Monthly Archives: July 2013

Reading by example

The changing face of technology means that our kids don’t necessarily ‘see’ us read any more.

It’s National Literacy and Numeracy Week down here DownUnder, and in my real life incarnation I’ve been doing some Facebook prompting to encourage people to get involved, that literacy and numeracy exercises are not just for kids or students.

libraryAs we all well know children learn best and insidiously from example, our example. I’ve been reading quotes and studies about how fantastic it is for our kids to see us read, to realise that reading is done for enjoyment, not just news and education. And this goes for kids of any age. In particular it is great for boys to see their male role models reading for pleasure.

We read a lot in our house, however, Little Man actually probably doesn’t ‘see’ us read all that often. I mostly use my Kobo ereader, particularly as I’m into book 4 of Game of Thrones – and they are some heavy books! And BMan reads loads but has fallen in love with audio books. So it is not very often that the Little Man gets to see us with a book in hand.

So how does that go for influencing the future generations? I have no answer to be honest.

I’m not concerned for Little Man – he’s 5 so we read stories to him nightly and we have literally hundreds of books in the home and regularly visit the local library. We make it pretty clear that reading and story telling is a great past time.

However it’s something that may be telling as this techno generation get older.

Interesting.

WIP update – I’ve got my manuscript entered into Scrivener now, have categorised large slabs of it as Purgatory – in need of work prior to being released back into the manuscript proper. Now I’m embarking on reading the current manuscript, to refresh my memory, be proud of what I’ve done to date and to cringe and hide my head in shame at other points.

Really well disguised procrastination

aka Procrastination with Purpose

So I’ve been having a grand ol’ time working on my manuscript but haven’t written a single new or additional word.

However I feel like I’m still moving forward and keep wanting to get back to it each night. So what the heck have I actually been doing?

I’ve downloaded a trial version of the writing program Scrivener. I’ve heard about this program off and on for the past three years or so – all good things. It’s supposed to be the beez kneez in manuscript and stage

image from freepik.com

image from freepik.com

writing. One teeny, and not actually significant, detail that I really like is that the trial period is 30  days of actual use, if you take three weeks off it doesn’t eat into your trial period – nice!

I’ve spent the last little while putting my existing manuscript into the program, it’s kinda complicated but well worth it.

The program creates index cards for you, allows you to drag the scenes around, group stuff, it’s very dynamic.

It’s taking me a little while to sort it out how it all works, and to complicate matters I also signed up to dropbox to start saving stuff to the nebulous internet cloud, but as my story involves two alternating viewpoints, I think this is going to be really helpful.

In 28 days (of use) I’ll be purchasing a license I think, my budget queen is a blog reader, prepare to enter a new expenditure! However it’s only $US45! If I’d bought it before our $Aus crashed it would have been an even bigger bargain, c’est la vie 🙂

So perhaps it is procrastination, but it’s procrastination with purpose!

Ready, Set….Write

Procrastination activity #1:

http://www.freepik.com/free-psd/3d-confirm-icon-on-white-background_688018.htm

from freepik.com

Update blog – Check

This is the first opportunity I’ve had to tackle my manuscript rewrite. I have a few clear hours all to myself, Little Man is at family day care, I have the afternoon off work, I’ve decamped to the Library to avoid the mountain of laundry, the overdue vacuuming. So I’d best get to it!

I don’t know how many words I’ll actually get written. It may just be an exercise in deciding what can stay, what’s salvageable, what’s got to go and where there are gaps.

Wish me luck!

A challenge from the Shark

shark-vector-4_43873Janet Reid is a New York literary agent that, despite her sharkly reputation (sure it’s a word!), provides a lot of advice to unpublished authors through her blog and particularly through Query Shark.

Sporadically she poses writing competitions to give away her swag from book fairs or ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). She tends toward the suspense and thriller genres, so the writing challenges have that kind of lean.

I’ve never entered one before, the entries attracted are seriously high quality, she is a big time agent after all.

But tonight I thought I’d give it a whirl.

The challenge was 100 words, yup you read it right, just 100. And 5 of them have to be

Coop
Claw
Ratchet
Full
Back

So here you have ‘Toolbox’, at 99 words.

Goddamn Ratchet. How many times had Coop told him Maisie was off limits. There was no telling a grunt like Ratchet, even if his years as College fullback hadn’t pulverised his brain, he wouldn’t have listened. Maisie, she sure was something. Boss knew it and paid for it, Ratchet knew it and was about to pay for it. Damn. Coop made the call. Ratchet and the Claw were buds back in the day, but Boss called the shots and Claw was a tool. Grubby, relentless, impassive. Coop knocked on Ratchet’s door, took the hood off Claw and walked away.

