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.

Final ROW update: Ha Ha! Just!

I believed yesterday that I had nearly finished! Just one small scene to go, and actually spent the day celebrating rather than finishing! But just this minute have finished my first draft. I already have a list of issues to revise in the second draft but it shouldn't be half as challenging to edit than my NaNo, which sits, looking daunting, on a shelf.

Im off to have it printed and spiral-bound tomorrow! With an extra wide margin for red-pen notes.

Congratulations to everyone else who made it, and everyone who tried!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Writing Exercise 12: Funny Pic-Turned-Idea

I saw this comic and just had to laugh:

But then I thought that there are probably lots of crazy unconsidered theories for the death of the dinosaurs.

This prompt is not so much about creating prose, as brainstorming ideas. (If you've read my conclusions on Wolf Hall, you'll know how it upset me that poor prose is acceptable if it supports a good idea. Let's learn by example. The idea is more important than the quality, in the eyes of an agent, so it's definitely an area that we can all work on.)

So go, and bring back insane but convincing theories as to who killed the dinosaurs. Mass suicide perhaps? The rat-like beings that preceded us tripped them all up? I'm sure you'll think of something better.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Characters: What Made the Greats Great?

Real life characters.

I'm mentioning reality because isn't it the aim of most writers to take great believable characters, even if they can be a little exaggerated, and putting them into neat little plots of our own malicious devising?

The BBC gives a list of resources with a very brief history tied to each name. You may be a learned scholar but I doubt that you'll know every person on this list. For example I didn't know Edward Jenner, pioneer of immunology.

These are the people that have stuck, the ones that are remembered (even if we're not as brushed up as we should be).

From the examples there's a lot of raw material to work with. Take one character and inverse them? Cross them with another? Adjust and tweak and I feel this may be the perfect source for strong characters.

If you have an eye you may pick up on a trend amongst them. It may be all you need for your own infinite source of majestic and long-lasting characters. (Notice that I never said 'good'. Check out Anne Boleyn. I had forgotten the end to her tale.)

Here's the link:

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Row Update: the Winding Path to Victory

It seems I must always have highs and lows in writing - two days of absurdly fast scribbling followed by two days of wanting to write but constantly deleting each line written.
Today ought to be an up day! I keep thinking about the deadline. It has made my good days even more productive and my low days even less.
There's only so much self-slapping I can administer. =P

By the way, did you catch the moon illusion last night?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Row Update - Late

I had a day, I'm sure everyone gets this, where I took one look at my work and thought: 'Crap. I can't bring myself to work on this. It's awful.'

I've had them before. They go away with a good nap or a good outing. But that day I picked up my next book to read, Wolf Hall, got three pages in and thought: 'Crap! It's not just my imagination.' Then I picked up another potential book, written by a nobel prize winner in literature, and also found it crap. I think that, right there, shows I was having an off day.

Reading on with Wolf Hall, I realised I had reason, though it didn't occur to me at the time: half the time 'he' refers to the protagonist, who is names all of two times in every ten pages, other times it refers the rest of the rather massive cast of male characters. I could never tell who was speaking. Even so, the story's interesting. I suppose it proves a point: the idea of the book is more important than the quality of the prose. Yet I feel a constant itch to critique it a la scribophile.

So, back to progress, it's creeping forward, happy to say, and I'm starting to be happy with  half-finished query letter.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Alert! Authonomy! Alert!

'Ello, what's all this then?

Here I was hearing horror stories about how the publishing industry dictates what we get on our shelves, as a sort of automaton that picks based on random impulses. But (thanks to reading the fine print on the inside of Wolf Hall) I was lead to discover

Who of you knew of this site? It should be made known to everyone who likes to read, let alone write.

Participants can post the first 10,000 words min of a manuscript and readers dictate trends based on how much these are liked, which attracts the attention of the publishers and editors of HarperCollins. People who stories that grow on to become high-ranking are marked as talent spotters and their tastes given more weight. It really is a way for letting people other than publishers decide what should be published and I hope to see this website grow to bursting point with life and activity from the book-loving community, though I fear the exact opposite will happen.

Let's take charge!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Writing Exercise 11: Re-Writing Memories

The latest and most accepted theory about long-term memories in the brain is that every time we remember a memory, we re-write it in our brains. Usually as almost identical. These different versions, all stored together, combine to for the memory you will conjure up the next time, which will have another copy, slightly different, saved.

It's a bit of a concept to wrap your head around. Surely the memories you hold dear haven't changed in your mind. In essence probably not, though they have been updated with newer versions of the same thing.

Anyway, to the exercise.

