Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #23

Hey readers!

So for once I actually have something to talk about in a blog post (*party poppers “Hello Internet” style*), but before I begin I’d just like to say sorry for the absence of posts recently. I’ve not posted in… a long time, and I honestly have no excuse for that. I just lacked motivation, so no blog posts happened.

So, what I wanted to talk about today was a Writing Tool I recently discovered called Hemingway. Basically what it does is highlight all the ‘bad’ things about your writing/what could be improved on in it, such as sentences that are hard to read, or unnecessary words, or where you’ve written with a passive voice rather than an active voice, so you know what can be improved on. I’ve found that for me the most useful part is highlighting hard-to-read sentences, as I often do find myself rambling on for too long and overcomplicating what I write (aaaaand I just proved myself right there, didn’t I?) It can also give you a word count, a letter count, and an estimate time for how long it takes you to read it. This might be useful for when planning a speech or a debate or some other form of public speaking and you only have a certain about of time to speak for. Or it might be nice just for interests sake!

For example, I put the above paragraph into Hemingway (I have since edited the above paragraph slightly as I wrote it on a different day to the day this is being published, but the point still stands), and this is what it showed me:

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In summary, it was a bad paragraph.

Personally, Hemingway is the only writing tool that I use. I’ve seen things about another tool called ILYS (that hides what you’re writing so you can’t get distracted by editing until you’ve reached your word count goal) that looks good, but when I googled it, it turns out you have to pay money for it, and I’ve not actually seen that much about other writing tools. It doesn’t really matter though – I quite like being able to go back and read over what I’d written and edit as I go along, otherwise I feel restricted and lose motivation. What about you? Do you prefer to write freely and do what you want when you want, or do you prefer to have structured writing time dictating what you do and when?

As it’s been a long time (about a month) since my last blog post, I’d have expected myself to have read a lot since them, however, it’s not been as much as I would have liked to have done. This is for one simple reason: my TBR pile. I have found, over multiple occasions, that the predominant reason for why I get into reading slumps is because my TBR pile is too big. I think it’s just the fact that there’s a physical manifestation of how many books I want to read/should have read but haven’t, and it gets me down in the dumps, and as a result I just tend to… stop reading. However, to combat this, I have returned a bunch of books from my TBR pile to the library (but written the titles down for future reference) and hidden the rest of my TBR pile – made up from books that I own – under my bed so that I can’t see it. Problem solved!

So, now for the rambly part of the blog post where I talk about the books I’ve read…

I’ve managed to finish Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan which I’d just begun when I wrote my last blog post, and I really enjoyed it. One element I really liked was how it told the different stories of multiple different people, but how they all linked together somehow. It reminds me of a story I began writing a while ago – about the same time that Alice began writing her now novel-length story, in fact. In that there were several different characters who all lived completely different lives, but as time went on their lived began to overlap. That reminds me, I really wanted to finish that, maybe I should go back to it?

After Two Boys Kissing I read a book called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and let me tell you, it was AMAZING. I have a confession, and that confession is that I only decided to read it because I saw a bookstagram which posted about how many Harry Potter references it had in it, but I am honestly SO glad that I did. I LOVED IT. It’s a book that I’ll definitely recommend to everyone – however it does have longs of swearing, and it all about a murder and justice for the murder and guns and shootings etc. so it might not be for everyone. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and along with hiding my TBR pile it’s recently helped me out of the reading slump.

Now I’ve moved onto Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern. IT FINALLY CAME OUT. Alice leant me the first book – Flawed – back around Christmastime, and immediately after finishing it I messaged her to ask if I could borrow the sequel mentioned at the end, and got the sorry message back that it wasn’t going to come out for another 4 months. But now it has come out, and I am reading it! Hooray! I’m about halfway through now, and I love it so far. So many twists and turns and unexpected events!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say for today, so this is where this blog post it going to end. If you have enjoyed this post please do let us know via the comments on here or our Instagram page (@writeaweek). Also, if you see any free writing tools we could try out, or have any book recommendations, or there’s something you’d like us to write about, then also let us know.

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog

Hello readers, Alice here.

Things have been strange for me recently. The book I’m writing has reached over 50,000 words, and has taken a turn that I didn’t think it would when I began. Without giving too much away, it has become about something that is quite difficult to write about, and something of a sensitive subject.

The past… I don’t know how long, I’ve been thinking differently to how I used to do. It is almost like something has released in my head, and I have finally realised that I am here, and I exist, and I am the one who chooses what I do. Ugh, *flops on floor*.

