Night Off

Despite my constant reminders that a writer should write everyday, tonight I’ve decided to give myself some time off. It’s the end of the week, I’m tired and the regulars in a chatroom I visit every Friday night have deserted me. I’ve also finished the rounds on the internet and my eyes are feeling heavy.

I think I’ll attempt to read for a short time, but failing that, I might do something I rarely do…become a couch potatoe. The only thing TV is good for, is letting your mind rest because there’s nothing but dribble on that screen.

I will return tomorrow. 🙂

Looking After Yourself

Let’s face it, writers abuse themselves. They sit in front of a computer for countless hours. They sit up half the night then can’t sleep because the scenes continue playing in their head. When they fall asleep, they don’t stay asleep for the number of hours that is healthy – instead they wake up in the middle of the night and have to write that one scene they’ve been having trouble with for days. And…they forget there’s a thing called “outdoors”.

Do you have dark rings under your eyes? Can you remember what it feels like to have the sun on your face?

Writers can’t help themselves, they want to write, they have to write but this weekend do yourself a favour…go outside and experience life for a change. Get into the habit of going to bed at a reasonable time so that you get plenty of sleep. Eat regular meals and exercise. Hmmm, considering my circumstances, that last one is a dodgy one. I’ll change that to exercise to your capabilities, don’t over do it. Actually, walking is a great way to get some exercise and some fresh air at the same time.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that the computer isn’t everything in your life…or it shouldn’t be. Develop good living habits and your mind will be better equipped to develop better writing habits.

Keep It Simple (Stupid)

Have you heard of the KISS technique? No, it doesn’t mean you go around giving everyone a big sloppy kiss in the hope of getting published. It means to keep your writing simple.

KISS = Keep it simple stupid

Some writers feel they have to use big, impressive words to be successful but, often, by doing this you are talking down to your audience. Or, you might be saying “look at how intelligent I am”.

People hate that. It’s a quick way of turning readers away.

Keeping your writing simple means that you use the right words, and the least amount of words, to get the message across. This doesn’t mean you have to stop using big words altogether. Readers like to learn new words, sure, and if you use them sparingly there will not be a problem…but if they need a dictionary to decipher a word from every page of your book then you are doing the wrong thing. You are slowing down the pace and confusing your audience. You are stopping the reader from enjoying your story and you are stopping yourself from becoming successful.

So, keep it simple…er, well you know the drill. 😉

Punching it out

Last night I reported having difficulties with a fight scene. I persevered and managed to get the scene started. Hopefully, this evening I’ll be able to pick up where I left off and continue on to the end.

The problem with these scenes (for me) is that so many things are happening at once, and I find it difficult to ensure the reader knows what everyone is up to. Maybe that’s my problem, maybe I shouldn’t be trying to do this but then the scene would feel strange.

Anyway, the scene is started and that’s a huge relief.

Play it again, Sam

Chapter 6 is moving very slowly. There is a scene where the antagonist attacks my protagonist group. However, I can’t seem to visualise the scene. For those of you who know me well, you’ll shake your head and think “after all this time, she still locks up with fight scenes”, and you’ll be right.

I read other people’s fights and they are so realistic, but when I read my own they seems so lame. 🙁

In my mind, the antagonist enters the scene and then the picture fast forwards to the bit where my protagonists leave the scene. The bit in the middle is a giant blur. Grrr.

Fight scenes, how I hate them.

Fan Fiction: Is it a good thing?

Some published authors detest fan fiction, while others don’t mind it one bit.

There are good and bad points to consider when thinking about this issue.

Firstly, I think it’s a huge compliment that the reader feels so highly of your world, and characters, that they want to return there again and again by writing about it. From a writing point of view, it’s also an excellent way for new writers to experiment and learn the craft. Their passion for the existing worlds will carry them through until they reach the stage where they want to create their own world and characters. This is definitely a good thing.

On the other hand, some fanfic is so terribly written that it must make the published author cringe to read it. I’d imagine the hardest thing to endure would be to read a piece that turns the character into someone they are not…and this would be where the anger comes in. This…is a bad thing.

To me, fanfic is all right if it’s kept private but plastering this stuff all over the internet is wrong. It’s so close to plagarism it’s not funny and I can understand why the real author gets upset about it. If, and the thought makes me mad, people attempt to make money from fan fiction then that is stepping way over the line. Those people deserve to be drawn and quartered…hmmm, all right I’ll change that to court action, huge fines, and to be permanently blacklisted from the publishing industry. If you haven’t noticed, I feel strongly about that.

Yes, there are some brilliant writers of fan fiction. Thing is, they are wasting their time – why don’t they write their own stuff and possibly get it published? I’ve never understood that side of it.

This is an issue I suppose we won’t know how we really feel until we experience it ourselves.

Writers as Readers

Once a writer becomes serious about their craft, reading no longer has the power to entertain them because a writer develops an editing mind and that mind has its own “little red pen”. Gone are the hours lost in other worlds, and other people’s lives. What once was fun and relaxing, suddenly becomes just another story to critique.

When a writer reads a novel (a published novel), their editing mind finds mistakes and offers suggestions on how to fix those mistakes. It tells them what’s wrong with the main character, find plot holes and picks on sentence structure. It’s so annoying because a writer wants to be a reader…a normal reader. They don’t want to be “on the job” twenty-four hours a day. They have a right to relax just like everyone else.

So how does a writer get rid of that “little red pen”?

Don’t look at me for the answers. I can’t help you with this one. I have my own pen that needs to be capped. If you discover a way to deal with this, let me know.

Ebooks, POD and Vanity Printing

To put it simply…for me, to be e-published or to have a book self-published is the same as not being published at all. Why? Because anyone can produce an e-book, anyone can go down the POD or vanity press road. Anyone!

I’m not saying that producing these types of books is a bad thing. Some people have gone down this road and have been successful. That’s great and good luck to them, but please remember that a large portion of self-publishered writers are not successful. Some people have manuscripts that only fit the guidelines of a very small percentage of publishers and they have no other choice open to them. And other people have collections of short stories or poetry that are also hard to get published the conventional way. My words are not aimed at these people, and I wish you all the luck in the world.

My statement is aimed at full length novels. Anyone can pay to have a book published, which means that there are many self published books out there that are sub-standard. It’s because of this that self-publishing has a bad name and the authors of these books are not taken seriously.

Many will argue that there is a lot of trash in tradional books too, and this is true. However, as a writer, we all have to make our own decision on what publication means to us. For me, being published the traditional way is the only way I’m prepared to go. It’s the only way that I’ll think of myself as an author.

Writer’s self-publish, authors publish.