September 8, 2011

A Sequence of Untimely Events – the Start

I have now finished editing a novella of mine. I’d be interested for feedback about the start and those things and I hope it is something enjoyable to read. If not, my blog is probably not for you. Click for the link to the page.

September 7, 2011

Just Start Again

I’m not in favour of writing prologues, unless it is more of an introduction and fits on a single page. This is because prologues are boring. They hold up the entry into chapter one, and the real beginning of a story. For me, calling something a prologue is like telling me that it’s optional to read. If it’s worth writing, call it chapter one and start properly.

I try not to write prologues, because they bore me for this reason. I have often found myself writing a prologue for the sake of writing a prologue. Information in the scene before the story (hence pro-logue, the bit before the story happens) can be conveyed in the main bulk of the story.

One of the worst things I find about writing is thinking of a better way to start a book I have already written the beginning for. Beginnings are very important to me for setting the tone, style, progression of a novel. Having to change everything I’ve already written to fit the new beginning is a pain in the arse.

Does anyone here write prologues? Or drop them, like I do?

September 5, 2011

Getting the Bus to Anywhere

Just a thought. Got the bus today, and I get the bus a lot going to school. Always tickets left on the seats and stuff with a destination, where it was bought and time. It’s like a little story on a piece of paper, but only a very small part of it.

Got a plane in the holiday, London to Toronto. There was a plane ticket left there which was London to Calgary. Another, longer distance, example. This one with a name as well though, and type of seat purchase.

Food for thought and possibly a way of thinking up a story.

Just a thought. Like I said.

September 5, 2011

First Liners

I enjoy thinking of first lines for a book. I am guilty of trying to create a book out of a single first liner. I like things like:

“It was an ordinary morning for Lucas. He washed his feet in the loo, brushed his teeth in the shower and pissed in the bath.”

or

“I killed Jon Smith and I have no regrets.”

or (one which I am slightly hesitant to write in a blog and is set in the Second World War, sorry for any offence taken)

“Go back to fucking hell or fucking Germany.”

I always find interesting openings difficult to think up when I’m writing something specific but I come across loads as I’m doing other things and not really thinking.

Anyone else got first liners they have used that they like? Or come across any particular good ones?

September 5, 2011

Turning a Clean Sheet

Do you prefer writing on a keyboard/computer or by hand? Just a thought. I’ve heard of writers using all stuff, like Dictaphones and even having a secretary write out while the author dictates. Wondering if anyone does anything REALLY strange, or just what people do in general.

I write ideas and stuff in books by hand. Writing by hand is pleasing, because it’s more of a process and you feel like you’re shaping the words, not just rapping them out, each word looking the same as another. Using different impliments for writing gives a certain pleasure (scratchy pencils are a personal favourite). I once wrote part of a project in dip pen and India ink, though it was completely impractical as every sheet had to dry before I could compile them. My bedroom was covered in “no touch” surfaces. But I did it for the feel of scratchy writing, the tip of the pen making contact with the paper. It was like the ideas and content weren’t enough but the act of writing had to be right as well.

I do, however, normally use a computer. All blogging is (unavoidably) typed (though my handwriting is usual illegible, so this is a positive). The added advantage of a computer is obvious: editing, cropping, cutting, pasting, organising, filing. You can’t run out of ink and don’t have to sharpen your pencil.

Typing is tiring and samey. It takes away the “writing” part of writing and leaves you with the “typing” bit. It’s nice to turn it off and turn to a clean sheet (if you’ll excuse a pun).

September 4, 2011

“Getting Outta Here” [Novella]

This is a “prologue” and part opening of a novella I am currently writing. This is not a finished version, by any means, but an example of what this book should be like. It is uncharacteristic of me as it has no speech, but that will follow. I’m not happy with the speech part yet. All of these posts will be under the categories “Work” and “Ronsville”. (I am against prologues in any case.)

I cannot be sure exactly when this story took place, or even where. It is a strange occurrence. From recollecting the story I do see that there are certain news events that may indicate the year to which the preceding events belong. I know from the weather that it was high summer, maybe August. It is irrelevant to this story. One of conflict, division, isolation, racism and romance.

————————————

I guarantee you have never heard of this place. You’ve never heard the name, you’ve never been there, heard it in the news, seen it in pictures. You can’t search for it on a map. I think it’s on the face of the Earth, but if you were there you wouldn’t know. It was living on a star far away. You can even see the Earth in the sky. At night you can see the motorway, the lights sliding along the horizon. That’s the closest thing to the rest of the world, and even that drifts by with out touching them. It’s definitely a different universe. And to the people that live there, it’s the Ronsville universe.

