Tag Archives: style

Learning to get around ADD?

I think I have to accept the fact that I have had attention deficit disorder most of my life, but was never diagnosed and still not diagnosed, this is the analysis that a couple of friends of mine have of me as I do seem to be disorganised and easily distracted – look there are butterflies outside my window right now hovering and ducking each other in and out of the lilacs! 

You see, that wasn’t a mock of people who are diagnosed, it is merely an example of exactly who I am and how I think.  Yes sure, I can sit down and write but I really struggle to stay here for more than 15 to 25 minutes at a time; I struggle to do anything longer than 30 minutes.  Watching TV is great if it is a varied show like Gardeners world or sketchy comedy (I think that’s what they are called, where they have mini 5 minute scenes?) I love movies, but I tend to need an intermission every 45 minutes for toilet breaks, getting a drink, or just generally not sitting there doing nothing and for me it doesn’t really matter how riveting the movie or anything else is, I just have this urge to move on for a few minutes and I will get back to that.

When I write I can write 750 words in 15 to 20 minutes, this is not revised and unplanned pantsing style work.  What irritates me is when I start to write a story then go into prose or poetry mode at the same time about the same thing, no I don’t want that to be my thing, but my brain starts to make songs and poetry of my stories a lot, this is usually a sign for me to stop – because I generally start ruining the story by letting it flow like that.  Though I suppose I should just edit those things out after I have done the book?  I don’t want all of my books to be musicals.

So I tend to write in 15 to 25 minute bursts, on days I try to write a set word goal, I need to break this down to 15 to 25 minutes an hour or every two hours until the word goal is completed.  For NaNoWriMo that goal is usually completed in about two hours but spread into three most days because of mental irritation.  This is not three hours of solid writing, please understand that.  I will start writing generally around 9am and by 9:25 I am going for a toilet or drink break and maybe checking social media or a game; then I am writing again around 10:15 till 10:35ish and getting a snack or thinking about checking on the wildlife in the garden.  Then around 11:30 I am writing again and at 11:55 I might start thinking ok, should this be it for the day?  It’s not that I don’t love writing it’s just I tend to overwork and I burn myself out and people usually have to remind me not to overwork!  Because you see there are certain types of animal in this world which have a feast or famine mentality and that is very much like me regarding my writing.

What you saw above was me struggling to write the same story without deviating throughout that whole day and throughout that whole month in NaNoWriMo, so basically it is a normal NaNoWriMo month for me.  A usual day to day writing habit is a little different in that every time I go back to writing it is poetry, writing down intense ideas because I don’t tend to like pantsing everything, then there are diary entries, blog entries which happen rarely to be honest, more ideas flow into my head and I would say around two thousand words a week are honestly going towards just one novel.  Well, I agree with my ADD friends, this can’t go on.  I have to accept the fact I am one of them and learn to cope with it and learn a way in tricking myself into doing more work without so many breaks!

How?

By accepting the fact that the reason why I have so many brainstorms for new ideas is because my brain is easily bored with old ideas, so I need to either learn to write short stories quickly or learn to write several novels at once.  You see, I used to do this before 2010, before writing became difficult – I used to write around seven books at once skipping merrily every half hour from one project to the next, but then I was advised by so many people not to do that as I will be killing my creativity and not putting enough love into just the one I should be working on.  Well, to be honest, I know now, the opposite is true, because since taking on those ideas for a decade now, I barely write and I barely enjoy writing as much as I used to.  In fact I remember last year telling Paul how I think my love for writing has died and that my new love for creating art is becoming more of a thing.  Well, I do with my art what I used to do with my writing; I have/had several art projects on the go at the same time, flitting from picture to picture as the whim took me.  But I realise now, I know me, the people who advised me not to write like that, didn’t know me that well and still don’t. 

So I have decided, as from today, I am going back to the old me.

This worries Paul slightly because I get tired when I try to write more than two thousand words a day lately and back in the old days of my writing I used to throw out double that and sometimes even the occasional 10k a day spout.  But I think I won’t wear myself out if I go back to my old style of writing, flitting from one idea to the other because I am not easily confused with my stories.  I know categorically my ghost story to my vampire story, my mermaid story to my pirate story, my other vampire story to my werewolf story and my deity story to my leprechaun story.  Yes I write many stories at once with the vampire theme, but I know my vampires so intimately I don’t confuse plots, it is difficult because they are so different, the characters are so different.  I know the difference, even if my friends and advisers think I am toying too much with my own mind, the thing is that it builds up slowly for me and so I get to know them intimately like real people or books that already exist if you understand me?

It is like knowing a Fred and an Alice in real life, I know that Fred won’t like Alice because he doesn’t like eco warrior vegans and Alice won’t like Fred because Alice hates people who hunt for sport and wafts bacon in front of her nose.  Fred might be a big business man living in a rural setting at the weekend and lives a party life as a bachelor, whilst Alice is constantly researching climate change and the latest protests, living in suburban Greater London and seeking new vegan recipe ideas; it is as simple as that for me.

Now this isn’t bad, I have written this in forty minutes without vacating the area, but now I really have to stop.  So bearing this in mind, starting my new/old way of writing again, I could be producing more stuff quickly again, which would be amazing!

No more forcing through the same novel day in and day out, I have to do what my brain needs me to do.

P.S throughout all of this writing today, I had also had two conversations with Paul and four conversations with my rabbit.

 

 

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lego hair

My son is my inspiration

He is totally mad

Holding my hair up with lego bricks is how he’ll have me clad

After doing my hairstyle, in a rocket we will go

Flying through the universe to find aliens with pink toes

This is life with Henry

My son who’s conceptual

I’m writing this whilst lego bricks are gripping at my skull

 

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Filed under Poems J - L

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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restructuring my stories

When I am going through the thinking process of my stories I tend to hand write on notepads what I think is good, I can’t type ideas, nor remember them.  When I am actually writing I have to type them out as they come (if they’re new ideas) because my brain thinks too quickly for my hands, so having a 70 – 100wpm typing speed helps.

I am in the process of meshing together many ideas into one series of novels, similarly to “The Discworld series of Terry Pratchett” there will be many characters and many adventures on the same world, primarily because when my brain thinks about character I notice characters from other stories popping in from time to time and that will confuse readers, so, I felt that maybe it’s best to mesh all these worlds together so the readers can enjoy the diversity of the series.

My brain is too active and gets bored too easily to do these stories individually and the main reason why hardly any novel sized works have been done by me is because I can’t decide what to cut out, or what story to focus on from day to day, so last night I had this epiphany that I should mesh it all together, particularly because there’s many vampires, hunters and paranormal activity in a majority of my works, so it should work out well.

The problems that are occurring are time-frames, I am wondering whether or not the vampires should be time travelers, or whether or not to combine many centuries into the same century but having them as different cultures… this is a struggle to decide.  At first instinct I am inclined to suggest to myself that the many cultures idea would work better than time traveling, because it is a fantasy story, not a science fiction one, so anything can happen right?

If I am going to take this path in meshing all my previous works with new ones then the old works needs to be heavily revised to include the other works.  I was always afraid that my original work would flop due to the fact that my characters were living in the now, but occasionally were dressed in renaissance style clothing when socializing together, having to tell humans that they’re rather fond of historical parties as a way out of looking odd and drawing attention to themselves, whereas if I mesh these ideas and make centuries cultures instead it would work better.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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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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