RTX Round-Up!

The weekend of October 13th and 14th marked the first official RTX London, and I was lucky enough to get to attend. If you don’t know what RTX is, it’s a gaming and internet culture convention hosted by Rooster Teeth – an online company that produces not only gaming videos (Let’s Plays, etc.) but web series’ (Red Vs Blue, RWBY, Day 5, etc.), podcasts, movies, games and much more. I’ve been following the company for years now and it’s been my dream to attend RTX, so when they finally announced they’d be hosting one in the UK there was absolutely no way I was going to miss out.


All in all, I had an amazing weekend. There were some minor issues with queuing at the start, but the guardians did their best to keep everything organised and running smoothly and the twitter account RTX Queues did a good job at keeping us updated on the state of queues over the weekend. In the end, I made it to two panels and a RWBY Cosplay meet on the Saturday, and on the Sunday I had an autograph signing/photo op with Gray Haddock and Kerry Shawcross and snagged some cool merch from the shop!

The first panel I attended was for Lazer Team 2, and it was brilliant. It was definitely worth waking up at 6am so I had enough time to get into cosplay and eat breakfast before we headed over. I won’t spoil anything about the film, but the sneak peeks we got a look at have gotten me really excited for its release next month, and I’m very glad it’s getting a theatrical release because I love being with this community and I can’t wait to see my boys back up on the big screen. I can already tell that Nichole Bloom fits in with this cast brilliantly and her character, Maggie, looks like she’s going to be an amazing addition and I can confirm that I already absolutely adore her. I’m especially glad that the sequel isn’t just a rehash of the original film – it’s not just “Oh, and here’s Lazer Team back to save the planet again!

You can watch the teaser trailer for Lazer Team 2 HERE.

The other panel I attended on the Saturday was for RWBY, which, if you know me, you know is my absolute favourite series in the entire world. RWBY has been a really huge part of my life for a few years now and it means so much to me. I won’t go into too much mushy detail, but it’s kind of a big deal to me. I was so excited to get a chance to attend the panel! I cried from pretty much start to finish after we were shown the YANG CHARACTER SHORT for pre-volume 5 and then the entire first episode of the fifth volume! It’s looking to be an amazing season and I cannot applaud the animation team enough for the sheer amount of improvement they’ve made over the past couple of volumes. Seriously, volume 5 looks amazing. We also got to take a look at a sneak peek for the upcoming series Gen:Lock, which looks like it’s going to be something totally new and interesting.

If you haven’t seen RWBY yet, I urge you to give it a watch. A lot of people even watch it with young children, but I will stress that come volume 3 you’re going to want to give it a watch beforehand… it gets pretty… serious.

You can watch RWBY in its entirety HERE or on the ROOSTER TEETH WEBSITE. It’s basically about kids training to become huntsmen and fighting both monsters and humans as they do so. Volume 5 has already begun, and is released on Saturdays at 4PM GMT for Rooster Teeth FIRST members, Tuesdays at 2PM GMT for all Rooster Teeth site members, and the following Saturday on Youtube!

Before the RWBY panel we wound up, totally accidentally, at the RWBY cosplay meet. I met so many wonderful cosplayers who all looked amazing and I made a bunch of new friends. It was wonderful to have so many people compliment my cosplay (RWBY Volume 4 Blake Belladonna) because I was a little worried about it not being entirely accurate as I’d made it all myself, but everyone was so nice. I’m definitely excited to re-wear it now, and I remembered how much I enjoy cosplaying this character even after all these years. I feel really confident in this costume and I’m very proud of how far I’ve come. I love meeting fellow RWBY cosplayers and I hope I get another chance to do it before Amecon next summer!


A TINY fraction of the RWBY cosplayers we met. Photo by Enthusiastic Walks Cosplay

As I mentioned before, on the Sunday I had the amazing chance to meet Gray and Kerry. They told me my cosplay was amazing, thanked me for cosplaying, laughed when I told them nobody believes my name is Kitty when I’m dressed as Blake and were super lovely. It was a really, really lovely meeting and I’ll treasure the items I had signed forever. I was really nervous, and I’m really bad at making eye contact with people when I’m nervous, but they were so sweet that they really did make me feel more comfortable.

Not only did I get to meet Gray and Kerry, but I was lucky enough to manage to meet Miles Luna, too. Miles is my absolute favourite person in the world and I didn’t think we were going to make it as he was short on time but we did, and he hugged me, told me I looked absolutely incredible, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried afterwards. I was really overwhelmed, you guys. I just adore him.


I missed the second RWBY meet as I was in the queue for my autograph signing but I still managed to meet up with a bunch of lovely cosplayers and some of my friends from a RWBY cosplay group we have here in Liverpool, which was great because I never get to see them because I’m really terrible at finding the time to attend their meets. Regardless, they are always super welcoming, kind, lovely and funny whenever I do manage to see them, so I’m really glad we found each other at RTX!

The only merch I bought was a couple of Blind Box RWBY figures and the large Vinyl Figure Yang, and I’m super happy with all of my purchases. I don’t really have room for more figures right now, but I definitely want to collect the other larger vinyl figures so I can finally have a complete Team RWBY set!


Overall, it was an amazing weekend. I really love being part of this community and attending RTX definitely reminded me of that. I can’t wait for next year and I’m already missing everyone so badly. I have never suffered post-con blues as badly as I am right now. I really hope some of you who aren’t Rooster Teeth fans will be willing to give something a shot (watch RWBY) and maybe I’ll see you there next year!

Have you attended any comic, cosplay, gaming, etc. conventions? Would you like to?

Until next time, stay cool!




Victober TBR

October is within striking distance, and I’ve been a terrible reader lately.

Okay – there doesn’t seem to be any connection between those two clauses. Let me explain. Recently, I haven’t read many books. I have a couple of books on the go – a non-fiction history book and a fantasy novel – but I haven’t really been finding time to sit and just read for a little while, and considering I’ve just spent the last three years getting an English degree with a heavy focus on literature, that seems a bit of a shame. I love reading, but after uni… I sort of took a break. Sometimes, you just need to let your brain rest and know that it’s okay to do that, but I’m ready to get stuck back in and I’ve decided that Victober is the perfect way to do that.

