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Punctuation and grammar pedants

I have not socialised with other writer’s offline and not too much with them online either; the reason for this is unclear, I do try hard to socialise particularly in the Facebook writer’s clubs but they seldom reply to me direct unless offering criticism to my lack of punctuation or grammar.

I have often reminded members of these clubs that I have had very little education, due to being home-schooled and I have never gone into higher education and that most of what I know is self-taught; it is for these reasons that I lack confidence in creative writing, particularly when it comes to publishing anything on my blog. I have been told by many people that publishing things on my blog can be detrimental to my future of becoming a published writer because blogs are often considered too personalised and once published in an online media, it is considered published anyway.

When I have been active on these groups, I have never actively criticised another person’s work unless to praise their efforts, I seldom post any of my own work because of fear of plagiarism and it being noted as being published online. Perhaps this is the reason behind having so few writing friends?

Because the majority of those who talk to me about my writing concentrate a lot on my grammar and punctuation, I have become self-conscious of my writing, enough to start reading books such as “Eats, shoots and leaves” by Lynne Truss, “Improve your punctuation and grammar” by Marion Field and to try online punctuation and grammar games. I have been so affected by the criticism of the polishing of my work that I have even considered spending out more than I can afford for software called Grammarly, which I may have to put on hold for a while.

Despite trying to educate myself more on writing professionally I really don’t think it’s sinking in. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about it because if I was to approach a publisher they’ll have editors to help me in this matter, but for some reason or another it is a big issue for people within the writing communities online.

A friend of mine (who is a lecturer for Leeds University) feels that there isn’t too much of a problem with my punctuation, though some of it does need brushing up – but they feel that my critics are pedantic beyond need, as writers groups are generally there for socialising and for fun, not shooting down other members lack of abilities.

My blog may become quieter for a short phase because I am trying to brush up on these inconsistencies.

 

 

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http://www.gentle-enterprises.org/

http://www.gentle-enterprises.org/.

My friend Richard Gentle touches on some very inspiring topics of both creativity and cosmic ordering (which in itself is another form of being creative).

The above link is one of his websites.

Richard has extensive skills in carpentry, creativity, crystal wand making, healing, cosmic ordering and writing and has written many books that have inspired me; along with this, Richard socialises within theatrical communities, helping to make props and assisting in galleries and shows across Yorkshire.

In many ways, I will not be the person I am today, if it were not for Richard’s presence in my life.

I highly recommend that you read his books and websites and keep in mind what he says about life, he is a truly inspiring individual who unbeknownst even to himself has changed many peoples perspectives in life for the better; I for one considers him my benefactor, my pillar.

 

 

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A writer’s thoughts

I have read somewhere in the past, that you are what you read and I believe that. The more I read the more defined my tastes have become, my skills, my genre leanings and this influences my writing and art.
With each good book I learn how I want to write and what I want to write about.
With each bad book I read, I learn how I do not want to write and what I dislike.
I do not believe that as a writer you must write things outside of your comfort zone, I believe you should be comfortable with what you are writing – although on an emotional matter, that’s quite different. You must write outside of your emotional comfort zone if you wish to write fear, pain and heartbreak effectively, unfortunately that means opening up your old wounds.
A lot of the time, I like to write about horror, trauma etc. and each time I do, I open up real and old wounds, this is why I often become quiet as a writer and have prolonged periods of not writing, whilst I emotionally recuperate.
I was once told that writers and artists generally go mad after a time and I believe it, we send ourselves mad for our art and stories because we are constantly reliving the horrors of our past for your entertainment and as a collective, we seldom are known or recognized for it.
I am not moaning about my lack of recognition as a writer and artist, because personally I think that’s my own fault. I think I am generally a lazy person and have not bothered to find myself a publisher or to advertise my work very much over the years at all. On the one occasion I did contact a publisher to see whether or not they liked an idea of mine, I was lucky enough to get a letter back within three weeks, but this terrified me, because they loved what I sent them and praised me highly for it; I never contacted them again, I was worried about becoming famous and at the time I was young and didn’t know about pseudonyms.
These days I am more prepared for whatever life throws at me because I will be totally blatant about what I can and cannot do and what I will and will not allow.
Other than twitter, my blog and magazines are there any other steps I should take to get myself known?
Please comment below.

