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Dark Cafe Days

Dark Cafe Days
This is the blog of an aspiring writer attempting to write her first novel in one year.


New exciting words!
2007-07-10 18:56:00
Just came across this new word in my autocorrect whilst i was writing about ombrogenous mires.UmbrageousSo, i went to look it up and apparently it means someone who takes offence easily, being angered at something unjust or wrong or something filled with shade, or shadowy. What a great new word! I'd heard of the phrase to take umbrage before but never of umbrageous. I love learning new words.
More About: Words
2007-07-10 10:55:00
I haven't posted in a while because i've been away in Yorkshire and busy working. For any of you who were interested in the word with the most meanings i've posted the answer under the comments for that entry.I've been thinking about language and meanings recently so it was with some interest i read about Zeugma in the Guardian's Review on Saturday. A Zeugma occurs where a sentence becomes joined together by a single verb or noun. For example in the example by Wikipedia:“She conquered shame with passion, fear with audacity, reason with madness.” (Cicero)The verb to conquer is used to yoke together several different phrases that mean different things.A syllepsis is a zeugma in which one verb or noun may be employed which has different meanings when applied to the various subjects of the sentance. It is often used for comic effect. For example:"Oh, flowers are as common here, Miss Fairfax, as people are in London." (Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest)The word commo...
More About: Structure , Sentence
2007-06-21 12:15:00
Someone asked me a riddle the other day.... what English word has the most different meanings in the Oxford English Dictionary. I spent hours puzzling over this one but my boyfriend guessed the answer straight away. I'm going away to Yorkshire for a week and will publish the answer when i come back. But until then does anyone have any guesses? Here's a hint, it's a very short word. Of course, if you get too impatient you could google it before i get back. But that would be CHEATING!
More About: Word , Meanings
2007-06-17 09:55:00
I've been trying to come up with my own Jack Kerouac style tips. I've managed five so far:1. Confound each character2. Randomise your mind3. Never answer all the questions4. Be a magpie of life5. Dream about your worldDoes anyone else have any good stream of conciousness tips?
More About: Tips
2007-06-12 13:20:00
I've always meant to read a book by Jack Kerouac. I once started 'On the Road' but never finished it. J.C.Holmes had this to say about it:'Even though they rushed back and forth across the country on the slightest pretext, gathering kicks along the way, their real journey was inward'I find that line so evocative. I've also just come across these words by Kerouac. He wrote a list of 30 cool tips on how to be a writer (from this website: writing classes). Number 11 and 14 are my favourite. I'm quite inspired to write my own list, i wonder if any other authors have similar motivational tidbits?Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joySubmissive to everything, open, listeningTry never get drunk outside yr own houseBe in love with yr lifeSomething that you feel will find its own formBe crazy dumbsaint of the mindBlow as deep as you want to blowWrite what you want bottomless from bottom of the mindThe unspeakable visions of the individualNo time for poe...
More About: Time
2007-06-11 20:45:00
Blogging is far too distracting... no writing today, no writing at all. I just open up my document and get distracted.There's a baby seagull outside my window. I think it's been abandoned by its parents. It makes me want to cry. It walks up and down the rooftop scanning the skyline and flapping its unformed winglets.
More About: Writing
2007-06-05 12:49:00
I've had a bit of a epiphany. I've decided that my story is going to centre around a modern day Noah's ark that has been left untouched by human hands. The idea of the ark will hopefully be a recurring theme throughout the novel and will bring together the views of Christian's regarding evolution, their search for the ultimate proof of God and the desire to uproot the scientific ideas of evolution and natural selection. I'll also be able to talk about the ultimate goal of modern conservation - to return habitats to their wild and primeval state, untouched by man. I'm really excited about this development and I can't wait to get writing with this theme in mind.There's a great article about the ark written in Wikipedia:'s_ArkAn d here's another website about the modern day search for the ark:
2007-06-04 16:08:00
There are plenty of online rumours about a new show called Bestseller , otherwise known as Publish My Book! The setup is that it's a reality TV show starring Tony Cowell as one of the judges (brother of Simon Cowell). The show will follow several aspiring novelists as they pitch their books to a panel of judges. The prize is said to be a six figure advance and a deal with a major publisher in America and Britain.After getting in touch with both the BBC, ITV and the production company responsible for the show I can confirm that if the show is commissioned it will probably go into production some time at the end of this year and will appear on ITV (not the BBC). It was supposed to have aired this July but in the Blog: The Novel Gobbler, Tony Cowell is reported to have said that 'the series is being pushed back to the autumn to allow more time to gather entries from writers, and to have publishers read them.'So, I better get cracking with my draft then!If you want more information ab...
