Archive for June, 2015

This weeks blog does not have any deep meaning or any analogy or metaphor for why the writing is not working.  No, this week I am continuing on the positive note from last week.  I spoke of the resurrection of a novel that I shelved a year ago and since then I have written an additional 5500 words towards it.  I am very happy with this and I am very happy with how its coming together.

I thought a lot with what went wrong with writing it before.  I was going great guns, lots of ideas, lots of twists and lots to add.  Unfortunately all the things I was researching were detracting from the story and I got myself bogged down in details. I am focusing solely on writing the story I want to tell.  I am developing the characters.  I have learned that by adding events, that although effect the storyline, but are not necessarily needed to be described in prose, is just extraneous, time-consuming and actually breaks the story up.  So instead of describing how an oil tanker is assaulted and researching the Suez canal and tanker security processes, (My thanks to the merchant seamen who provided a vast array of info), I have decided that it is enough just to put in a line or two explaining that the event happened.  It does not break the story up, it does not detract or distract the reader from the flow and pace of the piece. 

I am learning so much.  every day I discover new ways to write, new styles and perspectives.  I think, and it is in my own mind, I am finally back on track.  To write 5000+ words in a week is amazing and I am taking a short break just to write this entry and will get back to the WiP. 

But, I have not just been focused on the novel.  Oh no!  when I say I have been productive I really have.  I have written 2 short stories for competitions.  Stretching my style and also my genre.  The first was a story of lost love and the second a children’s story.  I have never been a mushy type of guy, sentimental, yes, mushy no.  so a love story was a bit of a divergence. I really enjoyed writing it and hopefully it will do well.

And yes i did say i wrote a childrens story.  I exploded the word count of 1500-1750 words and ended up with a piece that was 2250 words long.  I had, somehow, to cut 500 words.  I am actually gals i did because it forced me to edit the shit out of it.  As a result i think i have a much better piece of work that has a much higher tempo and flows better, without some of the extraneous wordiness. 

I vowed, when i started writing in earnest agin, to write a competition entry a week and so far, over the past 6 weeks, i have done so.  Even if some of those were just flash fiction, i have met my targets.  As a writer it is important to have targets.  It keeps you focused, it keeps you determined.  Deadlines are a writers friend.  There are necessary.  My advice of the day is to set targets but importantly meet them.

With that in mind i still have a daily target to meet so off i go. 

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I have many irons in many fires, aside from short stories, learning how to write screenplays, I have decided to resurrect a work I had hitherto left dormant for 12 months.  In 2013 I entered the first 10,000 words of a novel I named Salvation into the Richard and Judy ‘Search for a Bestseller’.  I did not get very far in the competition and then I learned of the premise for Christopher Nolan’s most recent offering, Interstellar.  the plot to the movie struck many chords and I felt the stories were too similar for me to continue. 

I am a huge Nolan fan, and I enjoy his films and am influenced by his style of storytelling.  However, when I eventually watched Interstellar on DVD, as I don’t get to the cinema anymore, the hazards of having children, I realised that it was a very different story that has a premise that is slightly similar.  My heart was overjoyed, it meant that I could continue with my tale and develop the characters that I poured so much time and effort into.   My only issue then was confidence.  I lacked it, and I felt that the work maybe did not live up to how I felt about it a year ago. 

I re-read the work and was delighted to see that although there was flaws within it a lot of it was good, some of it very good.  I determined that it was time I dusted it off, re worked the parts that failed and finish it off.  Tell the story as I want it to be told.  So I am.  I am feeling positive about the work again and enjoying getting to know the characters once again.  If I am to be asked any advice about working on a novel by a new writer it would be tis, write it, edit it, then forget about it and look again after a while, you will view it very differently. 

So I have a new plan, and this is what it is.  Over the next 2 months I will work to complete Salvation, I made a good start this evening adding 1500 words, if I can maintain that sort of pace I should have a workable manuscript by the end of August.  I am having a holiday in the last week of August and attending a wedding of two fantastic people and can’t wait for my first proper holiday with my children.  During that week away I will not write, I will not read about writing, I will take a break.  When I return I will begin the edit.  I will look objectively and subjectively at what works and what doesn’t, I will do the rewrites and cutting of extraneous sections.  and by Christmas I will have a completed manuscript to give to friends and family for their reading and suggestions. 

Then by January 2016 I will begin the submission process and send the work out to agents.  In the meantime I will also work on my screenplay and I intend to also have one completed by Christmas. 

Over the past 12 months I have thought a lot about writing, and have come to the conclusion that I must be patient, I must work hard, by the time I have submitted and been rejected by the agents I will be underway on more works, I have so many ideas and work has already commenced on those.  But I am trying not to get too distracted and overloaded, I am going to finish the two projects in hand.  That is my aim for the second half of 2015 and 2016 will be the year I get signed and get published!

for those that have been following my posts of late, you will know I am about to enter a new stage of writing development.  I am going to undertake the task of writing a screenplay.  It is a daunting task, that much is certain.   For if there was rejection in writing before that will now be massively shadowed by the rejections I am sure to come in the future.  But, I have an idea, and it is strong, very strong.  It is an idea I had some time ago and could never quite get it to work as a piece of prose.  It was never the right medium for the piece.  I feel, that, a screenplay would work for the tale.  

