Tag Archives: Blog

The Minimalists Guide to Storing Interesting Articles

Minimalists Guide to Storing Interesting ArticlesWhat do you do with all those interesting and informative blog posts, or articles you find, want to read again, but haven’t got time right now? I think I may have the solution for you. Continue reading

Writing Tips #8 Follow an Editor

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I have lost count of how long I have been subscribed to Jamie’s blog, but it’s been a while. I follow a number of bloggers, but Jamie’s is the one I wait with baited breath every week to see what delights she gives us. The reason I wanted to mention her blog, is because she is an editor. A developmental editor.

Her blog, which you can find here, is no less than a gold mine. She has hundreds quite possibly thousands of blog posts rich with information, from writing tips, industry insights, general information, book reviews to all you could ever want to know about working with an editor.

Any writer who is reading this, listen up – I cannot advocate you reading her blog more. Be warned, Jamie can be cuttingly honest at times, so much so it took me over a year before I even plucked up enough courage to post a comment on her blog, and still now I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done so! But it’s an honesty you need… if your serious about being a writer anyway. Jamie will tell you exactly what not to do, all about the habits writers do that annoy editors, and educate you in just what you do and don’t need to do when approaching an editor. Jamie will make you a better writer. I only hope one day my stuff is good enough to get edited by someone like Jamie.

The respect and admiration I have for Jamie is infinite. If you’re even half serious about writing, GO. CHECK. HER. OUT.

 

Writing Process Meme

My lovely tutor Esther Newton at the Writers Bureau nominated me for the writing process blog meme. Esther is a fab tutor, always giving such thoughtful and comprehensive feedback, and also an extremely talented writer, my favourite story I have read of hers which had me in fits of laughter was a story written through a series of letters from a very angry customer to a rather naughty hotel owner!

I have to answer four questions and nominate three other bloggers to continue the process. I will do my best at answering the questions, but I might have trouble nominating bloggers, as most of the friends I have made through blogging thus far have been fertility friends rather than writing friends, blogging about writing is still new for me. What I will try to do though is nominate people in my writing group- and then consolidate their answers into one post and pop it up here at a later date.

So, here goes:

1. What am I working on at the moment?

So much it hurts!

  1. I blog, obviously. That’s a constant WIP.
  2. I have written a short story for an adult fairy tale competition, that is sitting on my laptop in desperate need of proof reading so I can submit it by the 14th November. But I’m rubbish at proof reading so I am quietly ignoring it, until I have to submit it. When I will unsurprisingly give it a quick once over, beat myself up AGAIN about being shit at grammar and then submit it anyway, probably full of mistakes. 🙁
  3. My next assignment which is a 4000 word short story about post apocalyptic Earth, due on the 10th December, and thus far I have a title and an idea! and 44.5 thousand words between me and finishing NaNo to have the head space to write it! Gulp.
  4. I run a writing group on Facebook – its a small group of just 16 at the moment, but like anything, if you want it to flourish you have to put the time and effort in, and constantly think of new conversations to generate new writing chat.
  5. My labour of love… The novel I have slaved over, and am writing as part of NaNo. It wasn’t created because of NaNo, I have been working (planning) it for at least a couple of years, although one character and a couple of creatures, have been nuzzled in the corner of my mind since I was 9. I even found the story I wrote about them the other day. This is THE book, the story, that one everyone has in them thats probably rubbish but a complete labour of love. I am in love with my story, I want to live in this world! I know, I probably sound like a complete lunatic!
  6. The second instalment which came to me like an epiphany in a training session, at which point I then scrawled all over my training book with maps, and notes and keys for the story in the tiniest writing you have ever seen so that I didn’t get caught! This is now in the fermenting stage (I’ll explain later)

I think that’s it at the moment.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is the hardest question to answer. Other than the fact I am coming up with new ideas (which I guess is the one thing I do pride myself on, my unique ideas) I am not too sure. I guess everyone has their own writing style so that would be different too. Although I don’t quite know how to describe my writing style, maybe I will ask Esther, or some of my friends who have read my work. I guess the one thing my friends say, is that they can clearly hear my voice in my work, they know it’s me writing, so that I guess makes it separate from other writers work because there is only one me!