I’ve always been the quiet one, unless I’m with my friends, but since this realisation, I have been trying to put myself out there more (not always, but more than I used to), working with different people and talking about new things. I’ve discovered that most people, just like me, simply want to get through the day and look towards the future. Talking to people you wouldn’t usually talk to might seem scary, but when you take the first plunge, it gets much, much easier. It’s surprising how many people are surprised when I talk to them (in a good way), and has made me think that I should have done this much earlier.

There has been ongoing drama with one of my (ex) closer friends, but that seemed to have fizzled out until things were good between us. We are no longer super close, but I would still consider her a friend, however she seems to be trying to rekindle the tension, which is annoying, but we’re heading in the right direction (I hope).  To be completely honest, I am happier with us the way we are, civil, but not best friends. Is that

I’ve been talking to my crush more, still not that much, but it’s getting there and we’ve had a couple of nice conversations.

April and I are planning a project for the summer, and have lots of new collaborative writing things planned that we’re looking forward to starting.

Things are going well for the most part, so why do I feel so strange?

My book’s change in storyline is somewhat dark, and I can’t help but think it is mirroring what’s going on in my head. I can’t really explain much more about that, because I might post on here once it is finished and edited (if I’m happy with it) and SpOILerS.

I’ve found that if I have writer’s block, writing poems increases my creativity and gets the words flowing, but everything I write is pretty miserable, and I cannot write anything positive (though to be fair, I haven’t tried that hard).

Anyway, the point is, I have realised that I am me. I don’t know who I am yet, but hopefully I will someday. At the end of the day, this is my life, and I should do what makes me happy, even if I’m not sure what that is yet. I’m not going to let school suffocate me anymore – next year will be stressful, so I need to try and enjoy now. This has caused a bit of a build up in homework that needs to be done, but it has given me time to do things for me.

I wouldn’t say that I’m happy at the moment, but I’m not not-happy, and I have no idea what is even going on with my emotions.

What I’m trying to say is that you should do the things that you love. Do not throw everything away and stop doing any work, but put some time aside just for you; sometimes work can wait.

April has commented that I have ‘changed’ recently. I don’t think I have changed, I think I’ve just released a part of myself that was hidden away before.

Happy reading,

Alice

 

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #22

Hey readers!

This week I’ve had quite a bit of free time on my hands, so I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. I finished book number 4 in the Medusa Project Series at the end of lat week, so I had to go to the library to get the next one out, and managed to come home with 7 more books… typical me.

So after finishing Hunted (The Medusa Project #4) I moved on to Double-Cross (Medusa Project #5), which I really enjoyed. It was written from the POV of Nico, and despite the fact that it was book 5 of the series I really don’t think that it is one of those series that’s just dragging along and really should have just ended about 3 books ago. There was also quite a big plot twist (kind of… although it was hinted at in the previous book) which made it even more exciting and so I really enjoyed it!

The next book after that, and the final book in the series, is called Hit Squad, which I moved onto immediately xD. This book was from the POV of all the characters, starting with one then moving onto the next after a few chapters. I found this nice as when the characters split up it meant that the readers weren’t left guessing what was happening with the other group of people, which was good as they split up quite often.

HOWEVER after finishing what I thought was the last book of the series I saw a page at the back mentioning another book in the series… so I hopped onto the website and found out that there was a book number 2.5 which I had missed out! It wasn’t a bad thing, because it can apparently be read as a stand-alone book so I didn’t miss out any details, but it was very exciting news. Especially as there is also a free download of it (as it was originally released for world book day or something like that). So I have now downloaded this short book – called “The Thief” for anyone wondering – off www.sophiemckenziebooks.com and I’ve started to read it. I have been reading it a bit slowly as I’ve bee reading it along side the other books that I’m reading, only reading it when I want something to read but don’t have my actual book with me.

The next book that I moved on to after the Medusa Project series was one called “Shooting Stars” which is written by Allison Rushby. It’s about a 16-year-old paparazzo who is sent undercover to take some sneaky photos of a teenage heartthrob/singer/songwriter but along the way learns a lot about herself. It’s not the type of book I’d normally read – I tend to enjoy fantasy/dystopia novels most, rather than gushy cliché teenage romance novels – but I thought I’d give it a go and I’ve actually really enjoyed it. It also has one of those endings that makes you feel warm and happy inside, which is a nice feeling to have.

After Shooting Stars I began to Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. I’ve read one of his books before – Every Day (which I really enjoyed) – and half of another one (I got half way through Will Grayson Will Grayson then realised it was written by two different people and decided I’d start it again another time because I’d got very confused) so I figured I’d give this book of his a try. I’m about a third of the way through at the moment as I’ve ben reading it rather slowly, due to the fact that it’s written in a quite different style from what I normally read. I think, but I’m not 100% sure, that it’s written from the POV of dead people. Specifically, gay dead people, who are watching over the lives of various gay boys, who the story is written about. I think, but it never actually specifies or tells you who the “we” are that it often refers to, so I could be very wrong.

