Thursday, 24 December 2009
I am taking a festive break from a week or so as I need to recharge my batteries and also the Macbook has asked for some annual leave. I can't say no, she has helped me write the majority of the novel.
I hope everyone has a happy and joyful time and don't forget to leave a mince pie out for Father Christmas.
See you on the other side!
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Three failed attempts. Some people would have given up, headed back to the poetry and short stories, maybe tried again in another decade. I did not want to be beaten.
Having ‘thinking time’
I let the idea swim around. Made notes, Gave some thoughts to the plot.
I normally write a few hundred words and then make a few scribbled notes. Planning is for school assignments but this time I planned the structure. Post-it notes were my saviour.
Dragging yourself to the writing desk after a full day at the office is sometimes hard. Spending 7.5 hours staring at the screen only to come home and do the same for another 2-3 hours in the evening. I needed a target – initially 250 words every day. Nearer the end it was 500.
Just writing the book that I want to read and not writing for the market.
Not caring about the first draft being perfect.
I stopped reading ‘writing manuals’ for the whole time I was writing the novel. My only concern was about getting the story on to the page. ‘Technical’ bits are for later.
Other things that helped:
- Drinking hot blackcurrant.
- Remembering Anne Lamott’s in ‘Bird by Bird’ – first drafts can be shitty. That is their purpose.
- Reading other writers blogs as they recorded their novel progress.
- Keeping a notebook near me at all times – ideas always spring up when you least expect them.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
The plan is to print off the whole manuscript and then hide it for a few months. I am going to keep myself in the writing mood by finally finishing some stories, writing new ones, getting back into 'morning pages' or as I like to call them 'before bedtime pages.' I am hoping that by doing some 'free' writing will release some locked away ideas. I'm also going to read some writing reference books and do some crafty things too.
WOW - I actually did it!
First draft word count - 82,390
Friday, 11 December 2009
Short Circuit is the kind of book I wished was around when I did my Masters and Degree. This book has a different author for each chapter as they explore the important elements of a short story. Reading their writing process is more insightful to a writer rather than the 'How to' approach that you find in most creative writing books. As well as using the advice for short story writing I also believe you can adapt some of the ideas for novel writing too. The reading lists and short exercises at the end of each chapter are really great for writers block cures!
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
But I want to finish in two weekends time. I need to stay focused and just attached my bum to the seat and not move until I have reached my daily word counts.
Over all word count - 80,775.
Must. Write. Tonight.
I'm actually writing this blog post as novel writing avoidance.
Now. Back. To. Writing.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
There are some conditions just like there is with the Oscars. (e.g. Make a better film, win again, thank God and your Mother in the acceptance speech). So here are the more nicer conditions:
* 1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
* 2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
* 3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
* 4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
* 5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
* 6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
* 7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
Okay, Number one, two, three are done.
Seven things about me:
- I dream of one day being published in Mslexia.
- I don't drink tea or coffee because it gives me headaches but more importantly its a sign of being an adult.
- Pizza reminds me of sick.
- I tried to write a science fiction novel when I was 18 and all the characters had names that either began with a 'X' or ended with a 'Z.'
- I prefer a night in either reading/writing/playing scrabble/watching a film rather than being sick in a nightclub toilet after having too many vodka redbulls.
- I have nightmares about spiders. They are so bad that I wake up screaming and climbing out of the bed.
- I like writing poetry but haven't done any this year.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
I am currently at 78,00-ish words for the first draft of my novel. I can see the end and its two and a half chapters away. I have done some sums. If I write at least 250 words every day then I could be finished by Christmas Eve. Exciting stuff.
Now, I need to make sure I don't get too excited and stop writing all together.
A more constructive blog post coming soon. One about Kreativ award, one with a Q&A and one about something else.
Sunday, 29 November 2009
In the old days (I am talking about most of my writing time until last year) I would spend one day doing nothing but write. Whole stories, whole plots planned. Go, go,go. I would write until my hand hurt, typed until the words started to blur, ripping out pages until most of the notebook was in a pile on the floor. Then nothing for the better part of a week. I might do a light edit but other than that it was a recovery until the next time. Then another outburst.
