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On Writing – Pt 2


I have finished reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But it was different to what I expected.

The book is part autobiographical and part instructional, with a number of anecdotes and chapters covering some key moments in King’s life that helped form his writing and the difficulties and set backs (and successes) he had in his early writing career.

Some of the best bits i found where King’s descriptions on the anxieties he felt as a young writer trying to get his work published and start on the road to where he is now. The way he coped with rejection, using it to enforce his writing rather than hamper it, and his work ethic on how to become a writer all struck cords with me and i’m sure many other readers as well.

Overall the book is a great read, the insight into King’s early life and the latter half of the book that gave some useful tips on tightenening up your writing, making it more succint and have a greater impact was very useful too. Although it’s a bit scary when reading Kings insistance that you writers generally fall into 3 main categories bad, good and great; and ascending out of either of the bottom two is nearly impossible. Still not sure whether i wholly agree with that, but can’t think of a counter argument against it. 

You don’t begrudge him his success or feel sorry for any of the harships he felt either (maybe a little when hit by a truck!), as they are all used to show how he was shaped as a writer and bacame what he was today (or was when he wrote it over a decade ago). And by the end of the book you feel like you’ve learnt something (i did anyway) and you could do worse than only coming away with King’s mantra that to become a good writer you need to read a lot and write a lot. Although i’m yet to hit his 2000 words a day target it has inspired me to concentrate my efforts more and show that despite other things in life writing can still take place and, if you’re lucky and work hard, something you’re successful at.

 
 

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On Writing


I’ve started reading Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’, I have seen many recommendations in different areas of the writing community for this book.; some have suggested it is a must read for any writer. So, here is to improving my writing and trying to learn something new!

On Writing – Comes highly recommended in the writing community

 

I’ll probably do a write-up on the book once finished. But its already proving a great insight into the early formation of one of the best known authors of current literature; the work involved in writing and the processes undertaken. Looking forward to finishing it!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Book Review, Review, Useful, Writing

 

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A nice feeling


It’s always a nice feeling to submit a peice of work. Just submitted a short story for consideration; at this stage i don’t care whether it’s accepted or not, just that I’ve finished it and set it free!

The bad part though is the wait, around 30 days is the recommended turnaround for a response….the question is should I look at the story again in the meantime….then i’ll start wanting to tweak it and add to it!

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Flash Fiction, Short Story, Writing

 

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Writing Horror – Short story


Going to include an extract of a Short story  / work in progress, something to mull over. Let me know what you think!

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Davey watched as the bulbous spider fell to the ground with a soft thump. Its long clawing legs pulled at the earth as it crawled slowly towards the motionless body of Simeon lying on its back. The creature’s swollen abdomen was pulsating grotesquely as its fangs worked in a biting motion, eager to get at the fleshy being it was approaching.

As it neared the body on the floor, its size could be truly appreciated; its raking, twitching legs were as long as the mans forearm while its bloated body appeared only a little smaller than his head. In truth the creature was more a cross between a spider and Tick, some monstrosity that shared traits with both species. It spun webs and caught its prey, would eat dead or rotting meat, but it also latched onto creatures and sucked the very blood from them while they lived.

The first two legs of the spider groped at Simeon’s face, flicking at his skin and feeling for purchase. It tentatively prodded at the body looking for signs of life before it finally decided to move. The front legs slid across the pallid skin before, at full stretch, the small hooks on the end gripped into the flesh. The other legs followed, meticulously reaching across the neck and face of Simeon and hoisting its grotesquely fat body onto his.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in Book, Flash Fiction, Short Story, Writing

 

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Size is everything


I have often searched bits and bobs about the length of writing and what constitutes what in the writing world. It’s not often a hard and fast rule that applies (we are talking about writing here!) but i like to have an idea of what i’m doing and understand what the structure of my writing should be.

As a result i’ve done a little research (not too much because i’m quite lazy) and put together a list of some terms what they entail in relation to writing. To start here is a list of the common forms of prose that you can find about the place – by place I mean in books, magazines and the internet…pretty much anywhere you can have text (tattoos?).

Micro Fiction – 0-100 words

Micro fiction is the Haiku of prose. The challange of writing with such limited word count is quite considerable as the end result should still be recognisable as a story. This type of fiction is often popular with writers as a good excercise for honing skills and publishers as well beause it is short and cheap!

Flash Fiction – 100 – 500 or 100-1,000 words

The older sister of the Micro fiction, Flash fiction give you just that bit more to play with, whilst also providing the challenge of writing a story to a very short length and trying to constrain your writing talents into less than 1000 words! Flash fiction seems to vary in length depending on where you look, hence the different lengths above. Flash fiction again is increasingly popular on websites and blogs, and magazine publications as it is short and concise and engages readers who don’t tend to hang around for long.