Victober, for those of you who don’t know, is basically “reading Victorian literature in October”. This year it’s being hosted by Katie of Books and Things, Kate Howe, Ange of Beyond the Pages, and Lucy of LucyTheReader. You can check out their announcement and recommendation videos on their respective YouTube channels if you’re interested in following along, learning more or joining in. They’re all linked there.

Despite never taking a module exclusively on Victorian literature, I did read my fair share across my degree. Some of the material I’ll be reading throughout October I’m familiar with, but I’ve mainly tried to selected literature I haven’t experienced before, and I’m looking forward to discussing it on here – you’ll get to see me actually put my degree to some kind of use. Don’t worry – I won’t make you read any full blown essays!

There are five challenges participants of Victober are encouraged to complete. These are:

  1. To read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author.
  2. To read a lesser-known Victorian book (less than 12k GoodReads ratings)
  3. To read a supernatural Victorian book
  4. To read a Victorian book recommended by someone else
  5. To read a Victorian book written by a female author

While I’ve selected five books (hey, I’m easing myself back in!), most of the books combine multiple challenges in some way. Here are the books I’ve chosen, along with a little bit about why I selected them!


In A Glass Darkly by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

I am a big fan of Le Fanu. I first encountered him in my first year of my English degree when I took a minor in Irish literature (Irish literature is super interesting), and we studied ‘Green Tea’ and ‘Carmilla’ (both included in In A Glass Darkly). Then, in third year, I took a module on Gothic literature and film and ‘Carmilla’ was once again one of the texts we studied. I really like Le Fanu, but despite having owned this book for years, I haven’t read any more of it! I am really looking forward to seeing if I enjoy the other stories included in here as much as I enjoyed both of the ones I’ve already read.

This book will complete challenges 1 and 3!


The Old Curiosity Shop, by Charles Dickens

Despite what I said earlier about having read my fair share of Victorian literature, I haven’t actually read much Dickens. I feel like I sort of had to put some Dickens on here, purely because of that. I asked some of my friends from university what works they would recommend, and it was a toss-up between this and A Christmas Carol. I decided to save ACC for December, so The Old Curiosity Shop it is!

This book will complete challenge 4!

East Lynne, by Ellen Wood

I knew I would be taking a novel straight from Ange’s announcement video for her challenge, and this one piqued my interest the most. I don’t think I’ve really ever heard about it before – not enough to remember, anyway, and after having a quick look around, I decided to stick with East Lynne. I really have no idea what to expect going into this one, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

This will complete challenges 2 and 5!

Now, you might have noticed that we’ve completed all the challenges, so maybe you’re expecting me to stop here. We’re not stopping here.


The Lifted Veil, by George Eliot

Deciding that I wanted more spooky entries to my TBR, I went back and added a couple more. I know I’ve wanted to read this in the past and never gotten to it, so onto the list it went! October is my favourite month for all things supernatural and spooky, and I also wanted to add more female authors to this TBR, so I am very much looking forward to reading this one. It will probably end up being read much earlier than you would think by its placement in this blog post.

This will complete challenges 3 and 5!

Gothic Tales, by Elizabeth Gaskell

This one is another collection, but I couldn’t narrow down the stories I wanted to read. I might not read them all, but this is definitely one I’m interested in picking up. Again, I wanted both more spooky entries and more female entries, so that’s why this one is here. I’m looking forward to it.

This will also complete challenges 3 and 5!

So, there you go. That’s my TBR for Victober, and I’m pretty excited. I’ll be sure to write up blog posts on each book I read (as per my desire to review the content I consume), so keep an eye out for those. I might even go into a little bit of history and analysis, but I won’t make any promises there because I’m not sure exactly how busy I’ll be throughout October.

Are you taking part in Victober? If so, what are you planning on reading? If not, have you read any Victorian literature before? Do you prefer other time periods? Contemporary? Let me know in the comments!



Reflecting On September

Recently, I read Sincerely, Sinéad’s post, ‘Harry Potter & Fall Feels’, and since I read it I’ve been thinking about my own relationship with September. This is my first September in as long as I can remember that I haven’t been heading back to school, and it’s been a little bittersweet. I’ve always marked my years by the half-term periods that begin in September and take me through to July, and September has always been a time of new uniforms and empty notebooks; of school shoes that are still a little stiff and not yet scuffed; of the smell of early morning frost and the sound of a new packet of pens being ripped open. It’s weird to know that this is it – I won’t have that again.

It also means I won’t have the anxiety in the pit of my stomach while I wait to leave for school, but it’s more than just ‘no more bad stuff’. It means I’m ready for the next chapter of my life – whatever that happens to be. The reason I decided to forego studying for a master’s degree after graduation is that I really thought I was just ready to step away from education. I didn’t think there was any more I could gain from studying right now, and it was feeling more like I was just trying to delay the inevitable. Now, don’t get me wrong here: I absolutely loved my degree, but I was undoubtedly ready to take a step away from academia.


September was definitely a little bit scary this year. It was full of unknowns, and none of my plans seemed to have fallen into place yet. I was certain that now was when my writing was going to become my main focus, but all of my ideas had gotten fuzzy and I wasn’t sure if I remembered how to be creative. Nothing seemed to be worth writing, and, honestly, I was terrified. And then I breathed, and I stopped worrying, and it clicked.

September is a time of new beginnings for me. I’ve picked up blogging again, which I am absolutely loving, and all of those fuzzy story ideas have become a little clearer. There are new characters setting up shops and homes and business in the avenues and alleyways of my mind, and there are old ones stepping out of the shadows and offering a hand. My brain has had time to rest and now it’s hungry again, but this time I get to pick and choose for myself. I’m reading what I want to read, and I’m pushing myself out of my reader comfort zone instead of a list of required reading doing it for me.

So, September this year is a bit of a weird one. It’s new, and it’s kind of the same. As it’s drawing to a close I’ve come to see that until now I never realised it was such an important moment in my year, but I’ve got a newfound appreciation for it and I’m greeting like an old friend I’ve passed in the street. I can remember all of the good times, and I’ll smile and mention that I saw them when I get home, but we don’t need to force it to be anything it’s not. This time, it’s okay to just let it pass.

