Quote: Approach

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair – the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000
US horror novelist & screenwriter (1947 – )

Good Reads

Following Benjamin Solah’s example, I’ve spent some time this evening updating my Goodreads account to reflect some of the books I’ve read in the last couple of years. I will continue to add books as time permits, but for now I have laid the foundations for my reading future. 😀

As you may know, with the upcoming move comes the opportunity to do some serious reading this year. To be totally honest, I am extremely happy about this and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into my first book – Seaborn by Chris Howard. After that, I have boxes full of books to get through so I will be spoiled for choice…to say the least.

As you may have noticed, I’ve updated the right hand sidebar. The book I’m currently reading (or planning to read) will be shown in the same fashion as always. However, I’ve added a Goodreads widget that automatically updates as I change the status of books from “currently reading” to “read”. If you hover over a book cover you’ll see some extra details about the book, including my rating. Cool, isn’t it?!

Edit: Above, I said that the format for the book I’m currently reading will remain unchanged, but I’ve changed my mind. If I’m going to use Goodreads to showcase my bookcase I may as well do it properly. In the long term it will save me time, so I have added a second widget for “currently reading”. I’ve manipulated the code to the best of my ability, but unfortunately I’m unable to get rid of the white space between the cover and the text without the entire box shrinking. Never mind.

Author Interview: Me!

No, this isn’t the first day of the month and it’s not the usual author interview that you would see on this website. Today, I’m announcing that I’ve been on the receiving end and have given an author interview. The results can be found over at Allie Boniface’s Website.

Be sure to check out the contest details because there are freebies being given away, including a copy of Speculative Realms: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. So, if you want a chance to win, make sure you leave a comment over at Allie’s website (although I really won’t mind if you leave a comment here too!) 😉

Quote: Persist

You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you’re working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success – but only if you persist.

Isaac Asimov
US science fiction novelist & scholar (1920 – 1992)

Storyline B Complete

Just a quick post today.

It’s been a few weeks since I started edited one character’s storyline (let’s call it Storyline B). In my mind, I envisioned the job as being huge and was certain that I would hit a brick wall…and stall! However, like all things that seem too hard, it wasn’t. In fact, the edit went quite smoothly and is now completed.

The Storyline B edit provided a new profile for a secondary character, removal of one thread in the storyline and an overall stronger storyline for this particular character. Having said that, I need to see how it fits with the rest of the storylines, but I’m confident I’m on the right path now.

With this done, I only have the main character to tackle (Storyline A). This, of course, is the majority of the story so it will be a big job, but after working on the secondary characters for a few months, I feel I have a much better “handle” on the entire story. To be honest, I’m looking forward to starting the Storyline A edit. But I’m looking forward to merging all the storylines once again, when I’m finished.

Writing on the Move

With the upcoming move, I’ll also be changing a lot of my current habits. In my experience, every time I’ve moved, my routine has gone out the window and I start again. I see this as a good thing, because we often get stuck in a rut and complain about “the same old same old”, but we never do anything about it. We always intend to, but it doesn’t happen. Moving makes you change it.

Anyway, packaged in this move is a good deal of commuting to work. When I tell people the details, their eyes go large and their mouths drop open, because they are gob smacked. OK, are you sitting down? I’ll be travelling two hours (each way) to work each day. “Are you kidding?” is a question I’ve been asked a fair bit in the last six to eight weeks. I just smile and say, “I never kid.” 😉

Yes, that’s a lot of travelling and anyone in their right mind would avoid it. Obviously I’m not in my right mind because I’m willing to do this. But the way I see it is that I’ll be sitting on a train and if I use the time effectively, this could be a very good thing! I could do exactly what I do at home, but on the train instead. In fact, I might (and should) even do more on the train as it’s uninterrupted time with no distractions. Being a writer, I am looking for ways to make some of this time my writing time – maybe the morning trip when my fellow commuters are quiet and sleepy and I’ll catch up on some reading time on what I think will be the noisier trip going home. Reading and writing have always been two of my loves, yet over recent years I have found that both have slipped further and further away from me. The commuting will bring them back to me and, believe it or not, the prospect is exciting!

