Friday, 28 June 2013

Getting Things Right


Curious to what I’ve been up to these past few days? Of course you are.

Gun Shop in the UK
Well here it is. That’s right, I’ve been busying myself with guns, not in the literal sense as I live in the UK and, well… we’re just not that keen on the things. I’ve never considered this to be a shame until now. You see, this is a post about research and how far writers go for the effect of realism. It sucks to have your work pulled up by someone who knows one of your story subjects better than you, and this is where research comes in.

Generally speaking, if you’re writing your own fantasy you can probably avoid a lot of research because it’s your world, but often we don’t distance ourselves too much from what we’re familiar with. For example, if you’re writing a type of sword and shield fantasy, it helps to do some research on the Middle Ages as this era will share some similarities. Then, when questions pop up, like: how will my characters bathe without plumbing? Or use the toilet? You'll come up with some answers.
One question I had to ask was regarding ice, I couldn’t remember why one of my characters needed ice but considering no fridge freezers existed in my story, I needed to discover a fair substitute. (If you’re wondering there was such a thing and it consisted of a hole in the ground.)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Book Review

Click the pic to buy the book!
Hunted by Liz Powell

It’s the end of the month and as promised, I’m here to help indie writers, traditionally published writers and those in the process. Although I finished reading this book a while ago, the author recently published so now I have the opportunity to blog about it. Three Cheers!

So let’s get started with the blurb, shall we?

Adam Hunter is a professional footballer. He's also gay. After years of secrecy, the two worlds he's tried so desperately to keep apart are about to collide, and Adam's handling it with typical tact and grace: by completely and utterly falling apart at the seams.

The fact is that there's no such thing as a gay footballer, at least to the outside world, and homophobia is so ingrained to his teammates that Adam has no choice but to stay in the closet or sacrifice his career – as if he doesn't have enough pressure in his life already with a drug-addict brother, a drunk absentee father and an overbearing best friend-turned-agent breathing down his neck. Not to mention the one that got away: world class midfielder, all-round golden boy and best-friend-turned-something-else Louie Jackson, who left Adam behind after following a big money move.

Torn between his love life and career, with a knee injury out to get him and the love of his life out of the country, Adam thinks he's lost it all. Whether he's got the courage to fix everything is another question.

I’ll start by saying I’m not into romances, those of you who have read through my posts will know how much I avoid them. My issues with romance settle around realism – or lack thereof! Okay, okay, I know it’s fiction but give me something believable if you’re going to write about an everyday occurrence like love. Don't feed me too many rose petals or multiple orgasms, I'll just get sick.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Burnout or Dedication?

Ok. I think I’m about to burn out. You guys are writers, what’s the signs?!!

I can’t actually tell if I’m working really hard or becoming obsessed. I feel like I’m being neglectful or racing against an imaginary clock. My days are consumed with thoughts about my WIP until I’m counting the hours before I can write again even after I’ve told myself to give it a rest. I can be in the middle of a conversation and the moment it goes quiet I’m off again, thinking, thinking, thinking….

Then at night when I can’t do any more I wonder, am I neglecting the hubby? My daughter? My other duties? (Forgive me Tex!!!)
Every day all day I just want to write and I’m worried I’ll soon discover the downside to this addiction…

(So freakin' weird, I just checked out my blog reading list and found Sarah Foster wrote this yesterday and that Chuck Wendig wrote this 17 hours ago. Now I suddenly feel so much better!)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

My Random House Editor Critique

Dear A. D. Foe, (That’s Shay Dee to you and I!)

Congratulations on being chosen for review. I can see why – you’ve created a fascinating world, and I enjoyed reading the sample of Captcha. I really was impressed by the ideas and innovation in here.
I did, however, find myself left with a considerable amount of questions and a desire to know more and so my notes below cover the main areas where I felt you might be able to make things clearer and more vivid. 

Your opening paragraph is very immediate, and in that respect a strong one. But as I progressed through the sample chapters I found that there was more I wanted to know from before we join the action at the moment. I wondered, for example, if you might want to consider opening with Lyken and Kiva actually out on a hunt rather than having finished one – or maybe even before then, when they first meet? I think that beginning earlier would help establish the purpose of the hunt very clearly for your readers, and it would still retain the sort of dynamic opening you’re looking for.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Why what Microsoft did was a good thing

So Microsoft has done a reversal. No more locking content left right and centre. Swapping of second-hand gaming has been given the go ahead and there’s no more constantly being hooked up to the internet just to play the Xbox one, an so, the concept of the “Digital First” console has been dropped.

But this isn’t going to be a post about which console was better in the first place: I’m not a fangirl. I won’t be rushing out to buy either of them; the true fans can buy it on release date, malfunctions and all! I’ll be buying mine at a later date when the early issues have been resolved…there’s always early issues.