As for the next book that I’m going to read… I actually have a pile of about 10 books that I can pick from to read next, but I think I might read Afterlife by Dee Shulman next. Afterlife is the third book in a trilogy that I started reading a while ago, but after reading the second book the library that I go to didn’t have the third one in and so I got distracted by a different book then kind of forgot about it until I saw it on the shelf of the library the other day and got very excited. The whole trilogy follows the story of a Roman gladiator (well technically he’s a Greek slave gladiator) and a modern day girl who are somehow linked by a mysterious disease (and I’m not going to say anything more because SPOILERS ARE BAD)

The book I’m excited to read in the near future however is Perfect, by Cecelia Ahern. I didn’t read the first book, Flawed, that long ago, but it has seemed like such a long wait for this one to come out! I feel like I need to shorten my pile of books-to-be-read first though so I might not be able to read it immediately.

Anyway, I think that’s all for this week’s blog post! I’m going to try and do something new and different for next week, so provided nothing gets in the way of that keep your eyes peeled for something interesting.

Bye!

~ April

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The Light Behind the Dark – Chapter One

So, this is Alice, and April and I decided to both write a story based of a writing prompt on @awriterslifeforme on Instagram, which is the first paragraph of this story, and publish them on here without showing them to each other so that neither of us could influence the other. The aim was for them to be short, but as ever, I am seemingly unable to write really short stories, so this is going to be published in several instalments, the first of which is below; enjoy!:

The first thing that caught their attention was the window at the end of the room. It had broken blinds and a plastic seal, but that wasn’t what made it interesting. It was the light that shined through and lit up the whole room. Everyone knew it was dark outside.

Most of the others had seen it before, but for some, like me, this was the first time. Several of them clamber forwards to take a closer look, but I do not.

“Oh, go on,” Charlene tells me, rolling her eyes. I shake my head, hiding my deeply awed feelings deep inside.

I know that light is dangerous. They have not learned that yet.

Maybe they will soon.

Maybe they won’t.

But I’m Mavis, and I know it all too well.

Light only ever brings darkness, and I for one would rather live without it.

“Jeesh, you’re such a killjoy.” I ignore Charlene’s backhanded comments and stay firmly at the back of the room, willing my eyes to stay rooted to the ground, hoisting them back when they wander towards the light. Soon, the general chatter is broken up by a figure of authority, clearing her voice and clapping her hands. I stuff my hands into the deep pockets of my jacket, pushing them firmly against my camera, my shoulders relaxing at the reminder of its presence.

“Don’t concern yourself with the pain, you should adjust over the next couple of times that you see it.” I look around, puzzled to see that all the other new recruits are blinking rapidly and shielding their eyes. Shoot. I return my eyes firmly to the ground, hoping nobody noticed my reaction, or lack of, to the light. “Now, firstly, I would like to welcome you on behalf of Lux Aeterna. All of you have passed extensive tests to be here, and I’m sure that the old hands will make you feel comfortable around the place.” She passes her gaze across those she is fond of, smiling supportively at the nervous new ones. I stay hidden at the back, with Charlene, suddenly painfully aware of her burning gaze fixing itself to me. Mavis is special. My reports, be it from school or elsewhere, always focused on that one fact.

I’m not like everyone else.

She knows. Her eyes are still focused on me, and people are beginning to look around to see the subject of her attention. Me. I let my eyes flit up and meet hers, smiling weakly before proceeding to stare at my shoes – plain black trainers. The welcoming speech swings into full flow, and I zone out, knowing everything that is being said anyway.

When we leave the window room, the lack of light is blindingly obvious. Everything is so dark. The absence of brightness is like a hole in the place, like how someone’s birthday party would feel, if the person it was for never turned up. Small clusters of people chatter excitedly, thrilled with what they have just witnessed.

I feel cold, wrong. Different. Charlene’s grip is tight on my arm as she pulls me aside.

“What was that all about?” I shrug, playing innocent,

“Huh?” She shakes her head, white blonde hair flipping in a perfect fan of pretty. People think I’m insane not to fancy Charlene, but I don’t see her sky blue eyes or her cute nose, I see past the blonde hair and stunning face to the person beneath, who is also pretty amazing. She is my friend, my best friend, and I do not have a crush on her.

“Don’t act dumb. You could fool someone else, but not me, Mavis. I know you, don’t forget that.” I shake her off,

“Please, Charlene, it was nothing.”

