Fifty Shades Of Grey Review: ‘Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks’

Well, I’ve done it. Done what I said I wasn’t going to do when the madness started this summer. I’ve officially read Fifty Shades of Grey. Why? I hear some people cry. Well, it’s for two reasons. Firstly, so I can now discuss the book knowing I’ve read it and have a complete opinion about it. Secondly, from a writer’s point of view I wanted to know why this book was so popular, why people were saying what they were about and if I could gain anything from writing in a same vein. As a writer, it’s important to read the ‘now’ popular books because the publishing industry often likes to publish similar styled books on the back of one that is currently very popular. Once they know that this is the kind of thing people are reading, they are eager to look for more. There’s nothing wrong with that and I should point out that I am happy for E L James. She has managed to do what published and unpublished writers can only dream of and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, and before people start thinking this is going to be a ‘good review’ of the book, I should point out that it’s not going to be. My inner reader and writer have a massive disliking for this novel and I want explain why I’ve so many issues with this book. (This may turn into a massive rant, but it shall be a very backed up rant!) I plan to try to keep my language suitable for all readers, but you should know right now that it’s not going to be possible with this genre of book. However, I shall try and use different words that mean the same thing, which Blogger.com and readers shouldn’t take offence to. Also the FS memes was an idea suggested by a friend and though I wanted this post to be serious the book makes it impossible to do so. Also some of the memes express my views really well.

The origins of books are often questioned. Authors sometimes say they have no clear idea where their books came from, others say they seeking answers to a certain question, exploring the possibilities of a person or event. FS came from Fan Fiction…Twilight Fan Fiction….Now I’ve nothing against FF, I’ve never felt the need to write any myself, though I’ve often wondered about characters in that frame of mind, but who hasn’t done that in some form? As far as I know, none of the characters I’ve written in my novels are based on characters from another piece of work. That’s not how my mind thinks when I write. Need I get into the whole Twilight thing?? I don’t want to, but I just know it’s going to have to pop up again. So, I best get this out of the way too. I hate Twilight with a passion. Good for Meyers for written a very popular book, but once again that’s where it ends. I feel like she has almost shamed vampires by what she’s written. Moving on!

James then rewrote FS after people started saying it was good and changed a few things….mmmmm..I’ve never read the original FF and you can’t actually get a hold of it anymore because she took it all down. Did she do this in a bid to get more books to sell or because she was worried about being found out that all she had done was changed the names from that of the Twilight cast? There’s a lot of stuff going around about all this background stuff and truthfully, I don’t care. The book was discovered and published…though I’m sure it only got published because of the increasing popularity on the Internet because honestly, I don’t know how it managed it….

50 shades of grey - blue

All through summer, the only thing I heard was people talking about this book. How good it was and how amazing the characters where, how it made them feel ‘free’ and more passionate. Well, good points to a book that makes people feel that way…but even before I’d read anything about it or picked it up, I knew it was terrible and just a passing fashion. I mean how is it possible for a book based on Twilight, from a first time writer, to take over the world? Well…having now read it I can explain my theory. Before I even get into reviewing it, I shall admit to a shocking thing; within the first few chapters I became addicted. Not because of how it was written, the plot, the characters, my connections to it or because it stirred some deep feelings inside of me, I like the rest of the world had to discover what made Christian Grey tick. And now I know the answer to that, I can’t believe I got so into this book!

First off this book smacks of Twilight so much. The main characters; Christian and Ana read just like Edward and Bella did. They are one dimensional, have a limited vocabulary, never fully develop and follow the stereotypes of innocent and evil characters. You’d think that James would have made some attempt to change her characters and allow then to develop when she rewrote it….but nope. The plot is also the same! Girl meets boy, but she can’t have boy and believes he doesn’t like her. She tries to convince him that he should like her and it turns out that he has liked her all along. Then girl can’t cope with his demands and ends it. There are probably a lot of books that also have this plot story at their core and they are probably a lot better! Okay, one thing at a time.

So, Ana. She’s 21, a new grad from college, wants to go into the publishing industry, she has a love of British Literature and Twinges English Breakfast Tea. Believable so far right? Okay….she’s also a virgin, never had thoughts about sex, never touched herself, never fancied a boy real or fictional. Still believable? Yeah, maybe in the 1800’s! But this is the twenty-first century and I don’t believe a single word of this! Maybe, if this could have been explained like with her being religious and it being within her faith to behaviour like that or if there had been some trauma relating to this. But no. We are made to believe that Ana is a complete innocent who has no interested in boys. We are also made to believe that she is like Tess from Tess of the d’urbervilles.I’ve not read it, but I can see some similarities because they are both young, innocent women who get used by ‘evil’ men. She also claims to be clumsy -remind you of anyone?-but that hardly comes across in the second half of the book. Why are all innocent girls made out to be clumsy? I don’t know, but she really didn’t need to be and it just didn’t work for the heroine she is trying to be. Ana then falls for the guy of her dreams completely out of the blue and I’ll get on to him in a few. But she’s never experience wanting or love before, so how does she know what this is? And why has it taken her so long? Then we get the whole cliché of her wanting something she can’t have and if she’d just stayed away like her instincts, friends, family, even the man himself had said, this book would have been so much shorter and better for it too! But no, she like any innocent girl has to go and get mixed up with a guy who’s past is dark and leads to his ‘odd behaviour.’ And she puts up with his demands, she agrees to things when she’s clearly not ready, she wants to impress and change him because she’s so in love with him! Then after everything, she is pushed too far and finally sees sense! Problem is she’s too involved and we know that in book two she’s going to go right back to him!

