I'm not a big fan of poetry - although when I was small I used to love reading and writing it. The last poem I wrote was for my Mum for Mother's Day when I was too broke to buy her anything.
I struggle to write poetry and don't read much of it but browsing a section of Writing Forums reminded me of my favourite poems.

By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw
a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the
 things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can
 hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

By William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at beauty's
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Emotional investment in characters

I'm coming to the point in my writing "journey" now when I will be required to make a very important desicion. I've had a group of friends for nearly six years now, friends who I know very well and who have accompanied me on adventure after adventure, travelled with me for miles upon miles across a perilous and mysterious yet exhilirating world, fought with in battles and encountered characters who were villainous and manipulative, kind and loyal, enigmatic and untrustworthy and many more besides. I've shared with them their emotions, been there with them through the misery and the laughter.
And now I'm preparing to kill one of them.
I think any author who spends time writing for a length of time with a specific character or group of characters, has a certain amount of emotional investment in them. I don't think anyone who isn't a writer could possibly understand how a person could care for someone who isn't actually real. It must seem incredibly peculiar to some people. But if you don't care about your characters, then you'll find yourself disinterested in the story you're writing and this will show through.
I know my characters as well as I know my closest of (real) friends. I know trivial, intricate details about them that are sometimes completely irrelevant or not included in the story. I join them on their latest escapade every time I sit down to write. They're always there when I need them, if I've had a hard day and want a little escapism, I know I can open up that document and dissapear comfortably with some old friends for a while.
I've even had daydreams where I've thought how it would be if I was somehow transported to this world of mine and interacted directly with them in reality (the crazy imaginaton of a writer, eh?) but these little daydreams, these trails of imagination are evidence of what has driven me onwards with this writing project, what has kept me going, kept me interested kept me emotionally invested in both the characters and the world in which they inhabit. A writer should not be ashamed of thinking this way about their characters because it is all part of the process and makes for an imaginative and creative tale.
Many readers are emotionally attached to characters in books and feel a sense of loss and sadness when one of them is removed from the story. When a reader feels this way about a character, you know the writer has invested their emotions in them, that they have achieved what they aimed for, a memorable character.
So, when I sit down on that fateful day to bring an end to one of my characters, I will doubtlessly feel at a loss and in a way, mourn their departure, but at the same time can feel proud of my work and know that it was a difficult but nessecary measure that made my story all the better for the reader.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - My thoughts on the movie.

I recently went to my local cinema with one of my friends to watch the final installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise. Both of us are avid fans of the books and the films and we expected great things from the finale. After purchasing snacks from the extortionately overpriced shop in the foyer, we donned our 3D glasses and took our seats near the front.The film takes off from where it finished in Part 1 - Voldemort has finally got his spidery, villainous hands on the fabled Elder Wand and is ready to take on Harry and his companions. The first half an hour or so of the two and a half hour film seemed to pass by in a rushing whirlwind of goblins, dragons and a hazardous ride on an underground rollercoaster. I am of course referring to the Gringott's break-in. It was fascinating, enthralling to watch and I thoroughly enjoyed every scene (the brillant Helena Bonham Carter playing Hermione disguised as Bellatrix Lestrange was a highlight of the first half) but it seemed to me that the filmakers had rushed through the beginning of the film in order to get to to main action - the Battle of Hogwarts which is the esscence of this installment and doesn't fail to dissapoint.
J.K Rowling's writing is fully realised here and many parts of the action I recognised from my own imagination from when I had read the novel - perfectly portrayed as if the scenery and characters had leapt off the page and onto the screen before me. As hundreds of Death Eaters converge on Hogwarts, giants and oversized spiders join the fray, stumbling and trampling and scuttling their way through the melee, as spells ricochet from the walls and whizz and spark across the screen - and it all looks so incredibly real.
The trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione, played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson respectively, are at the heart of the action although despite their leading roles, they were were somewhat overshadowed by the spectacular performances of the supporting cast. Professor McGonagall played perfectly by British acting legend Maggie Smith, leaps into action as she orders the stone statues of Hogwarts to protect the school, while managing to add the humorous remark "I've always wanted to use that spell!"
Matthew Lewis who portrays the bumbling and clumsy yet loveable Neville Longbottom really gets to shine in this movie and Ralph Fiennes makes an especially terrifying Lord Voldemort. Warwick Davis returns to play Griphook the Gringotts goblin and reprises his role as Professor Flitwick, Jim Broadbent pops up here and there as Professor Slughorn and Robbie Coltrane as the much loved Hagrid appears only at the very end.
But the star of this movie has to be Alan Rickman who made his best performance yet as the quietly intimidating, mysterious character of Professor Severus Snape. The pensieve scenes were emotional and captivating in equal measure and the brutal yet poignant moment Snape finally met his end was the best non-action scene in the entire film, Rickman delivered an Oscar worthy performance.
Daniel Radcliffe had brief yet frequent moments when his acting became wooden and forced and Rupert Grint who is a better actor, did not seem to have many lines to say at all. Emma Watson, although not brilliant by any means, is beyond measure the most proficient actor of the trio.
All in all, a very enjoyable film with a great story, impressive cast and amazing special effects. A must see.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows, Part 2 - the end of the Potter era?

