Friday, 2 March 2012

Brain seepage indeed

There's nothing to say. This does not just apply to me but everyone everywhere. As a species we spend all our time talking, expressing ourselves and our greatest advancements have been in the field of communication.

All our time, all those minutes. But is there really anything else for us to do but watch talking images, go to events where we can do much more talking with many more people or define our world with words.

It is wrong for anyone to mourn the loss of books. It's as if they believe it's the end of words. Books and words have expanded and spilt into the ether of the internet.
Words define our age. Now, if only there were advanced filters to find the meaningful stuff...

But it is like brain waves. The important filtering still has to be done by humans. There are no algorithms good enough to pick out ones with meaning.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Writing Exercise: The Three Character Bond

Fairly straightforward recipe today:

1) Make up three characters. I know this is just an exercise but give them great names and go all out on their history and attitude. You might just like 'em enough to use again.

2) Give each a very good reason to hate one other character. Again, the wilder and more abstract the better. Have fun.(Some words to inspire ideas, in case you're stuck: troll, plough, appeal, rabid, escape, wriggle.) Reveal this for each character anyway you like but it has to be before they meet.

3) They meet. Tempers flare.

4) One of them turns against the other two, who put aside their differences to defeat the 'most evil' of the three.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Guys Can Read

Although the title of the program befuddles me somewhat (behold my bemused emoticon! :S) since I've never heard anyone claim guys can't (or don't) read, this podcast, available on iTunes, is something of a treat.

Perhaps it's the rock I live under, online and offline, but what I usually find by way of podcasts are disappointing at best. But this show is witty and gives real food for thought, talking about books intelligently but without snobbery. A bit like the discussions from my English degree tutorials... only interesting.

I think the best way to decide is to listen for yourselves. I just wanted to point you in the direction of something I thoroughly enjoy, particularly the after-shows, where the discussion becomes a lot freer.

It's something to get you siked in the mornings while you inhale your coffee before you go wherever you have to go.

[Completely irrelevant: I also like to wake up to 'News in Briefs' - the news read by two radio presenters in their briefs, where the updates on the news (and their boxers) are short but sweet.]

Friday, 4 November 2011


Right. Despite the minor setback of a major assignment due in, I'm all work, work, work! Things are racing along on all fronts!

Today's song:  Breaking News by Mads Langer
Today's fuel: packet of powdered soup + banana bread
Mission: 5,000 words  (to make up for yesterday and get a little ahead)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

NaNo: day 1

It's practically midnight of day one! Did I get anywhere, yes! Did I reach 1667? No. Oh well. It's a start. And I promise to work really really hard this time. I swear. *crosses fingers*

Friday, 21 October 2011

Dead Fox

If you ever come accross that book, please do not associate me with it. I don't even feel I wrote it. It's entirely alien to me and the only reason I'm pushing it is to try and get some return on it. Otherwise it truly was a waste of time... which it probably was. I should have been writing my big one, my big idea. Instead I was trying to be generic... this is what I get for it. Something Dan Brown-esque in style... Eugh. Perhaps I'll become a multimillionaire.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Writing Exercise: Music Maker

Where do you see music that you shouldn’t? In the way a garment moves? In the way a person smiles? How they laugh?

Music by *marva78 on deviantART

This is how you will mould your plot: around the falls, twists and lifts of a song. It has to be about character who oozes music in everything they do. Not necessarily Chopin, it could be smooth Jazz or Pop. The incessant pulse of electro might make for a less interesting story but you might be able to work with it.
This character cannot be the narrator, although they are the protagonist.
Include an item which is not meant to be musical but the protagonist plays like an instrument. This sets the chain of events in motion.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Your Perfect Environment

Now, I saw something intriguing and my immediate instinct was to turn it into a prompt, but on second thoughts I just want to dispense it as a little tidbit of something interesting.

There is a club in London that plays only power ballads. ONLY power ballads. 'Ultimate Power.' And people go mad for it, singing their hearts out to songs of self-indulgence. Good on them. Its a place to indulge in less sordid guilty pleasures and I wish there were more places like this, quirky, specific, a congregation of people with the same thing on their mind.

What amazes me is that it's so successful when there is a very clear limit to their playlist. The only other example I can think of is the English church.

