The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart — Novelty Revisions

Hello,

I came across this awesome and really useful article regarding writing advice from

Novelty Revisions https://megdowell.com/.
We’ve all read writing advice but it isn’t always clear which to use and which to throw away. And who to take it from. This goes a long way to helping solve the problem. Here is the first part of the article:

 

‘How do you know if the writing advice you’re being given is worth listening to?

Does it matter if someone is a published author or not?

Who is “qualified” to give the best advice?

These are all tricky questions. So here are some of the types of advice you’ll generally get about writing, who they tend to come from, and how to apply them (if at all) to your own writing life.’

For the full article, click the link below the picture.

 

How you should interpret writing advice depends on who — or where — it comes from.

via The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart — Novelty Revisions

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The virtues of reading two books at once…almost.

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Currently reading: The Breathing Method: A Winter’s Tale by Stephen King.

Also currently reading: The Good, the Bad and Me: In my Anecdotage by Eli Wallach.

Hello,

Recently, I have been reading Stephen King’s Different Season’s and really enjoying it. I always wonder though, with every book I read, what book I should read next to keep the enjoyment going. Usually, I wing it but recently I have started to plan ahead when I was coming to the end of The Body (Stand by Me) and starting the last story of Different Seasons. I thought, why not read two books at once? I have never done that before. Let’s see how this goes, shall we…

Well, actually, I have tried two books at once before but it didn’t work very well. I just ended up focusing on one book and forgetting about the other. I would always have to go back to the beginning of book two when one was finished. This time though, I have the ten minutes or so before my second train departs to take me to work and the twenty minutes on the train that allows me to read one book in a fair amount of peace. Beforehand, the bus or tram had mostly been my method of travel. Or walking. Each with plenty of things to stop me from reading (mainly concentrating on the road and other people. Laaaaame.) But waiting and travel with plenty of space available has helped my cause.

I thought of many books that could be my second book. As I did this, I began to hear something. What do I hear? What is that noise? Thousands of little voices but from where? I follow the sounds and they get louder and clearer as I approach my lovely bookshelves. All the books and their characters giving me their own reason why I should read them instead or as well as my current book. They say “Kindle is killing books, you smell lovely, you should be worried as you’re hearing voices from books”, and so on. I looked around and saw one book I’d been looking forward to reading since Christmas. Eli Wallach’s biography The Good, the Bad, and Me. He played The Ugly (Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez aka “The Rat”) in my favourite film of all time so naturally, I wanted to read it. And so, I now have one book for home and one for travel.

I’ve found it very useful and enlightening for my own writing to read two different authors and their very different styles. Each I enjoy and each is pushing me to make mental notes to use in my own writing. Stephen King (for obvious reasons) and Eli Wallach for his straightforward and unflinching account of his life. Most of the notes lean towards helping me to describe effectively and to try and make the reader feel what I want them to feel for a particular scene.

I’m also reading fast and racing through my books. But what of the next two books? Oh no. I hear the voices again…

Before you go. Quick question, if you do read two books at once, are they similar? Or different? And for either answer, why?

Thanks for reading. Have a good rest of the week!

 

 

 

Book Review: The Bleeding Land by Giles Kristian.

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Synopsis (taken from Giles Kristian’s official website at http://gileskristian.com/books/the-bleeding-land/):

England 1642: a nation divided.

England is at war with itself. King Charles and Parliament each gather soldiers to their banners. Across the land, men prepare to fight for their religious and political ideals. Civil war has begun.

A family ripped asunder.

The Rivers are landed gentry, and tradition dictates that their allegiance is to the King. Sir Francis’ loyalty to the crown and his desire to protect his family will test them all. As the men march to war, so the women are left to defend their home against a ruthless enemy. Just as Edmund, the eldest of Sir Francis’ sons, will do his duty, so his brother Tom will turn his back on all he once believed in…

A war that will change everything.

From the raising of the King’s Standard at Nottingham to the butchery and blood of Edgehill, Edmund and Tom Rivers will each learn of honour, sacrifice, hatred and betrayal as they follow their chosen paths through this most savage of wars.

Hello,

I purchased Giles Kristian’s first book, Raven: Blood Eye, in 2011 for no apparent reason. I just walked past the book, had a brief scan of the synopsis, and thought ‘Why not?’ Since then, his books have been and still are a constant source of enjoyment and inspiration for me and my writing. This past Thursday, I finished reading his 4th book, The Bleeding Land and wanted to provide a review. It won’t be too long as I don’t particularly like long winded reviews. If you are considering reading a book like this, I hope that this review can help you to make your decision.

For me, the best things about Giles Kristian’s books are the battles scenes (really well described. Using most if not all the senses to put you right in the heat of the battle) and the dialogue (solid mixture of humour and relevance so that no word is wasted. EVER) and The Bleeding Land continues this trend.

As the synopsis above shows, this book has a lot going on. A country at War and family are torn apart by it. The characters, mainly Edmund ‘Mun’ Rivers and little brother Thomas Rivers, become the main points with their family members and war comrades providing good quality support. Each main and supporting character is allowed to grow and develop well and at no point did I feel that any of the characters were there just to make up the numbers. Each character had a use to move the story along and help another or their own character’s story.

The scene is set very well to allow this to happen early on. You are introduced to the River’s family and the impending conflict of the country around them. This all builds to the Civil War beginning and the brothers taking opposite sides (Mun fighting for the King and Tom fighting for the Parliament. I won’t tell you why). Once this happens, the story moves along and does not allow the Civil War around it to engulf it, keeping the River’s family at its core very neatly. Along with the men of the River’s household, the River’s women are very well represented with the mother and sister of the family, Mary and Bess, shown as strong characters in their own right.

The battle scenes throughout the book are very well described and again using all five senses, helped me to drop into the battle. Sometimes, I smelt the odours of War far too well for my liking. But, that just shows in my opinion how good an author Giles Kristian is. In particular, one of many Battles, where the Rivers women, having been left to defend their household whilst the men are away at War, become part of the War as the parliament ‘rebels’ fight to take their home from them. This spans a few chapters and is not just about a battle. There are many other things going on which made it so compelling.

The only downside I could find was that some of the descriptions went on for too long and I found myself skipping past them. In most cases, it was the descriptions of the clothing that each character was wearing. Though very clear and informative, I felt that these could have been shortened to keep the pace going.

In conclusion, a brilliant read with rich characters and a good story, I would recommend this to anyone looking for an action adventure and historical fiction novel to read. You will not be disappointed.

 

Renewed Focus. Getting things moving again.

Hello,

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So, 2016 was alright. I suppose. Outside of writing, it was very good. No qualms there at all. My writing, however, moved along okay at the beginning but towards the end it faded and at times stopped completely. I didn’t feel like writing or reading at all. Makes me cringe just thinking about it and even more so when I don’t really know why I didn’t want to write. Although my November and December were good and my Christmas and New Year were both awesome, my writing and reading seemed to slow to a miserable crawl and then stop. That crawl has resulted in my last blog post being at the start of December. That’s just awful. 2017 will not end the same way. With that in mind, I’ve started as I mean to go on.

I’m committing to writing around 500 words a day and on any day I can’t write I will read. I’ve so far stuck to my target and I feel a lot better for it. Since my last post, I have finished editing what I had written so far for my Western story. It has been rolling around in my head for years and it feels good to be continuing to write it as opposed to edit/re-reading it to get myself back up to speed.

When I first sat down to write it back in March 2016, I didn’t use any notes and that turned out to be a disaster. With no path to follow, I ended up making my hero a man who hides away from the villain and nothing really planned for anyone. Lame. That quickly changed when my mighty editing pen…no, wait…fingers changed everything and gave my characters meaning and a road to follow. Now, I’m coming close to writing the twist in the tail I’ve known about for years. It’s weird when I think about it. I know the twist but actually getting up to writing it down is more exciting.

Does anyone else feel like that? When you’re about to write a twist do you get more excited about writing it than you did when you initially thought of it? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Or just tell me I’m crazy and move on.

Hmm…what else? No. I think I’ll leave it there.

Have a nice day.

 

 

It creeps and it crawls throughout my mind. Wanting to be released onto the page.

(I wanted to insert an appropriate picture for my title but google managed to scare the stuffing out of me so I’m going to leave it. And curl up into a ball for a while.)