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More subjects in the blog

Time to expand this blog a bit; there will be new categories and tabs for you to choose from within the next few days, they will include;

 
A page about my experiences with Cosmic Ordering

 
Game reviews

 
A rant page for me to let off steam and see if my fellow readers also suffer the fools I do

 
Art, my own, my friends, and those that inspire me

 
Alternative lifestyles, a page about witches, vampires, Goths and the BDSM community and much more

 
My pet’s page, where I will update about the lives of my many pets as sometimes they inspire me

 
Contests I’ve entered

 
Health update as I am often sick

 
Daily Pages dedicated to the work of Julia Cameron, the author of the artist way

 
Food and places to eat reviews

 
And last but not least, recipes

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time to start living

It is not unknown that I have a lot of health problems, in fact more often than not my ailments these days make me bed-bound with bacterial and viral infections and my left eardrum is collapsing, which could leave me totally deaf if it weren’t for the technology of hearing aids.
However, I had decided last week to restart doing my blog regularly and concentrating hard on writing, art and photography in general because I am tired of being dependent upon an insecure government; I am also bored of not being able to work away from home or volunteer anymore, but I can’t help that as I have auto-immune-inner-ear-disease aka AIIED, which means I get about a 2 to 5 days of normal health a month, not conducive to the workplace.
I will have several new sections coming up soon on this blog about Cosmic Ordering, because I am using this to turn my life around; I’ve always been a bit of a Pollyanna which is one of the main reasons I had a lot of problems as a child, so I just need to refocus a bit. I am especially interested in Cosmic Ordering and the methods behind Ho’Oponoopono because I have been told that it is likely I will need more surgery on my ear in the future, my roof is leaking, my health is getting ridiculously bad lately, I’m poor as a church mouse and… well, basically enough is enough and it’s time for a change.
I had another small pause to my blog from my previous post because I went down with a big bang with what my GP described as severe pharyngitis (diagnosed on the 3rd February) and was told that if this didn’t show signs of getting better in 48 hours I could find myself in hospital receiving treatment intravenously; scary, I am still ill as I am typing this – but not as bad as I was and I am thankful things are getting better.

 

I am trying my best to stick to my plans of the Ho’Oponoopono chant and the Cosmic Ordering guides from the Mohrs and various other people – especially my very good friend Richard Gentle who has written lots of material on the subject of Cosmic Ordering, negative miracles and crystal wand healing; in many respects it was he, who gave me the confidence to start doing this and he did this a few years ago, unfortunately my life back then was full of negative people who always undid whatever I tried to do to improve myself, that is no longer the case, in fact, quite the opposite.
One of the biggest steps to changing your life to a more positive stance and being your true self, is to leave the people who do not accept you, whether they are family or not.
So I will finish now with this post, to let you know I intend to get busy and post more often.
Thank you for reading
xxx

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Writing style and narratives

Many new writers write in a first person narrative; this is very limiting and produces problems if they want to include other characters opinions and viewpoints.  The main character of a story isn’t psychic, so wouldn’t know the real reasons behind their nemesis or co-inhabitants reactions to various events.

When I first started writing my vampire dark fantasy series, I was also to blame for writing in a first person narrative; this made it very complicated for me to introduce new characters with their personalities effectively.  My aim was to write the series as a series of biographies of individual characters from the same story, but this wouldn’t work well as it had already more or less been done by Anne Rice and I wanted to be different.  I found it much easier moving onto the third person narrative, which is what’s happening in my rewrites.

Writing in a third person narrative gives me more flexibility for my story’s direction.  I can skip viewpoints and characters at will, I can write about how everyone feels simultaneously and without too much effort.  Since writing in this style I have been able to write more words to my story daily, much more than before, alongside another technique I will tell you about shortly.

As a writer you must see yourself as a god, you are creating a world and these are your people; you’ve made them, you control them, you control events; you should be as dedicated to your creations as you are to your own god, you should be motivated by the sheer fact that your characters are waiting in limbo for how you are going to progress their lives.  But gods have two sides to them, good and bad, cruel and kind and so you should not feel too emotional about wrecking their lives, otherwise you’ll have a happy, clappy, crappy story.

Thinking about how I structure my novels, I am not the usual can of beans; I’ll share with you why;  It seems to me that most writers write a book from beginning to end, I’ve noticed I can’t dedicated myself to surprises. 

I write down my ideas in my ideas book, then I put up bullet point of events on my computer that I’d like to see happen in my story; then as scenes come to mind I write them, whilst trying to write from beginning to end, then I sew it altogether and sometimes I revise but mostly I don’t – in fact, everything that’s posted on this blog is never revised, I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I don’t have faith that what I write up here is my best work?