The reading part of this scenario is easy. I take a book on the train and read it. No surprises there. However, I’ve been thinking about how I can make the most of my new “writing time”. Years ago, I would have bought myself a notepad or exercise book and written longhand. These days, I hate doing that. It’s fine for planning, but not effective (for me) for writing. So I started looking at mini notebooks (the laptop kind). Not only would I have all my files with me, I could happily type away to my heart’s content. Perfect!

Once I got the notion that this would be the way to go, I started checking them out. They are small, light and would provide exactly what I need. But…to buy one would set me back around $600. I could get an Asus EeePC for $327, which has Linux instead of Windows (I don’t have a problem with this), but the keys are quite small and I believe it would hinder my typing to the degree of being frustrating. Acer, HP, Dell and Toshiba have their own versions out, with larger keyboards. However, the problem is that I already have a normal sized laptop which works perfectly well (and is not even a year old yet) and I can’t justify spending $600 on a mini laptop. Admittedly, my current laptop is large and quite heavy compared to the smaller versions and wouldn’t really be suitable for lugging to work and back each day, but does that give me an open license to purchase another laptop?

Why not buy second hand, at a fraction of the cost? Sometimes I amaze myself at how brilliant I am. So I went to ebay (and a couple of other online auction places) to check out what bargains were available. In my mind, I’d be spoilt for choice, but in reality I discovered that purchasers on these sites obviously haven’t done their homework and they were buying used good for almost the same price as a brand new one. In many cases, purchasers of the Asus EeePC were paying more than shop prices! What’s wrong with these people?

Now I’m not sure what to do. I can see this travelling time being a perfect time to write, but I’m loathe to spend the money to set myself up because I don’t know how long I’ll be commuting. If I don’t buy the mini notebook, I know the new habits I form after I move will be detrimental to my writing, but if I do buy it I might only get a few months use out of it. Then again, I might love the routine and not want the commuting to stop.

I guess if I buy it and then stop the commuting in coming months, then I could put it up on ebay and hope some fool gives me my money back…or more!

New Beginnings

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much lately. There is a reason for that and I’ll tell you what it is later in the post.

Firstly, here’s a quick update on my writing. I have been rewriting that character’s storyline that I’m mentioned continually for the better part of this year. The rewrite is going quite well and I’m pleased that I persevered and made the changes. It has made a huge difference to the overall storyline and brings everything back inline with what I originally planned. I’m roughly half way through, yet I will have to work my way through the other character’s storylines again and fix up the way they perceive this “new” character. I don’t see that as being a problem.

Secondly, an update on my reading…or lack of. Seaborn by Chris Howard has been in the sidebar for some time now. Actually, I think I placed it there before Christmas or maybe it was just after, I can’t remember. I read the first two chapters or so and then put the book aside because of “the reason I haven’t been posting”. I envision I’ll start reading again as from 20 April. Yes, I can be that specific!

Now, the reason I haven’t been posting is because I’m moving. This move is not just around the corner, so it’s no small thing. And…now that the children have left home, we have so much unneeded furniture that we had to get rid of. Not to mention the mountains of books! Most of the books ended up being donated to charity, but I gave a lot away too. Yes, I know I could have listed them on ebay or taken them to a second hand bookshop, but my experience with ebay is that I pay more in fees than what I make from selling them, so what’s the point, and we don’t have a second hand bookshop in my area anymore. Besides, I really couldn’t be bothered with taking photos and uploading them and then, if I were lucky enough to sell the books, cart them to the post office. Dropping them off at the charity store was far easier.

Then there is the packing. Honestly, I feel exhausted and I’m surprised I’m even doing the rewrite. Anyway, we move on 4 April and I return to work on 20 April, which is why I know the exact date I’ll return to reading. I’ll be commuting, so I’ll have lots of time to read Seaborn and then all the books I didn’t get rid of – only four huge boxes full!