Ugh, this is actually really hard! I am a bit stumped, particularly because I am really quite critical of my work, so it’s hard to now think of something good to say! erm… A couple of people have said my dialogue is quite good, I am quite good at making it realistic and believable.

Does that count? I give up!

3. Why do I write what I do?

kidnap

I’m joking, kind of! Writing isn’t a choice though. It’s not a want, a like or a desire. Its an out and out MUST. I HAVE to write, I NEED to do it. Writing quiets my brain from the incessant noise all my characters make in my head. If I don’t write, they scream at me, or prod at what brain cells pregnancy left me with, until I write their stories, and tell their tales.

I mean, of course, like any budding writer, I want to be published. I want to be the next JK Rowling, or Stephen King, or Veronica Roth. But we all know the odds are infinitesimally small. So that doesn’t drive me. An intense need to quiet my characters does!! Ok, a need to tell the stories that fill my head, create the worlds I always wished I could read about. Writing, is a therapy, its cathartic, it allows me to live in another world, where possibilities are limited only by my own mind.

4. How does my writing process work?

HA! 64 million dollar question. Erm. Well, I am a bit of an epiphany kind of girl! I will have a Eureka moment, when something pops into my head, whether it be a character or concept, or plot twist, and then I will spend a lot of time padding it out. I would say that the majority of my writing process is unconscious thought. I need time, not to consciously think about my story, but to let it ferment unconsciously in my head. I just need it to sit there quietly in a corner of my brain whilst I carry on with day to day life. Generally speaking I hate detail, in life, mostly work, I’m awful, I can’t do grammar, I can’t do numbers or spreadsheets. It always surprises me when I can delve into such depth with a character or setting. I spend an awful lot of time noticing little intricacies about people, friends and colleagues. If I meet an interesting person at work, I will scribble notes in my work notebook about that person or character right next to some important work notes! I remember in a meeting once a few years ago, I was so flabbergasted at the sight of a particular person, I was gobsmacked that no one else in the room was as intrigued as me. This gentleman was late 50’s and had skin so deeply grooved and lined he looked like a sculpture, he had a beautiful afro, that reminded me of my grandad, and his big dark eyes made him look ever so slightly like a lion. I had to literally force myself not to stare at him, so instead, I spent most of the meeting snatching glances at him, and unashamedly drawing a picture of his face on a post it… which I still have!

I write notes about my characters and settings and storylines EVERYWHERE. Literally, I have a notebook on me constantly, whether in my work bag, handbag, or on my phone, I have scraps of paper, project files, and document after document clogging up my phone.

I draw them all together and generally speaking put them either into a word document of notes that I develop into  a short story. Or if it’s for my novel into my Scrivener file. Genuinely don’t know where I would be without Scrivener.

I am annoyingly organised. I would say that for novel writing, I drive myself utterly insane with planning and preparation, to the point where, for an entire year, I put off writing my novel because I didn’t feel I had prepared enough. I also have a tendency to hold a lot of information in my head, which usually results in me having mental bandwidth issues, and monging around like a zombie at the end of the day when I physically can’t hold anything else in my head! If it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, I don’t think I would have ever gotten my novel written.

For short stories, I am much less uptight. I can generally speaking let them evolve naturally, you don’t have time to put all the detail in, it’s short sharp and to the point, I generally take a week to get a story down, then spend a few days editing and re reading it. I have a few friends who tirelessly read the drivel I write, so I often send copies of stuff to them just to have a second third or fourth opinion. My poor wife, usually gets roped in to read them, as does my mum. Both of whom aren’t really readers, and don’t enjoy this part of my writing process! but do it anyway because they love me, and I nag them! haha.