What does September mean to you?



Habit Wish-List

Recently, I seem to have developed a lot of good habits. I have a daily skin care routine, I make my bed and straighten my room every day, I keep a spread of all of my expenses and I find time for writing multiple days a week. This last one is a habit I’m hoping to increase to every day, and it was in thinking about this change that I decided to write this blog post. So, without further ado, here are some habits I’m hoping to force myself to develop: 


1. Morning dog walks 

As previously mentioned, I enjoy walking my dog. I usually try to walk him between midday and 3pm because there are less people around (my dog is mostly blind and can get quite startled when people suddenly approach him!). However, I’ve noticed lately that I’ll wake up early and spend too much time sitting around before I become productive. My hope is that walking my dog first thing in the morning will help me to kick-start my day earlier, as well as helping me to find inspiration that I might miss inside my house and get my creative juices flowing! 

2. Better hair care 

My skin care right now is pretty great, but my hair care is lacking. A little over a year ago I shaved my head, and to begin with I was doing a really good job at making sure it was growing back healthier and stronger. I’m still not entirely happy with my hair, so this is something I’m going to devote more attention to, starting with regular hair masks! I rarely use any heat on my hair as it is, so for me hair masks seems like a good starting point, but if you use a lot of heat then letting your hair air-dry (if possible) or going a few days without straightening or curling your hair might be a good place for you to begin if hair care is also something you’re concerned with. 

3. Reviewing the content I consume 

I love reading, but I don’t often take the time to share my opinions on the books I read any more. That’s not really fair considering how heavily I rely on reviews when I’m looking for a new book to read. I can’t afford to buy every book I’d like to and if I can’t get it from the library then book buying is actually a pretty big commitment! I need to minimise the chance I’ll be disappointed with my choice and I rely on reviews for that, and more reviews means less chance my decision will be skewed in the wrong direction. I think it’s only fair that I add my voice to these conversations, because I’m sure there are a lot of people in the same position as me who would really appreciate that. 

 4. Keeping a daily journal 

I have more empty notebooks than I know what to do with, and I’d really like to get into the habit of noting down my thoughts in it every morning or evening. Not only is it always good to spend more time writing, but I’m certain it will help me clear my head and organise my thoughts. Getting things down on paper will allow me to return to it later and look at it objectively, and I’m sure this can only be a positive change for me. 

4 seems like kind of an awkward number to me. I sat for a while trying to think it’s fifth habit just because 5 is a much nicer, rounder number in my opinion, and then I realised that was kind of a dumb thing to do. I don’t want to tack things on just for the sake of it, knowing full well I don’t have any real intentions of sticking by it. I don’t want to lie to you – I know myself and I know that the guilt I’d feel for failing at a goal I publicly announced would be enough to send me into hiding, so I won’t do that. We’ll leave it at 4. 

All in all, I think these are pretty achievable habits to desire. Maybe in a couple of months I’ll check back in and we’ll see how well I did – or have a good laugh and how I stuck at it for a week or two and then my enthusiasm fizzled out. Either way, it’ll be more content! We’ll just have to wait and see. 

What about you? Are there any habits you wish you had? Or the opposite – what are some habits you want to lose? Remember, we don’t have to wait for New Year to make these changes! 



Why I’m Back To Blogging

Since graduating from university in July, I haven’t written much. I promised myself that I would start focusing on my creative writing, and that all of the projects that had been festering in my mind would finally have their time to shine. As of today, they have not. A few days to relax became a couple of weeks, and now it’s September and I only have a handful of rough, half finished drabbles and scraps to show for it. Still, it’s better than nothing.

I decided to take up blogging again for a few reasons:

1. To teach myself discipline with my writing.
2. To give myself structure in my week.
3. To improve my writing.
4. To have fun.

I’ve decided that every Monday and Thursday, as long as circumstances permit, I’m going to post a blog. That means that I will have to learn to let go of my writing. I have a terrible habit that I know most writers are guilty of, which is the inability to stop editing. At university I could work an essay to death, but when the due date arrived I had to let go of it no matter what. Without that finality, I might never see a piece leave the labyrinthine folders of my computer, so I’m setting my own deadlines. I can keep improving the same piece, but if I let it go and work on more things, I know that overall that will make my writing better in the long run.

Every time I have decided to blog before, my downfall has been concerning myself too much with being popular. What type of things should I write about? People won’t like me if I’m not sticking to a genre or theme. I’m not good at taking photographs, and a lot of my hobbies aren’t the things many people read blogs about. I always ended up just feeling embarrassed that I wasn’t producing the “right” content, of my blog didn’t have the “right” look. It put me off truly engaging in the community, and it was all in my own head. This time, I’ve decided to only blog for myself. I’ll write whatever I want to write because how else can I enjoy what I’m doing? And if only seven people read it, then it’s still seven more readers than if I never posted it in the first place. I’m not going to be embarrassed if I want to write about cosplay and nobody wants to read it because cosplay is something I enjoy. Just because I write about books one week doesn’t mean I can’t write about makeup or music the week after. Sure, I might have less readers this way, but at least I’ll be writing about things I care about.

I definitely feel like without this fear of embarrassing myself, I’m already engaging in the community in a way I never have before. I’m making more of an effort to share with a larger audience and to leave comments on all of the blog posts I read because I’m not worrying about what people will think when/if they visit my page in return. Already, the blogging community seems a little less daunting and scary. It’s actually pretty damn welcoming, believe it or not!

I’m writing this blog on the train back to Liverpool from Birmingham. I’ve just spent a wonderful weekend with my best friends and a gorgeous puppy, and I’m feeling all kinds of happy, positive and hopeful, so I wanted to write about something I hope will become a bigger and more loved part of my life. Now I’ve done that, so I’m going to close my eyes, listen to some music and try to get some rest for the rest of this journey.

What are your reasons for blogging (or not blogging)? Have you seen blogging make a positive difference in your life the way I hope to see it make in mine? Leave a comment and let me know.




