Chat With a Grammar Nazi Serial Killer by Ryan Suvaal Review

I received this copy for review however, all my opinions are honest.

Given that it’s such a short story I can’t really review it the way I reviewed other books on this blog and therefore I will keep my thoughts concise and straight to the point. This is a no-spoiler review!

I couldn’t help but enjoy this story for what it is: a funny, interesting dissection of the human brain and how we operate when we’ve been wronged. Throughout the story the serial killer is blunt and straight-to-the-point, she doesn’t seem remorseful at all except for the little clues of her humanity which he sprinkles during her conversation with Corrigan.

I quite enjoyed the dialogue because how straightforward it was, probably due to the interview style. I also enjoyed the prospect of the story – the dark web interview was interesting and the main character is funny and unashamed which makes for a fun to read protagonist.

Although I do find it ironic that there are quite a few spelling and grammar mistakes throughout this short story given the prospect of the plot.

Overall, I definitely recommend giving it a read!

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER MADE THEM)

Writing Blocks and How to Get Over Them

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Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

I think a lot of people have this misconception about when it’s normal to find one’s passion. People ask children what they want to be when they grow up and they put their kids in a thousand (exaggeration) different activities hoping that they would find their niche – something that feels natural and exciting. Looking back, I think I always knew what my passion was – the type of person that I am has facilitated this passion of mine.

I am a creative person, I have always been a creative person ever since I was a kid. I used to paint with watercolours at four years old (that’s how I learnt to spell my name) and I was constantly in my own head, dreaming up an endless list of scenarios from being a princess in space to being a bratty yet trendy teenager like Sharon from Braceface. The universe has always been endless for me. I especially loved the creative writing aspect of my lessons in school – I took great pride in my stories and wanted everyone to read them. That hasn’t changed much.

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Then I became a pre-teen and I moved to the UK and my imagination kept flourishing. It has helped me through tough times, laying in bed with my eyes closed, just living my best life away from my real life. Then I got into anime and music, I started writing stories about the things that I liked such as Naruto and Tokio Hotel and as I grew up my writing improved and so did my love for this creative outlet. It wasn’t just a hobby or a passion anymore, it was my safe place. It allowed me to bend rules to a breaking point, to experiment and grow up with my characters. I then took two years of creative writing in college and to this day I believe that those lessons were the best lessons I’ve ever had.

My creative writing class was a second home to me, even though I was there only twice a week. It symbolised the way my creativity rolled in waves of pure excitement. I started writing poetry and plays and I came up with so many great ideas that I don’t think I’d be able to write them all in this lifetime. In fact, my creative writing teacher at the time encouraged me to start my own blog so thanks to him I am here, doing something I love.

I always knew writing was my passion but as I grew up I became addicted to it, I began seeing it as a source of comfort in hard times and good times and all the time, to be honest. I spend my days and nights jotting down ideas and writing poetry and while that might sound boring or redundant to some, it’s usually the highlight of my day.

I think it was necessary to preface this post with this very (very) long story about how I grew to love creative writing because it explains why I have such great trouble with writing blocks. I think because I put so much effort and love into my stories and poems and plays, I tend to burn out pretty quickly. I can write five chapters for one of my stories and come up with ten different poems in between seminars but by the end of the day I would feel so tired and burned out that the mere idea of being creative annoys me. This would go on for a couple of days, maybe a few weeks even but after a while, that dependence kicks in and I find it hard to get back into writing right away.

I realize that I am not alone in this – many great writers, if not all of them, dealt and still deal with writer’s block but this is my way of pulling myself out of a writing funk. Here are a few of my tips:

Get inspired

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I guess it’s easier said than done, right? Personally, I get inspired by everything, especially music. I can listen to Cherry Pie by Warrant or Barbie Girl by Aqua and somehow I’ll make a drabble out of it. People watching is also great, although I advise being casual about it, not creepy. Just sitting in a coffee shop with a notepad or whatever device you write on will be enough to spark some sort of interest and creativity in that beautiful brain of yours.

Carry a notebook everywhere

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This works with mobile phones or laptops as well, of course. One thing that we were told over and over again in my creative writing module at university (yup, I did creative writing at university as well as college) was to always carry something where you can jot down ideas – even words that elicit some sort of creativity. I usually use my phone’s memo app for this since I already carry half of my belongings around with me but to each their own.

Write daily

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Yeah, yeah, I know that everyone and their mother will tell you to do this but it is true. No matter how crappy your writing is that day, you should write something. Be it a poem or a song or even a short story. This will allow you to get into the mindset and focus on writing. Let yourself be creative! In fact, one of my favourite things to do back in the day was to sit down at my desk, take a random word/phrase/song and just write a page of A5 about it. It could be any form or theme but it gave me such great joy.

