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Posts Tagged ‘Creative writing’

You know when you’re proofing your MS…

March 5, 2011 1 comment

…and then you decide to change one tiny little detail?

…and then you realise that tiny little detail affects basically EVERY SINGLE THING that you have written after that tiny little detail (did I mention it was a TINY detail)?

…and then while you’re fixing everything that comes after said tiny little detail, you notice that there’s another tiny little detail that also needs changing, but the you need to go and re-fix everything that you’ve ALREADY FIXED?

…and then it occurs to you that you could have written an ENTIRELY NEW MS in less time then it’s sodding taking you to PROOF the old one?

…and then you have a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!

You know?

Well, I definitely know.

Just sayin.

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How to write with voice

December 12, 2010 6 comments

So we’re going to have a break from the usual gin-fueled rants on London’s public transport and actually talk about what this blog is supposed to be about: writing.

When you’re trying to write a novel, everyone tells you that the most important thing is to find your voice.  So.  What is this nebulous ‘voice’ of which I speak?  The thing is, it’s pretty hard to put your finger on.  It’s a sort of style, a distinctive voice and flow.  I like to think of it as your personality on paper.  It’s who you are, to people have never met you.  If you do it right, people will know who you are without having to read the by-line.

I struggle with this.  If you’ve been hanging around this blog long enough, you probably know that in my day job, I’m a copywriter.  And that means I’m not allowed to have a voice.  Or a style.  The mark of a good copywriter is the ability to write in lots of different styles.  So how am I meant to turn it off and on?

I’ve now decided that copywriting is great for helping develop voice (it does, also, have the happy side effect of ensuring I am able to pay rent and buy food).  It’s great because I’ve found that the best way to find your voice is to write lots of stuff in lots of different styles.  You’ll eventually find a style you are most comfortable with.  And then you’ll write like that for a while and it will start to morph and change a little bit.  And then it will be your own.  Hooray!  That’s your voice.

So.  It’s taken me over three paragraphs to tell you that the way to write with voice is…to write.  A lot.  Not exactly a revelation, but true all the same.  So happy writing.  In whatever voice is yours.

Ooh! ABWP is blushing a bright red!

June 24, 2010 8 comments

Well, gee.  And here I was all ready to write a snarky post about something or other.  And then I saw that I had been awarded this lovely little award by both Bethany (my first-ever commenter and blogger-friend) and Miss Rosemary!  Thank you, thank you to you both! Everyone should check out both their blogs.

Er, and so I am required to provide seven revelations (confessions) on the personage that is (behind)  ABWP.  Here goes…

1) I like to read silly, teen books like Twilight and Harry Potter but I only take serious Cormack McCarthy, Virginia Wolf, etc books on the tube.  Because people will see.  And I am too old to be seen reading Harry Potter.

2) I am terrified of rubber bands.

3) Orange is my favourite colour, and I have orange toenails throughout the summer months.

4) I am uncommonly short.  I try to hide this with the constant use of monster heels (which sometimes get stuck in the groves of the tube escalator) to no avail.

5) I drink pints far more often than gin.  (This is totally a financial decision.  I would drink Tanqueray and Tonic all the time if it was the same price as a pint.  Because gin is way more delicious.  But times are tough.)

6)  Sometimes I can’t sleep because I worry that this MS that I am writing will end up unpublished, unread, and unfulfilled just like my first MS that is now collecting dust in a corner.  And I wonder what my life will have meant, if I cannot do just this, this one little thing that I have always wanted and that I somehow use to measure my self worth.  This is when the gin helps.

7) The human behind ABWP is fairly quiet, proper, and actually kind of a nice person (hard to believe, I know) who cares about soft, mushy things like other people’s feelings (she is only kinda snarky to very special people who know her well).  This is kind of a secret.  Don’t tell anyone.

And now I get to pass it along!  Hooray!  I’m totally mentioning people who’ve gotten it already because I like them.  So there.

1) Lynsey May – She’s got a great perspective on writing, and also has a copy day job so can relate to a lot of my copywriting rants (always appreciated).

2) MilkFever – Lisa is great for encouragement.