Christian is 27, multi-millionaire, owner of his own company, has everything a person could dream of, loves classic music, playing the piano and gliding. Somewhat believable….not believable is his dark and mysterious background, which is the real draw of the novel, as I pointed out before. He was adopted into what he says is a ‘perfect family’. He’s never seen with a woman, though he attracts them all the time. (He surrounds himself with blonds too.) He’s made out to be a Greek God and untouchable, like he’s the most sexist thing to walk the planet….seriously??? I felt nothing, no attraction, no sympathy, no connection. (Beside from my deep feelings of rage at badly written characters). We learn he was abused until he was four years old, though how much he remembers about this and his birth mother I would really question. When he was fifteen he got seduced by an older married woman, a ‘Mrs Robinson stereotype’ as it comes across. This is where he turned ‘bad’, though he says something along the lines of it saved him, because he got involved in BDSM. I’m going to get to that in a minute. He comes across as being very controlling, all ways wanting his own way, bipolar with his mood swings, aggressive and very set in his ways. A man to be avoided! What really, really bugs me about him though is that fact that he really steals Ana’s innocence. (If you suspend your disbelieve about that and god, you’ll have to do that for other things as well!) All the love/sex scenes they have echo rape and violence to women, he introduces her to BDSM when she clearly has no interest and is scared of it. He doesn’t take the time to get to know her personally, preferring to stalk her and he struggles to communicate. We know he’s not going to change, no matter what he says!

As for the other characters in the book? I could go on about them too, but we’ve a lot to get through, so briefly. They are all just as badly written! I couldn’t connect with any of them and they were all so boring. I had a major problem with all the single males who Ana knows because they all fancy her. Why do writers think it’s okay to do this? So Ana might believe she’s not pretty, but why have a bunch of guys we don’t carry about pop up throughout and try to date her? We know she wasn’t interested in the past, so why do they carry on when they must know this too? It’s really not needed. The whole thing of them being there to make Christian jealous? What’s the point?! He all ways gets what he wants and he’s so not going to let any of them stand in his way! Ana’s attitude towards her best friend and housemate is annoying. Understandable though because I got annoyed with Kate too! She’s perfect, someone Ana wants to be like, but she has more sense. Or does she? She stays away from Christian only to get with his adopted brother! We don’t know anything about this guy, why should we be bothered about their relationship? And why does Ana act like they’re having the perfect relationship when she can’t possibly know? Parents bug me in this book too. I giggled at the advice Ana’s mother give her because it sounded so unrealistic and didn’t suit the mum’s character. We learn a lot about Ana’s parents and hardly anything about Christian’s. These characters are just there being useless and trying to make other characters seem real. Oddly, I did manage to connect with one character and that’s Tyler. I really felt for him having to be at the call of a spoilt, control freak. Clearly, he gets paid well and has dedicated his life to his job. I was interested about how he was always in the background and could pop up without anyone noticing….Is he a ninja? What he says also interests me, it’s clear he likes Christian a lot and worries about him. He’s happy that Ana is on the scene and maybe he hopes Christian will settle down and become more calm? I’d like to find out more about his character.

Now, I’ve already pointed out the core plot of the novel, but I’ll look at it in more detail now. It starts off with Ana having to go and interview Christian for the student magazine, because Kate has the flu. It’s not really love at first sight, but they both feel an odd attraction to each other. Then the rest of the book is spent with them trying to have a relationship, whilst Ana gets Christian to talk about his past. And yeah, that’s about it…there’s no second or background plots and once you know Christian’s secrets, there’s no real reason to carry on reading. It’s written in a first person narrative, so we always have Ana’s point of view. Reasoning behind this? So, that female readers can connect with her and we can remain in the dark about the actions of the other characters. Maybe, if this book had been written in third person or we had a spilt narrative between Ana and Christian, it would have more depth than the cardboard it feels like. Ana’s voice bugs me; it’s too full of conflicting emotion, too full of her whining about things and repetitive statements. Also we get her thoughts all of the time! I can’t recall another first person narrative-there probably is one- where though technically we are in the character’s head all of the time, we get what the character is thinking in an italics. Why? To make her more expressive? To make her words stand out more and readers to take notice? To me it wasn’t needed and you could more or less pick it up from the actual narrative.

The pace of the plot is actually very fast and you do get into the novel quickly. Problem is it lacks a constant flow to the different scenes and jumps the linear time frame all the time. Granted we don’t need to know what the characters are doing word for word all the time, no story does that, but the writing is very jaggy in the movement. Generally, this doesn’t impact on the reading, but to me I like the words to flow probably. Major thing that also bugged me was how Ana keeps referring to her ‘sub- conscious ‘ and her ‘inner-Goddess’. Yeah…have you ever talked to your sub-conscious and actually heard it whisper things to you? Seriously? It’s called a sub-conscious for a reason! Because most of the time we’re not aware of it! Why does James make us believe that Ana has such a deep connection with her inner self and mind? To be honest it’s really not needed, we can see through the narrative and her thoughts what’s going on, why make this inner-Goddess character act like Jimmy Cricket? Ana doesn’t even follow it’s advice anyway. I guess her turning into a donkey and becoming trapped inside a whale would have been an interesting plot development!

This book falls into the romance/erotica genre and has been classed by most as ‘mommy porn.’ Everyone knows that this book contains a lot of detailed sex scenes, nearly all involving BDMS in some way. Once Ana and Christian get together, it never ends and the plot gets lost. I’m fine with these kinds of scenes in books. It’s a normal fact of life and it’s what people do. Also it can tell a lot about the characters and link to their backgrounds without the use of words. From my own experience and reading a lot of supernatural romance books, I know that writing these scenes can be a hard task. You want to convey to the reader what’s going on and what the characters’ feelings/thoughts are in a very short space. However, you can go into too much needless detail and leave nothing up to the readers’ imaginations in the search for finding the perfect way to describe the scene. That’s what I really feel about these scenes in FS. It feels unrealistic and clumsy, there’s no real passion between the characters and the description of the ‘after effects’ are blown out of proportion.