Roll On, Autumn

Autumn is fast-approaching, and I’m finally ready to say goodbye to England’s poor attempts at the season of summer. Sure, we had a couple of fleeting glimpses of sun, but the days are getting shorter, the winds are getting brisker and I am so ready for it all.

Now, I won’t lie, most of my excitement right now is skewing towards knowing Christmas is only three months away, but there are plenty of facets of Autumn that are getting me hyped up, too!

  1. Fashion

Autumn is the season of oversized jumpers, scarves and big, chunky boots. If you know me, you know I’m one of those terrible people who wears the same pair of shoes every day, no matter the outfit. Spring and summer had me living in my black converse (because, at heart, I am still a thirteen year old emo), but as the weather gets wetter, I’m ready to break out my burgundy boots again. I bought them last Christmas on sale, and I absolutely adore them. They’re some of the comfiest shoes I own, and I feel like they definitely give any outfit the “autumn finish”.

Screenshot 2017-09-14 18.52.45

My boots, taken last Christmas!

  1. Food, Baking and Hot Drinks

My favourite foods and drinks are anything that includes cinnamon and/or ginger. I can’t wait to have a nice hot chai latte on a day where it’s not so warm it’ll make me want to pass out!

Traditionally, my little sister is the baker of our house. Just last week she made a massive batch of gingerbread… all of which I proceeded to eat. Seriously. Everyone else in my house got a single cookie. However, I’m definitely going to try my own hand at baking in the coming months, and I’ll be sure to share any success stories (or, I suppose, hilarious failures) over here.

  1. Dog walking

I love walking my dog. Recently I’ve been unwell and that’s meant I haven’t been able to take him out, but now that my health is picking up I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of regularly going on our walks. I’m hoping that the colder weather will mean they’ll be a little longer, and I think it will be a good way to wake the both of us up when the temptation to crawl into my dressing gown and curl up with a book or film instead of moving all day is threatening to overwhelm me.

There are plenty of parts of autumn to be excited about, and I’ve barely scraped the surface with this post here, but these are a few of the things that come to mind when I consider autumn. Not to mention there’s Halloween, watching the leaves change colour (I live in a very green village which means you can see the seasons in a way you don’t get to in the city centre) and so much more.

What are you looking forward to? Or are you just waiting for autumn to pass so we can crack on with winter?


On Writing

So, it’s November. It’s NaNoWriMo time – almost a week in so everybody is probably feeling pretty good! In my experience, the two week point is usually when I start to slack. I thought I would finally take a break from all of my university work to post this blog post – the tips I’ve found useful for actually completing pieces of writing, from one, young, unpublished writer to another. Or, you know, whoever is reading. Hello.

Finishing projects is something I always struggled with, as evidenced by all of my failed NaNoWriMo attempts and short stories. It’s why when I write fanfics I always write one-shot-fics – anything multi-chaptered and I know it’ll never get finished. However, I think I’ve sort of figured it out now. I actually won NaNoWriMo last November, and although university has put a hold on the redrafting process, I still came out of the month with a shiny and scribbly fully formed first draft.


My complete first draft in all its awful glory

So, how did I make that leap from beginning to end? How did I achieve this big improvement? Well…


Where was I going wrong? That was obviously the first thing I needed to address. I found that, for me, all of my incomplete projects seemed to stem from a loss of steam. I would get very excited about an idea, jump in, write 10,000 words – and then I’d be exhausted, and bored, and I’d have no idea where it was really going, and I’d just… sort of… drift away…

It was also, of course, caused by no real plan time-wise. Spit out 10k in the first couple of days, feel proud, take a few days off, fall behind, feel stressed, feel guilty, drift away.


I wasn’t sure if I was going to partake in NaNoWriMo last November. I’d tried to do it while juggling school before and it hadn’t ended well. I was leaning away from it – and then I got an idea. It was sitting in my Friday 4PM American Literature lecture at uni that I got the idea, and I couldn’t shake it. I decided that if I could organise my time effectively for uni then setting aside an hour or two a night that would otherwise just be spent clicking around the internet couldn’t be too difficult. And that was really it – one decision that solved the “I’m awful at organising my time” problem. I decided to organise my time*.

Now, the steam problem – that took more thought. I had my idea, which was all well and good, but that obviously wasn’t enough. I had to plan enough that I knew where I was heading. I didn’t have a super detailed outline, because I knew I wouldn’t have the time in the one month I had to prepare to properly research everything I needed to, but I had something. I had an ending I needed to reach, I had flimsy character outlines/relationships, and I had a problem that needed to be solved. For me, that was enough to get me through November and come out the other side with a very (very, very, very­) rough draft.


Now, I know NaNoWriMo comes with word-count goals, but that’s not the sort of goal I mean. I mean, every night when I sat down to write, at the beginning of my writing session, I thought, “Where do I want my characters to end up at the end of this chapter?” Sometimes fulfilling the goal meant reaching a problem for my characters to solve, sometimes it meant finding a new clue, and sometimes it meant finding an answer. But every chapter brought me closer to the Ultimate Goal – the ending I’d planned. If I was ever writing something that wasn’t steering my characters towards that goal, I knew it was unnecessary and that I was in danger of straying so far off track that I was unable to find it again. I’d reel it back in and direct my characters towards the goal.

I love engaging subplots – but what was important for me in the 30 days I had was telling a story from start to finish. If I got the bulk of it down, I could add more in later.


The daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo is 1,667 words. That didn’t give me enough wiggle room to be comfortable. That meant I would just about manage to scrape in a win – take the wrong day to slack and it’d be chaos. Instead, I set myself a minimum daily word count goal of 2,000. I knew I could do it – I could write 1k in 30 minutes when I was on a roll, so 2k wasn’t too much of a push. And then, I made sure to write until my characters had reached the goal I’d set them. If 2k didn’t hit it, I kept writing. The combination of these two goals – the story goal and the word count goal – helped me tremendously, and gave me enough wiggle room that eventually if life got in the way and I didn’t have as much time or energy, taking a day to write a little bit less didn’t really hurt me at all.