Write drabbles / 7 Minute Writing

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(FYI – it’s almost impossible to find a GIF of Deb without her swearing xD)

Something I learned in college was to just let go. We were told to take out a pen and a paper, we were given a prompt such as ‘The last thing I told my best friend…’ and we were given seven minutes to just write. The idea was to write whatever came to mind, even if it was the word ‘boring’ repeated over and over. I think that allowing your hand to write down your stream of consciousness you allow yourself to be free of expectations of what you writing should be like. I mean, let’s be honest here for a moment, we all have expectations. I’ve been writing since I was ten years old, for nearly a decade, and I still read the works of some of our greatest authors and I compare myself to them because that’s just human nature but by knowing you’re allowed to just word-vomit onto a page you are putting away your expectations and focusing solely on getting your point across. This works amazingly well if you do it every day!

Just do it

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I think that with a lot of things in life we always look for some sort of sign or we think we need to plan things before we do them. The same applies to writing or any other form of a creative outlet. Whenever I’m in a writing funk I have to remind myself that sometimes motivation can be a method of procrastination because it keeps me in that safe space of knowing I’m doing something towards my goal but in reality, I’m not actually achieving anything. Instead, I just focus on being determined and disciplined because if I’m determined enough to tell a story then I’m going to be disciplined enough to pull through.

So here are a couple of my tips on how to get over a writing block. I really love writing for this blog, it’s almost as therapeutic as looking for GIFs to fit my posts! Let me know what you think about the GIFs and whether they should stay or go? Also, disclaimer, all of the GIFs used in this post are NOT mine – credit goes to whoever created them. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is about how I stopped fearing change.

With love,

Sonny xx

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Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Ravenclaw

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Welcome to the second part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series! This time, I am going to give you some studying tips and advice that relates to Ravenclaw. As I mentioned in the first instalment of this series, Harry Potter is still very much relevant in today’s society even though it’s a fiction story about a teenage wizard. A lot of people relate to the Hogwarts houses system and some people even base some of their decisions and beliefs based on that.

This list is not meant to come across as law – people are multidimensional which means that what works for one Ravenclaw might not work for another. (I realize that I’m taking this way too seriously but bare with me).

Without further ado, here are three Ravenclaw study tips.

Ravenclaw

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Engaging

Helpful

Competitive

Talented

Productive

Teach it to others

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Learning is a layered process for a lot of people. When we first learn something we add the first layer which we then revise and add the second layer. To really consolidate our learning, it’s useful to teach the knowledge we just acquired to others. Not only does it point out the parts we didn’t understand but it also forms mental cues through repetition.

Discuss

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It’s easy to learn something from a book or a lecture and then dust our hands because it’s all done but just as we are multidimensional, the subjects we study are too. It’s worth studying subjects in depth, analysing and deepening our understanding not only because it helps secure those extra points in exams and projects but also because it builds confidence in our knowledge and our ability to listen to others with an open mind.

Quiz Yourself

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This particular point doesn’t work for me but a lot of my friends swear by it. Quizzing yourself, whether by using apps or covering the answers with an object or your hand is useful because it lets you know whether you really understood the concept and it further consolidates your knowledge through repetition.

So here it is, three study tips for all you lovely Ravenclaws out there. Thanks a lot for reading and please make sure to check the first part of this series which is all about Gryffindor study tips as well as my last blog post which is about my kpop journal.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs are not mine, credit goes to whoever made them)

Bullet Journaling: My 3 Favourite Spreads

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Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Up to this point, I think I managed to portray myself as someone who is constantly trying to get their sh*t together be it through self-care, self-acceptance, reading and being positive. Of course, that doesn’t work every time because everyone has those days, y’know? But something that really helps me keep myself on track in every aspect of my life is my bullet journal which I carry around with me at all times. My bullet journal is part of my morning routine and night routine (blog post coming soon) and it also serves as a reminder throughout the day.

I began bullet journaling at the end of my first year of college – I remember it so clearly… Scrolling through Tumblr on the study motivation hashtag and seeing all these amazing bullet journals. It left such a good impression that I started researching and watching Youtube videos (instead of studying for the exam I had the next morning). The next day, right before my exam (and I mean, right before – I have no idea how I made it to that exam) I went and bought my first bullet journal; an A5 black Moleskine that is still my favourite bullet journal to this day. My first spread in that notebook was a June calendar.

But what is a bullet journal? According to the Bullet Journal website: “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” (http://bulletjournal.com/) But to me, the bullet journal system means something a bit different. To me, my bullet journal is a physical, visual representation of my brain. Whatever goes through my brain is written down in my bullet journal such as reminders, to-do lists, quotes, song lyrics, story ideas, poems, blog post ideas, top 5 lists, research, birthdays, brain-dumps, etc.

