Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No....It's a bloody synopsis!!

Morning all.

Just a warning to anyone who may read this.  Today's post will not be a witty, enlightened piece of written genius (We can all dream can't we?)

Noooo, today's piece is going to be an all out rant.

'What' I hear you gasp.  'Pip having a rant, never!  Then tell us O Wise One (Hey!  It's my blog, I can be wise...sometimes) what has irked you so?'

Okay here goes. 

It's a single word, one that I imagine is only whispered in the darkest of corners by those of us who one day hope to achieve the mantle, writer.  This word holds incredible, dark power.  So terrible is this word that I know it has the ability to drown any and all elated sensations that I hope every writer feels when they have finished a piece and thinks that it might be ready for an agent to read. 

So savage is this creature of torture, because if this word was a 'being' it would be a foul, contemptible thing indeed, that it has the ability to take your perfectly lovely day, you know the one, your sat in your favourite chair, enjoying the calm serenity that comes from knowing you can pat yourself on the back for all those month's you have spent, locked away, writing your masterpiece (as far as I'm concerned my work is always a masterpiece, so why shouldn't it be the same for everyone else), when out of nowhere it starts stalking you and whilst you try to ignore it, it's to late, because you can both feel and hear it.

At first it's low, barely even noticeable, but that's okay, because this vile menace is nothing if not patient.  Then it starts, and like the solitary echo of dripping water, it lets you know that you should be afraid.  It gains momentum.  You try to ignore it but that persistent dripping quickly picks up speed and then without warning transforms itself to something even more ominous, a single, lowly drum beat. 

BOOM!  BOOM!  BOOM!

The drum gets louder and louder, you start to run, but the harder you try to ignore it, the louder and quicker the sound becomes, and now there are hundreds of drums, thundering around you, all playing together at the same time and tempo.  You try to run from it, but you simply can't.  It has to be faced, there is no escape.  And then with the power of a tidal wave crashing to the shore you are over powered by the full force of its intensity and in the eerie silence that follows you are left with a single word...
 
Synopsis
 
Okay, that was ridiculously over dramatic, but in my defence this is how writing a synopsis makes me feel, plus it gave me a chance to practice my suspense, spooky, scary writing techniques.  Pretty good huh?  Probably best if you don't answer that.
 
I have to be honest, I am really struggling with this particular aspect of the writing process.  If you are new to writing, like I am really, but if you are just starting out, then do not read this, not yet, I wish you the best of luck with your writing and hope to see you on the other side when you have finished your first piece, but don't look at the big word above, it could possibly put you right off.
 
I have read every blog and website I can get my hands on regarding 'Writing a Synopsis'.  I have had help from a top guy called Chris Salch who helped with one of my early versions massively and eventually with his help I managed to get my original seven page synopsis down to two pages.
 
Hurrah!  I hear you cry, so what's the problem? 
 
I am so close to sending my stuff to agents that I can see it, but now some of the agents that I hope might like my stuff and who I would like to send my stuff to are asking for a synopsis of '1 page' and I don't think I can do it.  It took me approximately 18 months to write my story/book and most of it was a pleasure, I really enjoyed it.  So far I have spent the better part of 3 months writing and re-writing my synopsis, desperately squeezing every inch of space in to those two pages and now, just as I think I am done, the goal posts move again.
 
I don't think I can do it.  I honestly don't think I can possibly fit my book into a one page synopsis.  I realise that if I was more experienced and had more knowledge and was maybe a professional editor I could probably summarise my story/book in to a paragraph or even a single sentence, but as it stands at the moment, with the tools I have...
 
I have read everything I can on the subject, I reckon I could probably give a pretty good lecture on how to write a synopsis, but please can someone tell me how I am supposed to squeeze approx. 166,000 words on to a single page and still make it sound even vaguely interesting enough for someone to think 'Oooh that's sounds good, I think I might like to read a bit more about this'.
 
Over the last three months I have often wondered if writing a synopsis is some kind of terrible test or a ridiculous riddle that you have to solve to get in to the writing world, but once you have cracked it, your in, one of the elite.  If that is the case, please could I have a different test.  Pretty much anything else would do, I would even take on the standing in a bath of water whilst having a car battery attached to my nipples test than face the 'synopsis'.  It would be far less painful.
 
So here is today's questions -
 
  • Is there a magic formula?  An idiot's guide to how to?  A way that explains the process in such a way that I get it and understand that I was probably worrying unnecessarily over nothing really?
  • Does anyone have this much trouble with writing the aforementioned?  If so, what did you do to get passed it.  I would love to read a synopsis that has been accepted and passed, just so I know what one looks like.
  • And if an agent requests a 1 page synopsis, is it okay to send them 2 pages and explain in the letter that proceeded it why you have sent two pages?  To be honest this is a stupid question to ask, I know the answer.  No, it's not okay, but I am at a loss as to what to do. 
 
Well that's it for today.  Apologies for the waffling on, but remember this is a diary, not a helpful and informative blog that helps and advises, sorry.  I'm just a bloke trying to understand how his head works.  Anyway, I have to go, I hear the beat of the drum calling and I am running out of places to hide.
 
Stay cool
 
Pip  x


Monday, 18 November 2013

My Mission Statement! When in Doubt, Read this Out!

Hello

I've been thinking a lot recently about writing, more specifically I have been thinking why is it I feel the need to be a writer.  Last week I was introduced to someone who told me that I was both selfish and arrogant for wanting to be a writer.  Apparently the time I spend writing could and would be used better 'Doing something more constructive'.  'I'm wasting my time' I was informed and 'There was absolutely no chance that I would get anywhere with it'. 

I'll be honest I was to shocked to react immediately, I didn't know what to do or say to this unexpected outburst and by the time I had figured out something witty to respond with, the conversation was several hours dead and I was surprised to find myself in bed.  Once I had gotten over the initial shock, laid in the dark, staring at my bedroom ceiling, my first reaction was anger.  If I was to be honest I was fucking furious, who the hell was this person to tell me these things.  I never introduce myself as Pip Connor, Writer.  I don't feel that I have the right to call myself a writer, not yet anyway.  I was so angry I got out of bed and reached for the secret stash of cigarettes my wife has hidden in the coffee pot in our kitchen.  She doesn't know I know they're there as I don't drink coffee or tea.  I haven't had one of those terrible yet ever-so-tempting cancerous sticks in almost 3 weeks as I am trying desperately to give the habit the kick, but at the time all I wanted to do was smoke and scream and smoke and swear and smoke and cry.  So there I was stood in my back garden, unlit cigarette in hand, staring up at a miserable November pre-dawn sky, wearing nothing more than my comfy crocs, boxer shorts and a hoodie, when I realised why I was so angry .  This small minded person (prick) who felt the need to express these points to me hadn't told me anything I didn't already know.  I must say them to myself at least a dozen times a week.  It's okay for me think these things, but when a complete stranger (wanker) says them out loud without even asking Why?  Who?  What? and Where? it hurts.  It made all my fears and insecurities regarding my writing very real.  I didn't light the cigarette, I put it in the bin and instantly wished that I had smoked it.  And then I booted up the old laptop at 03:38 and started to write until my little girls woke up at 07:30.