If you take a look at my stats from last November, you’ll see that sometimes I was as much as double my target word count. I still wrote something every day. Sometimes I didn’t hit my 2k target – sometimes I only managed about 200 words, because sometimes life happens. But I was comfortable enough.

By ‘don’t slack’, what I really mean is – try your damn best to write every day. Write something. Writing 100 words is better than writing 0 words, and it keeps you in the habit of writing every day. Taking one day off can lead to two, and before you know it you’ve lost a week and a half. Write something.


Basically, word sprints were my saviour at times. I followed @NaNoWordSprints on twitter, and you have no idea how far just “write as much as you can in 20 minutes” can get you in your story. And it’s fun – people are having a laugh, sharing their accomplishments, sharing snippets of their story… it’s refreshing, and encouraging.

Writing buddies are godsends, and if you have the ability to go to a real-life writing meet up (with people you feel comfortable with, of course), take advantage of it! You’re writing because you love writing – so enjoy it.

I took a creative writing module in my second semester of uni this year, and for my portfolio I decided to write a 3,000 word short story (because I suck at poetry. Shout out to you poets. You rock!). Without going in to too much detail, my tutor kind of screwed me over with late-notice absences, lack of contact hours and just general time-wasting. I ended up writing my entire portfolio in the last… three? Four weeks of term?

I used a lot of the same techniques I’ve listed here. I had an idea, and I set myself a goal. The limited word count was a little tougher on me – I had to give enough detail that the story made sense, but every word was precious. I broke my story into three parts with three goals, all leading to the ultimate end goal. I ended up writing my whole first draft in one night.

I took advantage of feedback when it came to redrafting. In uni, we do an exercise where you read out your own piece, and then you shut up. You’re not allowed to say anything while the class discusses your story. You’re not allowed to explain or correct them. You just have to listen. It’s useful because when you publish a piece of work, you can’t chase down every reader and correct their interpretations. It meant that I could hear if something was unclear, or if something was so subtle that it wasn’t picked up at all. I could see if people were behind the characters I wanted them to be behind, and I could see if imagery was interpreted in the way I intended – if it wasn’t, that was my fault, not the fault of my readers. If my metaphor was so washy that nobody really got it, it was because I’d written a shitty metaphor.

I found it especially useful because I’d experimented a little with form and voice. Most of my short story was written in free indirect discourse, closely following one character. It allowed me to explore her attitudes, thoughts and feelings from a third-person voice. However, I broke up the parts of my story with a second, non-human voice – the voice of the sea, to be precise – and I felt that this needed to be distinct. I wrote these sections in first-person and in free verse (so, I guess, sort of poetry? But I still wouldn’t say it was good poetry). I experimented with position on the page – these sections were as much a picture as a poem. It was fun to play around with that.

Which is sort of my last tip.


Let me know if you have any tips or tricks you find useful, or if you share any of mine! And, of course, I’m just a nobody on the internet, so feel free to think my tips are all dumb and ignore them entirely.



*This was probably helped by my then-recent decision to start keeping a bullet journal. The satisfaction of colouring in one of my to-do boxes was as good a reward as any.

pannCREATIVE: My Book

[This was the first creative piece I wrote for my Creativity module at uni, and it didn’t end up making it into my final portfolio. I decided to post it here. The assignment was to “rush” a book – what it would be about, what it would include, how, etc. This was my spin on that.]

A decent book needs a decent voice. A decent book about experience demands decent experiences, or at least the knowledge to decently fake those experiences. I do not have decent experiences. I do not have exciting tales of past adventures, and my voice is shaky at best. There are things I could write about experiencing, of course, because I am alive and so I have experienced, but my book would have no dramatic author lighting a cigarette and sipping on scotch, and it would have no battle-scarred narrator holding your hand and taking you through the first trees of a jungle.

My book would have scars. I have not left Britain since I was old enough to properly appreciate that I had, but I have battled in here. My book would retell the first time I tried spaghetti bolognese and decided it was the most simply delicious meal I had ever tasted, and it would retell how it turned to ash in my mouth, my throat trying it’s hardest to reject the food before it hit an empty stomach that squirmed with every piece of pasta that forced its way down. It would tell of my fast-developing hatred of school and the way my stomach clenched every morning I woke up and excitedly awaited bedtime. It would tell of how that want of sleep became bus rides wondering whether we could crash on such quiet roads, before becoming overcome with guilt at the thought of letting the other passengers come to harm just because I was so exhausted with trying to live.

I should write a book about growing up surrounded by a cloud of mental illness so thick it took over a decade to realise that my family, mentally, was the Other. I should write about how much I adore my family, but how absolutely exhausting it is to all hold each other upright when we all want to topple. It would talk about the guilt I felt for resenting my sibling for her attempts of suicide all while yearning for the same. I should tell people about the doubt. I should tell people how I worried I did not have enough reason to be depressed, and how that is not even how mental illness works. I should tell people about the drugs, and the advice, and how slowly I stopped seeing a doctor not because I was better but because I was so damn tired of his breezy dismissal. It should be an eye-opening account of a girl who took twenty years to admit she was depressed, and how I am not better but I am still kicking. But I won’t write that book.

I won’t write that book because of all the reasons I should. I still doubt the validity of my own mental illness even though I have studied and researched enough that I know that no one person has more ‘valid’ mental illness than any other. I won’t write that book because the guilt still consumes me every time I recall all of the horrible things I have thought and I am afraid that if I admit them I am permanently stamping myself as a terrible, irredeemable villain. I won’t write that book because my scars are still wounds and I am afraid they will always be wounds, and a braver or more elegant person should write that book. But their book will never be my story.

There are other books I should write, offshoots from the one tree that represents my life, entangling themselves beautifully with all of the darkest, heaviest pieces of myself, and with the branches that hang highest and proudest. I should write a book about falling in love. I should write a horribly cliché book about her smile and her eyes and her cackling laughter, but I won’t because I am selfish and I want to keep the softness of the curve of her neck to myself, and I want to keep the way my chest swells with pride when I make her laugh to myself, and I want to keep the way she babbles in her sleep to me all to myself.

