Thursday, 3 September 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week # 14

Place you wish we'd explored in the series but didn't?

The Atrium
Actually, it's the place that we've dipped our feet into - three times at least, each time on less than pleasant occasions - but ever so slightly... I'm talking about the Ministry of Magic. I just find it fascinating and I'd love to spend more time there. It's such a complex place; it has so many levels and layers, visible and hidden; secret rooms and rooms full of information and fantastic knowledge to explore. I'd love J.K. Rowling to write at least one book about Harry, Ron and Hermione's adventures at the Ministry of Magic once they start working there. I'm pretty sure that it would provide soil just as fertile as Hogwarts for mystery, intrigue, plots and adventures. In fact, I want to read such story so much, I sometimes think of actually taking it into my own hands and writing a canon-based fanfic that would take place at the Ministry of Magic and tell the trio's first adventure there as its employees. I wouldn't mind co-authoring the story with someone too, so if anyone feels up to it, drop me a line!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

My Pitch Wars Bio

I've decided to take part in Pitch Wars this year. Here's my mentee-wannabe bio:

Hi! My name is Farida Mestek. I live in Ukraine, Odessa. My native language is Russian but I prefer to write in English. I also teach English. I love reading, writing, drawing and watching and re-watching my favourite TV-shows. I also love animals, especially the talking ones. I have a collie dog, Phoebe, who thinks that she is a human being; I think that she might very well be the spiritual reincarnation of my grandma. 

I'm somewhat old-fashioned when it comes to writing. I love slow beginnings. I love to get shown around and introduced to the main characters before deciding whether I want to follow them on their journey. I mostly write books set in Regency England and in the fantasy world of my own creation. I tend to brood for a long time on my stories before I start writing them. For me writing a book is like looking into a crystal ball. I must take my time to penetrate the swirling mist in order to see... 

I love when characters come and tell me their stories — some of them take to haunting the back of my mind if I prove hesitant or reluctant to work on them — but more often than not I find myself following them around, hoping to get a glimpse into their private thoughts and eavesdropping on their conversations. I'm also not above riffling through their private papers — anything to get the story! 

I'm passionate about books, movies and TV-shows and when it comes to my favourite ones I can read and watch them over and over again. I never get tired of them. I'm a bit of a nerd. I have an absolute lifelong obsession with Harry Potter and I'm afraid that I'm overly enthusiastic about it for my age — but there's nothing I can do about it. My favourite authors are J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. I'm a huge Star Trek and Doctor Who fan too. I love magic, fantasy and science fiction. But I also love history and different historical periods and settings. I love the fashions and the manners of the bygone days.

I've been working on the YA Fantasy novel that I've submitted for Pitch Wars for several years now, but it has a much longer history, because my acquaintance with its world and characters began more than ten years ago. In fact, my family and friends know the characters so well they talk about them as though they are quite real and you can often hear their names mentioned in my house. I'll go with Dumbledore's famous words here: "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" Why, indeed? 

I've been rewriting, revising and polishing it a for number of times and I'm afraid that I can go on forever. In fact, I feel that it has come to the point where it needs an intervention from without. I cannot overstate what an amazing and incredible opportunity Pitch Wars is. I solemnly swear that if I get picked by a mentor I'll do my very-very-very best. I want it to be the best book I can possibly write!

You can learn about other participants of this year's Pitch Wars HERE.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #13

Favourite ship?

There are a lot of excellent pairings in the Harry Potter universe, aren't there, and among my favourite traditional and canon ships are Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione and Lily/James. However, the first pairing that came to my mind was Arthur and Molly Weasley. I think they are just perfect. I'd like to post one of the funniest, cutest, most embarrassing, private and my personal favourite moments that feature the two. 

"What do you like me to call you when we're alone together?"
Even by the dim light of the lantern Harry could tell that Mrs Weasley had turned bright red; he himself felt suddenly warm around the ears and neck, and hastily gulped soup, clattering his spoon as loudly as he could against the bowl.
"Mollywobbles," whispered a mortified Mrs Weasley into the crack at the edge of the door.
"Correct," said Mr Weasley. "Now you can let me in."

Aren't they just adorable?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

My writing projects, part 3: a regency romance

my regency heroine
Another project I have been working off and on for a number of years. The idea came to me when I was finishing writing “Margaret's Rematch” and the plan was to start working on it next. Well, I started and I did work on it for a while but then another (more exciting) project interfered and this one was put on hold. I remember going back to it over and over again but something always made me abandon it in the end. I started writing it from the heroine's point of view and discovered that she was so unmanageable as the protagonist I could not deal with her. 

