“I’m not a number, I have a name!”

Numbers

Thanks again to all the great blog readers of the world. I’m overwhelmed at the response you are giving this Blog. I appreciate all the follows, likes and comments, thanks guys.

Have you ever thought about this statement? “I’m not a number, I have a name” A name not a number, what’s the difference? A number is a designation. So what is a name if not a designation. I recently sat in a hospital waiting area with someone who means the world to me. I there in support of that person and I’m people watching. (we all do it you know.) I find as a writer I people watch all the time. You could call me nosey, I call myself interested in others. 
What I have observed today is even when people have been sitting in one chair for anything up-to two hours they still stand to attention when there name is called. There name is personal to them, it defines them to people that know them. It provides a designation to people that don’t. So weather your a number or a name, just remember you’re defined by you and the people who know and love you, not by what people call you.

Remember Enjoy! And Please, Please comment.

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Are you a Skilled person? or a Knowledgable person? or both?

Skill-Xfer

Knowledge and Skill, are two words that people use to describe others abilities. Although we all could be guilty of the synonymous use of these words. I feel we need to give them more thought. Because when we do we may find that they have very different meanings entirely.

The competence of a person can be assessed using these two words but have you ever looked into your knowledge or skill level. For instance can you tell someone everything there is to know about your field of work but you seldom put this into practice and when you do you seem clumsy and un-practiced. Well thats more knowledge and less skill working hand in hand. Or someone who can turn there hand to anything but has a hard time telling people how to do it. Thats skill but little knowledge. I believe I maybe the latter. Which believe it or not is the better of the two.

You see a man with little knowledge can increase his knowledge by reading and learning the required knowledge. Almost anyone can do this with enough time and effort. But an man with little skill may be able to increase his skills by practice but we all cannot be Leonardo Da Vinci or Mozart, and from the academic world there is Stephen Hawkings and Plato. These men were Knowledgable beyond most others. But to have reached this level they must have had skill in equal measure. For I’m sure there are men out there now with the understandings of the greats (the knowledge) but lack the skill level that is required to bring about true greatness.

So in short if you have knowledge then use that knowledge in practical applications and you will grow your skill to its fullest. But if your lucky enough to have Skill then acquire all the knowledge you can and you may be great one day.

In the end both Knowledge and Skill are required to master any field. My personal feeling is that its best to start with a bit of both. After all a skilful brain surgeon with little knowledge is a surgeon with a dead patient. Also an engineer with a lot of knowledge but little skill makes for machines that don’t last that long. (hmmmm is that why things just don’t last that long anymore.)

I hope you enjoyed this post. I know I’m not writing enough post and will try harder.

Please comment or just Like my post.

“The man who makes everything that leads to his happiness depend upon himself and not upon others, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.” – Plato

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” – Plato

Inside My mind

inside-mind

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.

Character Relationships and Development.

Sometimes I think we can get so court up in the big full-on relationships of ours characters that it is possible to lose sight of the whole picture.

We are told that when developing characters that we should make a personal profile, by giving each and every character there own back story. Basically a life before the plot.  This is to give us (The writer) the ability to write from their (The character) life experience. Now this is good as long as you keep the exercise to the point of view characters. I say this because when I first started writing in a more than caesural manor, it was this that through me the most. Know one has ever told me that the least important the character, the less back story you need to create. Making a full and colourful life for all your characters will be fun, but I’m not sure if its necessary. To be clear I’m not the kind of writer that writes a full profile on any of my characters. I make them in my head and they stay in there. I was asked to explain this once and my explanation spooked me as much as it did the person asking. They said ‘How do you make these people up?’ my response was a few moments of fumbled thought and a few scratches of the head, then. ‘Its like there is a small room in the back of my head, where there are many little people. (I mean little people in my head) They kind of listen to what I want and when I’m stuck I hand over to them. They then spend what ever amount of time is necessary to make things work. I can be washing the car or cooking the tea but when they have finished working with the plot or character problems. I get an alert that things are ready to move. This normally comes in the form of that magic called inspiration. I stop what I’m doing and go find my laptop.’ Now the weird thing is that in my imagination this is what happens, a group of people live in my head waiting to help me when I am stuck on plot or character. Snapping into action when required.