Short story – 1,000-7,500 words

The big brother of the two above; the short story is a well know and well versed example of prose nowadays. The word length is generous and it is surprising the amount you can fit into a short story, especially if you have spent some time writing in the two shorter forms and tightened your writing skills. Short stories are one of the most accessible of the writing forms, these are often bought by magazines and websites and is a common form for writing competitions. A word of note that writing competitions and websites tend to edge towards a word length of 1,000-35,00 words rather than the top end of the 7,500 word limit.

Novellette / Novella – 7,500-50,000

This is traditionally the least sought after of the different lengths of writing. The reason mainly revolves around the fact it hovers in a kind of no-mans land between the well known short forms of writing and the most recognisable Novel form. The Length is also difficult to publish effectively as it’s normally too long for use in a magazine or website but not long enough for the traditional paper publication. Saying that however, electronic texts and e-mags and publishers do pick these up as it becomes easier to publicise and share such works with the masses.

Novel – 50,000 – 120,000

The most recognisable and palpable of the fiction writing forms. The Novel is a much larger length of writing and is traditionally produced in published, paper form. Although nowadays the electronic form of book for e-readers can bypass this. 50,000 words would be fairly short for a novel but no unheard of, whereas 120,000 words is edging on the large size for most books (around 500-600 pages), books this size are normally reserved for the already published and recognisable authors.

A quick search also reveals the page numbers for a paperback. Words per page (wpp) equate to roughly 250-300 for a paperback, going off this assumption (we will use 300 wpp) and using the wordcount above for the Novel your finished peice could range from around 170 pages up towards 400 pages. Though you do have to ask yourself, when is the last time you bought a novel that only had 170 pages?

 

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New Tech for writing


I recently purchased a wireless keyboard for my iPad. So this is a review of that, sort of.

What this is meant to do is open up a new range of flexibility with my writing. Along with the multiple ways available for linking documents and text across multiple devices it is becoming increasingly easy to have the ability to work on the same text whether you have your laptop, iPad or phone on you (or pen and paper).

I have written on my phone and tablet before, sometimes for long periods, but it has always felt somewhat laborious and stuttering and i had often become frustrated with the touch keyboards that, although good, were not a replacement for a palpable keyboard. So, then came the purchase of the wireless keyboard (which i’m typing on now as easily as any keyboard i would normally use) as an addition to the iPad. It works! Just typing something like a blog post over 10 minutes is much easier and feels much more comfortable, so i would certainly recommend if you can spare the money.

one strange thing is is using a keyboard and touchscreen without a mouse. Still getting used to correcting mistakes and other little things by touching the screen. When using the keyboard my hand seems to automatically want to reach out for that little plastic computer wand. But that’s just a minor thing and will abate with time i’m sure.

The overall goal of this purchase is to link my documents across more than one device and improve productivity, so I’m hoping that will work. And with those best intentions i’ll sign off.

P.s It’s probably worth it for the the clickety clack of typing and the feel of the keyboard on your fingers alone.

 
 

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The Wheel of Time

The Wheel of Time

Over 4 million words, 11,500 pages, close to 700 chapters, 15 books and it is now over. I have finally finished reading The Wheel of Time epic fantasy fiction series! Now, it was a long slog but it was worth it in the end. Written by Robert Jordan (James Oliver Rigney, Jr) who sadly died before completing his masterpiece; it was finished by Brandon Sanderson, the books cover a vast scope in terms of landscape, character, plot, sub-plots, fantasy folklore and work creation on an epic scale. The books are famed for their large descriptive nature and great execution and it is no surprise that they have gripped readers for decades.

But this vastness of literature is something that, although appealing to some, could put more than a few off. It certainly could be daunting to see the number of books but I would urge readers take a delve Into the world of the Wheel of time. It is easily one of the best fantasy worlds created and harbours a huge amount of unique history, magic lore and culture. I won’t go into any real detail regarding plot as it is quite vast, yet it essentially revolves around the well used ‘hero plucked from obscurity and into a world saving role’ used frequently in the genre. Obviously though the multitude of characters and sub plots that permeate throughout the series is great and the world is richly built in a believable and understandable way, comparable to the detail and structured realism often attributed to Tolkien and Middle earth.

Put simply the series is long, yet because of the quality of writing and plot there is no denying that this shouldn’t be a detractor but instead a positive. In this epic series there is little not accounted for and yet even after so many books there is much more the reader wants, a perfect combination for a writer to achieve. So get reading and have some fun!

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Posted by on March 18, 2013 in Book, Book Review, Review

 

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