“No.” Her voice is sharp, unlike the high girly voice she puts out to the world. This is Charlene in battle mode, the sharp, calculated girl that hides beneath her facade. This is the real Charlene, and I’ll admit, if I was going to fancy her, it would be because of this person who hides beneath the surface. “Mavis Jones, I have known you my whole life. I’ve sat through detentions with you, broken the law with you. You know my secrets and I know yours. But I don’t know this.” She scowls beautifully, “I know you’re hiding something, but I don’t know what. And that makes me angry.”

She’s right, there is something I’m not telling her. I know everything about her, every last thing. She knows everything about me too. Everything but this. Nobody can know. Mavis is different. This is the girl who stood up for me when the other kids said Mavis was a girl’s name. She’s the one who chased them away when they beat me up. She fought my demons until I could fight them myself, but I can’t tell her this one thing. I swallow, my throat tight.

“Char, honestly. If it was a big deal, you’d know about it, you know you would. Nothing, and I mean nothing is up.” I shake my head, dark hair, almost black, flicking into my eyes. “I’m just nervous. This is what I’ve wanted my whole life, and now I’m here, and I’m scared.” Her eyes, which had become ice, melt back into their soft gaze that most guys find irresistible, holding me in a warm embrace without even touching me.

“If you’re sure.” She bites her lip, even white teeth worrying at the flesh. “I worry about you, Mavis.” I cough,

“Yeah, I know.” I look down, “but I’m better now.”

Posted in Short Stories

The Window

(based off a writing prompt on @awriterslifeforme on Instagram!)

The first thing that caught their attention was the window at the end of the room. It had broken blinds and a plastic seal, but that wasn’t what made it interesting. It was the light that shined through and lit up the whole room. Everyone knew it was dark outside.

“That’s…. weird.” Joe said hesitantly, and Dylan rolled her eyes dramatically.

“Well done Sherlock, I hadn’t figured that out yet.” Her voice was dripping with sarcasm, and Joe instantly retreated back into his shell. Emily sighed. Joe had just been beginning to come out of his shell of introvert-ness but every time Dylan spoke it was like a step backwards, him retreating behind his shield to block himself for her wrath being forced upon him.

“He was just stating a fact, Dylan. It’s not like there’s much else to say, is there?” Emily came to the taller boy’s defense, knowing that if she didn’t then Dylan would start getting cocky again and think that she was the best.

“It wasn’t necessary for anything to be said at all” Dylan snapped back, but she didn’t say any more, and Emily gave a slightly smug smile, knowing that she’d taken the older girl down a peg or two.

“So what do we do now?” Gabe asked the rest of the group, having stayed silent the rest of the time. “The wisewoman told us to come here and “travel beyond”, so it has to have something to do with the window, right?” That was the kind of person Gabe was: he didn’t speak much, but when he did speak, he actually said something productive, unlike everyone else.

“I reckon we look to see what’s on the other side of the window for starters.” Dylan said, rolling her eyes again to show how stupid she thought all the others were. It was a good idea, but it was quite obvious that no-one wanted to go anywhere near the strange glowing window from the fact that they were all standing at the other end of the room, as far away as possible.

“Go on then Dylan, you do it.” Emily said, knowing full well that the older girl didn’t want to as much as the rest of them didn’t. Everyone looked at her expectantly.

“No, I’m not doing it. Why doesn’t Joe do it – he’s the one who doesn’t matter so much if something does happen.” She snapped, pushing the lanky boy forwards. Joe stumbled slightly and began to shuffle forwards obediently, but Emily grabbed his arm and pulled him back, sighing loudly. She hated it when Dylan pushed Joe around like she was the queen of the world – it really just wound her up the wrong way.

I’ll do it.” She took a bold step forward, trying not to notice the fact that the other three took a simultaneous step back. Taking a deep breath, the mousy-haired girl strode towards the window and reached it in a few long steps, squinting through the glass with her eyes half closed because of the golden light that was pouring onto her face.

“It’s-” she began, but as her mouth opened she suddenly tumbled forwards and disappeared, almost as though she’d travelled through the glass to the other side.

Dylan, Joe and Gabe stared open mouthed at the window.

“Where did she go?” Joe asked, his voice quiet and trembling slightly. Dylan’s head whipped round to look at him, a menacing expression on her face.

“If you have nothing useful to say, then just keep your mouth shut, got it?” Joe looked down at his feet, silent. Gabe stepped forwards slightly and stood on his tiptoes to try and see out from where he was, but not daring to venture any closer to the glass.

“It’s obviously dangerous, whatever it is. I reckon we don’t get any closer until we know what it is.” He concluded, stepping back again. Joe looked up again, his expression pained.

“But we need to find out what happened to Emily!”

“Well why don’t you go have a little looksie, hey?” Dylan’s tone was fake cheery, as though she was talking to a three year old, but the boys could almost taste the venom behind her words. It was at this moment that Emily would normally step in and stick up for Joe, but Emily was gone, and so Joe realised he had to stand up for himself.

“I will do.” He announced, his chin set determinedly as he strode towards the window.

“Joe, stop-” Gabe started but before he could finish his sentence Joe too was sucked into whatever was beyond the glass. Gabe and Dylan stood in dumbfounded silence, both unsure of what to say or do. After what seemed like years to both of them but in reality was only a few moments, Dylan turned to Gabe.

“So what do we do?” She demanded, as though she expected him to know the answer.

“I dunno… I guess we follow them, we can’t go back on our own, we have to rescue them.” The boy replied, eyeing up the window that had swallowed two of his friends.

“Okay… do you want to go first?” Dylan asked.

“Nah, I think you should go first.” Clearly neither of them wanted to be the first one.

“Please Gabe…” Dylan said, her eyes pleading and her voice quiet. “I’m scared.” She admitted in a small voice, allowing him one insight into who she really was beneath the snarky outer shell. He sighed, knowing that her showing him her real vulnerability was a very special thing and he couldn’t say no now.

“Okay then – but promise you’ll come through the straight after?” Dylan nodded and Gabe took a step forwards. He was still a metre away when the window sucked him in and he disappeared from sight, leaving Dylan alone in the room.

A malicious smile crept across her face as she turned away from the light streaming through and strode back out of the door they had entered through.

“Not likely.” Came the snarl as the door clicked closed behind her.

Posted in Blog Post

Blog Post #21 – Cumulative Post

Hey readers! So: a quick introduction before I properly start this post. This week I’ve decided rather than write a long blog post at the end of the week, I’m going to write a little short update each day and stick them all together to create something to post at the end of the week. So now you know what’s happening here, read on!

Wednesday:

Hello! So I am a failure, and forgot to write anything for this both yesterday and the day before. But at least I’m writing now, right?

Currently, I’m about halfway through the second book of the Medusa Project series by Sophie McKenzie. I am enjoying it (I think?) However the plot/certain characters are annoying me quite a lot (by their actions). But I suppose that’s just part of reading a book, right?

Um now I’m not really sure what to write… This is just meant to be a short little update but I feel as if it’s too short? I might just have to leave it here though, as I have nothing else to say.

Thursday:

Hello again! So it’s Thursday.. and I’ve actually remembered to log on today and write this! I’m so proud of myself… xD As I’m writing this though I’ve realised that the one problem about writing a short post every day is that I have nothing to write about. My longer posts at the end of the week don’t usually have much content, so writing with just one day to write about is going to be even worse… let’s see what I can do

I have managed to finish The Medusa Project: The Hostage today though. It’s a relatively short book so it only took me a few days to read it. I definitely enjoyed it, although like in Hidden I think the characters seemed a lot older than they actually were? Again (like in Hidden) they were 14 years old, but they seemed about 16 to me. I think that tomorrow I’m going to go and get the next book (The Rescue) out of the library and read that next.

Sunday:

I may or may not have drastically failed at this cumulative blog post thing… I’ve only remembered to write anything 3 out of the 7 days I was meant to do it for. Oh well – it’s a start, at least?

Since Thursday I’ve begun the next book in the Medusa Project series, called The Rescue. When I was at the library getting it out I saw at least 2 more books in the series: I hadn’t realised how many there were! But at least the library I normally go to has all of them (I think) so I don’t have to visit about 20 others like I normally do when looking for a book this one doesn’t have.

I’m quite close to the end of this one, only 51 pages away from the end so I think I’ll finish it in time to start the next one tomorrow (or the day after if I have lots of work to do). Then I’ll be on to Hunted, which sounds exciting.

One thing I like about this series is the fact that all the books are written from a different persons POV. I can’t remember who the first book was written from, but book 3 was Ketty, book 3 is Ed and book 4 is Dylan (so I’m assuming book 5 will be Nico?) It’s good because it gives you an insight into each characters mind and what’s really going on behind their outer façade, but without jumping all over the place from character to character and getting a bit confusing.

Anyway, I think that’s all I have for this weeks post… next week the post might come mid-week as I’m very busy at the weekend, but hopefully our thousands of readers won’t be too upset about that? (in case you can’t tell I’m being sarcastic – we get 1 view per post if we’re lucky xD)

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Post #20

Hey readers!

It’s currently Saturday night as I write this, so the week is coming to an end. It’s been a fairly busy week for me, with lots of school stuff going on (mostly homework). But I have managed to get in quite a bit of reading, which means I have finished Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie… for the third time xD

Even though it’s the third time I’ve read this book I still completely enjoyed it, as it’s been a while since the last re-read so I couldn’t remember all the details. I also still found myself rolling around on the floor squealing in excitement when something happy happens towards the end.

After finishing Blood Ties I began to read Lie Kill Walk Away by Matt Dickinson. I’ve not quite finished it yet, although I’m a fair way through, but so far I’m really enjoying it. The start definitely throws you right into the action, there isn’t any build up or setting the scene first, you just dive head first into the drama. It then settles down slightly for a bit, although the tension is still quite high, then BAM everything happens at once. And I happened to be reading this bit just as I had to finish and go do something else and it was TERRIBLE. I was with Alice at the time and kept just shouting “my book!” at her in strange voices and getting weird looks from people around us…

– – –

Hey readers!

So as I’m writing this section of this blog post it is Sunday (I gave up writing last night) but rather than scrapping what I’ve already written I decided just to keep it, put a little divider in, and then start a new section! Since last night I’ve finished Lie Kill Walk Away and I absolutely LOVED it. It’s definitely a book for you if you like reading things filled with action, and perhaps a bit of detective stuff/mystery involved too? I really really enjoyed it, it’s definitely going onto my recommends list!

I think the next book I’m going to read is The Medusa Project Hostage which I believe (/hope) is the second book in the Medusa project series. It might take me a little while to get into this one as I actually read the first book in the series about 2 years ago… it was either July or August 2015, if I remember rightly. But we’ll see how that goes!

Anyway, I think that’s all I have to write about for now… I wish I had more, but I don’t think I do. Perhaps by next week something interesting will have happened that I can blog about, or I’ll have read 24246236 books that I can recommend to you all?

Bye!

~ April

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello (my blog titles are a lot less organised than April’s…)

Hello Readers! (It’s Alice)

April and I are keeping up our promise of a weekly post, and this week is no exception 🙂 In my last post, I wrote about the writing workshop we had been lucky enough to be a part of, and I’ve decided to post it on here so that you can read it if you want 🙂

Will Phoenix story

So, on with the blog: I hope all of you are fantastic, and if not, I hope you are soon. I’m in a good mood today, unlike yesterday… I’m a teenager, so mood swings affect me 😦 anyway, it wasn’t really over anything of any significance, just this girl who seems to find it amusing to be horrible…

Other than her, things are good – there’s not too much longer until the school holidays, and I’m going to a concert soon 🙂

Last year, April and I spent most of our lunchtimes (at school) holed up in the library, writing together. At the time, we thought our idea was genius, and our writing was even better. This week, we went back to it, and let’s just say there was a lot of laughing and groaning. It is TERRIBLE. Hilariously so, but who’d have thought that one year could make so much difference to the quality of our writing? (Or at least I hope we’ve improved…)

We’re both still fans of the story line, and have planned to keep going with it, typing up what we already have, then (very heavily) editing / rewriting it and continuing with the story.

We’ll keep you updated on that, and maybe one day, if it ever reaches a standard where it wouldn’t be incredibly embarrassing to share it, we’ll post it on here!

Happy reading,

Alice

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Will Phoenix story

“Hey, Will.” The band teacher corners me on my way out of school. Pulling out one of my headphones, I step towards him to see what he wants to tell me. “You don’t have time for a quick extra practice, do you?” I make a show of looking down at my watch, shaking my head.

“I’ve really got to get home, sorry.” He frowns, his thin face almost collapsing in on itself. I’m the guitar player for the school’s notoriously terrible band, and Mr Simpson, the teacher who runs it, often reminds me that I hold it together, using that as an excuse to draft me into extra rehearsals.

“Never mind,” His features morph into an expression of deep thought, “Another time then.” I nod, twisting my headphone back into my ear and letting the music wash over me.

A couple of hours later, after returning home and being fed by my foster parents, Simon and Rachel, I’ve snuck out of my bedroom window and am faced with a mirror. The person looking back is not me. Gone is my normal freckly blond face, replaced with a green eyed, dark haired stranger. The lady behind me smiles,

“All done.” I thank her and hop off the tall leather chair that I sat at as she transformed me. I’m handed the case notes, and run my eyes down the page to quickly remind myself of the key details.