I could write about her discreetly. I could write about falling in love with another girl in a terribly Catholic school. I could write about the fact that the students were over us within a month but the adults, the teachers, the people I had believed I could trust singled me out, threatened me, made me so scared to come into school that I had to jump over their heads and ask the headmaster for help. I could write about how he was surprisingly angry at them, about how he assured me that there was no need to worry. I could write about how I believed him but the fear did not leave and I ran from that school as soon as I could.

I could write that book, but I won’t. I won’t write that book because I refuse to let my voice be that of a scared teenager. Scared teenage voices are important and beautiful and they hold the hands of thousands of frightened youths, but that is not my voice, and I cannot pretend that it is. I will leave that story to someone less selfish than me; I will leave that story to a willing guide to those troubled teens and I will walk on. They will not tell my story, but they will tell an important one.

The problem with writing a book from my voice is that I am tired of it. I am tired of my own disillusioned experience and I am tired of hearing myself sarcastically mutter, “this is fine.” I am in love with reading because there is little more precious than those few hours where I am allowed to be someone who isn’t depressed or poor or stuck in a town that she loves but knows too well. I am in love with reading because I am in love with other voices, and I am in love with writing because I do not have to relive my life. Being a writer means my voice is every voice, and that is the story I need to tell.

I need to tell the story of something I am not bored of. I need to tell the story of the girl with the daunting family legacy that rips her from her home and forces her to have an adventure. I need to tell the story of a girl who is not the chosen one but is the one that just so happened to be around and so was chosen. I need to tell the story of a girl with the fire of a dragon and the cunning of a fox, because those are things I do not have.

The story I want to write is not about me. The story I want to write is about Her. It is about the sun and how after thirteen days without rain the sky feels so desperate for moisture that it is like walking through a fine powder. It would tell in great detail about the crack of the sky as it splits and rain pounds the tarmac like gunfire and every drop makes your skin feel like it is being torn to shreds. It would tell about the way fear of the ferocity of the storm mingles with excitement in your chest because it feels new, because you had forgotten how the air tastes sour after rainfall and that the tarmac smells like winter and summer are locked together in a dance for dominance. And the heat! The rain stops and it is suddenly still so hot that you are overwhelmed with regret that you fled from its forceful embrace and you long for rain to return so you can join it, so you can remember a cool evening and not just the way walking barefoot made your feet feel like they were made of blisters and your vision swim whenever you entered a building. In the story I want to write you would find me in the fickleness of the weather, undecided as to whether I was up or down, always on the edge of my seat waiting for the downpour.

The story I want to write would have a festival I have never seen. The streets would crawl with people decked out in colour, the town kissed by a rainbow and blessed by an artist’s favourite palette. There would be music so loud and clumsy with joy that it beats the most perfectly performed symphony and every child is screaming along with it, tiny feet pattering the floor with passionate dance steps. The young would rub elbows with the old. Boundaries would be lost and every lone attendee would become part of the whole. Art would drip from every person marching down the street, in poems and songs and masks and paint, splattered over shoulders and sticking to old clothes with new memories. The festival itself would be a celebration of everything. The festival would be a celebration of the fact that everyone at the festival has made it that far. The festival would celebrate the fact that every person there has survived every single thing they have encountered up until then, and it would be a reminder that there is no reason they cannot keep surviving. The festival would be a celebration of hope, and in the story I want to write you would find me in the spirit of that festival, clinging on for dear life.

In the story I want to write there would be a train journey. Through the train window there is barely time to glimpse the world around you; it is an odd experience to move so fast and yet be stuck in one place, unable to move. There would be green fields and grey platforms and yellow shores all within seconds of each other, and yet She would remain in the same dirty white room the entire time. In the story I want to write the people around her would not ask to chat as they boarded and exited the train. They would sit beside her and bury their nose in their book or newspaper and She would sit, eyes focused on a smudge on the glass because to look beyond the window would be to accept the journey, and just because she is already on it does not mean she is ready for that. In the book I want to write you would find me in the nervous turmoil of fast and stopped, of inside and outside, of setting out on a journey to an uncertain destination because life does not slow down long enough to give us time to think.

If I were to write the full story of Her you would need to see all the people that she brushed arms with, all the people that moulded and shaped her and all of the people that made her shape herself. You would need to see their good intentions and see the crumbling road they paved. You would see her mother and father, well-meaning but overwhelmed, and see how she tried to find her own footing but was too unsure and slipped on those rocks just the same. You would need to meet the friends she found at the bottom and see how when they made it back to the top the rest were already gone. You would need to see the rats, the common rats you would already know but the gentleman rats, too. The gentlemen rats, and the gentlewomen rats, of course, who have climbed from the bottom and lost their hope. They are selfish because that’s what life requires, because you can fake class just as easily as all the rest of them and nobody will question the stench of your elegance. They are rotten inside and She will see them and understand them and reject them, because understanding is not acceptance and she will hold onto her hope until it is plucked from her cold hands.

There would be places. There would be so many places that I have never seen and that is why they would be there. There would be red clay begging for a stream that has long dried away, and there would be rivers snaking into the distance, swarming with life and undoubtedly death, too. There would be forests that were unnaturally red and woods of the most shocking green. There would be slate grey rivers and ice blue streams. There would be yellow sand and brown rocks. There would be heat and burning and there would be winds so furiously cold that you would swear the Anemoi had left Greece and were blaming you for their confusion as they tried to find their way back. The nature would be a character itself; it would influence her story, it would shape her decisions and it would be her support and her antagonist. It would be more than a backdrop to her story because that is not the way the world works. How could it be there and be anything less than what it is?

