Sunday, 26 December 2010
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Friday, 5 November 2010
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
This week, I’ve been working on the second third of Part Three. It’s doing well, so far. I know what I want from each chapter and it’s now a case of writing it.
The main difficulty, however, is in the character interactions. At so late in the proceedings, I now have a tight cast of characters with a lot of complexities and history behind them. This means a lot of things to remember, a lot of complex emotions and having them all clash together in a way that works but doesn’t result in the characters tripping over one another and getting in the way of the story like they would do if this was real life.
Needless to say, I’m enjoying writing it. I love challenging myself like this. This book is going to be great.
Speaking of great books, I am enjoying Kraken.
Back to work.
Monday, 3 May 2010
I have started putting more thought into the second third of the final part. I can’t say that the first third is to my liking as yet but there are times when you have to stand away to gain a little perspective and work on the next thing.
Hopefully, when I go back to it, I shall be able to see more clearly what has to happen to make it into the novel I need it to be.
Little has happened since I last blogged. The thing about writing is that it contains an awful lot of typing (or scribbling if you prefer pen and ink) and sometimes there’s only so much you can say about it.
Asimov’s magazine sent me a nice form rejection, which has been added to the pile.
Other than that, I spend the rest of my time playing Mass Effect and enjoying George R. R. Martin. I’m currently reading A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow and I’m very much enjoying it. Any other writer and you’d think I’d be tired of this massive long epic, but he’s definitely keeping me entertained.
Next up, Chine Mieville’s Kraken comes out at the end of this week. Looking forward to that one!
Anyway. Back to writing.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
I had a wonderful week off, last week, in which I pretended I was one and I can't stress enough how much I want that to be my actual working life.
I got up at eight (not seven!), mooched around the flat eating toast and drinking tea (Wow! Actual breakfast!) until nine, then wrote for a couple of hours (Two hours or more on a school day morning!).
Then there was lunch.
Then more writing. Then I read a book in the afternoon sun, cooked food of an evening and awaited the Lady of my Life to return from work. Then I had several hours of hanging out with her, uninterrupted by writing, until it was time to go to bed.
I even tackled multiple problems a day.
Normally, when I write for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, I start writing, hit a problem that takes roughly twenty minutes thinking time to solve (why it always seems to be twenty, I have no idea) by which time it's time to stop and go to work. Then, when I get back, I write the solution I had that morning. Repeat.
On Saturdays, I write for four hours but sometimes I'm so intent on having Free Time that they're just as productive as a two-hour shift on a workday.
But with all the day ahead of me, I'm more relaxed. I think through my problem, then write the solution. Right then! Until I hit the next problem. Then I solve that! It's wonderful.
That’s a way to earn a living. It’s not flash, it’s not swish but I want it and the holiday underlined my need to work hard during non-holiday time to get these novels done and bring that dream closer to reality.
On another note, I received my shiny certificate from Writer's of the Future a couple of weeks ago. It was very nice and may go on a wall somewhere, possibly. I haven't decided yet. That's another thing to look forward to; an office I can call my own. Though that may not be as far off as full-time authorship...
More next time.
Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
The Writers of the Future award have given my short story Earworm Turns an Honourable Mention. This means that while I didn't make it to the quarter-finalist stage the judges considered it good enough to be worthy of a mention for being well-written.
I've been told the certificate is in the post. Now I need to send it somewhere else to see if I can get it published!
If you need further proof you can find my name here.
Right, now I really need to get back to work.
Monday, 15 March 2010
It was fun writing Dodge & Fukkit, think I'm on to something there, but unfortunately it had to be curtailed when I realised that it had become over 20,000 words in length, probably didn't count as a short story any more and I still had miles to go with it. Maybe it'll become a novel one day but for now it has to go on the backburner along with a number of other stories.
Going back to Machinations is a bit intimidating this morning. It's this big monstrous thing with plot-tentacles and an as yet ill-defined character and I don't know where to begin making it better. I'm thinking the best way might be to print out everything I've got and work through it page by page taking notes.
Yeah, that might work.
Monday, 8 March 2010
Right now, I'm working on a new side project; my first detective story, which I might call Dodge and Fukkit if a better title doesn't come along.
It's nice to be writing something new. When I’m editing or reworking and not writing new stuff, having the words flow out from under my fingertips, I begin to wonder whether I’ll ever be capable of writing something new ever again or whether that particular talent has deserted me.
