Monday, November 15, 2010

Finding the fun in revising.

Some writers think revising is fun. I'm not one of them, not yet anyways. I've steadily been revising my work, it's a hard and tedious job I'm not inclined to do. I feel creativity is much more fun.

I prefer not to bother with grammar, sentence structure and that all, I just want to envision and put that what is in my head on paper. I may not prefer the technical side but I still need it, I need it to be able to put my creativity om paper in the correct way to be able to show what I mean.

So revise I will, it's a necessity no matter if I like it or not, I'll have to do it. I don't want readers to claw their eyes out reading poor syntax with every word spelled out like a three year old. So I've tried to find the fun revising and so far not found it yet. What I did find was a hint of that fun. After revising, my work is better than before, this gives a feeling of satisfaction great enough to continue.

Well back I go to revising my work, maybe soon I'll find the fun in doing so.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To edit or not to edit....

That's been the question I asked my self repeatedly, about a month ago.

I've now three stories written and a fourth on the way, nothing but first drafts. Writting the fourth one, with every word I put on paper, I would ask the question, to edit or not to edit. It just kept throbbing in my head, after a while I decided not to write for a few days.

Days turned into one week, one week into another one and on and on, still the question kept on running laps in my head. Finally I decided to go for it and I started editing my very first story.
I'm sure now it's the right thing to do, else I would have kept writing till I've finished a hundred first drafts and would have no book to show for.

First thing I noticed while editing was that it's difficult to do, still I'm glad I'm doing it myself. Would I pay someone to do it for me it would set me back a lot of money, money I don't have.

I have to say my very first draft is bad. I have said this before, but it's really bad, so bad it requires repeating, it's bad. Every line I went over I had to change or add something.

For the first 10k words, I had to add a lot of missing words. Doing so, I increased my word count by 2k.

The next 10k words, I noticed I did in fact have fewer missing words, this is evidence that I did improve a little. It made me a little giddy, not for long though, because I noticed another amateur mistake I made, I used too much explaining and describing.

I actually wrote a bit describing how my main character walked to a door, turned the knob, opened the door and passed through it into the other room, grabbed the door knob and closed the door behind him. A simple he opened the door would have sufficed.
There were many more examples like this, I had to scrap many sentences and my manuscript lost weight, 3k words in weight.

From there on till to where I am now, I came to the part in the story with more than three characters in the same scenes. Here I noticed that I started doing another newbie mistake, head hopping.
One should be very careful with a constant changing POV, a reader may get disorientated reading and the writer also could while writing. I had to fix this and it took a lot of time and brain power. (I'm depleted right now.)

I'm glad I'm able to notice these mistakes, this is partly due to gained experience and by reading 'How To' books. This makes my writing much better than it used to be.

The editing in itself is a learning moment. I'm going slow now, but with experience I hope to become faster and able to spot more mistakes. A boon with gaining experience is that I'll make less mistakes while writing and will require less editing. (or that I hope.)

I said it before and I'll say it again, I'm happy with my choice. That what I've edited, read much better and I can honestly say it's not bad anymore.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Looking back at my first...

My current work in progress is the third book of a series. Me and my unreliable memory, forgot a surname of a character (not the main)I had to look for it in book 1 of the series.

I couldn't help my self reading part of the story while searching for the name. To my horror I noticed how bad my writing was, It's atrocious compared to how I write now and my current writing itself is a horror.

Still it made me feel good, at least I have some evidence now that I'm showing some progress, but it also made me feel anxious. Anxious about all the work I still had to do before I'm able to publish my work. I have to become much more skilled before I can do that.

I want my work to be good before I put it out for sale. I'm not a perfectionist(at least I think I'm not one...or I believe I'm not one), I don't seek the perfect book, but I do want one that's of a good enough quality that will do justice to the story.

I believe that to have a successful writing career the writing needs to be qualitatively good and the story should be great. As a writer you want your possible readers to lose themselves in your story and you want to avoid that bad grammar and spelling will yank them out of it.

Satisfied readers are those that will buy your next book and will talk about you and your books to their colleagues, friends and family. I really think the best marketing is done by them, the horde satisfied readers one hopes to get, their excitement will nudge the want into others.