There are two other bits I failed to mention:

1. Pinterest. I am a hugely visual person, and I love a good scrap book / mood board. Pinterest has become the bane and love of my life. I use it constantly drawing boards together for inspiration characters and stories and research.

2. Research, I love research, particularly if there is a theme in my book, in my novel, the different places are based on different themes, so I had to do a lot of research on those topics. But for the 4000 word short story, I am currently doing in-depth research on ‘alternative history’ there is a whole culture out there that believes aliens have visited and our history is not what it seems, so my story is partially inspired by this. I love a conspiracy and anything unusual, so I regularly take snippets of odd things I hear, or strange topics for inspiration.

3. I’m a night owl. Mostly I write at night, after my boy is in bed.

That’s it. Possibly my longest post ever, and a little insight into my strange brain!

Happy Birthday Sacha Black…

Happy-Birthday-children-celebration-photo

 

Ok so it’s not like it’s my actual birthday, that came and went in March. But WordPress just told me it’s my blogging anniversary….

What a lovely surprise, and oh how long ago a year feels, I wasn’t even married then! I will write a semi reflective post in light of this year anniversary. But for now, I am moving house – tomorrow, starting a new job on Monday, and all whilst being pregnant. I don’t have time to pee, let alone write a meaningful blog.

Just one thing i do want to say though. Obviously blogging must mean a lot to me, because I wasnt sure, if when I started it was something I would carry on… I think I have surprised myself that I have stuck with it for a whole year. I am sufficiently impressed with myself!!

Happy Birthday Sacha Black. 😀

Liebster, and everything you ever wanted to know about Sacha Black… well sort of!

I am a bad blogger, I was nominated for an award, and because life got in the way I didn’t have a chance to follow it up. Not only that, but a dear blogging friend, tried to cheer me up with some interesting questions and I didn’t get the chance to do them.

Firstly A H Amin who asked me the following questions:

1. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten in public?

hmm, probably nothing that strange, I am a veggie, and a fussy one at that. I don’t really eat weird things, but I have tried Deer in Nepal, and some other strange meats that I have no idea what they were. But as for strange… literally nothing!

2. If you had to go on an adventure, with elves, dwarves, or hobbits, who would you take and why?

Gandalf? Clearly a sick wizard!

3. You are at a rural retreat lodge somewhere deep in Wisconsin or Canada. You are approached by a taxidermist who hands you a stuffed badger and asks you to put it in your lap. What do you do next?

Politely decline and make a hasty retreat!! Or reach for the shotgun that’s clearly stowed behind the door of the cabin, and tell him to back the fuck away with the rodent!

4. If you were given biscotti, would you prefer it with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

Not drinking caffeine currently for obvious reasons, but I am partial for a mocha!!

5. In your opinion, who is the funniest man or woman alive today (comedian)

Lee Evans, or Michael McIntyre.

6. If you were given thirty seconds on television to say something, what would it be?

Well I have been on television, I was the lead character in a children’s programme that aired twice a week for six weeks when I was 16… but if I told you what it was I would have to kill you!

IF I got to go on prime time TV now and say something meaningful?

“Keep chasing the dream, and never forget it, love well, live hard, and sleep when you die!”

7. What is your idea of the most romantic date setting ever?

I dont have a single romantic bone in my body. er… Dirty weekend away? Ok maybe not… um… Dinner under the Eiffel tower? Ugh, god I duno. I give up!

8. If you could go on one date with a movie or television star, who would it be and why?

As long as the wife’s not listening then Ellen Page

"Defiance" at the 2008 AFI Fest Closing Night Gala

Because I fancy the shit out of her!!

But if the wifes listening… ah fuck it, she knows I think shes hot!

If not her, then maybe Mila Kunis… nom nom nom.

Altho… Thor is pretty hot, and I always thought Ryan Gosling looked like my wifes brother, so I can’t help but find him attractive!!