If I were to write a book I would lend my voice to a new story. I have lived and am living my story and it has given me my voice and I will hold it proudly, but it is not the story that needs to be told. I am not enough of a writer to do justice to those people that have shaped me, to the parents and to the friends and to the rats. I am not enough of a writer to tell you about the days of rain and how the grass behind the school building was always waterlogged and we would squelch home, shrieking and bouncing on the balls of our feet. I am not enough of a writer to tell you about the fairgrounds and the lost pennies and the way the excitement buzzed from person to person so vibrantly you could hear it in their voice. I am not enough of a writer to tell you about the woods, about falling into patches of nettles and coming out unstung, about the trees we climbed despite our parents’ warnings, about the fields of wheat and the walls we climbed over, about the rotting plank of wood we placed over the stream so we no longer had to jump from bank to bank. I am not enough of a writer to tell you about the car rides and train journeys and the way anxiety spread to my fingertips for so long that I didn’t realise it was anxiety until it left and only upon its return could I painfully give it its name. I am not enough of a writer to tell you about the ups and downs, and downs, and downs, and I am not enough of a writer to admit that up is still a way off and to admit it in a way that tells you I believe that it is still there, or that I will arrive there one day. I am not enough of a writer to tell you that sometimes bad things happen and there is no reason for it, and sometimes things don’t get better in the way you think they would. I am not enough of a writer to confidently tell you to make the choices I made and I am not enough of a writer to tell you that any outcome is better than any other.

I am not enough of a writer to tell you my truth but I believe I could tell you another truth. I could fabricate something I believe in and it would be more important than my story would ever be. I could make up a story and believe every word so deeply that it becomes true, and in that story you will see me far more clearly than you would see me in any experience I could retell you because you would hear my voice and glimpse my attitudes and feel my values, and that is the story I would write. That is the story my voice is shaped for.

There will always be more stories to tell, and there will always be new characters to add, and there is no point in telling you my story because it will never be yours and yours will never be mine, but I will tell you a story that we can share because it is no one’s story. I will tell you a story that can be anyone’s story.

Life Updates

Since I’ve been AWOL for the past couple of months, I thought that I’d write a nice, short little life-updates blog post. Honestly, not much has happened – my absence has mainly been due to anxiety and mental illness and not because I’ve been busy – but I still have a couple of fun things to share!

  1. Pokémon GO

Pretty obvious from my Pokémon GO book tag post, but I’m also joining in with the craze. I’ve waited years to be a Pokémon trainer and now my time has finally arrived! I’ve really enjoyed going out on walks so often whereas before now I rarely went out unless I had a destination in mind – just wandering around, discovering new places and visiting some places I’ve always loved (like the Albert Dock) has been fab. Plus, the walking has inspired me to get back on the work-out train, because if I’m going to get fit I might as well go all in!


Sunset, taken from the Albert Dock

  1. Hair Changes

I’ve changed my hair pretty frequently the past few months. I dyed it red, I shaved in an undercut, I dyed the long part of my hair silver and blonde, and now? I just went all in and shaved it all off. My hair has been giving me some confidence issues for a while, which is why I’ve been playing around with it so much. I decided that maybe I should just start over, and after numerous friends assured me they thought I would suit a shaved head, I went for it.

I’ve honestly never felt more confident, and I’ve been feeling a lot better about posting selfies!


Pictured: Me, liking a selfie of myself for once

  1. Cosplay

I recently found myself in a cosplay rut. There was nothing I was interested in, projects I’d been excited about now made me feel nervous, and my confidence was at absolute zero. Then I watched Voltron: Legendary Defender and I was suddenly excited all over again.

Some upcoming plans that I hope to make a good start on as soon as I have some extra cash are:

Lance (Voltron)

Roman Torchwick (RWBY)

Kunizuka and/or Kagari (Psycho Pass)

Leon Kuwata (Danganronpa)

Plus one or two things that should be happening soon but I’m trying my best to keep quiet…

  1. Books

I’ve got a handful of new releases that I’m waiting to begin, but at the moment I’ve begun re-reading A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. This was my favourite series growing up, and reading it now as an adult has reminded me just how fantastic, funny and unfortunate this world really is. These books may not have had the cultural impact of some other MG/YA books, but they’re a series I’d recommend to every reader – not only because they are a fabulous way to help young readers develop their vocabulary.

With the promise of an upcoming Netflix series, now is as good a time as any to delve into the tragic lives of the Baudelaire Orphans if you’ve never before experienced them.

Since I said I was going to keep this short, I’ll leave it at that. Let me know in the comments what’s been going on with you, or if you have any opinions on anything I’ve mentioned!



Pokémon GO Book Tag


Listen – I have loved Pokémon for as long as I can remember. I mean it. I’ve played the games, watched the anime, had guides and books and board games and pokéballs and socks. The first person I ever fancied – a boy that was in my class – I fancied for literally around five years, and then I stopped fancying because after I mentioned Pikachu one day he said “Pokémon isn’t cool anymore.”

Naturally, I’m ecstatic about Pokémon GO. Being a Pokémon trainer is my dream, and if this is as close as I’m going to get then I’ll take it. I got the game a little after everyone else because I had an old phone, but I worked hard to catch up to all of my friends because I wanna be the very best.

Anyway, when I saw Read At Midnight had created a Pokémon GO book tag, I knew I had to do it. Combining two things I love is a sure fire way to get me to join in. Let’s do this.


For the record, I always pick the fire starter.

I’ve loved reading since I was a tiny thing, like most book bloggers. I remember my mum sitting in our shared bedroom (us meaning my two sisters and I – we had a small house) and reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis to us. The first books I remember reading independently that really set me on this path were The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. As I got a bit older I discovered things like Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I am currently reading to my girlfriend who never experienced the tragic lives of the Baudelaire Orphans in all of their… well, misfortune). These books really, truly, are what made me fall in love with reading. I can still find echoes of Lemony Snicket in my own writing.


Pikachu was one of the first Pokémon I caught when I started playing GO, and now whenever I complain about not having seen a Pokémon (WHAT I’D DO FOR A VULPIX OR A MANKEY) my girlfriend likes to point this out. Apparently, I’m not allowed to complain.

Harry Potter is an easy answer for this one, but considering I’ve already mentioned that once I’ll pick a classic classic. I’m studying English at uni, so I’ve read my fair share of them. My first thought was Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett, which I hated whilst reading it but absolutely fell in love with once I began to analyse it, but that’s a play so I won’t count it. My favourite module so far on my degree has been 19th Century American Literature, and I loved pretty much everything I studied on that – especially Edgar Allan Poe. I love the Dupin stories so I think The Purloined Letter” could definitely go here… this is tough.

