Monday, 1 August 2016

July // Starting Sparks: August

I return from the unknown! I do have actual stuff to say in this post, but really before I say anything I must tell you that I just started Stay in the City!!!!!!!

Surprising as it may be, I do try to keep my blog posts slightly professional, as in, no emoticons, no asdfghjkl-ing and no multiple exclamation marks ... so can you tell I'm excited!?!!!!!


It is the 1st of August, friends, and that means it is one year to the day since I finished the first draft of TCATT. Now I'm starting the sequel, and there's a nice symmetry to that, isn't there?

I have loved the redrafting process of TCATT (really!), but I returned to it at the weekend to fix a fairly massive plot hole (more of a plot canyon, to be honest. Imagine Fourth Draft Me, squinting at her laptop as she realises that part of the ending makes no sense), and I was just gripped by the feeling of being so done. I love it with a burning passion, of course, but I've just rewritten and reread some of those scenes so many times and I really want and need to continue the story. Being without TCATT -- in those six weeks between drafts, or for the past six weeks since I finished the fourth draft -- is horrible. “I'm not living, I'm just killing time." (Spot that reference.) So the past two hours spent writing the first chapter of Stay in the City have been a dream. Returning to my kids characters! 

I use this gif far too often but there it is it's true!
I can't stop grinning inanely.


Do you want to know what I read in July?


Career of Evil was so good. I talked about it a fair bit in this post, but to recap, JK Rowling is my QUEEN and I completely adore everything about this series. This book stunned me and I love the characters so much it hurts and just-- do yourself a favour and read The Cuckoo's Calling, and then The Silkworm, and then Career of Evil, okay? Okay.

I LOVED SINNER A LOT. I am actually seeing Maggie Stiefvater in Glasgow tomorrow! Anyway. I might post about Wolves of Mercy Falls, because they are kind of like the slightly less lauded younger siblings of The Raven Cycle, but Sinner was just so good. Wonderful characters, beautiful writing, amazing setting, every. single. word. was perfect. 

Then there's River, which was stunning from start to finish. You know Ted Hughes is my favourite poet and this book did not disappoint. Never before have I been interested in salmon fishing, but there you are.

Hurry up. Join the love-orgy
Up here among the leaves, in the light rain,

Under a flimsy tent of dusky wings.

~ from Caddis

I see that The Aeneid is a conspicuous absence in these gushing paragraphs. I really, really liked it, and it's a very important book, but I did have problems. More thoughts here

Raven boys:
[source] // TRC, because it kind of relates to the Aeneid but also because, you know, Blue. Gansey.
July involved working for two weeks and then doing two Christian camps back to back. Work is fine -- slow, and not at all what I want to do with my life, but the people are lovely and it pays OK -- and both camps were great. I was a leader on the first and had far too much fun to have been any help teaching the gospel ... ! OK, I am kidding, but it was a delight: a lovely week in a beautiful place (a Scripture Union venue to which, I counted, I've been sixteen times over the past seven years. It is the home of my soul). We did Exodus and the campers were a joy and the team was lovely (all from my church, so just a lot of great friends, really).

On the second I was a camper (no actual tents involved, I hasten to add) and we did Leviticus and have you ever studied Leviticus?? Well me neither until last week and DANG it was so good! Did you know that Wycliffe, the Bible translator, couldn't find a good English rendering of the Hebrew word for atonement, so he made one up: at-one-ment, ie, a sacrifice enabling us to be at one with God???

Also, did you know that when the High Priest had finished making atonement he would take off his linen garments and leave them there? Do you know who else left some linen lying in his tomb after he'd finished making atonement?

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:19-23

Both camps were in Perthshire, which is a really pretty part of the world. I took this picture when, on the second camp, I went for a walk and attempted to hash the Plot Canyon out in my mind. I love writing walks. They're the best.
Since my return I have a) gutted my room -- putting out old clothes and throwing stuff away is such a good feeling! -- and b) gone for two lake swims and c) possibly got a job today for after the summer? Oh yeah and I started a book, I am now writing a book lalalalalala.


Can you tell I'm a bit all over the place?!

Starting Sparks August

Starting Sparks is that thing Ashley and me host. Have a look at the Starting Sparks page for more info. The basic idea is to help us all, as writers, to go forth and write! (And have a great time. That too.)
August prompt. Last month saw my embarrassment as I accidentally chose Vance Joy lyrics as the prompt. I was glad that August meant Ashley's turn to take the reins ...
I am excited about this one! You say metafiction, I jump to your side.

I hope you've all had wonderful Julys. I cannot wait to a) read your lovely blogs and b) reply to the lovely comments you left in my absence (thank you for doing so!). If you have a monthly recap post, link me up to it! Also, what did you enjoy reading in July? And are you excited that I'm seeing Maggie?!


  1. Sounds like you are making the most of your summer, and you get to meet Meggie Stiefvater, I am so jealous! Love the prompt!

