Arts? Do We Really Do Enough?

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Today I want to talk about the ARTS and how I think there almost the most important of all the curriculum. I don’t know about you but my interests stretch between writing, (very important to me) photography and music. (playing the guitar) All of these are from the arts. So you could say Im artistic or at least creative.

I went to a special school event where a number of schools had joined in a singing venture. Each school were taking a part to play in the production. It is probably obvious that one of my children was taking part. I have two children, both boys and both in school. When it comes to the arts i.e. Music, Paint, Dance, Writing, Singing, I’m not sure we get how important these subjects are in our schooling. Both my children have preformed in school plays and to be honest until today I thought they were brilliant in what they had done. Only with this joint venture there was a team of five who are covering the country spending what amounts to three hours with these schools, if I can be honest Blowing the current teaching out of the water. In just three hours these wonderful women have made these children into a pleasure to listen to. One year seven student sang like a professional she was fantastic.

 

Only it does lead to the question, should we not be doing this as an everyday thing? Shouldn’t our schools put as much resources into the Arts as they do the three R’s. I know its very important to be able to read and write and preform arithmetic. I also know that there are resources for the Arts already but and it’s a big BUT. If five teaches can transform many schools with only three hours tuition, shouldn’t we ask if were doing enough Now!

 

When I went to school the three R’s were everything. I began writing on a more serious level only seven years ago. Thats almost twenty years after I had left school. To be clear I’m writing from the UK and I know there are much better places in this world that prioritise the arts much more than us.  If anyone would like to comment on how good there schooling is then please do, I would love to have another countries comparison.

 

 

Remember Enjoy! And Please, Please comment.

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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.

Genre Writing

Some writers only write science fiction novels, others romance and poems. Some only write non-fiction such as technical manuals on boats and cars. Some focus only on one genre and others on many.I think that when starting out like myself, we can get drawn into writing only what we know. But I believe we grow through what we write. We explore our selves while learning about others, discovering how people think. Interact with many and ask questions to even more. I know this is true because I’m like a child when first meeting someone with a different take on life. I just cannot stop asking questions.

So when it comes to genres, well I want to try them all. So far I have wrote a science fiction novel and a supernatural thriller. I am working on a crime thriller now. I have enjoyed writing every one and hope to write many more. With the books making the rounds i.e. The Shades of Grey Trilogy, I’m thinking of having a go at romance. As I see it, I’m just widening my writing horizons every time I write in a different genre. So lets not pigeon hole ourselves and write free.

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.

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.

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

This gallery contains 26 photos.

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.