Saturday, 23 August 2008

Last Post...

For a while...

Apologies first because this post is not about publishing. It is about the real world, and in particular my real world.

I'm on (unexpected) paid leave for a little while, as things have changed slightly in work.

In a nutshell, my role has been outsourced. I, along with my colleagues have been offered an alternative role albeit at a reduced salary.

To put it mildly, I am not happy about this but it does at least take the pressure off looking for alternative employment. I know that, in the organisation I work for, I can at least have a fixed day off each week to attend college, although I have not done this for a few years for a number of reasons.

Anyway, training for my new role starts on September 1st. I am on paid leave until at least the 28th. I do not expect to be in work between the 28th and 1st, but if I am then I will certainly post.

Until then, take care and enjoy your writing.

Hwyl fawr am nawr!

Fridayitis (The Saturday Edition)

Did you know that AAR is the Association of Authors’ Representatives and is an organization of literary and dramatic agents that sets certain guidelines and standards that professional and reputable agents must abide by?

You did? Oh well I didn't, that's why Jessica over at BookEnds, LLC put together A Publishing Dictionary. Very handy it is too.

As ever the source of great debating Nathan Bransford has an Open Thread! It's all in there, from basic plot tropes to questions about the Curtis Brown website (I won't link to Curtis Brown website as there's not much there atm).

A gloomy post but one that's worth reading anyway: Does It Have a Pulse? Ellis, Scalzi, the Death of the SF Short Story, and Some Comics. There are few error's on the page, one is corrected in the comments and the other is a reference Star Trek 3: The Voyage Home (it would have been Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock, which was released in 84. Although I think the author is getting confused with Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986), which was better received than Star Trek 3, and I'm sure did better in the theatres. (Sorry I'm geeking out a bit here...)

And to round off, a not so gloomy article from Bookseller.

That's it for a while

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

This just in...

The Wannabe Scribe goes into meltdown with a thousand fold increase in hits.

Wow, you should see the hits since I made those changes to the sidebar. I think I took a few servers down after make- whoa there. Did I really say that out loud?

No! you typed it you muppet!

You can get back to the Q&A from last Thursday you fiend!

Anyway, enough wishful thinking, check out Adam's post for some great advice on strong verbs.

I'm off Thursday and Friday, so Fridayitis will be Saturdayitis (if I remember - I will try - honest).

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Juggling Elements

Well things are looking up for the site. I had some good news today that relates to the real world, which means that I will be able to continue posting for the foreseeable future.

With that in mind I am going to start building the blog up a bit, albeit slowly. To start with I've rearranged some of the sections on the side bar. Hopefully moving up all the interesting stuff, like Writing resources and other blogs, will entice more of the occasional visitors to stick around.

I hope you like the changes.

Monday, 18 August 2008

The Monday Afternoon Write-up

I hit upon a neat idea this weekend. As I was referring back to previous chapters to make sure my characters use consistent terminology, I realised how handy it would be to not to have to do this. I decided to create a little document - just in notepad, called What Does Aydan Know? (Aydan being my POV character).

It's a simple text file which lists chapters and with each chapter there are a few lines which note what Aydan has leaned in this chapter. As the writer, I know, or should know, everything there is to know about my little universe. My main character, on the other hand doesn't, and I need to be careful what my main character says and does so that he is consistent.

So far it has been quite useful, already I've spotted a mistake whereby Aydan and his companion Kynn nearly swapped preferred makes of weapon. This would have been a complete pain in the ass if it had been allowed to continue unnoticed through the rest of the manuscript.

I'm at 1900 words for this chapter, and while I was not overjoyed at how it was progressing, this morning I managed to get a little more done and filled in some blanks that has really fleshed it out a bit. Also because I have been writing in drips and drabs lately I've been easily distracted and I can't say I have achieved an awful lot, but it really kicked off just before I left work, so much so I was nearly late. Now I know that when I write next (as long as it is today or tomorrow) I should be able to pick up where I left off.

The word count for this chapter is in the right ballpark. I'm not sure yet quite where I am going to end it, it might reach about 4000 words, it really depends on which cliff-hanger I choose to end it with.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Fridayitis (Yay!)

Guess what...? It's Friday and I didn't forget.

Fridayitis is here whoo hoo!

So, what's been happening this week?

First up, Randy Ingermanson has An Interview With An Agent, in this case Chip MacGregor. It's a role play and Randy is assuming the role of Tom Clancy pitching his first novel.

Do people, authors especially, really still do this?

Nathan, as ever, has a stirring discussion on his blog about Author Websites and You Tell Me: Do Author Blogs Sell Books?