9. What is the worst song you have ever heard?

All things R&B, Rap, Hip Hop or heavy metal…. sorry for any fans out there!

10. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

Duno about live… but I would be right here….

muse

11. Who- in your opinion- was the greatest person to ever live?

Da Vinci. No questions. Fucking Ledge.

Ok, so the other two people I owe a posts to are Rebecca, and 2cagedbirds for nominating me for the Liebster award

liebster-award

Ok so there are lots of rules related to the Liebster, but instead of nominating and asking questions etc, I am just going to answer the questions asked of me, and I will add another page to my blog, with a list of all my favourite and regularly read blogs…. That will happen… shortly!

1. Your earliest childhood memory?

Waiting at the window for hours on end, asking my mother if “that was daddys car”

“is that daddies car, momma?”

He would never turn up.

2. Music playing when you made love for the first time, or associated with your first love

er… cant remember or dont want to remember… in fact I dont think there was music on.

3. How you feel about that person now

First person I loved wasn’t the first person I made love too. The first person I made love to I feel indifferent about, the first person I loved… I still think they are attractive and I hope they are happy.

4. How you feel about that music now

N/A??

5. Favourite recent song

ooh, too many, I like

Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound

Lies – Otto Dix

Perfect Replacement – Example

6. What hurts your feelings most nowadays? One example please!

Tough, because I very very rarely get my feelings hurt. I have a ridiculously thick skin, and a pretty big sense of humour.

I dont like people mugging me off, or disrespecting me.

7. What you would like to do next in your life

Have this baby, and finish my bloody novel.

8. Are you attracted to your own sex?

Fuck yes.

9.What is the worst aspect of the opposite sex?

EVERYTHING. Usually rubbish in bed (sorry!) they can’t communicate and most of the ones I have known are pretty ignorant.

10. Can pets replace people in your life?

Probably! I have two cats, and I love them dearly!

11. Will you fall in love again?

I hope not, not in romantic love anyway, I love my wife too much to fall for anyone else. But I imagine I will fall in love with my baby in a different way, a parental love.

  1.  What was your favorite book as a child?

Thats impossible to answer, I read everything, literally everything when I was a kid. So much so, I had to change libraries cause I’d read everything! Also depends what age you mean by kid? as a young child I like wierd books by babette cole, as a teenager I read everything under the sun, from kids books by jacqueline wilson, to classics like of mice an men…. probably my fave from my teenage years was ‘A Solitaire Mystery” by Jostein Gaarder

2. What are your favorite midnight snacks?

dont tend to snack at night, but probably a bagel, and juice!

3. If you got to have a fictional dinner party, who would you invite?  Your list better include me and Harry Potter, or you can just skip this question.

Do you know, I probably would invite all my fave bloggers, I would also invite some of the characters from my novel, and Da Vinci, Mandela, my mum and my bezzie mates

4. When you were a kid, what did you want your name to be?  Be honest, everyone goes through that phase.

I have no idea, I always wanted to change my name though, because my real name is ridiculously long. but I love the name Sacha Black, and I have considered changing my name by depole to it. Sometimes, I feel like I am more Sacha Black than I am the real me. I will certainly be publishing my work under the name Sacha Black.

5. Got any tattoos?

yeh one, that said I was a dick when I was 18!! My arms the one in the middle, my friends are mocking me, its meant to be the symbol for psychology…. which looks like the symbol next to the photo, but thats what happens when you draw things in a tattoo parlour when your inebriated in a foreign country… told you i was a dick… can I also point out when I have been drunk and passed out my mates think its funny to draw a spoon and a knife next to the fork!!

tatpsychology copy

6. You can visit anyplace, real or fictional.  Where do you go?  

fictional…. the world I have created in my novel….

real life… China or Africa

7. What’s the coolest place you’ve ever actually visited?

Ive trekked up to Mount Everest Base camp….