Those dastardly rabbits!

After yesterday’s resurrection to the blogosphere I had trouble getting to sleep. Ideas running about my head, excitement, all of that. I planned to do a Flash Fiction on the weekend and restart my manuscript on Tuesday. But whaddaya know – here I am, Flash Fictioned and active.

I’ve said before and I’ll likely say it again. Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds poses the best Flash Fiction challenges on the interweb, and they need to be submitted on a Friday. So his challenge this week was to choose from a list of 10 reader-generated sentences to use as your first line. I chose one but then for added bonus points, in a competition that has none, I used the themes and lines from a number of the other sentences.

Hopefully this goes some way to explaining the strange and somewhat dark story I’ve produced. I really do like rabbits and orangutans, in fact we’re planning a trip to Borneo as we speak.

Here’s the Flash Fiction link and below are the sentences I used for inspiration and in the story were:

“Once upon a time, there was a story so short, it was only a single line.”

“Life was easier before killing all the rabbits.”

“They never did find the orangutan.”

“Truth be told, I’m not sure any of them are actually dead.”

“Cristobal climbed the ladder of arteries to the first universe that looked like it held more wonders and mysteries than the last.”

“And then, being mindful not to spill my tea, I eased into the tartan embrace of Endolyn Muirden’s least offensive armchair, and settled back to watch him die.”

And someone named Squishy had this which I loved “That plan didn’t fly, superhero, and now we’re short a bazooka.” But I didn’t use it, so instead I stole his/her name.

So I’d like to say enjoy, but perhaps appreciate would be a better:

free-vector-bunny-duny_626105 (1)Once upon a time, there was a story so short, it was only a single line. This isn’t that story, in fact it’s barely even related to that story. And, while I’m not usually a betting man, I’ll wager that pretty soon you will be wishing this story was far more like that single line anecdote. But your wishes are nothing compared to Endolyn’s, if wishes were rabbits then Endolyn would…well he’d still be in a dire way, his life was easier before all the rabbits were killed. Let’s face it, who’s wouldn’t be?

Read more here my friends….

Oh, that’s why…

Hope you’re sitting down, well you’re on a computer so you probably are. Unless you’re on your phone, and at least then you aren’t driving. I know hearing from me is a shock. Remembering my log in details – shock 2. Anyway, moving on. And sorry for the length of the post. Inblogappropriate.

Free Rainbow Galaxy Vector Background

Ah ha moment!

I’ve come to a few realisations this week, and accompanying that a renewed enthusiasm.  I hadn’t been able to figure out why I’d lost the passion for my novel. The story’s still really great, and of course the writing, in my conservative opinion, still has flashes of brilliance. So what was the problem.

I identified about 3,000 words ago that the alternating first person voices I’ve been using need to change, one can remain pretty much as is – the other needs to change to third person. I’ve also realised that my attempt to make these two friends hasn’t worked, and is unlikely to be necessary. So there’s some fantastic drunken scenes that will have to go (bang, dead darling), they’ll need to be acquaintance maybe an early foray into friendship and then a gradual drifting.

I also had a planned ending, as I really struggle with endings, and I also realised I wrote in a scene that actually contradicts it about halfway through.

What I’m saying is that there is some serious editing required – serious editing. But I figured I was about 2/3rds through, I should persevere to the end, finish the manuscript and have something complete to fix.

But then I stopped – I assume I resented writing what would become redundant words. I’m all for writing exercises, writing apart from your manuscript, that’s great, fun, skill building. But while I procrastinated against finishing my manuscript I felt guilty about other writing. Like I was cheating on my manuscript.

So I stopped.

And I felt guilty about it.

So I avoided.

But you know what. I’ve faced it. I need to start it again. I want to start again. And you know what, I need to write again.

So here I am – step 1, revive the blog.

Cos I received a sign – funny.

Since starting my own blog I’ve been following Kate McClafferty (soon to be Glodney) – and if any of you are still there, reading, waiting ever so patiently for me to reappear, get over there, read her and enjoy, thank me later.

This is me and Little Man

This is me and Little Man

But yesterday, I was juggling my phone, turning on the blue tooth speaker to Spotify while cooking and I accidentally pocket email replied to her RSS feed. A blank email. And you know what, just a few minutes later I received an email notification that she liked one of my posts. On my blog that has been inactive forever. And on the same day I finally admitted I need to write again.

So thanks Kate – for the inadvertent sign you sent me.

And if any of you are there – welcome back, I’m happy to be here.