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Hello all! I’ve had a day off work today, which basically translates to: I’ve had a day of sitting on my laptop, writing in abundance… And during my writing session, I have managed just over 1,000 words in my novels first draft, I’ve started a poem and also a short-story. In the midst of a blank spell – or writers block, for those of you who write – I began looking through my old memory stick from school. And oh boy do I regret it…

I discovered a file with all of my A-Level English work in it. Work that, at the time, I was rather proud of. In fact, I used to read it to anyone that was willing to listen (or at least anyone who was a good enough actor to pretend that they were…). And now, after rereading it for the first time in nearly 2 years, I’ve come to realise why everyone had a bit of a strange look on their faces as I recited my ‘genius’.

So, I want to share with you some of my teribleness. But beware: this is some truly AWFUL writing. Take a look for yourself – if you dare!

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Literature through time: Female language reformed

In the vast world of literature, it goes without saying that female authors are often overlooked and stereotyped negatively. Throughout time they have been viewed as the less powerful gender but this has changed and they have evolved as novelists to reform female writing forever.

Up until the mid-1600’s an established female writer was yet to grace the scene: manipulating their pen in order to create master pieces. Aphra Behn is credited with being the first female writer to ever make a living through her works, until this time the world of literature was totally dominated by men. Behn’s arrival ignited the initial spark in female literature and after her success there would be many more female writers to keep the proverbial flame burning. As more and more female authors were on the rise the idea that women could not be writers was swiftly abolished and was never to be heard again.

Although, commonly heard of stereotypes still exist to this day – not only of female authors but of females in general, the two can easily become confused and can often coincide causing an unsettlement amongst female novelists. This unsettlement is predominantly due to the fan-base of fiction, they confuse typical female related clichés with women in the writing world mistakenly thinking that all of the authors are ‘girly girls’ this implies a lack of vulgarity and imagination when writing. Often publishing agencies are the source of this ‘girly girl’ notion, they give the writer’s novels covers that connote the typical female image. Graphology including flowers and bright colours. 

The stereotypes of today’s female writers very much stem from the ideas of Robin Lakoff and Deborah Tannen, both women are established language theorists whose research and findings are received globally. Both theorists essentially say that women are less vulgar than men and because both of them are widely-renowned,  their theories are widely-believed. But the vulgarity of female writers goes beyond gender and gender theories. It delves into context: The genre of the writing, the age of the writer, the upbringing they have had and the audience they are appealing to. These factors are more relevant to the style of today’s female writers as they are becoming less dissimilar to that of men. Especially in genres like crime fiction.

An example of a vulgar female novelist would be Dianne Gallagher with her debut novel ‘Too Dark To sleep’, this novel is a showcase of literary brilliance. She is perhaps the epitome of a non-typical female writer, much like Behn – who was the first female writer to make a name for herself – she will leave her mark on the ever-expanding time line that is the world of literature. They are both the first to accomplish something: Behn the first actual female novelist and Gallagher the first in modern-day to cause the world of literature to disregard a lot of stereotypes. Gallagher’s novel fits into the genre of crime fiction and because of this she has to attempt to appeal to the audience of crime fiction and what they are used to. She does this, ultimately, by contradicting and reversing the theories of Lakoff and Tannen.

As you can tell, my writing well… Yeah, it sucked. Go on, you can agree. I won’t hold it against you – not too much anyway…

It’s just so… pretentious. I sacrificed articulateness to come across as intelligent and it failed. Miserably. It doesn’t flow, it doesn’t crunch and quite frankly, the vast majority of it just doesn’t make any sense. at least not to me, anyway.

The take home? Never be discouraged by the thought of your writing sucking eggs. Or by the thought that it might never improve. Because trust me, it can, it does and it will – you just have to keep working at it. Writing is a continuous journey and no matter how good you are or how good you get, there will always be room for improvement. It’s all about findind your voice, improving it,  harnessing it and then using it to tell the tales which your heart so desperately wishes to spill onto the pages.

So start your writing journey now and be proud of your improvements along the way.

“The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come.” I remember that quote being on a poster on the wall in the IT office at school, to which one of my crazy IT teachers added: “Yes, that’s how women drive.” Oh. Dear. If any feminists are reading this, well, I’m truly sorry. But admit it – it is pretty funny…

In the great words of Jeremy Clarkson, on that bombshell…

Happy writing!