Ebbs and flows in writing output

28 07 2014

You’ll have noticed the clever name of my blog site. “Writer’s Blog”. It’s a pun you see, a play on words. Writer’s Blog = Writer’s Block. (I know you know this but in case one or two people missed it thought I would spell it out – it’s not a great pun, not a classic)

It’s funny though. (not the pun, obviously!). It’s funny that since I started blogging last year I have mentioned writer’s block only once. In passing. In a blog about something else.

Why?

I do believe in it. Can’t deny it. Sometimes a story just doesn’t want to come, a character seems to suddenly not have the capability, the capacity, to escape from the situation they have got themselves into. How do they get out of the locked cellar, get away from the man with the big chopper and black balaclava? They don’t have the skills and suddenly giving them a Houdini backstory without at least a couple of signposts earlier on will stretch reader credibility. More importantly, it will stretch the picture you carry in your head of your hero/heroine.

They have to be real.

But that’s for another blog. For now I give you my solution to writer’s block. It’s not advice, self help, guidance counselling. It’s just what I do.

I open my mouth and speak aloud and tell, just TELL, my subconscious to get on with it and find a solution. I tell it three times. Think about it hard for a minute or two to reinforce the need.
Then
Forget
All
About
It

And so a write something else, read a paper, cut the grass. Anything!

If it is only a minor problem I might carry on with other aspects of the story but if it’s a biggie I’ll just let my mind get on with it and eventually I will stop chewing mid-muffin and know the solution.

I suppose this isn’t pure writer’s block when nothing will come out but that has only happened once and that REALLY is “a HH Coventry revelation” for another day.

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The short story – cut to the bone

13 07 2014

I love a good short story. I dabble with them but never overly seriously, never competitively. I see them as an excellent way to practise the art of writing small. If you want a novel to read well you should write it as a short story is, one with a word limit. Cut every extraneous word, slice them to the bone. Flowery prose is fine if intentional but lazy writing is just that.

sometimes you have to slice the fruit as well as the meat?!

sometimes you have to slice the fruit as well as the meat?!

My blogs are quite flowery. I don’t slice them as thinly as I do my fiction, don’t spend the hours honing. It’s nice occasionally just to write, cast a single eye over it for obvious errors, then release to the four winds. Typos happen, using which instead of that, practise instead of practice (US readers won’t understand this one), me and I and has and have etc etc etc

But the short story takes a bloody great chainsaw to that. This blog would probably be summed up as “His short stories are better” but that doesn’t give the meat, the fat, the gristle, the wart on the chin with hairs coming out.

I was never into short story competitions but see them cropping up more and more. Read about the HG Wells Festival in Folkestone the other day (https://twitter.com/HGWellsfestival) . Not my geographical patch but the name caught my eye as it would any writer. I don’t think I’ll enter but I have suggested to a few of my mentees they consider it. Interrupt their novel writing and have a crack at something different. “Perhaps write a story whilst populating the head of one of your characters”, I said.

What kind of short story would Robert Langham, Harry Potter or even Han Solo write? Symbols, wands and blasters.





When is a small car not a small car?

8 07 2014

I’m having a break from writing about writing. With a novel put to bed I am in short story mode for a while so my mind flits and floats like a dandelion seed.

I had a Mini once. A proper one. Old style. It said Leyland on the front and was bright yellow. Like the one in the picture I found on t’interweb attached. Loved it.

yellow mini

It was small, tiny, mini.

I saw a similar one in the street yesterday. Parked next to one of the new Mini Countryman. That isn’t mini, isn’t tiny. It’s f*ing huge.

big mini - little mini

I can see the lineage but really, I mean really? It just isn’t ‘mini’ at all. Nothing is mini.
Sure it’s a good car and all. Sure it is fun to drive and has all mod cons. But it isn’t a mini.
This isn’t a rant from a car purist. I’m not saying they should scrap the millions of perfectly good cars. I’m just pointing out the use of the word mini is a bit “trade description”!

As for the Fiat 500 L where L is for Long. Don’t make me go there.





Cleat Update

4 07 2014

They’ve arrived. Shoes and pedals on separate days but they have arrived. Tried the shoes on. Very tip tap tap. Feel like Bruce Forsyth on stage – but without the annoyingness.

Pedal spanner ready. I’m going for it.

I’m excited. You’re probably a bit bored and just looking forward to me falling slowly sideways whilst being watched by a pretty blonde in a convertible. It could happen. This is the place to be if you want to know where and when I fall – for fall I will!

Chocs away!