Making Changes | My Third NDCS YAB Residential

So, for those new to my blog, I am deaf. I have two hearing aids and am currently learning BSL (British Sign Language). 

Anyway, in March last year, I was recruited onto the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB). Since then, I have helped NDCS with their work and have attended two other residentials in the past:  Birmingham and Glasgow.

The YAB is basically a group of 18 deaf young people from across the UK, which means that I have made friends for life over the three meetings so far. Also, I said in my Birmingham post that I wanted to learn BSL. Now, I am picking it up so easy!

The Golden Post Box in Leeds, dedicated to boxer Nicola Adams.

Similarly, a BSL training session was one of the activities on the Saturday. It was great as alongside revising basic signs I already know, I learnt some new ones as well – which was brilliant! Throughout the weekend we also discussed issues concerning deaf young people, volunteering, presentation skills, the importance of information and more!

Aside from that, we also played games and had other fun activities. In particular, on the Saturday we went to Frankie and Benny’s for dinner (where I had delicious doughballs, pepperoni/American Hot pizza and a chocolate fudge cake for dessert). After that, we returned to our rather posh hotel for a movie night, where we watched Divergent.

On a separate note, I have seen Divergent before, but I struggle to hear the American accent on some occasions. So, having subtitles is a big help!

Lastly, I always try to become more independent at each residential. Whether it is getting a plane on my own for Glasgow or navigating myself around a new city. This time I had to navigate around two train stations (in other words, I had to “change” – hence the title). That’s why the post is called Making Changes – not only for that reason but making changes as part of the YAB.

So later in the year it will be our last YAB meeting – which is really sad. This will be held in London. So adding to the topic of independence, the next challenge is to navigate myself around all the tubes and trains of London on my own!

Stay tuned for the next update!


Musical Discovery: “Something New” by Axwell ^ Ingrosso

After Swedish House Mafia disbanded, the trio have all explored different musical opportunities. For Axwell and Ingrosso, they have joined forces to produce more electronic dance anthems, this time for their latest track, Something New.

With the latest Beats advert appearing everywhere on television recently, it was almost impossible for me not to hear this song soon enough (as it is the soundtrack for the advert). Funnily, upon listening to the track in full on YouTube, the advertisement beforehand was for Beats.

Anyway, to the song itself. Although the vocals are uncredited, the male vocals add a chant-like feel to the duo’s previous anthems. This is further shown in the chorus, with an almost vocal solo singing the line: “We belong to something new.”

The song then develops its catchy, memorable and somewhat guitar-like melody. With it being upbeat and fast-paced, the song immediately becomes another unique anthem to enter the electronic dance scene.

What do you think? Comment below!


P.S. This week’s Weekly Update shall be up tomorrow!

The Casual Vacancy: The Benefits of Connected Characters

Once again I have gone against reading the book before the TV series/film, and have begun watching the TV adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

It was the series’ opening episode that prompted me to try and read the opening pages. Sarah Phelps’ ability to introduce all of the main characters in such a short amount of time is commendable. Alongside this, praise must also go to Phelps for her ability to explain the connections between characters in a clear manner. It is these ‘character connections’ that I wanted to talk about today.

I remember starting out as a writer and falling into the trap of assuming that all the ‘good guys’ like each other and all the ‘bad guys’ work together, and the only conflict comes when it’s the big battle of good versus evil. Whilst this is traditional in some respects, there is no realism to this. Instead, giving relationships between characters a little bit of a rough edge, actually makes it more realistic.

Immediately in the first episode we learn that there is a friendship between the character of Fats and Arf, but it’s tainted by Fats’ bizarre and weirdly extroverted character.

Similarly, Fats relationship with Krystal isn’t the traditional, cliché and perfect love story. In some respects, it’s a tad awkward and doesn’t flower straight away. 

Aside from The Casual Vacancy, the characters of Daryl and Carol in The Walking Dead also presents a unique form of romance. Their strong and vigilant characters mean that a cliché  romance story would be disastrous. Instead, their subtle romance intrigues the viewer more.