A couple of years ago, I got picked up by an agency to do some undercover work – a one off thing. Apparently it’s fairly common (out of those chosen to do spy work) for kids in care to be chosen, because we tend to be lower profile, more off grid. Essentially, we don’t have parents that ask lots of questions about what we’re doing. It was all top secret; I put on a disguise and was sent to find out some information for someone (I haven’t been told who). I must’ve done something right, because since then, they’ve used me for numerous other jobs. Most of the time, I don’t even know what I’m doing, only that it is important, and crucially, that I cannot tell anyone anything about what I do.
Tonight, my name is Harvey Sallow, and I’m going over to see someone I’ve befriended over the past month or so (as Harvey). I don’t know the details, but I am aware of the bare facts: his dad is in some sort of trouble, and I have to find some documents proving his guilt.
I’ve done plenty of jobs like this, so it should all run smoothly. I love every second of my work, so much so that it is just fun, with the added bonus of a fairly large pay check.

I’m fifteen years old, and have been in and out of foster homes since the age of three, never finding a family that wanted me enough to adopt me. My parents anonymously dropped me at a care home when I was a toddler, leaving me with nothing but a battered edition of ‘A Collection of James Bond Stories’ book. That’s what spurred on my love of all things spy related, what made me accept the job as a sort of spy myself and what left me with the fantasy of my parents lives. In my head, they have the same line of work as me, but are highly skilled international spies working for the government. They were forced to give me up for my safety. They’re not dead. They did want me.

There is a parent shaped hole in my life, and no foster parents can fill that. Don’t get me wrong, Simon and Rachel are great, I’m just painfully aware of how temporary they are. They’ll never be the real deal.

With my job, I have access to facilities that let me encounter things that regular people can’t. I’ve been trying to track down my parents, but it’s near to impossible when I don’t even know their names. I’m working at it though, spending spare hours in the research labs and scouring through information.

So far, I’ve had a few leads, but nothing that ended up working out. There are no records of my parents at all in the Care system; they didn’t give their names when they gave me up. All I know is that they’ll probably look vaguely similar to me, and that ‘James Bond’ was significant enough to them to be the only thing they left with me, their child. I’ve treated the book like a clue, maybe it was just that they told me spy stories before I went to sleep, and they gave me the book to read when I’d grown up in the hope it would trigger a memory. As much as I know how unlikely it is that my parents gifted it to me so I’d discover their true identities, I know I haven’t got much hope in finding them, and it isn’t a bad fantasy to have.

I know they were alive when they gave me away, the records say that, and very little else. I’m fairly sure (and hopeful) that they haven’t died since then, and in my heart I feel they are out there. And nothing will make me give up my search for them.

Before I climb out of the car that is dropping me at the end of the guy’s – Thomas’s – street, I take the cool metal gun from the driver’s outstretched hand and tuck it into my pocket, carefully out of sight. It’s not too be used, or shown to anyone unless my life is threatened. I’ve grown used to being armed when on a mission, but that hasn’t stopped my heart from skipping a beat at the thrill of the adrenaline coursing through my veins. We exchange curt nods, and then I get out, making my journey to his house.

Later, when I leave the house, calling goodbye to Thomas and his mother, the papers tucked safely in my pocket alongside the gun, I walk down the dark street with a spring in my step, on a high from the art of my deception.

My driver drops me outside Simon and Rachel’s house, after returning to the base to be quickly turned back into me, William Phoenix, removing the contact lenses, prosthetic makeup and wig. I thank him, and then sneak around to the back, scaling up the wall via my practiced route of the drainpipe and some slightly stuck out bricks. In no time, I’m in my room, pyjamas on, sat at my desk with school books open. A couple of minutes later, my bedroom door is opened, Rachel’s head peering round it, smiling in a satisfied manner when she sees me, supposedly hard at work.

I rush through my homework, completing it all before picking up my guitar by its neck. Flopping on to my bed, I sit and strum it, running through the fairly basic riff for the school band, and then playing a couple of other songs I like. Simon comes up whilst I’m playing, and I stop sheepishly when I look up to see him stood in the doorway. His eyes are shining with some sort of pride, which he inexplicably feels whenever I accomplish something despite the fact I’m not actually his son.

Later, just before I lean across to my bedside table to switch out the light, I do a final check of my phone’s inbox in the desperate hope of news. It’s something I do every night, and it always disappoints me, leading to a night of broken sleep, half formed dreams of varying made up memories filling my head. Tonight is different. The subject of one message leaves me shaken and short of breath.

New intel on Phoenix parents

I click the link.

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Blog post #19 (I think?)

Hey readers! Happy International Women’s Day 🙂

It’s just under a week since my last blog post, but I just posted a short story and it kind of inspired me to write another blog post, so here it is I guess?

Not much has happened this week – I feel like I say that in every blog post, but it’s true. I go to school and do my homework, and that’s about it xD However, I have finished a book this week which I’d like to recommend to you all.