2007-05-22 11:27:00
I'm not sure if you'll be able to access this file, i'm not very technically minded and it all goes over my head a bit. But i've made myself an excel spreadsheet that records the progress of my story. And it's yours for free (if the link works).You should be able to pick it up from here: Victoria's Novel Progress TrackerI've also created a tracker for NaNoWriMo that has a 50,000 word target. Enjoy: NaNoWriMo Progress TrackerAll you need to do is enter your word count each day as your book progresses and the spreadsheet calculates how far you've got to go and displays the information on a chart for you. I originally set the target word count as 62500 but you can change that easily. You can also adjust the time you have to write the book. The default is one year because that's my target but if you know how to alter excel formula that can be changed easily too. Very snazzy. If you can't figure out how it works (or the link is broken and you want a copy) drop me a line x
2007-05-20 18:10:00
When i first started writing a book i started writing in the third person without really thinking about it. But i've just finished reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, which is written entirely in the first person. I really liked the way that writing in the first person made the whole story much more direct and fast paced.When I write in the third person i always seem to be writing about events as they have just happened. I don't feel able to write in the present tense using the voice of the third person, it just sounds odd to me 'He goes to the draw and picks out a knife. He slices the tomato.' I don't know, perhaps it does work, but it just seems odd to me. So, by writing in the third person it's difficult to achieve that same sense of urgency and presence in the moment as you are constantly relating things that have just occured. However, by writing in the third person you can explore many different view points, which i find very interesting. You can also ...
More About: Writing
2007-05-01 15:28:00
I came across this website called GNOOKS. All you have to do is type in the name of three authors and it will suggest a new author that you might like to read based on people's preferences, which is pretty cool. I tried it and it suggested i read a bit of Euripides. Apparantly Euripides is also a big hit with the Nancy Drew fans out there (i'm not sure if they mean the Nancy Drew teenage detective or whether there is an author out there who shares the same name).If you want to check it out here is the website:
More About: Nook
2007-03-24 21:31:00
I've been getting obsessed with minutiae and detailing how characters walk from one room to another! How totally unnecessary. I'm going to scrap all those descriptions of long corridors and just get straight to the point... although i will set the scene a little bit, i do like a bit of description now and again!I've found reading other books so useful to see how they deal with situations and improve my technique. I think that would be my best tip, read many books and read often.
2007-03-21 17:50:00
Using my favourite internet tool: stumbleupon, i came across this fantastic website where you can create faces: ultimate flash face. You can manipulate all the features however you like. How handy for creating ideas or inspiration for characters. What a useful tool! All i could manage to make was a bunch of scary people that all looked like serial killers. See what i mean...
More About: Character , Creation , Char , Hara
2007-03-21 14:03:00
I've just come across this comment in Prag Dave's blog: So, where should you start? Assuming you've already written the throw-away prose while finding your voice, I think you're best off choosing a chapter where you feel at home with the material. Belt it out, and then move on to something else fairly straightforward. Make sure you have the voice business nailed cold. Show what you're written to some friends. Get into the swing. Hmm, i wish i'd thought of that when i started. I guess it's a natural reaction to start at the beginning and try to work your way through. But i think some of my most difficult passages and scenes are going to be right at the beginning so it would be so much easier to come back to them after i've had some experience of writing all the stuff in between, so to speak. when i finally have time to sit down and start tapping away i'm going to head straight into the middle of my story and start from there. Incidentally there are some other good tips on...
