29 Mar 2014

Three Days' Word

I regret to inform you that the daily word has become the three days' word. I am pressed for time at the moment, due to exams and all the rest of it.

Cogent adj

Pronunciation: /kəʊgɘnt/ /kəʊdʒɘnt/

Etymology: direct borrowing from LATIN.

Definition: Powerfully persuasive and based on evidence.


‘A most cogent argument, but an incorrect one all the same.’

‘It is the necessary attribute for all good lawyers: cogent argumentation.’

‘Some may deem it cogent; I call it fallaciloquence.’

Feel free to comment any ideas of your own.

27 Mar 2014

Word of the Day: Vituperation

Vituperation noun

Pronunciation: /vɪtju:pəreɪʃ(ɘ)n/

Etymology: From LATIN ‘vituperat’ meaning censured; vituperat is from the verb vituperare, meaning to find fault.

Definition: Excessively abusive, critical and offensive speech (though may refer to written text as well).

Example Sentences:

‘Your accrasial vituperation helps no one.’

‘Anarchists frequently spew vituperation when anyone dares mentioned the European Union.’

Any good sentences of your own? Comment them!

26 Mar 2014

Poem of the Week: The Winter Sun

To anyone foolish enough to be reading this:

I am starting the Poem of the Week... thing. Anyway, I’ll be writing poems, one per week. (That seems kinda obvious, doesn’t it?) These poems will be about stuff. I can’t tell you exactly what stuff, because they’re all different—and besides, I don’t really know it that well myself. (You might want to check out my ‘On the Nature of Writing’ post.)

This poem is, as you can probably guess, called the Winter Sun. I concocted it on some random impulse; it’s about a metaphorical being called the Winter Sun. It makes various observations on humanity, and asks rhetorical questions. (Poems always ask rhetorical questions, in case you don’t know.) I don’t really know who the hell the Winter Sun actually is: you can figure that out for yourself.

So, here it is. Note that it can also be downloaded in PDF form. (For copyright information, see the Copyright Information page.)

The Winter Sun

I am the Winter Sun;
And I gaze upon humanity.
I am often glorified and demonised,
In equal measure.
Yet I do not concern myself;
For I am the Winter Sun.
Always watching,
Revealing myself when the time is right.

At the beginning,
At the ages before ages, before aeons, before life,
I was there.
I saw that little rock,
Burning not too far away,
And not too close, either,
For I am a sun.
The Winter Sun.

I thought little of it then:
Many such rocks had formed,
And many had been destroyed.
But this was different.
Life was its first visitor—
Tiny things even for me,
Then bigger things, monsters—
And yet they held no interest.

It was they who captured me.
Who? The ones with minds,
The ones who turned away from the ground,
To look at me.
Vain was I then; vain I still am.
I liked this, and so I watched.
They made replicas of me,
They worshipped me.

Then they fought.

Causes were difficult for me to comprehend:
I saw the floods, and the wrath of their planet,
Destroy their livelihoods.
That I could partially understand,
Even if I thought it futile.
For even I shall die, one day,
And I do not attempt to evade it.
But they did.

They fought, and they fought;
They did so over ever trivial things—
I saw their proud sultans, their power-hungry kings,
Their high priests.
Many things they did for power,
But they too died under cold fingers.
They fought battles,
Where I did the killing.

Longswords met scimitars;
Arrows met shields;
Guns met cannon;
And tanks met planes.
They had their revenge on their planet,
Decorating it in bright red blood,
And screams.
I finished those who I could pity.

They invented many wonderful things,
Humankind, as they called themselves:
Medicines to combat their illnesses (and my tantrums),
Buildings against my mourning,
Entertainment for their treachery.
I did not mind.
They provided amusement, these strange creatures,
Of which I had little of.

More battles.
This time, I could not figure it out:
They had gone to the moon,
Yet when they came back,
They fought themselves across their planet.
They died terribly, in screams and in agony,
Until I deprived them, and they stopped.
But they did not learn.

Men in white clothes,
With odd wooden guns,
Fought other men wrapped in steel,
With black guns.
Even their women—their overlooked half—
Were there, copying me from their atmosphere,
Ending their enemies in fire.
Sometimes, I destroyed them.

They had begun to anger me,
The one who did not care.
They built ever greater things:
Computers, and books, and televisions.
But it would not last long.
It would not be me that would destroy them:
It would be a parody,
Their own invention.

The one who cannot be named,
Ravaged their planet, killed billions,
Decimated so much.
It all happened under mushroom clouds;
Under my own watchful gaze!
I shake, and I weep,
For now I am alone once more.
Why did they not learn?

Download PDF

Word of the Day: Accismus

Hello to all reading.

I have decided to make a word of the day post. These posts will be made... every day, and will be about an obscure word (like accismus) and will also include its etymology, pronunciation, and, of course, usage!

Words are randomly selected by me. They have to be obscure—or, in fancy terms, defined as rare or very rare by the lexicographers. (I’m very proud of that word.) They can even be archaic; if they’re interesting enough, they’ll go!

Accismus noun

Pronunciation: /æksīsmλs/ (see: IPA)

Etymology: From GREEK ‘συστολή’ meaning ‘coyness’.

Definition: To pretend you are not interested in something, when in fact you are very interested.

Example Sentences:

‘Her accismus did not fool him; that girl wanted him.’

‘The spy displayed great accismus in the diplomats’ conversation.’

‘Your accismus is deceptive—and yet I know something must interest you deeply for you to be here at this hour.’

Have any example sentences of your own? Post them in a comment!