1) Write a 200-250 word scene.
2) re-write it without looking at the first story you wrote. Just using memory.
3) Do this again, based on your latest version until you have three or four variations of the same scene.
What do they have in common?
What changed?
If it doesn't teach you about your writing style, it'll still help you realise the essence of your ideas which run through your stories and hopefully make editing less painful, knowing there are hundreds of ways to get your same essence across.

The Essence of Evil by *BlackMysticA on deviantART

Sunday, 6 March 2011

ROW update

I must hang my head in shame.

I have been meaning, time and again, to work my hours. I think I've rendered the concept of deadlines moot. But life happens and my ultimate, final, be all and end all deadline is the end of ROW. I have to remember that and not wince at the lack of time.

I am sorry for not commenting on enough blogs. (I usually have nothing to say beyond 'I read your post.' How dull for a writer!) I have been reading quite a few though and it's good to know I'm not alone, though it doesn't make me feel less guilty.

Good luck to all who've made it this far! We still have time to reach the ultimate ROW goals, no matter how far behind, if we start getting really serious from now.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Writing Exercise 10: Novel Scenes

While struggling with own plot/premise writing issues (it's my biggest weakness) I came up with this method as one way to let the plot work itself out for me.

Firstly, I must show you this fun little plot generator. It's not necessary for this exercise but is certainly my favourite way of doing it: generator link

The point is to write a scene not from the beginning, nor the end, but from somewhere in the middle of a novel. As you put down words, your characters' frictions between each other might tell you about how they got into their muddle. Or you might suddenly realise a perfect ending to this novel you've never even written. It's just a brain-stretcher. Stuff has happened, stuff will happen, but isn't necessarily happening at the moment.

I find the little generator gives me a definite middle to start with, though the scene I end up writing may be nothing like that given to me.

(Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein from the scene where he brings his monster to life, which ended up nearly a third of the way into the final draft.)

Or you could use:

The road to the middle by =roadioarts on deviantART

Row Update

Finally on my feet again and full of beans! ... and the last remaining dreggs of mucus.

Well, it's the last month and what have we here? First draft, not complete yet (will it ever be). Revision of another draft, not done. Yes, I'm focusing on quality over quantity but I'm starting to despair at the number of setbacks. (Starting?) Life's not easy, but I still expect it to be. (And babysitting three days a week really throws off a writing groove.)

Well, off to attempt a massive catch up. I think I might stay up all night, just for the heck of it

Monday, 28 February 2011

Row update number ?

I've been terribly sick. It's just a cold but I've inherited my father's ability to be completely knocked off my feet by a sniffle. It's why I can walk around with other medical issues that require immediate attention without realising, such as a dislocated rib. Because nothing is as bad as a cold.

I've just regained the ability to sit up and type, but not enough to think straight (this post is only coherent because I'm taking my sweet time) so, naturally, nothing's been done word-wise while I've been knocked out.

Ogden Nash probably had the same way with colds, though I suspect he didn't get them quite as roughly as half my family does. Here's a link to his wonderfully lyrical poem on colds (in the form of a preview):

Go hang yourself, you old M.D,!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
In not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

And here's a link to everyone else in ROW:

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Writing Exercise 9: Picture Prompt

Romance and magic! I'm feeling a little gooey today and I've included some pictures that might make you gooey too.
The magic is actually the more important factor here. Here's what your story should include:

1) Something magical (you can go the realism route and have someone with a magical voice or you can go all out and summon cthulhu).
2) The setting has to be outdoors.
3) One of the following objects has to appear in it:

Enchanted by the winter by =wchild on deviantART

Rosa Canina at break down by ~ziddarri on deviantART

One Perfect Rose by *galway-girl21 on deviantART

Monday, 21 February 2011

Row update 12

I'm always late with my Sunday post. It's taken a bit of effort to write this now (in bed, half-asleep). Weekend commuting is creating an absolute trench in my writing numbers and time. On the upside I'm seeing a finish line in the distance for my novel!
Goodnight all.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Writing Exercise 8: Picture Prompt

Do you feel out of place?

I searched for pictures with the phrase "out of place" and here are some of the odd things that came up. This prompt is just about the pictures, as they have a lot in them. Just give your piece the theme of 'out of place'.

(The last of these I doubt will be useful but was quite odd so I included it anyway.)

Girls' Night Out by *theartrix on deviantART

Village of the Bridge by *angrymikko on deviantART

Cramped place by `hellobaby on deviantART

ROW update 11

I've had a writing goal and aims overhaul. A complete revolution. I had been beating myself up about word counts and how much writing I should be doing. I couldn't really write every waking minute but whenever I don't the guilt sets in. So here's my new goal to maximise output and way to relieve guilt.

