Free Yourself

I mentioned it on Monday: Tuesday, it became inescapable.

The last time I attended any kind of convention was nearly twenty years ago, and it certainly had nothing to do with any kind of career move. When I took this change of direction, an awful lot of people made the point that to learn how stuff works, it’s not a bad idea to find people to teach you. There are courses to take online. Individuals will offer editing services or email critiques.

Or, you can decide to drive for four hours each way to a place halfway across the country based on your gut feeling. That’s why I picked Mslexicon: it’s the first time its happened, a writing-focused residential event and I’ll know absolutely nobody there. Judgement and preconceptions will therefore not exist, so they can’t derail me. What I get from the three days will roughly depend on what I choose to put in.

It is time to see if counselling really has altered my ability to be a grown up.

oneoftwoways

I have a week to organise myself. It’s not like I’m not ready: this is what’s been planned for literally years. Going with an open mind plus determination to record everything I can, it will be an adventure. Frankly, it already is. If you want to follow my shonkily organised excursion, this is what Social media and Instagram were made for, right? I may not be willing to influence, but I do love to share.

Right, I‘d better start by updating my laptop…

Look out any Window

Sometimes, I can be a little jaded. Considering the number of submissions made since January, the amount of work that’s been outputted (and already rejected) it is probably no surprise there’s an element of ‘oh, I wonder what I’ll fail at this week’¬†in the mindset. Except, when I look closely at what’s been learnt in the first four months of this year, there is a phenomenal amount to be pleased and proud of.

Most of that shift involves improvements in organisation and presentation. Learning how to make things sound more seductive, enthusiastic, being able to plan and block time effectively are undoubted steps in the right direction. Add to this an increased determination not to do anything other than my absolute best work for everything, however small, is altering my outlook with each passing week. 

sogood.gif

There are other, more subtle changes too. Setting sensible time-frames to complete projects, beginning to learn how long things will take are all helpful. Crucially however, it is my problem solving skills which have seen the biggest leap forward since the start of the year. What do you do when a muse just won’t co-operate?¬†How do you make something happen that patently isn’t taking place and you have a deadline looming?

The key, undoubtedly is being ahead of the game.

thatwouldbeme.gif

Next month, a lot of things will happen differently to accommodate a project I’ve been working on for some time. The planning’s been underway since the end of March, and is now beginning to come to fruition. I’m insanely excited about what’s coming, and hope you’ll consider joining me on the journey as we enter an area of creativity as yet undiscovered. Trust me, it’s going to be awesome.

Words

As a writer, I commit any number of heinous mistakes whenever words are committed to a screen. Over time, those have become easier to spot: word repetition, bad grammar, a real problem knowing where apostrophes go. Earning a high-grade English degree, back in the day, is no guarantee of competence: nouns are naming words, verbs are doing words, but a lot of definition points in between will need to be double-checked with Google for reassurance. The point to be made at the end of this paragraph is that nobody is perfect.

As a writer, other people place a level of expectation on your ability. Publishers will expect you to know how to present work to them for assessment. Although it might not need to be edited to a plateau of confidence, knowing what flows and works is a bonus. Understanding there is more than one way of stating ‘I woke up and went to kill a dragon’ is useful, but that statement in itself is perfectly acceptable as a final draft if placed in the correct context. Learning how to write is not just editing your work, or knowing which version of your prose is the one you stop fiddling with as a perfectionist.

throwsomeshade.gif

I’ve needed nearly a decade writing about a video game to finally feel comfortable with the words that are produced, but it will never be a perfect world. Even with autocorrect and multiple edits, the stupid still gets through. A testimonial was written in the week for the Physiotherapist who has returned my left arm to pretty much the state it was before the incident with tripping up over my own legs. It was sent with one word missing, which pretty much altered the entire point of the piece. I’d read that word in my head, but it did not exist on the page. The best writers still fuck up. This is a constant process, and will never end.

yeahyoufailed

The one area I’ve not really explored is experimental, off the beaten track kind of wordplay that Arguto¬†will give the opportunity to muck about with. This site now becomes a place not just for the Twitter-related content but for the exploration of how writing can and should evolve, expanding to fill countless spaces available. With the capacity to write being combined with photography and digital devices, new technology and old ideas have the means by which they can be redefined and improved.

However, at the heart of this all there is tradition and comfort to fall back on. Learning how to be a better writer will continue until my last breath.

NANOWRIMO : Introductory Post

Let’s get ready to RUMMMMBLEEEE!

And so, the time has come to put my mind to the business of proper, grown-up writing. The Bond stuff matters, of course it does, but I also want to do my own thing and so this year, NaNoWriMo is a big deal. This time around, I’m not starting from scratch, but taking an idea I’ve had in my save files since 2001. Yup, this idea is 15 years old.¬†I’ve only just reached the point in my writing life to have developed sufficient creative ability to do it the justice it deserves.

I don’t want to give anything away, but this is in essence a love story, and about how being true to what you are is what matters above everything else. Writing a synopsis about this is nigh on impossible because it will give away a key plot twist early on, so I’m not sure how I can ever pitch this with justice. Needless to say, I want it finished first, and so this is a call for people to read and react to what I write. I’m not necessarily looking for beta readers (though they would be welcomed with open arms) but mostly I am looking for people who will read and respond to the feel of the piece and whether I’m telling a good story. If that is you? Then please either stick a note in the comments or find me on Twitter¬†@AlternativeChat.

Expect updates here as and when, and the inevitable soundtrack to accompany the action, as has become traditional with my work. I also expect to add some insight into writing process on the Blog this month, in amongst the Daily Bond and other gubbins. Mostly I’m genuinely excited to be writing my own stuff again, and that I feel I have a brilliant idea that finally can be told in the way I’ve wanted since it first appeared in my head.
I hope you’ll come on this journey with me, and you won’t be disappointed.

Learning to Fly

Easy now there big fella ^^

Learning how to write is fucking hard work.

The worst part of the journey is when you know that you need to get from A-B and you have no clue on how you’re gonna do it. That’s been me this week: even though I’d already written the next half a dozen sections of ¬†‘The Sayers’ they didn’t work well enough for me to want to post them. So on came the re-write, that ended up with just over 15k’s worth of written work being either trashed or recycled. The basic ‘plot’ remains but the means by which you now see this played out has undergone the most brutal of redirections.

As it stands, I’m happy with the way this has now gone, but we’re still not done yet. I’m still working out the kinks in the rewrite, but the plan remains to try and go back to Mondays for posting, starting with the upcoming Bank Holiday. Mostly I wanted to get this right because it matters that I make my story what I think it should be, rather than simply settle for having something substandard to meet a deadline. Mostly it is the perfectionist in me realising that I want to tell this story as well as I can, which means it’s show, not tell all the way.

If you’ll excuse me Dave, I’ll go back to the editing now.