Archive for June, 2010

A Head Cold…

I’ve been away from this blog for the last week as I’ve been suffering from a head cold and have been absolutely exhausted after doing the normal everyday tasks that I need to get done, you know the ones – going to work, cleaning away the dishes (fortunately my other half tends to do all the cooking), putting the kids to bed and reading stories, plus having quality time with them (and the other half) whilst they are awake.  So the writing has been on the back burner somewhat this week.

Fortunately, though, the rest of my books on writing arrived so I have done quite a bit of reading and I have to say, from what I have read to date, I can see that they a great buys.  I will do a better review of them soon as this is really just a catch up so that I know where I’ve been!

I have disappointed myself that I haven’t had any time to either do any exercise or write any more of my book, having said that to get up earlier – or stay up later – to enable me to do that would have led to me feeling worse for longer so having a weeks break can’t be too bad.

Inspirational Journal by DarkChild69

On the upside I have read most of “Your Writing Coach”, and in this it recommends to keep a journal or diary.  Now this is not really to mundanely plough through everything that occurred during the day, more to commit to paper how you felt when certain things occurred.  Really it is a method of recording emotions so that you can return to them in the future and call on them when you need a character in a story to have similar emotions.  To this end I have decided to set up another blog to record both daily events and how I felt about them.  I want to keep it separate to this one as I want this to be a record of my writing, both exercises and processes, whereas the new blog will be more personal, more eclectic, more random – and probably of no interest to anyone other than me whatsoever as it is likely to end up just being a “brain dump”.

The new blog is located here, but as yet this is brand new, with nothing there yet!


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One of my three books have arrived and I was reading it last night – What If.  It contains over 80 exercises for the “fiction” writer to help improve their writing.  The contains page gives a good indication of the exercies that are to follow and so jumping straight in, I completed Exercise 1, which was to write 5 different opening sentences, the idea behind it being that you weren’t committing yourself to writing a whole chapter or even a book based on these sentences, you just needed to write something that would entice the reader to continue reading, something that would grab the reader’s attention immediately and make them wander what was going to happen next.

These are the five sentences that I wrote:

  1. They just kept coming; all down the street they could see them, waving knives and axes in the air, screaming something akin to a tribal war song.
  2. She cowered behind the chair hoping, nay praying, that the sedative would start to work and that he wouldn’t be able to hurt her again.
  3. She screamed, waving her hands frantically in the air hoping that someone would see her before the current got too strong and she wouldn’t be able stay afloat any longer.
  4. The day held a secret, one she didn’t think she could hold onto any longer, it was getting too difficult now and more people were getting closer to the truth.
  5. She looked so beautiful in the dress that she had made herself, everyone looked at her and smiled but no one really knew what to say after what had happened.

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Whilst browsing the internet I came across a post about Novel Writing Software.  Firstly, I have to admit, I hadn’t even considered writing in anything other than Word.  But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was probably a good idea to use a more specific programme since this would allow me to separate out my notes from my actually writing – and therefore only count the words of writing (and not of the notes which Word also includes).

I have found two pieces of software and downloaded them both.  I have already tried one and included all the scenes required for my first two chapters (along with writing for the first scene as well).  Now I will give the other a go and see which I find most useful before continuing with which ever one I feel is best.

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I decided to use my commute home from work wisely.  I have a loose plot for a book (loose because although I have a beginning and a middle, I haven’t quite decided on the ending just yet), and I managed to get Chapter 1 pretty much written – in my head – on the journey home.

"Let the Wild Rumpus Begin" by llymlrs

Unfortunately the time between the journey home and when I could actually set pen to paper (so to speak, as it actually was fingers to keyboard) was another few hours and therefore some of the story I had rehearsed in my head several times over, finally disappeared from my short-term memory.  Still I had the bare bones left and an outline for the following couple of chapters.