At the moment I don't have a job, I was made redundant a few months ago, but my wife and I discussed it and she convinced me to take some time off.  I've worked all my life and with a lot of persuading from my better half decided that perhaps a 6 month break from the rat race would be nice.  We've saved a couple of quid, not what you would call a fortune, but enough for me to take to the end of the year off, so that's what I'm doing so that I can focus on my writing, as prior to losing my job I had finished my first story/book so why not spend a few months polishing it and seeing if I could do something with it.  Well now I'm at the point where I am looking to send it to an agent and at the moment every time I sit down to re-write my synopsis, or spend hours I should be sleeping researching for the right agent, I always think the following -

  • The story is shit!
  • The writing is shit!
  • Who the hell are you to think you could actually do this?
  • How many hundreds of hours have you spent writing this dribble and for what?
  • People will laugh at you!
  • No one will take you seriously!
  • No one will like it!
  • The story is shit!
  • The writing is shit!
  • ...etc.

And every time these thoughts attack me (And they do, a lot) I force myself to ignore them by saying to myself that at least I'm giving it a go.  I'm not hurting anyone, I make sure that my wife and two girls have my full attention 100% of the time and then when I know they are fine, (more often than not it's when they are sleeping), it's then I spend the early hours looking at that screen. 

It's the need to write that drives me, but it's the fear that often inspires me. 

So I have decided to write what I Shall call 'My Mission Statement'.  Something to read and memorise and then say out loud when I feel doubt.  When the days come and all I seem to get is rejection after rejection I shall stare at the words below and know that it will be okay.  When the flashing cursor is mocking me I shall stand up tall and shout loudly and proudly my mission statement until all doubt, all fear has gone.  (Okay that might be a little melodramatic, but you get the point).

My Mission Statement


I want to write the kind of books that are difficult to put in a box and tricky to categorise. I want to, have to and need to write stories that place as much value on feeling as thought. I want to prove intelligence does not need to be compromised in order to entertain. I want to be a storyteller – one who believes in beginnings, middles and endings. I want to provoke physical responses – laughter, tears, heart palpitations. I want to take people to another world in order for them to see the one they live in with new eyes. I want my books to come up with new truths so obvious they sound like clichés. I want to fill my books with love and hope and possibility. I want to ignore the rules that say you can’t have happy endings or clichés or adverbs or jokes (if it is good enough for life it's good enough for a book). I want to be a tour guide of the imagination.
---------------------------------------
 
Question of the Week
 
Does anyone else out there feel the same? 
Do you have something that keeps you writing even when it seems that there isn't any point?
When those days come and you start to doubt yourself, what do you do to push past that feeling?
 
It would really help hearing that it isn't just me who feels like this a lot of the time.
Anyway, time to go.  Look after yourselves people but above all, stay cool.
Pip  x




Wednesday, 16 October 2013

I Hate Literary Fiction as a Genre!

I realise that what I am about to type is probably going to get me into trouble, especially when you consider that I am currently looking to try and get my story/book accepted by an agent, but I'm sorry, I stand by my title.  I hate literary fiction.

Don’t get me wrong, I read a lot of books and some of them would probably be considered as literary fiction. And often I enjoy these books. I have nothing against serious books, or intelligent books, or realistic books, or books about educated upper class people living in the 19th century, having sex with their maids whilst avoiding being killed by a jealous or/and often more powerful rival. 
 
No.

What I am against is the idea of literary fiction.  The idea that it is – or should be – a category. A genre, something separate to, say, books about vampires and monsters or books set in space where emu's have taken over the world or books revolving around a sincere and often tragic love story. Since finishing my first story/book and having started with my second new story/book I have decided to try and see if what I have written is good enough for someone to consider.  The first step I have discovered is trying to get an agent and I am surprised to find that quite a lot of them are asking for what is classed as 'Literary Fiction'.  What bothers me about this is, who am I to say that what I have spent months and months writing and re-writing should be classed as the above?  I hear the words literary fiction and instantly think that whatever falls into this bracket is often considered what some would call a 'Classic'.  To give it a visual comparison, if 'Downton Abbey' is considered high-brow, a classic, enjoyed by millions the world over, what would you call 'Dallas'.  As far as I can see they are essentially the same program.  Families with money, arguing, fighting, killing and sleeping with people that they shouldn't, whilst constantly vying for power, etc.  I know this isn't an exact comparison, but I think my point is made.  Essentially they are the same story, the scripts, actors, country and time are different, but what makes Downton Abbey any better than Dallas?  (In all honesty I don't watch either of these programs, but my wife and her friends do and they will talk about them for hours and it all sounds very complicated).  But if what I read from others writers blogs is to be believed, it seems to me that the publishing world is changing at a daily rate and becoming ever more paranoid about its future and that is the only reason that I can see why there seems to be a renewed attempt to turn it into a genre of its own. But I'm sorry I think this is wrong, dangerously wrong.

And I’ll tell you why:

- In my humble opinion books should not be gated communities. Culture is always at its richest when it is mixed up. Genres never help this.

- Literary fiction is synonymous with serious fiction. By turning serious fiction into a genre you are automatically devaluing every other type of book.

- Genres are straitjackets. Genres say this is what you can and can’t write about. A genre imprisons imagination.

- If Hamlet was a debut novel, written today, a literary publisher would sit down with Shakespeare and say ‘there’s some really great stuff in here William, but to be taken seriously you should probably get rid of the jokes, and all the murder stuff, and the ghost. Literary readers don’t like the supernatural.’

- Genres make for worse writing.  People always talk about writers selling out but I bet just as many are being a different kind of fake. The kind of fake that wants good reviews, and credibility, and a gold star from teacher.

-Genres create rules. And the only rule a writer should follow is truth. The truth of their own instincts and imagination.

- It is outdated. We do not live in a bubble. Our minds aren’t VIP rooms that only allow Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence passed the velvet rope. They are filled continuously nowadays with a riotous carnival of influences whether we like it or not. TV shows, pop songs, graphic novels, films, blogs, tweets, pop-up advertising, Youtube videos, Tumblr quotations, the news, our Facebook friends, the postman, our dreams and nightmares.

- It is about snobbery. It is about that worst aspect of human nature, the one that says ‘I read this type of book because I am this type of person which is a better type of person than the type who reads fantasy books/thrillers/romances/whatever’. It is book fascism.

