Monthly Archives: May 2011

Getting Over The Writing Hurdle

I’m constantly thinking up stories.  As in literally every day.  If I’m working on a book, then that story plays out in my head throughout my day.  It’s there in the background, so that whenever I have a solitary moment – working out at the gym, or walking for the bus – the story picks back up in my head, and I carry it on.

If I’m not working on a project at the time, I find my head filling with new ideas.  I’ll toy with an idea for an hour or two, a day maybe … and if it sticks, write it down … if not, I start again.

So the stories are always there … and yet that doesn’t mean they automatically translate onto my computer screen.  Because sometimes I take my stories too far …

This has been my writing hurdle with my current book ‘Mercury’s Child‘.

I spent too much time thinking about the story before I began to write.  And I got too far along the story!

You see, I write books in the same way I read them.  I want to know what happens next.  I invest in my characters, and want to know where they’re going … and so the problem with thinking up too much of a story before you get it down on paper, is that you don’t want to be writing the first part of the story.  You want to be writing the later parts!

With Mercury’s Child I laid all the groundwork in my head, and couldn’t bring myself to write it all down, because I was worried that my impatience to get to the newer parts of the story – they parts I didn’t know yet – would translate into my written word.

And so for months and months I dawdled.  At first I had excuses – it was the end of my ski season in Whistler, and I wanted to make the most of the skiing and socialising.  Then I returned home, and there was the obvious excuse of catching up with friends and family who I hadn’t seen for years.

But now I have no excuse.  I’ve been back home exactly 1 month, and I’m still yet to start work.  I’m spending weekday after weekday waiting for my grown-up friends with their grown-up adult jobs, to leave work and come and play with me, and I’m getting bored.  Now, if I’m really an author, I ought to be using all this spare time productively.  And there are only so many magazine writing competitions I can enter in one month!

So I finally got started.  I’m happy to admit that the first couple of days were a struggle – trying to make sure the start of my book remained as exciting and full of promise as the idea had when I first came up with it, despite my desire to fast-forward through the story until I got to a point where I felt like I was still being creative.

But the reason I’m writing is that I got over my hump!  I got over the writing hurdle, and I’m back in a zone where I feel like I’m using my imagination again.  And once I got the first three chapters of Mercury’s Child down, I could go back over them with fresh eyes, and actually add in new snippets.  New ideas, which made me feel like I was actually using my imagination, and that I was injecting those things that I had been worried would no longer be present in the first parts of my story – excitement and intrigue – properly into it.

Obviously whether I’ve been successful is a subjective judgment, but in just four days, I’ve managed to pen twelve thousand, five hundred words.  The first of my six chapters is on the blog – have a read, and let me know what you think.  And if you want to read more, let me know, and I’ll post another chapter 🙂

So I guess my message today is that everyone has their hurdles, and for every writer, the challenges present themselves in different ways.  But from my experience, the only way you get over a hurdle is by gritting your teeth, and hitting it face on.  At first it might be tough, but once you’ve got something on the page, you’ve created a framework that you can go back and tweak.  And trust me, the tweaking stage is far easier, and far more fun, than the initial ‘laying the framework’ phase – so just get that first part over and done with!

C-C xx

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Feature on Elli Writes

Thanks to journalist, author, and fellow blogger Liz Carlton for this lovely feature on her blog ‘Elli Writes‘.

And wow! – only just saw the front page of her blog, and I’m everywhere … thank you so much Liz, I feel very honoured!!

C-C xx

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Back on the Wagon!

So I’m back writing a novel again 🙂

I came up with the premise of Mercury’s Child some time back, but have had various excuses for not properly starting it … up until now!  I moved back to the UK almost a month ago, and still haven’t got the green light to start my new job, so I figure I should be making use of my time by writing.  I’ve recently written a couple of competition entries, however due to the rules, I can’t ‘publish’ them until I know whether I’ve won or not.  However THIS I can ‘publish’ … it’s the first chapter of Mercury’s Child, hot off the press ….

I’ll post it as a separate blog post so that it’s easier to find in later months, but for now, let me give you a brief outline of the book.

Mercury’s Child is a science fiction novel.  The main character, Halley MacFadden is just eleven years old, however I think the book will still remain in the young adult genre, like most of my books – though possibly the younger end – 13-15 as opposed to the 16+ age group that Flicker and TDN were written for.

I don’t want to reveal too much at this point, so all I will say is sit back, have a read, and let me know what you think!

Cheers,

C-C xx

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The Write Ritual (Writing Prompt)

In response to Joshua Ramey-Renk’s Weekend Writing Prompt  – What is your ‘Write Ritual’?  This is my writing ritual.