I got a nifty little timer from cnet:

I just took the timer and set it to five hours. I can pause the timer whenever I need to check my emails and such, so I don't waste writing time. This way I know for sure I have done five hours of writing a day. It could be awful writing but I know that I've put in a reasonable amount of effort and the words are no longer as important as the fact that I know my time has been well-spent.

No more guilt and no more wasting time. Time to write. (My timer is currently set to pause. Only 15 min in and I've written 200 words! I don't expect to keep up the pace but it should put my previous word counts to shame.)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Inspiration 1: the Milgram Experiment

Read about how flimsy your morals are under pressure:
Inspiring stuff. Certainly for me. Thought I'd post it not only because it might be useful for writing but also because I believe everyone should know who Milgram was.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Row update 10

 I thought I'd cut to the chase and include my daily word counts for the DF novel:
823, 367, 254, 976, 1952, 852, 115, 67, 380, 561
 Quite miserable, aren't they? I don't know why. The plot gets more interesting and yet it's becoming more difficult to write.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


How do you find out about them? I'd like to go to one, just to be part of the shouting angry crowd and have the experience. There's one going by the window right now. I was confused at first. Luckily people update quickly:

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Row update 9

Is writing a habit for me? No. Not at all. It never was. There's always been a story which I must get down one one go, but once it's over I can go weeks without writing, pondering another story. There is no habit. Only work ethic.

Currently reading Ray Bradbury's Zen in the Art of Writing. Interesting so far. I admire the way he went about his writing career, spending every spare minute in the library to educate himself. Will be reading this on the train later today.

He says that one day of not writing get him tense, two, edgy and three, bordering on lunacy. I do get something akin to edginess, but only on the first day of not writing, then all returns to normal, my mind content to wander. Does that make writing a habit? Possibly, but not in Ray Bradbury's sense.

Here's the linky for everyone else: linky!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Writing Exercise 7: Picture Prompt

I've been thinking about symbols and signs, some things we take for granted, as well as assume everyone can understand. A bit like internet abbreviations. There has to be at least one out there that you're not familiar with.

Anyway, this prompt is to do with signs.

1) The centre of the plot has to revolve around the misinterpretation of one. This leaves room for the obvious choices: humour or tragedy, but also romance and more. Not that it has to be a genre piece.
2) Choose from the following: (unless you already have something in mind)

Exit Sign by ~TheLilPhotographer on deviantART

Confusing? by ~redgobbler on deviantART

confusing by ~missingnumbers on deviantART

BEST SIGN EVER by ~z532 on deviantART

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Trust Your Ceiling

What do you place infinite trust in each morning? It's something to consider, great for writing. But I never considered the ceiling. How'd I miss that? Woke up to a massive puddle in the kitchen dripping from the light. Turning it on produced smoke. Fun stuff. Fun stuff...
Will be questioning everything else I depend on. The air, the floor, the bonding behaviour of certain atoms... everything.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Not Really a Poem

You're too clean.
You're too messy.
You're too fat.
You're too thin.
You're too quick.
You're too slow. 
I wish I was you.
I wish I was you.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

ROW update 8

I don't want to drop out from this ROW thing. I don't. I missed one or two check ins but here I am, at last.

There was a day of pure writing this weekend that I think deserves telling. First thing in the morning, still sipping my coffee, I sat down at my desk. Every few hours I would find somewhere else to sit, but never took more than a ten minute break. The result was 2000 words (so now I know what a whole non-stop day of writing produces, without any of the fuffing around I normally do. While I'm impressed with my effort, I'm not impressed with the number).

The next day my numbers went back to normal: 800. Then down, when I got busy: 350.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Jeff Noon

Falling Out of Cars has to be the single most enjoyable book I've read in a long while. It was challenging as well as entertaining and every time I put it down, I felt as though I was still seeing through the sickness of the main character.

It's the nature of the sickness that intrigues me most. Some are immune but the reaction is nearly completely negative to words, information and technology. A car can get the sickness. Too detailed to explain in a few words, it was a sickness I believed in, was convinced could come to be by the end of the book.

Most of my love for the book lies in the ending, which I don't want to give away. Some may not find it to their taste, is all I'll say. But it couldn't have fit better, in my opinion.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Three Ways Procrastination Has Improved My Writing

So you're not in the mood to write. What to do? You feel guilty wasting your precious life in front of a television screen but can't face an empty page.

Journal Writing
or blogging
This has forced me to do something I never really intended when I became a writer: to learn to face and express reality through words. While escapism is my goal, I believe writing, like art, can benefit from real life studies to improve technique. Besides, there's no pressure to create anything. Just describe what happened in your day and within a week you might find yourself embellishing shamelessly, making drama out of a cheese toastie with ease.