It's at last time to close the final curtain on the movie series that has taken a decade to complete. With all the books finished and published and the final film released, there has been a full stop placed firmly at the end of the phenomanally successful Potter series.
J.K Rowling is far from a literary genius (and I say this as a fan of her work) yet she has crafted a rich universe and a host of characters millions of children have grown up with. She has encouraged countless children to discover the joy of a great book and her stories and her success will go down in publishing history and rightly so - she has created a series that will doubtlessly become modern classics.
We have been with Harry from the very beginning, from his realisation that he was a wizard right up to the very end when the formidable Lord Voldemort was spectacuarly defeated. We gasped at the twists and the turns, mused over the mysteries, questioned Snape's true intentions a hundred times over and perhaps even shed a tear or two for the much loved charatcters who fell by the wayside.
But now it's all over, what happens next? J.K Rowling is set to release an interactive, online Potter experience named Pottermore in October this year, but beyond this Potter has indeed cast his final spell.
What does the end of this era of Harry Potter mean for Young Adult Fantasy and it's authors? It's time now that Harry retired and made way for new success stories in the genre and his departure poses opportunities for authors and their work to shine through without being cast in his shadow. Many of those who have been following Harry, those fans who queued in the rain outside Waterstones at midnight, waiting with fervent anticipation to get their hands on the latest long-awaited installment will now be looking for something new and it is the those brilliant yet struggling, jaded authors or the previously unnapreciated, unsung heroes of YA fiction who will provide.
Publishers are constantly seeking the next big thing and Harry has left a wizard shaped gap in the market that needs to be filled with something different and unique but equally as enthralling. We'll all miss Harry, but now he's laid down his wand, the way is clearer for new YA fantasy and its authors to take their place in the spotlight.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Useful forums


A great community focusing on every aspect of writing from poetry to fiction and non-fiction. Plenty of work posted for others to read and critique and packed with advice for aspiring writers.


A website and forum dedicated to fantasy writing. Lots of helpful and well-written articles and a busy forum.

My username on both is Lavender.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

What makes a convincing protagonist? A few of my thoughts.

Protagonists are essentially at the core of a story. They are a force that helps to drive the tale onward. This is the person (or persons) whom the reader will journey through the story with and therefore it is essential that the protagonist is a many layered, intriuging character the reader can relate and empathise with. A boring character with weak dialogue and an uninteresting personality will make the character forgettable and bore the reader.
A backstory is essential - the author should know intricate details about their character or characters, that may not be revealed in the story at all. If the author knows these people they are writing about inside out, I think this shows in their writing.
Protagonists are the good guys, the steadfast heroes who never give up and fight for what is right. The reader roots for the protagonist to succeed and in first person or omniscent narratives especially, sees the world outlined in the tale through their eyes.They may be the reluctant hero, forced into the role through unforseen circumstance, or perhaps they made a mistake in the past and are doing all they can to right a wrong. A protagonist needs something that has driven them to be the way they are - there has to be reasoning behind their actions which will in turn give the story and world they inhabit an essential realism and make those twists and turns in the plot and the thrill of the action all the more engaging.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS