Possible Perfectionist

I think I’m very close to being a perfectionist. About 100% as per the graph below:

I’ve known this for a while, but I don’t always apply the 100% to everything I do. Just the essential things in my life like my fiancé, family, and friends. And my writing

Anyway, I’m currently in the middle of an Assignment as part of the Short Story Writing Course I’m completing. This was purchased via The Writing Magazine (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-courses). So far, I’ve worked my way through five sections of the eight that make up the course. Those are First Principles, Shaping Your Characters, Characters and Plotting, Narration and Dialogue, and Writing Style. Each has its own assignment, and you’ve got as much time as you need to complete them. Well, not all the time, but they are pretty casual about the timescales but recommend getting into a routine while doing the course to help you gain the most from it. 

The latest section, Writing Style, has set an assignment to write in 1,000 words a story that builds a strong sense of atmosphere and/or place. When I was given this assignment, I’ll admit it seemed a bit daunting to me and a little bit scary. I had a rough idea of how I would do it, but I wasn’t sure if I’d ever done it before. But I must’ve done. Right?

I’ve finished First Drafts for Novels and Short Stories so far in my Writing Career and created the atmosphere I needed to tell my story correctly. So, why am I scared now?

Not sure, really. I think it’s because I’ve never sat down and just written a piece that only focuses on creating a sense of anything. Let alone atmosphere and/or place. I knew that I had to come up with some ideas, but what to use?

In my previous assignments, I’ve used such scenarios as manager-team member conflict (Conflicting Characters – Characters and Plotting) Friends living together (Narration and Dialogue – Three-Way Conversation). Still, I didn’t want to just revisit these as that seemed too easy.

Then, it hit me. I really enjoy writing fight and battle scenes, so why not use this? The sense of atmosphere within a battle (I imagine) is strong and can change (again, I imagine) quickly. I settled on my scenario for my assignment, now to write it.

That went quite well. I crafted a piece about a soldier fighting demons as part of an army. Looking like they are on top, only to have the demons retreat as a bigger foe, one they are even petrified of, came into the picture. This allowed me to change the atmosphere from happy and carefree (Winning the battle) to fear and dread (Probably going to lose the battle) midday through the story.

I considered rewriting the story and focusing all 1,000 words on one sense of atmosphere. But I preferred the challenge of conveying the shift in atmosphere partway through—about halfway to be exact. Then I considered changing it. I always edit my assignments, even though I’m looking for feedback, so if I didn’t, it would be fine.

But, I’m a writer. I’m not wired like that at all.

And thus, began weeks and weeks of edits that have become never-ending. Now, I’m aware this is part of my writing life, and that’s fine but, how far should I go with an edit for a Writing Course Assignment? Or should I just send it off and see what happens?

This leads me to a question.

Whilst completing a short piece of writing for submission (1,000 to 2,000 words) to be submitted, would you send the first draft of your assignment or edit it before submission?

10 Things All Writers Need to Succeed (Before They Even Start Writing)

4. A goal. It doesn’t even have to be an ambitious goal.

10 Things All Writers Need to Succeed (Before They Even Start Writing)

Hello,

This is a re-blog of a post from a while ago (Feb 2020) that I found very useful.

It’s a straight forward list of things you may need to be a writer.

Hope you find it useful.

Have a good day and thanks for visiting.

Inspiration in Pictures.

Hello everyone,

Hope you’re well.

During this pandemic, I have felt many different emotions, as I’m sure you all have during this strange and challenging time. I have found that having a routine set around my working-from-home life has helped me to manage these feelings and keep things in perspective. My wonderful fiancé also helps along with my family and friends, who I am more grateful for than ever. My routine is to go for a walk in the morning before work and go for a walk after work. Not ground-breaking I know, but extremely helpful all the same. Each walk allows me to prepare for the day ahead or wind down from it. I have immensely enjoyed my morning walks. During the colder months of December and January, I have got to know the streets, parks, and short cuts near me a lot more. These surroundings have formed the basis for my latest two WIP’s. The idea for each WIP has come from the following pictures I have taken whilst taking a morning stroll:

These pictures were taken after taking a second look at each scene, and an idea popped into my head.

The picture on the left, just beyond the farthest set of trees, is a football (soccer) pitch. In the current situation, no football has been played on there for a while. However, as I studied the picture at home, I wondered, could a football match be taking place behind the white fog? And what would the story be behind that? That wondering brought about one of the current WIP’s. The story of a set of footballers, all just having a late-night kick about, who tragically died when a plane crashed into them some fifty years previous. Every anniversary of this tragedy, they play a game of football behind the fog. But this year, it will be different. They will have a spectator this time in the shape of a man who has become very curious about the fog. And a man in need of a distraction. 