Now the BDMS. James says she did a lot of research, but has she ever experienced anything to do with this? I’ve read a few reviews which contain people who take a part in this views on the book. Even without having done this though, I feel these scenes were wrong. In a way she seems to have got the wrong idea about what BDMS is. She uses some unsafe techniques, e.g. The cable ties that Christian uses to tie Ana’s hands together. Really unsafe as it can cut off blood flow and also feel really unpleasant. And Christian’s playroom is extreme and packed with everything, making it seem unrealistic. And what is up with that contract and not being able to tell anyone? James is really pushing this. Ana should be able to talk to someone about things, having never experienced anything she could do with some actual advice instead of just the internet! And we all know how crazy things can get on there! It just seems that Christian throws her into the deep end of all of this and Ana goes along with it because she’s in love with him. I didn’t get that thrilled by any of this, maybe because it was badly written or unrealistic. James said that she didn’t want to show violence to women, but once again it feels like this is the case. She’s using BDMS to symbolise the relationship between Ana and Christian. He’s in complete control of her life, she can’t escape and he can do whatever he wants to her. For me though, the worse part of this is that James uses Christian’s dark past to explain why he got into BDMS. So, do only bad, traumatised, dark, mysterious men and innocent virgin girls practise this? No! These people are completely normal! They just enjoy a wider experience. I could go on with my unhappiness about this, but I’m not going too. Go to Wiki read about this stuff and then make up your own mind.

The audience of the book is married, (housewives) women who lack sex lives or feel bored and want to fantasise. That’s how it’s managed to spread so much, because it looks at women’s fantasies and appeals to them. It’s spread to other women of all ages and even some men. Actually I think that the Kindle has helped make it more available to people who’d not want to be seen in public reading it. I read the book on the bus a few times though and didn’t notice anyone glaring or trying to speak to me. Then again I’m not embarrassed by what I read. There really has become some stigma about being seen or admitting to have read this book now. Frankly, I don’t think it matters, there has been banned books before and there’ll be banned books in the future. People have a wide range of tastes and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And now we finally get on to the language used within the book. (Prepare for another full blown rant.) This book is so badly written it’s laughable. Just try reading aloud a page or so to yourself or someone else if you like and listen to how the language sounds. Yeah, it might use an adult vocabulary, with a handful of random words that a few people wouldn’t know, a ton of swear words, technical terms and odd phrases. But it’s so repetitive and to prove this I’ll paste and copy some of a table that someone actually spent time doing and posted online;

Word Count:
“Oh My” – 79
“Jeez” – 82
“Murmur” – 68
“Murmurs” – 139
“Whisper” – 96
“Whispers” – 103
“Fifty” – 16
“Lip” – 71
“Subconscious” – 82

Now granted that all books repeat words throughout and most authors go and find similar or same meaning words to use. But that doesn’t happen here and what we’ve got is a very fix vocabulary. Okay so using the same words might make the reading faster, but it gets so boring. I got annoyed that Ana was always biting her lip and that they were constantly talking in low voices to each other. Also Ana’s favourite phrase is ‘Oh my.’ What is she? Straight out of the 1800’s again? The fact that she never seems to have anything else to say is tiresome.

Speaking of which the dialogue is so bad. I know that writing dialogue is mega hard. Making speech sound real in written words is near impossible. You can’t capture the true meanings, the feeling behind the words and what’s left unsaid, which actually happens in real speech. It’s possible to have good and close to speech dialogue though. Epic fail for this book! It’s so unrealistic and it’s trying too hard. I’ve no sense of the characters’ voices which I should get from their words. It feels bogged down with words that could easily be cut and its mega repetitive. Slightly good thing? The use of the emails and texts. At first I liked how James used this as she made the formatting of their communication very clear. But god, she dragged it out so much and over used it that I just become so bored and wanted to put Ana and Christian in an empty room and make them have a deep talk. I get that they can only truly expresses themselves though technology. It’s the way the world is now, people find it a lot easier to say things to people and connect. Fair enough, but a relationship can’t carry on with people only expressing themselves in this way!

About half way through the book, Ana suddenly comes up with this nickname for Christian ‘Fifty Shades.’ From then on this is used and parried up with different things. When I first read it I laughed and thought that James had suddenly came across the novel’s title and then wanted try out a few different ways of putting it. Highly possible, but it also has connects with Christian’s character being mysterious and Ana unable to fully classify him. It also makes the BDSM a ‘grey area’ though and I really disapproved of this.

My major issue with the language is that it has a lot of British idioms. Why when this book is set in the USA and has no connect with Britain, beside from Ana’s love of British Lit and tea? Well, James is British and as far as I know has never been to America. She used Google Earth to get the settings and backdrops. Okay, not that much of a problem as lots of writers do this and set their books or have scenes which involve different places where they might not have been. But not being able to describe things to the reader probably makes the settings unreal. At times I questioned if the setting was Britain or America and a reader should never have to do that. It also reflected on the characters as well and their dialogue. I don’t understand why she just couldn’t have set the book in Britain. Did she think she wouldn’t get as much of an audience? Did she believe that the American setting fitted more perfectly for her characters’ backgrounds, or was she really trying to write Twilight? Frankly, if this book had been set in Britain and honestly, I can see no real reason why it wouldn’t work, I think it might have been a bit better. At least we’d have lost of the confusing idioms!

There are two other books; FS Darker and FS Freed and I shall not be reading them. I’ve no urge to sit through another 500 odd pages (twice!) of this. Oh and they are making it a movie! Three movies actually! Please, I want to be spared from this…Twilight was bad enough! But I do sort of want to know how they are going to do it….make an X-rated version straight to DVD and have a 16+ version at the cinema? If I ever see it I’m going to laugh all the way through it which is what I did with the book.