So I decided to make the hero deal with her instead and began writing from his POV. Then I thought that it would be very authentic to write it as an epistolary novel and I was really enjoying it for a while. The only problem was that the story was too one-sided and my hero seemed to be so much obsessed with my heroine he could talk of little else. I don't remember what happened and why I stopped working on it altogether but I have a vague recollection that I was afraid to write a very important but poignant scene between the two of them.

my regency hero
Luckily, before I put it on hold again, I wrote down the summary of the whole thing, so that now that I've started working on it again, I have most of the plot, the characters, the relationships and the interaction figured out. I began working on it on Monday and I intend to work alternatively on my fantasy novel and on my regency romance every other week.

Here are my sketches of them; my attempt to put on paper how I imagined them to look.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

My writing projects, part 2: a fantasy novel

This project has been haunting me for over ten years now. It started with a long poem that transformed into a fairy-tale the size of a novella. I was meticulously working on it throughout my university years, dreaming of getting published and becoming the next J.K. Rowling. He-he-he. I was so na├»ve! Then, after failing to find an agent, I abandoned it for many years. I took it out about five years ago. I revised it but didn't change anything much and published it with the help of a small publishing house. It proved to be a complete disaster. I doubt that a single copy was actually ever sold. I gave a lot of e-copies away though but never heard back from people who promised to give me feedback. 

In the end I decided to take it down and rework it into a novel. You can read more about my decision HERE. At first I was working on two novels that stemmed from the same idea but went in two completely different directions at the same time. However, one of the ideas proved more viable and resilient than the other and several years ago I made a conscious decision to concentrate exclusively on it. I was writing it for two years. I was revising it over and over again, then put it away to stew. I have been submitting it to agents for the last year – so far with no success. At the moment, having distanced myself from it for six months, I'm back to revising it again. You can read more about the original story HERE and the new one HERE.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

My writing projects, part 1: a fairy-tale

In one of my previous posts I promised to discuss in more detail those writing projects of mine that I've presently decided to concentrate on. The first project that I've completed but still have to revise and polish before it is ready for submission is a fairy-tale for children about a little but naughty star that I have a very soft spot for. Her name is Stella and she's very cute and curious with great love of knowledge, a rebellious streak and a penchant for trouble that she terms 'adventure'. In comparison with my other projects it is very short and it is rather shocking that it took me so long to finish it. 

Like most of my projects the fairy-tale was written a long time ago in English and in the course of many years it has been revised and rewritten over and over again. Last year, after attending a conference for writers on writing and publishing in L'viv, I decided to translate my fairy-tale into Ukrainian and try publishing it in my own country for a change. Well, like I said, that part took much longer than I had expected but it's almost done now – to use a film industry lingo it's in post-production stage – and I'm going to submit it in October when the publishing house of my choice opens its submission window again.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week #12

Favorite Lupin Moment?

I decided to go with the scene that might not be an obvious choice but that speaks volumes about Lupin and his character. It is not particularly fun but it is an important scene and I love it as much as any other scene with Lupin in it. It takes place in Chapter Sixteen of Half-Blood Prince - 'A Very Frosty Christmas'. 

Lupin's manner is quiet, mild and ironic for the most part. It's here that he famously says that “It comes down to whether or not you trust Dumbledore's judgement. I do; therefore, I trust Severus.” in answer to Harry's suspicions and accusations. 

However, he grows grave and bitter when he explains what he'd been doing for the Order of the Phoenix: “I've been living among my fellows, my equals,” said Lupin. “Werewolves,” he added, at Harry's look of incomprehension. “Nearly all of them are on Voldemort's side. Dumbledore wanted a spy and here I was... ready-made.” 

It is also here that he reveals for the first time the circumstances under which he became a werewolf: “It was Greyback who bit me. … My father had offended him. I did not know, for a very long time, the identity of the werewolf who had attacked me; I even felt pity for him, thinking that he had had no control, knowing by then how it felt to transform.” 

Lupin tells Harry that he hasn't been successful in his mission of talking them into joining Dumbledore but it is shortly followed by a funny exchange that cracks me up every time: 

“I cannot pretend that my particular brand of reasoned argument is making much headway against Greyback's insistence that we werewolves deserve blood, that we ought to revenge ourselves on normal people.” 

“But you are normal!” said Harry fiercely. “You've just got a – a problem – ” 

Lupin burst out laughing. 

“Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my 'furry little problem' in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit.”

And also the part where Harry is trying to find out if Lupin has ever heard of someone called the Half-Blood Prince and Lupin replies: "Is this a title you're thinking of adopting? I should have thought being the 'Chosen One' would be enough." Oooh, it makes me smile)) He is such a delightful character!