    1. I am, and I did, she was FAB! Aaaah she was so good. I love her I love her I love her--

      Glad you like the prompt, so do I! :D

  2. Ooh, this sounds like a really fun prompt! :)

    I'm so jealous that you get to see Maggie Stiefvater in person!

    1. It does, doesn't it? SHE WAS SO GOOD. AAarhhhh--

  3. All that information about Leviticus and Wycliff is fascinating. I love that sort of thing!

    Congratulations on starting your new book (and also for being able to meet Maggie Stiefvater)!

    1. Isn't it? I was/am buzzing!

      Thank you! The new book is delightful and so was she <3

  4. Those are interesting tidbits about Wycliff's transliteration. I haven't done much study in Leviticus myself. Most of my Bible study lately has been flipping to a random page and reading for a little while, whether it be a verse or a chapter, and then flipping to another random page until I feel satisfied.

    1. I would 1000% recommend Leviticus as a study in God's holiness, our sinfulness, and the magnitude of what Jesus has done. Do you not find, though, that you struggle to get the context of passages / the shape of the whole book? I find it best to read a book through so that I can see its overriding theme/message.

    2. Sometimes I have no clue what is going on, yeah. A lot of the time though, simply based upon the ordering of the books, I end up in Psalms/Proverbs (the middle) or the Gospels, so I don't need as much context. I have a decent familiarity with many of the books, and sometimes I'll read large sections to get the wider context of a passage. For example, I read a few verses from Galatians a few weeks ago and then decided to read the whole book to understand better what Paul was trying to say.

    3. Galatians is a cracker. I use Search the Scriptures by Alan Stibbs, which systematically goes through the whole Bible. That's good because it gets you everywhere, even places you might not necessarily end up -- for example, I'm currently in 1 Chronicles. It is such a great resource, I would 100% recommend!

  5. Church camp seems very interesting. I would also like to read more.

    1. I would highly recommend both of those things!

  6. Ok now wait wait wait, catch me up with life please, i've been sadly absent from your blog for a while.
    (can you tell i'm jealous - i need a job, but i can't find one. ugh)
    ooh ooh ooh what book are you writing?

    1. HELLO
      I'm a receptionist
      A shop assistant in a clothes shop
      (yes but did you know the minimum for under 18s is £3.87/hour?? It costs me £5.20 to get into Glasgow where the job is. So yeahhh if they're offering minimum I'm not sure about that one ...)
      YEAH I AM
      The sequel to TCATT! :D :D <333

  7. THIS POST IS DELIGHTFUL. I'm so excited for Stay in the City, and equally excited that you're enjoying it so much! I so empathize with that done feeling. Sometimes even just thinking about ever having to do more on TPQ (book 1) makes me groan.

    That observation about the linen is awesome! I love finding connections like that, and there are so many to be found.

    Gorgeous picture of Perthshire! I'm glad your camps went so well.

    That prompt. O.O I really really really need to link up this month. (It's been too long!)

    1. YOU'RE DELIGHTFUL. What a nice thing! I'M SO EXCITED TOO. But yeah, there's still stuff in TCATT I need to go back and fix and I'm just kinda ignoring that and hoping it'll maybe ... fix itself? Right?

      IT'S SO COOL. Same, same, same <33

      Thanks! They did <3

      I see you have linked up! Thank you! I've not read yet bc I am terrible blogger/friend/human but soon! :D

  8. Woohoo! Stay in the City is in the works! That's crazy exciting! I hope all goes well. :)

    I'm glad you had a great time a camp too! That must be a lot of fun. :) I've never actually been to a real Bible camp before, but it always sounds exciting. And those Bible facts. Man! I did not know that. That's really fascinating, especially the part about the priest leaving his linen clothes and such.

    Love that photo!

    AAAAH! And you got to see Maggie S.! That's just the epitome of awesome!

    Ahem. But I do know what you mean about being every where. I moved Sunday and have finally got some kind of order to my room. Buuut not much. And I'm hungry. I had a stressful interview and now I have another interview coming up. My food is in the microwave actually. And then training from the first interview. Then college. So. . . yay. BUT IT'S ALL GOING TO BE GOOD! ;)

    So I think I'm going to eat food and read some TCATT to keep me grounded. Because I'm hungry. And I really like Jem. :) I'm sorry I haven't gotten it back to you yet. Packing and moving has made things a bit crazy. But soon. :)

    1. I'm crazy excited! I'm handwriting, of course, but I'd say I'm approaching 20k. I am happy.

      Totally go on Bible camp! I just came back from a third one on Wednesday, woohoo! Camp is the best best best. And the linen o.O

      Thanks <3

      I DID! I'm crafting a post about her right now <3

      Aah you've moved!? That's so exciting! You'll need to tell me all about it. (I'm going to email you soon, because Cinder.)

      I'm so happy you like it! I LIKE JEM TOO. Not that I ever mention him ~cough cough~ Thank you so much for reading, you're a babe <333


Thanks for commenting! :)