My University Story So Far

I haven’t written anything for weeks. Literally, nothing. Not a single short story. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I am currently writing this sat at a new desk surrounded by pretty new fairy lights and lots of random paperwork I haven’t read yet. My new desk, fairy lights and paperwork are 105 miles from home, but I love it here.

My bedroom shelf at uni.

My bedroom shelf at uni.

Two months ago, I did not want to go to university. The thought of travelling so far away and being thrust into the world of adulthood without anyone to look out for me (not to mention more education!), was terrifying. But that was the only thing holding me back: fear. It was getting towards the end of summer and I had been out of college since the beginning of June. My days were blurring together, there was no sign of a job on the horizon, and I was sick of the sight of myself. I didn’t know what to do with my life.

Then, a week before A-Level results day, my mum casually mentioned ‘clearing’ at the dinner table. For those of you who don’t know, clearing is a system that universities use typically if a potential student doesn’t get the grades they need to get into their first choice uni. As I wasn’t going to uni, the thought hadn’t occurred to me, but all I had to do was get released from the course I’d previously applied for and no longer wanted to do (Creative Writing), and then I was eligible for it. This brought round a whole new world of potential. There are so many courses out there for everything, and I needed that week to whittle down all of my options to find the right one for me.

Having completed the BFI Film Academy course earlier in the year, I knew that I wanted a job in the media industry, and once I’d decided that, I looked for any and all courses that held the Creative Skillset tick. The Creative Skillset tick signifies that the course is very practical with excellent industry contacts, which was just what I wanted. Upon finding the Television Production course, I immediately fell in love with it and knew that was the course I needed to get on.

Clearing was both terrifying and surprisingly easy. Bright and early on the morning of results day, I stumbled downstairs and opened the email attachment containing my results. BBC! (That’s got to be a sign, right?) But there was no time to celebrate. After a quick glass of orange juice so that I didn’t sound like I just woke up (which I had), I rang the university and had a quick interview with the head of the media school, who then told me that I had a place. I had never been so happy! And once my accommodation was sorted out – which was super stressful but totally worth it – all I had left to do was go shopping.

Moving day came around quicker than any of us could prepare for. I was a complete bundle of nerves and excitement, although saying goodbye to my dog sobered me up nicely. The journey took about two hours with a heavy printer on my lap, and the four of us were all squished because I had decided to bring along half my bedroom. By the way, if you’re planning for university next year, don’t take along half your bedroom.

I’ve been at uni for a week and a half now and, although it’s hard at times, I can safely say that it’s the best decision I’ve made. That doesn’t mean to say that it’s what would be best for you as everyone’s different with different goals, but for me in particular, I’m so glad I decided to come here. Once all of our parents had left, a group of us in our flat walked into town. We’ve quickly become like a little family and I love everyone I’m living with even though we were strangers a week and a half ago.

If you’re reading this worried about who you’re going to be moving in with when you start university, please stop worrying. You’ll find that if you put yourself out there and really try to be friendly to everyone, you’ll make friends a lot quicker. Everyone’s in the same boat, and they’re more likely to make friends with the person who smiles at them than the person who hides from them.

I borrowed a picture of some of my flatmates - hope you don't mind! XD

I borrowed a picture of some of my flatmates – hope you don’t mind! XD

I know it’s difficult. I’m definitely not a very independent person and going so far from home was miles out of my comfort zone. I’m also pretty quiet and find it hard to be myself around people I don’t know, but whenever I’ve tried hard to talk to people, even if it’s a little awkward at first, everything has worked out well. Homesickness has also been a slight problem for me as I’m very close to my family, but a phone call always makes things better, and I have friends here who I know care for me and look out for me, which I am so grateful for. Having anxiety, this was bound to be a difficult experience at times, but despite that, I am loving every minute of it.

I’m sure the uni life will lead to some crazy adventures, and awesome friends are already being made. I’m excited to see what exciting thing happens next.

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A Country Led By Idiots

As a person who has recently gained a level of social acceptance enough to be able to vote in the upcoming election, I don’t understand why we as a nation are putting our future in the hands of imbeciles.

Whenever I listen to, watch or read the news, there’s always a new headline saying something like “David Cameron called this person a…” or “Miliband names Farage a…”. I turned on Question Time last week and from the first chance he got, Nigel Farage spent his time dragging Ed Miliband’s name into the dirt whilst doing nothing to improve his (much needed) image.

All politicians seem to do is yell at each other and call each other names instead of fixing our country. Russell Brand would make a better politician than any of them. He knows what’s happening in the working classes and actually seems to care, which is more than we can say for the party leaders.

The only thing we can do is vote for the Least Worst of them. Or maybe we should just leave the country. All of us. Let’s just go and leave this abandoned ship to the people who wrecked it. (Although we all know they’d sooner jump ship than sink with us.)