Things could not go on like that. I had two failed attempts at writing a novel, several stories half finished, jam packed with cliches and one dimensional characters. I was spending more time having writing fatigue. I finally found my self blocked, unable to think, unmotivated.
Now I try and sit down at least five evenings each week, maybe a few hours during the weekend and I will write. Smaller chunks than before, bigger chunks if I have a story desperate to be told. My writing has more of a routine. Motivation, determination are my friends. I am fighting any writing block with a punch. Sometimes I need a rest and I take them, promising myself to be back at the desk tomorrow or at least making jottings in the notebook.
I have had the most productive writing year, ever.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
You can read the review here: Tomlit Review.
Thank you - It means a lot especially as I have just used a microwaveable bowl in the microwave and burnt a hole in it. No cornflake cakes tonight!
Friday, 20 November 2009
The post was about my blog post from the other month when I had new notebook dilemma. I am now currently half way through my A5 sized Moleskin notebook. I normally go for smaller notebooks as I like to carry them around but I won this one via a competition on Twitter. It means I have had to buy a bigger bag but that's no hardship.
Thank you Notebook Stories.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
I am also currently reading a really good book on short story writing, Short Circuit. I am planning on writing another post on the blog at a later date. Plus I will be hosting (for the first time!) a guest post as well. More details to follow.
I have five more chapters left to write and then the first draft will be finished and the start of editing/redrafting begins. I had a plan the other month that it could be possible to finish the first draft by Christmas but now I am hoping for January. I'm not writing every day to actually meet my self-inflicted deadline. I have the motivation but not the time at the moment. Will try harder.
Overall word count - 72,135
Thursday, 12 November 2009
I took the concept of the 'found poem' and wrote this short piece. It is all based on a conversation overheard at a train station one afternoon. The train was late and the character was marching up and down the platform. He had left his laptop unattended on a nearby bench as he had this conversation. Thankfully no one stole it.
I might expand the story one day.
The Man Waiting For a Train
Monday, 9 November 2009
The idea for Pay it Forward is to send the first three people who comment three small gifts. In return they will do the same.
This reminds me of the film Pay it Forward with the little boy from Sixth Sense doing random acts of kindness.
Now it is my turn. I am really excited about buying these little gifts! I already have some ideas. So its over to you! SO leave a comment in the box!
Sunday, 8 November 2009
You can read Visting Time here or on FlashShot's homepage. The last ten posts are usually kept on the website so it could disappear in ten days or so. If it does than I will publish it on the blog.
Friday, 6 November 2009
WordPLAY on Tuesday, reading a great book at the moment and also a few exciting things in the pipeline. This includes me doing Pay It Forward in the next week or so. Basically three people will get a present from me and then they will do the same. But more on that in a future post. Also there will be a guest post in December. More details in a future post too!
Actually writing this week has been good but not as much as usual. I wanted to do some last night but a headache saw that session cancelled.
Over all word count for the novel - 67,569.
I am now three quarters of the way!
I also like this post on Angry Robot Book's website - Its about National Novel Writing Month. I especially like the paragraph saying that even 500 words a day is good enough. You are a writer even if you don't complete the task. And writing in one month only does not make you a GOOD writer. Practice does. I like Novel writing month just for the motivation but I tried once when I was a student and failed. Now there is a full time job, other complications - I like the pace I'm writing this novel.
You can read the article here.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
At first I was worried having looked at the event page on Facebook and saw there were a LOT of people coming. Deep breaths, deep breaths. I thought I might stumble over my words, read the wrong page, stutter like a nervous wreak but a few vodka and cokes and the nerves seemed to evaporate.
I read 'Blood on your Graduation Gown.' Most of the story is based on true events e.g. me getting hit on the nose by a motarboard. Not good. Painful at the time but now a comedic piece of fiction. I got some laughs from the audience which was brilliant! Also the other performers were great too. My groupie My boyfriend had a great time too!