In the picture on the right, I captured this scene because I thought I caught a glimpse of something moving inside the fog, right down the street and beyond the last house that can be seen. I then wondered, what could be hidden in the fog? And what would the thing be doing? This became my second WIP. A man, taking his morning walk, spots a colossal monster inside the thick, white fog. The next time the fog returns a week later, he tries to confront the beast. Only, the beast has other ideas.

I have finished writing both stories, and it has helped me get back into a rhythm and a new routine for my writing. My writing frequency has been all over the place during the pandemic, so I’m happy that I can get some kind of normality back into my writing.

This leads me to ask:

Have you ever taken a picture and written a full story off the back of it? Or, has the picture filled in a plot hole in a story that had held you back from progressing? I would be keen to hear your stories on this. 

Stay safe and have a nice day!

Identifying showing and telling: Thinking in layers to understand reader experience – by Louise Harnby…

Are you storytelling-telling? Too much told narrative can force the reader to experience a story through extraneous layers that add clutter rather than clarity. Here’s how to identify one type of told prose and write with more immediacy. Continue reading HERE

Identifying showing and telling: Thinking in layers to understand reader experience – by Louise Harnby…

Hello,

Here is a handy and straightforward article I found regarding the difference between showing and telling in your writing.

Click the link above for access to the full post. I hope you find this useful and thank you for visiting. Have a good day!

11 Must-Have Instagram Apps for Writers – by Frances Caballo…

on Social Media Just for Writers: With all the apps that exist do you know the 11 must-have Instagram apps for writers? I’ve made it easy for you by including the list right here. Being a content creator or an author on Instagram is a very intricate job. Apart from putting out content regularly, it […]

11 Must-Have Instagram Apps for Writers – by Frances Caballo…

Hello,

The article above is a very informative look at how some Instagram apps can help you manage and improve your posts on the photo and video sharing app.

Admittedly, I don’t use Instagram that often and I’ve recently taken a break from it as I was becoming more and more distracted and less and less productive. I did follow different writers and publishers who use Instagram to great effect. I hope to do so when I go back onto the platform in future.

This article gives a short description of apps that help with collating images, utilising captions, editing photos as well as apps offering free images and the ability to schedule times for posts when your followers are usually most active.

The original post was from the site https://socialmediajustforwriters.com/2020/01/20/11-must-have-instagram-apps-for-writers/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=11_must_have_instagram_apps_for_writers&utm_term=2020-01-20

But the blue link at the top of this post will give you a snap shot of it, so you don’t have to go to the full post straight away. Its all about options, you know.

I hope you find this useful. Have a good day and thanks for visiting.

How to Write a Professional, Not-Embarrassing Query to an Agent, Reviewer, Editor, or Blogger – by Anne R. Allen…

I don’t know why, but I’ve recently been hit with a barrage of requests from new writers who want me to critique their query letters. Most of them come from LinkedIn, which I’ve happily ignored for years, but for some reason I’m suddenly getting 5-10 daily requests to “connect.” And lots of requests for freebies. […]

How to Write a Professional, Not-Embarrassing Query to an Agent, Reviewer, Editor, or Blogger – by Anne R. Allen…

Hello everyone,

This is a post, admittedly from a while back, that caught my attention. I haven’t written a query letter or email yet but I’m keen to learn about them all the same. I found this very informative and easy to read.

This post goes through the basic rules and lots of hints and tips about sending your query that Anne R. Allan (A mostly romantic comedy/mystery writer and is the best selling author of the Camilla Randall Mystery Series) has learned over the years.

It covers sending queries to fiction and non-fiction editors, book reviewers, bloggers and magazine editiors.

Click the blue link to access the article. It will take you another blog, christhestoryreadingape, and then you can access the full article. So, its a reblog of a reblog?

Anyway, hope you find this useful. Have a good day and thanks for visiting!

Creative Spark during Lockdown.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how I can improve my writing. The lockdown has provided me with plenty of time to not write, but when I have found the time it has been fruitful but not as productive as I would have thought. I started thinking of how I could improve my situation, but I wasn’t sure how and hoped for something to spark my interest. Some kind of inspiration to jump out and slap me in the face. Well, maybe not that because that would hurt but perhaps a nudge or tap on the shoulder. Nothing was happening until I received an email from ‘Writers Online’ (https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-courses) which is linked to my ‘Writing Magazine’ subscription. They advertised several courses in different areas, publishing, novel writing, selling your work, but one caught my eye.

Short Story Writing Course.

Now, I’ve been writing short stories for years and reading all kinds of different articles and blog posts on the subject but never took the time to learn the basics. This ever so slightly annoyed me but I only have myself to blame. I consider myself a writer but, after starting this course, a writer that still has a lot to learn.