- It goes against creativity. I don’t know how other writers work but I feel at my most creative when I am busting convention. I have tried to write several books previous to the one I have just finished and the reason I think that I never really finished them or got passionate about them was because I felt I had to write in a certain style to even be considered as a serious writer.  Many people tell me that because I have written a book means that I am a writer, but I disagree, until someone reads it and says to me you could maybe sell this and make a living from writing, I am not a writer, I am just a person who writes.  I'm okay with that and maybe, just maybe I might be lucky enough to make a living writing one day.  But I have learnt the hard way that to confine myself in to writing something that I think someone else might read because of the style in which it is written is wrong.  It's not who I am.  And I would be lying to myself and to any possible readers who might one day read my stuff.  So when I wrote my last story/book I let myself go with it, I let the story take me to places that I never even imagined and at no point did I worry whether what I put down on the page was considered high brow.  I just wanted to write a good story and hopefully have others enjoy it.  Once I gave into the idea of writing for writing, instead of doing it to fit into one specific category because I assumed that it would be classed as a more credible read I found it was easier to write.  I can honestly tell you I have never felt so energised or passionate writing anything before and I honestly think that energy came from allowing myself to be free. About forgetting about being a ‘literary’ writer or a ‘commercial’ writer or a ‘fantasy’ writer.

- People who put fences up between things damage culture. People who say there are certain types of films/plays/ballets/paintings/books for certain types of people put people off those things. And the last thing anyone needs to do is to put people off books right now.

- Art and stories should be inclusive. You know, like Shakespeare – playing to the groundlings and royalty. I think what we need to remember is that we all love telling or hearing stories around a campfire. We shouldn’t leave people in the cold.  At the end of the day, for those of us who write, I would like to believe that we do it because we simply want to tell a good story and have someone else enjoy that story.  Whether the story we want to share is any good is for others to decide, but please don't ask me if what I write is classed as 'Literary Fiction', because if I was to respond with a 'Yes, yes it is literary fiction.' I can't help but feel it makes me sound like a bit of a pompous wanker.
 
If anyone else does read this, please feel free to tell me what you think?
 
Well that's me done for today.  Look after yourselves people, but above, stay cool.
 
Pip  x

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Blogging - Is it nothing more than a White Whale?

Well it's me again.  Talking (writing) to myself, with no expectation of anyone actually listening or reading this. 

Strange when you think that if I was to start talking to myself about my day out loud, randomly, in the middle of a busy street, the chances are most people would avoid me like the plague.  Scratch that, what they would probably do these days is get out their 'Smart' phones and film me talking out loud to myself, post it on YouTube and then the next thing you know I'm getting invited onto talk shows after becoming an internet hit, more commonly known as 'Nutter Nattering to Himself' or 'Mad Man Mumbling Out Loud'.  Yet it's okay to do it on the web...

To be honest, that's not my gripe with blogging.  I'm all for freedom of speech and expression, as long as the US government says it's okay, that is if Edward Snowden is to be believed anyway.  No what bothers me about the 'Blogosphere' is the idea that it's the new and exciting way to get yourself known, a way to become famous without actually doing much of anything except writing down whatever it is you want to say.  Slightly presumptuous of me you might say, probably is, however I was made redundant two months ago and decided to take myself out of the game for a couple of months.  So I avoided my laptop and spent time with my little girls over the summer holidays, something I have never had the chance to do before and when my two girls had knackered me out I then amused myself redecorating my home.  It felt good to unplug for a while.  So when I eventually got round to logging on for the first time today in two months, what emails and tweets did I have?  Almost every single one was telling me how as a wannabe writer I have to have an online presence, that I have to blog regularly, tweet incessantly and generally bother people about how to get my name out there.  The thing I have to ask myself is this, when am I supposed to write?  After being told the 'Top Ten things to get your writing noticed by blogging.' or 'Tweet your way to a best seller by following these simple 35 steps', and 'Facebook your way to a best seller', etc. I barely have time to breath, let alone write.

Are there good, even great blogs out there?  Of course there is, hundreds of thousands I assume, on every topic you could want, I subscribe to several myself, all of them regarding the art of writing, but I have noticed that over the last few months that even my usual weekly reads are becoming less about the subject matter in question and more about how to get what you're writing noticed by agents and possible publishers and all of them keep banging on about having an active online presence.  WTF?? 

Mine is not a blog, it's a diary or journal, the word is in the title.  If you don't believe me, read my posts, most of them are nothing more than dribble, which may explain why I have no subscribers and very few posts commented on, but at least I'm not banging on about how to avoid trolls or get your name higher up in the Google charts.  I am not here to help or advise anyone on how to write, I genuinely wish I could, but I am far from qualified to give even the smallest bits of help and advice, hence why I subscribe to other peoples blogs.  For me, the idea of writing on the web is more a way of seeing if anyone else feels the same way I do when I write.  The highs as well as the lows, but generally I write about writing my book.  Every now and again I might strop out and moan about something else, but generally I write on here for me, with the hope that maybe someone else who is going through the same experience (And from what I have read there are a lot of us) might take solace that they are not the only ones that feel that way.

Writing for me is infuriating, frustrating and hard, but I also find it comforting, exciting and above all an enjoyable challenge.  It's something I do when I have some time to myself.  Would I like to be a writer where I can make a decent living from it?  Hell yeah!  More than anything.  But as I have learnt, so does everyone else and what fascinates me is how most, not all, but most seem to spend all their time, blogging, tweeting and facebooking everyone on their mailing list how to get ahead in writing and become a big success and only a few actually have the bragging rights to be able to advise. 

I don't write this to insult anybody.  I'm guessing that for a few it works, but shouldn't the point of a writer be that their writing speaks for them and not how many people follow them on Twitter or Facebook?  The world is changing everyday, getting quicker, more advanced, everything is need and want and people want it NOW God-damn-it, but with that comes ones more sinister side.  Ruthlessness, jealousy, greed start to raise their ugly heads.  I still believe that if the story is good, then in time good things will happen.  I have to, simply because I don't have time to use the internet to raise my online profile in the hope that when I send out my work an agent might think that because I have a million Twitter followers (I don't, I have two.  If you would like to be my third look for me at @pipconnor) it must mean that I have something good to say, maybe the reason why my online profile isn't the best is because I am spending all my available time writing the best book I can.

So I am going to revise my 'Journal', I will not be forced to become a slave to the web and push and harass people about what I do and how I think they should be doing it too.  I'm going to continue to write here, but it's for me, a reminder of the journey I am taking whilst I try and ascertain whether I have enough talent to write a book and actually have someone else like it too.  After all, isn't that the point?

I know I don't have all the facts about the writing world and how it works, so maybe I have written this for nothing and in my ignorance feel I am clever and wise by spurning what seems to be almost every email I get at the moment telling me how to get to the Holy Grail of writing and get signed, but do you know what, I'm okay with that, after all, maybe the reason why I will get rejected for my efforts is simply because I am crap at writing, my stories are as thin as the paper I print them out on and I couldn't tell a good tale if my life depended on it, but at least I'm trying and that has to mean something shouldn't it?