Anyway, enough of me rambling about my absolute adoration for this amazing system, here are three of my favourite spreads that I couldn’t possibly do without:

Calendar

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This one is super basic but I guess the basics are always the most important. The calendar in my bullet journal is one of my favourites spreads simply because it’s so accessible when I have everything in that little (not so little) notebook. Yeah, I can use the calendar on my phone but it’s easier for me to flip from my weekly spread to my reminders and then back to my calendar instead of fumbling with my phone and writing things down and then writing them on my phone – it’s just too much work, I’d rather have it all in one place. Something else I like about my calendar is that it’s always paired with my monthly page which is basically a doodle/quote that fills the whole page. I think the reason why I like the monthly page so much is that it makes it easier for me to visually separate let’s say, July from June.

Weekly spreads

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Another basic one but again, super important. My weekly spread is where my productivity lies. Everything I have to do throughout the week is there, so easily accessible. I can just switch to my weekly spread and see everything I have to do that day. I also like my weekly spreads because of the way I bullet journal; I am a very visual person, I like colours and aesthetics and even though I’m not an amazing artist, I enjoy doodling. My weekly pages allow me to be creative and so they always have a different theme/aesthetic which is super fun to look at every day.

Research/Thoughts/Poetry/Quotes/Etc.

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I feel like not a lot of people actually do these or if they do they never put them out there for people to see. You always see beautiful pictures of daily spreads or monthly overviews but you never see these. My bullet journal is my brain and so whenever I’m listening to a podcast, reading a book or watching a YT video and I want to remember what I’m hearing I just take notes in my bullet journal. Same thing with quotes and song lyrics. I also write poetry in my bullet journal and I plan chapters for my stories and describe my characters. I think that having these types of spreads in your bullet journal not only makes your notebook more unique, it also helps you stick to bullet journaling and being productive as well as it keeps your mind constantly creative and occupied.

Honourable mentions:

Gratitude log

Sleep log

Wishlist

So here are my three favourite bullet journal spreads as well as some honourable mentions. I hope this list helped you maybe by giving you some ideas for your bullet journal or maybe even inspired you to start your own. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which was the first post in my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Gryffindor

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Harry Potter culture is still very much alive and very strong in today’s society. Everyone knows which house they belong to, they know the house’s traits and strongly identify with them throughout their lives. I am not ashamed to say that I am totally one of those people, in fact, I even made my own Hogwarts house when I was younger.

I’m not entirely sure why we want to compartmentalise ourselves and put labels on ourselves based on a fictional world but I know that personally, I get a sense of comfort out of feeling like I have that one thing figured out. Since growing up and learning about ourselves, evolving and becoming different people, Hogwarts houses can become a bit of a safety net if we don’t actually know who we are.

Therefore, I came up with a way to incorporate my Hogwarts house (Slytherin) into my everyday life, or more like my everyday student life. Here is my first instalment of Hogwarts Houses Study Tips – Gryffindor edition.

Gryffindor House

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Brave
Loyal
Impulsive
Chivalrous
Stubborn
Morally Tenacious

Get up and be active

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Known as ‘do-ers’, kinesthetic learners retain information better by using a hands-on approach to short-term memory studying. To retain information for a long-term period, a multitude of different techniques could be used such as colourful note-taking, listening to a lecture/seminar, lab demonstrations, etc. This form of learning is useful for people who have a harder time focusing and for those who enjoy moving a lot and focus better that way.

Apply class knowledge to everyday life

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By applying class knowledge to everyday life, it helps information stick better by creating mental cues through association (think about the Bone Dance from Hannah Montana). Using mental cues to constantly remind yourself of information that you have learnt in class is useful because it helps your brain repeat knowledge and thus remember things better.

Change up your study area from time to time

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A different study environment is useful because the brain connects the information it’s being fed to the environment it is in. Letting our brains associate all information with the same room makes the information blend together. Therefore, some ideas for a change of scenery are coffee shops, school’s library or your local library, the park on nice sunny days or even different parts of your house. Maybe instead of always studying at your desk, you can study at the kitchen table instead.

Quick disclaimer: all the information I’m giving you guys is basically what I learnt from doing Psychology at A Levels so for proper, in-depth knowledge on some of the things I’m talking about you can just do a quick google search to find out more info.

So here it is. The first out of four blogs dedicated to study tips based on your Hogwarts house. As you can probably tell I took the words associated with Gryffindor and applied them to different study tips. Hope this post has been helpful in some sort of way! Also, make sure to check out my last post which is 7 organization skills that I find work for me.

With love,
Sonny xx

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