I know they say writers should read, but sometimes I find myself reading for days without writing. That's why I must clarify: reading is incredibly productive between writing sessions. If you have neglected your own writing, then how can you compare it to the aspects that work and don't work for you? If you get it right, reading can give you the unique voice you've been looking for by seeing what you favour against other writers. 

This seems obvious. But let me ask you something. When was the last time you lay down, in complete silence, closed your eyes and went on a little head adventure? Met some interesting people who told you chilli peppers make great musicians or that candlewax is their preferred method of blinding a victim? Create without pressure. Have fun, for goodness sake!

(I actually wrote this about a month ago and left it as a draft, thinking it unhelpful, but some of the ROW motivational messages have been mentioning how procrastination is good, so I thought I'd post it after all.)

Friday, 28 January 2011

Don Quixote Preface: On Writing

"... there is no need for you to go a-begging for aphorisms from philosophers, precepts from Holy Scripture, fables from poets, speeches from orators, or miracles from saints; but merely to take care that your style and diction run musically, pleasantly, and plainly, with clear, proper, and well-placed words, setting forth your purpose to the best of your power, and putting your ideas intelligibly, without confusion or obscurity. Strive, too, that in reading your story the melancholy may be moved to laughter, and the merry made merrier still; that the simple shall not be wearied, that the judicious shall admire the invention, that the grave shall not despise it, nor the wise fail to praise it."

(Apparently the words of a friend to the author. Good advice. For me, anyway. :P)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

ROW update 7: The slowing

The question is 'should I change my goals to fit around my life'? No! My life, while full, is full of daily habits and routines I should learn to get through with more efficiency. I should also learn to stop procrastinating. I never will, but I can try. However, I am slowing under my own expectations as I fall behind.

Here's a little graph of my progress each day. Grey bars are where I should be and purple bars are where I actually am. (This is only a recording of the days I actually write, the travelling days, if included, would make this graph look rather miserable).
I am, unquestionably, slowing down.

A linky to everyone else:

Sunday, 23 January 2011

ROW update 6

Oh my god, another? Already?

Nope. I've been too busy finishing a novel (Pull of the Yew Tree on scribophile. I recommend it, great romance.) and sitting on trains, trying to write and failing.
I have gotten further, but that was last thursday. I'm going to have to write in bouts of 5000 words apiece to get anything done on time. I will. I can. There are some days that are just for me, just not Sundays.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Writing Exercise 6: Picture Prompt

Here's a simple little thing.

1) A character learns to love what they previously hated.
2) The scenery defines their lifestyle and mannerisms... except for one out of place quirk. (Make it clear where they developed it.)
3) Pick a picture and get writing.

Paris by ~somebody3121 on deviantART

Mounts Bay, Cornwall by ~midlander1231 on deviantART

Japanese Street by =fuzzyzebra on deviantART

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Coming up with Names

Where most of my fictional names come from:

Sometimes, when the mood strikes, I sit down with a paper and pen and watch a movie. Once the movie is ending I pick up my pen and start scribbling down names from the credits that my mind latches to. It's the most noticable names that stick and, because I have very little time to think about it, I end up with a strange mix. Then I play around, matching surnames to first names and coming up with variations.

Besides, it's a great poor excuse to watch a movie.

There have been a couple of times where I overhear or see a name elsewhere that just has to be used (like the case of Ms Enguin) but otherwise, movies are my only source.

ROW update 5

I like getting those little check-in messages. If I had more time, I'd love to read everyone else's posts and offer encouragement, as suggested. As it is, the only reason I'm online right now is because my boyfriend is taking a nap. Then we're out to enjoy the city night! A rare treat, really.
I'll try and get around to it on the weekend, as well as some more critiquing. (I find it's helping me see my own writing more clearly. Double win.)
While he's still napping I want to write a couple hundred words on my book, then I can say I've gotten at least 500 done today. 

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

An Almost Forgotten Memory

Walking in the Norwegian woods, where wolf-hunting is restricted and populations are being brought back from the brink, my family and I had gotten about 100 metres from the car. On a little wooden bridge over a creek, where we stopped, the valley suddenly filled with the incredibly loud sound of many dogs or wolves baying, howling continuously. They couldn't have been more than 20 metres away, judging from the deafening volume.
We bolted for the car without looking back.
I'll never know if they were wolves, though I can't imagine someone taking a dozen dogs for a howling session in the woods.