Anyway, that's it for me for today, I'll be back soon when I feel I have something I need to remember or express.

Take care, but above all, Stay cool.

Pip  x

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Rejection is not as bad as I thought it would be.

Hello Interweb, it's me again.  Typing a message and sending it out into the ether where apparently it will be there FOREVER, for all to read.  Dun, Dun, Dahhhh!  Do you know what though, I'm okay with that.  I know it has been a while since I have added anything to my diary/blog but I have a good reason for that.

Well, back to the subject in question...rejection.  On the 25th of June I received my first rejection letter from an agent I queried with my first piece of work.

Question

Does that mean I am one step closer to becoming a proper writer?

On the 3rd of June, with fingers, toes and eyes crossed I sent out 5 enquires to five prospective literary agents.  My hands were clammy and my brow was suitably soaked in sweat.  In my head questions of doubt plagued me relentlessly as I pressed <SEND>.  You would have thought had you seen me at the time, that I was defusing a bomb.  And then as soon as I eventually brought myself to actually press the button, rightly or wrong, I took a couple of weeks off.  It sounds weird, but I kind of forgot about it.  I didn't check email, I didn't play games and I didn't spend time with my nemesis, the flashing cursor.

That's not entirely true, I was constantly thinking about the idea of someone I had never met before or even spoken too maybe reading my stuff and then having to critique it.  But whenever that thought hit , a calm, almost Zen like state would settle over me.  I don't think for a minute it was in anyway a plateau moment and that I had finally found spiritual enlightenment, (the force is strong with this one, but not that strong), but I always believed when I got to this part of the process I would be obsessively checking email, pulling my hair out, screaming at the wall, demanding to know why they hadn't got back to me after a week or two.  After much deliberating I have figured out that what I experienced was more a 'Que sera sera' feeling.  The bottom line was there was nothing I could do about it now so why fret?

I have fully prepared myself and expect all 5 enquires to come back as rejected, if they get back to me at all and I don't mean to sound negative, what I'm trying to say is, I'm okay with that too.  It's difficult to explain what I mean, it's a feeling I have that if and when all five come back rejected, I know it's not going to dishearten me.  There are hundreds of reasons why an agent might say 'no', it might not be their cup of tea, they're looking for something else, etc.  Whatever the reasons will be, I'm going to try and take some solace in the fact that if I keep receiving rejection letters, at least I'll be consistent.  I just hope they don't think what I have sent them is shit and if it turns out that what I have written is nothing more than dribble, please, oh please won't someone tell me.

Between you and me though, this very small, meek voice keeps annoying me.  Buzzing around like a fly I can't swat and as much as I try and ignore it, when I least expect it I hear this whisper 'What if someone likes what you've done?'

I can assure you that I have both my feet firmly planted, but it must happen.  Someone sends a WIP to an agent, they read it, they like it, then some magic happens and the next thing you know your holding a copy of your book and it's in shops.  I realise that there is a lot more to it than that, but essentially at some point that is the general gist for some, it's highly unlikely, but why couldn't it happen to me?

I think what I am trying to say in a very long winded way is that I have received my first 'No' and in a twisted way I am well chuffed.  When my phone pinged on the 3rd to tell me that I had email and I saw the address of one of the agents I had sent it too, the first thing I had to do was use the toilet.  I felt a little light headed too, is that normal?  Anyway, after staring at my inbox for at least 20 minutes I eventually opened the email.  It was concise, no more than half a dozen lines, but it was nowhere near as bad as I had imagined it.  I'm not going to try and explain what I had envisioned in my head, but it was pretty savage, this wasn't.  After reading it and then reading it again I found that I was smiling.  Was it the response I wanted, of course not, but it was a response.  Someone in the business, who knows about the world of writing had received my stuff and had spent their time to at least acknowledge me and at the moment I'm okay with that. 

I've decided that I'm going to buy a big bull dog clip and every rejection letter I receive I'm going to print them off, hold them together with the huge bull dog clip and hang it on my wall in sight, as inspiration.  I want to be a writer, hopefully one day, a good writer, and more than ever I believe that this is something I should be doing.  I know that I will continue to write now, no matter what the outcome might be and if it takes years and years to get anywhere near to what I would like, so be it, I have to believe that eventually it will come and if turns out that I don't achieve my goal, at least I tried, that has to mean something doesn't it?

Question - Do other people feel like this when it comes to their own writing and how did they feel when and if they received their first rejection?

How did you feel when you sent your first piece to someone? 
Has anyone ever received any particularly harsh rejection letters?
Is it normal for me to feel happy about my first rejection letter?

Anyway, that's it for now.  As soon as I receive my next letter I'll let you know.

Take care, but above all, stay cool.

Pip  x


Please take a minute to visit Anne R. Allen's blog, especially this weeks entry, it is filled with information on everything a writer, new or experienced needs to know about all things writing. 
 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Bucket List : Write a book - Check.

Hello, how's it going?

Well I'm back, again.  In my last page of ramblings I mentioned that I had finally finished and printed my first ever story/book, hurrah for me, imagine fireworks, a marching band, etc.  Well I have spent the last few weeks reading through it and do you know what, I am having to make some serious edits.  AARRGGGHHHHHH!!!!

To be honest, it's not as bad as it seems in my head.  The story is there and the majority of the writing is, as far as I'm concerned, okay, I want to say that my writing is 'fucking awesome', but I'll get to that. 

I have learnt loads over these last few weeks whilst proof reading my story/book. 

The first thing I have to say, and I'm probably going to sound like a bit of an idiot here, (well more of an idiot than usual), but holding all those pages, with my 166,000-ish words felt pretty good.  And for a few minutes I didn't care if what I had written was good, complete shit or the next New York Times Best Seller.  I also didn't care whether I would be lucky enough to be able to sell my work, although that feeling passed quicker than the first one.  All I knew was at that point I was holding something that I had worked hard on and had written.  I had managed to take the story in my head and put it on paper, which for me, made it real.  For anyone who might read this and hasn't got to that point yet, it's a nice feeling.  And for those of you that write for a living, you lucky sods, you get to feel like that all the time.  And then I started to read it...

When I was writing I could have sworn I was quite a complicated writer.  Using clever simile's and imaginative metaphors.  I had delusions that if he was still alive, Hemingway should have been worried.  But after reading my story/book properly, it turns out that my writing is relatively simple.  That's sounds wrong, but it's difficult for me to explain.  By simple I don't think it's amateurish, even though I suppose technically it is.  I think, and remember this is in my own 'I haven't got a clue what I'm doing' opinion, that it flows pretty well and whilst I know it is nowhere up to other readers or writers standards, I believe it's a good honest attempt.  I just remember writing certain paragraphs or chapters and thinking how clever I was with my descriptions, etc, only to find that I'm not as 'complicated', which is the wrong word, but it will do, as I thought I was.  Go figure?