I do have massive flaws grammatically, punctuation wise and possibly prattle on too much needlessly, this is mainly down to the fact that I’ve had limited formal education.  My mother home educated me mostly and had a problem with me studying in college and university so I was put under pressure to become a drop out on seven occasions.

I must remind you too, that my main tutor at home was my mother who is dyslexic; yet I still managed to do a distance learning course when I was nineteen and got my only qualification in the world of a B grade GCSE for English Literature.

So, if I am not fine-tuned or polished, those are my excuses and I learn through tenderness.  This is why I beg for criticism and comments; I need help fine tuning my art of writing.

 

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professionalism

This site is going to become more professional, that means I have eliminated a lot of my personal posts; this should help me find freelance work by using this blog as a portfolio for my writing, art and photography.

If anybody wants to read about the spiritual side of my life, they can find it at traineegoddess.com and next month I will be opening a ME blog, this will happen when I can afford to either shift my other domain names to wordpress or I may purchase a new name, I am not very technologically minded, so I may not be able to shift my domains to wordpress.com

I know some of you enjoyed my morning pages, those are now spiritually focused as occasional posts in the spiritual blog, nowadays.

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coincidental writing

This blog is starting to represent morning pages more than my actual work and I am trying desperately to avoid that; I am over emotional lately, a lot of my time is taken up trying to get myself back on track, but once I’ve eliminated one problem, something else wants to take its place and that’s usually either more family problems, like a death in the family or an announcement of cancer – or anything really, anything.

There’s a lot I should be doing and procrastination shouldn’t be an option.

I have noticed my 3500 word count goal is on cue every day, but it’s most certainly not creative writing it is non-fiction essays based on my life mostly.  I write an average of two and five poems a day but that’s not what I am here for, I am here to write actual stories, not just poems and rants.

I am saying that whilst writing yet another rant, I see that now.  Whilst I am ranting on there’s a question coming to mind, which I will ask in a separate post.

Meanwhile, I dislike the sleaziness that is in my blog these days when it’s short stories; I don’t want to be known for sleaze, but actual solid dark fantasy that doesn’t concentrate on sexual themes.

I don’t like reading too much fiction from other people either, because it makes me clamp up and think “Oh my God, someone is already onto my great idea”, or I think that someone has used a name for a character similar to my own and I would be the one blamed for plagiarism instead of mere coincidence.  Since I was ten years old I’ve had a character and a massive story in my head for vampires, yesterday I found a blog based on a character similar to my own with the same name – oddly enough, she isn’t copyright thieving off me because that story has never been announce publicly anywhere, it’s pure coincidence, so now I am going through the hard task of trying to think up a new name for a character I’ve known for almost seventeen years.  Believe me, when you’ve been very familiar with your character for that length of time, the idea that its name has to change is heart wrenching.

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Reading VS Writing – take 2

A few days ago I read another person’s blog (wished I remember whose) and they said that they used to predominantly write poetry and they’ve somehow unwillingly switched to story writing now, they still dabble in poetry from time to time but it is no longer their focus.  It’s funny but I’ve got the opposite problem, I’ve written stories since I was ten years old, in fact novel length stories and even a few sagas but in the last few months I can’t seem to focus on stories anymore (I noticed it’s been since I started reading fiction more) and poetry is coming more than easy for me. 

Why this happened I’ve no clue, but I suspect it has something to do with me reading other peoples stories and their style affecting the way I think about my stories to the point I have probably lost my courage to write effectively.  I think reading fiction for some writers may be dangerous and detrimental to their own story writing and style, if we enjoy non-fiction more but want to write fiction; maybe it’s best for us never to dip our hands into focusing on other peoples novels? 

Whatever I write in story mode seems to be bland and boring, less interesting than what I can read; yet a few years ago when I hardly ever read fiction my stories were interesting, exciting, different and a lot more people commented positively in my work, these days I am getting a lot of frowns and a lot of “what the Hell happened to you” kind of comments.

I tend to over think things, so reading other peoples work makes me analyze them and start comparing myself to them, which is dangerous in any situation to any person.

The problem is, I am starting to enjoy fiction as a reading source, to the extent I am searching high and low for good books I can sink my teeth into, it’s become as big as an addiction as my lust for non-fiction books and the more I read, the less I write.

