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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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.

 

Wow nanowrimo Hell

It’s been 22 days since my last post (sound like a confession [maybe it is] but I assure you it’s not) and it’s not for negligence but for the great nanowrimo. I am not doing to well in this front. And I say front because it sometime feels like a battle. A battle of will power and the over wheeling feeling that the world dose not want me to compleat the 50 thousand words. I have been reading Stephen kings new novel and this involve time travel the main protagonist has gone back in time to compleat an action to change the present. I won’t go into it incase you wish to read it but I don’t think I’m giving to much away here. During this he feels that time it’s self is in a not so direst way trying to stop him from completing his task.
I feel the same last year it was the same I told every body that I’m spending the month of November writing and will be out of action. No night visits no house repairs and no disturbances between 7 and 9 pm. So what happens the bed breaks I seen to be working late every night and I have no chance at all of siting in my office chair until after nine by which time I’m so tied I could fall asleep there and then.
My word count is about 14,000 or so and I have 36,000 to go in the next 7 days. By my maths that’s 5,143 per day . With a smile I say I don think I she’ll compleat this year but ( time to be positive) I have learnt a lot, firstly in which tense to write i.e. first. And how to commit one project at a time. Spread your self too thin and your no good to anyone.

Faster than light?

Last week a group of scientist announced that they have just observed a neutrino travel fast than light.

Mouth wide open in astonishment.

Now you may say ‘so what’

You see the problem is that according to Einsteins Theory of Relativity, nothing which contains matter can travel fast than light. Now a neutrino have a very very very small amount of matter, it’s infentisamal. Making it imposable for it to travel fast than light. Let’s just say to move a particle of matter to the speed of light would take an impossible amount of energy.

Again you may say ‘so what, how can this effect me’

Well everything we know about physics is based on the theory of relativity. It gives us a well established stick to measure everything else against. (That’s if my understanding of it is correct and I’m no expert)
Needless to say if this is proven right it could change our understanding of the universe. Worst thing is it could take months probably years to get any confirmation. So don’t hold your breath.

I’m a science fiction geek and love this stuff. It’s like finding out that pitza can make you lose Weight.

What we have to remind ourselves is that there are discovers made every day that blow previous theory’s out the water only to be disproven later.

Wouldn’t it be cool though to find out everything we thought, was wrong.

I like change and changing the world is cool.

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.

The Beauty of Woman

You know, you drive around, the sun breaks through the clouds. We feel warm and happy.

I think you can see a definite change in women in general when this happens. In the winter months, when it’s cloudy, it’s raining, or drizzle, it feels miserable. Oh did I forget Wet and damp. Well women cover up they have there hats on, umbrellas and big coats.

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

I’m talking from a male point of view, from a mans point of veiw, I like to think of myself as a mans man, I believe in traditional values.

So as soon as that sun comes out woman change, they evolve like a butterfly, they will go from this coved up form, kin to a nun and then transform into a beautiful creature. They really do entice us all, my male friends pretty much say the same thing, we all notice. with the first bit of sun that the first thing a man notices is women. It Isn’t the sun its self, we love the sun only because women are gorgeous and I’m including my wife she is very gorgeous. (also to protect against fallback I only ever look at my wife, she is the only gorgeous woman for me) now that done I will carry on.
Even my wife does the same, see changes, see becomes vibrant and colourful, there is a little bit of flesh that starts to show this is coved up in the winter months. The skirts, the makeup, and then the smile.

This is the most important of the changes, the smile comes on most faces. We drive round the streets or we walk round the town centres, we go for walks at the weekends. If the suns out with blue sky’s and fluffy clouds then people smile and I presume men are smiling just as much as woman, it’s just that I don’t really notice as much. That’s because I find woman attractive. I dare say a man who finds men attractive would find them smiling alot. I would like to think that I smile more in the summer.
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. I don’t think you realise what impact you have on us men of the world.

So Thanks.

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.

To Lie?

I was going to call this post emotions number four but lies are not really an emotion, although they do evoke an array of emotion.

First  I should define between a damaging lie and a white lie. I believe a white lie is when your partner says they had one biscuit when they really had two. A damaging lie is self explaining, they cause damage. The worst kind of lie is when the lie its self prevents you from fulfilling a promise or stops you from supporting the victim of the lie.

If you lie to someone close to you, the kind of person you would not normally betray. The disappointment you will cause that person will do a number of things to you (the lie giver). Firstly the guilt will make you angry at yourself which you will pass on. Also you would begin to avoid the victim of your lie (the one lied to), this in its self could cause more damage.

Then there is the trust lost, all lies do make themselves known eventually.

Someone once said if you cut your arm you will heal. If you keep cutting the arm eventually it will fall off. A lie is like a cut you only get to do it a few times. Then it will end.

As for the victim lies only hurt. There will never be a good one.

If I sound like a preacher I apologise, I don’t lie.

DO NOT LIE. EVER. EVER. 🙂