First draft, kill the editor for now

Every now and then someone will ask me for advice or my opinion on something they have written. And I am happy to do so. With the caveat that I am a new writer myself and my advice is that of a new writer. You could ask why am I giving advice out in the first place. And that would be a question I ask myself each and every time. (Luckily I don’t do it often.)
I think we all learn and grow with many personal variations and tangents. That said I also believe that we are all the same and we follow a curve of learning that is quite unbending and unforgiving. With the odd exception we all learn the same way. Some are faster than others but the curve is the same.
We start at A and continue through to B and C finishing eventually at Z. If we live long enough to reach Z that is. Remember time is very real and we take as long as we have.
If I traveled back in time to talk to Shakespeare at the end of his life, I would ask ‘Have you learnt everything you need to know about writing?’ I bet his answer would be, ‘no’
You could do this to all the greats in all the fields of art and you would (with the odd exception) get the same answer.

So when I say I’m a beginner writer, I suppose I’m saying I have started my journey and except that I will never finish it, but isn’t the joy, in doing not finishing. Don’t you get the most smiles and satisfaction at the point when you have figured out the plot twist you have been waiting for. When you know your eventual reader will want to know more, but not why they want to know more.
I enjoy writing one word in front of another and seeing what happens. This all happens in the first draft, the rest is polishing or improving the work, bring it it up to standard. But the creative bit has been done.
So my advice to all that write is, to enjoy your muse, your inspiration. It’s what makes art, well art. If your rolling between the sheets with the long haired bottle of inspiration. (my muse has long hair and is female for that matter.) Lock the editor away in the box room or a small wardrobe for now. And enjoy the muse. She likes to feel special you know.

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Getting the words on the page

I’m trying to work out what the problem is with getting words on the page. It’s like I have thousands of words in my mind but when I start to write I get tripped up on the smallest of things. I can see where I want the characters in my book to go but when my fingers hover over the key board, I stall. It’s like someone has put a sheet over my head and I can just make out the details through the fabric, but only if I concentrate.

If I get up to put the kettle on for a drink or leave to do something simple like stretch my back. Then Wham, the sheet is lifted off my head and I see it all again. As soon as I sit my but down in the chair, then down comes the sheet. It would be fantastic if I could plug my mind into the computer, I would finish a novel a day.

I remember reading somewhere that writing a novel is like holding a hammer and chisel.

Before you is the complete story, but it’s encased in solid stone. Its my job as a writer to chip away slowly and mithodickly, uncovering the story that’s held within the stone. Always being careful not to damage the treasure inside.

I think that sometimes my arm is just too tired to Weald that hammer. maybe a day off is needed.

Family Day

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Today was once a somber day in our house. Its an anniversary that is welcomed and feared each year. Me and my wife had a baby boy called luke, he was born at forty weeks and five days. His weight was 7 lb. 11 oz and he had dark hair. Sadly he was still born.

This happened on April the fifteenth 2000. He would have been twelve today.

For the first few years we would shed tears, hug lots and visit the cemetery. The years passed and we had two more boys. With these our expectations of this day began to change. Five years ago our oldest son asked if we could do somthing a bit more fun on this day. After a brief period of soul searching and a small amount of guilt we did just that.

Now five years on, this day has evolved from being a day of remembrance. The day has changed, both our boys, and me and my wife call this day our family day. It dosent matter whether it’s raining or sunshine we go do something fun, in remembrance of Luke. Although our two sons never really knew of Luke they are very aware of his presence and importance in our lives. My wish is that as they grow, we can carry this tradition on and make this day always a day for the family.

I ask that you take the people you care for and go and have some fun today. Its what life is about.

British Summer Time

Today I had a discussion with a friend of mine. He asked me ‘Why do they put the clocks back?’ I in all honesty tried to give him an answer but found my self fumbling around. I just could not give him a straight answer. I said ‘it’s, so its lighter at night.’ he said. ‘no, no its for the farmers and pit workers.

We may disagree but we did agree that we didn’t know the biggest question that surround the changing of the clocks, which is, ‘why?’ You know, why do we have to mess about with the time anyway?

