Ruth's Diary


I've had 2 more exams. The German written was on Monday, but I was stupid enough to not go to a noticeboard to find out where the exam was taking place. (Penbryn Hall of Residence had a timetable on its noticeboard and the venues got added last time-this time they weren't.) I went early to where I thought it was (all students go early, just in case the exam venue suddenly changes), but I was smart enough to be suspicious of the fact I couldn't spot anyone in my class. I go to the European Languages noticeboard, which luckily, was in the next building and to my shock: it's in Llanbadarn! The other campus. The one where the smaller amount of students stay. I had on me no money, no mobile, and no taxi number. I had to rush back to my dorm, pick up my mobile and was relieved I had kept a taxi number (a couple of months ago I thought about the fact I'd never phoned for a taxi and considered throwing the business card into waste paper-good thing I didn't). I got there just about on time.

The History exam I had yesterday and the paper I did was revealed by Björn (the Part 1 Tutor/Head of 1st Year of History) to have been set by Robert shortly before he died. So Björn  gave everyone in the revision session an optimistic suggestion of doing our best in his memory. I revised very well for the fact, too well. I found I was writing too much and using up all the time. So having completed my revision notes for the Welsh exam, I was careful to put in less information. I'll have to do the same for my Czech ones.

But despite my willingness to write the most refined set of revision notes and to do well in the exams I prefer day-dreaming about how my parents' Silver Wedding Anniversary will go. They had actually gotten married at the end of June, but by then Camp will've already started so they moved the celebration to the beginning of the month so I could celebrate with them. 1 reason I'm looking forward to it is 'cos I've never known my parents to ever celebrate their anniversary. Another reason: I FINALLY get to meet the best man! Seriously, I've never met him. And I keep planning my final week here, when I'll have nothing to do. I plan to get a haircut on this day, send that email on that, will make time to find a storage dump for my kitchen things (I can't take it all home, definitely not if Nathan comes home with us-which he will). I'm also interested in a particular play showing at the Arts Centre at the end of the month. Hopefully I'll get to see it with a friend^^.

Since I have more free time now (and would rather do something useful than watch Youtube videos all day) I've been editing and uploading more chapters of Goth Story (seriously not a suitable title anymore). It's becoming jarringly slow work, since I'm now at the point of the story where a serious overhaul is needed. But I knew that would happen, I had marked it so in my editing plan. And since I wrote that plan I've had extra inspiration and more ideas. In the meantime I also go to a slowly forming set of notes for another story and jot my ideas down, but that's only every so often-and whenever ideas for it pop into my head.

Notes I say? Certainly new for me. The are reasons why I now rely on notes: I've relied on essay plans for the last couple of years now-you do all your thinking and structuring in quick notes and then you creatively write out the entire essay without worrying too much about coherency and keeping track of what you've just said. The essays themselves end up a lot neater in fact presentation as a result. It's why I made an editing plan for Goth Story: I wanted to read through it (I think it was last Summer) and check for any large problems or continuity errors. There was only 1 continuity error and it was a big gaping one. But I wrote it all down and wrote the suggested changes because I didn't know when I'd get back to this story and I didn't want to be abandoned in murky water when I did check it. A good thing too: I've had to delete entire passages, add scenes, change conversations and one of the recently uploaded chapters was an entirely new one. I even had to add a new plot development since the story had gotten too quiet.

Now the idea of planning the story in note form came in inspiration after I read a particular book by Garth Nix. He's most famous for writing Lirael, Sabriel and Abhorsen I believe (though I've forgotten the name of the trilogy). With my WHSmith vouchers I got myself at the beginning of the year 'The Other Side of the Wall'. It's a collection of short stories and other ficlets that Garth has written over the years, the first story being something that takes place after the events of Abhorsen. At the beginning of the book and between each story (or whatever) Garth provides some insightful information about himself, the stories and his writing habits. Turns out that whenever he gets character ideas, plot inspirations, scene imaginings, anything he will jot them down in a notebook he always carries around with him. He has a library full of his used notebooks containing characters, scenes, plot scribbles, story plans, half finished stories, abandoned worlds...a couple of times he will even draft an entire novel in 1 or 2 notebooks, read through them, cross things out, make additions and editions and then type up a neat draft. I honestly find that...insane.

Part way through writing 'Jaron' Dad suggested I write a plan of some sort so that I could keep track of plot developments and put in whatever I want to put in when I get there. I was young and refused. But despite taking more than 2 years to complete, I could actually get away with the story coming out relatively coherent and making sense (sort of), simply because the plot was so linear. Now 'Goth Story' took so much less time to complete, but some bits I had rushed and the layers of clues about the nature of society in the Dark Kingdom were completely left out. The story I could keep track of simply because I'd never left it alone too long. Now 'Gods of the Amazons'... good grief. I was writing that during Sixth Form, the same time I was editing Jaron, so workload and Jaron (and PS2) meant I continued the story very infrequently, sometimes I was reading several chapters before writing so that I could get back into it. Oh yeah and June often called at the times I chose to write it and best friends tend to be a higher priority than stories right? As a result I'm now avoiding even thinking of editing it so that story's not gonna appear on this site any time soon. Now the story is basically a straight forward fantasy quest however there are an awful lot of side stories, character parts and challenges of ideology. I had the very rough plot in my head, which is why decisions on where the story went (or characters' names, or appearances) often changed.

Now the story I'm planning for will actually have a certain amount of complexity, that and it's set in the relatively near future. Now for people to accept a future setting, they need to see both technology that seems possible by simple industrial evolution, as well as plausible technology not yet invented. I'm not going to go so far as invent technology, however I will be putting in aspects that people might not consider happening: e.g. an EU bank, radically different houses, a new (and surprising) superpower, a different international language. I also want to describe the climates and scenery the characters are in, which many scientists reckon will be altered in a couple of decades time due to global warming. Now much of this is science if not political-based, not quite my areas of expertise, which means I'll have to research. I don't mind research, I often find it quite educational. Part of the reason I care so much about making a believable future setting is because I know the impact the original Star Trek had on the world of technology (a lot of modern technology is based on Star Trek inventions-MP3 plug-ins and mobiles for instance) and I was impressed by certain landscapes in 'Children of Men'. Not everyone's kind of movie, but though the weather was definitely British, the plantlife was quite different...yet another clever way to give away that it's the year 2029 (or was it 2031? Bah! Who cares?).

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