With that I’m going to wrap things up. At the end of the day I really didn’t like this novel, it didn’t work on a whole number of levels, what with the writing being so bad and the characters being so unrealistic. The idea is a good one though, but I wish it had taken a different view or been constructed with more knowledge. I’m happy that James got somewhere and I’ve nothing against her, it just bugs me how such trash can be published and become popular! I know everyone’s got different tastes and are not all book critics, that’s fine, but please let’s just make this a phrase and get back to reading better novels.

Images from:

www.fanpop.com

http://www.webring.org/hub/altlibrarianwebr?

http://www.quickmeme.com/50-shades-of-grey—blue/?upcoming

http://whatcanilearntoday.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/did-50-shades-of-grey-start-out-as-twilight-fan-fiction/

http://memebase.cheezburger.com/tag/50-shades-of-grey

http://www.fanpop.com/spots/fifty-shades-trilogy/images/31680051/title/collection-50-shades-memes-fanart

http://chzscience.wordpress.com/tag/50-shades-of-grey/

http://failblog.cheezburger.com/tag/50-shades-of-grey

http://www.picstopin.com/600/50-shades-of-grey-dont-see-what-all-the-fuss-is-about/http:%7%7Cp*twimg*com%7CAxSdksVCQAEtAAk*jpg/

http://www.cheezburger.com/

Word count from: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215?

Job searching, applications and interviews

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I’ve been planning what to write which given the title should be easier enough, but of late my searching has made me think otherwise. This post was actually meant to be about a particular job I applied for and didn’t get, through no fault of my own. I knew in the last few months of uni that looking for a job wasn’t going to be easier and now a month and a half after leaving uni, I am in a worse position. My main problem is I’ve a lot of ideas about what I want to do and what I want to apply for, but no actual focus. What I wanted to do was take a small break and find some temp or part time work, which would allow me to carry on writing and give me time to think of a next step whilst earning some money and get some experience. That seems far from happening, even though Christmas is just around the corner and there are lots of temp jobs out there, I’ve had no luck with any of those applications.

My last interview was last week and I was worried about it because it involved a maths test and a role playing exercise. However, I was willing to just see this as getting experience in that kind of interview and though I did really want the job- It was working for M&S in a new shop- I wasn’t sure if I could meet their requirements. I did well in the maths test though and since that was done first; it meant I could enjoy then rest of the interview. I did the role playing well, so maybe thanks to D&D I’m getting better at that? It was a very simple help the customer buy the right produces test and I was able to show my polite, helpful nature.  Then I was asked a few questions about why I was applying for the job, how flexible I could be, what my future plans were and what I thought was my best skills.
To me that all went very well and they said they’d phone on Monday. I’ve heard nothing all week and have had to come to the realisation that I’ve not got that job. I don’t understand why though, because I thought it went well and they seemed pleased with me. That seems to be a common question after a rejection though and I’ve emailed them to see if they can give me any feedback as to why they decided I wasn’t right. Employers always know what they are looking for and that’s like stating that the customer is always right. Problem is with so many people applying for a single job, employers can afford to be very choosy about who they interview and who gets the job.
That’s why I feel that me and so many other people are currently missing out on jobs they could easily do and be happy to do them as
well. It can be difficult to change this in a country where there are so few jobs and so many people looking.
Maybe at the end of the day I’m just trying too hard, but is that even possible with job hunting? It’s not like I’m setting the bar high, I actually believe it’s low right now and I’ve only been applying for jobs I know I’ve the experience, qualifications and will be happy doing. Mostly, these are retail jobs in the sales assistant category. If more jobs offered the chance to gain experience, instead of just saying they wanted someone with years of experience, it would allow more people to apply, grant employers to train more staff and generate new ideas etc, from people. I get why they often want a level of experience; to prove you can do the job and you can start right away. In some ways though, a lot of the skills and experience I have could easily be applied to many jobs, but I fear that I won’t get them because of my none/lack of experience in that particular area.
I knew that I wouldn’t be walking straight into work when I left uni and I was fine with that. But it feels like an uphill struggle just to find and get interviews for jobs right now. I’ve lost count of how many and where I’ve applied of now, as is bound to happen, when you look every day or every other day and send a CV out to 1-10 different places. I’m getting frustrated by it as my family and friends know all too well. I know that isn’t going to help though and it’s all down to me and what I do. But sometimes, I just wish things could be easier. I wish I wasn’t getting over looked because of my lack of experience or too high qualifications or because there are far better people out there then me.
It is a problem and instead of actually getting a job, I’m looking at going back to uni/college and doing a teaching course, however I’m still unsure about this, but I just don’t know what else to do and at least by doing the course it would give me an even better chance to apply for more jobs. Training in being a supervisor or manger would be something else to consider, but once again I don’t know if that’s the area I want to go into.
Writing is my other thing. I would really like to do something that would involve working with books or writing and there are a lot of jobs you can go into, but it’s very hard to find work and stay in the job. Copywriting and proofreading are the key things I’ve been looking at. With my MA in creative Writing, my mind is switched in to both those areas, so why can’t I find work like that, which would be suitable to me? Knowing the people and networking is a big part of it and also any other job. I’ve never been very good at that, though life has been made easier by the Internet and websites like Linkin, which can be a good place to connect with people.
Other things I’ve been looking at are graduate jobs. These can be really useful for students in their last year/two or fresh out of uni who are struggling to get into work. My issues is that most of these can go on for a few years and are often focused at business students looking at high end manger jobs. I’d like something I can just get into now really and not have to go through the intense training that comes with some of these jobs. They say that uni is meant to give you a clear idea of what you want to do and train you in that role, but sometimes it just doesn’t work that way. I know what I’d like to be doing, but I know I couldn’t make enough money to live off it and I’ve not been looking for publishers of late because that just feels like another stress I could do without. I’ve still be publishing on Amazon Kindle though, because I’m still waiting to see how that goes. I could do with publishing a novel on there and trying to sell that, but I’ve not got any right now I’d be happy to do that with.
It’s odd, but my writing can be effected by stress and where I’d normally find joy and release in fiction writing, if my mood isn’t right, I find that I just can’t work probably. However, if I want to make this into my career then I should be always writing and working on something. Maybe I’ll give it a shot after some food and a rest.
As for job hunting, it is a long, boring process that can involve a lot of time and energy being put in for nothing. But it can also be very rewarding through gaining job interview experience, chance to talk about what you’d like to do and reflection time about your life. Plus you might get a job you want to do at the end of it all and that does make it worth it. There are a lot of lows to the highs though and they have to do with rejection, loss of self-believe, on- going struggles to find suitable work and the loss of hope. Remember though that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and if you want something badly enough and try your hardest then you can always reach out for it.

