Egotism

IWSG: Back to Blogging

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month. It’s not quite the first Wednesday, but it’s close enough.

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIt’s been a while since I last posted on this blog. Although I’ve had gaps in my blogging before, the 11 month gap between the last time I posted here and today is by far the biggest. I began the blog back in November 2011, with the intention being that it would be a place for me to write about writing, and to whet my readers’ appetite for the fiction I actually manage to get finished.
I seem to have a remarkable talent for losing faith in the projects I begin, and I tend to be indecisive about what to do with the rare short stories I actually finish, which pretty much cancels out any use this blog would have as an advertisement for my writing. I have, however, written various reviews, analyses and thoughts on various types of fiction, as well as links to my writing on other websites and publications. The things I’ve written aren’t totally without merit, and writing them has helped focus my mind when I’ve been lost in big, ambitious projects.

One of the main things distracting me this last year has been political activity, but with the election now over, this should take up a little less of my time. My political activity has included a little bit of writing – on a separate blog and on one other site.
I tend to think it’s fairly obnoxious to push your political opinions on an audience who haven’t signed up for that reason, so I’ll try and keep this blog politically neutral. My moral beliefs will probably bleed through and become slightly apparent in some of what I write, but I won’t make any overt arguments expressing my very strong and genuine belief in Northumbrian independence, or my support for the settlers betrayed by the Demilitarized Zone being handed to the Cardassians. Or any of the other things I absolutely, genuinely believe in.

Now that I’ve got a few of my distractions out of the way, I should be able to return to more regular blogging, and fiction writing, in the next few days. I’ve been looking over some old, half-finished or unsatisfactory stories, in order to collaborate with my past self. It’s actually quite exciting to look back on what I’ve written before, and see that it’s not entirely awful. So I’ll be working on something soon, plus a few half-formed ideas I’ve got locked away in my brain which should be worth writing.

Egotism, Politics, Storytelling Geekery

IWSG: Can Satire Go Too Far?

This is my entry for July’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group, a monthly ‘blog hop’ with the intent of giving each other feedback and encouragement. The full list of participants can be found at the Insecure Writers’ home site.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Yesterday I published a satirical blog post, titled A Modest Proposal for Dealing With the Muslim Problem and Relieving Tension Between the Races of the Earth. You may recognise the format (of the title and the prose) as being drawn from Jonathan Swift, but there’s still the risk of what I wrote being taken at face value.

Continue reading “IWSG: Can Satire Go Too Far?”

Egotism

I’m Back!

Remember me?

For a variety of reasons, I’ve put the blog on hold for a while, not managing to find the time to write anywhere online for the past four months, and only writing fiction irregularly. The reasons include university work, trying to organise a short film, and doing research and plotting for both a series of short stories and a screenplay. One of the initial themes I had planned for this blog was to write about my writing process, which I intend to do more from now on.

All writers are frustrated by their own incompetence.
All writers are frustrated by their own incompetence.

There’s also a bunch of things that I literally haven’t done for more than a year – looking at story structure of old films, in depth analyses of specific episodes of TV shows, so on, as well as reviews and the like. I’ve done more research than writing recently, and I’ve missed the satisfaction from getting things finished.

Continue reading “I’m Back!”

Egotism

I’ve Finished Writing a Short Story – Now What?

This is my entry for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group – a monthly opportunity for aspiring writers to have a whinge about the roadblocks we’ve came across while developing as a writer, and to offer each other support and advice. You can pay some of my fellow IWSGers a visit, and sign up yourself.

.InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Between December and February I wrote a short story, from beginning to end – a 7500 word Victorian era mystery. Roughly halfway through February I reached the point where I was happy with the finished version – the period details felt authentic to me, there’s a conflict between characters, and facts held back from the characters and the reader are slowly revealed as the mystery unravels.

Since then I’ve shared the ‘finished’ version with a few people, and received bits of feedback to refine it slightly, but I’m not sure whether to go one way or the other. The additions will mean expanding what I’ve written, but I was trying to stick to a word count for a magazine’s submission guidelines, and I’m already significantly over.

Generally I’m more inclined towards aiming for traditional publishing than self-publishing (either in hard copy or as an e-book), as I’d prefer the greater publicity of an established audience (in this case a magazine) and I’d prefer to have the publicity dealt with by someone who specialises in that area (for a novel). But on the other hand, there are practical considerations that mean I might not be able to publish my ideal version of the story… even if it’s accepted.