That's it for this week. I'm off the weekend, so I'll be back on Monday.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Baby Steps

Q. Did I get any writing done last night?

A. Yes! Yes I did!

Q. Was it much?

A. Um... No not really.

Q. How much was it?

A. About 200 words or so...

Q. 200? Just 200 words?

A. Yes. Baby steps. It's hard when you haven't written for a while.

Q. Why?

A. It takes time to get the creative juices flowing, and you can be distracted quite easily.

Q. So, was it worth it?

A. Absolutely! What a dumb ass question! The small steps I made last night will keep things ticking over. Already I have ideas of how I can improve, not what I wrote last night, which was largely editing and finishing off a scene, but what I wrote several days ago.

Q. Are you going tell us then?

A. Tell you what?

Q. I ask the questions here! That's twice now.

A. That wasn't a question.

Q. Oh shut up!

A. That wasn't a question either.... Hey wait a minute! You're me, you can't talk to me like that!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Progress or Lack Thereof!

No luck on the writing front.

This means I haven't written anything substantial, other than this blog, for at least 4 days! (gulp)

This is going to end (as it were) tonight.

Tonight, I am going home after work where I'll have tea (dinner - for anyone reading this outside of the UK) and then I am going to spend a whole hour, yes, one whole hour writing.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

More Writing Every Day

Yes I should get back into The Habit of Writing of writing every day but I can't! :-/

Last few days have been pretty busy, but at least it is easier to post. The Blogger buttons and WYSIWYG editor is working OK for me today. I'm sure I'll get Chapter 13 finished sometime this week!

So if anyone is in doubt that as writers we should be writing every day please read another post on it above, from Tate Hallway.

Monday, 11 August 2008

More Writing Resources

I’ve just added more Writers Resources taken from Kelly McCullough’s post on SF Novelists.

Kelly has kindly, and rather handily, produced an index of useful writing articles on Wyrdsmiths. His indexes include Making Light, Miss Snark and Wyrdsmiths, which incidentally will be added to the author’s blog list shortly.

Well worth checking out!

BTW Sorry if this looks a little bit pants or bit broken on some browsers, the WYSIWYG editor doesn't seem to be working, so I've coded the HTML manually and I'm a bit rusty!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Fridayitis (The Saturday Version)

Here it is finally...Fridayitis!

At the risk of sounding even lamer: I forgot it was Friday yesterday. Oooops.

On the plus side it looks like the blog list is working OK today. I think I'll leave that alone from now on.

Agent Kristin gives her tips on dressing for writing conferences ('tis the season after all).

Nathan provides us with a day in the life of an agent at a writers conference with his RWA Recap ('tis the season- oh wait I already wrote that), and sticking with Nathan he's compiled a list of FAQs, which are well worth reading if you're planning on querying him.

In Why La Telefono is not your ami Janet Reid tells us why it’s never OK to call an agent if 1. you’re not a client and 2. not confirming a mailing address.

That's it for this week. I'm in Mon-Fri next week, so all things being equal, there should be new posts on those days.

What Happened to Fridayitis (again)?

I dropped the ball again.

I'm gonna give some lame excuses now.

Yesterday in work, which is where I post from, I had no systems access for over six hours.

I'm not going to go in anymore detail for fear of it sounding even lamer.

So today there will be another edition of Saturday Fridayitis.

I've also taken the decision to drop scheduled posts on my days off. This is because the amount of writing I've been doing lately has dropped, which means I have less to write about on here, and there are some circumstances in work that might lead to the blog going on an extended hiatus.

Anymore on this and I'll let you all know.

coming up soon Fridayitis!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Minor Writing Update

I got a few more words out of Chapter 13 this morning. I’m pretty sure it was another hundred or so, I can’t really remember as I didn’t have lot of time.

There’s plenty more to come too, because at the moment I just have talking heads, so there’s plenty of detail to add, which will bump the word count up at least 200 – 300 words and then all mayhem breaks loose. Yay!

Blogging Problems

I've been having an issue with the blog roll on the side bar.

Frequently the last update time does not show, and it doesn't matter how many times I go into the layout and re-save the settings, I cannot get all 3 blog lists to show the last update time at the same time. Nuts!

I have added the title of last post, for now as this at least seems to work and still shows the last update time on all 3 blog lists.

*Edit: I take it back! It's not bloody working at all. I'll have to look into this again. :-/

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Chapter 13 Breathes

Hoping goes a long way!

I managed to get about 300 words or so out yesterday evening. Didn't have any time at all during the day, but the important thing is I resolved two small stumbling blocks in the scene I was attempting to write.