I'm looking forward for the time I'll have my work out there in the wild for the first time, I'm yearning to make the first sale, but most of all I'm anxious to be able to deliver quality work in time.

The time I refer to is the moment before e-books will peak in popularity. The time we live in is an exciting time for (self)publishing, it's the moment you can go with the first few waves into a new era. After this peak you will only be one of the many that will follow instead of those that led the way to greatness. I do not want to be the one that follows, picking up the scrapings left by those that came before.

The feeling that I might miss out knots my stomach in a painful clinch. This uncomfortable feeling is a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it drives me to work hard and harder, to keep trying no matter what. It's a curse in that I can see my own shortcomings and that puts me at times in a very blue mood.

I'll keep struggling with the words and my stories and they themselves are in my mind struggling for their time to come out and be written and with my hand yet too slow to write fast and well, those stories have a long time waiting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


This week I've been writing between 500-1000 words a day. I'm now 6400 words into my new WIP. My own deadline is set for 22 November 2010, that's 72 days left for me to finish.

I'll have to churn out about 1k words a day, which is certainly possible. The problem is that I am a slow typist, my max speed being 40 words per minute.

I write(When I write) two hours daily, in an ideal situation I should be able to write 4800 words daily at my slow 40wpm max speed. In practice(Harsh reality) I manage only about 1000 max a day, that's about 8wpm typing, even my longhand is faster.

I used to write longhand and indeed I wrote about twice the speed I'm doing now typing. So why did I stop writing longhand? It's because once I finish a first draft I still had to type the text over on my computer at a whopping 8wpm.

The reason my typing goes that slow is because besides thinking about what to write, I've to watch my keyboard from time to time to be able to type correctly. I cant type as I wish with my eyes glued to the screen.

So I'll do the thing I've dreaded a long time to do, I'll pick up my typing training where I left it off, twenty yeas ago at chapter one. I hope within weeks to be typing 120 wpm, 14400 words every two hours. I'll be a speed demon writer, leaving every other writer coughing in my dust while writing one book a week.

Okay, maybe that won't happen. I'll be glad if my current max becomes my new average, typing 40 wpm consistently will do, a possible 4800 words every two hours. It would make it possible to have a first draft finished within a month, that would be great.

The need for speed is ever present, so if you're like me, a slow typist, it may be a good idea to take some typing lessons.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The cruel slow death of my...

...trustworthy companion and helper, my computer.

I still remember the day I put it together. About three years ago I bought the parts at a computer shop in another city, a city that happens to be my brother's. (He lives there, but he does not own it, it would be cool if he did.)
Hence being efficient as I am (at times)I also planned to visit him

Doing so I knocked on his door, upon him opening I gave my greetings and I installed my butt in his living room and there I assembled my computer. Finished assembling I pressed the power button and electronic life coursed through it's circuits. Oh I was happy. I finally had a powerhouse of a machine, with which I could do my work more efficiently.

Eager to play with my new machine I placed it in my cars trunk and drove back home, leaving my brother standing in the dust waving goodbye. Well okay, I did not leave immediately after, in no way did I only use my brother's living room as my personal assembling line. I also played with his many Katanas. (He is an second Dan Iaidoka.)

Every time I visit him I feel the urge to touch his swords. He gave me his practice iato to shut me up about asking to give me one of his Katanas. I still want a Katana, I love the iaito but it's not an Katana.

That day I also didn't break any of his stuff, it was a healing and creating day. I got to see my brother and gotten a new computer, a good day. Did I say I did not break anything that day? I did not break anything.

After a long drive that seemed to last an eternity, must have been my excitement slowing time, I arrived home. I don't remember kissing my wife upon arriving, the probability being high I immediately went upstairs and connected the computer.

I turned it on, installed the Operating System, installed the drivers, then it went wrong. My OS (Operating System) did not support the drivers for the wireless network adapter. (Or was it the other way around? I can't remember.) I had to go downstairs on my wife's laptop to search online for a solution. (I think I might have kissed my wife then.)

