10,000 words: take 2

So you may remember the insanity that was last Saturday night. I am doing something similar this weekend, perhaps more relaxed times, a different word count. I haven’t decided the rules yet but it definitely won’t be as late as last week, it’s my parents wedding anniversary tomorrow and myself and my sister are cooking, this could go horribly wrong even without being sleep deprived.

My current NaNo progrees bar says I have 18530 words out of 50,000. If I can get to 30,000, or even 26,000 by tomorrow night I’ll be happy. I’m not sure if Sean’s interested, hang on a minute while I text him…


/ 15000 words. 0% done!

So I’ve decided my playlist for tonight’s event, it consists entirely of Tim Minchin videos, here are a few of the best but the easily offended should not follow these links:

1. Prejudice
2. Peace Anthem for Palestine
3. Drowned
4. F*ck the Poor
5. Canvas Bags
6. Not Perfect
7. Storm
8. The Pope Song
9. If I didn’t have you
10. Darkside

18:47 So after sitting down to write I was almost immediately called and told to pick up Mom from work and take her to Tesco so the wordcount still stands at “0” but I’m cautiously optimistic about the next hour


560 / 15000 words. 4% done!

So I’m actually writing a scene that’s making the obnoxious literary side of me come through, it’s kind of difficult because I want to make it accessible and compelling to read but there’s also lots of pretentious crap I want to fit in too.

Basically the scene is in the 50s in Ireland, Sunday mass, and my main character (a twelve year old girl) is going up for communion. You with me so far?

She has reasons not to like this priest, nothing to do with abuse or that he’s just not a very nice person, arrogant, dismissive etc. and the night before he got really angry at her in confession.
This is where stuff gets literary.

As she’s walking up the aisle I want to compare the red carpet in the church to the purples in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. In the Agamemnon he comes home from the Trojan war and his wife lays out their red silks, representing their wealth. He walks up to his house along this red strip and as soon as he goes in his wife murders him in the bath (as you do). With the red he’s walking on a river of his own blood to his death, showing all the death he caused too… Awesome right? It’s one of those scenes that I get really excited about, it’s an amazing play and I intend to write a blog post about it later on.

So I’m struggling to make it fit and for it to be fun to read but I’m damned if I’m going to leave it out!


1192 / 15000 words. 8% done!

So it turns out this metaphor lark is better than I thought, my MC is burned in chapter one (which could symbolise the sacrifice of Iphigenia at Aulis), the fairies can be the Furies from Eumenides and my wise grandfather character who knows all about the fairies but no-one believes is like Cassandra! Isn’t the subconscious amazing?

But I am working very slowly tonight. I need to hire this guy to stand behind my chair and make me work

22:00 It was pointed out to me that food is a good idea so I was coaxed out of my room with a Chinese take-away (even though I was promised Indian, grr) a lit fire and a glass of wine. I love fires. I’m working on the couch next to the fire and it’s currently so hot in here that I’m in a vest and shorts and I don’t care. If When I become rich and famous I’m going to have a fireplace in my office, a big massive one, like this,

Only bigger!

23:00 Move over coffe, writing has a new best friend and it’s name is white wine! which also gives me an excuse to link one of Tim Minchin’s only non-comedy videos that I like:

Isn’t he brilliant?
(the answer is yes, yes he is)

Also I’d like to point out that since starting NaNo I’ve written:
5,500 words of notes on my novel (stuff to put in later chapters, that kind of thing)
2,500 words of a short story
200 words of poetry
1500 words of an essay
4 blog posts
30 pages of handwritten notes for class

That’s at least 10,000 extra words right there, I’m very tempted to count them. But if we’re going strictly by the rules my wordcount stands at

2066 / 15000 words. 14% done!

So I’ve reached the beginnings of a subplot, I’m pretty certain the entire thing isn’t working though. I need to stop and think for awhile about where to go with this or if I should just cut it out altogether. What better way to ponder it than to go to bed and read A Dance with Dragons? So I will finish the marathon tomorrow(ish)

3000 / 15000 words. 20% done!

Night Night!



So, Considering I’m only two weeks away from holding a finished draft in my hands, I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain at least a little bit of what I’ve been at.

My work in progress is a novel set in Cold War Ireland form the point of view of a twelve-year-old girl called Eithne.

When she was little her Father burned her face to ward off the Changelings and now she believes they are coming for her again. The changelings were fairies who would kidnap human children and leave fairies in their place. She has a tough enough life, she has scars from the night her Father burned her, her Mother drinks in secret, her Father is cold and distant, favouring her brothers over her, and her Granddad fills her head with stories of myth and magic. Strange things keep happening around her but no-one else believes. Eithne is terrified that the fairies are returning and this time they will succeed in taking her.

This novel was originally called 'Changeling' but Clint Eastwood stole that...

