Posts tagged ‘Moseley’

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 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

September 3, 2011

“Pick a Genre, Any Genre”

If you’re an author then you get asked by people what genre you write, or what sort of things you write. I don’t feel that I write in any set genre, or maybe I’m unaware of it. I’ve written a few different things in different genres and some that I wouldn’t put in a genre at all. I’ve settled on a title for one book (Not Science Fiction) which highlights the genre it should belong to but purposefully excludes it as well.

I think that writing to suit a particular genre is limiting on writing. I prefer to write and see what the genre is once I’ve finished it. Sticking to tightly to the features of a genre stops you writing freely.

There is always the possibility of genre crossing. I am lining up a novella to write in the style of Raymond Chandler, with the features of 30’s/40’s American crime fiction, but set in the context of a Shakespearean play, where there is a murder to be solved and the characters speak in verse (my own, imitating Shakespeare, hopefully) but the narrator speaks in American slang. Genre crossing is effective if you want to parody a certain genre, as it draws attention to the features of that genre by applying them to something not associated with it’s features, such as Raymond Chandler’s private eye, Philip Marlowe, investigating the death of Humptey Dumptey, for example.

I’ve written coming-of-age/young adult sort of thing, science fiction comedy, spy thriller, alternative history, fantasy alternate reality.

If I had to say that I had any favourite genre to write in it would be “people”. I like characters and they make a genre. Write about teens you get coming-of-age. Astronauts you get sci-fi. Characters make a book. A genre is a set of features a writer chooses to repeat or adapt. A character is a new creation which reflects the individuality of the writer, much like plots are re-worked with different characters.

Any preference on genre? Any interesting cross genre ideas/experiments/examples?

September 1, 2011

What’s Your Writing Thing?

I read a book about writing once. It had a list of different writers and about how they wrote; when, where, how, on what.

I write best in the morning but I have school so weekday writing is limited to after about 4 o’clock. On weekends I bum around avoiding breakfast then begin writing. I write on a computer in my room, on my prize glass desk. It’s got no internet and was general usage for the family so it’s clogged up with a load of other files. I use OpenOffice to write, slightly different to Word. I either write on this, if I write by hand, on the de-cluttered portion of the desk, on its rare appearances. I play CDs while I write. If I find myself singing along, I’m not writing good enough.

I like to be one of those writers who writes in the middle of the night, but I’d rather be sleeping, and I don’t have the morning time to lie in on weekdays. I’ve used ideas from dreams often enough, and that’s always freshest in the monring, my preffered time to write.

When do you write? On what? How? What’s your writing thing?

September 1, 2011

Short Short Stories

I don’t like short stories, even though they’re short. They have to be short enough so I can see the end. In a book, I don’t mind cause it’s a book, it’s meant to be long. So Sherlock Holmes and the Saint are quite readable.

It’s in magazines, when you can’t turn the page to see there’s one more paragraph but a load more prose. That’s when I put it down. And if it’s a short story on the internet and you have to scroll a lot… it’s dead to me.

Though I’ve written a few short story bits, I prefer to write longer, extended projects. You get more words to say what you mean (I know short stories are meant to be the “craft of a few words” and that’s the challenge. I think when you can choose any words in the world it’s still pretty challenging). You can develop things a lot more and you stay with it.

If it’s a short story I’d rather it was a novel.

If it’s a short short story I’ll read it.

If it’s a short short short story, I wrote it.

September 1, 2011

I’m a Bad Reader

I like a thin book with quite large print so I can get through it quickly. This is because I am fickle with my choice of books. I tend to read more than one at a time, and this makes for slow reading, especially when some books are borrowed and I have to give them back in a couple of weeks to friends/libraries. If they’re too long and boring, I drop them.

I am also not a fast a reader as everyone else, I found in school. I wrote essays on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist never having finished the novel (got an A though, I’d like to point out).

Too much prose turns me off as well. If you open a book and the first few pages are solid narrative until somebody says something. The best books have one paragraph, then dialogue. Even better is no paragraph, cut straight to the speech! I’d read a book comprised entirely of dialogue, I don’t know who’d want to read an entire narrative, not a word of speech (now I said that, I know it’s probably been done and probably quite well, but you’d have to be a really good writer to manage it and most people aren’t that good. I’m not, that’s why I stick to speech).

So when I write I tend to open with speech if I can. I like to include lots of talking and arguments and conversations (all the stuff of good, immediate writing) because it breaks up the prose. I like to write things that are not too long (in truth I have never written anything near a novel, so I don’t have this option). My font size is always too big (it looks smaller on a computer).

If you never reach the end of something I write, you are the worst reader who ever lived, because the other worst reader (me) wrote it.