2007-03-20 16:54:00
I don't have a title for my story. Am i some sort of freak who doesn't care enough to give her creation a name? I feel a bit sad that it hasn't been titled, like its a lost baby or something. I never really considered it before until i read this entry by Justine Larbalestier but now i feel like i'm missing out a trick. hmmm.... i'll have to muse on this one for a while. My boyfriend suggested 'the darwin clause' as a title... but i don't really think my story will have any clauses in it. Perhaps i could do a cheesy play on words: 'the darwin claws' it worrying how much i like that title? right, scrap that name, back to the drawing board. Any other cheesy play on word titles would be much appreciated, i have a big university deadline due for thursday and i'm in need of some amusement. What about 'Evilution' ah, what a gem!
More About: Book , Title
2007-03-19 14:41:00
I have come to realise that creating plots is less about creativity and more about logic. For example, when it came to creating my plot I first thought of the topics i wanted to explore within the book: themes such as evolution, mutation and religious oppression. I then tried to think of a story that would allow me to explore those ideas. The process was perhaps 70% logic and 30% creativity. I asked myself questions about how the plot would develop, what would happen in certain situations and what the initial setup would have to be in order to achieve the end i had in mind. I basically used the power of reason to derive a predetermined outcome. Eventually I arrived with a storyline that i liked and thought would work (though it's still only a vague outline and i'm sure it will get changed).I now realise that the real creation comes when it is time to sit down and write and fill in all the gaps. You create scenes and impressions with your choice of words, adding to the patchwork of...
More About: Logic , Create , Logi , Plot
2007-03-19 11:26:00
My parent's are moving house and i had to go back there to clear out all of my teenage junk. However, i ended up finding it really inspiring. I spent hours reading through all of my old creative writing, diaries and musings. All the outpourings of my teenage angst. What struck me was how free and fearlessly i used to write. Seemingly without worry or anxiety of what people would think of it. Next time i'm up there i'll remember to bring all my writing back with me and share some of my literary attempts.I realise that i've yet to publish any work that i've done, not even a single passage, which is pretty shameful. I've also been terribly lax in keeping my blog up to date. But this is primarily because i've been so busy at university i have had no time to write anything at all and my book has ground to a halt. I think about it all the time though and i'm itching to start writing again.
More About: Memories
2007-02-27 14:09:00
I don't know if i mentioned it before but my friends and I have started a book club. We're currently reading Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks. I haven't read any of his other works but I can honestly say that Human Traces is the WORST book that I have ever read.It basically reads like a long, drawn out, dull, historical account of early psychological ideas wrapped around some abysmally boring characters. I can understand that the author intended it as a work of literature and therefore decided to create virtually no cliff hangars or exciting events to keep the reader interested. But did he have to include a ten page lecture on rheumatism and gout? come on! To top it all off he doesn't bother to explain what most of the scientific terminology means which is highly confusing and.... the book is extravagantly long... 600 pages. I think he really could have done with drastically editing out half of the material and cutting out many of the long winded passages.If I wasn't reading th...
2007-02-27 13:53:00
Work on my novel has completely ground to a halt. I moved house about two weeks ago and it's been difficult trying to get back into a routine. My new house is much smaller too so I don't have a spot I can write in comfortably yet. I'm bogged down with loads of coursework for university that is taking up all my time... try writing up three hours of lectures on soil profiles and then having the creative energy to write. Plus my laptop has started playing up and the power cable is broken. Excuses, excuses.... it's shameful, I shouldn't rely on my computer to write I should use paper and pen like in the old days but my handwriting is so shoddy i'd worry i wouldn't be able to read it afterwards.Do you think writing on different media could significantly alter someone's style? If you wrote on paper all your life and then switched to computers it must have some impact. surely?Right! i'm going to turn over a new leaf. Starting from tomorrow i'm going to try waking up early in the ...