I am trying to steer myself back into reading non-fiction only, but it’s difficult.

If I want to write stories I’ve noticed it’s coming out in very short prose forms these days, writing in a normal story telling way isn’t working anymore; especially lengthening the stories to a novel size.

Poetry is easier for me these days; in fact I can throw out a poem every fifteen minutes on average and I am desperately trying to teach myself that it’s quality of work not quantity, which seems to be what my subconscious is doing – focusing on quantity, not quality.

I believe the old saying that all writers are mad, because of this…  I certainly feel mad.

 

 

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Smoke & Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

I read this book in January 2013; I still remember some of the stories as clear as day.  I felt it would be good to put up previously read works on this site, because I don’t read enough fiction regularly to sustain this part of the blog, I mostly read non-fiction works based on social history, religion, the occult, psychology, true stories and biographies.

For those of you who have never read Neil Gaiman or know about the book “Smoke and Mirrors” it is an anthology of fantasy, horror and dark fantasy short stories and in my opinion, prose. 

Anyway, first up is “the wedding present” I don’t remember much about this story at all, other than I remember disliking it, but I can’t remember why.  I do plan to re-read this book at the end of this year for revising what I think is good and bad about it all, as I am trying to teach myself how to read critically, so re-reading this story will help me remember why I didn’t like it.

The next story I liked, it was humorous, “chivalry” A little old lady goes into a charity shop and buys a chalice and she is soon pestered by a time traveling knight who declares the chalice is rather special and tries to get it off her for several weeks, she eventually relents with a surprising ending.

“Nicholas Was” is next, a very short story, or was it really prose?  I don’t know what it was, but I do remember it, and it was confusing, although I did like the imagery it portrayed.

“The Price” oh my goodness was that a scary tale, I felt like crying for the cat.  I think the cat was based on some kind of protective angel, but that’s well hidden in the story if that’s what the cat was.  A brilliant tale, loved it, and I loved the audio of it too which is free and can be found at this website www.neilgaiman.co.uk/smokeandmirrors/audio

Another of my favorite was “Troll Bridge” I think almost every fantasy writer has written their own variation of this story at some point; I know Terry Pratchett has, although I’ve never read that one yet.  Neil Gaiman’s Troll Bridge was in my opinion, unique; I found it really thoughtful and inspiring.  I sometimes hoped that I could crawl under such bridge and make a deal like that, but would I really want to?  Who knows…?

“Don’t ask Jack” bought back nightmares of my childhood, that’s all I am going to say about this story.  I don’t like remembering it, to be honest.  In fact, I wasn’t comfortable with the story so much, I had to put the book down for two months before I could read the story that came after it, and that was because I forgot the previous tale. 

“The goldfish pool and other stories” Brilliant, I was so happy I picked this book up again after abandoning it, this was a great story, touching, haunting, fantastic.  I was really upset it was a short story; I could have read hundreds of pages of this work easily. 

“Eaten” I don’t remember this story either and I can’t remember if I liked it or not – sorry.

Again, one I loved “The white road” the imagery in my head was so lucid, I adored that.  I tend to think of actors or people I know when I read books and I was seeing actors and actresses from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Aristocrats” TV mini-series in 1999 one actor in particular was actually playing a Mr Fox, Alun Armstrong, he was playing Mr Fox in my mind when reading this story and the girl was a blond haired Winona Ryder for some reason.  The other actors and actresses from those movies and series that I was seeing in my head were there purely as spectators of the revelation that was being said between Mr Fox and the girl.

I was a wonderful story; I loved it, such passion and a delight to read, but am I being too bold? Ha-ha.

“Queen of knives” and “The case of the departure of Miss Finch” other delightful reads.  I loved them, they reminded me of one of my favorite Hammer horrors, “The Vampire Circus”, and they also had a similar air to “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.  I too, almost wrote a book similar to all four of these examples when I was fifteen years old.  A story based around a circus of the night, traveling vampire gypsies picking off locals at their stops, turning some, training some, it was a good idea I thought, but at the time I was going through a turmoil.  My brother had friends in publishing, they were at his house having a dinner party and I was also invited, they asked to view my work so arranged another dinner with my brother and I gave them some of my work, unfortunately I never got them back and they plagiarized my work, unfortunately still, I had no proof they did this because when I lost my completed work I lost heart in re-writing it all and burned the notes I had gathered over the two years it took me to complete it. So basically they got off Scot free and I’ve nothing to prove in court, so my loss I suppose.  My brother also worked behind the scenes of major film companies, so needless to say they did make a movie out of what I wrote, but made minor alterations, I won’t mention the movie here or the people, because I don’t like making a fuss, especially when I cannot offer proof.  The story was different to my gypsy vampire idea, but was vampire themed nonetheless, just this was the point of no return for me until I reached twenty one and had confidence in writing again, by this time I had forgot the idea, I only remembered the idea after reading those stories.