Onto my point: the Xbox one, in all its atrocious glory, was a good thing. In a conversation with my brother, he pointed out that we need gaming giants like Microsoft to screw up and piss people off. Because I have it in the back of my head that Sony would’ve happily done the same thing as Microsoft if everyone was okay with it, but seeing as half the planet has a problem with everything being locked, Sony figured they better take the upper hand and please all. Notice how they were pretty quiet about their decisions on whether they were going to allow second-hand gaming and what-not until Microsoft released all details. Now we’ve got Sony boasting about their decision to go in the opposite direction to the point where they’re making well-aimed jokes at Microsoft

At this, my brother said, “I hope the Xbox doesn’t do too badly.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because we need competition. If Microsoft stop making the Xbox, all I’ll have is Sony, then those guys can pull off whatever they want and they’ll be no alternative for gamers like me…”

This, my friends, was a scary thought, and a true one. Without competition, Sony could put down whatever rules they wanted. I’m not going to sit here and pretend the reason Sony didn’t pull the same moves as Microsoft was because they “care about their customers”, because even if they do, they care more about money. And guaranteed, if the consumers gave a nod to Microsoft’s new moves, Sony would have followed suit. I mean, if Microsoft can do a U-turn so quickly, Sony could have done the same thing in order to please the consumers. The idea was in the pipeline, I bet, they just did the smart thing in biding their time with it.

But let’s see how all this plays out. Apparently what Xbox had going was about to be the next best thing alongside Steam, and no doubt, slowly but surely, Microsoft will continue to push in the direction of a “Digital First”. For now though, I’m glad they’re around to make a difference.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Internet

A Dangerous Playground

I’ll admit something: I’m glad I didn’t have the internet when I was writing in my teens.

Some Writing Spots try to make you feel welcome, but when you get there, you can get the impression not everyone is. Especially the Newbies.

I’ve wondered a lot about how the internet has affected young writers, or just those new to the idea. Looking back on my journey, I think it took me a long time to mature into someone who could write a half decent paragraph, but I was in no rush to get there.
I didn’t take writing seriously until I turned twenty and realised I had no A levels, no degree or worked anywhere long enough to start building a career. If I was going to give anything a shot, it was what I’d been doing with passionate consistency from the day I could; writing.

Speed Writing

I’m on a roll!

I’ve been totally neglecting this blog, my twitter and Facebook. I feel bad about it, but it’s true. At the same time it’s for good reason: I’ve been writing. 

I’m proud to say there’s been little procrastination going on here, therefore I’ve been zooming through CAPTCHA. After a short re-read I’m back on track, hopefully halfway through at just over 30k; I’m aiming for an 80k novel. If I’m not done with my first draft by August/September, I’ll be damned.

So this is just a “letting you know” post.
My blog will sometimes come across deserted but just know that’s it’s because I’m away scribbling on my WIP. 
Side Note: I had someone random e-mail me a while ago saying they had read the first two chapters of CAPTCHA and would like to buy it! And what did I do? Well, after suspecting they were some kind of vanity publishing company/spammer and looking for them all over the net to discover that they were, indeed, your average reader, I e-mailed back apologising for there not being a book. But it gave me such a confidence boost! On the other hand it made me realise how doubtful I am of my own writing if I'm doubting someone genuine would be even moderately interested in spending money on my scribbles…

Or is that normal???

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Dedicated to…

My Helping Hands

It’s really come to my attention (as if I didn’t know already) how much my support network means to me. Without them I have no idea how I would be able to write considering I do so at such unsociable hours, usually after midnight. This means I need someone to keep a keen eye on my little one while I catch some Z’s the next morning, and the person who stands in the most is the father of my lil’ one.

But he does more than that, he sometimes locks me in the bedroom for two hours and tells me to write, checking up on me once in a while to make sure I’m not procrastinating on Facebook or Twitter. And in return I support him on his MMA ventures. #Teamwork
My second rock is my father, and beside him stands the pebble, my brother, te he! He’s actually older than me by 19 months. They both watch my daughter at least once a week, giving me and my partner some *cough* quality time. Anyway…
My point is, these things matter to me LOADS! I’m a person who loves my time and I’m not ashamed to say that, as a new mother, I had no idea how much time toddlers demand. I mean, it’s constant unless they’re sleeping. They like playing the same games over and over too, and if you try to change up the rules, they sometimes suffer tantrums. In my heart of hearts I've always wanted two children, but realistically I know I couldn’t manage without possibly being unhappy. Right now, we, as a family, have a perfect balance, and hearing others talk about struggling to find the time to pursue their passions makes me realise how lucky I am. I’m also immensely happy with my life and how things have turned out for me, and I do hope that in the future we will have established something in terms of reaching our goals and maybe one day have a second child. Until then, I have more than I could have wanted and a good amount of helping hands.

Monday, 3 June 2013

The South Bank Review

Not Your Average Pen Pusher

For the most of last week I was out for the count with wisdom tooth pain, a headache and a cold, and then when I finally did get better I went out partying with uni students, stayed up for 24 hours and then gt sick again. In case you don’t already know, I didn’t and don’t go uni... 

But I’m not one to shy away from having a drink with them!

This particular celebration wasn’t just a chance for the students to get together and relax after all that uni pressure, it was a chance for some of them to share their written work; both voluntarily and for their finals. I shamefully missed a lot of those performances – not the part where they all got together in the pub, I was there for that on time – but some of the performances I missed. And it wasn’t the worst thing, because I got to know some interesting individuals and this made me curious about the kind of work they did.

Luckily for me, The South Bank Review has all their work up!
So, after my 24 hours of half-dancing, drinking, winning and losing at pool, I finally came home and checked it out. You should too…

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