Posts tagged ‘what’s your writing thing’

September 16, 2011

For Me, Blank Pages

I think everyone has a favourite part to writing. One of my absolute best bits is the bit where you sit down in front of a piece of paper or (particularly for me) a computer screen, open a word doc, choose font and size and then watch the cursor blink at you as you decide what to write.

Before you start writing the possibilities of what you might produce are endless. It could be anything you’re about to create. That’s part of the bit I like, the fact you don’t know what it will look like even though you have an idea of how you wish it would look. It will never be the same as your intention. As soon as you start writing direction becomes narrower. This isn’t bad, it means you’re going somewhere. But you lose the openness that comes with having a completely clear page.

I like the blinking cursor tempting me to start rapping keys.

For me, it’s blank pages. What is it for you?

September 16, 2011

Why Write?

It’s painful, stressful, difficult, sometimes boring and it weights on your mind all day until you’ve written something you’re half pleased with. Why does anyone bother to write? Why are some people driven to writing?

I’m cursed with a drive to write and an enjoyment of it. I will fret over a plot, a character, a phrase. I’ve always written, there’s no stopping it and no stopping the ideas which come out of everywhere.

Why do writers write? Why do YOU write?

September 14, 2011

Scoring Your Story

Films have music, a score, to accompany the moving picture. I thought about doing the same with books, in a sort of a way.

If you read What’s You Writing Thing? you’ll see that I said I listen to music when I write. Occasionally the music fits the scene I’m writing, or the mood and adds to it as I write. Obviously a musical track cannot be applied to a book (though I bet someone will try with the advent of eBooks). But I thought about choosing music from my selection to go with a certain scene to enhance my perception of it, even if it wasn’t in he finished product (which it wouldn’t be). Maybe books will come with a CD with recommended tracks to play while reading. I think I prefer reading the way it is, but writing with the music is interesting.

Let me know what you think about music and writing and combining the two. Does anyone get ideas for writing things from music? Or feel the same as I do.

I own the copyright to musical eBooks, by the way. So don’t try it.

September 12, 2011

What the F*** did you Say?

I’d be interested to know what people think about this.

Swearing is a part of colloquial language, whether we think it’s appropriate or not. And whatever is true of spoken language will find some way into dialogue embedded in a narrative. I think that swearing is an important part of language, making the meaning of a threat heavier and causing insult and often shock when used in certain situations. All of this stuff is good for the writer.

The use of swear words can be effective to arrest the attention of the audience. Blue words tend to leap off the page. It can also create a shock, particularly if it is used in a social situation that prohibits “improper” language.

For dialogue, swearing is particular important. If you wish to directly quote obscenities rather than avoiding it with a “He cursed” or “She swore profusely”, you should not water down your dialogue. If it’s a rough, male character, he is more likely to say “bugger off” or “fuck off” than “oh, go away”. Similar he would curse saying “oh shit”, not “dash it” or “fiddlesticks”. Language causing less offence can be equally effective, especially if your characters use it often, such as “damn” and “blast”, which have the connotations of swearing attached rather than slapping you in the face. In contrast to this, gentry at a dinner with ladies would not use anything so blunt as that mentioned above, choosing more of a eupemism.

As with all “rules” of writing, there are ways of using a set “rule” against itself for a certain purpose. An upper class character or dame using excessively rough language is a source of comedy as well as an interesting contrast. I would normally suggest using swearing in narrative sparingly and in dialogue too. An exception to this rule is if you would like a really rough character who uses swearing consistently.

Your audience must always be considered when writing with the intention of using obscene language. Having said that, there was a “children’s” book (really for the parents) called “Go the Fuck to Sleep”, which shows me up quite well in terms of censoring your audience.

Tell me what you think, if you agree with what I said or if you think other things about it. And if you use swearing to a certain degree or try to abstain from it.

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

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

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?