D&D Part 8: Victory Finish

On Wednesday evening, I played the last encounter of the Council Of Spiders adventure. The large group was spilt into three small groups of 4/5 players and we were off with our DMs for the final battle. My table was warned before hand that this ending was a bit disappointing. Which is interesting when the other encounters have been building up to something that felt really big, like a epic Drow war or battling a Goddess or a wizard army. Having never experienced the last encounter of an adventure I was keen to find out what was going to happen.

I was still playing my female Drow rogue, Kai. There was a female priestess, another rogue and a human slave. Now we were searching for this Drow called Valan Jaelre, who is one of the Council’s leaders. Questioning him and then killing him could be very useful and possibly help put an end to the unrest that has been going on in Menzoberranzan (that’s basically the whole of the Drow society). We entered some catacombs, which then turned out to be a forgotten shrine to Lolth. There were large patches of cobwebs everywhere and we were told that disturbing them and/or killing the spiders would lower our renown points. (Renown points are given or taken away due to actions taken by the players. Worth points work in the same way, but are decided on by the characters’ stats as well).

A brown cloud of smoke appeared and started speaking to us telepathically. This smoke turned out to be connect to Lolth and was a sign of her favour or displeasure depending on how we answered. It was a role playing moment with each of us answering to why we where here and though we had agreed on the goal of completing the Demon Weave, it being all telepathic meant that we could answer with something different if we had decided to have individual goals. Myself, the priestess and the slave stuck with the goal and the rogue decided to bluff a different answer and failed. Lolth was displeased and cursed him.

We were then attacked by Valan’s allies and they were Hex Knights and Spellsinners. I would like to say by a cruel twist of fate, but actually it was by the DM’s hand, that I who’d put Kai at the back, got moved to the front and because I’d rolled a higher number then anyone else, I had to go first! I had no choice but to fire an arrow at the nearest enemy. I hit and did some small damage. Everyone else then got immobilised, weakened or slowed down by Valan. They couldn’t really fight on their turns, so I had to fire another arrow and deal some more damage. I also got hit though and had to be healed by the priestess. I was then joined in the fight, though I was still stuck leading the group. I’m not very keen on being in that position, just because Kai isn’t built for fighting and I’m still learning!

The other rogue tried to hide almost the skeletons in the alcoves of the catacombs. This didn’t work so well and I decided that corners were still good shields. In front of us there was a staircase going down and we had to try and fight some of the enemies on it. This was a little bit hard and then it got worse because one set of the enemies (I forget which) when they went down turned into bone spiders. So, we had to fight them off as well. They turned out to be easy enough to finish off….as long as you weren’t blind or weakened. The rogue somehow was weakened for six rounds before finally shaking it off with a good dice roll. Valan then cast a spell and covered the staircase in cobwebs, making it difficult terrain. This meant for me and the other rogue that we could only move half our movement number (which is 6) down the staircase. The priestess and slave were on the last step when the spell hit, so they were the first to enter the chamber at the bottom.

We quickly dispatch the remaining enemies and were left to face Valan. The DM did a bit of RP, acting as if we couldn’t defeat him and he was so powerful. However, the priestess soon changed his mind about that and hit him twice with a magical attack really reducing his hit points. It was then my turn and it was decided that we’d question him before we killed him. The DM muttered that it wouldn’t matter and I rolled high numbers. Kai took aim with her bow and shot him with an arrow to the head. He dropped and silence hit the table. The DM claimed it was over and that on searching him we find the last piece of the Demon Weave. It also meant that the Drow civil war was dropped and things calmed down, going back to normal for Drow society.

So that was it and with such an anticlimax too! I have to admit that I did feel a bit disappointed by this because I’d been expecting a bigger finish and a much more victorious feel. I think if we’d not been warned before we’d started, I’d feel even worse. I’m not sure why the adventure had to end that way as it really felt rushed and unfinished. However, I’m happy to say that Kai (below) and I survived our first D&D adventure!

So, as the book closes, what is my conclusion about D&D and the Council of Spiders adventure? Well, I know I still have a lot of learning to do! But that’ll come with practise and time. The best way to play D&D is really how I’ve done it; going to a place which holds D&D playing and joining a group with newbies and an experienced DM. I’ve had a great time and it’s given me something to look forward too each week, which was so needed after four years of uni! I’ve also made lots of friends and had a lot of fun. I know at the beginning I was worried about a number of things; from not liking D&D and RP, to not being accept as I’m a girl, to being seen as silly for not understanding. This quickly disappeared though and I now have to admit that I really do like playing D&D. I like listening to the back stories behind the story of the adventure, I like creating characters, I like fighting the monsters, (even though I complain about it all the time!) I love all the little random events that happen like; characters jumping on tables, hiding in bones, arguing with the DM, role playing between the slaves and masters/mistress. Also for a change my writer and nerd sides are both happy.