After hours browsing the net I found the driver on some Chinese website. I had some language problem selecting the right download, but I finally succeeded downloading it. I went on installing said drivers and it worked and it worked for about 45 minutes and for it to work again I had to reboot my system each and every time. The next day I bought a new Wireless Network Card, one that was compatible with my OS off-course.

Now on this day after many years of service I have to accept that my computer is slowly decaying and I've to start thinking about buying a new one. The problem with it is I can't run any tasking applications (Games), for when I do so it will just shut itself off. I suspect the graphic card or CPU overheating quicker than supposed, probably cause of wear. As a work around I used to open the window to keep my system cool, but that does not help anymore.

I think my computer might have about 6 months to go before expiring. I can live without using tasking applications, but I can't live with not using the word processor. I really don't know what to do without, how will I put my longhand to bits?

I ask my self many times during the day: Why off all thing is it my computer that is slowly decaying to a death-state while I still have so many writing to do and for the worse on a moment I do not have a budget for a new one.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Missing Words

I had a bout of over confidence, this happens to me from time to time, although my wife would say it happens every time. I was very confident that I would finish revising my "Chick" story by Monday so my wife could start proofreading. Turns out I just finished today.

While revising these last few days I found more errors I thought I could have since the last time I revised. Corrections I made were:

* I added a few words and sentences to make things more understandable.
* I merged some sentences together because alone they seemed too much alike.
* I deleted a few sentences because they made no sense.

It was much more work I had expected I needed to do.

There's one thing I noticed yet again in my writing. While writing sometimes my fingers can't keep up with my thoughts. My brain will register some words as already typed, resulting that I omit them. While revising I notice these words are nowhere to be seen.

I do believe I'm not the only person with this problem or I better say I hope I am not the only one. If there are more we could start a support group, so we end up doing our best for these words we neglect to type. We should give them their worth and add them to paper, they deserve to be immortalized just as the other words that make our story.

I do really hope that this time I have put all the words in that needs to be in my story. After my wife proofreads my manuscript I know that she will put a sea of red on the paper for me to correct. In this I hope there are no missing words, because I've done my best to detect them all. If it happens I have forgotten one, I hereby apologize to said word.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

After a long day work

I've been revising the "Chick" story. (It's about a ravenous little chicken)

I corrected a many spelling and syntax error, I can now honestly say it reads much better. Story wise I added a little here and there making it a bit more fleshed out and the story now flows a bit better.

The story is now ready for my wife to proof read and detect the missed spelling and syntax errors. After she is finished I will go over the work once more, before I allow my daughter to read it.

In the meantime I had planned to continue writing a short story for a contest, but I noticed I am past the admission date. I may still finish the story later and try get it published. I really feel bad forgetting about the due date, it should not have happened.

Besides the short story I will continue with another story I started writing during my vacation time. I got the first chapter finished and it's begging me to finish the rest. If I keep my current writing speed and actually write every day, I will have a first draft finished by November 22nd. I work best if I put a deadline out for my self, off course this only works as long I remember the deadline.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Me, my car and my wandering mind

I want to start with telling that yesterday I finished typing my "Chick" (A little chicken not a little woman) story. Besides typing I had also done some rewriting including corrections, it was ready for my beloved wife start proofreading.

I said "...was ready...", because now I don't feel it's ready anymore. What happened? Me and my mind happened. I sometimes have moments I get lost in my mind while driving to work and back. In those moments I think and fantasize about a lot of things, including about stories I am writing or plan to write. Sometimes I have whole dialogs happening in my head, stuff I often put on paper later.

Today it happened again, this time I thought about many things. I began thinking about my doubts if the "Chick" story was suitable for kids and if so for what age. After concluding I still had no answer, I thought about some other story in my head about a Vampire and a Werewolf and sixteen year old maidens. A story I intend to write in the near future. My mind being a jumble as it is went from thinking about that story back to the "Chick" story.

I thought that in my current story the "Chick" is a total evil creature with no redeeming qualities, just pure evil. I thought that's not the way the story is supposed to be. Indeed he needs to be a monster but not by free will, at least not in the beginning. I got a picture of a scene in my mind and almost simultaneously the story of the sequel loomed in my head.