I’ve commissioned/bullied my little sister into doing some artwork for it, cover art, illustrations etc. which I’ll post up whenever she finishes them. I’ll also start posting teasers soon. In about two weeks this draft should be finished, all my editing (hopefully) should be done by Christmas…

Maynooth (Epic) Writers group

So a friend of mine started a writers group in Maynooth recently. We’re hoping to get a blog and a facebook page set up eventually and possibly an online critique system but for the minute I’ll just explain what it is.

Anyone is allowed attend and we critique each others creative writing. You don’t need to be attending the college, no restrictions on age, genre, ability etc. There are other groups in Maynooth but the Literary and Debating society is only for students and we’ve heard of a group that meets in Carton House but is really only for pretty serious published author’s. You don’t even have to be from Maynooth to come, it’s just a convenient, central enough location with lots of free rooms we can use.

All kinds of writing are welcome, from poetry to short stories to novels to screenplays to graphic novels/comics to song lyrics to videogame or rpg scripts… you get the picture

We’ve met twice so far and things have gone well. Bring copies of your writing for people to read (Or you can read aloud) and we each take a turn reading our own stuff, critiquing others and debating issues such as the difficulties of getting published or feminism on the Irish writing scene. We might eventually hold events if we can get any funding, and last time we met up was extremely casual and informal as it was the end of exams for a lot of us so we met in a local pub. I didn’t have time to write anything new but I still got ideas from a few of the people there and I looked several creative Writing drinking games (which I’ll post later).


So basically is you write at all and live within commuting distance of Maynooth come along, we meet every few weeks and I’ll post details of the next meeting as soon as it’s organised

Decisions Decisions…

So I applied for a Creative Writing MA next year. There’s not much choice in Ireland, there’s one in University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) or Queen’s university Belfast (QUB). Some people argue that there’s one in National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) but that’s really a masters in Writing; it has modules in journalism, biography, travel writing and other horrible practical stuff like that. I applied for the first year and intended to do an M.Litt in my alma mater if all else failed (no way on earth do I want to enter the real world yet)

So the applications process gradually leeches away the will to live. I applied for all of them in the midst of my regular essays, reading list and dissertation. some such as ucd required application essays, Belfast wanted obscure enough information (Why does it matter what hospital I was born in?) and just when I thought I was finished with trinity I got an email listing no less than 10 items I had to send to them immediately. Though the PAC is supposed to streamline this somewhat it fails misereably as most colleges still use their own system and all the acceptances come out at different dates, so you could pay a deposit in one college only to find out a month later that you’ve gotten a better offer elsewhere (and don’t get me started on the utter nightmare of getting Professors, who are lovely but really have their heads so far up in the clouds of their own research that they can’t function in a normal everyday level, to write a reference).

So I fought my way through all this and sat waiting (I had no idea when any of the acceptances were coming out) gradually convincing myself that I wouldn’t get in anywhere so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if that were the case.

But I needn’t have worried, over the course of a month I got offered a place in all of them, I even got a scholarship oin Belfast. So now with a hat-trick (a situation I never expected to find myself in) I had to actually pick one.

I never really wanted to go to UCD. I know Flann O’ Brien did his masters there but in Folklore not English whereas Trinity and Belfast have Oscar Wilde and Seamus Heaney. I’ve heard to many bad reports about UCD, from strained resources, to poor course content to a lack of interaction with students. The list goes on and I know a handful of people who dropped out for these very reasons. ALso it just looks horrible, like a airport that’s halfway through being blown up. Too much concrete and buidling everywhere. One of the best things about Maynooth was the gardens, the grass, all the trees etc. It really helps with writing. So UCD was out. (It had only really been a back-up anyway)

Belfast sounds awesome, really really awesome. But a lecturer of mine made the really good point that all of it’s writers in residence are poets and I really want to specialise in prose and novels. Also there’s the hastle of moving so far away from family and friends and all the writers resources that are in Dublin. Also (as my mother put it) the danger of being a Catholic/having a Southern registered car around Belfast at the minute. to be honest I don’t think the last one is really an issue but Parents worry. So there’s nothing too wrong with Belfast and I would have been happy with it but…

Trinity is in the city center + Terry pratchett is an adjunct Professor (He gave the current class several workshops) + there are a lot of Irish literature modules on the course making it much easier to get a PhD out of it + I can move in with my boyfriend, removing all the anxiety I’ve had from living with crazies in student accomodation + writing being an industry that is partially based on ‘who you know’ and Trinity still having the prestige (though I’m not really sure if it’s deserved) means I can build up contacts and if I go to UK publishers with anything in the future they’ll be pretty impressed by the letters TCD on my CV  = Trinity for the win!

I already have several friends standing by to slap me if I go rogue (Trinners for winners loike y’know) so I reckon I’m in for a pretty interesting year, YAY!