So I suppose it’s more than avoiding clichés, it’s having a strong psychological link with your characters, and imagining what characteristics they like in other people. As a writer, you can then imagine these clashes or friendships and these will bring an interesting side to your story.

That is what I’ve learnt from The Casual Vacancy so far after watching it. What do you think of the TV series? Comment below!


The Book Lovers Tag!

I have been tagged by Meghan over at The Novel Coffee to do The Book Lovers Tag. Thanks for tagging me, Meghan – here are my answers!

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

I tend to read on the sofa in my living room.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

This depends. It’s often what I have to hand. If a bookmark’s available (i.e. not in another book), then I use that. Otherwise, a spare piece of paper such as a receipt or tiny bit of pape will do. 

3. Can you stop reading anytime you want or do you have to stop at a certain page, chapter, part, etc.?

I always like to stop at the end of a chapter if I can. If not that, then a page which doesn’t end mid-sentence. If I’m in a rush or don’t have time, then I just stop anywhere.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

I never have done either, so nope.

5. Can you read while listening to music or watching TV?

Nope. I read silently in my head so listening to music or watching TV at the same time would distract me. Having said that, I am OK with reading on public transport – weirdly.

6. One book at a time, or several at once?

I have read numerous books at once and I manage, but now I’ve gone back to reading one at a time, I prefer that.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

I am always cautious with where I take my books. I mostly read at home, but I sometimes read elsewhere.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

I always prefer reading silently in my head.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

Never! If I ever feel the urge to do that I give up on the book as it’s obviously not a ‘gripping’ read. Also, I hate spoilers.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

I care a lot about my books. I never try to bend my books. But of course, I have to be able to read it, so if that means that I have to bend the spine, so be it.

11. Do you write in books?

Never. Even when I studied books in English I could never write in my copies. I would always write my notes separately. I never write in my books!

Now I tag…

Musical Discovery: “Sugar” by Maroon 5

Maroon 5’s Sugar is the latest track to be taken from their new album, V. In this song, funky guitar riffs mix with Levine’s unique and soulful vocals to create a feel-good pop song.

With a slightly slow tempo, the focus shifts to Levine’s vocals and the track lyrics. Then, when the song builds up to the chorus, Adam Levine demonstrates his unique vocal talent with high-pitched soul.

Aside from the audio, the music video is as feel-good as the track itself. With the band surprising fans’ weddings in Los Angeles.

Overall, a great, vibrant track from Maroon 5. What do you think? Comment below!


Writing Update: Solving Enigmatic Characters

The problem with the enigmatic characters within my novel is that they are enigmatic even to me!

At the start, I could not create a complete plot because I didn’t know what their aims were, nor the basic details of each character. They all felt enigmatic because I lacked defining details. But now, I have a sense of character, and the flaws which make them credible characters.

So now comes the plot – a tangled mess which has sub-plots nestled within a wider, main plot.

This will be interesting.


Eastenders: A Crime Writer’s Reaction | The Friday Article

After 10 months of waiting, the identity of Lucy Beale’s killer was revealed yesterday to be that of half-brother Bobby Beale.

As Jane enters the house to find Lucy dead on the floor, she turns to find Bobby with the jewellery box in his hand. At this point, Bobby explains that “she started it” – creating the idea that the motive was down to nothing more than sibling rivalry.

In a special flashback episode which aired yesterday, the night of the murder was played again from Lucy’s viewpoint, developing motives and creating further suspects.

But whilst the episode explained “whodunnit”, the motive and how Bobby killed Lucy are still a mystery.

With crime fiction now shifting towards psychology and the motive, viewers only being given the killer’s identity is disappointing.

Another element of surprise is Bobby’s absence from the final line-up. Whilst I praise the show’s ability to provide a shock twist to even non-viewers, other viewers may consider the red herrings to be a waste of 10 months.

However, if the twist is to be justified, the motive must be a solid one. I hope this is revealed in tonight’s semi-live episode.