For me, the ideal writing ritual involves –

  • My laptop (fully charged)
  • But somewhere I can’t get internet connection
  • My headphones
  • Songs on iTunes which I know well enough that I don’t really ‘listen to them’
  • Enough time to re-read the chapter I wrote before the one I’m now writing
  • Photos of a place, if I’m doing a description of that place
  • Lots of Diet Coke 🙂
C-C xx

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The Writing Game

The more I get to grips with WordPress and the world of the writer blogger, the more exciting stuff I find.

So first of all, last night I discovered The 3-Day Novel Contest.  Now, to be honest, I’m not sure how long any novel I wrote in three days would be … I have an awful tendency to read and re-read stuff until I think it’s word-perfect, which could make for a rather short three day project, but I do really like the idea.

I’ve also found a lot of Flash Fiction on the web, which is another concept I didn’t know a great deal about until very recently.  I guess the post I wrote yesterday ‘The Time I Dated a Vampire’ could be classed as flash fiction, as it’s an 850 word snippet of what you imagine to be a far bigger story?  On my unemployed hunt for writing competitions, I DID discover two flash fiction competitions – the Unbound Press Flash Fiction Competition,  (entries have to be less than 500 words), and the Lightship Flash Fiction Competition (entries have to be less than 600 words) if anyone’s interested.

My little foray into Writing Prompts yesterday opened my eyes to a whole web of such prompts – which I think is pretty cool and exciting 🙂 I feel a bit like I’m back in English class at school.

And my most recent find is this blog post HERE.  In the post on Indigo Spider, the anonymous blogger introduced me to two new writing ideas I hadn’t come across before.

1) Picture prompts – what a brilliant idea!  Especially when you’re feeling a bit ‘blocked’.  You could literally do a random image search on google, and make yourself write a fictional piece based on whatever random picture the search churns up!

2) Chain writing!  I LOVE this idea, especially as I’m beginning to understand what a great community of fellow writers there are on WordPress.  Why not take part in a big game together?!  Do you remember that game we played as children, where you folded a piece of paper in four, and then passed it around a circle.  The first person drew the head, then the next person drew the arms, then the third person drew the legs, and then the last person drew the feet, and then you unravelled the paper to see the finished result.

How about doing that with writing?  A group of writers agree to play.  Each writes the first 500 words of a story, any story, and then all the writers switch stories, and continue someone else’s story for another 500 word.  And so  on …..

This is definitely a game that my inner child would enjoy playing!

In fact, if anyone fancies it, we could schedule one big group writing session???

Post a comment below if you fancy joining in, and if we get enough writers interested …. (I’m thinking more than 4 to make the stories a decent length), then we can designate some deadlines for each section of the story!

C-C xx

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The Time I Dated A Vampire (Writing Prompt)

Following on from my post ‘I’m Bored’ I decided to spend an hour writing a response to Maria Kelly’s Writing Prompt ‘Twilight – Re-Vamped’.  Let me know what you think, write your own response and share the link, or give me another writing task!

C-C xx

The Prompt – ‘Write a strong female character in a vampire situation.’


The Time I Dated A Vampire

 

“So you’re telling me you’re dead?’  I frowned up at my new boyfriend.  We’d been seeing each other just two months when he decided to drop that particular bombshell on me.

I’ll admit, there had been signs that something wasn’t quite right.  The cultural references for a start…  I mean, surely everyone watched Rainbow and Wackaday when they were kids?  But I guess if you were one hundred years-old in the eighties, children’s television wouldn’t have been so much of a priority.

And I did notice how cold he seemed whenever we shared a bed … but some people are just cold, right?

But I guess that’s the distinction.  Some people are cold.  All the living dead are freezing!

‘Well yes,’ Thom nods awkwardly.

‘You’re dead!

‘I think you’re missing the point … I’m trying to explain here.’

‘Well, no Thom, not really, because I’m pretty sure you’re telling me that you’ve already died.  That you’re a walking corpse!  That you’ve roamed this earth for hundreds of years without aging … ’

‘Yes, but …’

‘No Thom, no buts!  This is well and truly fucked up!’

‘But … but we can work around it …’

I stared up at him in disbelief.  ‘Work around it?  How exactly does one ‘work around’ the fact that their boyfriend is dead?!  I’m pretty sure the normal way of ‘working around’ it would be grief counselling … though given the current circumstances, I don’t think that would really work!’

‘Amy, I just think you’re over-reacting a little bit!’

‘Over-reacting!’ I almost shrieked.  ‘I’m sorry, but how exactly was I meant to take this news?’

‘Well, all the other girls ….’

I shook my head, angry blood boiling beneath my skin.  Only my skin.

‘Now is not the time to fill me in on how many human partners you’ve had!’

‘But …’

‘But what Thom?  How well did all these hundreds of previous relationships go for you?  I’d put a fairly large bet on the fact that none of them ended up well! Let me guess … they all died Thom?  They all got really wrinkly and old, while you remained young and hot … or should I say cold … and then they died!  So go on then  Thom … what you could possibly have to offer me?’