Am I schizophrenic? I think not, I just have a good imagination. When you look at your own life and the complex relationships that are held there, you may see a kind of scale. First there is your close and most important relationship, your wife, husband, partner. These are the ones you know most. Then there are siblings, uncles, aunts, friends, work colleague and so on, the list goes on. What we have to remember is that when we interact with these people in the real world, we do so on a much different scale. Some people don’t get on with their mother or father. Some cannot be in the same room with there brother or sister. Some people place friendship far above the family connections.

Also if you give yourself such strict guides as character mapping, you can take the ability for a character to be lied to, or be manipulated by another, because you know too much about them. In life we fight to see the genuine within people but get it wrong more times than any of us would like to admit. By mapping every character I think its possible to take that ability away from your characters and make them a bit predictable. I would be very interested in your view on this, as I find characters fascinating and think its this that drives me to write.

Please comment or send me an email.

Reflection!

When we reflect I cannot help but wonder why. People I speak to seem to reflect back on there life with the filter of  regret. I can honestly say there are only a handful of friends and family in my life that follow my interpretation of reflection.

Above is a collage of words from my tags of the last year. I can say that these are the most important words from my last year of posts. When I look over these, it makes me reflect with in, I see happy, sad and great social times. The last year has brought me the death of my father. The finish of my book. The realisation that I need to do more. Also a great growth within my self. My first blog almost a year ago was (and you can look this up in my archives if you wish) To Van Dyke or not To Van Dyke That is the Question. Since than I have posted fifty seven times subjects ranging from information about my writing  to family holidays, great social events such as the Royal Wedding and some very personal events too.

This is the past and we should learn from this, not repeat it.

We hold onto the past with notions that to persist and repeat will bring better results. It will not.

Most conversations I will have over the next twenty four hours about the future, will involve the past. Trying to make a better future by clinging onto a changed or modified past.

The glory days are just that.

We anchor ourselves with Memories but we set ourselves free with Dreams.

We look forward and shape the future, use your glory days, don’t repeat them.

On this I wish you all a very happy and productive New Year. I look forward to the new challenges it will bring.

 

First person, third person. narrator, omniscient or limited which one?

This is one of the biggest shell we say surprises I have had since I began to write fiction. For instance when I wrote the hundred and fourteenth word and that word being ‘END’ I was not aware of the amount of work that will go into this fictional journey. I have been over the manuscript at least four maybe five times each time thinking this will be the final time. Then I find myself picking it up a few weeks later and bang it’s crap again.

Second and third draft, I would say spelling was an issue. Third draft was more more plot holes. Now I have started the next novel to this story, and I now find I have a problem with the way I wrote the point of view of the first book. I wrote first person in the first book, my narrator is third person. This I’m fine with, its the amount of each that is the problem. for instance in the first book I think I was more narrator and less first person. where in the second I’m edging the other way.

I suppose the question I’m asking is this ok considering these are different books or do I try and keep the same flow throughout all the books could this be my inexperience speaking? Could this be the show don’t tell thing? but surly you have to tell sometimes.

I may need to go have a cup of tea and sort these out, it seems my mind maybe running away again, it’s small grey and round, very wrinkled probable throbbing too, if you see it running down the road, please don’t tread on it, I need it.

 

The Modest Writers in My Family

I thought it was about time I updated everyone on my writing progress. As it stands I have a number of, shall we say projects going on. Main one being my novel currently called Purple. a 104,000 word monster of a book. (for me) After saying that it truly is the most satisfying thing I have ever done.

Also I have written many short stories and have four more novels started, more outlined. Also I’m thinking about having a go at a stage play, just need a bit more research on that one.

Purple is in its third draft and doing well on feedback so far. I’m still finding spelling mistakes and plot holes. the iron that is revisions is doing a great job of smoothing them out.

Thanks again for the emails, I must be feeling good today I’m full of thanks. I might as well thank my family members who have commented recently. some great comments and surprise’s. It seems that I have many Budding writers in my family and shows me where I get my love for writing from. my father was a published poet he also has written six children story books. I have a cousin who is an editor and a aunty who has written her own novel. My brother writes poetry that would make any man laugh and cry. My uncle has released two self biographies, you can get them on amazon called John Carter.

Recently I have found that my brother-in-law is starting a short story, another cousin has gone down the creative writing route know doubt she can teach all of us a thing or two.

I suppose I’m trying to say that we writers seem to be modest by nature, and it’s only when we begin to talk about what we do that we find out how much we all have in common.