Could my writing be better, probably, no, definitely, but I feel that for my first effort, it's not bad and if I am ever lucky enough to be given the chance to try and make a living from writing I know it will get better, but I think the story is actually quite good.  I know, I know, I sound like a proper dick who is obviously delusional, but I believe in my story and just hope that if and when someone else reads it, whether it be an agent, a publisher, a friend or a genuine reader who might have even spent their hard earned money buying it, I sincerely hope they believe in my story too.

Anyway, that's where I'm up too.  I have read, on paper, something that I worked on and it felt good.  I don't own an E-reader and am going to be gutted if the time comes when I succumb to the electronic age and buy one, simply because to hold something made from plastic just won't feel the same as reading something that eventually develops character, a feel, even a smell, a good book is like a good friend.  At the age of 37 I have already bought several different copies of Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' because I have read them to death and had to replace them as they have fallen apart with over use.  Yes I know, conservationists might argue that every book made is a tree killed, if we forget about recycling for a moment, and I know and understand what the eco-warriors are saying and I agree, but it will be a sad day when I have to trade pulped wood for a plastic case with a glass screen.  Books are cool, fact.

Well that's it for today.  I am getting closer and closer to sending my stuff to the legends who might help me achieve my original goal, using my writing as a way to change my life for the better, although I get the feeling that this is going to be the hardest part of the process.  I have also started working on my second story/book, but I'm not going to talk about that yet, it's not quite ready, so shhhh.  If nothing else I can tick it off my bucket list, because whether I ever get published or not, I can say with all certainty, I have written a book.

Take care people, wherever you might be, but above all, stay cool.

Peace

Pip  x

Sunday, 28 April 2013

And the Oscar for the worst Thank you speech goes to.....Pip Connor!!




Afternoon all.  How's it going?

Check out my picture at the top of this, that's it, that's my final draft of my first ever story/book.  Pretty fucking cool if you ask me.  I know it just looks like a pile of paper, but I swear, there is over 166,000 words in there somewhere.  Whether they're any good is yet to be determined by an agent, which is the next step of the process.

I have finally managed to finish a synopsis, but not without the help of Chris Salch.  And I just want to take a minute to thank him.  Chris, the author of 'That Which Is Nameless' and 'A Thousand Cuts' was kind enough to reply to a post I added to LitReactor when I asked for someone to read my synopsis.  Not only did Chris spend his time reading it and giving me his opinion, he then spent more of his time editing and making what were excellent suggestions.  Chris, you are the man and I am extremely grateful.

I would also like to thank Richard Thomas for all his advice and suggestions.  Richard has a new book, a series of short stories called 'Staring Into The Abyss' that he has recently released and I wish him the best of luck.

I also need to thank Anne.R.Allen for all her help and advice.  Anne, a very successful writer, has an amazing blog that I would suggest any and all writers read and learn from.  Congratulations on being awarded 'Writers Digest - 101 Best Websites For Writers'.

Finally I need to thank my amazing wife Boo (Claire) and my two little girls Amber and Zoey.  If it wasn't for you three lovely ladies I would packed this in a long time ago.

I know that I sound like I am giving a really bad Oscar speech and for that I apologise, but whilst it isn't much, the very least I can do is thank the above for just being very cool people.

As for me, all I have to do now is read through that final draft, making sure everything is a good as I can get it and then I am going to tentatively approach an agent or twelve and then when they have told me 'Thanks but no thanks' I will approach another twelve and then another until either -

1.  I get the message and realise what it is I have written is complete shit

or

2.  Someone gives me a chance and hopefully feels I have something worth working with. 

I'm hoping for number two but am hedging my bets on number one.  Cynics, aren't we all?

It's strange to think that the last 18 months have all been leading to this moment and now it's here I find that my doubt has never been more aggressive.  When I started this little experiment to see if I could do this I don't really think I believed I would have got as far as I have, yet here I am.

I know that my blog isn't particularly helpful when it come to writing and the process involved, to be honest you can't beat Anne's for that, for me it's now required reading every Monday morning, but my blog has helped me out a lot.  I don't really know if anyone reads this as I have no followers, but that's okay because for me this is more a journal on what writing has put me through and I hope to one day read back over my crazy rants and laugh at it.

Anyway, it's Sunday afternoon, the sun is out (for a change) and my girls are calling.  I'm going to split and spend time with the 3 most important people in the world to me.

Hopefully with a lot of luck this could be the beginning of the beginning.  Fingers crossed.

Stay cool

Pip  x

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Synopsis...WTF!!

Well it's me again...surprise!  Not really.

Anyway, how are you?  Me, how am I you ask?  Have I sent my story/book off to find an agent yet?  Ummm, well, no, not yet.  You see there is a little bit of a problem on that front, allow me to explain.

If you are an avid reader of this blog, which I know you are...maybe, then you will know that one of the first things I said when I started on my experiment to change my life for what I hope will one day be the better by trying to write a book, was that I did absolutely no research on how I should write, what to do if I write one, etc.  I still standby this, I genuinely believe that if I had looked into how difficult it was to try and become a writer, established or otherwise, I suspect I wouldn't be where I am now in my process.

I feel that my book is finished, as finished as it can be without someone who knows better telling me what I need to do to improve it anyway.  I was feeling pretty good with myself, the better part of 500 pages of what I have to believe will be a best seller, we can all dream can't we?  Yeah me!!

I have done my homework and researched the hell out of possible agents and was looking forward to receiving the countless rejections letters that I have been told time and time again I will receive from dozens of writing sites and then I find out I have to write a synopsis.  What is a synopsis you ask?  Well I'll tell you...

syn·op·sis  (Noun)

  • A brief summary or general survey of something.
  • An outline of the plot of a play, film, or book.  (This is the one were going to focus one)
  •  
    Sounds easy huh?  HELL NO!!!!!!!!
     
    So far I am on the third version of my synopsis.  My first was seven pages, which is far to long, my second attempt was slimmed down to three and a half, still to long.  It turns out that the ideal length is a single page, double spaced, with the font size at 12.  Arrgghhhh!! Arrgghhhh!! And triple Arrgghhhh!!
     
    I know that I can do this, I know can, I think anyone could.  But how do I do this and still make my story sound interesting, believable, good?
     
    It's just another hurdle Pip, it's just another hurdle.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway. 
     
    So this is me, venting, psyching myself up before I try and nail this bad boy.  If anyone does read this and if you have any advice or words of wisdom, anything, please don't be shy, I am all ears and would be extremely grateful.
     
    So in the words of Joe Swanson from 'Family Guy' 
     
    'Let's do this!'
     
    Thanks for listening.
     
    Take it easy, but above all, stay cool.
     
