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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Sidetracked (again)

As any of my former students can tell you, I’m easily sidetracked. A well-aimed interesting question can send me rambling away on the B roads of knowledge for half an hour or more. In short, I lack focus. Flitting to whatever shiny new idea catches my eye next. Not for me the school of head down and task in hand…

So, this week no writing has happened. Why? Because I bought a book at a car boot and started to read it – ooh interesting. read a bit more, ahh – this is in a similar style and genre to my own, therefore I have to read it to the end in the name of research don’t I? (you wouldn’t believe what I can justify in the name of research).

Well, before you know it the week is done – writing nil books read one. The book in question; The Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. Curse the spider god for drawing me into his web. Ah well, there is always next week ūüôā


Big scenes, little scenes

Looking at the way a novel is structured, not all scenes are equal. Some scenes pretty much define the novel. Try describing your favourite novel to someone and most likely you will be describing it in terms of the big scenes, the ones that really count; the underpinning structure of the novel.

If you go on to discuss a novel with someone and it is a novel you both like and know pretty well, before long you will be describing your favourite little scenes, the ones that make you smile, the ones where you say “and do you remember …”. To my mind it is the little scenes that can really set a book apart; when they are simply delicious.

Well, this week I’ve been tackling a couple of the little scenes. Looking at what I had written already, I became aware that I was glossing over the previous little scenes, eager to get¬†to the¬†next big one. Fair enough, it is a first draft. This week though I decided to go a little slower, finding just the right turn of phrase. You know what – its fun! I have really enjoyed myself and the bonus is that on the second draft there should be less to edit.

So, how do you tackle your little scenes? Rush or relish?

My new best friend

Well, I did it. After the relentless egging on from last weeks comments (well one comment actually) I went out and got me a Nexus 7. Mind you, getting one wasn’t all that easy – round here they seem to be as rare as hen’s teeth! The first three stores I tried all had demo models – which they insisted on ‘demoing’ for me before realising they had none in stock, and that gets a little old by the third store. But eventually Tesco came to the rescue (who would have thought); the mighty supermarket juggernaut had just one left. So I took their hand off and trotted home with the little beauty.

Is it any good? Oh yes, and then some.

First up comes the avalanche of free apps; apps for just about anything you can think of – I have apps coming out of my ears now, including my old favourites Dropbox and Evernote. ¬†True, some of my favourites aren’t there, such as Scrivener and Mindmaple but I did find a different mind mapping app that imports to Mindmaple and a word processing app that handles Word file format, which imports to Scrivener. No problem.

So now I’m completely mobile – a peripatetic author! me and my best friend Norman the Nexus 7 – coming to a coffee shop near you…


Guilty pleasure

If you’ve read some of my earlier posts you may have gathered that I’m both technologically challenged and drawn to new shiny IT things – both at the same time. I can’t help it; a moth to the flame. Gone are notebooks (paper ones that is), or more accurately, stored in a line taking up real estate on my already groaning bookcase, replaced with Evernote, Mindmaple and the like.

I recently dallied with the idea of buying an iPad for note taking on the move. The more sensible of you pointing out that a netbook would be a better option for what I required; and of course, you are right and I already have one.

But, my eyes have seen the Nexus 7 android and my heart is all a flutter. Its smaller (at a push I could probably get it into my cargo pants pocket) and seems to do everything I would want it too. It’s under¬†¬£200 (just), ha! chicken feed, surely I can justify that. The wanting is strong. I don’t feel as if I can resist. maybe I’ll just go and have one more look at it. Ahhh, shiny, shiny, want, want, want. Come to me my precious….

Thoughts on thoughts

It’s common knowledge that¬†when representing dialogue in our writing, we never do so in a completely authentic way. Gone are the ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ that would make our characters seem like hesitant morons. Gone are the repetitive¬†habitual fillers¬†such as ‘like’ and ‘you know’ after every other word that would interrupt the flow to the extent that it couldn’t be followed. And don’t get me started on the modern habit of raising the inflexion of the voice at the end of every sentence which makes it sound as if everything is a question!

But what about thoughts. How should we represent those and make the characters having them seem authentic? Think about it; unless I’m unique, my thoughts flit from one thing to another constantly. I almost never have a single unambiguous, uninterrupted train of thought that lasts for any length of time. Equally, my motives are rarely that clear or straightforward¬†either; more a morass of conflicting wants and desires. But on paper, in a novel, how ‘cleaned up’ do I need to make them. Hmmm

I did hear that Ford Maddox Ford was the author that best represented human thoughts and motives. I’ve not read any of his work though, perhaps I should. Have you? If so, what did you think?


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