Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finals week aka the week of DOOM

Ugh, finals week.

It knocks you out and crushes you flat, and still somehow I'm twitching on, like a pesky spider THAT JUST WON'T DIE. Still, it's given me a chance to reflect back on this semester and how it's gone.

It's been happier, I think. I've felt more productive in my classes, particularly in my senior workshop. I've really enjoyed writing genre fiction in class (le gasp) and everyone has been great fun to work with. Even though I'm frustrated with my own work, it's interesting to see how everyone's developed.

Some days I've been on the struggle bus more than others. But I keep going because you know, what else am I going to do? I can always choose to put down the pen. It is the easier choice, in some ways. But it is so much more fulfilling to keep at it, no matter how exhausting it gets some days.

I've just gotta keep twitching on.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is this thing on?

So I've been away for a while... like half a year.

I know. I said I wasn't going to do this.

But at the beginning of the summer, my computer died, and I lost about 20,000 words of various projects, including TA. Which, as you might imagine, set me back a little. Although I tinkered around a bit, I didn't really start anything until September, by which time college had started, etc. and I got busy.

Anyway, I'm back now!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Catching up

I haven't been on for ages, so I thought I'd give some updates.

1) I've started training for Tough Mudder.

Currently, I'm jogging like a very old person, but I'll get better at it, for sure. It's actually sort of nice to wake up early and head to the gym; I feel like I'm accomplishing something. Once I get home, I'll be running around the park behind my house.

2) Finals are here!

Ha… haha. *sweats nervously*

No, I'm kidding. The workload is light this semester, and I'm much more comfortable with what I'm expected to do than I have been in the past. I want to try and finish as much of my work this weekend so I can spend the rest of my time here basking in sunlight and reading.

3) I've resumed work on TA.

This is something I've wrestled with in my head more than on paper in the last month or so, but I've finally plucked up the courage to delve back in. I'm revising and making changes to the beginning of my story so I can move forward. I hope to have a draft done by the end of the summer so that I can hand it to my critique partners. There are definitely a lot of other stories on the mental coffee table, but some of them are still percolating, and I know how important it is to finish creative work.

Anyway, that's it for me now. After finals, expect to hear more from me.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Reveur

         Once a month, I risk my life for reveurite. It is the most pliable metal of the dreamscape, infinite in its uses but deadly to shape. Like an acid, it corrodes leather, clothing, skin. The only mine is on an island impossible to reach, unless you know the way. In a tower at its peak I wait for the moon’s apex, when reveurite falls from the stardusted ether. My hammer and tongs rest on the workspace, handles towards me where I can reach them. Moonlight comes in from a narrow port at the top of the tower.
         Three minutes to midnight, I begin my preparations. With a silver dagger, I slice my palm open and scatter my blood across the worktable as a baker does with flour. I pick up the hammer, weigh it in the palm of my hand, and give an experimental swing. The furnace on my left is swelteringly hot. Exactly three minutes later, the reveurite falls like a lead weight sent by the gods. It lands through the port onto the workspace in a viscous smear.
         I work rapidly, wrestling it into the shape I need, though it slips and slithers under the tongs. This is a battle of willpower more than anything else. I command the reveurite to shift form, to line the mould that I have prepared. Grasping the tongs with both hands, I shove it into the furnace where it screams. Before the night is over, I will shed more blood in an attempt to fix its shape. It must be perfect.
            An hour later, I put down my tongs and hammer. My hands are shaking, either from blood loss or fatigue, and I wipe them on my trousers. There are small craters in the workspace that will need to be filled and the wood that supplies the furnace must be restocked. But the work is done. A small box sits in front of me, whalebone in appearance only. Three engraved dragons cross each other at the centre of the lid, topaz eyes glinting in the darkness. Foxgloves dance along the sides. It doesn’t have to look this way – it can be wood, or glass, or even cardboard for all the difference it would make – but a craftsman always takes pride in their work, and furthermore, she will appreciate the effort. My orphan creation. With haste – because there is not much time left, not now – I open the lid and place the letter within. This is the only way to guarantee its arrival, no matter the circumstances, and it is imperative that it reaches the shores of the living. To her.

          If I could I would linger, but dawn is grasping at the horizon, so I take the box from the middle of the workspace and depart. For a few more minutes the island exists, hanging precariously on the edge between one life and another, until the moon fades and the ocean swallows it whole.

This story was made possible through the writing prompt at 

Revision Blues

I haven't written here in a while and I'm sorry, dutiful readers. I will endeavour to be more active, despite the dreaded last month of the semester. Portfolios need to be wrapped up, stories revised, and things handed in.

Claire Messud is visiting my college at the moment and we had a special masterclass with her on revising, using "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver. It was a fascinating exercise, but it brought up a lot of my own anxieties about revision. Here's the thing: I hate revisions, but I love rewriting. I love going back to a story and rewriting it from scratch, using nothing but the barest of outlines. It makes me feel like I'm both starting anew and making progress.

Revision, on the other hand, makes me feel like Theseus in the minotaur's labyrinth. There are a million paths that the story could go down, and although only one of them is right, I have to explore all of them before I know which one is true. Figuring out where the story starts, for example, ties me up in knots. It's paralysing, whether at the computer or on paper. Blank page round two.

How can I possibly make something so beautiful out of these words? How can I commit to what I've written?

I wish I had an answer for this.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Evaluating my progress as a writer

This post's theme is courtesy of Chuck Wendig at

In his post, the wonderful Wendig asked his readers to evaluate ourselves as writers, and I thought it was a really good exercise. Honestly, I kind of need it right now, given that I've come to a tremulous point in my life. (Junior? Grad school? Writing samples? *sweats nervously*)

Anyway, here goes:

a) What's your greatest strength/ skill in terms of writing/ storytelling?