3) Write for your life – good info on general writing and the techie stuff like podcasts

4)  Write-or-die – straight talking,.no-nonsense account on writing books

5)  Rachelle Gardner – for a literary agent, there’s a lot of great variety on her blog (hence the mention)

6) Lua – my 2nd ever commenter, and another faithful blogger-friend who consistently posts great content and is lightning quick responding to comments.

7) I’m using this as a combined re-thanks to Bethany, my first-ever commenter (yup, we hit it right off) and Miss Rosemary for the award (I know you’ve already got one, but you totally deserve it).

Writing in the 3rd Person

A Blank White Page has been toying with the idea of writing in the third person.  Her reasons for this are as follows:

1 – ABWP sometimes feels that the author of this blog is actually a separate person from her daytime alter-ego, so writing in the 3rd person seems natural.

2 – ABWP is currently writing a MS in the 1st person, so she’d like to keep her 3rd person writing skills fresh.

3 – Variety is the spice of life (yes, ABWP occasionally has VODKA with her tonic.  Sometimes she even has a pint!  She is a wild, adventurous soul!)

ABWP is interested in the effect this has on writing.  Her first MS was written in the 3rd person, but she has chosen 1st person for her current WIP.  She finds this quite limiting–but also quite exciting!  The intimacy!  The direct-line into the mind of the character!  But also only ONE character and perspective!

What think you, blogger-friends?  Do you prefer to read (or write) in one or the other?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

What really matters to me?

April 21, 2010 9 comments

My manuscript (and all the ones to come).  The people I care about (love).  Creativity.  Freedom.  Feeling (and making others feel).

And then, somewhere down the line, comes this:

My career.

But in terms of time spent on each thing, the list reads more like this…

Career.  And then lots of other crap that sucks up time and I don’t even know where it all goes.  People.  And then all the vague ones that are big parts of everything else like creativity, freedom, etc.  My manuscript is scarily low on the time-list.

Huh.

Recent turmoil in my day-job has forced me to ask myself this important question.  The time I spend working/worrying about/etc. my career is disproportionate to how much it matters to me.

And don’t get me wrong.  My career matters.  A lot (though, lets face it, someday I hope to be a lovely, published writer, and then my career will be writing my books, which I love, love, LOVE anyway).  And I try to combine it with other things that matter (creativity, people, and freedom, etc).

But.

I have decided.  First, the things that matter most.  Writing (not day-job writing–MY writing), people, creativity.

What will get me to where I want to be more quickly?  Working on my MS.  Not working ridiculous hours at the day job.

So.  Resolution: I will spend a little time each day devoted to my top 2.  The Manuscript.  And people.

It doesn’t have to be lots.  Just a scribble on my notepad while I’m at work.  A moment to have a conversation instead of staying glued to my computer.

Baby steps.

So blogger-friends: what matters to you?  And how does the time you spend compare?

And also: what are you going to do about it?

A new copy day job?

April 19, 2010 4 comments

I have been busy looking for a new copy day-job (unrelated to the boss-catching-my-spelling-error incident detailed earlier) and have found that this has consumed me.

Why?  I do like my current day-job.  I like the people I work with and for.  I just know it’s time in my career to move on.  And now that I’ve made the big decision, I’m antsy.  Really antsy.  Not sleeping, neglecting my friends (blogger-friends do not despair!  My real-life, know where I live friends have been complaining too.  The word ‘intervention’ was mentioned several times), neglecting my manuscript, that I love, love, LOVE, until I had a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!

So.

I have been picking little bits of brain and hair off my bedroom walls and trying to piece them back together into something resembling the general shape of my head.

The job hunt continues.  An over-indulgence in gin has helped me resume sleeping, and has happily doubled as acceptable socialising with human-friends.  I am now off to reconnect with blogger-friends.

Editorial Ass just announced the AWESOMEST CONTEST EVER!

March 31, 2010 6 comments

Okay, if you’re trying to write a book, this is a MUST.  Pop over to Moonrat’s blog for details on how to enter to win a crit of the first 20 pages of your MS — or even your WIP–as long as you’re 20 pages in.

Feel like I should write something more, but this is SO AMAZING that anything else would be anticlimactic.

Have you gone to Moonrat’s blog yet?  Deadline is 11pm EST tonight (think that equates to 4am tomorrow morning for us Londoners), so off you go…