After my mind wandering moment passed I made an earnest attempt to singalong with the music playing out my radio speakers. My singing is horrible, it really is, believe me you would not want to hear me, though horrible it may be I love to sing in the privacy of my car.

Once at home sitting at my desk while searching for information online about publishers, the idea my story was not complete kept gnawing on me. I realized at that moment, that the story was not ready yet to be published, that I should rewrite it and make it be what it's supposed to be. I'm certain the story will be better after doing so.

This decision jumbled up my planning for this year, I'll have to make do.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I finished the first draft of a children book I'm writing. I'm now busy typing it from longhand onto digital file.

My typing speed is deplorable compared to my longhand, my longhand skill is as bad as my typing. I'm going at a crawl having to figure out what I wrote, fix the errors within and do a bit of rewriting at the same time.

I've always found editing to be boring I much prefer creating and fantasizing new stories. Writing a new story flows more easier and faster than correcting and fixing it. One day in the future, I hope a near one, I will improve my writing in such a way that I need less fixing. It would be a great day however that day isn't today.

I'm now struggling and crawling at it, thank God it is just about 15k words that I need typed and corrected and I'm midways. After finishing I will do another round of correcting.

The children story is written in Dutch. My wife having excellent dutch grammar and spelling will churn out the last mistakes. I'm very optimistic she will do so because she is great and smart, she can do everything, even fixing all my horrendous errors and bad writing. (I'm sucking up to my wife so she does the work, please don't tell her.)

English is not my native language, still my grammar and spelling is much better than my Dutch. I've noticed the way I write Dutch sometimes it is a direct translation from English. It makes it a bit more difficult for me to write and it's weird.

In my daily life I talk more Dutch than English, though I write and read more English than Dutch. From time to time I also talk, read and listen in many other languages. I am afraid that because of the multitude of languages I was/am exposed to, that I've lost having a native tongue. (or I just suck at all languages)

I used to think in just one language, though a few years ago I noticed I stop doing that. When writing I now think in English, when at work I think in Dutch, when at home it's a mix of a plethora of languages but mainly Dutch, sometimes for odd reasons I even exclaim some French. My French skill being the worst, I've gotten many a mean look the few times I tried talk to a Parisian. It's a beautiful language but oh so difficult for me to learn. (nah reality is I've become too lazy to learn proper French.)

My point is that I am a jack of all trades and master of none in languages and actually in everything I do. I may be good and maybe even great in most things I do, but I will never reach that point I can call myself a master. This could possibly make writing a bit more difficult for me.

Writing is hard and often times difficult work, but I know from experience that if I make the effort my work will be good to great. I may sound arrogant, but it's just my experience with knowing myself. I am above average in anything I do and when I put some effort in it I may be good to great. (Maybe it's indeed arrogance.)

About the children book, it's about a chick born from within a black egg. He's born with a never satisfied hunger, he wants to eat and eat and eat. A children horror story about a chick and his food, with toned down violence and gore. I'm not even sure about the age group it would fall into, I suspect it to be between 8-10.

I started writing the story at request of my daughter. Being the kind dad that I am, I complied. When finished I'll try get it published. I even might do a sequel and an English translation.

Besides writing for my daughter I started with another story. I just finished the first chapter last weekend. Like I previously said editing is boring so I need the diversion of creating. If all goes well this year I may finish the first draft of the new story by years end.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My neglect

I've neglected this blog for almost a month now. Not long after my last post before this one, I finished the first draft of my second manuscript and started on a third manuscript.

My time in June and July I spend watching the world cup 2010 in South Africa and working on my front yard. By the way the world cup final was the most horrendous match I ever saw and Spain won.

I chopped down and uprooted a dying tree that stood on my front yard. I do not like ending a life be it an animal, insect or plant, it felt like chipping off a the innocence from my soul with every chop I dealt to the tree. (I may be over dramatizing.)The tree was down within a hour the uprooting took more time.

To get the root out required a lot of digging and chopping and yet more digging and much more chopping, on and on till my shovel broke. Lucky for me I was almost finished, the last bit I did bare handed, it took me about two hours to get the root out the ground.

