Welcome to my blog. The home page will always display the most recent blog post so please use the tabs to navigate your way around. Keep up to date by visiting the 'News' area. The 'Short Stories' area and the ‘Flash Fiction’ area contain everything produced thus far, and comments would be much appreciated! Be sure to check out the 'Three Words' area that will explain how you can get involved in influencing the written work to come, or for details on contributing your own artwork visit the 'Artists' area! You can read my 'Blog' (in the truer sense), additional content is also available via the 'Other' section and don't be afraid to leave a comment in the 'Guestbook'. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Blog - 15/10/13

Hey! I sent off my competition entry this month and have been battling a case of post project blues. Motivation has been tough to come by and it’s not just affected my writing. True it’s only a short story, but I’ve worked particularly hard on it and sending it away had left me in a bit of a funk. I’ve got plans to turn it into a larger story of course, but I didn’t want to dive in straight away, and I’ve got other projects snapping at my heels for attention. I eventually found solace by working through some of the new plots in my fantasy series and the focus has got me back into shape. If I’m getting this invested in a short story then imagine the blues lurking behind the completion of full novels? You might think me masochistic for looking forward to such an experience, but at least it’d mean I finally completed something of note! I should know the results of the competition by the next blog post, so at least the turnover won’t be crippling! 

I mentioned last month that the hardest part of the story was getting it to fall within the word limits. It wasn’t just a little bit over, like pinching a few words here and there to scrape the last hundred or so words - I’m talking three-thousand words for a two-thousand word limit, ouch. For the mathematicians out there, if you were to express that as a percentage it’d be ... a lot of percent! What it meant was structural changes and a choice between two different ways of telling the story. There are three-thousand word competitions out there. So the question is, should I have saved the story for one of those? 

 Umm, yes? The answer seems obvious, but all of writing is learning. Having to take a critical look at my story made me tap into a new skill set of judgement and storyboarding from a reader’s perspective rather than just writing it for myself. Some things that work well in your head don’t translate to other people because you’re too close and know all the residual information you haven’t actually put to paper. It’s one thing to let the reader do some of the work but another to expect them to understand it if they aren’t informed of the parameters, and writing to smaller word limits makes you decide how much is needed to get by without the luxury of dedicating entire sections of world building anytime something slightly ‘irregular’ is encountered. Again, this may seem obvious. But you can do most things in theory. It may be that the fuller version of the story would have stood better in competition, but without forcing myself to break my story apart to meet the lower word limit I would have missed on practising this particular discipline. Writing these short stories is like sparring for me, ultimately it’s the longer projects that will define my success, and I need to practise some moves before I can unleash them in the big fights! 

So I finished reading the ‘The Broken Empire’ series, which was, for me, El Fantastico to a point. Without giving too much away, my main gripe is that I think it’d work purely as a fantasy series, without all the tech that gets incorporated. I can appreciate the story would be different and it is after all up to the writer’s vision but I’m not a big lover of sci-fi, and the world he’s built and the characters created could easily have stuck to fantasy alone and left me much happier. That’s my problem with it though, we’re all different. I just think it’d be strong enough to stick to fantasy alone, but then the writer has a background in science so the deviation could probably be expected. And who am I to even call it a deviation? It’s his story, I’m the one choosing to read it. The writing style is gripping to me though, I like the fact that every other line has a sentiment to it. As a budding writer it’s very inspiring to cram so much of that in with finesse and I’m wondering now whether writing in first person might be a key facilitator to that. It’s not something I do a lot for longer stories, so maybe now is the time for some first person writing practice. I guess one of the biggest compliments I can pay Mark Lawrence is that I now think of some of my new prospective characters as ‘Jorg-like’. He certainly left an impression on me. 

With the end of that legacy starts a new one. I’ve been lent the entirety of the ‘Mistborn’ series by Brandon Sanderson, which I’ve heard continual good things about so it’s time to get stuck in. Mark Lawrence is working on another trilogy set in the same world as ‘The Broken Empire’ which he says is slightly more humorous than the previous. I had the same plan for my fantasy series if you remember, two stories set in the same world, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Regardless though I look forward to eventually returning to that broken world from a different view point. 

Also this month I finally got a copy of Dan Purdue’s anthology ‘Somewhere to Start From’. I said I would, but I never actually got round to it until now. It shames me to say that it probably was the 99p price tag, because when you’re as tight on funds as I am any non-essential expense seems unjustified. But hey-ho I’ve got my copy because for a short time only he’s made it available for free! I haven’t read a lot yet because I’m aiming for one story a day. It’s free until Halloween. 
You can take advantage of seasonal offer as well and get it here - tinyurl.com/eSoToStFr
Just use the promotional code : BB82C 

Over to Paul with the sport – ‘NA NA NA NA GIIIIIROUUUD!’ They say you should sing when you’re winning and now is a very good time to be a Gooner. Top of the league and going well in the Champions League! Long may it continue. I very much enjoyed the gymnastics world championships this year as well. Max Whitlock has a very bright future ahead of him. Until next time, buh-bye! 


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