Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Tuesday Choice Words

Tuesday rolls around again and I have more interesting links for you.

Five Surefire Ways To Make Your Characters Stand Out From The Crowd from Writers' Village is well worth a read.

The 5 Words That Will Inspire Your Writing by Rebecca Woodhead is a great motivational post.

This is another post by Rebecca, Are You Scared of Falling? As writers, 'fear' can be a major obstacle. Have a listen to this companionable podcast for some advice on getting over that hurdle.

Surviving Second Draft Hell from The Lit Coach is fast becoming something I'll have to consider and this post really encouraged me. Have a read.

How (and When!) to Kill Your Darlings from Writers Village is a wonderfully frank article on whether or not we should 'kill our darlings' and if so, how best to do it.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Loving the Monster

There used to be a time when the appearance of a monster was a reason to run away screaming or at the very least hide behind the sofa. Daleks trundled around with their half-throttled calls of  'exterminate'. Werewolves ripped off their own skin then the throats of their victims. Vampires just wouldn't take no for an answer. They gave us nightmares and made cellars the worse place to be. The darkness became peopled with demons and graveyards were rife with zombies.

But somewhere over the last decade or so, our attitude to monsters has changed. We want to understand them. We want to explain their bad behaviour. Ultimately, we want to love them.

Of course this 'relating' to the monster started much earlier than this century in the novel 'Frankenstein' written by Mary Shelley. If you read this book within a book within a book, you will come to the conclusion that the true monster is Frankenstein himself. His creation simply tries to survive and through the rejection of his 'father' turns into a murderous atrocity of nature. We truly do understand the monster in this novel but that understanding was lost in the subsequent movies that took up the Frankenstein myth. The movie-going public of the last century were not ready to sympathise with the monster.

Bookshelves, cinema screens and our television sets have seen an invasion of romantic vampire stories. The Twilight Saga, the Vampire Diaries and True Blood have all taken up the flag for romancing dark, brooding, blood-sucking strangers. In True Blood, a little blood-letting and sharing has simply turned into a sexual act. In the Vampire Diaries and the Twilight Saga, toying with vampires is an almost normal part of growing up.

The latest novel (and now a film) to sympathise with the monster is 'The Warm Bodies' by Isaac Marion. In a world over-run by zombies, one zombie called R, who has no memory of his life before zombification, tries to make sense of his existence. He rescues and falls in love with a living girl, Julie.

Why is it that we need to understand the monster? Do we think we can reason with them? Does understanding their motives remove the horror? Personally, I prefer my monsters to be terrifying and mysterious. I don't want to psychoanalyse them. I just want a reason to hide behind the couch.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Tuesday Choice Words

This week's Tuesday Choice Words post is a little different. Rather than listing links to pages on blogs and websites, what I have for you  is a range of podcasts from Iain Broome, author of A for Angelica. All of the podcasts last between approximately 30 and 45 minutes. So turn on the speakers and have a listen.

Decisions, decisions and author websites

Call yourself a writer?

Making money from your side project

Being a confident writer

Monday, 23 July 2012

Mike Leigh on Script Writing

I came across this clip of the British writer and director Mike Leigh talking about the script writing process on the Amateur Stage Magazine site today.

We should always remember that a script is not an entity in itself but just one element in the end performance.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Tuesday Choice Words

Blood on the Tracks by Shawn Coyne discusses the difficulty writers have in talking about their creations, among other things.

Are We Stripping Modern Books Bare? by Nathan Bransford questions whether the advice to remove anything unessential from a book's plot is the way to go.

On Publishing: The Balance Found In Small-Press Publishing by David B Coe on the Magical Words site talks about self publishing, traditional publishing and what he feels is the road in between.

16 Ways to Battle Writer's Block from Where Writers win is a helpful infographic for writers.

Back Away at the End from Writerly Life discusses how to not over-analyse your work.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Finding your Tribe

We all like to belong. It's a human urge that goes back to our earliest beginnings. We need each other to survive.

As a writer, it can sometimes feel as if we're making this wonderful journey alone. Unless we have a partner, friends or family members who write, we can feel misunderstood and undervalued.