Part of the reason I’m wary is because of an experience with an earlier finished manuscript. In March of last year I completed a short supernatural story that I called The Eternal Hunt, which I sent to a few magazines for publication – they all either rejected me or didn’t reply. I’ve thought about self-publishing my latest story as an e-book, maybe through Smashwords or something similar.

For now, I’m working out a second story led by the same characters. Maybe I’ll be able to cannibalise some of the character elements for the second story, as a way of making the first story shorter without having to eliminate things from the larger world I hope to eventually create. And more importantly, I should strengthen my idea of what themost important parts are of the stories I’m trying to tell, which elements of the larger world and themes are most important, and whether there’s anything I can get rid of entirely.

I’m aware of the importance of compromise, and it may well be that the magazine make editorial changes that improve the story. But there’s also the possibility that the interests of the magazine in question and my story may come up against each other. An editor of a magazine that publishes short fiction will naturally want a story of X thousand words that enthrall and entertain their readers… but fitting into that limit will probably be more important to them than having the thematic depth and character insight that I want it to have.

Given that this is my IWSG entry, I’ll throw the comments section out for advice. Those of you who’ve self-published, would you go down the traditional route if you could? And have you faced the challenge of having to cut something you really like to fit a word count?

Egotism

Finding the Time

I’ve never been a prolific writer, either when writing fiction or non-fiction. But I’ve (relatively) recently completed a three thousand word short story from scratch over a few days. I also wrote seven articles for Squawka over the Christmas period, one of which I wrote late in an evening after losing a family board game. But that prolific spell isn’t normal for me – in fact, I wrote most of this blog entry five weeks ago, and only got round to finishing this week.

I find writing easier when I’m relaxed and happy… and possibly being a little drunk helps as well. Just the other day I read that a fellow blogger, Cate Morgan, does some of her daily writing preparation during her lunch hour. That’s certainly not something I could do, as I’ve always tended to be either slightly stressed or surprised that I’m not stressed during my work day, and I couldn’t squeeze my time in that manner. Continue reading “Finding the Time”

Egotism

Making a Film

I’ve mentioned in passing that I’m currently studying on a university course – I’m also involved with the university’s Film Production Society.
Members of the Society are mostly involved in the film-making and animation courses, and there’s a lot of talent in these areas, with animation being a university specialty. (The university will be hosting an annual animation festival this week, which is apparently very prestigious in the animation industry. Speakers include Gail Simone and Rhiannon Pratchett, who even I am vaguely aware of.)

While I’ve picked up a few things about cinematography and lighting during Society meetings, the main purpose of the Society is, unsurprisingly, to produce films. The second film of the academic year is currently in pre-production… based on a script I knocked together. Based on the skill I’ve seen others on the course display on previous projects and practice sessions, and the quality of the acting in auditions, the end product might actually end up being half decent in spite of my involvement.

Continue reading “Making a Film”

Egotism

How Can You Miss Me If I Don’t Go Away?

This is my entry for the monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group – a monthly opportunity for aspiring writers to have a whinge about the roadblocks we’ve came across while developing as a writer, and to offer each other support and advice. Click here for a full list of participants and to sign up. Unless you don’t want to, of course – no-one’s going to force you. Probably.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup Continue reading “How Can You Miss Me If I Don’t Go Away?”

Egotism, Recaps

IWSG: Writer’s Contract for 2014

Today, rather than last week, is the return of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, intended to help aspiring writers give each other support. After not taking part for a few months, I missed the fact that this month’s edition had been pushed back – I’m reblogging just to make it easier to find.

SciFiFootball

Welcome one and all to the blog, for my first post of 2014. With it being the first Wednesday of the month, this is also my entry for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

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Egotism

The Importance of Reflection

You wouldn’t be able to shave without it, for a start.

Okay, as the ‘theme’ of this blog is writing in general and the things I’ve written myself, it’s fairly obvious that this post isn’t going to be about literal mirrors.

I’m currently a few months into a university course, doing English Studies with Creative Writing. Two of the exercises I’ve been doing are to keep a ‘writer’s diary’ detailing how I’ve come up with ideas, and a piece of ‘reflective writing’ looking back at my process of writing a short story, the obstacles I’ve come up against and overcome.

Over the past five years I’ve been keeping a variety of notebooks – literal and electronic – about the half-formed ideas I’ve had over the years. But I’ve never really given that much thought to my ways of working. But recently I’ve given more thought to what works best for me – learning by trial and error, and from what other, more successful writers have said about their methods.

Continue reading “The Importance of Reflection”