The course is broken up into 8 units and an assignment that links to each one. You are assigned a tutor to guide you along the way based on your level of experience and writing interests. Mine has provided some valuable feedback on the stories I have written for the first 2 assignments. These were to write a story dealing with conflict (Love conquers All or Man or Woman versus loneliness) and to write a story about an out of work character searching for employment. Each required me to use skills learnt from the accompanying unit. I have learned so much already including how vital a theme/message is to my stories and how-to layout out a short story beginning, middle, and end. Both of these points are things I have considered previously but not put nearly as much thought into as I believed. Though annoying, I am not dwelling on it (well, maybe a little) and aim to improve from here and most likely make more significant strides than I have before.

When I first read about a message driving my story, I immediately thought back to a short story I had completed 6 months ago. Although I like it, it has no theme. It’s just…something that happened. When I thought about it, I didn’t really care about either of the main characters. After the first unit, First Principles of Writing a Short Story, I made plenty of notes about potential improvements. Mainly, what the theme will be and how the characters will develop along with their conflicts. I did all this after reading only the first few pages of the course.

It may seem obvious to learn the basics before tackling anything in life, but it is something I have overlooked. From here, things can only get better for me as a writer. Hopefully.

Have a good day, and thanks for reading!

Editing and The Info dump

Info Dump – A very large amount of information supplied all at once, especially as background information in a narrative.

Recently, I finished the First Draft of my latest story and found myself in a slight rut. Where do I go from here? After some soul-searching, I settled on my next project. I will go back to a previous First Draft of a different story, finished April 2018, and start a love/hate relationship with it through the art of editing. I think it’s been long enough, right? I have learned about editing in the years since then and actually find myself looking forward to this edit more than I thought. However, this quickly diminished when, as the edit had only just begun, I discovered that past-me liked to use a lot of information dumps. I seemed to be so quick to get my story on the page that I didn’t stop to think at what point that should happen.

The 2018 First Draft is a story about Searchers who hunt down and kill or ‘Search’ for demons around the North of England. There are Searchers all over the country and indeed the World but my story centres around Manchester City Centre and Salford primarily. The main focus is our hero, Aaron Watch, and his struggles to do his job and deal with other issues he would love to ignore. Issues around such things as his family, his love life, his fellow Searchers and the fate of life on planet Earth. Just a few things, not everything. He’s not greedy, you know.

I realised early on that past-me was eager to get out any information to help these elements move along. He did not stop to take a breath. As I’ve been editing, I find myself shifting in my chair as another info-dump cascades all over the page. Thankfully, I’ve just been given a new office chair to work from home, so this shifting is slightly more comfortable than it has been.

In some cases, I have taken the information away and put it somewhere else for safekeeping. In other cases, I’ve just deleted it and never looked back. This initially made me pause and wonder if I was too hard on past-me. Still, soon I started to like the deleting and remembered that I can’t be too precious when I’m editing. This is a first draft after all. I know from past edits that I probably need to be firmer in my editing. That is easier said than done, given that this is my creation. I can’t be mean to it. Can I?

It is, however, a nice way to find out how I’ve changed and grown as a writer. If I was doing the same things past-me did now, I would worry. Although I would think it’s a good idea so I would not worry. Would I be happy with all the info dumps? As I write this, I shift again in my chair.

With that said, the edit is going well so far. I’m only 38 pages into the 155-page novel, but I am getting into a rhythm so that must be a good thing. I also have to remind myself of what the story actually is. On plenty of occasions, I have no idea where I’m going. I rewrite something then realise I need it and have to put it back to make the whole thing keep moving along. I’ve stopped feeling so precious about my writing though, at the beginning I was reluctant to delete, but now I just do it and move on.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you are well. If you’re editing, all the best. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Writing Apps That Every Working Writer Needs Today – by Derek Haines…

on Just Publishing Advice: Writing and publishing today is a long way removed from typewriters and carbon paper. The days of sending typed or printed manuscripts are well and truly over. Every word you write now is digital, electronic, and published via the Internet. You exchange drafts by email or share them on Google Drive. […]

Writing Apps That Every Working Writer Needs Today – by Derek Haines…

Hello,

This article covers a variety of writing apps to help with all aspects of the writing journey.

I’ve always found taking notes through the app Evernote to be a very useful tool to have on my phone when inspiration strikes. This article showed me there’s a lot more to choose from and opened my eyes to options in future.

Hope you find this interesting. Have a good day.

12 Daily Habits of High-Achieving Writers

2. Participating in creative activities outside of writing that keep your brain engaged and your heart happy.

12 Daily Habits of High-Achieving Writers

Hello,

Above is another useful post from Novelty Revisions (www.megdowell.com). It details a number of ways you can help yourself and your writing as well as things to consider along the way.

Click the blue link above for the full post.

I hope you find this useful and are having a good day.