Now that I've written it I've upped the ante and we have another obstacle to thwart the protagonist's progress, and there's a lot more trouble to come. Yay!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

You Can't Buy the Whole Bookstore

In his latest post, Randy Ingermanson continues his Q&A on pitching at conferences. Here's a little gem of an analogy for the whole Author/Agent/Editor thing:

In exactly the same way, when you go to a bookstore, you will probably “reject” the vast majority of books in the store. (I.e., you won’t buy them all.) In “rejecting” them, you are not saying they are all bad books. You are merely noting that you have limited time, energy, and money and you can’t buy them all. You’ll buy the one or two that pleases you most, and there will be a bit of luck involved, because you can’t evaluate all 100,000 books in the store. You just can’t. Likewise, in looking for an editor or agent, there’s a bit of luck involved. If you catch them on the right day and you happen to be the best thing going at the moment, then you have a chance.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Lack of Writing Time

Well, by the time I'd finished with the real world yesterday it was time for bed, and this morning the real world took my precious writing time, and then I had to go to work :-/

Tomorrow is another cliché, but I am off, and although most of my day will probably involve travel to see family, I will be able to snatch some time to read more of The Prefect (excellent stuff) and there is always the evening. I have high hopes!

Anyway, we'll see how it pans out.

Monday, 4 August 2008

The Monday Evening Write-up

A little late today, but better late...

Not a tremendous amount to report on today.

I'm onto Chapter 7 of the rewrite using MRUs. Yay!

I have also (finally) started Chapter 13, and already the plot is taking a detour from my outline. Yay!

This makes it more interesting to write because the outlining thing became boring ages ago. I'll definitely be writing a little bit more off the hip, when it comes to the first draft, and little bit less outlining in the future.

All this came from dialogue. It's amazing how dialogue can spice things up and ruffle a few feathers. I've also discovered something new about my protagonist. More yays!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The Write Thing to Do?

I had originally scheduled this post for my day off on Wednesday, but I haven’t done a decent post today so you can have this one early :-)

Diana Pharaoh Francis has followed up on Write Every Day with Carving Out Time to Write. It's always worth mentioning this, and I know I've blogged on it very recently, but it's a topic that comes up very often, simply because I am not managing to write every day.

I'll write most days, but if I could get away with it I would write every single day. Why can't I write every day? I try, but the real world intrudes. Hey doesn't everyone say that? Yep and me too!

I write in odd spurts, though I haven't tried to get up early to write yet, but that's just because other people from my real world will think I really am either reading or writing all the time, but it's not true! I do other things as well like er... um... you know loads of things.

I cut the grass!

Really though, there are loads of real world things that need to be dealt with routine basis and then there's all the random stuff too, so snatching 20 to 30 minutes here and there can work quite well.


Another minor post...

I've finally added Subscription Links to the side bar.

Just Added

I've just started a new side bar: Other Wannabes - a list of other bloggers who are in throes of trying to become published.

The first blog is Author's Echo by Adam Heine.

There'll be more added to the list soon, just as soon as I find 'em!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Falling in Love With Characters

I've not able to do much this week, but one of things I have managed to tackle is a rewrite of Chapter 6. Regular blog readers will know I'm currently in the process of revising the first 11 chapters of my novel using the MRU technique. A how-to can be found in Writing the Perfect Scene from Advanced Fiction Writing. Anyway, there are two characters here that appear only in this chapter, which is such a shame as they are so likeable. I enjoyed creating them and writing them, and I thoroughly enjoyed revising them too!

There is, of course, the danger that minor characters can steal the show. Although there's no danger of these two reappearing anywhere else because they've been written into this location, and are stuck there for all eternity - muhahahahaha. No really! They're two crew members of a stellar liner, and there's no likelihood of them popping up anywhere else. Thankfully.

It is important to have something likeable about characters you create, especially if your character is the protagonist, and is someone who wouldn't ordinarily be the sort of character your readers are rooting for.

Even villains should have something your readers can identify with. Think of Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the James Bond films, he loves fluffy white Persian cats! Ahhh - how sweet. He's not all bad, and therefore not one dimensional, which is something that as writers we must strive to avoid, if we want our stories to be publishable.

Friday, 1 August 2008


First up from The Bookseller is the mildly amusing story of The Claude Glass by writer Tom Bullough, who was wrongly named as the winner of the Wales Book of the Year award, the book is apparently "flying off the shelves". Good luck to him!

Also according to Bookseller: Bookshops resist high street slump which is good news, although sales are definitely down, some commentators are suggesting, they're not as bad as some statistics suggest, and reports a strong second quarter.

Ex-Helix writers have set up Transcriptase to host reprints of their work. The site has word from the following authors:

  • Elizabeth Barrette
  • Beth Bernobich
  • Maya Bohnhoff
  • Eugie Foster
  • Sara Genge
  • Samantha Henderson
  • Janis Ian
  • N.K. Jemisin
  • Vylar Kaftan
  • Ann Leckie
  • Yoon Ha Lee
  • Margaret Ronald
  • Jennifer Pelland
  • Vaughan Stanger
  • Rachel Swirsky

That's it for this week's edition of Fridayitis.

Have a great weekend!

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