Monday, 17 January 2011

ROW update 4

Quick check in:
When I'm at my little desk (9.99 from ikea!) I can get through a 1000 words a day with little effort. The days when I'm travelling back and forth for hours I get nothing done. I don't feel comfortable writing, squashed up against someone's shoulder, someone who can easily peek at what I'm writing.

While I'm glad not to be alone keeping up with my expectations, I wish everyone else the best of luck.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Surprisingly Catchy!

Everyone at scribophile has been so nice and helpful! I deleted my post about missing fanfiction. I do. But thats a closed chapter in my life. This is a far more adult, constructive community. Must make sure not to spend all my time there! Got to get some novelling done.

This song has been stuck in my head all day, thanks to scribophile:

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

ROW update 3

Little check in for ROW80 and I'm very happy to say that today's word count is over 1000 words and counting. Writing really is about the right environment. I love being back at my little mini-desk!

The Three Things That Stop Me Writing

Imagined Tiredness
 The ugly part of writing is starting, the fear that your writing won't express what you want, or won't match up to the quality you produced yesterday. This is not real, because I have enough energy to play games. No. Don't pretend you're actually tired. Your brain's just looking for excuses not to think. Too tired to lie in bed with a laptop on your lap? I think not.

 Wrong Environment
I can't write when there is anyone else in the house, unless I'm in a library. Silly? Perhaps. Forcing myself produces crap however. If you have a more productive location go to it! If you haven't found it, by all means search. If you're already productive, you could find yourself more so in the right sort of place.

I have to do the dishes first. I haven't written that email. Oh, god! I can't put that off, but I can put off my writing. This is the worst one for me. I have more time than I did when I was younger and at school. How come I don't write as much? I didn't have responsibilities to take care of or stress about. Apart from homework. Instead of setting aside writing time, why not set aside 'responsibility time', where you have an hour or two to take care of everything that's hanging over your head. Then you have the whole night to write. If it will take more than two hours, forget it. It can wait until tomorrow. Important stuff only. Everything else on the 'to do' list.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Two Sentence Story

In the park I told her that I needed to use the loo and she told me to go behind the tree, so I don't know why mum acted surprised when I pooed. She'd told me to.

(Just thought I'd make it clear that it's not a true story, although I think it is for somebody.)

ROW update 2

I've been putting this off since I saw the rss asking for the next update... Nada. I was supposed to start last night but try remembering the details of your own plot with only 3 hours of solid sleep and a brain made of pulp.
I can rest easy now this update is done. I really felt I had to write fast just to have something to talk about, but just changed my mind.
I know this is a bad start, worse than I was expecting, but bouncing back and rushing at the finish line is what I do best. 
Work begins today. 900 words by midnight. (And some extra to catch up.)

:) Nice to know I'm not the only one who's a bit behind:

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Writing Exercise 5: Children's Fiction for Adults

I recently bought a book without being aware that it was a children's book. I suppose that is a risk when buying online and not being able to pick up the book in your hands. But, I'm not complaining, because, like the reviews I took fancy to said, it was a great read. It was The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley. Victorian and gothic with ghosts and strange sounds. I have to say it was certainly better written than the Castle of Otranto (written for adults, can you believe). The events happen rapidly enough to read the story in a few hours and yet it lost none of the atmosphere and scenery. The amount he said in few words impressed me and was a refreshing change from Entropy, good though it was.

Anyway, that was just a little background for why I came up with this prompt:

1)Write a story with an unseen presence, that can be heard and smelt and felt. Invisible man, ghost, rats in the wall, anything.
2) The story must be written with a rapid voice. If you normally meander and describe your characters, don't! Let their actions speak and try and cram as much action into as few words as possible, like children's fiction can.
3) Try and give the colours, the tone of the story, a blueish feel. Subtely mention the blue things in the surroundings to enhance this impression.

Forgotten Fairytales by `zemotion on deviantART

Friday, 7 January 2011

One Cure for Cancer is Prevention

Here's the single most interesting TED talk I've ever seen:

It goes through the latest drugs that increase lifespan in cancer patients but also the most effective means known, so far, to prevent cancer. Unbelievable!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

ROW update

I actually haven't written a thing of my novel this week because I'm visiting family. However, I don't intend to change my goals. I just intend to start next Monday.
Managed to write a short story, though.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Journal Writing

I've started writing a journal. New Year's resolution and all, plus it gives me something to write when I don't feel creative.
However, I've stumbled into a dilemma: what to write on a slow day? The simple answer is waffle.
But I don't know how to write waffle! I struggle to put more than a skeleton of my stories on a page.
So I guess I have to learn to waffle.
It's hard...
A blank diary page awaits.