Monthly Archives: February 2014

An Empty Galaxy – Oh Fook!

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Gosh! I didn’t know it was so empty out here – In case you’re wondering, I’ve taken myself off to the other end of the book I need to finish by July (we’re talking 150,000 words, minimum, folks, of which I have maybe a third, some of them still very lively and scampering about).

I could say I’m spoilt for choice. There is so much to do.

Or I could say, “Blinkin’ heck! It sounds hollow in here!”

Option “A” has me looking at all I have to do, while option “B” just has me looking at all I haven’t done.

Both are kind of scary in their way.

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The Oubliette of Writing.

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An oubliette is a small dungeon, a hole in the ground a prisoner is dropped into, often never to be retrieved, which is not a good place to be, at all – There is no way out – Many situations can have similar attributes, and writing is no exception.

Working on writing a book is a repetitive exercise, you have to go back over it again and again, writing, editing, polishing, changing, rewriting, re-editing, re-polishing, changing, etc.

Sometimes you’re working so hard on one area of your manuscript that you get bogged down more in the work itself than the storyline. I’m sure I’m not the only one to have done that.

It starts off by staying in those pages for too long. You read them so many times, they become old news to you. You know every line. If you stay there for too long, however, a different sort of problem crops up and you might find yourself trying to deal with the length of something that turns out to be a fault in your perception rather than a fault in your work.

I’ve done that. I have worked on a scene that feels way too long, as though it goes on for too many pages, only to realize that it feels that way simply because I keep reading it over and over again. That’s what I mean by getting bogged down in the work rather than the writing.

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Picking up!

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Okay, things are moving forward, and that’s both very good and very important to me because, as many of you are aware, I have slipped behind a little in my writing schedule for book 3 of the Khekarian series – mainly due to unforeseen circumstances – This is not a huge concern just yet, I am merely aware of the situation.

Just in the last few days, however, I’m happy to report that things have picked up. I have decided to take advantage of this fortuitous flow of energy and run with it, channeling it mostly into the manuscript. My intention is to get ahead once again. Getting ahead and staying ahead really is the better place to be, as I’m sure you all know.

What all this means for you, alas, is that I will put a little less time into writing my daily posts and exploring Blogsville, at least for the time being.

I will still post on a daily basis, and I will try and keep my meanderings and ponderings interesting, or at least entertaining.

I will also, of course, endeavor to keep up with everyone.

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The Fumbles and the Bumbles – Don’t judge your Writing by your Learning Curve.

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Yes, we’ve all done it, we’ve all been through that awkward stage of youth and learning when our limbs are growing faster than we realize, so clumsiness follows us around like a hex – The same applies to our minds and our logic, which somehow expands before we are really capable of handling it, so we really would be better off not jumping in and speaking, because without a doubt we will suddenly show the world, in a most embarrassing way, just how little we know or just how stupid we can sound.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all said, done and written stupid things. We’ve all embarrassed ourselves.

It’s part of growing up, part of learning. Mistakes teach us things. Embarrassment teaches us things even faster. That’s fine. It sucks at the time, but it really is okay. The big thing is – Don’t judge your writing by your learning curve.

Not all, but most writers start writing while young. Most of them struggle with expression at much the same time as they struggle with everything else – puberty, school, relationships, and How Not to be a Dork.

I was writing sex scenes through puberty. Don’t laugh, my hormones had control of my brain. No knowledge entered the equation. It was mostly fumbling about and kissing, and then I’d hide everything I’d written for fear my mother would see it. Indeed, around that age I very deliberately taught myself shoddy handwriting so that nobody could read it (that backfired on me badly when several years later I found I couldn’t read it either. Go figure).

Now, while I’d love to show you examples of what I mean and entertain you with my long ago juvenile and humorous attempts at writing lust and sexual mayhem, such distant papers are fortunately sadly no more, and my memory refuses to cooperate. However, there were plenty of mistakes made in regular day-by-day stuff writing, too.

These were the expanding-beyond-my-reach sort of clumsy, the don’t-open-your-mouth and definitely don’t-put-pen-to-paper type of clumsy. These mistakes weren’t so much the stupid you-don’t-know-anything mistakes, more the amateur you-don’t-know-your-craft sort of mistakes.

What I will share in a few minutes won’t have you rolling on the floor, and it’s not verbatim – such leftovers seriously were burned many, many years ago. I remember it, though, because the result was the sort of foot-in-mouth hilarious on the surface and, true to young teenage perception, I was totally oblivious to it at the time.

When I did see what I’d done, I wasn’t too embarrassed (because nobody else saw it), but I was deeply disappointed.

I’m sharing this with you all because it’s a prime example of misrecognition. I saw it and I perceived myself as incapable of writing. Ever. I might have given up then and there, and that would have been a mistake – because, although my efforts at the time seemed poor, I was young, foolish, eager, clumsy and learning.

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The What was easy – now Live it to the Max.

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I wanted to write when I was eight – I think I was drawn by all that action on those big cinema screens and the fact that it went into place because somebody made up something – Have to admit, I didn’t much like the movies we got back then, most lacked depth, realism just wasn’t, and some things were just plain stupid – I didn’t know the whys of it all at eight years old, but I did begin the process of imagining different endings and even different plots.

