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UCL and no more NaNo

December 1, 2010

The not-so-surprising news is that I bombed out of NaNoWriMo at only 21,000 words – which is my lowest word count to date.
I’m not too disheartened. Again, I plotted too much in advance, making the story pretty dull, and then panicked when the plot fell out from under me because I’d been using it as a crutch. I still feel I learnt a lot, and I still have the opening 5,000 words necessary for my assignment, which I’m enjoying editing and moving around. I definitely know there’s a story somewhere in this mess – but unfortunately it looks like there’s still a lot of digging to do (I’ve already spent four years wrestling with this beast, and it refuses to give me anything coherent). I think when I come to rewrite, I’ll probably start the story in a different place (again), and see what we can do with POV. Much prefer writing Teresa from the first-person perspective – which I never in a million years expected, because as a rule I Do Not Like First Person.
Having a narrator who has already experienced the story and is relating it from the future to a fictional reader living WITHIN the story’s universe was also monkey-barrells of fun, and happened pretty much by accident. I’m glad I tried it – and I’ve grown really fond of her as a narrator.
The next job, after trying to get the structure sorted (wobbly as it is) is to properly incorporate the 1800s setting, chuck some quriky more sci-fi stuff in there, and make this world belieavable at all.
I’m really positive, after all this – the story is more broken than anything I’ve done before, but I really feel I have the energy to fix it, and I have several interesting starting points. This could be a really fun project, and maybe one day it’ll be a coherent novel.

But that’s not why I’m blogging today.
Two things:

The first is short – an awesome blog post arrived in my inbox (I’m subscribed to a gazillion blogs for writers, agents and publishers, and highly recommend them to any wannabe novelists). It’s about making a Writing Bible for your novel – and it sounds like an extremely cool and clever idea. Check it out NOW at Write-Thing.
The second is on the political, anti-cuts theme. UCL (that University College London for the non-Brits out there) are currently staging an awesome occupation of their building, in the ongoing debate on the rise in tuition fees in the UK, which you’re probably sick to death of hearing.

Unfortunately for you, I am not sick to death of telling you about this.
Students are now putting on more pressure on the Lib Dems to stick to their election promise to NOT raise tuition fees. This resulted in the weirdest thing ever on last night’s Six O’Clock news on the BBC – where Vince Cable, Lib Dem MP and the guy whose idea this whole ‘raise in tuition fees’ is said that he would abstain from voting on it in Parliament.
He seemed to think this would be a compromise that students would accept – but what does it say about a proposal in parliament when the man who wrote the damn thing doesn’t have the confidence to vote for it (sure, he isn’t voting against it either)? He says that he feels it’s a fair deal, and that people just don’t understand the proposal – but if he thinks it’s fair, surely he’d at least have the courage to vote for it? Abstaining is sitting on the fence – and to me, that says he doesn’t really believe in this: because he knows, like the rest of us, exactly what it will spell for education in the future.

TL;DR – Sorry Vince, I’m not buying your bullshit.

UCL have twitter accounts with updates on the occupations, which I highly suggest you follow, they are: @UCLocc and @UCLOccupation , and they are RTing messages of support which are flooding in around the country – use the hashtags #solidarity and #UNIty (see what they did there?) to show them your support.

There are other occupations, demonstrations, petitions and protests up and down the country, with another big one planned before the month’s end – and @UCLOccupation send out RTs and links to all this other activity so you can follow it on twitter too.

Get in on this stuff, join the fight-back – because the more of us there are, then the more likely that we can beat back unfair proposals like this, and fight the cuts that ruin people’s lives.

There is an alternative; and the Tories don’t want you to know that it exists. Show them you aren’t going to take it anymore.

(P.S. I’m not anything to do with the occupation up at UCL, nor do I benefit in any way by publicising it. I’m just a student stuck in a politically apathetic university, trying to send messages of support and awesome to another university staging a brilliant example of effective, peaceful protest).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2010 9:43 pm

    Hi Mitch;

    Glad to hear you liked the article on Writing Bibles.

    How much reading have you done on the 1800s? I often find that when I talk to writers who set in historical or neo-historical settings, they’re either historians by profession or have a deep interest in history. Even if they don’t go into exhaustive detail about the Peasant Economy of Outer Western England, their in-depth knowledge gives a level of verisimilitude to the whole thing.

    Cheers;
    Pip
    (Editor, Write Thing)

    • December 2, 2010 10:43 am

      Hiya – thanks loads for dropping by! :)

      I found it to be a really useful article, and I’m starting to build a Writing Bible at the moment on my computer.

      I’ve not done a great deal of research, which is the problem, and I’m not a history student – but I am really interested. It’s an alternate history/fantasy setting, but using the year 1880 as a base. Thanks loads for the advice – I will definitely concentrate a lot more on my history research now to make it believable!

      Thanks for the comment,
      Mitch

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