Entering Fictional Worlds

The thing that I love the most about reading, writing and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix is that they introduce me to new worlds, ideas and people that I never would have known otherwise. They completely sweep me away. It’s not that I’m not satisfied with the world I live in now because I freaking love my life, but fictional worlds give me a sense of exploring my world deeper.

One of my favourite questions to ask people (and I do ask it quite often) is which fantasy world they would most like to visit: Narnia, Hogwarts, Neverland, Wonderland, Panem, Middle Earth or Westeros? All of the characters from that world would be there for you to interact with. You can explore the worlds to your heart’s content. I think the answer that people give is always interesting. It says something about the person – not only that they are a fan of the story, but also what they want out of life. The kind of people they want to mix with. The kind of adventures they want to spend their lives having.

My answer is Hogwarts. Make of that what you will.

Just think. When you’re standing in the middle of a library, you’re surrounded by thousands of different worlds. Thousands of different characters to get to know. Thousands of adventures to be had. And when you write, more worlds, characters and adventures spill from your fingertips.

Everyone has a story in them. A writer’s job is to dig deep and pull them out in as many different ways as they can want. An artist does the same thing. So do actors, directors, musicians, chefs, builders, and basically every job you can think of. Everyone’s story is different. So is everyone’s world.

There are over seven billion people on Earth. That’s seven billion different stories. Seven billion different perspectives of the world they live in. I once read that every single person you meet knows something that you don’t, and I think that is a magical sentence.

What’s your story?

Video

Twisted Peter Pan – the Once Upon A Time version.

In my desperation for Darling Pan to come into being on my absolute favourite TV show, Once Upon A Time, my hand slipped and the following trailer was created. Also, I accidentally became the voice of Wendy Darling.

Sherlock, Enchanted 2 & Once Upon A Time News

So in less than 24 hours, I have discovered that Sherlock is absolutely, definitely coming back, we’ll get to see the latest instalments of Giselle’s life in the upcoming Enchanted 2, and Once Upon A Time has officially cast Anna and Kristoff for the new series.

Sherlock

Let’s start with Sherlock. At 2:21pm (see what they did there?), various BBC social media accounts, including Twitter and Tumblr,  announced that (in my opinion) the greatest television drama that the BBC has ever produced will be making a comeback with a special, followed by three new episodes. Shooting is set to begin in January 2015, to be shown later in the year. It is likely that this means that there will be a 2015 Christmas special and a new series possibly around Easter 2016. At least it’s not another three years, right?

In the new series, Sherlock will be faced with “one of his biggest mysteries yet”, and we will all be treated to the return of television’s (and literature’s) greatest psychopath, Moriarty. We are being promised the “most shocking and surprising” series yet, and I am entirely willing to believe them on that. To read, the full press release, follow this link.

Enchanted 2

Back in 2007 (can you believe it was seven years ago?!), Enchanted hit the cinema screens to great success. It was really Disney’s first venture into the unknown, beginning as a parody of the traditional Disney princess, and developing into a heartwarming classic. Combining elements of various classic Disney films (Snow White’s poisoned apple, Sleeping Beauty’s dragon, general singing shenanigans), Enchanted lifted the spirits of millions of people.

Now, Disney has announced that they are planning it’s sequel. According to reports, the screenwriters, J. David Stern and David N. Weiss, have been hired to write the script, and with credits such as The Smurfs and Shrek 2, I think we can count on them to keep the heartwarming, wry humour of the original. There has been no word yet on whether the original actors have been called on, but I for one would love to see what the future has in store for not only Giselle’s new family, but also Prince Edward’s. Babies, anyone? The voice of Frozen’s Elsa, Idina Menzel, who played Nancy Tremaine in the original (which also has a nice little nudge to Cinderella, as the evil stepmother’s name is Lady Tremaine), has previously responded with “bring it on” to the possibility of an Enchanted sequel, so we’ve got that to look forward to.

Once Upon A Time

Season 3 SPOILERS AHEAD. Read at your own peril.

If you’re up to speed with the ABC series, Once Upon A Time (dropped from Channel 5 late last year, but available on Netflix), then you might have had the same reaction as me to the end of the last episode: squealing at the screen and fighting the urge to race around the house shouting, “YIPPEE!”. We were all surprised by the majestic appearance of Frozen’s great Elsa.

The showrunners were able to present her right at the end of the episode without showing her face, as they have yet to cast the perfect actor. I imagine that it will be quite a task. However, two other characters from the Disney film that everyone was talking about, have been cast. Anna and Kristoff will be taking to our screens in real-life form,  with a delightful Once twist.

Anna has been described as “a fun-loving, fearless optimist who often gets herself into situations where she is in over her head, yet is able to triumph due to her resourcefulness and can-do spirit. She values her relationship with her sister Elsa above all else.” She will be played by Elizabeth Lail, a newcomer whom I think bares a striking resemblance. Once does seem to have the ability of casting brilliantly.

