Saturday, 9 April 2011

Day 306: My annotated bibliography

On Monday I have to give in 5000 words of my novel, which really isn't that much considering how long a novel is. A small one is 40,000 words and I've written in total about 17,000, so not even half way!

Anyway, I also have to give in an annotated bibliography, which means I have to explain how each book I've read has helped me with my story. Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you with everything I've 'learnt', I'm just going to star one thing from Adele Geras' Ithaka. (See Day 265 for more on that.)

In her story Geras tells Homer’s well known tale, The Odyssey from the point of view of those left behind in Ithaka’s palace. Geras’s uses loads of characters’ which means you get a really rounded view of palace life, as well as what each character wants/feels about the situation they're all in. In other words, each character has a little story of their own within the bigger story, which was really realistic.

Think of your family. The chances are most of you have pretty different days (at school, work, collage), even though you all live in the same house. You all have different things you want (a new car, a girlfriend, a cat) so when you all sit around at the dinner table, you're still a family, but also individuals. When you ask your mum/dad a question, they don't always give you the answer you want 'cause they have their own thing going on too. 

Well, this is what I was lacking in my story. In one scene, Holly is having dinner with her Mum and older brother, Tom, but Tom didn't even mention the fact that he was getting suspicious of Holly's behaviour, (she's being all secretive because of the laptop she stole, as you'd probably expect!) By Tom not mentioning it made him two dimensional, like only Holly's situation existed within the family, which is totally unrealistic.

BUT, when I read Ithaka, I saw how each character had their own thing going on and I was like, hang on, my story doesn't have that. It really made me want to write more convincing character. Cool, huh! That's why it's so great to read. The more you read, the more you understand writing. If you want to become a truly brilliant writer, you need to become obsessed with reading. That's how all the greats (like Stephen King and Jacqueline Wilson) got to the top.

Here's a list of some other great reads from my bibliography, just in case you want to read them too. I think I've written about most of them before, so search them out if you want:
Ithaka, Adele Geras
Finding Violet Park, Jenny Valentine
Breathing Underwater, Julia Green
Martyn Pig, Kevin Brooks
13 Reasons Why, Jay Asher
Life on the Refrigerator Door, Alice Kuipers
Holes, Louis Sachar
My Name is Mina, David Almond

Friday, 8 April 2011

Day 305: California Gurls by Katy Perry

Because it's real sunny at the moment, every morning I wake up, head up to the bathroom and the hall is filled with sunshine, which just makes me feel great! Everyone loves the sunshine.

Immediately Katy Perry kicks into my head with, 'California gurls, we're unforgettable...' It's such a sunny song which has been stuck in my head since the beginning of spring. I sing it in the shower, brushing my hair, preparing my breakfast...sunshine does strange and wonderful things to a person.

So, as I sat down to my computer in my summer dress, ready to write, guess what was going round my head? It was like it wanted to be written about today. BUT, when I watched the video, I was gutted. I mean, why wasn't it the same as the one I play in my head when I sing it? Doesn't Katy Perry know the version that runs in my head? Her one isn't even about California. At least in my version there are sun-filled beaches with girls roaming around on roller skates, eating ice cream, But, no! In Katy Perry's it's all about candy and clouds and nakedness! What has that got to do with anything??

As you can probably tell, I was a little disappointed with what I found. Her creative ideas are clearly different from mine, which is fine, I guess. If we were all the same, then life would be pretty boring.

I hope I'm not the only one that does this: come up with their own version of music videos in their heads. My brain is obviously on creativity overload!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Day 304: Derek the Dinosaur

Yes! I am pleased to tell you, with a pretty smug smile on my face, I have finally finished the dinosaur I said I'd make back in January, Day 213.

How's your own creative challenge/mission going? I don't mean to rush you, but it's nearly Easter, so you better get a move on!

Here's some pictures of Derek for you. He's enjoying the sunshine.

Get your own dinosaur patterns here.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Day 303: Cliff Yates

The other day I was lucky enough to take part in two sessions lead by the poet, Cliff Yates. One of them was for ten year olds and the other was for teachers, so I pretty much got the best of both worlds!

He's always written poetry, but for 31 years he was also an English teacher, so he has lost of experience working with children, teenagers and teachers.

During his session he passed on some great words of wisdom which I scribbled down to share with you. The most intriguing for creative folk like us is this nugget:

Moments of waiting are always interesting.

Many moons ago, I wrote about this very subject on Day 77. Waiting. When you are sitting with a blank canvas piece of paper, sheet music, dance floor in front of you to fill, there is a time when you wait for your brain to work out what to do with it. After a question has been asked and the class wait for someone to answer. You know most people are thinking of an answer. Think of all those ideas that stay silent because only one is told. What could you do with all those other answers...?

Don't be afraid of waiting. It's useful. It's thinking time. Thinking often produces creativity, so it's all good! If you have an idea, why not wait for another. It might be better!

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Day 302: Kilter Theatre

Kilter are a theatre with a difference. The three things they value are sustainability for the environment, interacting with local communities and create positive change. They have taken these values and used them in what they call issue-lead plays, where they share with their audiences something they think is important.

Their production Roots Replanted was held in an allotment where audiences interacted with the play, planting seeds and learning as they 'walked' through the play. What fun!

Here's a video about how they made their play:

So, what do you care about? Being creative is a great tool you can use to share with the world the things you think are important. Be inspired by Kilter's efforts. If they can do it, then so can we. Check out their website for loads of useful links.

How could you use your creativity to make positive change...? Why not share it below in the comment box? Let's inspire each other with the ideas we have...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Day 301: Adele breaks records

Yes, indeedy, Adele has reached ten consecutive weeks at the top of the album chart for her second album, simply called 21. She's beaten Madonna who held the record for nine weeks at the top with The Immaculate Conception in 1990. You know you've doing something right when you're beating the pop queen herself in the album chart, right!

But, it's not just the UK chart she's topping. Over in the US they love her too.

Amazing. A proper English rose, doing her stuff, breaking records. Her voice is so beautiful and deserved to be heard. She's an inspiration to all us creative ladies!

Here's her performance at the Brits Awards this year. I well up just watching this. It must have been incredible to be there. My invite unfortunately got lost in the mail...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Day 300: Bath

Shocking, shocking! I can't believe I've successfully managed to reach the 300th day of my blog challenge. Yay for me!

Anyway, every so often I like to treat myself to watching a Charlie McDonald video on YouTube. He amuses me and his videos are the perfect amount of time to enjoy a (cooled down) mug of tea. Today is one of those days (if you can't treat yourself on your 300th entry day, when can you, eh?) and it turns out Charlie is from Bath.

As I now live in Bath I really enjoyed it, perhaps more so than usual and as it's creative I thought I'd share Bath with more people by putting it on my blog too:

Really I should make my own video of Bath and be proper creative instead of just directing you to another person's creativity. Does it help if I say I'm going to do some knitting now?