By the time I was twelve, I realized that I really did want to write and that – on the whole – actual writing would be involved. That meant I had to get going and actually do something. Movies would have been a choice, but was thoroughly out of my reach. I was only one person and I was a gazillion miles from the “right” circles (where people know people who know people), and who would buy me a camera anyhow? Writing a book, however, was a one-person activity. I could also think for myself and all I needed was paper and a pen, which I could get out of my own pocket money.

The What was easy. Getting into science fiction was a natural. Star Trek was on TV at the time and I used to sneak out of bed and hide in the hallway until it came on because I wasn’t allowed to sit up and watch it. I could see the TV from the hallway.

Science fiction was where the excitement was. Spaceships and colonization, aliens and oddities of flora and fauna – the sheer SIZE of the galaxy and the wonders of “light-years”. Everything about astronomy was a delight – I got my first telescope at age 13 and still have it (plus a much larger one).

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Tweaking my Kindles

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This is not really a good post subject (it’s not really even interesting), but I’m still on a “quiet blogging weekend”, so I have nothing better for you than to acknowledge and share that I needed minor upgrades – so I tweaked my Kindles.

No, no, not the actual Kindles, just my links here on this blog – Here I was thinking I had everything nice and neat and sorted out – Wrong! – I have now tweaked my sticky post to give a DIRECT LINK to Amazon and Kindle (my “Mature Readers” post at the top of the page), to make it easier for people to find their way, and have also added the inclusion of the word KINDLE under the clickable cover pictures in the right hand margin.

How could I have left that out! Yes, I know I mentioned Kindle in that section, but it really does help to have an actual reference in the actual direction to the actual link, yes? I thought so, too.

Big apologies to all who either didn’t know I had published Kindle copies, and/or found it difficult to navigate to where they could get a copy.

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Then Their Foibles Pop Up.

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Totally Out Of Control. Writing, that is (seemingly, at least) – it’s not just the way I do it, either – Characters roam off, following their own dreams, plots crack open in new and surprising ways, giving glimpses of potential and new directions, and writers bump into things that shake them, move them or otherwise inspire them to tweak something – yes, again – The whole process is messy and may, on the surface of things, look to be totally out of control.

I never realized just complicated the activity is until I started telling You Lot about it, and I’ve been writing 45 years for a very long time now.

How does it get so messy?

The spark of a story, for me, is usually an emotion, something born from unusual circumstances, which (if I can make them so) are nice and tight and twisty. The process from deciding on the emotion to settling the details of the circumstances might take minutes or months. It’s all, at this stage, in the mind. It’s also tidy.

If the concept and details excite me, I work on how such a set of circumstances could come about. This is important. It will also take more time and is likely to get messy because it has to be realistic. If readers don’t believe the circumstances, they won’t believe the emotions or the story. I can’t just say it is so, either. To make those circumstances real, I have to give them legitimacy. Giving reason for those circumstances to exist also gives me a backdrop, a place where this can happen.

Still in the mind, this continues to come as (mostly) clean blocks of information.

After that comes character development – yes, you can see trouble coming, I know you can.

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Progression Update and Shuffling Cards.

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Well, I’m largely back to where I was before the unfortunate collapse due to a thread strip-out – the removal of 26 pages unbalanced a further 130, or so it seemed, so there was much scrambling and rewriting – anyway, all looks well now, though, actually it all looks a whole lot better, my “first marker” is back into the page 77, exactly where it was before, and the overall page count is 130, which not quite where it was, but close enough for me to feel back on track.

Throughout all this, I have been switching things around and stripping out surplus bits and bits needed in other places – which means that in the end a lot more than the 26 pages got pulled out. It’s hard to tell because many of them have gone back in or will go back in. Never mind.

I have sorted out the jumble in my working area, which should never have been there in the first place. I try to keep that area as clear as I can, but it happened to pivot around so many things “about to get going” it was hard to sort out how, when, what, why and in which order.

Some things have been shuffled along and put in place. Some bits I’ve zigzagged over a few times. This, now, is causing me to lose my place. It’s not quite like shuffling cards, but the analogy is good enough and the end result is the same. I’ve thoroughly disrupted the pattern and picture in my mind, so there’s nothing else for it but to go for another full read through so I can pick up the reins of all the threads and know which direction I should next move and what needs work and how to go about it.

This is not a delay. This is a natural course that must be taken after working backwards and forwards repeatedly until I don’t know which end is up and what’s in and what’s out.

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Hey, I Tidied Up!

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No, not the book I’m working on (well, yes, that too) – Not the house (well, kinda, a little bit) – No, no, not this blog, either (well, yes, actually, the inside bits)…

Categories. Ever wonder why my search box was so low down the page? So low, you haven’t even seen it yet? Because it was messy, that’s why. It was a hodgepodge of anything and everything.

When you start out blogging, you don’t really know what you’re doing, then you sort just add to that. My category nightmare has been annoying me vaguely for awhile, and I’ve been meaning to get to it, but it somehow seemed such a big job.

Surprisingly, though, it wasn’t.

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