Inside My mind

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I was having a conversation with someone the other day and we touched on the difficulty and the process of writing a novel. He asked about the amount of information needed and hinted on it being very difficult. Also he commented on how my spelling and grammar is not the best.

 

These are two very good points and it got me thinking. The process of writing a hundred thousand words plus novel is probably the most complex and complicated thing I have ever done.

 

It’s not just the start, middle and end thing but the main story ark and all the small story arks within them. Each novel has chapters that must have a protagonist and an antagonist. They must have intrinsic and extrinsic conflict with them selves and each other. Maybe even with many other characters as well. The chapter has to have a start middle and end, each chapter has to have scenes and those scenes have to have a start middle and end. This rule applies to the pages and the paragraph. Even each and every sentence has to have a purpose. If it has no purpose then it has no right being in the book.

 

Also the characters have to have profiles, people don’t realise that even though we writers don’t put the past twenty years of a characters life in the novel, they do have a life before the story. Thats each character has a whole book inside my head already. They have lived and had good and bad times before strolling into what ever situation that my storyline has given them.

 

Each novel has at least three main threads to it. And many more minor threads through out. And thats just the one I’m currently working on. I don’t know about other writers but I have one finished and thirteen unfinished novels and many more short Stories floating around my head at any one time.

All this is inside my head. Maybe I should say sorry for the times when I’m a bit forgetful or distracted. I have good reasons but I promise there not excuses.

 

As for spelling and grammar all I can say is if you ask a builder to build you a house he will get the bricks (for a writer his brick are the words) and place them all in order following a predesigned plan. The architect would have spent many hours and days drawing out his vision of a building and the builder puts this together. As a writer I don’t pretend to be a good builder but I’m a good architect. I can design the book and work on all the plot lines and all story arks, character profiles. But I may need a little help at time to put it together at the end. Please don’t forget the creativity and passion that I have poured into my prose. For my head is full of many lives, young, old, thin, and fat, Human, animal and alien alike. I have whole civilisations being created and  being destroyed in my head. To say a writers mind is a busy mind is probably one of the most understated comments ever made.

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Christmas cheer

snowman holding a box

snowman holding a box

Well Christmas is finely here and never mind the goose I’m already getting fat.
What a great time of year this is. That’s if you can avoid the hype and take it for what it is. And that is a time for greeting and meeting and making merry. Catch up with family, friends and the odd stranger.

I met two polish guys yesterday, they came to buy my old car. They were hooded and spoke broken English like they just stepped out of a modern day thriller. It took one look at my Christmas decorations and hopefully a smile in my face to bring the conversation away from cars and clutches, brake pipes and bushes to the merry Christmases we had when we were young. They told me of twelve course dinners that they had to endure and fish not turkey as the main on their special day of days.
So meet and greet and be kind while remembering that a smile and a little sharing can change a novel book villain to really nice guys. Merry Christmas to all and I will blog again soon.

A brick

This is a poem my brother wrote, I like it and thought I would share it.

Your can find much more of his work at- Kevin glenn

Brick

A brick on it’s own is such a plain thing
Sat on the floor there’s nothing to be seen
But put them together and there’s a lot to achieve
The things we can build with such a plain thing

The houses we live in, the school down the road
the castles we’ve seen, the church down the lane
The bridges we cross are such amazing things
To see what we can build with such a plain thing

So next time your filling the skip on your drive
Tossing in bricks over the side
Just think what could be, if they could survive
As this plain little brick reaches the end of it’s life

By Kevin Glenn
19-09-2010

Rejection!

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I feel I must warn you, if your not a writer maybe this blog post is not for you. You may get something from what Im going to write but writers will appreciate it that much more.

Rejection is a writers burden to bear. We all suffer rejection in our lives. We can go to work and feel a certain amount of rejection each and every day. Only it’s short lived and often we brush it off as wit or someone being funny at your expense. And I say, so what, I probably do it to others as much as others do it to me. Life goes on. Only as a writer I feel our rejection can go a little further.
In most professions of art there seems to be a tough road that we must follow. A road of loss and pain which all the greats have walked down. some of the most famous being Vincent van Gogh and Goya and a more modern day star Amy Winehouse this is to name just a few of many. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not alining myself up with the likes of the above, just showing that great art seem to come from people that have had great pain.
So rejection plays a part in creating the art, and my art is writing. I have lost much in my life. More than some and not as much as many. When I look round at my fellow man and woman I see people who don’t see the world as I do, they move through their life with eyes closed and hear nothing of its beautiful sounds.