More About: House , Moving
2007-02-09 16:20:00
Sadly I missed the short fuse night at Brighton Komedia that I was so eager to go to. I had just spent the whole day in a stream trying to catch small invertebrates, clambering in and out of the River Ouse. I then had to go back to the lab to sort through samples of river mud looking for leeches and creepy crawly creatures. So, it wasn't really that surprising that when I got home at about seven I wasn't really in the mood for going out to a literary night and being on my best behaviour. Did anyone else manage to catch it? Drop me a line and let me know what went on.
More About: Short
2007-02-09 15:46:00
Part of the plot in my story involves the creation of false fossils to fool the scientific community and support the anti-evolutionary claims of an extreme anti-science cult. So, I've been researching reports of human tracks that have been found alongside dinosaur footprints.The TalkOrigins website has a great summary of some of the 'man tracks' that have been found in recent years. Most of the tracks have turned out to be geological formations or dinosaur footprints that have been eroded or had sediment deposited within them to make them appear more human like. I find the footprints known as the Burdick Tracks very interesting. They are believed to be carvings and do indeed appear anatomically bizarre with their exaggerated toe joints and near perfect outline.They were apparently found in a shop in 1938 by Roland Bird and Burdick later claimed that they were originally excavated by Bird and lay alongside dinosaur tracks. But the question that I find interesting is who carved the...
2007-02-05 17:53:00
I've been pretty lazy with reading recently, just picking up whatever books I could find. That's why i've written a list of books that I should read next. I'm going to make sure I read them all soon. I'm in need of an injection of literature. Any suggestions of fantastic reading material would be appreciated!Don Quixote – CervantesThe Sun Also Rises – HemmingwayThe Heart is a lonely hunterCanterbury Tales – ChaucerThe Brothers Karamazov – DostoyevskyAny books by James Joyce (but perhaps I won't start with Ulysees)Middlemarch – George EliotPossession – AS ByattSlaughterhouse Five – Kurt VonnegutOne Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez That should keep me going for a while. Oh, plus I really should re-read these classics that I read ages ago at school... but you never really appreciate books that you have to read for GCSEs: The Catcher in the rye - JD SalingerOne Flew Over the Cuckoos nest - Ken KeseyTo Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
More About: Books , Read
2007-02-02 13:12:00
There's a new literary night on in Brighton called Short Fuse. It's on next wednesday at the Komedia and only costs £3 to get in. Each month 3 writers read out one of their short stories plus there's music between readings.It sounds like it could be good fun and at least a chance to hear some new and original work. Boyfriend permitting I'm going to go along this Wednesday and check it out. More information can be found here: &dst=1170880201
2007-02-01 15:25:00
On Tuesday I managed to write the second chapter in three and a half hours so I'm feeling pretty positive about things. I basically aimed to write one chapter as quickly as possible so the writing's pretty rough. I'm going to have to go back through it and edit it heavily and probably rework some of the dialogue but it just feels really good to be progressing. I've now reached over 4,500 words which I suppose is pretty slow going for a month's work. Especially because my aim was to write at least 500 words a day. Ah well, I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I've got to find my own pace.I finished writing the first chapter over a week ago and was finding it hard to start the second chapter. I felt a strange sort of block on my work. It wasn't that I didn't know what I wanted to write it was more as if I was scared of writing something the wrong way. I have such high expectations for what I want to create and I'm worried that what will come out will be just a clumsy im...
More About: Writing
2007-01-30 09:51:00
I've been languishing a bit recently with my writing and not really giving it the attention it deserves. Therefore today I am going to take the bull by the horns and write chapter two. Yep, that's right, a whole chapter in one day. I'm just going to write it really quickly and see how it goes. I can then try editing it later. It might even make my writing more spontaneous and direct.Before I start my writing for the day I firstly need to get my university work out the way. I have to read one very dull chapter about calculating biodiversity indices. After that i'm going to a lunchtime showing of Pans Labyrinth which i've been meaning to go and see for ages now. I'm finally getting round to it. I'm quite excited about going to see it actually because i'll be going all by myself. I haven't been to the cinema alone in ages and I quite like the feeling. I always feel a bit naughty as if i'm doing something wrong. I don't need to worry about analysing what happened with someone...
More About: Positive , Feeling
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