“Changes” I don’t remember this story either regrettably.

“The daughter of owls” now that was a beautiful fairy-tale in my opinion. 

“Shoggoth’s old peculiar” made me smile because it made me think he based the story on my family, who live on the edge of the Welsh and English border, they run a pub which resembles an eighteenth century tavern and I’m sorry to say they have toad-like faces and an old fashion air about them.  They are constantly cribbing about hiking tourists in their area, particularly Americans, which made this story feel it was made especially for me.  Obviously it wasn’t, Neil Gaiman doesn’t know me from Adam, but still, it felt special.

“Virus” I didn’t like either.

“Looking for the girl” I disliked too.  Reminded me a little bit of one of my exes, made me feel this story was based on his future life.

“Only the end of the world again” I liked, was it a sequel to one of the above stories I wondered?  Or more than one – I sense an air of “Shoggoth’s old peculiar” but also “the white road”.  I loved the combination if I am right, it worked amazingly well.

I think the “Bay wolf” is also like the above review, though I am confused, because I am trying to remember all the stories from only four months back and it’s difficult, particularly as I am writing this review on a day that my headaches are mild and wondering whether or not they should get worse and become the usual migraines.

“Fifteen painted cards from a vampire tarot” was also good, many stories in one.  Again, this was something I was thinking about writing as an inclusion to my traveling vampire gypsies when I was a teenager, another reason was because an old horror movie with Donald Sutherland inspired me a few years previous called “Dr Terror House of Horrors”. 

“We can get them for you wholesale” was both hilarious and bleak; I never laughed out as loud as I did when reading this story.  I truly recommend it for people who have a sick sense of humor like me!

“One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock” and “Cold Colours” I don’t remember these stories either unfortunately.

“The sweeper of dreams” was also beautifully written and after reading it, knowing I’ve ignored my love for writing for almost two years solid, I began to wonder if the sweeper of dreams came and visited me and stole my muse away or not?  But obviously it hadn’t, because I’ve started to write again, though, this time, my muse focuses mostly on poetry, not stories, like before.

I despised “Foreign Parts” it’s really not my kind of story at all. 

“Vampire Sestina” was brilliant and again, too short.

“Mouse” I couldn’t remember much about mouse either.

“The sea change” was a good read too, for what I remember and that’s not quite much at all, ha-ha.

“How do you think it feels” I liked the story and I hoped for more, but no.  Sometimes I think Neil Gaiman lacks the confidence to make some of his short stories into novels, it’s like he doesn’t believe in them so he makes them short but sweet.

“When we went to see the end of the world” that was a confusing read.

“Desert Wind” was nice.

I don’t remember “tastings” either.

“In the end” now that was very thought provoking and again, made me pause on the book for a fortnight whilst I thought things through and read “Enoch” and a few other non-fiction stories, for absolutely no other reason than to try and confirm my own beliefs in some strange inane kind of way.

“Babycakes” the title attracted me because when I was in college a friend of mine thought it would be good to have a name for each other, a pet name, so she came up with the name “Babycakes” I was baby and she was cakes.  She called me baby because I lacked experience of the world and she felt very motherly towards me.  Regrettably, the story isn’t as sweet as the one I just said above about me and my friend; it’s haunting in a bad way, terrifying because that could become a truth and I felt bad that I had read it, like it’s shameful.

“Murder mysteries” was beautiful, I liked the story outline.

Now, here comes my favorite story of the entire book “Snow, glass, apples” Neil Gaiman’s take on Snow White and it’s wonderful.  Unique, tragic, he saw what I saw in the story, not a victim but a spoiled dangerous little brat, that’s what I’ve always seen snow white as, but oh, it’s wonderful how he mingled this story with vampirism and victimization of the queen.  A pure work of genius!

This book was 50/50 in my opinion, 50% bad and 50% good, but the good bits are excellent, they are unique and imaginative and I love them, they inspire me to write my own stuff.

Thank you Neil Gaiman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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