Camp Nano – How Badly did I Fail?

Well, I did better than last time that’s for sure. But still. I didn’t realise just how little time I would have to dedicate to it. I need to start practising making writing a part of everyday life and not a “whenever I get the chance” thing. But anyway.

My goal was 30,000 words across both of my projects (my novel and my screenplay). You can find my previous Camp post, detailing what my projects are about here. I wrote…4,612 words. Yeah. Not quite there, huh? My philosophy of “it’ll be fine, there’s nothing to distract me” didn’t quite work out. I’m going to work on incorporating writing into my daily routine for at least half an hour each day from now on.

Camp didn’t work out for me this time, but I’m not put off. The people in my cabin have been lovely and everyone is very supportive of each other. I’ll definitely be entering NaNoWriMo again this November – I’ve already got a couple of ideas floating around for novels. Hopefully I’ll finish rough drafts of these two projects this year too. Fingers crossed and all that. Just…maybe don’t hold your breaths, yeah?


Friday: London in Pictures

Hey all! My best friend and I are in London for a little mini break, and I thought I’d share with you all what we get up to. There’s so much to do here – we’ve been discussing coming for a week next time to be able to her more in! I’ll do each day separately as I think we’ll get up to a lot more on Saturday. 

We got into Euston station a little after lunchtime. We didn’t have to be at our room until 3 so we headed off in search of lunch. The weather was amazing all day, and hopefully it’ll be just as good the rest of the weekend!

We went to one of the many Pret a Manger cafés for lunch. I had a sushi selection, edamame beans and red grapes, with a coconut smoothie. It was kinda expensive but I saved most of the beans and all of the grapes to eat later. You can tell how sunny it is by the terrible photo quality!! I was so desperate to tuck in though that I didn’t realise until the food had been packed away…

We were pretty disorganised in our plans, but we managed to find a room on AirBnB. It’s in Teddington (although we get off the train here). It’s a lovely room and the host is so nice! Hannah and I bought Oyster cards, and I almost had a heart attack the first time I used it – I thought the journey had cost £13.55 when the machine was actually telling me that I had £13.55 left on my card!! So much for being of the technology generation, huh?

We’re staying in a beautiful classic leafy suburb, with squirrels! They wouldn’t stay still for a photo shoot though…

And this is the lovely posh bit of town that we found ourselves in when we got lost…how on earth do you get lost from Regents Street to Leicester Square?!? We must’ve taken a wrong turning somewhere but don’t ask me where… At least we got lost in what looks like a nice neighbourhood though.

At last we made it to Leicester Square. I love it here – all the hustle and bustle is so exciting! We went into a theatre booking office to see if there were any cheap tickets going, and we managed to get tickets to a show on Saturday night – you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post to find out what we saw and what we thought of it though! We also attempted to find Cafe Rouge as we have vouchers but it was nowhere to be seen! I’m adamant it was somewhere near Leicester Square as we’ve been before, and we even asked a bouncer and still couldn’t find it. In the end we gave up and went to Ed’s Diner instead. We’ll find Cafe Rouge tomorrow.

Ed’s Diner is adorable! It even has little jukeboxes by every table – gotta love a bit of Elvis when you’re eating your American classics, right? I had the Chickpea and Quinoa burger plate (it came with fries, onion rings and coleslaw). I was so hungry I just dived straight in without taking a picture but it was delicious! I DID remember to take a photo of my dessert though. I had the pancakes with maple syrup and vanilla ice cream. It was heaven on earth! The pancakes were lovely and light and fluffy, and soaked up the syrup beautifully. Even the ice cream, which is usually just the limp side, was so creamy and completely delicious! If any of you guys ever go to Ed’s Diner then I totally recommend you try the pancakes. Go! Now! 