As for the adventure itself; I enjoyed it and liked all the missions we had to do. It was good that everyone could be in a different house because we were all- beside from the goblin, human and dwarf slaves- of Drow race, so it was good that we were still able to have conflicted between characters because of the different houses not getting along. It was interesting how things were revealed too in twisty ways that could also be shocking. I liked doing the secret missions as it added a different element. As for the role playing, this is an area I need to work on and not be so embarrassed to be seen doing. It can make you feel a little silly at times and the DM ends up encouraging you to act in the mind set of your character. Other people are really great at RP and this just brings the game alive and gives you so many funny moments.

There are only two small negatives I can think of to add. The first is that this adventure is actually a squeal to Web of the Spider Queen and because I didn’t play that I don’t know if I missed some important information, which might have helped play in my adventure. My boyfriend did explain some of it to me and the background you get from the Council of Spiders is pretty sound. Still though, playing that adventure first would have been beneficial. Secondly, the ending of this adventure wasn’t very good in my opinion. I was expecting something far better and greater. Okay, maybe not an all out fight with a dragon or some large monster, but a more satisfactory conclusion then the anticlimax of things just returning to normal would have been good. Saying that it’s still a good adventure.

Finally, I’m happy to say that I’ve decided to play another season of D&D! So, there shall be more on this blog about my adventures. I’ve heard that things are slightly changing in the encounters though and that we are going to be given more chance to RP. That should be interesting! Next Wednesday will see the creating of new characters, so if you fancy trying out D&D then I’ve linked the website you need at the bottom. I also found this image whilst searching today and I thought it was cool, also if you click on the link and read about it, it becomes even more interesting and just goes to show that D&D is an ever expanding game of possibilities.

Images from:

http://imperioliancount.wordpress.com/dungeons-dragons/

http://www.pocketplane.net/volothamp/chap8.htm

http://dungeonsmaster.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/council-of-spiders-cover.jpg

http://torontoist.com/2012/08/dungeons-and-dragons-and-improv/

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/

D&D 6&7: The End Is Coming!

I was at D&D last night and some exciting things are going down. Now, the week before we were all called in to this meeting, where we had to do a bit of role playing. Now, we had to decided if we were going to stick together or divide into our houses. This is important because the story could go in a number of different directions. This also connects to the actual decision of what the overall goal should be and I’ve listed them before, but here they are again: Support the male wizards and help gain more control for them, side with Lolth and over thrown the Council of Spiders, create the Demon Weave, or destroy it.

The DMs left the room and we got to talk in our houses and as a group. The numbers in each house were very off though, because there was only one Xorlarrin, three Brigand D’aerthe (Me and boyfriend counted) and the rest 8-10 of were house Melarn. I wasn’t feeling so well and so this meeting seemed like a nice break from playing, only it did involve some deep thinking and politics. I’d already decided though that I’ll side with my boyfriend and fight for myself. My character does appear to be taken on a life of her own now! Also my role playing isn’t very good and like the maths this is something that could do with some more work, but I’ll properly not get better at it. Which, is an odd thing to realise as a writer who often has to imagine myself in the form of different characters and think about their actions and thoughts in situations. That’s in my head though and not out in the open and with other people. Though, I do now believe I’ve been accept by the D&D players and the other people who use the shop to play games in, so to get into rp wouldn’t be a surprise for them.

We talked for about 20 minutes or so. Though it was hard to keep track of what was going on as everyone had different ideas and different understandings of the background information. It become clear that there was going to be 3/4 main speakers. My boyfriend seemed against the goals and wanted to take on Lolth and get revenge for her killing him in the last encounters. Which of course meant I’d have had to gone with him, but I’m not sure that taking on a Goddess is really the way to go and I think I backed out in the end. However, most of the group seemed to stand with Lolth and wanted to build the demon weave. So, when the DMs came back, they stated that the three of them were representing the three house role playing as the leaders; Ash’ala, Hoshtar, Ro’kolor. We had to report back and enter into the discussion about what we wanted to do.

After sometime and people jumping in, we had to convince the leaders that they should support us because they had their own options and we need to swing them if they didn’t agree with us. I thought this was going to hard and more arguments would start, but the main speakers were really good and managed to win the leaders over and so it was decided that we’d carry on where we’d left off, which was collecting the items to make the demon weave.

Now yesterday, we were faced with a large encounter, which could have gone a lot worse if the DM hadn’t had a bit of bad luck with his dice and rolled low, so we got to move before the monsters, which worked very well. I had bad luck with my dice after that though, because I hardly hit with my arrows. Everyone else did far better and though we were faced with eight drow fighters and a priestess. I almost got my sword out in the end because I was doing that badly, but there was little point when I was caught in someone else’s cloud of darkness. We defeated the drow and captured the priestess after that. We decided to question her, but it was pretty useless as she didn’t know much. Killing her ended that encounter. We were done really fast too, because the other tables were still going. I guess it helped that the drow fighters were easy to kill.

Next week is the last week for this story now. I think that’s a shame because it’s been really good and I’ll have to say goodbye to my character. I can’t believe she’s actually surviving this long and it’ll be great if she gets through next week. I’d like to write a short story about her, but the in-depth knowledge that would be needed puts me off a bit. Of course this does mean that I get to make a new character and have new adventures. We got told too that the system is being re-done, so things will be different come Halloween night when we play the first game of the new encounters.

*

On another note, I’ve got an interview tomorrow and I thought I’d write a post about job hunting and interviews either tomorrow or at the weekend. I’m excited about this interview because this job is much more suitable for me, the only problem is I’ve to sit a maths test and I suck at maths. I’m hoping this won’t be my down fall and they’ll be able to see how good I can be. Have to wait and see. The weather won’t be better it seems, it’s raining and dark outside now. I am also reading Howl’s Moving Castle right now and plan to do a review with that against the film, as seems to be my thing at the moment. Also my boyfriend is currently running a story within his web show, which is so worth checking out as its Halloween related. Right, time to go and make pie.