Writing Stuff

I have been writing or should I say rewriting my novel, this is to send to someone who is going to give me some feedback. on things like Story, plot, characters and so on.

This being my first novel length story, I have learnt quite a bit about how I write and have seen many problems while also seeing many good points. A bad point for example is the show don’t tell rule. I seem to be breaking this over and over again, this will lead to many rewrites, not of the whole book just the relevant bits. I am also noticing that I break into the ‘he thought’ and ‘she thought’ quite a bit at times. This again make for the show don’t tell rule. when I’m in there head and conveying there thoughts then I’m telling and not showing. this is ok if say I want to get the characters from one part of town to the other with no relevant story needed to be told about that journey.

Example : He thought, it best to lead his team straight to the station, when reaching the tall door, he thought. God I’m pleased to have got them here safely.

This although a bad sentence gets rid of many pages of description that would have been written if I showed then getting to the police station. The story should dictate whether it is needed or not. The problem is when I’m writing and its 11:30pm my eyes are falling closed on every breath. then it seems easy to replace five pages with one sentence.

But now that I work through the manuscript my tardiness is obvious. It makes me question the rule (there are many rules about this writing lark) just write no matter how bad you can sort it out in the second draft. now I’m in second draft it seam I should have been more decisive.

I think you learn as you write.

Emotion’s part 4

Affection, Love, Happiness. (all the good ones)

These emotion’s seem really hard to write about.

I think its because where as the other emotions can be broken down I find it harder to break this one, when I do it kind of breaks the magic behind love and happiness.

I do believe in the magic that comes from caring for someone close to you, when you give over all you are. If you are as fortunate as me to have found the one person who you truly care about above and beyond yourself. (I think I will get some stick for this post)

Maybe this is it, we give affection to others in the hope that it will be returned. The problem is that sometimes it’s not returned and we start on one of those other emotion. This is what’s hard about the good emotions, they take an effort to keep. Were as the bad ones like hate and anger these take an effort to get rid of. It’s easy to stay angry. It’s harder to be happy.
Which in its self is kind of cool because most people you will meet are happy. I know a lot of people who are in love with someone. So at least we can take joy from the fact that most people want to smile and be your friend.
This is a quote I like from Albert Camus

Do not walk in front of me; I may not follow.

Do not walk behind me; I may not lead.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.

(like I said, I think I might get some stick for this post, showing my softer side I think)

I do like that that Albert Camus has written. It basically says be my friend, not by boss, nor me yours.

When I decided to write about emotions I did a bit of research. Did you know that there are 48 separate emotional states. I won’t cover all of them, that could get boring fast. But I do find the emotional state very interesting, how we mix and match them depending on who we are interacting with. How some people can be angry at one person then turn and be nice to the next. while others get into an emotional state, no mater who they see, that state will not change, it has to run its course. (heart on there sleeve comes to mind)

This variety in the Human emotions makes for very interesting discussions. Me and my wife will talk and when out eating at a restaurant we people watch. It soon becomes apparent that people are all the same, we all have the same worries and problems while at the same time we all have the same desirer to be connected and wanted by others.

Life is good if we understand that deep down we all want the same.

Procrastination or incubation

I’m in a dilemma, this is that I’m not, or maybe I just cannot, but I must do this first. You know if you give me some time I will.

Am I procrastinating? maybe.

In all seriousness, I am suffering from a dilemma. I have been told that when finishing you first draft of a novel you must move on to some other project. This is to give yourself distance from the characters and plot that has drilled them selves out of you brain for the last twelve months or so.
I have done this by writing the start of a new book. I have written the first three chapters and hit a wall, that wall being what comes next.
The problem started when I began to revise my first book. All I can see is where I need to take the characters into a second book.
I can see the sky. The people and most exciting of all the new characters that are beginning to pop into my head.

Every time I start to work on forth chapter of my new book that is supposed to distance me from this. I write like I’m writing for the second part of my first book.
I getting confused so you must be very confused.

My question is do I give in and start on the second book, while revising the first. Or preserver with the forth chapter of my new story?

I’m I just incubating the new story. It did start strong, then I hit the wall. I think it was that I have no idea where the story is going. It’s not that I need to know the ending, it’s just that I need a goal to aim for. That goal can move change or do what ever it wants. I just need something there to lead me.

Comment always welcome.