And that’s really all we did the first afternoon. Stay tuned for pictures of Camden Market, (hopefully) the Globe Theatre and the show! See you soon guys.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015

Hey everyone! Well, Camp NaNo has begun today and I’m really excited to actually finish this time. I entered Camp in May of this year, and also the proper NaNo last November and failed miserably at both. Third time lucky! In case you haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo takes place in November when you are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel. Camp is slightly more lax in that you can choose your own word count. I chose 50k in May but 30k this time – hopefully I can exceed it and not get disheartened like last time! Unlike May and November, I don’t have university this month and I don’t have any upcoming exams, which means that, aside from moving into my new flat, I don’t have anything to distract me from writing. In this post, I’m going to explain a little about my projects this month, and I’m also going to do a couple of follow up posts so you can see how I’m getting on. If you’re doing Camp this month and are blogging about it, please leave a link in the comments. And my Camp name is A J Maslin – follow me if you want! You can look on the Camp about page or the FAQ page for more info. Here’s a link to my profile.

You’re supposed to do one project, but this month I’m going to be working on two. The first is a novel, and the second is a script/screenplay for a television series. I’m going to put both together for my word count.

My novel is the novel I entered into NaNo last November and didn’t even start, and the novel I was going to work on at Camp in May but got overshadowed by my exams. So this is the third chance for Last Train to the End of the World (working title). It’s about a spy, Calum, and an assassin, Bella, who have an unfortunate meeting on a train while both on assignment. Well, unfortunate for one of them. While Calum survives the incident with little more than a dislocated shoulder and a severely bruised ego, Bella isn’t quite so lucky. But when Calum steals a locket from her body, he discovers it’s not just a pretty pendent, and while later sifting through reams of paperwork in an attempt to find out who she is working for, he finds some disturbing information.

He thought he knew which side he was on, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. The Allies and the Enemies have just signed a tenuous peace treaty, and one side is already looking to break it. The question Calum must face is…which side? He assumes Bella’s identity as a notoriously successful and anonymous assassin, and heads off to discover the truth about the war that’s been constantly threatening his country since before his parents were born. But as he sinks deeper into his lies and this stranger’s life, he worries that he’s losing his grip on the reality he fights for. But the most terrifying thing of all? He’s not sure that he can bring himself to care.

Last Train is an adventure story about a spy who isn’t sure which side he should be on. It follows him from the first seeds of doubt to his final confrontation, and all the while he struggles, not just with the pressures of a looming war, but with creeping feelings he’s not sure how to handle.

Naked Fridays/The Secret Lives of the Young and Wild (working titles) is a screenplay for a television show in a similar vein to Sex and the City meets Girls. It follows six housemates who live in the city of Edinburgh. They all have vastly different jobs but all are determined to rise to the top. They are young, budding professionals, and they can’t wait for the day when they can buy a house and stop having to borrow underwear off each other because they don’t have the money to fix the washing machine. Until that day though, they all hide a secret. While they might be almost-professionals by day, they run a sex dungeon in their basement every Friday night, where they work as dominatrixes. They manage to keep their lives separate by heavily utilising code names and masks, but there’s lot’s of close calls ahead of them as they attempt to navigate city life as 20-somethings with many secrets in their closets. The first season will begin will the arrival of the newest housemate in Edinburgh, and follow their journeys, both separate and as a group, throughout the year.

Do you use YouTube?

Recently, I’ve been getting into YouTube videos A LOT. YT has always been a take-it-or-leave-it thing for me – I can go months without even thinking about it, and then spend 4 hours straight watching fridge tours. It’s kinda insane. I have a YT channel to subscribe to people and comment on videos I like. Nothing else. I tried making my own videos but I was just so ridiculously awkward in front of the camera, and I REALLY don’t like my voice recorded. Plus I’m a writer, not a performer. Give me this blog any day thanks very much. But I do love watching other people’s videos, and recently I’ve caught myself watching more than ever.

I follow crazy amounts of beauty YouTubers, and a LOT of Booktubers. They’re my main fix. But recently I’ve subscribed to a lot of lifestyle vloggers too, and for some reason I’ve found most of these to be vegan. Now, I’m not vegan. I’m a pescatarian but I don’t drink dairy milk and I’ve drastically cut down on other dairy products because they don’t make me feel good. I’m far from vegan though. But for some reason I just can’t get enough of the vegan fridge/pantry tours, food hauls and what I eat videos. I love them. In fact, I think I watch them more than beauty videos at the moment.