25 Mar 2014

On the Nature of Writing

Writing is a funny thing. First off, it’s time-consuming: it took me six months and two weeks to finish the first draft of my 108,000 word novel (which has now been shortened to 104,000) and that was with me writing for about six to seven hours a week. If, like some people, you’re not very good with maths, then that translates to about 150 hours.

Now you wonder, ‘What made you do that?’

Well, I’m not entirely sure myself, to tell you the truth. But read on.

Writing is also difficult. Very difficult. It takes even experienced authors a fair amount of effort to get a full-size novel down to a T. For inexperienced authors, you can multiply that by a factor of at least three; and unsurprisingly, many would-be authors give up before finishing a novel, sometimes very early on.

Speaking personally, I can say that writing is perhaps the most intellectually challenging activity I can perform—in fact, I find physics and maths easier!

Finally, writing is not all that profitable. Writing poetry is unlikely to ever win you a penny, and even a very successful and well-known poet usually needs to supplement their income somehow; writing novels is more profitable, but still only yields about twenty thousand pounds for a reasonably good book. (And many get far less.)

So why do I—and indeed, many others—do it?

Well, the first reason is that I feel a compulsion to do so.

‘A compulsion?’ I hear you cry. ‘That doesn’t sound nice!’

Perhaps compulsion is too strong a word. I can use itch if you prefer. I feel an itch: something strange and incurable (though of course I would never want to ‘cure’ it) at the back of my hand, in my fingers, and in my head. I have to write. It does not matter if I write poetry, or novels, or this blog post—I have to write.

Some of it is down to practice. Practice makes perfect; and without it, I will never become the author that I can be. I may even forget some of what I know, and be forced to spend more time relearning skills.

But another part of it is inherent to me, and other writers, I would imagine; perchance it is even inherent to all artists, that nagging feeling that you have to create something.

I also compose music. Mainly, it is on the piano. I am not a particularly good musician. That’s okay: there is more to life than being successful.

So What Else Makes You Write?

I love it!

That’s an obvious reason why a person would do such a thing. But it’s not wholly true: I love to write—most of the time. Maybe even some of the time. Writing is hard work. And sometimes, it’s not fun—sometimes you have a plot that refuses to mould itself into something workable, at other times you have a character that you think shouldn’t be there, or even entire scenes that seem extraneous; basically, there is a significant amount of uncertainty involved in creating art.

And yes, writing is an art. It is partially a science—the techniques of creative writing, such as alliteration, onomatopoeia (yes, I included that because it’s hard to spell), anaphoria and so forth are well known and studied—but it is, at the end of the day, an art.

There are some people in books that reach out to us. This is partly because of who we are: humans are an empathetic species by nature. Some of it is because of our individual circumstances—a gay character may appeal more to people who are actually gay, for example, and likewise women, ethnic minorities and other less, shall we say, powerful groups can emphasise more with specific characters.

Coming-of-age stories are popular among some; yet most of us young kids hate them. Why? Well, some of them are corny, and nostalgic about a time we never experienced, but mostly it is because we cannot emphasise with the characters as much. Hindsight is a powerful tool.

But behind all of the science and psycho-analysis, there is something indefinable about books. Why does the story of Bella Swan, for example, (for those of you who don’t know, that’s the Twilight girl) grab the imagination of some people, but leaves others shaking their heads in confusion? Why does the Da Vinci Code grab the attention of many of us; but at the same time, others don’t see what the fuss is about?

There is undoubtedly something very personal involved in the creation of a book. You pour yourself into the page, and since you are, probably, human, then you end up making something which others will, ineluctably, find intriguing (at least if done right).

I would even say there is something subconscious about a book.

‘Subconscious?’ you ask. Yes. In fact, I would say we writers don’t have that much control over what we write...

The Nature of A Text

Poems are short pieces of text that can have a significant impact. Novels are much longer, bigger beasts, but although less information-dense than a poem, they can still achieve things a poem struggles to do.

In either case, though, they represent a little part of the writer’s subconscious. Writers will, invariably, write about the things that have affected them most. And sometimes, a writer can discover things they never knew about themselves. Writing something is, in a way, a journey: and depending on its length, it is a journey that can change you as a person.

I became a different person after I finished my first draft of the Necromancer. Obviously, some of that was simply due to the fact that I had managed to complete such a vast piece of writing (for a fifteen year old). But also, I had discovered something in my completion of the plot.

To write them on this blog would be too personal, and futile, anyway, since I am still uncertain about what precisely has changed. But something has changed, make no doubt: and what exactly that is, well, that will be ascertained in the future.

A Final Note on Literary Interpretations

You have heard that some authors do not know the exact meaning of their novels.

You may also have derided this as hogwash, and impugned it as politics. And it’s true: the author does have a ‘political’ (for lack of a better word) incentive to keep his or her fans happy (along with the pretentious critics).

And yet, there is a certain degree of truth to it. When I wrote the Water Tower (see the Poems page) I didn’t fully realise what I had written. I still don’t. There are feelings inside of us that we do not consciously register until much later—and even then, we may not want to accept them. Ultimately, a book is an expression of emotion more than anything else. It is a story that needs to be told. Everything else is secondary.

Anyway, I’ve bored you enough with my ramblings. If you thought they were interesting, please leave a comment. Otherwise, have a good day. I hope you visit this blog in the future.

23 Mar 2014

Blog is Live!

The blog is live!

I know it’s probably the dullest, most axiomatic statement you’ve ever heard—and no doubt the most ridiculous way to start a blog with—but, hey, gotta start somewhere right?

Anyway, I’ll update it (what? The blog!) with more posts, and stuff. You’re also probably wondering where the hell are the books: well, those haven’t been published yet and are still under active editing. However, I have written a short story called The Sandman, which I shall add here as soon as I can.

In the meantime, you can occupy yourself with the Poems section.