When I receive a rejection letter from an agent or a publisher it hurts. If you say it didn’t then you are fooling yourself and if that’s how you cope with rejection, then fine fool away. Only it doesn’t stop there, it took me over five years to write my first novel. And the one I’m on now I have been writing for a year already. I work full time and have a young family so time is my enemy and I just don’t have enough of it.

People can without knowing it reject us sensitive writer types simply by being nice.
You know when you meet someone for the first time and tell them your a writer is goes something like this-

You tell them your a writer, they think it’s great and tell you how they have a good idea and begin to share it with you. Then you try to explain that good ideas are plentiful and its not the idea that makes a writer but the commitment. They look blanked at you and ask you what your book is about. You reply with a fumbled pitch that takes all credibility from you which leaves them thinking your a fraud.
Now weeks go by and they will eventually ask how the book is going you say it’s coming great and go it to a boring rant about the currant plot because you feel they are truly interested and not just being nice. Then when you notice there face you stop and it’s many months before that person ask about your book. After a year( or maybe two) they ask again and are surprised when you still have the excitement you had before. But still you will manage to bore them and they will walk away thinking how can someone commite so much time into something that will amount to nothing.
And that’s the difference between a want to be writer and a writer. What we do is hard, each and every time someone asks how the book is it’s a kind of small rejection in its self. (That’s unless you answer is it’s published! Here have a complimentary copy.) All they do is remind you how slow and bad you are, but and this is a but with a smile on my face. If you want to be good you have to go through all this rejection.
It builds good writing.
You will only find your style through writing many hundreds of thousands of words. Not till then will it be you and you will be good.
So when the next person asks you how’s the book coming, tell them it’s coming fine and thanks for asking. If they ask what’s it about? And this is the hard part that I fail to do so often. Tell them sorry but you have decided to not tell anyone about the book until you have finished. Then talk about the weather or there new house or the next new smart phone.
then when they hear about your book its the first time and its complete. You are free to talk about all the characters and plot turns because they have read it.

ps, This advice is manly directed at me, I am a failure when it come to following these simple rules. But I will make the extra effort and not keep going on about my books that is until I have finished then i will not shut up.
Please comment as Im always happy to receive them.

It’s My Birthday Blog!

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Well, here we are again, on my birthday. I don’t have many deep thoughts or profound truth to share today, even though, at 41, maybe I’m supposed to enter into a status of maturity and impart wisdom on all unsuspecting youthful twenty somethings. Well maybe, but hay ho who am I to tell you what to do. I could be accused of opening my mouth to much on the odd occasion, I could even be right in what ever wisdom I’m spouting (on the odd occasion). All I can do is tell you what I have learnt. Some people may disagree with me every now and then but I think I should share all the same.  After all isn’t that why we all blog in the first place.

Enough of all that. I stumbled across a question offered by baseball player named Satchel Paige and thought it fitting being its my birthday.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

Now this really ticks the boxes for me right now, mainly because I’m forty-one years old and feel younger by far. So if I didn’t know how old I was then I would be a lot younger if asked.

He was also quoted saying, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter.”
I love this one, because it really reflex’s my own opinion on the growing old dilemma. It only matters if you let it. 
So ask yourself the first question and when you have finished answering that one then think about the whether it matters to you.

I’m forty-one and love the fact that I’m more wise about the world and people. I can hold a conversation with most if not all people I come across. My life experience has given me the knowledge to write many short stories and almost two novels. I have two children and a wife of over twenty years. Happy is the under statement, I’m ecstatic with my age and the life that I’m living. We trade the youth for the wise and its a win for me no mater how I look at it.

I think this sum’s it up quite nicely.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.  ~ Chili Davis

So happy birthday to all that share this day with me today. Enjoy it whatever your age.

Wow! Another Year Already

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Image from http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Wow September the 8th, I get to this part of the year and it brings to mind that the year is about to enter its fourth and final quarter.