Image from:

http://kirahagen.photoshelter.com/image/I00008EeaX0SLI2E

The Calling Faith

It’s not often I openly discuss my faith with someone. I believe that people have the right to choose if they believe or not and what religion they want to be, regardless of how they were brought up. No one should be forced in to a faith when they are old enough to be aware of it and their own minds. This is because religion can be come a massive part of that person and their thoughts and actions can sometimes reflect their religious teachings. I have nothing against any religion and think that there is one that suits each person and that’s even if you are in the group that doesn’t believe. Historical what religion you supported could have a large impact on your life, but now a days, much more people have turned away from religion and maybe that’s because of science and disproving a lot of what we believed had been fact. I also think it’s because of the way we are bring brought up and society is slowly losing itself to technology.

I’m a Church of England Christian. I was brought up as one and still believe its’ the best faith for me. It suits my own personal beliefs about life and how things should be. This post isn’t about getting people to change religions or to prove that there is some higher powers out there, in fact it’s like the post I wrote about ghosts, it links in to events and reflections about my life right now and I just want to share things with people and get them thinking a bit differently about their own lives.

Up until this Sunday just gone, the last time I went to a church service was Xmas Eve and the carols by candlelight service. There are a number of reason why I stopped going to church, the main two are because I moved to uni and though I could have attended a church there, I didn’t bother. And I stared to loss faith in the victor; no longer finding his sermons enjoyable and inspiring. In fact, I started to disagree with what he was saying in a way. However, I’ve never completely lost my religion and have held on to my belief. I’ve always known that you don’t have to go to church to speak to God. He is everywhere and willing to listen if you take the time to talk to Him.

I’ve been really turning to Him of late for a whole number of reasons. First it was the struggle to get over my ex, then the search for a new boyfriend, then the strength to pass my MA and now it’s the belief to find a job. Saying prayers at night and asking for God’s support and also thanking Him for what I have has been a comfort for as long as I can remember. It’s just nice to have someone to turn to and but your trust in. I also know that sometimes my prayers can be petty. I pray for something in my life and really there’s so much else going on in the world that is far worse then my situation. Of late I’ve just been asking God to give me strength and courage and to guide me when I need it, instead of asking for a job directly. I also ask Him to give the same to my friends and family. I like to support them too and ask God for them when they can’t.

For some reason, I really want to go to church on Sunday. I’m not sure why, but maybe it had something to do with wanting to get back into the fold of my faith. I picked a good Sunday to go as it turned out to be the Harvest. The church was filled with people all there to give food and money to other people who really needed it. There was also a new victor and she really got people going with her sermon. I think that’s a very important part of being a religion’s leader! Seeing my old primary school was also interesting and reminded me so much of being a kid and being fascinated by the stories in the Bible. The children were there to help with the Harvest and to be a part of the community during the time of giving.

When I left I felt really calm and like I had found some inner peace. Somehow I knew not to worry about finding a job and that I should just enjoy my free time and fill it with stuff I want to do. I know that soon I’ll find a job that’s better suited to me, I just have to keep looking and not lose my faith! That can be so hard to do, but I just know that if I believe and keep trying as I’ve done for other things, that something will appear. Speaking of which, whilst writing just now I had a phone interview for one of the jobs I applied for and I’ll be hearing back from them tomorrow if they want to give me an interview. Hopefully, that’s a good sign!

 

 

I’d like to say that I took this photo, but I didn’t. As of yet, I’ve still been unwell to walk through my woods and capture autumn. Though it’s something I plan to do real soon. Autumn is my favourite time of year, because I love watching everything change and nature just seems out in force. I don’t like the colder, wetter weather though nor how dark it is, but the beauty that is currently out there is worth it.

 

Tomorrow, I’ll be out in my home city, handing out more CVs and playing D&D. That’ll be the next post I write. So for the rest of the day I’m going to work on the first chapter of the novel idea by my boyfriend and also do some reading.

 

Images:

 

Author’s own collection (St James’. Liverpool)

 

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/bakya

Down a Snake and Back to Square One


I quit my job today, yeah the one I had my first official day of yesterday. I’m ill at the minute and well this morning I was depending to phone in sick. But I had a lot of time to think last night and I decided that even though my first day had been bad, that clearly the job wasn’t for me. No almost of time training or actually doing this job would have been able to change my personality and my beliefs. I’m naturally a shy, quiet bookworm, who sometimes comes out of her shell to discuss the world and help people. Only my close friends know there is a whole different side to me and that’s my crazy, wild side which I’m scared to show the world because I know I’ll be rejected. I’ve never ignored the realities of the world though or believed that all problems can be solved in books. I love stability, being academic, my comfit zone, my boyfriend and chocolate.
Now, finding a job that I’d be fine to do is proving to be tough. I’m young, bright, eager to learn, have great skills and knowledge, I’m creative and like working in a team just as much as working alone. I don’t mind repetitive tasks, because I can daydream story ideas or else wonder about the meaning of life. I like helping people and leading them. I find I can inspire and get them to see things differently, but what I can’t do is deal with people who won’t/refuse to listen to me. As of yet, I’m still struggling to deal with reject and finding the will to stay positive. It can be a hard thing when all you can see is the negatives, somehow in this situation they always out weigh the positives. But, when I think about it once again I’ve done a lot with my life and have a lot to look forward to still. This is just…like a dropped stitch in a knitted jumper, waiting to be picked up and placed in the right line. Problem is the waiting game is getting to me and also I don’t understand why employers don’t want me. I know I’m being over looked and push to the side like so many other people because of two main things; My lack of experience in the work place since my only jobs have been student guide work for uni and Charity shop volunteering, so employers think I won’t be up to the job or else they don’t offer training.  Secondly, that I’ve been through a lot of eduction and got great grades, which means that employers think I might get bored and don’t want to be in the job for a good length of time, because I’ll want more. Though that’s true, I’d aim for a natural progression up the pyramid.
I’ve no solutions to these problems other then the downgrading one of taking my MA and BA off my CV. I’ve heard that this can work for people, but to me I want to be proud of my achievements as going through uni hasn’t been easy. No one should have to do that to get noticed, but with twice as many people applying for the same job, sometimes doing whatever it takes can give the best results. My current plan is to seek help from the job centre, reflect on what I want to do for the next few years and where I’d like to be in the next 2-5 years, apply for as many jobs including, graduate and internships, as possible but knowing what I’d be able to do and would best suit my skills. Carry on writing and trying to get somewhere with that. I published a 3rd short story today and am just waiting for amazon kindle to release it.
So, the dice I cast out have returned to me and now I’m busy waiting to throw them out again. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck next time.