    Pip  x
     

    Monday, 25 March 2013

    One giant step for Pip, One small step for writing...

    Hey it's me again.

    I know, it's been a while since I have written here, probably too long for the average blogger, but do you know what, I'm okay with that. I still have yet to acquire any followers or subscribers when it comes to my ramblings about my 'experiment' and I'm okay with that too.

    There are hundreds of thousands of pages out there on the interweb all of which are dedicated to getting their message across, so the fact that I have no one following me is no surprise, although according to my figures over 800 hundred people have at least viewed, if not read what I have been writing. If truth be told, I write this more as a journal for my own use. It's a time line, all be it a not very consistent one, of my experiences of writing my first story/book.

    In previous posts I have ranted, sworn, cried and laughed and whilst what I write here may be of no use to anyone else and probably comes across as boring, repetitive and mundane, for me it shows that I am at least trying to accomplish something and it’s a constant reminder of the emotions I have had writing my first piece.

    I am unhappy with the way certain aspects of my life are going and writing my story/book has helped me more than I thought it would. I am going to be 37 in October and am about to be made redundant from a job that I am good at. The company I work for have informed that I have just been unlucky and that it's all part of the process due to the current economic climate. Bottom line, as far as I can see it, Shit Happens. I don't like it, but like most things, there's nothing I can do about it. I am quickly approaching an age (40) where I will soon be too old for certain roles or to experienced for others, so for me writing has been an escape, a place I can go to hide from real life when it all starts to become a bit much.

    So for the last few weeks I have spent most of the spare time I have trying to finish the fourth draft of my story/book, which in turns explains my lack of 'blogging'. 

    Well, I think it's as ready as it going to get.  As I have already explained in previous posts, I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to writing, not at this level anyway, having never taken a creative writing course, but I believe that if someone has a good story and if they really want it, then the writing will come.

    Is it difficult?

    Hell yes. Especially when you consider that it has taken hundreds and hundreds of hours to finish it and it's highly likely that when I send it off, the best I can expect is a polite 'Thanks, but no thanks.' But I have to believe that something might come of this, my gut tells me that I am doing the right thing. Am I setting myself up for a fall or even a fool? Probably, but if I don't try then I know I will spend the rest of my life wondering 'What if'.

    So this is me telling anyone who may read this that I think I am ready to receive numerous rejections for my first piece of work, but despite that I am still going to give it a go and start sending it to agents.

    It's likely that I will not be blogging much after this post for a little while, unless I get a response back from anyone who is kind enough to look at my work, negative or otherwise. I'm going to take a few weeks off, I think I’ve earned it, and then I am going to start on the second story in my series, of which I think there will be five, maybe even seven if I am lucky enough to have the time to finish them.

    Either way, I know that I am going to keep at it.  But with some luck (probably more than I am prepared to admit) maybe I might be one of the lucky few that can do something they enjoy and earn a living from it.
    I suppose only time will tell.
    Until next time, look after yourself, but above all, stay cool.
    Pip  x

    Tuesday, 26 February 2013

    Uncomplicating the uncomplicated...

    Morning

    Well I've almost made it. I am now working on the final draft/version of my first story/book, which means when I'm done I will be ready to ask someone to read it. Version 4, can you believe it? I never really believed that I would ever reach this point when I started almost two years ago, but here I am and I am delighted. Well, that's not strictly accurate.

    I am well chuffed that I have got this far, but as I am quickly learning, this last stretch is proving a lot more difficult than I initially thought.

    My story is set in stone, the plot line, the characters; the beginning, middle and end are all on paper. Each chapter is in its correct order, whilst everything else is almost as it should be, all I have to do make it flow. How difficult could that be?

    As it turns out, it's quite difficult. Especially when the person who's job it is to polish my one day classic (hopefully) to a nice, lovely shine is an anal retentive idiot (me). I can only assume that the idea here is that I keep editing and reading and then edit some more and then read until I am happy with the finished result, but when do I know it's right and ready?

    I'm finding that every time I think I have finished a sentence or paragraph, when I go back to read it, it's still not quite right. I have re-arranged, deleted and added words, sentences, paragraphs and pages, but alas it seems to make very little difference.

    Maybe I'm being over critical and perhaps by complete accident I have written as good a piece as I can in version 3, but I doubt that.

    So, it would seem that I’m having to revert back to patience and perseverance.

    I also believe what doesn't help is that because I am so close to my finishing line, perhaps I am subconsciously already there.

    So, if anyone does read this, if you have any suggestions on how I get over this last hurdle I would be grateful. I doubt anyone will, so I will have to just keep going, relentlessly, in the hope I will figure it out, but some advice would be nice.

    Anyway, until then, the more time I spend on here, takes time away from my other writing.

    So stay cool.

    Pip x
     

    Monday, 11 February 2013

    Pardon the CAPS LOCK but I'VE DONE IT!!

    Hello to anyone who might read this.  Today will be a short post as I'm going to be celebrating tonight as I have finally finished version/draft three of my first story/book!!

    So tonight I am going to get a bottle of my favourite whiskey (John Daniels of Course).  I know people call it Jack Daniels, but when you've known him as long as I have you pretty much get to call him anything you like and I am going to celebrate.

    And then, when the inevitable hangover clears, I have to start all over again (Kind of).

    But the start of version/draft 4 means that I am almost ready to have someone read my piece/story/book.

    So you'll pardon me for being so brief today but I have drinking to be doing. 

    So here's a toast to all first time writers, as difficult as that mountain looks when you first start, and as frustrating as it is when you're trying to climb it, it's all worth it when you reach a particular milestone.

    I would also like to raise a glass to the all writers that are lucky enough to do what they love for a living (as I truly believe you have to love writing to be a writer, because it's hard, frustrating and sometimes soul destroying work).  If you guys hadn't written the books that I have enjoyed reading ever since I was a kid, I would never have started this venture.

    And finally, one last toast.  To version/draft 4.  Here's to being one step closer to reaching that summit, may I see that view soon.

    Anyway, JD to consume, I wish all of you well and above all, stay cool.

    Pip   x

    Wednesday, 30 January 2013

    Realisation is starting to kick in...What do I do now?

    Hey it's me again. How are you doing?

    It's been over a week since I have written anything here, but it's not because I haven't wanted to, it's simply that life keeps getting in the way of things. I find it's a pain in the arse like that, don't you?

    I am quickly working through version/draft 3 of my story/book and am happy at the way my progress is going. I have finally conquered 'Chapter 8'. It was originally a 70 page monster of a chapter that took me more than three attempts to write before I had written something I was happy with.
    Well I am pleased to report that it has now been broken down into five, yes that's right, FIVE, more manageable chapters. Although I'm not sure if what I have done is right. As essentially it is still just one chapter.

