Male or Female protagonists?

I just finished reading the last book in the Maze Runner series, The Death Cure. Compared to the other two books, this one didn’t hold my attention the way the first two did but it was enjoyable none the less.

In the Maze Runner series, this third book was the culmination of everything Thomas had been through with his friends, The Gladers, and the people he has met along the way. I’ve seen Thomas grow through the books, develop into a character who fights for what he believes in and will not back down to anybody. He has a lot of courage and a lot of stamina and at the end, when it looks like they might finally get a shot at real life, he’s still concerned about the others in the facility.

The Death Cure brings together all of the trials and tribulations Thomas has been through in a final gut wrenching read.

I have to say I admire Thomas as a character. He’s tough, courageous and loyal. He has to face a lot of things in his lifetime, all the while struggling with his memory loss, not really knowing what he’s doing or why he’s been put to the trials.

What it did make me realise is that I much prefer reading books with strong, female protagonists. Perhaps it’s the feminist in me but I love reading a plot and seeing a young woman develop into someone strong and unafraid. The likes of the Hunger Games for example, with Katniss as she leads the rebellion. In Harry Potter I always felt drawn to Hermoine Grainger who, lets face it, was both the brains and the courage of the operation. If it wasn’t for her Harry wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did.

Women are often portrayed as counterparts, companions for the male, a love interest, but I think that women do and should represent much more than that.

What do you think? Do you prefer to read a male or female protagonist?

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Circle of Trees: the idea.

I’m working on editing a novel I wrote during the 2013 NaNoWriMo extravaganza. I hit near 60k with this one (one of my longest to date on initial write) and I really loved it. It’s already had a couple of different titles and I’m working on giving it another for when I finish but for now we’ll call it The Circle of Trees.

This novel idea came to me when I was out walking one day. I remember the day just as it was: bright and sunny. I was out for one of my first walks with a hiking group, my dad in tow. We were hiking in Ingram Valley which is located in Breamish Valley, Northumberland. It’s a beautiful spot and one I’ve been to before with bbqs and friends for fun days out.

This day in particular was sweltering hot and we traversed up a narrow pathway up the side of a steep hill. My dad and myself were near the back of the group and as I walked, I watched my feet. There was no way I wanted to stumble and slip over the side! So I finally got to the top and as our group was moving over a stile one by one, I finally had the chance to look up. I saw hills after hills, greenery and blue sky. It was beautiful. That’s when I saw them. On the top of a hill there was a circle of trees. It struck me with the way they were formed, almost as if they had been put there on purpose, and I couldn’t help but think on it. It lingered in my mind and I wish I had managed to stop and take a photo – it was hard work keeping up with everyone – as there have been so many times I’ve wanted to go back and grab the shot and never managed yet.

As we ended the walk at the local pub with a well earned pint of beer and a snickers (essential walking food!) I got out my notebook and jotted a few things down. The idea grew from there and it seemed, so did the characters. When I wrote the novel in 2013 it was one of my easiest writes so far. I’d planned it well and I was so absorbed in the story itself.

Now I’m finally getting around to editing (five chapters in so far) with the hopes of submitting it when I’m done. So I’m going to start searching for publishers too!

Forgive and Forget

My plan for this year was to write more and blog more. It’s actually going great. I’ve hit huge word counts each month (that I probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t pushing myself a little more) and I’ve been blogging once a week. Sure, sometimes my posts are a little far between each but I’m there and that’s a big achievement for someone who couldn’t pen something in her blog once a month or on a regular basis.

Last week I didn’t get around to doing a blog post. I was leaving it until the weekend when I planned to catch up, but unfortunately, something happened that has prevented me from doing this. Something unexpected.

While I’m a little bummed about missing a goal I set for myself, I’ve also forgiven myself. After all, life is a chaotic mess sometimes and we can’t always guarantee that things are going to fall into place every time. They’ve actually worked out really well for me so far so I actually can’t complain! Therefore, I am moving past and moving on and saying hello now.

Things with me are going to be really hectic in the next few weeks anyway what with a hen party coming up followed by a week in New York! I’m busy packing for both (trying to be organised and stay ahead) while also trying to make sure I’ve done everything at work that I need to do and that it will all be wrapped up before I go away. I do struggle leaving work a little. It plays on my mind because I want to know the people I work with are going to be okay. You know?

But I will leave it go and I will enjoy myself. And in that same note, I have also decided to end my lent early. It’s not something I’ve done before (intentionally) but I have decided that since I’m going to be on holiday I want to be able to enjoy it fully, not be having to worry about what I’m eating or having to say no to something I really want to have. Therefore, my biscuit ban ends on the 1st April!

I still plan to try and write some when I’m away, particularly when I’m on the plane (on the six hour flight) and hopefully even just a little every night. I’m so excited for going away now, it’s been such a long time since I’ve been abroad and seeing somewhere like New York is going to be an amazing experience!

What do you have planned in the next few weeks? How do you work around things when they don’t work out? Do you shrug and move on or does it grate on you like it does me?

Cathartic Process

It’s taken me a while to come to this decision and I’ve been thinking about it long and hard. For a lot of years I kept a journal. I didn’t write on a regular basis, at least not towards the end, and for the past three years or so I haven’t kept one at all.

When I thought about it, I came to the realisation that I hadn’t kept a journal because I didn’t need to keep a journal. You see, I used my journals as a way to vent. I would sometimes write when I was happy, when I was feeling brilliant, but mostly I found that I was writing when I was sad or upset or angry or lonely.

When I first started writing I thought it would be interesting to go back to them, re-read them when I was a little older perhaps, but now I know that if I read back through those journals it would do nothing but help me relive some of the bad memories I have and I realised how much I don’t want that. My life is good, I’m happy and I don’t want to be reminded of the bad times. Why would I? Sure they’re a part of me but then I moved past them.

So I made the decision that I’m going to burn my journals. I haven’t gotten around to it yet (and the hardest part is knowing that I’ll be burning some of those pretty notebooks) but I’m preparing myself for it. Burning seems a very apt way to go through the process, allowing the paper to become nothing and therefore all of the bad things and memories I have to evaporate with them. I can’t wait to do it.

Do you do something when you need to vent? How do you handle it? What about keeping a journal? Are you a daily journal writer?