I would definitely recommend reading or even attending the event. The Good Ship in Kilburn is a really nice venue with the stage tucked into a lower level area.
Payment was chocolate and vodka. You can't ask for more really!
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Preparation Step Three: Last ditch Attempts
- Reading through story. Checking for an errors and that it also flows on the tongue.
- Printing off the manuscript in HUGE font so you can read it tomorrow evening.
- Planning outfit - flowery dress, cowboy boots and tights. Okay, okay. Planning the outfit was my first thought.
- Trying not to get nervous or too over the top. Deep breath, it will be fine.
- REMEMBER to google directions before leaving work tomorrow!
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Preparation Step Two: Making Patrick Bateman* Proud
- People have recently been asking me where they can read my stories. So I write down my blog link on scraps of paper. Than I thought, having seen other bloggers doing the same - how about Business cards? All the recommendations were for Moo.com. You have full design control. So I did. I went for 'writer' on them because that is what I do, I write. Putting 'Author' on them is not quite true. An author to me is someone with a book published.
I went for pictures of my bookcase and also the name of my blog in scrabble form. I like them. Business cards always remind me of this scene from American Psycho.
- Tell friends and family. I have sent text messages and also the event invitation to friends on Facebook. Most have declined or not answered. Im not going to badger anyone but just remember that I have been bored (sorry, I mean entertained) at your performances/gigs/concerts so its payback.
- Also here's the poster for the event:
*Patrick Bateman is the main character from American Psycho.
Watching from the Sidelines
This is one of my more experimental stories. Beginning, Middle and End exist in different places. Its a ghost story but not a scary story.
I wrote this piece for one of my fiction modules in my third year. The original was in ten handmade phamplets plus an instruction book. This story is also special to me as it was the first piece written after my operation. That was the point that I knew that if I wanted to write than it was time for me to pull up my socks and do some writing.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Preparation Step One: The Story
I have 10 mins to read a short story. The last time I did something like that was back in undergraduate times. In one presentation I used Jelly Babies as props. This time it is me, a mic and a handwritten story by me. Scary. Scary. Feelings of nervousness and excitement are colliding at the moment.
1.) Pick a story to read. This sounds simple doesn't it? Well for me it was a long, hard task. I practiced with a few pieces. One was too, too short and another was 13 mins and I was only half way through the story. A story for ten mins. The BBC website says that between 1900-2000 words is ten mins.
2.) Edit said story. The one I will be reading is a new, fresh, unpublished piece. The story will be ready for Tuesday.
3.) Read the story to yourself. Read the story out loud. Pick the right 'voice'. Maybe the posh one, not the duck one.
4.) More reading.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
I seem to have been wrong after initially thinking chapter four and five were going to be the hardest to write. Chapter four was the funniest to write for a long time. Chapter five is fitting together with the rest of the story better than the first post-it notes. I don't think planning should be strict. As markers and reminders, yes but not regimented.
Over all word count for novel - 64,735
Curriculum Vitaes are so Last Year is now live at Metazen.
This story was original about eyebrows but seemed to evolve into another office story. But this one is different because its also about eyebrows.
I really enjoyed writing this story.
So, one more time for the cheap seats at the back (I love that saying) : Curriculum Vitaes are so Last Year. (Click on the link).
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
- A flash fiction story will be appearing at Metazen sometime this week.
- A very, very short story (78 words) will be up on the Flashshot website next Tuesday.
- Also my reading is next Tuesday. I have planned my outfit, weather premitting but I still need to decide on the story for the occasion.
- I also have a short story appearing at Girls with Insurance soon.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
I had another acceptance yesterday and hopefully the story will go live this week. I also got a 'maybe.' I need to wait a few weeks to see if the magazine will publish my short story. I guess the customary saying would be 'fingers crossed.'
There have also been rejections. One was from an innovative fiction magazine - they seem to have found my work too risky. They wanted beginning, middle and end. The point of the story was not to use normal structure - I thought it was clear with the title. But the good thing about this submission was that it had been made months and months ago. Since then Russian Dolls has been published (see left toolbar).