But then I sit and start something new and there it is, the skill just comes back and I find I can still write at the same pace as I can create.
Then I have an idea too late, something that should have happened before this or that bit or a new thread or theme or plot point pops into my head and I think ‘that’d be an awesome thing to do’ and I begin to wonder if I still have the ability to edit and polish, to work a short story and incorporate new ideas and make the language flow and sparkle; basically turn a nice short story into a great one (great, here, being a relative term. For you, dear reader, read 'ok').
I guess there's just no winning with me. I always feel I'm losing the skill I'm not using at the time.
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Currently "Good" WC is 34,000 with a total of 51,000 so it's as half as long as it needs to be and there's still lots to be done. Which is nice.
I've been feeling a bit slow this week but I have to consider the factor that now I'm getting into the real meat of the story things are getting more complicated. I have to think of what order to place the issues in and make sure I don't repeat the same points twice. It's difficult to thread a theme or argument through a book without blowing your wad and having the whole discussion in the first third, to not have your characters have all the thoughts they need to have in one 'the thinker' sit down moment, then get up and get on with it a changed man or woman with their new world view fully formed. People just don't work like that.
But the other danger is you have them running around repeating themselves as they have the same argument over and over again, developing it only a little each time. It's a fear of this repetition that's slowing me, I think. There's an urge to have your narration keep pace with the reader's thoughts, to have the character have the startling revelations at the same time as the reader but this can sometimes lead to the same 'thinker' style scene where everything changes all at once, so there's always the inevitable danger that the reader will see what's coming before the protagonist and then label your story 'predictable'.
It's a tricky one, but maybe there's just no helping that.
On a more cheerful note, I very much enjoyed The Guardian's 10 Writing Tips from famous authors article which you can find here and here. I don't agree with all of them but I do agree with most of them and it's nice to feel that as a writer you're not alone in feeling a lot of these things.
Thanks for reading.
Monday, 15 February 2010
I have just finished planning what I'm calling Arc Three. So far I've been separating Part Three into manageable bite sized chunks, each with around 10,000 words as the target culminating in one of the many large events / plot twists I have in my head for the final book. Arc Two was completed on Saturday nicely a bit fatter than I'd been aiming for (13,000 words) leaving a WC of 'quite good' material (or Arcs One and Two as they should be called) at 26,000 and a total of 46,000.
So the past couple of days have gone into planning Arc Three, which is where things start to get more complicated. I do enjoy the planning, each plan is a little over a page with a brief synopsis of what's happened and then bullet points of all the major events that I now need to happen. Whether they appear in the order I've bulleted them in has yet to be seen.
Thanks for Reading
Sunday, 7 February 2010
Not much to blog this week.
The first draft of Part Three continues to go well. By my estimates (based on how I've been doing so far) the 33,000 I wrote last month with the added material will end up closer to 66,000, which is nice. Every time I start something new, I worry it won't be long enough, that I don't have enough material, yadda, yadda, yadda, but, wouldn't you know it, there it all is when I get down to writing it. Current WC is about 41,000.
Short stories are all with magazines at the moment, which is good. Should probably think about getting round to writing a couple more this year. Hmmmm.....
In my spare time, I managed to read five books last month, most of them proof copies of titles not yet published. Here's the list below:
The Passage by Justin Cronin
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
Return to the Lost World by Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow
Jordan Stryker: Bionic Agent by Malcolm Rose
And I recently finished Alien Storm by A.G. Taylor, the sequel to Meteorite Strike which is currently a nominee for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2010, both of which I have quite enjoyed.
Next up is A Clash of Kings, the next in the series after A Game of Thrones.
This is the first I've read any George R. R. Martin and if there wasn't a TV series on the way I probably never would have done. I'm glad I did though, Martin manages to draw you in and make you care for a character almost immediately in a way that I can only describe as alchemy (i.e. I have no idea how he does it and so it must be magic.) I have no idea if I can do it, but then maybe that's something a reader decides and I don't. Anyway, I highly recommend them.
Also, currently playing Mass Effect 2, which has a couple of characters that are so much fun to interact with it should be criminal. Mordin and Jack, I'm looking at you.
Right, that's enough stalling. Back to writing.
Thanks for reading.