First Days Are Always The Hardest

It’s true that the first day of anything is always the hardest. Like the first day at school/uni, or the first day in a new city, or the first day on the road to somewhere- recover, treatment, a choice that will change your life- or your first day at a new job. All these times can be a ride of emotions, uncertains, difficult questions, loss of faith, and life choices. Well, today I officially started a new job and I experienced everything listed above.
I’m working as a street fundraiser for the Friends of the Earth (FOE) charity. And that is possibly one of the most difficult jobs anyone could do. In a way you’d think it was easy enough. Go up to people and ask them to sign up to donate money for the charity and to support the campaigns to change things. But there’s a lot more to it then that. It’s all about personality, knowledge, enthusiasm and belief. No amount of training can prepare you for this trying job. The training I had, I didn’t feel was that inspiring for the step I was about to take. I don’t know if that was the way it was delivered or maybe it was just me and I didn’t take out of it all that I should have done.
Also, you’d think you might get more training then just a single day, but this is much more hands on focus training and getting the newbies out there. You can pick up a lot more this way and speaking to the other team members does help. However, I still struggled. I didn’t get anyone to sign up and though I got use to asking people, it was still hard getting them to stop and actual talk to you. It’s fine if people are in a hurry or don’t have the money, but today wasn’t about that, today was about getting people to actually talk to me and that was like mission impossible…..in fact if Tom Cruise showed up and did this job, imagine the number of people he’d get to sign up!!!
My problem at first was talking to people. There’s always that panic talking to the first person, but it does get easier after that and more easier after twenty or so! But then it fell down to me just being unable to stop people and though I tried a number of things that my team members suggested, it didn’t work. Luckily, I wasn’t doing the same thing all day. The team leader had this idea about just getting me to find people to sign up for a campaign on cleaner energy and providing more renewable sources energy that fossil fuels. I made his target of five people, but it must have taken me….4/5 hours just to do that! Tomorrow, I really have to get someone to sign up. It’s important to prove I’ve what it takes to do this job.
Only issue is that I know deep down this job isn’t for me and it’s not what I want to do. I was a bit worried about this before, but now actually doing this it’s shown that my personality isn’t that suitable. Yeah, I can approach people, talk to them and give them all the facts, but I can’t get them enthusistic and inspired enough to sign up. It really takes a certain type of person to fundraise. You have to be very passionate and believe in the cause you are working for and transfer that to people. The bigger charities do have it easier as people know them and what to support them. For smaller charities like FOE, it’s harder because people don’t know and aren’t that interested. Saving the planet is more for superheroes and the plot of Science Fiction. It’s not in the heads of normal people, going about their business and getting on with their lives.
To be honest, my main issue with my job is that I believe that if people wanted to support a charity they would just go and do it. Yeah, making them aware of things can be useful, but if people were that interested then why are they not donating already? People don’t want to be stopped on the streets and questioned, they’ve got stuff to do, places to go, people to see….lives! But…. street fundraisers do a lot, lot more then people think some times….they get people thinking about things and people interested and gain peoples’ support and for some charities street fundraising is the highest source of income.
When I thought about this post, I decided that I wasn’t going to write in a persuasive manner and talk about what FOE does and the campaigns. I wasn’t going to go all out and try and win people over, because of a number of reasons and that’s mainly to do with the fact that I don’t want this blog to be like that and I don’t believe as I’ve said. However, as you’ve guessed by now I’ve had a lot of time to reflected on this and I wrote the next part of this in my diary before.
People are so locked in their own lives and it’s hard to reach out to them. Society really isn’t what it once was and now people don’t know their neighbours or close relatives. They are not interested in helping strangers and the world feels so much more closed down and isolated.
I like helping people and I like doing good things, but it’s hard sometimes and people do feel like they are being taken for a ride or else they are just blinded to things because of the mass-media and stuff. Changing people’s minds is very hard and it’s good when someone can fix things, but that someone isn’t going to be me in this case.
It might have only been my first day fundraising on the streets, but already I known deep down that it’s not for me. I’ve a bigger calling somewhere else, though no idea when that’ll come. It can take a lot of time with these things too and finding even a job at the minute is hard. But I shall be looking for one again and hoping that it’s the right one this time. I don’t know what is going to happen in the next few days and weeks. I’ve no idea when I shall either quit or be made too, but at least I can safely say that I’ve now tried it and it wasn’t for me.
And this is a picture of a honey bee. It’s not random….this is one of the campaigns FOE is running and it’s to save the bees who are currently dying out and we need them because honey is in everything and they are the best pollinators….every seen the Bee Movie? The world could look like that if the bees all die…..

Images from:
http://controversies.msa.ac.uk/blogs/thames1/friends-of-the-earth/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:European_honey_bee_extracts_nectar.jpg
http://www.foe.co.uk/