You may have passed Ronsville many times. Some people may pass it frequently if they use the motorway to get to work. Some of you may only ever go near it once in your life time, or not at all. Truth is you can never know. If you are on the motorway and you see a place in the distance, like a small town, somewhere a long way off where you can only just see it and you’re not sure what it is. You can’t always tell by looking, but it might just be Ronsville.

If you were to get on a train and ask for a ticket to nowhere, you might end up here, in the Ronsville Estate. Unmarked post ends up here. If you post an unmarked envelope it will reach the council’s post sortie. A different radio station is picked up every time you tune in; Radio Essex on a morning, GWR by lunchtime, Radio Glasgow in the evening, Classic FM through the night. Mrs Donelda Grey was certain she once heard Radio Hamburg. The news is a story, the credit crunch and the recession are the troubles of another country, government policies never reach here.

September 4, 2011

Know What I’m Saying?

I once tried to decide what my “forte” was in writing. When you declare that you are a writer you get asked what you write, it would make sense to say what you like and what you’re (supposedly) good at.

I originally thought it was well constructed description. But description bores me, and general it slows down a story. There are too many cliches in description. (I do not consider cliches a complete enemy. Much original writing can come from identifying and changing it so that it is new.)Well done description can be something to behold, if it moves on with the narrative as well.I decided I was not so good at this..

Once finished with description, I moved onto the opposite; action. Describing action in its upmost detail to give across a blockbuster-like thriller. Films are not books. Action is not limited to shooting (I spent a lot of bullets and killed many characters before realising this).

I have settled, on dialogue. I may write a separate most on dialogue (because I like short posts and this is looking too long for me). Dialogue is immediate, it is action, it can convey ideas, thoughts, character, move on a narrative. I think it is brilliant, and may eleborate on that in future.

You may not agree with me, but we never got anywhere by agreeing.

What’s your forte?

September 3, 2011

See the Colours?

This isn’t really to do with writing, but it’s sort of to do with words.

Does anyone else get colours when they think of a letter or a word? Like an association? If you don’t you won’t have a clue what I mean. I think it’s called “synaesthesia”.

If you know what I’m on about please comment and tell me what you get it for. I get it for letters (A is yellow), names (David is orange), days of the week (Monday is blue), months (January is red), numbers (1 is white) and most general words (apple is red). Some people get it for musical notes or even taste.

The colours are individual to each person. My Mum has it and she’s got completely different colours.

If you SEE THE COLOURS, leave a response.

September 3, 2011

A Sequence of Untimely Events

This is the title for a longer project I wrote totalling circa 30,000 words. It’s fairly short even by novella standards but it’s too long and I spent too much time with it to consider it as a short story, even by other standards not just my own (see “Short Short Stories“). I’ll be publishing it a couple of pages at a time, and if you’d like to read it search it by category (Untimely Events). I’ll have to finish editing it before it goes up.

I might put up current things I’m writing, but these might change in their finished form.

The “genre” of A Sequence of Untimely Events would be science fiction/time travel, though I hate to limit it by that label. And “science fiction always sounds pulpy. My book’s about an indulgent book worm who gets asked by men from the “department” (or buruea, can’t remember) for a time machine he hasn’t invented. The department men admit they’ve come to early. From then on Book Worm has the thought of building the time machine and it goes from there. It’s what science people call a paradox. But (hopefully) funnier and more engaging.

Anyway, it will be going up. It’s not the best. The best is yet to come (maybe. if this is the best I’m screwed)

September 3, 2011

Umm, who are you?

I tried writing a character once, from a 1st person Point Of View but I realised I didn’t know anything about this guy. I didn’t know how he would speak to the reader. It’s pretty stupid since I invented the man.

Something I tried to overcome this (and have yet to see if it works) was to ask the characters questions in an interview format. I chose questions like: what is your strongest childhood memory? Tell me something about you I didn’t know. How do you introduce yourself? What one thing do you want the world to know about you?

These are what I would call “big” or “life” questions, but some writers ask questions about their characters like what colour shoes they where and what they eat for breakfast. I’d rather ask the character, he knows best.

It might sound stupid since you’re asking the question and answering it but it makes you think what this character is really like and it builds up. If you give an answer and you think “actually he/she wouldn’t say that” then you scrap it.

Anyone ever done this? Does this work for anyone? Do anything else?

I might interview my characters but I’m not crazy. Was kinda awkward writing this in a straitjacket though