A few weeks after I planted some buxus at the border of my front yard. It's still a work in progress just the start of something that one day will be beautiful the same like the stories I try to put on paper.

Besides watching sport and trying my hand at gardening I've been writing, albeit less frequent. I am finishing a children story at the time, I've just got a few chapters left. I put a deadline for myself for august 17th and I'm well within my schedule.

I've taken two weeks off work, my free time I'll use to garden, spend time with my family and write.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What does "Alpha Protocol" have to do with writing

What does "Alpha Protocol" have to do with writing?

What is "Alpha Protocol", well it's a PC game off course. I myself am an avid gamer (though the eight hour long game sessions are long gone now)I love to play computer games, Alpha Protocol being the latest I played till it's finish.

I loved playing it despite it's many technical shortcomings. The game has some jerky mouse movements bug(Hope they patched it), making it at times frustrating especially in tense moments full of action. Besides that, it has some problem with glitching and the occasional getting stuck through a crate or wall. The AI is stupid at times , though in my play session it was more often okay to good. Not many shooter based games exist where the enemy succeeds in flanking me, here it happened a lot, so I guess the AI mileage may vary per session played. (I suspect that when the system is low on resources it kind of ease on the AI.)

Now the good. The game has an interesting, intriguing story that may very well suck you in, I fell victim to it's mesmerizing call. What I love is that your own actions or lack of affects the way the story progresses and the ending of the game. The dialog you chose may affect how the characters relate to you and by that open/close up other possible options, that's why game played a second time may be much different than the first time played.

The game-play itself is above average. It being an RPG/TPS the action, at start, is not as smooth as an FPS, though the higher you level up the closer it gets to that level of game-play. What I like is that there are many way you can do the missions, you can opt for stealth or Rambo your way through or use a combination.

Now back to the question about what does it have to do with writing. The game is based around a story, being that the story is the focal point, makes the game more like an interactive book where Instead of reading you play it.

It's well written, I loved the story more than the game-play, if not for the story I would not have finished it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Update Week 24

Week 24 I spend my time working, eating, writing, watching football (soccer) and sleeping. I am near to finish my draft and that excites me.

This week results:

Monday 1164 words
Tuesday 720 words
Wednesday 1704 words
Thursday 1888 words
Friday 1909 words
Saturday 2031 words
Sunday 978 words

Total:10394 words

It's been a great week for the work done on my WIP. I've to say I could have done more. Tuesday I had to work overtime at my job, hence I wrote less. Sunday I decided to take a bit more time off, because it was Fathers-day.

Father-day was great, my children made me breakfast on bed. They gave me presents they made at school, I think these are best presents one could get. Everybody can buy something out of a store, but something self-made you know the person put love, effort, creativity and time into it.

I had a very productive week, I'm not sure I will be able to repeat the effort this week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Update WIP Week 23

My progress this week had been a bit better than the last one. I've done my best to write more frequent and pushed myself to write the words needed.

Here's the result:

Monday 1226 words
Tuesday 0 words
Wednesday 1322 words
Thursday 1173 words
Friday 925 words
Saturday 1093 words
Sunday 1679 words

Total: 7418 words

It could have been much better if I had written Tuesday. This time it was not completely my own fault. I had the full intention to write that day, but something did happen. On my way home from work there was a traffic jam caused by an car accident, so a one hour trip turned out to be a three hour trip. I came home late, I ate diner and immediately helped the kids to bed.

The kids asleep at eight o'clock, I wanted to spend some quality time with my wife so we took place in front of the television and popped in a movie. The movie ending at about ten, this being still early for me, I intended to write before turning in.

Watching the movie my wife fell asleep, after this fact I deliberated with my self if I kept watching or started writing. In my endless debate with myself about what I should do, I myself fell asleep. So hence no words written on Tuesday, Tuesday being a tiring bad day for me.

I guess we all will have our bad and good days in writing, when despite all our genuine good intentions all goes bad. Though I have to say this week was a good one for my writing despite that one bad day. For the coming week I hope to do as much or more. (And try to write every day.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update WIP

Hereby a quick update of my progress last week. (This time really a short update.)