You could certainly use it as a prompt and as an indulgent 'what if': What if you ran a business providing people with your ideal environment and it became a phenomenon? What is it you wished everyone else could share? Peaceful serenity? Loads of noise? Labyrinths of wonder? Jungle climbing? Swimming pools with fresh river water? And what would be the worst thing to jeopardise your perfect place?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Posting Because I Ought To

It's summer. And although I never intended to take a holiday, this is apparently what I am doing. I've finished editing my novel and I am exhausted! I can't face writing these days, let alone talking about writing. Meanwhile I've been keeping busy with my crafts and learning how to make my own clothes. (It's coming on well.)

I know this sickness is temporary and already some ideas are itching at me to be written down and given birth. I doubt I'll be gone another month. There's just too much to do.

Meanwhile, here's my online shop of crafts:

(In the righthand column.)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Writing Exercise 13: The Water At Night

I know I did a water one recently but as I just finished an impressionist painting of the sea at night I found some beautiful online art, each very similar but different. Each of them hold a fantasy character (well, a victorian can be part of a fantasy) by the sea at night. And so I thought the perfect exercise would be to connect the characters. A bit of connect the dots fun. Each of them somehow knows, or runs into, the others. Each visits the sea at a different time in the same night.

The questions for you to answer are:
Why do they each need to visit the sea?
How are they connected?

I have my ideas but I'm going to keep them to myself. Let's just say there are some fun possibilities, involving romance and intrigue. :P

By the Sea by *QueerAngel8900 on deviantART

where sea meets sky by ~xxbloodyknuckles on deviantART

Bride of The Crimson Sea by *fallen-angel-24 on deviantART

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Longer than expected

You may have noticed the sudden decline in my posts, even with the vague promise of returning. The truth is I have never edited any piece of writing so much in my life. Once, twice, possibly three times. Then I get bored and give up. This time I'm bored but not giving up. It feels like the five hundreth draft and there's still more things to fix. The only thing motivating me is that I have come too far to stop. Far too far. And what might happen if I finally produce something that is well and truly polished beyond my regular spit-shine? I am afraid. It's another thing slowing me down. What if it I can't make it better? What if at the end of all my efforts it still won't be polished?

This is a bit more personal than I like to get but it is the truth of the matter. And by acknowledging it I hope to banish it and move on, send it out and forget about it while throwing myself into the joy of creativity once more.

"If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything," - said some guy on a bbc business program. He's right.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Writing Exercise 12: Damsels with Balls

Cassandra by *mari-na on deviantART

As the title suggests, this is about a strong female character. The theme is 'Greek Myth'. Options for potential stories include a modern retelling, making a female the lead, or (this is my favourite) creating a new one where the heroine's pride leads to her downfall. Some confident gesture puts her in peril. Perhaps she spurns a king and is banished? There are a lot of familiar trials to put on your character to struggle free from.

That's the plot pretty much taken care of. Too formulaic for you? Then use this exercise to focus on creating a sympathetic character, despite her flaws, and creating reader empathy. Most importantly, focus on creating a gripping beginning. There'll be time for atmosphere later. (And isn't atmosphere the easy part for most of us? You'd hardly be stretching yourself to practice what you're good at.)

Good luck!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Where have I been?

It has been a while... Longer than I thought, actually, since I posted here. It's a shame but here I am again. Where have I been?

Writing by hand. Yup. I printed off a novel draft and have been spending the last month pouring over it with a pen and a biscuit. I really believed my computer was my oxygen until then. I've hardly used the web for anything other than emails and the occaisional episode of Homes Under the Hammer (my guilty pleasure).

I must say, since I used scribophile my editing has vastly improved. I was in the habit of just letting my first drafts lie, mistakes and all, because I was aware there were plenty of faults but they were just too daunting to tackle. No longer.

So this is a note to say thank you scribophile and hello to the internet once more. :)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Writing Exercise 11: Water

The elements are open to much interpretation. This exercise is about focusing on the aspects of water. It's inspired by the video for We Want War by These New Puritans, below. 

The only requirement of this exercise is to write about a character obsessed with water. Narrated directly or indirectly, you choose. He/she could be suicidal, considering drowning, could be rabid and terrified of water, could be a health nut or obsessed with cleanliness or just someone who loves water. The possibilities are endless.
But there should be one particular character that draws you more than the others you come up with and one aspect of water that best appeals to you: fluidity, clarity... etc.