Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Soggy words

Hooray! Finally broke the block yesterday. I tried that old trick 'write as many prompts as you can into a flash' and it worked because 824 words later and I had a finished flash about 2 women swimming the English channel. It wasn't great and only scored in the mid-late nineties and (as with a lot of my stories/flashes) there were credibility issues, but I did it - I wrote something with a beginning, middle and end. It's only taken, oh about 3 weeks to get here.

Now please excuse me while I do a little happy dance.

Friday, 25 August 2006

The number of words I have written since my last post

Zero.

I'm totally blocked. I've got craft 'know how' coming out of my ears after several debates/conversations/threads recently on one of my writing sites but, when I sit down to type, nothing comes out. I've managed a few lines, I've managed a few scribbled ideas in my notebook but a complete flash or promising start to a story? Nope.

I know I need to stop thinking and type, but I can't. I think I may need to try the whole 'write drunk' thing again. Gah.

Friday, 18 August 2006

Road to Recovery

Sorry about the cliched title. I'm 80% better now but my brain is still a bit foggy. I can't believe it's the 18th August already. I haven't written for AGES and I started the month so well. *sigh*

I need to do some writing this weekend - whether I feel crap or not. I'm going to designate Sunday as "bloody do some writing day" and that's that.

In other news my story was published in "Woman's Own" on Tuesday. My photo looked goofy (would one of my 'pouty' photos really have been so bad, Mum?) and the story (edited to cut 1/4) read a bit choppy to me (I worked so HARD to get it to the word limit of 1,100 and not be choppy). I was a little disappointed - for all of 10 minutes or so until my friends (and members of one of my online writing groups) started saying nice things "it made me cry" and "very moving" etc and then I felt better (yes, I'm that fickle).

4 new rejections over the last week. 2 from Vestal Review (no surprise there!), one near miss from Cezanne's carrot (and an invite to re-write and re-sub) and a 'nearly there' from Flashquake (4 maybes and 1 yes). I'm due a hit... soon...please...

Monday, 14 August 2006

Ill

Haven't written for days and now I'm ill (some kind of viral, headache, nausea thing) so am almost catatonic.

All in all the last story got a reasonable average in the crits (put was still sub 'par') and needs a lot of work to turn it into something good/publishable. The problem? At the moment I'm kind of stumped. I know what to cut but not what to put back in its place. I think I need to put some space between me and the story for a bit and let my subconscious do some cogitating. So - into the electronic 'bottom drawer' it goes while I ruminate on another story (an idea that came to me a year ago and hasn't quite gone away).

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Sleepiness shuts down the world

Very tired today. Last night's sleep, which felt more like a micro-nap and lasted all of 5 hours has wiped me out.

The crits have started to come in for the story I subbed to my online writer's group last Saturday and the scores and comments pretty much match my expectations. I knew there was something missing from the story - the plot was a bit thin, the theme was a bit vague and the main character's 'quirk' raised too many unanswered questions. So why didn't I fix it before I subbed it? I was too tired! And I also wasn't sure how to 'fix' the story. I'm still not sure. I think this is one to file away for a bit and see if any remedies pop into my subconscious.

Today I read some of the winning stories in a UK competition. There was a depth to each one that is missing from most of my stories. I try to write depth and layers into my stories but they always come out feeling a bit thin. I definitely need to read more (stories) and read more critically. How do other writers achieve what I find so elusive?

I feel quite frustrated. I know what I SHOULD be doing but I'm not doing it yet.

Saturday, 5 August 2006

There were words

3,165 of them to be exact. Last night I decided to take AK's (the guy who runs the online writing group I'm a member of) suggestion to 'write drunk' literally. Ok, so I wasn't drunk per se but I did have a couple of glasses of wine (or three) to oil the cogs, loosen the fingers and generally help block out the internal editor that keeps stopping me from writing anything.

Result?

I finished a story. I started writing at about 10 or 11pm (I'm a bit of a night owl) and by 2am I was seriously flagging and ready for my bed, but I didn't stop writing. I was scared I'd wake up in the morning and have lost the voice, the flow and/or the will to finish the story. (I've got quite a few stories that have been abandoned after the initial burst). So, I kept writing and at 3:37am I wrote the last word. I need to re-draft but I'm going to leave it alone today. Hopefully, when I re-read it tomorrow there will be a bit of space between me and words so I can read it objectively and spot any glaring mistakes, plot holes etc.

That's over 4,300 words written in the first 4 days of August now - and that's good.

Friday, 4 August 2006

First blog post

August started well with over 1,000 words (and a complete Flash) written on the first day. Yesterday - nothing. I forced myself to write this evening. I studied the prompts, even turned off the monitor (it's called a 'screen off' exercise and sometimes helps when you're blocked), but nothing cohesive came out and the words I typed didn't develop into an idea or a voice so I gave up.

Have had a bit of a 'where have all the words gone' time recently. Not the words I type so much as the words I choose. I recently re-read some of my old stuff (by that I mean pre-2005) and the language I used was so much richer, so much more vivid in those old stories. Riddled with cliches and terrible metaphors/similies yes, but there were a few gems. In my efforts not to be 'writerly' in my stories I seem to have stripped back the language so much that it's now become 'stock'. I need to read more, absorb words and put some of the language back into my stories. I need to write stuff that I promise myself I won't put out there for critting, give myself a bit of freedom back.

On a more upbeat note my first hit of August is official. My entry into the 5photostory.com competition is going to be published by Fygleaves. The anthology will be called "39 Emergency Exits" and will include the winning stories from the comp as well as a bunch of the best. It'll be available from Amazon.co.uk apparently and I can't wait to see it. My little folder of published stories is starting to get full. Yay!

The winning story in the Woman's Own Short Story competition was published on Tuesday which means mine will be out there sometime in the next 3 weeks. Ooooh - scary/exciting!