The book is called “At Yellow Lake” and is written by Jane McLoughlin. I actually picked it up because I was attempting to write a story out of book titles for a competition that I wanted to take part in (I never did it in the end, because I wanted my sentences to be grammatically correct and coherent but that wasn’t really an option), but then I decided I would actually read it.

Basically, the story follows three different people (Peters, Jonah and Etta) who live very different lives. However, despite their very different lives, they all end up in the same place and share an… adventure? ordeal? (something like that – can’t think of exactly the right word at the moment)

I really really enjoyed reading this book, much more than I thought I would when I first decided to read it, and I definitely recommend it! I’m trying not to give too many stories away, but it’s kind of a teen fiction/YA novel/adventure book if that makes sense? (I’m terrible at describing genres, sorry >.<)

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The book I’m reading currently is another one I picked up for the competition. It’s called Hidden, and is written by Miriam Halahmy. It’s about a girl called Alix and her new friend Samir who one day save an immigrant from drowning off shore and then find themselves in a dilemma as they don’t know what to do (that’s not spoilers because it says that in the blurb)

I’m not very far into the book so far so I don’t have any concrete opinions on it yet, however at the moment I don’t think that the characters are portrayed as their age… I was quite shocked when it mentioned that they were 14, they seem more like 16 or 18 year olds to me. But I’ll try to keep an open mind as I go along, maybe they’ll seem older as I read more.

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I’ve also already decided which book I’m going to read next: Blood Ties, by Sophie McKenzie (who is well known for her other book “Girl, Missing”). Blood Ties is a book that I’ve already read a couple of times but I really enjoy so want to read again. It follows a Theo and Rachel, two children who are mysteriously linked by the firebombing of a research clinic. (I took that from the blub so sorry for not much detail – but I don’t want to give away spoilers!). I really do love this book and would definitely recommend reading it if you can, especially if you’re a fan of action/adventure stories full of plot twists.

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On the subject of books, let’s talk about Sherlock xD Both Alice and I are fans of the TV show Sherlock (although I’ve not get round to watching Seasons 2 & 3 yet – hopefully I’ll get to watch them soon though), and so both of us decided to try and read the books. Alice bought the full works and I think is still persevering with it, whereas I bought a book with the ones that Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat picked out as ‘the best’ and have since given up. Actually, I think given up is the wrong thing to says, it’s more like I’ve… taken a break. I was finding it quite hard and slow to read for some reason (like when I read the Hobbit) so I decided to read some other books for a while, as I was getting a bit bored by it and was avoiding reading because I didn’t fell like it, which was a problem as I’m trying to rea a book every week this year and it had already taken up two weeks and I was only on Chapter 2 of A Study In Scarlet.

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Now, as I’ve written about 700 words about books, perhaps I should move onto something else? I know this is a writing and book orientated blog, but there is other stuff I’ve been very excited about recently.

The first one of these things is the new Ed Sheeran album that came out last Friday (was going to put a divide symbol here but there doesn’t appear to be one on my keyboard WHAT IS THIS I DON’T UNDERSTAND). I might be slightly obsessed with it… my favourite song from it has to by Nancy Mulligan, for sure, followed up by How Would You Feel and Bibia Be Ye Ye. I also quite like Supermarket Flowers but I’ve only listened to it once because it made me cry :/

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The second thing that makes me excited is the new Beauty and The Beast film that’s coming out! I saw some behind the scenes stuff the other day, and ITS AMAZING OH MY WORD SO GOOD I LOVE IT. It does make me a bit sad that soon there’ll be a whole generation of kids who know Emma Watson as Belle not Hermione, but the pros of this film outweigh that con by far. And to make things even better… Disney announced that was a LGBTQ+ character in it – and not just a random person in the background either! LeFou (Gaston’s sidekick, played by Josh Gad) has been announced as Disney’s first ever LGBTQ+ character, as a was of honouring Howard Ashman (who was the lyricist for the original 1991 animated version). IT’S SO EXCITING. Obviously this has had some negative backlash (*cough cough* Heagardriveinthreatreinalabamai’mlookingatyou *cough cough*) but it’s so exciting and aaaaargh I love the film even more now! SO BASICALLY YEH I’M VERY EXCITED I DUNNO IF YOU CAN TELL.

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Anyway, I think that’s all I have for this post… an overload of information about books, and fangirling over Divide and Beauty and The Beast. Yup, that just about sums me up xD Oh, and I’d also like to apologise for the formatting of the last post, I don’t think the computer wanted to cooperate with me and so all the line breaks are messed up, sorry.

Bye!

~ April

(also sorry for typos I can’t be bothered to spellcheck at the moment but I also can’t type and make hundreds of typos all the time. maybe i’ll spellcheck another time, maybe i wont *shrug*)