'Once Upon a Time' casts 'Frozen' characters Anna and Kristoff

Once‘s Kristoff will be played by ABC’s ‘Greek’ star, Scott Michael Foster. His character is described as “a hearty, salt-of-the-earth ice cutter whose sometimes-gruff demeanor can hide his deep love for Anna and her sister Elsa. When we first meet him on ‘Once,’ he is adjusting to life at the castle — including sleeping indoors for the first time in his life.”

Scott Michael Foster and Kristoff from Frozen

*attempts to disguise girlish squeals with coughing*. That sounds like a character we could fall in love with.

Season four of Once Upon A Time will air in September. There better be an Olaf reference, or a character telling Elsa to “let it go” or I might cry.

On Disneyland, Fan-Fiction and the Seven Dwarves.

Something that you will most likely know about me if you know me in real life, is my passion for writing. Writing is my everything. It’s one of my necessities of life. If I go a day without writing, I turn into Grumpy from Snow White & the Seven Dwarves. So if I can help it, that doesn’t happen.

However, for the past three years or so, my writing has revolved almost entirely around one single format: fan-fiction. I love it. You can go anywhere with it. Let’s say, for example, that you’re an emotional wreck, sobbing over the final page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you’re not in denial about at least three deaths then I’m afraid I’m sending you to counselling. (Yes, I know it’s been 7 years. Let me wallow in despair, dammit!) But you can’t handle the fact that those characters never got their happily ever after, so you go back and rewrite it. You resurrect those poor souls who lost their lives in the Second Wizarding War and give them the happy ending that they always deserved.

Or, say, you ship (fangirl terminology) Romione or Hinny. They are you’re world, your OTP (more fangirl terminology), your gods. So you take a piece of paper and a pen, and you build their lives in your own words. You tell their story of passionate romance, heart-thumping excitement and adrenaline-filled adventure. And the best part is, they’re yours to play with. Your favourite character speaks the words you write, does everything you tell them to do. Or maybe you prefer Hermione with Draco (Dramione) and it’s up to you to tell their untold forbidden love story. You can even add characters of your own, building them out of nothing and slotting them into the wonderful fictional world that you fell in love with.

With fan-fiction, you can explore the uncharted lands of Middle Earth, have snowball fights in Narnia and play Quidditch at Hogwarts. And it’s not just books! Take a look at this website. There is fan-fiction for everything: TV shows, films, comic books, video games, professional wrestling – there’s even fan-fiction of the Bible (although that’s generally the weird side of the website – best avoided)!

Some people are strongly against fan-fiction, but they most likely have never tried it themselves. It’s understandable if you’re the author. Your writing is your baby. The characters are your children and the setting is your home. Personally, if an author has expressed a wish for fan-fiction of their baby to stop existing, then I’ll stay away from it. But I don’t see the problem. There are thousands of fan-fiction authors out there, and millions of stories. It is illegal to try to gain money through it, but I’ve never heard of anyone attempting it. Fan-fiction is a hobby, a method of writing practise. What better character practise is there than mimicking an already existing character?

And agents are scouting them out, too. More and more authors are being found through fan-fiction. Everyone has to be inspired by something, and as long as the fan-fiction is changed enough from the original that it is unrecognisable, then I don’t see any problem with it. If anything, I encourage it.

Now, my problem is that I have become so invested in writing stories based on existing stories that original writing has become nothing more than an acquaintance to me. For the past year, people have been telling me that I should be writing a book. have been telling myself that I need to write a book. A proper book. A real, original, all-my-own book. But the moment I set myself up with Microsoft Word all ready on my laptop, an idea pops up. I wonder what life was like after the Battle of Hogwarts? I start writing. So if Angelina dated Fred and married George, what if there was another girl who the other twin liked? My fingers fly over the keyboard, rapidly channelling words that flow from my brain to the virtual paper. How exactly did James and Lily end up together? And before I know it, there’s another first chapter of a new Harry Potter fan-fiction.

A few days ago, I was offered a solution to my problem: motivation. A deal has been made. If I have a book published by the end of next year, I’m going to Disneyland. And would you look at that? No ideas. Blankness. This was almost a week ago and only today have the seeds of an idea begun to form. Scene one of my future novel is complete. From here, it’s onwards and upwards.

Disneyland, I’m on my way.

Once Upon A Time – A Summary

Once Upon a Time poster

I am absolutely in love with ABC’s Once Upon a Time. If you haven’t seen it, then I highly recommend it because it is the best TV show that I have ever seen.

The first season starts with a twenty-eight year old orphan, Emma Swan, receiving a visit from the son, Henry, she gave up for adoption ten years ago. He leads her to a town called Storybrooke. Henry tries to explain to Emma that all of the town’s residents are fairy tale characters although they don’t know it. The problem is that Emma is a cynic.