But BookTube is, and has always been, my favourite part of YT. I devour reviews, hauls, tags, collabs and anything and everything else that probably a good 70-80% of the BookTube community churns out. I love blogs, I do. But I love YT too. Having started this blog I can appreciate how hard it is to keep up a blog, and I have the greatest of respect for everyone else who does it. I can only imagine how much effort it is to film and edit videos – blog posts are bad enough!! They’re brilliant fun though, and it’s very rewarding to see your hard work pay off. I have you lot to thank for that!

Do any of you watch YouTube videos? Or BookTube? Who’s your favourite YouTubers?

A Trip to Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World in Pictures

Hey everyone! On the same day I went to Gorgie City Farm last week (I’ve done a whole separate post for that so check it out) I also went to Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World. This is on the outskirts of Edinburgh but it’s still only about an hour away from me on the bus and it is SO WORTH IT!! I had so much fun here. You go in and there’s an adorable little gift shop, then the butterfly section which is so humid (DON’T wear layers to come here!) and terrapins, then there’s the reptile and bug rooms. I held a millipede, a tarantula and a snake (best thing ever – she was gorgeous) but I don’t have pictures of them (I was kinda occupied at the time y’know?) so I’ll just show some of the pictures I took. I took LOADS but here are my favourites:


Unleashing Our Creative Potential

Hey everyone! I had a brilliant day today – I managed to catch up with a very good friend whom I haven’t seen since last summer! Almost a year! We had a lovely time wandering around some shops close to home, eating jacket potatoes (our tradition everytime we see each other) and watching Home (it was brilliant but we both bawled our eyes out!) And we decided to unlock our creative potential and travel back to our youth (now that we’re both the ripe old age of 19) by buying some painting by numbers! I got elephants and she got horses, and we both got the tiger one. Now, none of them will look even remotely like they’re supposed to, and we’ll probably fail miserably at this very basic task but it’ll be fun and frustrating and it takes us back so it’s worth it!  


EUSA Footlights Production of RENT

This weekend, to cheer my friend up after she lost her job and to cheer me up after my money woes (in hindsight, show tickets probably weren’t the greatest thing to spend £30 on) we went to see the Edinburgh Uni production of Rent. And it was FANTASTIC!

For those who haven’t seen Rent, it’s about a group of bohemian artist type people who live in one of the large run down buildings in New York at the turn of the millennia. There’s Mark, an aspiring film maker who tries to document the suffering of himself and his friends; Roger, a musician with a LOT of baggage wanting to write one great song; Mimi, a drug addicted exotic dancer; Benny, who used to live in these “slums” as well until he married a rich girl and was lifted out; Maureen, Mark’s ex-girlfriend who dumped him and is now with another woman; Joanne, a lawyer and Maureen’s girlfriend; Collins, a guy who went to MIT but nowadays can barely scrape together enough money grading papers; and Angel, a drag queen who pushes the group out of self pity (for a while at least).

Now, I’ve seen the film of Rent and loved it. I haven’t managed to see the original play yet though, but boy am I glad I went to see the EUSA version. For those of you unfamiliar with the University of Edinburgh, there are quite a few different theatre societies. Footlights is the most “professional” of them all, and you can tell how seriously they take it. The acting from all involved was stunning, and they were all such good singers! The actors really got into the parts well. And Mark was just SO AMAZING AND CUTE! I loved them all, but special mention to the guy who played Collins – his voice was beautiful and perfect for the role.

The run is finished now and I’m sorry to anybody who didn’t get to see it (no, really), but I just thought I’d make a post to let you know what I’ve done recently (I know, I know, I haven’t posted in a while). While I probably couldn’t really afford it, looking back, I’m so glad I went to see Rent. It cheered me up no end, especially singing along to Seasons of Love (really how can you not?).

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have a lovely week! It won’t be as long for my next post, promise!