When I was in my late teens, I had a boyfriend who would sneeringly dismiss my writing aspirations because to him, writers were unobtainable celebrities on a par with movie stars. They were on a different planet, of a separate species even. I was just normal, everyday Fiona. How could I possibly ever be a writer?

Writing requires us to go inside ourselves - our imagination, our knitting together of information, our creation of worlds. It is a necessary part of the process and yet, ultimately, isolating. We wish for support and feedback but we often fear to share our work in case it is rejected or dismissed. We are the peculiar individuals crammed into a coffee shop corner, frowning over a mobile phone while we make notes on it, or insanely scribbling into a pad that spills sticky notes and photos ripped from magazines onto the floor. We are the bus-riders who suddenly go "Oh!" and scrabble in our handbags or jacket pockets for something to write on, nodding inanely. We are the ones who virtually rugby tackle our partners as they walk through the door to tell them about our latest chapter or idea for a storyline. 

What many writers still haven't realised is that there are a lot of us around. More and more, we don't travel alone. We can be found comparing notes at writing classes and clubs. We crowd together on LinkedIn, chat on Twitter and find fellow scribblers on Facebook. A lot of us blog and in doing so visit each other's blogs and leave comments. There are a whole host of online writing communities too. You don't have to be a solo passenger. Talking to other writers can inspire and reinvigorate our work. We share problems and celebrations. We discuss agents, publishers and booksellers. We throw around ideas. We help each other.

It can be a little nerve wrecking to reach out at first but then change is always scary. It's not as if you're  making a lifetime commitment, unless you want to. If you don't like what you find, you can leave and find another community to talk to. The key is to find the tribe that fits you, that feels right, that allows you to be 'you'.

You'll find a lot of writing blogs mentioned here (look at the left hand column) and several writing and creative communities too (right hand column). These are just a start. Do a search online to find more. Look out for notices in your local press, at nearby colleges and school, or in libraries in your area to find writing classes and clubs. If you're feeling particularly brave, start a writing group of your own. Just don't be afraid to reach out.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tuesday Choice Words

The Laziest Way to Find a Winning Plot on the Writers Village blog suggests a fresh approach to finding inspiration.

Your Writer's Manifesto from The Lit Coach asks you to think about what you want in your writer's life.

16 Ways to Battle Writers Block is an interesting infographic from Where Writers Win.

Build Your Facebook Author Page: 10 Steps to Success from Where Writers Win is an informative article on doing just what it says.

On promotion: Events from Magical Worlds talks about publicising your books through bookstore events.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Make Good Art

I came across this recent video completely by accident. Neil Gaiman is one of my writing heroes. This is not only down to his wonderful talent but also his incredible approach to creativity and writing in particular.

Make Good Art

Saturday, 7 July 2012


The Flashpoints site describes itself as,

a site-specific mass writing event.

What you will see when you visit Flashpoints is a series of photographs of pieces of writing left on a coffee house table, a beach and many other locations.

Flashpoints began as a run up event to National Flash Fiction Day in May of this year but rather than let it die there, it's carried on.

Simply put, you:

  • decide on a location to visit,
  • go there armed with pen and paper,
  • find inspiration in your surroundings,
  • write your flash,
  • take a photo of your piece of writing in its location,
  • and send the evidence to Flashpoints.

If ever I needed an excuse to get some more writing done, then I think I've found it. It's also an excellent reason to spend a little quality time at my local coffee shop. Now, where did I put that notepad?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tuesday Choice Words

Creative well running dry? Try a writing prompt from the Write It Sideways site is about what it's title suggests. Susan Bearman offers a miscellany of place online and off to find inspiration.

11 ideal times to write is from the Raven Blog which I only recently found.

Please enjoy the music while your party is reached from The Lit Coach suggests ideas for what to do why you wait for a response from an agent or publisher, especially over the summer.

Cut Out the Dreams from Writerly Life suggests that dreams are such personally experienced things, they shouldn't be included in stories. What do you think?

Audience, Access, Advertising is a very relevant article for writers from Chris Brogan.