I am still thinking about which story to read in a few weeks time. Very hard decision to make. There was my new one but it still needs a lot of work and maybe not be ready in time.
Total word count for the novel - 61,418.
Monday, 19 October 2009
This story was originally meant to be a few sentences long and was going to be about someone who never puts away their laundry. (come on girls, you know what I mean about piles of laundry that do not belong to us!). It was going to be from a female perspective but things evovled. and now we have a story about an unknown worldwide disaster from the average-Joe viewpoint.
I wrote the story a few months ago, nearly deleted it as I was not keen on the original story but then decided to let it stew on the hard drive. Then I found it again the other week and started carving away to the story we see today.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Here are the details from Facebook:
Tim Key http://www.timkey.co.uk/ - a poet so funny that he won the Edinburgh Comedy Award 2009 for his show The Slutcracker, which "attracted a strong cult following for its whimsically surreal mix of poetry, music and mock-philosopical observations on life" according to The Guardian. Made Hazel actually pee herself with laughter at 'Homework' spoken word night, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, live on Newsnight...
Bernadine Evaristo http://www.bevaristo.net/ - Bernardine Evaristo's first fully-prose novel BLONDE ROOTS was published by Penguin UK in August 2008. (USA 2009)It's a slavery story with a difference: Africans enslave Europeans over a four hundred year period. The protagonist is a white woman from Europa who lives out her adult life as a slave in the New World. Her verse novel LARA will be published by Bloodaxe Books, October 2009.
Nancy Clarik http://www.facebook.com/people/Nancy-Clarik/509141598 - wordPLAY deputy host spits her lyrical witticisms on popular culture and beyond
Agnes Lehoczky http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk/agnes_lehoczky_f02025.aspx - bilingual poet Agnes reads her beautiful verse, including work from her collection 'Budapest to Babel'
Ola Rhodes http://olarhodes.wordpress.com/about/ - unpredictable stories with bite and sass are this gal's speciality
Jessica Patient http://www.writerslittlehelper.blogspot.com/ - this prose writer has had short stories published in 3:AM, The Beat, Pgymy Giant and Sleepy Orange. She won the Worldskills Gold Award in Creative Writing in 2008.
With music from the beautiful voice and guitar of Hannah Tuson, back by popular demand...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc1BzbFW3_I
plus the random erratic musings and mutterings of your host Rebecca Fentonhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yVAi6Yd_hA
plus - Raffle-Lit...when we find some goddamn prizes...never fear...
Entry: £4.50 / £3.50 concessions - The Good Ship, Kilburn, London
Doors: 7pm for 8pm start
Saturday, 17 October 2009
I tried this week to start chapter 4b - my post it note had the words 'fake morning sickness,' 'bin liners' and 'black market.' The ideas would not stretch to a full chapter. There are only so many paragraphs you can spend talking about being sick or filling a bag with rubbish. I thought about moving onto the next chapter but that was just as bad. There were four false starts and frenzied post it note scribbling.
This morning I was having a major clear out in the kitchen and it hit me. Erase those false starts and forget those key words. Writing about the shopping centre you keep thinking about. (yes, this novel is getting stranger but please bear with me). So the chapter 4b starts in a shopping centre rather than looking down at a sick-filled toilet. It feels better writing about shops rather than digested peas.
I have also had an acceptance for a very short flash fiction piece. More details to follow.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
I have had some writing rejections over the past week but they have been cancelled out with one acceptance at a new magazine and I will also be reading one (as yet undecided) short story at an event at Word Play in London (details to follow). I am very excited and also nervous. What if I trip over the mic, or create feedback on the speakers or stumble over my words or say a swear word without thinking? But there is time to calm down and prepare. I am going to be practicing over the next few weeks and my boyfriend has kindly agreed to record me so I can hear how it sounds.
I have also done some writing on the novel too. I have increased my word count with each writing session but I have been having a few days off to do editing.