 

Hello,

Finally, after weeks of tossing and turning over it and not being able to write as much as I’d like due to other things coming up, I’ve finished my horror story!

As I got closer to end my writing speed picked up and then I realised, it’s done. The euphoria that breezes through me every time I finish a story was back.

Obviously, it’s the first draft but I’m happy I’ve finished it and I can now re-jig the whole thing. Change it to add in all the tips I’ve found regarding writing a horror story from my research. Mainly:

Tension – I have managed to build tension towards to end of the story. The build up to the ending definitely has what could possibly be described as tension until a big reveal. I also tried to put tension in throughout the story by having the lights go out in the house my characters are in for their company retreat in the woods. When the lights go out, and while everyone else is screaming or cheering depending on how drunk they are, the main characters hear what could be scratching and groaning coming from outside before the lights come back on.

The Reveal – I found a very useful article regarding this in the November 2014 edition of Writing Magazine by Alex Davis (page 50 if you own it). It talks about different phases.

  • Easy to disbelieve (slightly scary stuff that can be written off easily. Bumps in the night and weird sounds)
  • Hard to disbelieve (making the characters feel uneasy. A sense of being watched, a presence in the room).
  • Hard to deny (Definite sight of something weird, strange, horrible. A voice heard. Evidence to say something is definitely happening)
  • Impossible to deny (The reveal takes place. All the sounds and such come together and whatever the hell it is becomes reality)

 

I have found it very interesting reading up on how to approach writing a horror story. I’ve also found plenty of scary films to watch to give me inspiration. Such as Ringu (1998, Japan), Session 9 (2001, USA), Exhibit A (2007, UK). They’re all on the list. I’m in for one scary few days if I decide to watch them. I’ll end up not posting for much longer than 5 or so weeks.

It’s good to be able to write on my blog again. It has been a while. So, until next time have a good time doing whatever it is you’re doing.

Bye!

 

Two ideas are not better than one.

Hello,

I’m going to break this post down into stuff I’ve done since my last post as I haven’t posted in a while. I have been trying to create a post since my last, which seems like ages ago, and in the small amount of time I’ve had recently. Hope you like it.

This Way That Way Which way to turn

Signpost saying This Way That Way, Which way to turn good concept image for direction.

12/05/2016.

Finally, after weeks of pondering I’ve settled on two ideas for my horror stories. I initially had one idea that I was going to stick with (see https://johnrsermon.com/2016/04/28/the-horror-of-writing-a-horror/ for more information). But, as I started to plan that idea out I also found another idea. This was an idea that had been swimming in my mind for years but had obviously gotten almost drowned in the time it had spent not being outside and on the page. This has now brought to me my current predicament. Which way do I go?

From being so unsure that I doubted whether I should even bother writing a horror story to having two ideas, I can safely say this is not the worst position I ever been in. But it is one that I would like to be out of as soon as possible.

I’ve created my characters for and given them back stories. I also planned out both story ideas so when I get started I should have a better chance of making it work. Hopefully.

13/05/2016 – 21/05/2016

Work. More work. Drinking. More drinking. Running. More running. No writing completed.

22/05/2016

Completed my fourth Manchester 10k run and raised £200 for Cancer Research UK. No writing completed.

23/05/2016

Had a pizza. Watched WWE Extreme Rules 2016. No writing completed.

26/05/2016

Received my 2nd of two grades for the course I’ve been on since last September. Both I needed to pass. The 1st one I did pass (with Merit) and the 2nd…I passed as well (with Merit). Had a pizza. No writing completed.

29/05/2016

Went to the christening of my girlfriend’s niece and nephew. Had a great time. No writing completed.

02/06/2016

Big jump forward. Almost a month in fact. But it finds me with time on my hands and one page of my horror story written! Progress is slow but I hope to increase it in the coming weeks. I have week off work coming up that will become my first ever writing and blogging week. Well, writing at least.

The story I mentioned in the link under 12/05/2016 above is the same one I’ve gone with but I’ve twisted it around slightly. I have my characters and their back stories and I have a twist in mind for one of them to go completely loony bin on everyone and revert back to a Neanderthal state. I’m not sure which of my 6 characters this will happen too but it will be in the scariest manner I can muster. Finally, progress and a direction to go in.

Hope you all have a good week.

Bye!