have found myself wanting to know what happens next..
Now, don't get me wrong...I know they are rubbish:
- they are abysmally written
- irritate me to no end,
- have a boring plot,
- cannot make anything (not even a magical fight) exciting,
- are completely not believable,
- use such ridiculous names,
- change the names of normal animals to other weird names (spiders to 'faren'..I mean...why bother?)
- everyone from the magic Guild is innately good
- they talk way too long about people's thoughts instead of actually having something happen
- they say that gays/lesbians are rare, yet, they are everywhere in this novel (now, I have nothing against homosexuality but you can't say they're unusual yet still have loads of them! Contradiction clash!)
- All the gay/lesbian people just happen to make good friends with all the other gay/lesbian people before knowing they are gay/lesbian
- no one ever gets into serious difficulties
- big problems are solves too quickly
- big problems always turn out to be not-so-bad-after-all
- Not much happens until the very end of the books
- Every character is completely one dimensional: they are good or bad
- People fall in love FAR too quickly
- I would like to know more about how to make magic,
- I find I don't actually care who lives or dies
- I also find I don't actually care what people are thinking/feeling ... and the book consists mostly of thoughts and feelings
- It's no surprise there's so many law-breakers in the Guild - the sanctions are only ever made after their misdeed and they're never as strong as they should be
- When crazy things happen the character's surprise lasts for about...5 seconds, when in reality it would take about half and hour for most people to get over some of the things that happen...
                             There are probably so many more things I could say that was crap.....
umm.. so, yeah, you can see that I don't like the books, but, although I dislike them, I desperately want to know what happens next! Weird!
So, I'll be reading on and my excuse is that when I write my book, I'll make sure that I make them the complete opposite to these!
M x

I is for Icarus

In Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus. The main story told about Icarus is his attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. He ignored instructions not to fly too close to the sun, and the melting wax caused him to fall into the sea where he drowned. 

Here’s some pictures of him...



 















I don’t really know what else to say about him...
So, this links to my project because I’d like to use old myths in my fantasy novel. Might make it more...umm...fantastical... 
M x

Sunday, 8 April 2012

'H' is for Hippogriff

First of all...Happy Easter!
Don't eat too much chocolate and don't fool yourself into thinking that chocolate doesn't make you feel sick. It does. I've been of choco for lent and, this morning, just the idea of eating so much of the unhealthy stuff made me feel ill. I even got a knot in my stomach as if I was afraid someone would force it down me! No, I'm not anorexic, but I am now neurotic about keeping my skin clean. I used to have terrible skin because of choco, and now that I haven't had any for (7?) weeks, I've got some weird fear that my skin will cloud over and look nasty tomorrow morning. So I'm taking it slow on the choccy. VERY slow.
Anways! Back to the A-Z challenge!



With the same idea as my previous post, my ‘H’ is for Hippogriff. This also connects to my novel project in the same way.
Hagrid: "Easily offended, hippogriffs are. Don't never insult one, 'cause it might be the last thing yeh do."
A Hippogriff is a magical creature that has the front legs, wings, and head of a giant eagle and the body, hind legs and tail of a horse It is very similar to another mythical creature, the Griffin, with the horse rear replacing the ion rear. Hippogriffs have cruel, steel-coloured beaks and large, brilliantly orange eyes. The talons on their front legs are half a foot long and appear deadly.



 "Now, firs' thing yeh gotta know abou' hippogriffs is, they're proud. Easily offended, hippogriffs are. Don't never insult one, 'cause it might be the last thing yeh do. Yeh always wait fer the hippogriff ter make the firs' move. It's polite, see? Yeh walk towards him, and yeh bow, an' yeh wait. If he bows back, yeh're allowed to touch him. If he doesn' bow, then get away from him sharpish, 'cause those talons hurt."
                                                     —Rubeus Hagrid teaches his first class about hippogriffs

When Humans approach Hippogriffs, a proper etiquette must be maintained to avoid danger. Hippogriffs are intensely proud creatures, and an individual must show proper respect by bowing to them and waiting for them to bow in return before approaching. Eye contact should be maintained at all times without a single blink. The Hippogriff should be allowed to make the first move as it's polite. If offended, it may attack. Hippogriffs are tameable, but only by experts in their care. Although proud, hippogriffs can also be fiercely loyal and protective of those who have earned their trust



Saturday, 7 April 2012

G is for Grindilow


G is for Grindylow because I these creatures have always fascinated me. Okay, they’re not real, but they are one of JK’s incredible creations that seem so realistic.
For those who don’t know Harry Potter as well as I do, a grindylow is:
A small, horned water demon that lives in the weed beds at the bottom of lakes in Great Britain and Ireland It has green teeth, pointy horns and long fingers, which are used to strangle their prey. They are violent and aggressive towards wizards and witches and Muggles, although merpeople have been known to domesticate them and keep them as pets.
Grindylows inhabit Black Lake at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and they attacked students competing in the Triwizard Tournament, forcing the retirement of Fleur Delecour. In Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts, Remus Lupin tells Harry that the trick to combating them is to break their grip; their abnormally long fingers are strong but very brittle.
Grindylows mostly survive on fish, algae, and small sea creatures. They are usually not a threat but have been known to eat humans, for this reason Grindylows are considered 'Dark Creatures'.
This is a Grindylow:












My aim for this A-Z Blogging, I’ve now decided, is to make sure that anyone reading them will learn something from it, however trivial the piece of knowledge because any type of knowledge and learning expands the brain and makes your cleverer. And I like that. I hope my readers do too. J

Back to basics...

I apologise for the neglecting my project for a while...
I have been so caught up in the A-Z blogging that I stopped my original blog! 
But truth is, not much has changed...Except that, now that I've worked out why Harry Potter is so brilliant, I don't see any reason to read them all again. So I'm stopping half way through the 3rd book. 
Now, I generally don't like stopping a book half way through, but seeing as I've read it so many times, I don't see how it counts as that...
So I'm still reading the Magician's Guild Tragedy - near the end of the second! In my opinion, this book is better than the first, so hopefully so is the third of the trilogy!
Anyway, I would write more, but I'm off to cook a really interesting meal! - Pizza.
Best thing I could find in the fridge so I'll have to live with it!
M x


Friday, 6 April 2012

F is for Fables


My ‘F’ is for fables because I love them and because I studied them in a certain school when I was younger which has influenced my personality, my traits and pretty much everything about me without me knowing it!
Fables are not the same thing as myths. People tend to get themselves confused very easily. Fables are made up stories, like fairytales, intending to give a moral statement, while myths are stories that convey small amounts of truth. (However, some very religious people take myths as truths, but, for me, and for many other atheists alike, myths are not entirely true.)
Here is my favourite example of a fable:
Hansel and Gretel:
We all know the story:
-          Evil stepmother persuades father into leaving the two children in the woods because they no longer have the money to feed them...
-          Hansel and Gretel are very lost but then find a yummy gingerbread house
-          They then get captured by the witch inside
-          To cut the story short, Gretel tricks the witch and kills her and saves Hansel from a cage.
-          They are free!
The gingerbread house:
 












This gingerbread house was created by my brother and his girlfriend at Christmas. I thought it was a perfect rendition of Hansel and Gretel’s edible house.
The themes in the story a hugely to do with eating which is a huge fear in a child’s life.
-          The family are poor and cannot eat
-          Hansel and Gretel are hungry so start to eat the edible house
-          The witch tries to eat Hansel and Gretel
-          Gretel kills the witch by pushing her in an oven