My birthday is in just over a week on the seventeenth and although this once filled me with wishes and expectation when I was younger, it now makes me look back on the last twelve months and take account of what goals I have made. What I have accomplished and even more so, what I have not accomplished in the last year.
For one, I said I would have sent my manuscript out to an agent. And buy and large I suppose I did, only it keeps coming back complete with rejection letters. I wanted to start a new novel, Not a sci-fi but a crime thriller, and that is on its way. I’m at least a third of my way to finishing the first draft. I’m very excited about this one. Its fast and gritty, with honest characters that are filled with many conflicting values and principals. Its great to write about bad guy turned good and god guy turned bad. They say the secret to a good book is conflict, and inner conflict is even better it is also a great motivator.
Its no secret that I’m a great sci-fi fan but the crime thriller genre is a page turner for sure.
The novel’s called, “The Promise” it follows a father and a promise he made to his wife sixteen years earlier. He is bad guy turned good. The only thing is a bad life has a habit of coming back, wanting its flesh even when you have no more to give. The promise he makes is about his daughter who has just turned sixteen. She has no idea what her father once was, where he made the money they live by today. How will she cope with the idea of living off blood money?
I really do love this one, and I hope so will the agents and publishes when its finished.
In the mean time my other novel “Purple” is still out there awaiting representation so any up and coming agents fancy a read and I haven’t sent it you then please don’t be shy.
A friend of mine was on his annual holiday and by chance bumped into an agent at a hotel bar. The conversation moved on to my friend telling her that he knew someone who was trying to get published. (Thats me he is talking about, incase you were wondering.) She told my friend the same as every writer out there knows. They have many thousands of query letters and synopsis per month and it all starts with the query letter, if thats ok then its the synopsis and if their still reading then its the first fifty pages or so and if you are still in the running, then they request the full manuscript. And even then you are likely to be rejected. Its a numbers game, a mood game. For instance if the agent had a bad night and had had enough of sci-fi then the next sci-fi novel would not get past the query stage.
In the end you can have the best query in the world and a synopsis that would bring tears of joy to the eyes. A manuscript that any full time author would give his right eye for. Your query can still be binned at the first glance.
I try not to take this as a negative but to reassure myself that if I keep sending them out and keep writing more, then one day it will be my manuscript that the agent see’s, and that day they were looking for a manuscript just like mine.

I have made big improvements in my personal life, finically and emotionally.  I look forward to what I have to come in this next year, who knows what may come.

The Sun, how it changes my day.

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I walk with my wife, the sun breaks through the clouds. I feel warm, I feel happy.

There’s a definite change in women when this happens. In the winter months, when it’s cloudy, it’s raining, there’s drizzle and it feels miserable. Oh and not to forget it’s wet and damp. Well women cover up, they have there hats on, umbrellas sprung open and big coats covering from chin to toes.

We don’t really see then. We just don’t notice them. They become part of the grey back ground.

So as soon as that sun comes out my wife and women change, they evolve like a butterfly, they will go from this covered up form, kin to a nun and transform into a beautiful glowing sun filled person, full of life with the embodiment of all things nice. They really do entice us all, my male friends pretty much say the same thing, we all notice. With the first bit of sun the first thing a man notices is his partner or wife. It Isn’t the sun its self. We love the sun only because women are gorgeous in its light. I’m including my wife, as she is very gorgeous. She does the same, see changes, see becomes vibrant and colourful, there is a little bit of flesh that shows after being coved up for the winter months. The skirts, the makeup, and then “the smile”.

This is the most important of all the changes, the smile comes on most faces. I drive round the streets or I walk round the town centres, I go for walks at the weekends. If the suns out with blue sky’s and fluffy clouds then people smile, men are smiling just as much as woman. I like to think that I smile more in the summer too.
So I think this post is a testament to all women. To say thank you for uplifting my day and most other men’s day too. I don’t think you realise what impact you have on us, us men of the world.

Thank you sun and thank you women of the world, most of all thank you, my wife.

 

The picture I used today was taken by James Heathcote, find more of his work at www.jamesheathcote.com

Summer Holidays

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Some unfortunate souls, (like me) have been on holiday for a week or if your lucky two, and the prospect of leaving the sunny beach location behind, well spells out doom and gloom. I’m about to swap flip flops and shorts for toe protector boots and a blue uniform, and instead of looking out towards the horizon on the beach front, I’ll be staring at parts and components for at least 8 hours.


It’s strange because normally I’m quite looking forward to getting back home by now, but as I write this on the eve of my return, I feel I would quite happily stay here for another week or even two. If not for the obligations I have back home, ( like work and house and bills) I might just extend this to a more permanent arrangement. I mean why not? Others live at holiday resorts and look very happy doing so. Could I move here or somewhere like this? If your wondering I’m in Cornwall which is the very south of the UK.

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rolling hills, deep valleys and long stretches of sandy beaches. When the sun is shining and the sky is blue Cornwall is as beautiful as anywhere on earth.