Total word count - 59,753.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
This week I have been contemplating applying and submitting to spoken word events. It is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I just need to take a deep breath, not worry about stage fright and actually email out some queries.
I have some new flash fiction pieces in my notebook. They need some 'thinking time' to decide if they are worthy enough for submission or if they are more suitable to stay in my notebook.
Overall word count on the novel - 57,428.
The most words ever written by me. I'm still in shock. But I have found an idea that I NEED to write about. Plus I don't have to worry about grades or what people will think. This novel is for me. Submitting it is way down the list.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
- Reading more - I am now getting the train to and from work. I am currently reading 'The year of the Flood' By Margaret Atwood. At first I thought I was not going to like it but its a grower. Handmaid's Tale is still my favourite.
- I am in the process of editing two short stories. One is more flash fiction length. They are currently in the second editing cycle.
- Reading other people's work and giving feedback.
- Writing the novel - word count is now 55,254 words. I have increase my writing goals recently. So the blog is suffering and also the short story writing. I might have to cut back on one of the above bullet points.
- Reading the new Mslexia - arrived on Friday.
- Researching and reading new magazines. I now have a small list in my notebook with possible places to submit some stories.
- Waiting to hear back from three writing competitions.
- More novel writing.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
What is William Shatner (Captain Kirk from Star Trek) doing on the front cover of a First Aid book? Answers on a postcard or the comments.
This comes just days after someone found my blog by searhing for 'Jessica Captain Kirk.'
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
But I conquered the fear. Tonight I have planned the rest of the novel.
I started with writing down all the events that I wanted the second part to have. This technique is called 'spinning down the page' and it is crossed between free writing and brainstorming. New idea for every new line. Then I pulled out my timeline (see picture below - the yellow sticky notes are the 'written' sections) and used this for a reference as I plotted the new events. The white post-it notes underneath are the rest of the story.
I am now looking forward to beginning the second half.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
- Post-it notes
- Scraps of paper for writing down random ideas and sentences
- Novel Notebook
- Pen and laptop, of course.
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Reading psychology books is a secret passion of mine. I find them a great inspiration for character development. Over the years some of my favourites have been 'Watching the English,' 'Everytown.' And I recently purchased 'Snoop' so I can read about what people's possessions say about individuals.
I take these books at a slower pace and allow myself time to stop, think through the concepts and make notes or highlight sentences for future reference.
I already have several pages on notes for editing and revising the novel.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
You can either buy the book for less than five pounds buy here
You can download the file for free.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
The writing has not stopped. I did quite a lot on holiday. I finished chapter 10a, started 11a and also finished a short story. I am nearly half way with the novel and that means it will be time to start planning the alternative chapters - I had some ideas when I first started and I have been reading over them today. I also found a page from my notebook with the first line. October 2008. At the time I did not realise it would lead to a novel. I was still mourning over another novel attempt. I remember taking things slowly and I did not finish chapter one until mid January. Four thousand words in three months. But things are moving faster. Because I had a holiday last week - I have written over eight thousand in two weeks.
Overall writing count - 46,809.
Over the next week I hope to finish chapter 11a. Plan the final chapter, 12a and decide now the novel will end for this character.
Saturday, 5 September 2009
Three bus tours of the city. Yes, three, but different double Decker tours – we wanted to make the most of our 24-hour ticket!
Walking and walking and walking around the city.
Tour around underground Edinburgh.
Lots of eating in restaurants.
Lots of writing – I finished one chapter, started a new one and finished it today.
More work on short story.
Buying prints from street artists.
And I came home with a souvenir cold too. Two boxes of tissues in two days.
Observations of the Book Festival
Write about things that humans are already working towards could really achieve in the real world – read science and technology news and journals.
Talked about her concern about Bees.
Atwood has started blogging too and Twittering. Something I think all writers should do. Not just for reaching out to audiences but for the actual process of writing.
This was a very special event as it was the first event he was doing for ‘Generation A.’