I'd say at this point, I'm getting better at specific description. With TA, it's crucial for me to have good description because I'm working within a fixed location. Everything has a reason to be where it is. I'm trying to convey a history, and there's nothing that works quite as well for that as description.

b) What's your greatest weakness in writing/ storytelling? What gives you the most trouble?

Everything! No, I'm kidding, but some days it really does feel like that. Right now, though, I'm struggling a lot with finding smaller - yet crucial - conflicts to move the plot forward. In general, I tend to worry about my dialogue, and about whether I divulge too much about how my characters feel.

c) How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them?

I mean, how finished are we talking about here? Draft 1? Because that's usually where things end up when I abandon them. I've written first drafts of nine novels, give or take. And then I hated them and left them in the corner to die. I do, however, tend to go back to projects and rewrite them a year or two down the line, so I've not given up entirely.

d) Best writing advice you've ever been given?

Get rid of adverbs. If you need to use adverbs, your verbs aren't strong enough. Get rid of anything that isn't "said", otherwise your dialogue isn't strong enough. This was a huge revelation for me.

e) Worst writing advice you've ever been given?

Use lots of adverbs.

f) One piece of advice you'd give other writers?

Don't discard writing on the basis that you don't think it's good enough. Stephen King threw away Carrie because he thought it was terrible, and his wife fished it out again. Bottom line: let your readers tell you what they think of it first.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I went to a talk yesterday in the rare books library at my uni, which was mostly about 19th Century publishers, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson. At some point, however, the conversation diverted to marginalia (notes written in the margins, in case anyone's wondering) and its disappearance. I wasn't aware of this, but apparently historians learn a lot about responses to books from the marginalia. Other than professional reviews, there wasn't an outlet for reader's responses, so many of them wrote down their thoughts in the book itself.

Now I know this is a divided issue, but my books are pristine. I have my name and year in the front, but other than that, nothing. I don't even dog ear my books anymore. If I have thoughts about a book, most of the time, they stay that way, unless I write a review on Goodreads or here. To me, a book is precious as an object.

However, this presents its own problems. Historians are having a really hard time figuring out how to preserve and document information on the internet. We don't know in five hundred years if we'll still have access to the internet, and so it seems like there should be a back-up plan. There are universities that put all of their digital records onto microfilm, but that sounds inconvenient and time consuming. Do we print out everything? Where do we store it? How do you even begin recording something so large? At the moment, there's no surefire solution.

So why don't we write more in our books? They're cheaper and more available than they've ever been. They're equally disposable, too.  Doug Dorst and J. J. Abrams played around with marginalia in S. and it's simply fascinating to read. Couldn't marginalia be part of the reading experience, too?

Me? I personally don't know. After that conversation, I'm thinking about recording more of my thoughts in my books. I would like to have a record of how I felt at this exact point at this particular time. But I'd also like to come to a book with clean, legible pages. I like to reread a book knowing that I'm coming to it with fresh eyes, especially if I've forgotten the plot.

Anyway, I'm curious. Thoughts? Comments? I'd love to know your opinions on marginalia and how it affects the reading experience.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Note to self:

When candy corn stops tasting good, it probably means you should stop eating it.

(I didn't and now I am full of queasy feelings and regret)

In other news, plodding along with TA and getting things in order. I submitted a part of it to my creative writing workshop three weeks ago, and got really helpful comments, so that's good. We've had a couple of snow days, so I haven't felt particularly motivated to do anything except binge on reruns of Lost, but now I'm getting back on track with things.

Also, I hope you have a happy Valentine's Day, even in this terrible and snowy weather.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Keeping myself accountable

I'm getting on with my novel (TA) pretty slowly, and I thought I'd check in. To tell you the truth, it could go faster. I could be writing more. I've deliberately organised my schedule this semester so that I have swathes of time to go to the gym, work on my art, and of course, writing. Yet somehow I'm only getting one of the three done.

Yeah, I didn't think it was going to be the gym, either. I think it's mostly because I've signed up for Tough Mudder in August and I am screwed unless I start training now. One of the things I have to particularly work on is my upper body strength, which is abysmal. At Tough Mudder, I'm expected to climb and haul myself over ten foot walls, and right now, I'm not exactly prepared for that. My roommate has lent me five pound weights to start off with. Five pounds is the equivalent of a newborn, and a small one at that. Here's the thing: five pounds is heavy. I am struggling to lift up small newborn babies, never mind myself. But I'll get there in the end.

With writing, I don't really have the same concrete goal. There are no consequences for me if I never finish TA, apart from a lack of novel. It's harder to keep myself accountable. I know that if I don't write 1,000 words a day, it will still be okay. Nothing will be there in the distant future to punish me if I fail. It's easy to think: I'm tired, I don't need to write. It's harder to think: I need to write because I've got to get this novel out of me and the only way to do that is to put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard).

So I guess my goal for today is to keep trucking. Even if I don't make it to 1,000 words today, I still have words down. The story's still in my head. I can work with what I've got, and after all, anything's better than a blank page. Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Hi, I'm Georgia, in case you haven't guessed. First, a little bit about me:

I'm an English Creative Writing major.

Fantasy is my shit. However, I will also read most things you throw at me. Because, hey, free book.

My current project is a novel called The Assistant. It's about two magicians who find themselves under the same roof in unlikely circumstances. As I write more, you might hear more about it.

Beyond literary passions, I like cats, drawing, Adagio tea, and destroying my enemies.

On this blog you'll find musings, ramblings, book reviews, and writing. So come in, take a look around, leave a comment, read some things - enjoy! If you want to drop me a line, you can always reach me at, or simply comment somewhere.