Friday, 29 August 2014

The Absent Months

It's like I don't even know how to write a post anymore.
Guys, there's so much I want to talk about, like LonCon and the awesome people I met and Pitchwars and Pitmad and where I am with my writing (spoiler, tenth draft? Wtf!?). I wanna talk about dystopians and love triangles and dead genres and turning tropes upside down. I wanna talk about cutting off all my hair and going gym and having 6 hours to myself for the next 7 months and how if I don't complete two WIP's in that time then I'm a pro slacker.

But I can't because my daughter starts school next week and I'm doing a back to school dash. Apparently this is a thing I'll become familiar with over the next decade???

I want to say that my writing hasn't suffered at all and I have a lot of people and my sheer will to thank for that. So really, this is just a post to say Hi, I'm still here and that I shall be returning full force in Sept when I reach the grand old age of 27. WHOOOPPIIIIEEEE!!!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Children and Writing

If you write and don't have and children, but you want children and think you can have them and then ask politely to take five minutes away from them in order to edit a page, you may have high expectations. Here is a recorded instance between me and my four year old daughter. It began the moment I slipped away from her to do some writing.

"Mummy, come!"

"What for?"

"To look at this…"

I stay quiet and ignore her to carry on writing. I get called three more times.

“I’m going to show you this tea cup.”

“But I’ve seen it already.”

“No, I want you to look at it with its upside down and then it’s up…” 

What? I go and look and see her creation. I take a picture for my blog. She asks to be in it. I take a picture of her too. "Ok, I’m going back to writing now."

Seven mins later, she returns to explain something she just saw on kiddy channel. "Look at what he’s doing to the ice cream! He’s doing this…" She licks an imaginary ice cream.


She goes off again then returns a minute later with her foot in her father's boxing glove. "Look at this punch-foot." Laughs until she farts. "I done a fart." Leaves. She returns then sits on my bed. "I’m gonna show you something and I want you to come."

But after upside down tea cups, punch-foot and farts, I’m very doubtful.  "What is it?"

"I’m gonna show you something, you have to come when you doing that. (talking about my writing) That is a lot of writing."

"What is it you want to show me?"

"I’m going to show you the mountain with the little thing on top."

"What is it, Ama?"

"It’s a mountain and you have to take a picture of it."

I think for a moment. "Is it your tea cups again?"

"Yeah, you have to take a picture of it."

"I can’t, I’m busy right now."

Makes a strangled whine then throws herself on my bed. Laughs about it. Realises it’s fun. Does it three more times then leaves. I fear her return...which is two minutes later. "Mummy, come please, I got a thing and you a have to take a picture of it so daddy can see it tomorrow."

"I can’t, Ama. I’m busy."

"No, you can do it in a minute."

"Okay then, give me a minute." I abuse the fact that she has no understanding of “minutes” and I continue to write for 4 minutes.

She returns. "Mummy, come. Come. Come. Can I write?"



"Hold on."

She leaves then returns to throw herself on the bed. Rolls on the floor and then farts again. "I done a fart. Can you smell it? Can you smell it? Mummy. Mummy. Mummy! Can you smell my fart?"

"Go away, Ama. I’ve told you about that. It’s disgusting."

"No. No! I want to stay in your room forever." Goes back to jumping on the bed. "Froggit! Froggit!" She takes up my kindle light. "Mummy, I just need your light for now." She dives under the bed sheets and starts whispering to the demons that tell her what to do herself.

And there you go! 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

"I’m writing a Word Movie!"

This is what I imagine people are actually saying when they tell me they are “writing a book”. They have a great idea, the same new shiny idea that all writers are plagued with in the middle of a WIP, and they imagine it will look like a movie…but on a page!! And then when they actually have to transfer these ideas onto the page, they realise it may take anything from 80-100 thousand words and then don’t pass the first chapter.

Guys, this is daunting, yet writers do it every year - bad draft or not.

Though, this isn’t me making fun of those who want to write a book, this is me realising from someone else’s point of view that what writers do is very, very, very, very hard. For those who write over 80k on a regular basis, we may overlook the difficulty of just getting past the first chapter. Now, I’m not saying people who don’t finish their stories lack that desire, some move onto different forms of storytelling like animation or script writing and their stories are told either way.

Then there are those whose ideas slip away silently into the night, and that’s not to say their stories are bad or boring, only that they concluded that writing is really hard and gave up.
So here are my top five reasons why I believe people start then stop. For those who want to write, you may take it as advice, warnings or bullshit.

1. “What I pictured in my head didn’t look the same on the page, so I gave up.” 
This will happen lots and lots and lots and lots. Some people plan, some people don’t. The only cure for this is to edit or do it again. Repetition is your frenemy. So when I said 80-100k, it could be double that if you include all those scrapped pages. Just sayin’…

2. “I realised it was going to take a very long time, so I gave up.”
It will, especially if you want to get it right and to the best quality you can achieve. And don’t even get me started on how slow publishing moves, unless you self-publish of course. At the same time, if everything you do is super quick, you might be missing something.

3. “I didn’t have the time to write a story, so I gave up.”
No one has the time to daydream and put those multiple voices onto a page. Some people just have to do it even if it’s on a wet napkin. It’s here you learn writing is not so much an art as it is an affliction.

4. “I got bored/couldn’t be bothered, so I gave up.”
This is what I call ‘running out of story juice’. It can be due to poor planning. Try adding some sub-stories, exploring your idea or try another form of storytelling. Try script writing or search for a synopsis template. If all else fails, you may just not have a story in front you, more a scene you were dying to bang out on the keyboard. Again, it happens. Doesn’t mean that scene can’t take you places, but that’s all up to you.

5. “It’s hard.” 
I know. And I’m not sure it gets any easier.

That is all.

Actually, no, that's not all. Today I’d like to mention Terri and writing. Terri is my writing buddy, we met nearly two years ago and we’ve not actually done much writing-buddy-stuff together. We talk about it, go to one another’s houses, but we don’t spend a lot of time actually writing together, like doing...crits or anything. I thought that’s what a writing buddy was until I met her. Now that she’s coming to the end of her story, and I (hopefully) to the end of mine, I realise a writing buddy is many things. They don’t have to do much at all, they just have to understand what it’s like to write a book and then watch the story disintegrate, melt or slip through your fingers and plot holes. With that in common, a bond is shared and sometimes....just sometimes, the pain of writing ain’t so bad.

Thanks, Terri!

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