The audience were asked to perform the ‘The Mobile Sonata’ where you would ring the phone number of the person next to you. Apparently Police said that phones ringing in school bags after the Columbine High school massacre, sounded like tropical birds. It sounded quite like a mob of people playing with their ringtones in a big tent.
Then came the reading from his new novel. I wished I had come with my copy as he did a signing afterwards.
Coupland’s book is about the declining Bee population and Atwood also touched on this. Both were affected by the news from a couple of years ago.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
There are two possibilities with the word count this week:
A.) I could have written lots and l lots in our holiday cottage and finished a chapter or even written a short story
B.) The word count is still the same because I am having too much fun with looking around the city and relaxing with a book or two.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Stuck for a title for your novel?
Think it will always be named 'untitled'?
Need a fab title to catch the eye of the editor?
Look no further.
Will create you that perfect title*!
I found this via writing blog, My Writing Life.
*Don't hold me to account if its not perfect!
Friday, 28 August 2009
For one lovely week we will be staying in this lovely cottage – taking it easy and relaxing. Our last holiday was spent painting and moving home.
We have a few activities planned: heading to talks by Douglas Coupland and Margaret Atwood at the Edinburgh Book Festival on the Sunday, mystery restaurant for Boyfriend’s birthday (it’s a mystery as I haven’t decided where to take him) and also a guided tour through the old, underground city.
I am taking the McBook too (see even my laptop is getting into the swing of things). I am hoping to do lots of writing but as long as my daily counts are done, I will be happy.
There will be updates if I can find some WiFi but if not there will be one massive post in a week's time and I have also done a scheduled post too.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Over all Word count - 38,037
I am meant to be packing at this moment for Edinburgh but it can wait until Friday, can't it? Holiday reading, hmmm, at the moment it will be to finish 'The Stone Gods.' I am also going to take 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy and 'Slaughterhouse 5' by Kurt Vonnegut. I'm still in half minds about taking a 'how to write/characters/novel' sort of book. I seem to be avoiding them since writing this bigger piece. Maybe I am worried that my writing is all wrong?
Monday, 24 August 2009
I used to be against rereading - why would people want to revisit a book when there are so many?
But now I am for rereading. You can go back and delve deeper into the text, you can find more layers, get more enjoyment, even understand the story more. I find it useful as a writer to look at their techniques. rereading, to me, is about slowing down and taking the time to consider each word.
Over at the Guardian website, there is an article entitled 'Why re-reading is a crime.' The author believes rereading is for people who are narrow minded, dim, makes other people feel insecure. My initial reaction was a very loud TUT. followed by a shake of the head.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Cakes are on the table and party games start in five minutes. Please can you leave presents in the living room before coming through for the puppet show.
To celebrate this occasion - this is a scheduled post - Back to the Future style. Lets hope you're reading this on the 23rd August rather than 13th!
Last August, I thought this blog would last for a few months at the most (like my EBay blog) but I carried on, being inspired by other writers and needing a place to write about my writing to get the whirlwind of ideas out my head.
This time last year I was still trying to write my second attempt at a novel (MA project) but it was going nowhere and made me want to stop writing. How these things change in a year. Several pieces published and over 35000 words into a novel that I like writing and thinking about.
And I thought this blogging business was all a phase....
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Overall word count: 36,272.
I also joined Good Reads today. It is a site for people to record the books they are reading, the ones they have read and to-read books. I guess its an online book club or social networking for book lovers.
i am here.
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
My four years at university have taught me that you are the one in charge in find your voice. I have also learnt that your ‘voice’ develops and changes as you become more aware of the world and what you want your stories to say.
My Google search for ‘writers’ voice’ came back with articles pointing you in the direction of courses or books. But at the end of the day, you are the only one who can give you your ‘voice.’
Don’t be afraid to be individual. I tried many styles and mimicked other writers before finding my confidence. At university I was worried that people would start analysing your words (having done it myself for A Level English) and break me down. I felt that my stories needed to about big ideas, big occasions to reach those high marks. But then I realised, I needed to be myself. If I wanted to write about king-sized bubble wrap and office gossip, then I should because primarily, the stories were for me. Public consumption was second.