I have managed to commit 500 words to paper so far with another 100 or so outlining the story unfolding.  I’m very happy that I have managed to get this far – it might sound daft, but I was worried that this project wouldn’t even get off the ground.  I was quite concerned on how I would actually START the story.  Of course I realise that I might re-write the first chapter over, but the way I look at it is that I just wanted to “blurt” out everything that I was thinking and then I can refine it later – a bit like a brainstorming session really were no idea is a bad idea, just an idea!

It has helped me by getting started – yes that makes sense doesn’t it! What I really mean is that in getting started it has enabled me to work out what I need to do next.  I can probably finish the first 2 chapters with little research but as I head towards chapter 3 this is where I need to really get down to it and do some religious and scientific research.

I’m not a religious person but being brought up going to church every Sunday I have a sort of, ooh I don’t know how to classify this – it’s not an interest and it certainly isn’t a belief but it just fascinates me.   Hopefully my years of church-going will stand me in good stead and give me at least a head start in the research.  As for the science side, well, that’s all genetics related and so although I did biology at school what I need to know is certainly outside of any little knowledge of science that I may have.

Anyway, getting back, I now know what I need to find out having started so hopefully I can focus my research in the areas that I specifically need to further my writing.

So 500 words done, I suppose that means another 99,500 to go….

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To pursue my challenge, I have know that I need to write some short exercises/stories to build a base upon. I envisage that this will help me to write in different forms, about different emotions and get a more rounded base on which I can build on.
To help me to this end I have just ordered some books which have receieved good reviews which will provide me with the exercises that I need and hopefully get past the first stumbling block of getting some words down on paper without worrying what to write about.

What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

Your Writing Coach: From Concept to Character, from Pitch to Publication - Everything You Need to Know About Writing Novels, Non-fiction, New Media, Scripts and Short Stories

The Five-minute Writer: Exercise and Inspiration in Creative Writing in Five Minutes a Day

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Over the last few days I have attempted, somewhat unsuccessfully I might add, to come up with ideas for a short (or even long) story.  In the past I have had “great” ideas for films and such like, yet now, when push comes to shove my mind has thrown up a blank.

Pen & Paper by r1c3y from Flickr

I’ve done a little searching on the beautiful resource, otherwise known as the internet, and come up with a couple of sites that I will peruse later when I have more time:

  1. 999Ideas – a selection of quick synopsises which can be used to help the “thinking” process and get hte ball rolling.
  2. Fiction Writing – this is more a site on how to obtain ideas instead of readily available ideas
  3. Seventh Sanctum – a Story Generator, the name speaks for itself
  4. Hold the Front Page – a set of headliners which are starters for articles
  5. Short Story Ideas – a whole site dedicted to helping relieve writers block

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What is it?

“Can you find it?”

“Find what?”


“What is it?”

“I don’t know”

….And so it continued….

“But what is it” I hear you wonder, well that’s the whole point.  I don’t know what it is, but I’ll know when I find it.

"White Books" from Vicki's Pics

The background here is that I know the outcome that I want to achieve, but I just haven’t worked out how to achieve it.  The outcome is that I want to become Published.  Now Published in this context is quite vague – I don’t know the finer details but currently I imagine that it will be in one of the following guises:

  • an article in a magazine
  • a short story in a magazine
  • a (self-)published book on the internet
  • a published book via a publisher

Now, I realise that the last option here is the most unlikely of the batch, but I have added it for completeness.

Actually I should qualify this slightly otherwise I could boast that I have already achieved my wish as, if you are reading this, you can already surmise that I am published, as this is published on the internet.  The actual outcome is to be published AND paid!

Back to “it” then.  I have set myself a time limit of a whole twelve months to write a series of articles and short stories (thereby including both fiction and non-fiction) which I will post on this site, along with my trials and tribulations, endeavouring to obtain feedback along the way in order to reach my the holy grail of getting a piece of work published.  As yet, who knows what the final piece of work will actually be, but I aim to learn a lot about creative and factual writing along the way.

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