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Everest is the tall black mountain in the back right of the photo. Its black because its so high it is in the wind currents and the wind has blown all the snow off.

8. In detail, tell us how you feel about shag carpet.  (I may or may not be struggling for ideas.)

shag carpet? What the thingy thats white and fluffy… um, they are usually itchy! but i kinda like them!!

9. Stealing from Amy this time.  Write a haiku about your favorite article of clothing.

not sure how to do this, so I will get back to you on this one!

10. Do you like “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog?  If you’ve never watched it, go do so now.  Netflix or Youtube.  I’ll wait.  Ok.  So, did you like it? 

not sure i get it… but I did youtube!!

11. Favorite musical artist?

good question, I like loads.

Example, Swedish house mafia, gemini, flux pavilion, Otto Dix, James Arthur, ludovico einaudi, Missy Higgins, Snow Patrol, Pink, robbie williams! basically anyting dubstep, or basey,  oh and Emeli Sande, which can I just add everyone thinks I look like her! One day when I reveal myself, I will do a separated at birth type post with a photo of me and her!

Thats all folks… will post up the list of bloggers shortly….

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

Despite a pretty crappy start to the New Year, I was delighted to find that the artofstumbling had nominated me for the Liebster Award.

As part of the Liebster Award, nominees are required to make nominations for the blogs they feel should be recognised.

“The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The word ” Liebster” comes from German and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you. Thanks artofstumbling. Made my day 🙂
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!

Eleven Random Facts:

  1. I came ‘out’ twice! once at 16, (then crawled back in the closet due to a conservative home town) and once again at university.
  2. I ran into a boy at school who was wearing glasses and when he pulled away the glasses were stuck in the side of my head!
  3. I have two adorable cats
  4. I recently discovered I have a diminished ovarian reserve.
  5. I have my NRA marksman
  6. I have trekked to Mt Everest Base Camp
  7. I was one of the main characters on a TV programme as a child.
  8. I am terrified of boats
  9. I eat crumpets upside down, because I dont like all the dots
  10. Monsters inc. is my fave kids film.
  11. I am obsessed with shoes!

 

 My nominees and my new questions for my nominees:

1. 2cagedbirds (for her brutally honest love, that I pray she can one day have openly)

2. Stormsilvermane (for his friendship)

3. QueerLandia (for their amazing pledge to bring current news, opinions and information to the LGBT community

4. TillyJean (for her always interesting feminist thoughts)

5. Verbalbanter (for always being strong and surviving no matter what)

6. Gaybymama (for their wonderful family and stories)

7. saradraws (cause she makes me laugh)

8. KiraMoore (for her journey and beautiful poetry)

9. D.C (for writing a fascinating blog about being gay and African)

10. JacquiMurray (for always inspiring me to write on)

11. Dearbutchlovefemme (because I love everything about this blog, its humour, and truthfulness!)

My Answers

1. What’s your favourite book?

virtually impossible to answer, I love loads top two: Day of the triffids and the solitare mystery

2. Your favourite film?

even harder, top three, house of flying daggers, the last samurai and the matrix.

3. Do you have any nicknames?

yes, but if i told you id have to kill you!

4. Do you play any musical instruments?

Not any more, I played the Cello for 7 years, played the piano, and violin, tinkled with the guitar.

5. Have you ever had surgery?

wisdom teeth removed thats about it…

6. What’s your favourite food?

chocolate!

7. What are you afraid of?

spiders, boats and tiny dots!

8. What’s your proudest moment?

Probably reaching Mt Everest Base Camp on my trek, or getting a first class degree.

9. Your favourite item of clothing?

I own 17 black tank tops, and I love every single one! (and my Kurt Geiger heels!)

10. Your favourite song?

anything dubstep. currently like the gemini remix of Ed Sheerans ‘you need me i dont need you’

11. Favourite TV show?

L word or the west wing

 

11 New questions for them. (And anyone else who wants to answer, just because they are that fun! and I’m interested in your answers)

1. If you could only visit one country where would it be?

2. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, with no ill effects what would it be?