Two weeks ago I was getting up at 06:00am with ease. Now I’m having trouble because in my body it thinks its 05:00am. And I’m staying up later. So I thought I would do a bit of research and find out why we turn the clocks back and forward like we just can’t make up our minds.

The British Summer Time is a period that begins on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday of October. Its introduction in 1916 was to due to a builder placing the proposal. (I bet you didn’t see that one coming) His name was William Willett and after promoting the time change he sadly missed it, as he died in march 1915. Only missing the change by a single year. His proposal was that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed the same way during September. Nights would remain lighter, increasing recreation time and also saving millions in lighting costs. (Always come down to money.)

We had a few hiccups during world war two when British Double Summer Time came into play and we were 2 hours ahead of GMT. In the 60’s we had a few experiments, even keeping GMT+1 throughout the whole year. This took place between 27 October 1968 and 31 October 1971. By this time it was about accidents on the road. Making the roads lighter when busiest. There has been various reasons why we have changed to a British summer time over the last hundred years. I fear that this maybe be a bit outdated in todays new fast paced, media fueled society.

As it stands today people are trying to get a trial in-place for a set all year round time. Unfortunately it keeps being blocked. It seems that the most favored time would be GMT +1 hr.

These are the reasons why we have british summer time, it also seems the general rule that we keep it all year round. For me I think, well why not. Its not the time that bothers me but the change. I don’t think Mr william Willett would have bothered if he were born in today world.

Destiny’s Crossing First day on Amazon

Well I suppose I’m now published. My short story Destiny’s Crossing went live yesterday and yes I have already sold some, no reviews as yet though. Its kind of strange, I looked at the story on the Amazon web site and immediately wanted to change the cover. Someone commented that you should never cut off peoples Limbs. Not knowing what they meant I quickly checked out the book cover and there plane as day, I had cut off the mans feet. I have since adjusted it on the templet and it looks a lot better for it, so thanks for the tip. Why I did this in the first place I just don’t Know. I will update the Cover later tonight, hell, I might even change the cover. It just shows you that when you decide that the cover is done, you better make sure it is. Because if this was a print book, I would be pretty much stuffed about now. Luckily for me I am finding my feet and this will not cost me to change it.

It’s cool that people are buying it, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, I have many more short stories and I will put them on Amazon.  I will need to pay a bit more attention to my covers in future though.

If you are interested In Buying Destiny’s Crossing then click on this link Destiny’s Crossing, and please leave me a review.

Comments are always welcomed on the blog, I do really like them.

A day of snow

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I think this is the first snow we have had since November 2010. At least its the first that could be sledged on. I thought I would post a few pictures of my snow day. We in the Glenn household … Continue reading

Self Publishing to Kindle

I’m thinking about publishing some short stores to Kindle. I have at least five that I could quickly polish up and they would be good to go except for the cover.

I have spent a bit of time on two covers using Pixelmator on my mac. The first one is below, its called Destiny’s Crossing. The story is about a woman who while leaving the supermarket has probably the most important event happen to her since her  birth. I would like some comments on the design of the cover. While I know I’m no professional graphic artist, I think I know my way round a computer.   I’m putting my self in the ‘what do you mean, its not good enough’ realms. So honesty is paramount, after all I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing now, do I.

I have learnt some really useful things recently about book covers. For instance Kindle covers generally are 600 pixels by 800 pixels and have a DPI of 300. If you follow this setup then you will find it fits the Kindle screen nicely. Also try to use some colour, its tempting to go black and white because the Kindle is black and white, only the Kindle has platforms on the iPhone, iPad, PC and more. All these show the colour cover versions. This is no rule, I do like the cover above and as you can see its black and white. ( In my mind it suits the story that way)

The Cover below is of the short story A Brave Man A Mugger Be. The story follows a man through a mugging, Where he begins to empathise with his mugger. Its a strange one, but I do like it.

My other dilemma is do I charge, you see looking on Kindle their are Full length novels going for $0.99 (thats about £0.77 to us in  the UK) up to $15 $20 mark and a Short story for me, is about 1500 – 3000 words, I have a couple of novella that need more work and theres always my novel Purple, which Im still working on. This one is  to be traditionally published. Its hard these days with all this Do I self Publish or not.