    In the world of writing, is this a good thing to do? Is that the way to do it? Or would I have been better off leaving it as one big chapter and perhaps put in pages breaks? If anyone does read this and has an answer, then please, I would be grateful if they could advise me that if as a reader you would be happy reading five consecutive chapters that tells one big tale, or should I spread the new chapters out amongst others so that the hopefully one day reader won't get bored?

    Anyway, it's done. I climbed my own personal Everest finishing that and now it's out of the way I am finding that I am eating up the rest of the chapters with relish. I know that there will be at least another 2 rewrites, of that I am positive, but I'm ready and eager to crack on and finish a version where I am happy for someone to read it. That's right, I have written nearly 3 different drafts of my story/book, which equates to over 200,000 words in total and still I haven't let anyone read anything I have written, or should I say typed.

    The problem I have now is that the closer I get to finally completing my first piece means that I am also getting closer to having to ask someone to read it.  I can almost see the end, and that thought alone motivates me to work harder, but the harder I work the closer I am to asking someone to read it and then we're back to the beginning of the loop.  Am I making any sense to anyone else?

    I often wonder if established writers felt the same way I do right now when it came to them completing their first ever piece?

    It’s strange really.  For the last 18 months I have been able to lose myself in my writing and at first it didn’t matter whether what I wrote was any good or not.  I just wanted to get it down on paper, so to speak.  But now I am cutting and cleaning, trimming and adding all at the same time I am starting to wonder whether what I have written is actually any good?  I suppose the easiest way around this is simply to get someone to read it, the question now is – who?

    I could ask my wife and probably will, but I think to a certain extent that this is somewhat cheating and unfair, on her anyway.  What happens if it turns out that what I have written is actually quite good, she will (hopefully) tell me, but then I’m worried that I will get it into my head that she is only being nice and doesn’t want to hurt my feelings.  Or and I’m terrified that this is more likely.  What happens if what I have written is complete crap and she doesn’t feel that she can tell me in fear that it will hurt my feelings?  How neurotic am I?

    I could ask a friend, but none of them know that I am trying to write a story/book and I realise that this is going to sound pathetic, but what if they laugh at me when I tell them?  Add to that the headache of asking them to read it too and the thought makes me feel quite sick.  Most of the people I know aren’t really what you would call ‘readers’.  Unless it's a dirty joke or the sports pages of a newspaper.

    So what is a wannabe writer to do?  I don’t want to start sending it out with the hope and unlikely chance of getting picked up without asking a few random people to read my work first.  If I keep going the way I am, my first piece should be ready to read within the next 3 months, so I am asking anyone that may read this dribble, please can you advise me what is the best thing to do in this situation?

    Either way, I will continue to write and hope that something comes up that will help answer at least one of the many questions I have when it comes to trying to reach my goal of being a writer.  Fingers crossed.

    Well, until next time, stay cool.

    Pip  x

    Monday, 14 January 2013

    Despite everything, it would appear that I am doing things right...

    Hey it's me again.

    I have just finished reading Anne R. Allen's blog for this week and I thought it was brilliant.
    I am currently going through a tough time with my story/book. I am working diligently on version 3 (still) at the moment and it can be really frustrating, but I’m hoping that it’s all part of the process. I'll be the first to admit that I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to trying to earn the mantle 'Writer' although I would much prefer the title 'Published Writer' more.

    When I decided to try and enter what I have come to learn is a very competitive market I chose not to do any research regarding the actual in's and out's of what to do once I had finished my story/book, instead I decided to just get the damn thing written. I did this for a couple of reasons.
    The main reason was because I didn't want to lose myself to a fantasy of what it would be like to be the next JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyer’s, etc. The reality is, and I don't think I am talking out of turn here when I say that most people who enter this world of writing, deep down, all harbour the dangerously dark thought that if it happened to the aforementioned, why couldn't it happen to me? And who's to say it won't? But just in case, I try and keep my feet firmly on the ground at all times.