Thom frowned at me, no longer clueless and instead, getting increasingly pissed off with me.  ‘Offer you?  Amy, I’m the same person I was yesterday!’

And the decade before that, and the century before that …  I remember thinking!

He continued ‘Can you really say you didn’t at least have some suspicion?  It’s not really like I’m telling you out of the blue!’

Pissed off wasn’t the right tone to take with me at that point.  I mean, for god’s sake, the man had just told me he was a corpse!

‘Oh, I’m sorry Thom … I forgot that was meant to be top of my boyfriend check-list … up there with ‘does he seem to be a nice guy?’ … ‘Does he look like he could be a member of the walking dead?’

‘Could you please stop calling me that?  I’m a vampire!’

‘Oh yes of course.  Please draw attention away from the fact that you’re dead, and focus on your blood-sucking pastime instead!’

It seemed fighting pissed off with more pissed off actually worked, because suddenly Thom began to back down.

‘Amy, please, just calm down for a second.  It’s not as black and white as it seems.  Please just let me explain my lifestyle to you …’

I gritted my teeth.  ‘Look, Thom … I understand it can’t be as simplistic as the movies make out … but really, please elaborate on how you see this working?  Because from my perspective it seems like you’re asking me to give up the future I’ve always imagined – having children, growing old with the person I love – just so that you can masquerade as a ‘normal person ‘and get a bit of affection along the way.  Thom, I’m sorry, but it’s not fair on me! And that’s not even touching upon the whole blood drinking thing!’

‘So, what?  That’s it then?  I open my heart to you … and you’re dumping me for being honest?’  If he’d been able to cry, I’m pretty sure there would have been tears in his eyes at this point.

‘No Thom, I’m not dumping you for being honest.  I’m dumping you for lying to me in the first place!  You knew how much I’d been messed around in the past.  How important honesty was to me … How adamant I was that I wouldn’t get close to another guy again unless I trusted him totally.  And you took that trust and threw it in my face!  I’m sorry, but ‘not mentioning you’re a vampire’ isn’t an omission.  It’s lying about the fact that you’re human!  And of all the lies to found a relationship on, that’s pretty much the worst one going.’

And that was the time I dumped a vampire.

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I’m Bored!!!

Those of you who regularly read my blog will know that I recently returned home to England after two and a half years of travelling.  I’ve been back for almost four weeks now … and I have to admit to being rather bored.  Whilst that might sound silly, when I’m always talking about writing, I have to admit that one of the things that gives me writer’s block seems to be having lots of time on my hands!

I write best in certain circumstances.

1) When I’m physically travelling – on a train or a bus.  Probably because that means I can’t distract myself with the internet!

2) When I’m really really busy – because somehow then I’ll actually find time to write in my few spare hours!  Give me too many spare hours, and I’m the queen of procrastination!

The thing is, over the past few weeks, I’ve realised there is one type of writing that I’ve been able to commit to, and that’s short stories.  Lack of work has driven me to entering writing competitions with big cash prizes!  So far I’ve finished off a story written by a best-selling author … in a genre I would never normally write.  And then I was asked to use my imagination and write a story based on ‘a secret’ for woman&home magazine.  Because of the average age of the magazine’s subscriber’s, I decided to write a story from the perspective of a middle-aged mother – again a very different tale to the ones I normally write.  And both of the stories were short stories, a genre I haven’t experimented with since I did my GCSEs.

I promise to post both these competition entries up on the site, as soon as I know I’m allowed to.  (Both entries are contingent on the stories never having been published before).  However, I wondered if anyone fancies helping me relieve some boredom and exercise my ‘writing muscle’ …

I noticed a suggestion on another blog to write a story about a ‘strong female lead in a vampire situation.’  I’m not gonna lie, I’m rather over vampires and teen fiction, but could be persuaded to write a short story, or a scene.  And I recently really enjoyed Elli Writes’ competition to write an entry based on ‘Rebirth’.

So I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a short story.  Literally name your parameters – maybe you’ve got a couple of things you want to be included in it, or a paragraph you want me to carry on, or a situation you want me to write about …

Whatever it is, post your story prompt below, and I will endeavour to write a response to it!  And if you’d rather write a whole story than post a story idea, then take on some of these story ideas, and then when you’ve finished your story, post a link to it below, and everyone can read it!

If you need somewhere to start, we could all try our hand at Maria Kelly’s writing prompt –  ‘to write a strong character in a vampire situation’?

Make sure you let her know if you use her idea, and also add a link on this post so the blog readers can check it out too 🙂

So come on … get me out of my bored grump, and give me something to sink my writing teeth into … or give some of the other blog readers something to think about.  Let’s make the most of our big community of ‘nearly-there’ authors!

C-C xx

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