My motto – Be ME and write. Relax with your writing, Feel at ease to write about what you care about.
This has been on my mind recently as I seem to have two styles – one for short fiction (urgent, short, short sentences) and one for longer fiction (descriptions, a sustained voice that could hold someone’s attention over 90,000 words).
I think finding your writer’s voice is something that grows as you write more – like a tree.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Thursday, 6 August 2009
First, lets get the bad news out of the way - I did not get through to the Writing scheme. Over 80 applied. It could have been anything, not liking the portfolio, not enjoying my statement or I could have been over qualified with my BA and MA. I won't know. But I am not going to stop writing - I need to say that as I know people who have stopped over the first rejection.
Good news - sent off two different stories for two different competitions. Fingers crossed for both. One is the story that I wrote when I was ill and has only had one edit.
Novel word count - 32, 403.
Not too much 'proper' writing this week as I have been restructing the next two chapters - I have moved one chapter two places forward and now have a new sequence of events.
I also have an idea for a new short story. Bits and bobs are written across my notebook, laptop and on work PC from writing in my lunch. Must puzzle them together at some point.
Busy weekend ahead - two wedding receptions to attend and I need a good sleep too - this week has been full of overtime, gym and yawning.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
In this month’s SFX magazine (issue 186) (I don’t normally buy sci-fi magazine but a front cover about Stargate is definitely going to get my attention) they have a great article called ‘Caught in the slipstream’ by Jonathan Wright.
The article looks at the difference between a literary and science fiction. Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife is a prime example. Niffenegger’s novel has elements of science fiction but she is filed under the ‘fiction’ section in a bookshop.
Even George Orwell’s 1984 has this problem – straddling both genres.
Sterling coined the phrase ‘Slipstream fiction.’ I have also heard it being called speculative fiction.
A good definition from Wikipedia: “Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these pieces of literature is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely-real, or the markedly anti-real.” Read more here.
My novel in progress would probably be classed in the same manner. A bit of both. I would probably be shouted at by a lot of writers and writing books – because YOU MUST WRITE TO A SPECIFIC GENRE. I’m sorry but we live in an age where genre borders have blurred and where writing should be judged for the quality. When I was a bookseller, I wished for crime, sci-fic and the classics to all be in one ultimate fiction section. I bet customers who would not been seen dead over in the sci-fi corner would have picked up a Neil Gaiman or two.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
The Beat are U.K based and look to showcase new and exciting writers.
You can read Cubicle Crimes here. And comment if you wish.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
- Every other chapter had a different plot with all the characters fighting for page space to be the main character. It was confusing especially with their names drifting between being called 'Doctor Surname' and 'name.'
- I wanted to know more about the world but it was mostly action.
- Confusing about where the plot was heading as new questions were springing up and old questions were left unanswered. Maybe if I finished the book I would have found them. But there were too many. Characters were changing their goals in each chapter too.
- One chapter was based on one event whilst the other was faster and over a longer time period.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Monday, 20 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
I like Mslexia’s author interviews and especially the insights into their methods. This issue Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) has given her method and I agree with most of them.
In the third year of university, my tutor handed out photocopies of these small Mslexia methods. (I remember feeling like a ‘know it all’ as I had the original copies). We had to decide which author had the best method and which ones could we relate too. I struggled as I could take bites from each one. But with Adichie’s I like all of them.
These are my favourite ones:
- Have no routine, no rituals.
- Generally a nice meal helps.
- Eat chocolate.
- Always write on you Mac laptop.
- Curiosity never killed any cats – curiosity is one of a writer’s greatest tools.
- Base you writing on reality, not on themes.
- Read books
- Don’t let others tell you how to tell your stories.
- Work on short stories while working on a novel.
- Write when it comes.
- Enjoy the fun of doing something that you love.
You can read an extract here.
This has also inspired me to write these in my new Moleskine notebook and to also consider my methods.