I think I’m actually going to have to disregard American Literature (although The Last of the Mohicans and Moby Dick are both interesting reads and tremendous fun to study), and say Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I do love the book itself, but more than anything I love the inspiration I find in Mary Shelley herself.


Zoobs, you plague me in every cave I visit on my Nintendo and lurk around every corner I walk in my real life. When will I be free of this curse?

I try not to be a dick when it comes to any kind of media anymore, because hating things just because they’re popular is something 13-year-old me would do and I like to think I’ve grown as a person. However, I have a truckload of problems with the C*ptive Pr*nce series, and I really wish people would at least stop pretending that the text isn’t enormously problematic.


I can’t wait for Ditto to appear in the game. The episode of the anime where the Ditto can’t change its face is too cute – I love seeing the various Pokémon with his cute little smile!

I’m struggling to think of a book I love that reminds me of other books, but Say Her Name by Juno Dawson has a lot of horror tropes that remind me of various TV shows and movies – you know, things like The Ring? Still, I absolutely love this book, it’s probably my favourite of all of Juno’s novels, and I think it would make an amazing TV miniseries.


Oh my God, I have seen one Snorlax and he ran away from me. It was devastating. I want this big soft bundle of sleepy cuddles. Come home, Snorlax.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to look into the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson for ages, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I really will… but I’m really trying to cut down on the amount of books I buy before I read at least some of my TBR pile.


Squidge. I love Ghost Pokémon.

Both Only Ever Yours and Asking For It by Louise O’Neill kept me up all night because I couldn’t put either of them down. They’re both incredibly powerful, important, harrowing reads, and I would definitely recommend them  (though Asking For It is extremely triggering for rape and so I would always trigger warn any one I recommended that to).


I’m glad Read By Midnight clarified that this was not expected to be a heteronormative answer.

Me being me, it’s very rare that a ship I actually care about becomes canon, so prepare to disagree with me! I think, honestly, my longest standing book ship is Remus/Sirius from Harry Potter, which I will ship until my dying breath (no, I don’t hate Tonks, I love Tonks, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop shipping Remus/Sirius).


I love Rapidash. I had no problem collecting Ponytas until I was one away from being able to evolve a Rapidash, and I haven’t see one since.

I’m not sure if everyone would agree, but to me The Foxhole Court by Nora Sagavic (which immediately became my favourite series of all time after I read it) fits this. It’s a fantastic book that honestly I can talk about for hours. I can’t do it justice, and I urge everyone to read it (the first book is free on kindle!) but PLEASE look up a list of triggers before you do! It’s phenomenal and everything is addressed properly and well, but it can be incredibly triggering. Some triggers include: physical/emotional/sexual abuse, including rape, drugs, self harm, alcohol, torture… but it is amazing and LGBTQIA+ and so beautifully written. And I hate sports and yet I have never been more excited at a game than reading those Exy matches.


I love Eevees. I love every Eeveelution. I will never get tired of them. I can’t wait for the other Eeveelutions to make it into Go and you bet your ass I am going to make sure I have every one (I do that with every single Nintendo playthrough anyway).

I’m actually kind of… blah, about spin offs. I don’t mind when it’s new characters in the same world, but I get a bit tired of processing all the emotions that come with letting characters go and saying goodbye or continuing to develop my own detailed ideas of what happens next and then suddenly having those characters taken back and experience things that make them completely different people. Like, listen, I understand authors can do what they want and it’s not my place to tell them to stop, but I don’t tend to care about spin offs for this reason.

That said, I’m excited to finally take a look at the new Lemony Snicket series because since reading ASOUE again I’ve remembered how deeply I love this world, and I can’t wait to dive back into its secrets.


MAN you know when people get salty when they hatch a Magikarp? WHY? You need 400 candies to evolve a Gyarados and you get more candies when you hatch them! If I hatched nothing but Magikarps until I had a Gyarados I’d still be happy.

Although I haven’t finished the series yet (I have the last book but I haven’t started it yet), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Did I Mention I Love You? By Estelle Maskame. I don’t usually care about books concerning Heterosexual Romance, but I did really, really enjoy it.


If you think I’ll give up playing GO before I have a Legendary, you are wrong. So very, very wrong.

Anyway, for some reason I still haven’t picked up The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I’m excited to finally pick it up and maybe even more excited to read The Ketterdam Duology afterwards. I might even end up reading Six of Crows first…


I can’t even find a Mankey. It’s going to take me god knows how long to find a Mew/Mewtwo.

Anyway, without beating around the bush, I’m poor. I’ve never really fussed much over collector’s edition because they’re expensive and I don’t like to long for something I have no chance of owning. That said, the Discworld Collector’s Library copy of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is beautiful… but my copy of Good Omens (I went to abbreviate it and then released it’s GO) is signed by Neil with a personalised message so… I’ll keep my tatty paperback, thank you!


Everyone seems to be hatching Vulpixes and Vulpix is my favourite Pokémon and yet here I am, hatching Drowzees.

I’ve heard a lot about Caraval by Stephanie Garber and it sounds right up my street. Despite my extreme phobia of clowns (and yes, I mean phobia, not fear), anything vaguely circus-themed is sure to appeal to me. I’ll definitely be checking it out.


Lures haven’t really been attracting anything interesting near me lately, but still, there’s nothing more pleasant than heading out to a pokestop in a nice secluded area and having a picnic taking turns setting lures.

Maureen Johnson is probably this author for me, closely tied with Juno Dawson. Their books are like pick-me-ups to me, and I always feel a bit better after one. I actually discovered Juno because she was doing a joint tour with Maureen and I’ve loved her since!


I haven’t actually seen this screen since I started playing, even though I constantly see the spinning pokeball as it attempts to connect to the server.

I have a really bad memory and even when I’m excited about something, if I wait too long I tend to forget about it and miss its release. I haven’t been waiting forever, but September can’t come fast enough if it’s going to bring me The Graces by Laura Eve.

This was a really fun tag! It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to complete, but it’s definitely made me think about joining in with more tags in the future.

Also, VALOR.