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.

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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.

Emotions part 3

I try to regret as little as possible.

I believe regret leads to only dark and hurtful thoughts. I suppose that if you look at any disision (it’s disision that make regrets) it’s to not make it a flippant one. Take time and make sure you have covered all aspects.

Looked at all the relevant paths and discarding the weak ones. What you are left with is the few true remaining paths. This for me limits the potential for regret.
It’s not foolproof, I have some regret to disision I have made but I am happy that at the time they seemed right. Hindsight is a wonderful tool only for a time traveler. Us simple folk will just have to make the best we can with what we have.

The Day After The Day Before.

Hi to everyone. After the last two posts I have decided to change my site a bit, make it lighter and more colourful. This is in the hope of raising the mood a bit. Suggestions are always welcome,  if you think its to light or to dark what ever you think I will listen. Comment at the bottom of the page or send me an Email.

Hi to my loyal follower, yes I have one Follower, it takes one more to make two then three and so on, you know how it works with counting. On my blogspot site I had a few followers but since moving they all went. When I received the email on my iphone today I was a very happy boy indeed. Also thanks to the recent comments there very welcomed. British Telecom say “it’s good to talk” I say “Its good to write” and I intend to do just that.

For obvious reasons I have found it difficult to work on the second draft of my book this week. It seemed that each time  pick up the macbook I start to digress into some other subject anything but my manuscript. (I can feel it happening now) So back on track, while doing my first edit I have found that I keep finding a lack of for-shadowing. There are a number of events that seem to just happen with no warning what so ever. My question is do I leave it for now and continue with the first edit like punctuation and grammar, or address there plot issues first. my instinct is to start rewriting from chapter one. Could it be that when I started this nearly two years ago I was a different writer. I have the kindle app on my Iphone and converted my book so I could refer to it while out and about. Because the screen is so small on the Iphone the book has over two thousand pages. I skipped to page eight hundred or so and began to read. To my surprise I found it a remarkably gripping read and realised that I written this part almost nine months ago. The difference between the beginning and the middle of the book is vast as to quality of writing. But the story is very strong. It’s questions like these that make me wonder if I should join a writing group of some kind. If anyone has any Comments or suggestions for me them please leave it below or email me.

Blurb revision

Well here we go, I have played with the blurb I written for my book. trying to inject some excitement. hopefully enticing you to want to read more. Here we go blurb draft two.

John Vally is at Work finishing his first successful contract in his new career as a contractor. His joy is shattered by the invasion of a ruthless alien race,  

An event which causes the population of the united kingdom to drop by eighty percent. 

He witnesses the death of a friend through the eyes of his brother.

People who are lucky enough to be in a rural location are the last to be hunted. 

The Chule began attacking and killing anyone in their way.  

In the panic to get out and find his way home and find out about his wife and son, last seen in London. 

John joined by mike, a young man he meets in the local hardware store immediately following The attack and a young girl, Sarah, who he rescue’s from being killed by one of the Chule. 

The story follows their terrifying journey avoiding capture and worse by the Chule. Who are beginning to hunt down John and his friends. The Chule are led by one they call The Controller and another who is yet to make himself known. As John attempts to reach His family and find a place which they hope will be their salvation.

 If there is such a thing as salvation left.

Let me know what you think, check out the original blurb from my blog dated 24th April.

Odyssey, the Fantasy Writing Workshop

Odyssey, the Fantasy Writing Workshop.

ODYSSEY - The Fantasy Writing Workshop

I came across this web site a few weeks ago, I have found it very helpful. Especially the pod casts, download them and get some very valuable advice from some of the best authors around. The podcast include talks from Publishers, Agents, and Authors.

If you find the site helpful let me know.

Spelling Mistakes

This is a quick post regards my spelling. A good friend of mine informed me that he keeps finding spelling mistakes on my blog. All I can do is apologise profusely about this.
I write my blog mainly on the go using my iPhone 4 with the WordPress app. If you have read my profile you will know that my day job is a decorator, as all decorators, my hands tend to be large., my finger tips are more like stumps and far from nimble. Although the iPhone is an amazing phone, it spell checks everything you write. You may say that should solve the spelling problem. Well no not really, you see it also replaces words if you spell them wrong. It can replace it with some thing that is totally opposite to what you intended to write. When like me you get on a roll, you neglect to check back. It is actually advised not to check back especially when writing a long bit of prose, it can wreck the flow and I do agree with this.

I am what you would call a discovery writer, I start with an idea then take it from there, no plotting or character development until the story is completely finished. This way the story evolves as I write, making it very enjoyable for me to write, its pretty much like I’m reading the story as I write it.

As anybody who rights a lot will tell you reading your own words is well just that, you read what you want to read not what is there.

If I can come up with any more excusers I will promptly post them, until then I promise to work harder at finding these rough trees within my forest of words.

Any suggestion then Please comment.