3. fave TV series

4. why do you blog/write?

5. whats the dream you still havent fulfilled yet?

6. who did you hurt that you never meant to and what did you do?

7. most inspirational novel you’ve read and why did it inspire you?

8. If you were a super hero who would you be?

9. What three words describe you?

10. whats the one thing guaranteed to cheer you up when your down?

11. whats the craziest thing you have ever done?

Sacha's Facebook Saga

I made an executive decision to delete facebook on Tuesday.

At the time I was seriously peeved with it, but now I might be getting some slight withdrawals…!

The thing with facebook, is that technically it really is a good way to stay connected, and it really is a good way of having a back up of all your photos. However, increasingly over the last few months I have been getting irritated with it.

I am prone to ranting, and writing statuses that may or may not be fleeting, I tweet angry tweets, and write angry blogs. However, I am not reaaaallly always angry. I know that it makes me look like I am innately angry, but I just get supremely irritated by things. Once I have ranted, tweeted, status’d or blogged its out of my system and I am over it. I don’t hold grudges, my moods are only temporary and basically everyone should ignore me. Plus, I don’t really mean the things I say most of the time.

That, however, does not stop people putting their two pence in. Now don’t get me wrong I 100% appreciate that if I didn’t write statuses people wouldn’t comment on them. But that’s one of the reasons I deleted it.

I started to feel like people were unnecessarily sticking their ore in. My mother felt the need to comment on literally every single status. If I swore she would say publicly don’t swear sweetie, or Oh is that French. COME ON, I am 25, and married for god sake. I do not need to be told when I can and cannot swear on my facebook.

If I was annoyed at something, or had ranted about something, people would tell me what I should and shouldn’t do.

Now, I know that people comment on blogs, but that’s different. I am asking for comments, I want the comments, I am actively seeking out engagement, and interaction.

Facebook however, I would make some blasé comment about being angry, or raging and people would literally think that I was about to hurt someone, or myself.

When did everyone get so serious? It’s a fricking joke, an off the cuff blasé, momentary feeling for goodness sake. Just because I’m raging at 9:02 doesn’t mean I am still raging at 9:04.

What tipped me over the edge was, I wrote a status about being in the worst mood ever, and of all people to comment on my status, it was one of the last people I saw before meeting my now wife. They wrote some patronizing comment about how I needed to change my outlook on life, I am too angry, it’s not healthy. FUuuuuuuuuCK OFF.

Seriously,

a) you of all people don’t tell me what to do, I haven’t seen this person in 3 and a half years, so what do you know about my life anyway and

b) what the hell makes you think you know me well enough to tell me what to do anyway

c) It’s a fricking status. It doesn’t mean anything. CHILL OUT.

Also, facebook kills peoples sex lives. In fact technology in general kills peoples sex lives. Since when did we become a society that doesn’t communicate any more? Lesbians in general are more in danger of suffering lesbian bed death than other people anyway. So I’ll be damned if I risk it for the sake of fricking facebook.

I did a little friend survey of those in relationships and asked how many of them suffer from that awkward moment when they and their partners crawl into bed at night, and instead of having a cuddle or communicating with their lovers, they prefer to sit on their phones, on facebook or twitter or whatever, in silence. Do you know how many said they did that…..

100%.

That is ridiculous.

So I deleted facebook.

In protest.

I don’t want random school friends that I don’t care about telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my life, and I certainly don’t want to go anywhere near lesbian bed death.

So I am protesting.

 

I deleted facebook on Tuesday evening.

It’s now Thursday morning, and I think, ironically, I am having withdrawals because I suffered from a horrendous realisation….. I too am nosy, and love to know what people are doing or saying. I don’t however, stick my ore in where it’s not wanted!!

*sigh*

I don’t know yet, how long this angry protest will continue for. Probably not long! But I am holding out thus far!!