Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Poll: What Feature Should I Have? Please Vote!

I started my blog this year and have spent some time getting used to blogging. Next year, I'd like to introduce a weekly feature or two, and also to post more regularly on set days. I find it easier to follow other blogs when I know what's being posted when.

I'd also like to post something which 'gives back' to this wonderful writing community.

I therefore have a wee poll. Would any of these be of use or interest to you?

  •  Weekly or semi-regular post interviewing authors (agented, self-published, whoever will speak to me) asking how they got that break. 
  •  Poll about the craft of writing (eg plotter or pantser? 1st or 3rd person). Not to say 'this is most popular thing therefore it's best'. Just that it might be interesting to see the splits and spark off debate. 
  • Weekly 'celebrate the small achievements' post where we celebrate writing that chapter, or tidying out that cupboard! 
  • Weekly or semi-regular post where I look at what I can learn from a TV Show or Book which has taken a particular aspect of writing and done it well. 
  • Poll about something else - you suggest?

Please vote and let me know what you think in the comments? Any of these of any interest? Anything else you'd like to see?

What Feature Should I Have?

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Events of Last week + Fragility of Life in Writing

I have nothing to add to the discussions surrounding the events at Newtown last week that hasn't been said elsewhere, other than that my thoughts and heart go out to those suffering. We should remember the victims, let their names be famous. I will remember Victoria Soto when I think Newtown, who died a hero.

 Last week I also heard about an old colleague of mine, who died very suddenly. She was only in her late 30's and was a lively, lovely woman.

 Coming home on Friday night, several tube lines were delayed due to separate 'incidents' aka bodies on the tracks. I find it sobering that several people ended their lives on Friday night. Christmas is not a happy time for everyone.

All of these things remind me how lucky we are to have our health and our loved ones. To be coping in our day to day lives. It's so easy to take that for granted, and it's only when we hear of a shocking incident or sudden death to be glad and feel blessed for it. It's so easy in day to day life to get caught up being annoyed by late trains or a friend's glib remark or an annoyance at work that we forget the big picture. I'm going to hold onto that big picture.

I have been thinking about how that 'big picture' comes across in my writing. A lot of us write about fantastical worlds, defeating villains, controlling powers, coming face to face with paranormal creatures. These stories come really alive when they are underpinned by family, love, loyalty, freedom, by testing and finding who we are.

Look at your novel and think about what that 'big picture' theme is. Someday the big picture in my novel will be that we are lucky when we are taking our situation for granted. That we are forever on a knife edge, it's that we only sometimes look down and see it. I'll get that fragility across.

I'll be back with a more lighthearted post later in the week, in the meantime, my love to you all.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Cheers Cavanaugh Blogfest!

Today I am taking part in the 'Cheers, Cavanaugh' Blogfest. If you've been around the interwebs at all you will have come across Alex Cavanaugh and his mad blogging /commenting skills. Not only that but he began the Insecure Writers Support Group which is an awesome way of realising  you are not alone in your insecurities and of connecting with new people.

Sign up and details of the fest are here

So, onto the blogfest!

What Does Alex Look Like?
By day, you would pass him on the street. When blogging, he's a mysterious masked stranger, helping one blogger at a time with his comments and blogfests. None of us know what he looks like, but we know when he's been to visit.

Who could play Alex in a documentary?
Christian Bale.

Who does Alex remind you of?
Batman. I'm not saying he has superpowers, but there are some special blogging skills. 

Write flash fiction using the prompts: Cavanaugh, Ninja, IWSG, Cosbolt, Guitar

Here goes: 

Cavanaugh flew the Cosbolt down and landed perfectly, despite the rush to get back. He was late. The Ninjas needed him. He jumped out, ignored the guitar in the entrance hall which called out to him to play it, and headed for the basement. The blogging cave awaited.

Entering the cave, he flicked on the power. The hundred screens powered up. Sitting down, he cracked his knuckles. Time to use those blogging skills for good. Today was IWSG day and posts had to be read, comments answered.
His guitar would have to wait.

Thanks to Mrs. Cavanaugh for sharing Alex and thanks to Alex for all the time he puts in visiting and commenting on blogs. We all appreciate you!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

IWSG: Getting Going

For this month's Insecure Writers Support Group I wanted to talk about getting yourself going on your writing or editing. The actual 'okay now is my writing time, I am going to sit down and write' part.

I have no trouble with this when it's a first draft. The character shouts and me for their story to be told. The tale permeates my brain, so much so that I cannot wait for spare time when I can Get The Draft Out.

At the moment I am editing, and editing is a different story (ha!), for me. I enjoy editing, for me it is where the magic happens, where it starts to really take its shape. It is satisfying to wrestle those awkward words into submission.

But I find it hard to sit down and start. I find it harder to squeeze this into the odd spare hour, for a start, I need a good amount of time to sit and focus, so that's one consideration. But I find myself having trouble getting going. I get easily distracted by the internet, or by jobs to be done. I make excuses.

Then I have trouble getting started on the actual edits, even when I know what has to be done.

I think it is because there's more pressure. With the first draft, the aim is to get the story out and tidy it up later. I can be free to just write.

With the tidying up later, there's more pressure. I worry that I can't get it to be how it is in my head. My metaphors are still clunky, the voice still needs to be brought out more. What if I never get it there?

But each edit takes us closer, and eventually the sum of the parts hopefully adds up.

But it's a curious thing that on each session as I sit down, I have trouble getting going on it. Does anyone else have any trouble like this? How do you motivate yourself or get started or make that first change?

Interested to hear!