I think I’m taking the stance that I will throw my short and maybe my novella up to self publish for the £0.77 and see what happens. These are quick to write and only take a little while to polish to a good standard.

Comments are more than welcomed, they are positively encouraged. So please leave a comment and say Hi.

SLR Camera I want one! But Do I Need One?

I want a SLR Camera, but I don’t know if I need one. I suppose I’m a creative person, well I do like to write. So its only natural that when I pick up a brush I want to paint, when I have a thought I want to write it down, so it only stands, that when I see a sunset or a beautiful flower and especially when I see one of my children at play, I grab my small digital camera and start to click away.

So why do I need a SLR digital camera?

I think it has something to do with my age maybe, or more so my insistence of better quality. My journey of writing fiction has made me more appreciative of detail. I’m currently scanning my hundred thousand plus word novel, sentence by sentence for fault and bad quality. So now I look at a picture I have taken and find myself thinking, only if I had taken a bit more time, thinking about what I wanted when taking the picture.

I know I can do that with the camera I have now, but its not the same when holding a small compact. A quick snap and back in the pocket. But with a bigger more bulky camera, well it makes me want to take pictures. I hold it and I find things to take pictures of.

I’m looking at three Canon SLRs, the Powershot SX40 HS, the ESO 1100D and the ESO 550D. These are all beginner level SLR’s, which (I’m in no delusions) is what I am.  The SX40 is a fixed lens Bridge SLR while the others are not fixed lenses, which means I can spend more later if I like what I’m doing. the difference between them now is basically pixels and features. each one can do some the other cannot, thats apart from the 1100D and the 550D because its just price between the two, even with my limited knowledge I can see the 550D is a better camera. but is it worth the extra cost.

I like writing because this kind of thing does not happen. Its a pen or a laptop and how hard is it to find a laptop that you can type on.

Learning To Write, The Lesson Goes On

This being my first post about writing this year, I thought it may be a good time to update you all on how far I have come along this road we call Writing. At the turn of the year it was two years and three months from when I decided (after reading a book I thought of being badly written) I was good enough to write a novel.

Since then I have finished a novel called Purple, which is about a man and his family. How an alien race attack his home town. The protagonist John Valley has to fight to find his son and wife whilst coming to terms with his birthright which has given him extraordinary  powers.

I began another novel called Sole Man this one is a supernatural thriller about a man who moves to a new home only to find he has unlocked an unusual ability. I’m currently only half way through this one. Mainly because Purple decided to push its self back into my life with (you guessed it) a part two, I called It A Lost Nation. This follows Purple but two years on. A kind of what happened next. I know that the books say that I should have finished Sole Man first but I just could not get Purple out of my head. With all the short story ideas, some written and polished, others still just notes on my computer, I’m finding that I’m pretty annoying to my family with all the change of subjects.

I suppose this is one of the biggest lesson, that you have to finish the story because if you don’t it just stays an idea. last december i sent Purple to a Pod cast show and  the first chapter was read out on air. Paula B (thats the host) says that the story and suspense was good but it needs cuts and a good copy edit. I think her words were ‘this is un-readable in its current state. At the time I thought ok, thats fine, maybe I should go over it again. It wasn’t until the first week into January that I decided to take a look at it.

Now keep in mind that I thought it was almost at a publication quality. The very first sentence I found two things that need changing and the punctuation was not good. I must have changed every sentence on the first page, then on the second page. I have since cut two and a half thousand words from the first twelve thousand words of the book. I’m acutely getting worried that this will not stay novel length by the end of this edit.

That said, it sounds so much better for the cuts. I think Stephen King said in his book On Writing that you must kill your darlings. Well it wasn’t just my darlings that I’m killing it was some very bad stuff that had no right to be in the book in the first place.

I began writing because of the thought that I could do better than a published author, well I have since read more of that authors work and have enjoyed most of it. He had a bad book I suppose. I can only throw my respect to all authors that have managed to get published. Maybe I will never be one of them or maybe I will. All I can say is that I love to write, I love the way the characters come to life in my head, how they become part of my life. And as long as I can write I will, published or not. I will learn and the lesson will go on.