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The dream of a writer as I understand it is to be able to write where and whenever they like. Preferable from some window through which inspiration will flow over you like a child’s smile after handing them their most favourite ice-cream.

We can dream and wish and if we are really lucky, (not to mention hard working) we may reach such goals whether it be Cornwall are your very own most loved of places. To reach high will at least get you somewhere better than you are know.

Don’t we love to talk

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As people we love to talk, we love to socialise and network. Dale Carnegie had a great quote: –

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

I suppose your wondering where I’m going with all this? Well it’s the “why” we as a species like to talk and network or dare I say it, “Gossip.”

Gossip can be a very good vehicle for moving a story on, or for-shadowing a future event. Two characters discussing another character is very helpful when you need an aspect of their personality for-shadowed.

So to understand Gossip we need to know why we do it in the first place.

We can express ourselves through the arts, I.e., music, religion, writing, politics, and even science. But what do we talk about most of the time? It’s not the above list I’m sure. I have read that two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip. This may come as an unwelcome reminder of our interest in the personal lives of others. But if you think about it most gossip is not negative. Most is just chitchat about who is having a baby or what colour someone’s going to paint the lounge. Whatever the moral status, gossip serves an important evolutionary purpose. It’s like a verbal grooming, ape’s pick each others flea’s and stroke each others fur. As for our social grooming, we talk and gossip.

The term gossip once meant, “A person related to one in God, The word later came to mean a close (female) friend or companion. This later translated into the modern definition of gossip, “small talk, and rumour” or “to talk about the affairs of others,” I like this one.

Somewhere along the line of our evolution, we evolved the capacity for language; gossip replaced our physical social grooming. According to Robin Dunbar, a professor at the University of Liverpool and a leading researcher on human gossip, “language evolved specifically for the purpose of gossip.” It functions to make a bond within your social group, It can resolve conflicts, build social networks, clarifying social status, also it can help to influence others. Gossip is therefore a powerful way of strengthening the social bonds we already have.

Stated by Kate Fox, “Gossip generally involves more than the sharing of information about people’s lives and relationships: it usually involves the expression of opinions or feelings about this information.” Although opinions may not be directly stated, they may be heavily implied through tone of voice or body language. It shows their views on the subject matter. It’s not necessarily negative. However, this is not to say that negative views do not exist, as they definitely do; and these negative comments serve a very important function.

When someone engages in negative gossip with a trustworthy person they are strengthening the social bond with that person.

Although other animals have mating calls and grunts, only the human species uses language to such a degree. Gossip is what humans use to establish and maintain relationships, resolve conflicts, build social networks, influence others. Gossip undoubtedly works as a social mechanism. So when someone asks if you’re gossiping, answer with a big fat “YES”. As, we are all very good at it.

HAPPY FATHERS DAY

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Father. Dad. Daddy. Pops. The Old Man. 

I’m quite sure I called him each one of these at least one or twice. If memory serves me, my sister love to call him pops. Without a doubt he was one of the most influential role models in my life, he was an amazing man. This is becoming more and more apparent as the years start to pass now that he is gone. He had a huge heart and loved his family, especially at times like today when we would all come together to celebrate his accomplishment of being the father of four children. I admire his drive to have his own business, his dream was to have all his children working with him in a family business. Sadly this dream was never realised but his willingness to take that risk is worth admiration. I loved the way people would always have something nice to say about him.

My dad didn’t get to stay with us as long as I would have liked. He passed away two years ago. But not forgotten is what today is about, because he is and never will be forgotten. My relationship with my Dad has influenced me in ways I would never have imagined. He loved his poetry and my older brother has taken that torch with a flair that would make my dad proud. My oldest brother has his temperament and holds it so close I sometimes have a double take when he speaks, again my dad would be very proud. As for my sister, well she has his humour in abundance. When she laughs, she lights up just as he used to. If you catch her in the right moment she would probably laugh her-self into the ground. 

As for me, well I have his story telling. He was the master of telling a story. He would reminisce about old army days and rugby tails of fights and laughs. Out of all my siblings I believe I got the best deal. I have children of my own and they call me dad now, (never pops or old man) and if I take one lesson I have learnt from my dad, it is that your children will always need you even though they say they don’t. I will be the best father I can be as my dad was the best he could be. 

On Father’s Day tell your Dad you love him, or if he isn’t here, take a moment to think of him.

Happy Fathers day Dad.