    The second reason I chose not to get online and do as much research as possible about becoming a wannabe writer before I had even written anything was because it is such a competitive market.  I was amazed when I did start looking into writers and the next step to writing to see just how many other there were out there all wanting the same thing.  I'll be honest, it took the wind out of my sails and I almost gave up there and then, this was after I had already written two drafts of my story/book. 
    Before I wrote my first word I remember reading or hearing somewhere that 95% of Americans asked, admitted that they would like to write a book, but less than 1% actually try to do it, something like that anyway. I then also remembered hearing somewhere that to actually finish writing a piece that you could call a novel was the hardest part over and that if you got to that point you were well ahead in the game. (I have since learnt that this isn't quite the case, but for the sake of my sanity I'm not going into that here).  In my head I imagined it to be quite a desolate place in the world of writing, because whilst the book shops and libraries are full of exciting wares, I just assumed that Stephen King was having a good year and had written 20 books the previous year and that made up for at least 50% of what they were selling, plus their back catalogue's, etc. Turns out that isn't the case, there are loads of us out there trying to pedal our wares to that someone who will read it and hopefully enjoy it. Add to the equation 'self-publishing' and everything gets even more complicated.
    Read Anne's post about the ridiculous lengths 'Amazon' are going to to try and stifle the self-publishing route. I haven't even considered 'self-publishing'. Not because I think my stuff is so good that I will be picked up by one of the big publishing firms as soon as I feel my story/book is ready. No, it's because I don't feel that I am ready just yet to consider sending my work out to anyone for their consideration, whether it be for publishing purposes or otherwise, even though I will admit that I am desperate to send it to someone with the hope that they like it. And to a certain extent I believe that is why I am where I am now when it comes to my book/story. I'm not getting ahead of myself and I genuinely believe that it is very easy to do just that in this business. I want to make sure that when I do send it and gear myself up for all those rejections letters, that I know I have sent the best work I know I can do. Then when they letter box sounds the arrival of one of the many letters I am expecting, all of them starting with, 'Dear Pip, thank you for your story/book, but...' I'm hoping I can use the rejections as fuel (probably literally as I will be burning them to keep my house warm) and realise that if I get that letter it should hopefully mean that someone who has a connection with the writing gods has read it and that whilst it failed, someone who (hopefully) knows what they are doing is basically telling me to re-think it and try again.  I have discovered that there are two fundamental sides to writing.
    The Romance of Being a Writer
    • The idea of actually writing a story/book. I think most people would admit to wanting to write a book. Sitting at a window, staring out at the view, losing yourself as you formulate convoluted plots and story lines that you're convinced will keep a reader coming back for more. And then simply putting it all on paper. And to be paid for it, now that would be cool.
    The Reality of Being a Wannabe Writer
    • It's hard work, really, really hard work. In my head, right now, I could tell you my whole story/book. I could vividly describe each and every character that call my story/book home. I could easily explain to you what they look like, right down to what they are wearing and where they brought their clothes from, whilst at the same time taking you on a detailed exploration of their surroundings. And over a bottle of whiskey (or a cup of tea if you prefer) and a few hours of your time I could tell you it all, every bit of what my story/book is about. The reality is, a vivid imagination is a wonderful thing to have, but if I wrote everything I have just said, I would have wasted 10 pages on needless pointless details and quite a bit of your valuable time, all over things that aren't necessarily relevant. So you have to learn how to write in detail, but not at the detriment of the story. Like I believe all good writers do, I want the person to get the feel of my characters, without boring the (hopefully one day) reader. I believe the phrase quality, not quantity is probably apt here. I also think you need to be sensible. At the end of the day most of us that write do it because we want to tell a story and have someone else read it and hopefully enjoy it. Published or not, that is the goal, why else would we do it?
    The Process of Writing
    • I have never done this before, so I have no idea. I know what I do to get myself ready, and I bet that everyone that writes has a routine that they follow before they start.  Bottom line, it doesn’t matter, before stroking your cat 82 times then jogging up the stairs 19 times doesn’t make any difference.  You have to want to write and all the planning and preparation      is pointless if when you finally sit down you’re going to let yourself become distracted by Angry Birds on your phone.  I often find that I’m sat looking at my laptop and am thinking of anything except writing.  I am always thinking about my story, but sometime getting it down on paper is such a pain in the arse.  Tough.  You want to write a book.  Then the clue is in the title, you have to write.  Sometimes I can write 8 pages in a few hours, (not necessarily good stuff, but most of the time I can salvage something from the words), other times I can spend 4 hours on a single paragraph.  It can be soul destroying sometimes, especially when you feel you’re getting somewhere and then you read it back and none of it makes any sense.  But with hindsight (it really is a wonderful thing), I still look at this as time well spent, something written is better than nothing written.  With the piece I am working on at the moment I had a real problem, my nemesis if you will, was chapter eight.  I rewrote it four times before I was happy with it, each time writing over 60 pages (I know, that is quite a lot of pages for one chapter, but one problem at a time okay, I will fix it I promise).  Anyway, in total I wrote a total of 243 pages for just one chapter, keeping every version of the chapter I wrote just in case. But in the end I used only 65 of them.  It drove me mental and my wife now knows that if I call someone a ‘Chapter 8’, it means that I really don’t think much of them.  I must have spent six weeks writing the bloody chapter.  I could have cheated and used any of the three previous versions I had written, who would have known?  The thing is, I would have.  So I gritted my teeth and kept going until I was happy with it.  Even now it isn't perfect, not by a long shot, but it's better and with some tweaking I should be happy with it soon.  Did it make me angry?  Frustrate me?  Piss me off?  Yes, of course it did.  I even found during those six weeks that my mood changed, I was short tempered, irritable, generally in a bad mood.  At some point I apologised to my wife for my behaviour and she smiled telling me that it was okay, because if what I was writing was annoying me that much, then I must be taking my writing seriously and that in a weird way she was glad to see me reacting like this as it showed her that I was really concentrating and working on giving the best work I could do instead of just making do.  She’s pretty great like that.  I think the point I'm trying to make is that writing is hard work.  The idea seems pretty straight forward, write words on laptop and then print.  If only it was that straight forward.  But it does get easier.  As long as you are prepared to work at it.  But like most things, it comes with practice and time, every word I write is a word closer to hitting my objective of writing my story/book.  It might not be the right word, it might get deleted in version/draft 2 or version/draft 56, but it is still a step closer than I would have been if I hadn’t decided to take the time to get on with it and not to get distracted or give up, which I definitely considered more than once.
    Everything else and then some...
    • I have found that a lot of people are saying that you need to get a presence in the world to be taken seriously as a writer.  Facebook, Blogging, Tweets.  And I think that people are right to say this, but I'm trying not to get too sucked in to that side of the digital revolution just yet, because if I did, when do I find the time to enjoy the simpler things in life?  Besides who wants to spend every waking minute looking at a screen, there’s a world beyond that flashing cursor.  Whilst I try to write on this blog at least once a week, I do it more for my own development.  No one subscribes to my posts, and I’m okay with that, I’m just hoping that it isn’t an indication of my writing abilities though.  If however I am ever lucky enough to make a living from writing and I hope one day I will, then my opinion will no doubt change when it comes to social networking and tweeting.  But for the time being I am trying to keep it all relative.  I am hopeful and look forward to the day when I am given a deadline by whoever it is that sets such things, as it will mean that I am doing something right, but until then I will continue to write one word down at a time and hope that sooner rather than later that it might be good enough where I feel comfortable enough to let someone read it.  I am so close I can almost taste it, but I need to know that when I ask someone to read it, I have given them the best I can do without any help.  And if whoever reads it is kind enough to give me feedback, I will listen and learn and then I will write some more.  I’m not saying that when I am finished it will be any good, it’s very possible that in my head it’s brilliant, but when someone else reads it, well, you know...but what have I got to lose?
    • Last year I wrote a book, twice, from scratch, with no help or encouragement from anyone.  If nothing else and when all is said and done, at least it’s something I can scratch off of my bucket list, but I have the bug now and I want to do more.  I am already formulating a plot for my second story/book and by early spring I hope, no, I want my first story/book to be ready for reading and am fully prepared to get rejected by everyone I send it too.  But it’s all part of the process isn’t it?  No one gets picked up first time do they?
    Watch this space...
     
    I just want to say a big 'Thank You' to Anne R. Allen for her blog.  Especially for this weeks entry, as it has made me realise that I'm doing okay when it comes to my writing.  And that by continuing to perservere I might actually be doing something right.

    Stay cool

    Pip  x

     

    Monday, 7 January 2013

    New Year. New Start.

    Well it's been a couple of weeks since I have added anything to this, but I'm going to blame Christmas and the New Year for that.  In all honesty it was just the excuse I needed to get a bit of a break away from the dreaded flashing cursor that seems to mock me at any given opportunity.  But if I'm going to prove to myself that I will become a bona fide writer it's time to get back to it. 

    I am still working through version 3 of my first piece and all things considered, it's going okay.  I am desperate to get it finished to the point where I am comfortable for someone to read it and know that every minute I spend working on my story/book is one minute closer to it being completed.  (Although I wouldn't mind knowing just how many minutes are left, a rough guesstimate would suit me fine, just so I know how much more there is before I have to start all over again). 

    What happens to my venture after that is anyone's guess, but I'm not going to worry about that, not yet anyway.

    So here it is, 2013, it would appear that the Mayans might have got their maths wrong.  Phew is all I can say to that, because this year is all mine.  This is it, this is going to be the one where I'm going to make everything okay. 

    So here I go, one minute at a time.  And do you know what, I'm going to do it too.  Just you watch.

    I know it's a bit late, but I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

    Now, sit back and watch me change my life for the better.

    Stay cool

    Pip   x