My issue is that it is dark, the subject is terrifying and I am reflecting in what it says about me.  The subject matter would be right at home coming from Clive Barker, for those that know his work will understand that the subject matter is grim.  Mr Barker has written some truly horrendous work, his most famous creation, the Cenobite Pinhead, is regarded as one of horrors great icons.  My story is not as gore soaked as Hellraiser but does touch on some of the same themes.  Pinhead, as a character, is not what is horrorfying in Hellraiser and the cruel and unusual punishments he doles out are not what is horrific.  No, it is the souls that’s seek such terror, it is the characters that seek the hellish pleasures and how there warped murderous minds are truly the subject of such terror.  It is themes such as this that make truly great horror fiction. 

There was a spell, and it is still prevalent, within Hollywood that a horror film should be blood drenched gore.  This is it what true horror is about, it detracts from what is frightening.  I wish to address this, return to the glory days of cinematic terror.  Horror’s greatest characters are not generally supernatural, it is the soul of mankind that provides a suspense and fright that can be used to create a chill in the spine.

I have been a horror officianado for some time, I used to get her with friends on asaturday night, as a teenager, and watch any and all films that are designed to send shivers down the spine.  I read a great deal of fiction based in that’s genre.  I have encyclopaedic knowledge of the fiction of the paranormal, supernatural (yes there is a difference) and the ethereal. But, I have nevertheless come across anything quite like what is currently roaming the recesses of my mind.

I entitled this blog into the darkness, and that’s what I mean, for I am opening my mind to the dark places no one wants to think about, opening my mind to such terror that it sends shivers down my spine.  I have not been frightened by a film since I was 16, and what I have concocted is darkness imagined.  What does that say about me, am I a bad person? Does the darkness exist within me?  Just because I imagine bad things am I a bad person?  Within us all are bad thoughts, we are conditioned by our youth to destinguish between what is right and what is evil, and it is my belief it is when the lines between the two are blurred that we find the horror.  That is the basis for my screenplay, the characters I have in mind are engaging a definite yin/yang, two sides of the same coin.   The basic premise is this, what if two characters who share a common upbringing, a similar and shared sense of ideals follow different paths, the divergence of right and wrong.  It has the theme that we are all led to believe that evil is fundamental and is imbedded within us, no matter what we do we cannot escape the fact some are born good, some are born evil.  

Anyway, I waffle on.  I have so much to say on this subject that I should just get it down on paper.  Hopefully the theme will appear in my story, that what my thoughts are will reveal themselves into a tale of terror.

I have been pensive of late.  I have come to the conclusion that I am both blessed and cursed at the same time.  The source of such mixed emotion is creativity, imagination and a flair for stories.   I feel a burden upon my soul, so much so that it crushes me daily.  My head is full with rampant visions of tales of such majesty and originality and I fear now that my skill is not much up to the task of it.  Everyday a new tale papers within my head, everyday I drift off to new lands, new planets, new horizons.  Stories of such grandeur, stories of magic, stories of myth and majesty.  Stories that can chill the soul, or break the heart.  

Yes, for I am cursed with creativity, I see it is a blessing, for I would not be without it.  But, I am cursed that although the gift has been bestowed upon me I seem unable to produce work of sufficient quality to warrant recognition.  I do not seek fortune, I do not seek to be famous with my bank account showing zero’s as far as the paper will allow.  No, indeed not, what I seek is the opportunity to live in my worlds.  To have a living wage equitable to what I currently receive would suffice.  Time is of the essence.  I need time to sit and conjure the worlds that inhabit my mind, to explore and share what I see.  

Creativity is a curse I bear, one that I wish to share with you all.  If only you could see what I see, if only you could meet my friends, if only you could glimpse such wonders.  It is my everlasting hope that one day my hands, my voice will be up to the task of showing you.  I will work hard to show you such wonders.  Time, it comes down to time, but in order to have time I need money.  I must care for my wonderful family, I must provide for them so they want for nothing.  Mouths must be feed so I engage in the everyday task of employment.  To be paid for creativity is a dream, one I fear I will also strive for but never quite reach.  The skills are mine to gain, to acquire, to develop.

I failed in all competitions entered thus far, and I am grateful for the opportunities.  I received such wonderful and helpful feedback and I know more of what I must do of how I can develop further the tools of my trade.  It is not about the equipment I use, although it helps, it is about words.  Crafting them to form the shapes within my visions.  I have been described as a sociopath, but aren’t all creators, aren’t all visionaries detached from reality and form their own worlds.  Sometimes those worlds take on physical manifestations and that battle between reality and fantasy takes a very real world turn.  I have battles against demons all my life. I escape into fantasy to deny the existence of real world problems.  Although I have not needed to do this for some time my past encroaches and the guilt of what has gone before, the lies I told, the actions I took, take on and cause me grief.  

I have changed, channelled into fiction what my mind tells me to say and do.  Fiction has been an outlet for the grim reality of life.  I have such a wonderful life now in all areas except one.   My curse, my blessing, my creativity needs to be realised.  I am both happy and sad.  My success in life is shadowed by the failure of my fantasies and I am redoubling my efforts to change that.  Oh, I do not expect overnight success, I wish it so, but I do not expect it.  I will find my way, I will find the manner of outlet that best suits my visions.  I will find a way to express myself with such eloquence.   I am capable of such beautiful writing.  I will craft the words to my will and one day I will support my family, my way of life, while giving the world the kingdoms of my mind.

Thank you for listening.