writing journal: april things

editing desk

Things I’ve been Writing

I decided to spend April focusing on a couple of long-term projects that always get put on the back-burner: Rest on Your Laurels (a course on sonnet construction), and Reading Influences (a series of lectures on how writers are influenced by other writers). Since I don’t fancy the task of marketing either of these, they will be free to Lady Writers League members when they’re finished (may be a while!).

Reading Influences will trace a line of literary influence from the Iliad to His Dark Materials. If you think this is another thinly-veiled excuse for me to write about His Dark Materials… you know me too well!

Here is how the reading list stands at the moment:

  1. The Iliad (+the Odyssey) by Homer
  2. Metamorphoses (+ Heroides) by Ovid
  3. Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer
  4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  5. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  6. An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope
  7. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  8. Frankenstein (’18 & ’31 + The Last Man?) by Mary Shelley
  9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  10. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

I’m debating whether to skip Pope’s Essay or include it as an example of a negative influence. I will be referencing his translations of Homer at any rate, since – the Romantics be damned – I love him. I’d also like to include Byron (maybe Manfred?), but I suppose Frankenstein will suffice to talk about the parallels between him and Lord Asriel.

In other news, Wattpad deleted my account without any warning or explanation on 1 April and they haven’t responded to any of my support requests. I hadn’t been very active on there recently, but I did have a featured story with tens of thousands of reads, and I loved receiving reader comments. Now I feel I need to caution writers against using the service. I’ve removed them from my recommendations list, and I want to advise you if you have stories on the site, to please make sure you back them up, and save any comments you cherish. It may all be gone tomorrow!

This is precisely why it’s important to build your own author platform (in particular, your own email list) and not spend time and energy cultivating a following on sites you don’t control.

In the wake of this episode, I’ve published The Female Correspondent here. Unfortunately, just copying and pasting it has made me realise how badly it’s written, so I’ve made it my next editing project. It’s all printed and sitting on my desk.

The flash fics and fragments that got deleted probably won’t be resurrected. Moving on…

Things I’ve been reading

I feel such a deep, undying gratitude at being able to read Shakespeare in English. What a joy! Following Jonathan Bate’s Shakespeare course, I’m re-reading The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Tempest.

I’m about a quarter of the way through Waverley, and so far many ballads have been sung, but not much else has happened. I adored Ivanhoe so I will persevere and hope things pick up a bit…

Cotillion wasn’t my favourite. I really didn’t like the main character, especially her tendency towards emotional blackmail. Freddy was a darling though – a capable dandy. I love that contradiction of practicality and impracticality.

I also re-read Bath Tangle recently, and that is one of my favourites. :)

georgette heyer

Tony Harrison’s Continuous
I hadn’t read Harrison since university, and I’d forgotten how much I love his poetry. My favourite from this collection is ‘Bringing up’.

Things I’ve been loving

Mac Word Counter
This is a menubar app that tracks your word count across your choice of apps. Really handy for logging your daily output.

I never thought I would let a Microsoft product back into my life, but I really enjoy how colourful and simple OneNote is. Since I’ve never been a fan of the WordPress back-end, I’ve been using OneNote to draft blog posts, and it’s been working great at syncing between my iPad and my Macbook.

My XOXO printable plan
This is a really simple one-page project planner that helps you get an overview of a month’s deadlines and progress.

FutureLearn Shakespeare
As I mentioned above, this is a great (free) course. Don’t miss it!

LatinEdit App
I recently discovered this amazing app for Latin translation and transcription. It even allows you to create a vocabulary list and revise words. More info here.

My new ring-bound planner
I’ve always kept some sort of week-to-view planner, but having a ring-bound planner that I can fill with my own inserts to suit my own needs has been a game-changer. In particular, keeping study logs and project logs has been stupendous for helping me pick up where I left off, and not forget one thing for too long.

I also love tucking one page novels and muse cards into the pockets! :)

pink planner

Free audiobooks
I’ve been using OverDrive and Spotify to help me keep up with the Shakespeare course. I highly recommend asking your local library if they have an OverDrive subscription. Spotify also provides a lot of spoken word material. Both good alternatives to Audible and great for spring cleaning season!

One Page Novel Bookmarks
I created these colourful 8-stage bookmarks the other day, and they make me so happy to use. :)

One Page Novel Bookmarks

I can’t wait for summer, and Lust for Life. Until then, Lana reading Eliot is still perfection…

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