Monday 767 words
Tuesday 1029 words
Wednesday 566 words
Tuesday 27 words
Friday unknown amount of words, I lost the paper I wrote on.
Saturday 0 words
Sunday 1426 words

Total: 3815 words

I tried writing everyday even if just a few words, still I managed not to write on Saturday. I wrote most days albeit not much, still I'm disappointed.

It may seem I am hard on myself but I need to be. To write regularly I need to learn the discipline to do so. Learning this can only be by doing it. Every time I fail to write one day, it's something that will hold my progress back.

These little dips make it much easier to slack, by slacking I am producing less words a week each week. This week I'll try to regain some momentum, despite having also missed one day writing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Others critiquing you work

Eventually we might allow someone to read our work. My wife reads mine and she says she likes it except my over use of the word "Towards" in my very first written draft. I think so far all my unedited work is crap, I tell her that and she always says, "No your work is GOOD!"(Love talks)

When we allow someone to read our work they might like or dislike it. They may tell you the truth about how they liked it or they might lie to soften the truth. That's why all critique given you have to take it with a grain of salt. It's not wise to immediately change things on the suggestion of someone who read your work. There is only one that know how the story is to be told, that's the writer.

Even the best proofreader in the world may critique something in your story that you should not change. You should be critical, but not only on what's said but also on yourself. Hear them out with an open mind, think about what's being said and make your own conclusions. If you the writer feel they are right, change it, if not, keep it. In this you should be honest with yourself.

My wife told me I used the word "Towards" too many times, she still taunts me every time she hears the word while watching a movie or TV series. She was right about that. Then again she felt I used some curse words too much and it would be better if I toned it down taking into account it would sell better being clean of any nastiness. I told her "NO" there was a reason those words were used. She kept defending her point, I love her dearly but I put my foot down. I told her a writer is the one telling the story and if he feels that in the world he created one character needs to curse, that character will curse.

I could have changed it how she wanted, but then the story would not be the one I had in my mind. There will always be people that will not like your work and some that does. Almost everybody will find a word,sentence, scene, paragraph, chapter they did not like. You can't please everybody and you should not even try to. If you can change one thing to appease someone, you may loose that one thing which could make your story great.

There are exceptions: If an editor asks you to change something you probably should to do so, that is if they bought your book or are about to do so. Taking into consideration that it is not in their interest to gut your work and them having the experience with selling books.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A slow weekend

Hereby a quick update of my progress last week.

Monday 2234 words
Tuesday 1203 words
Wednesday 849 words
Thursday 716 words
Friday 649 words
Saturday 0 words
Sunday 0 words

Total 5651 words

Monday started well enough, being a holiday day I had the day off and I happened to have more time for myself. The weekdays I was busy with preparations for my daughters birthday party, she became eight on Tuesday and on Friday we had her party. (Friday also being the day I attempted to skateboard.) Being busy, I wrote less.

The weekend I spend my time with my family and I did no writing. I should have and now I feel bad I didn't. It's best to write every day even if it's just one sentence, because if you don't the next day might be more difficult to start writing.

There are days, weeks, months sometimes years we may not write for X reasons, but if you want to be a writer is that a valid excuse? Is it okay to not write for a time knowing that it will make it more difficult to pick it up again? Is there really an excuse not to write, because even if your hands are chopped off you still can type with your nose.

I guess it all depends on the circumstances. I had times I did not write for weeks and started again with fresh new ideas and a better grasp with how to progress the story, then again other times I had difficulty starting up and pick up the flow.

Now I am trying to stay into the flow because too many pauses, like last weekend, will slow me down. The more I write the better I become and what is almost as important I get to finish my stories. I got many more stories I want to write and they are bubbling like the gas in a shaken soda bottle to burst out. It would be a shame not giving them the chance to be put on paper.

I feel speed is essential in writing, because the more stories you complete the more you can sell as to one day make a living writing novels. To do so you at least must produce enough to earn enough. Not all writers will write that one book that will sell millions, most will have to do with less sales per book.

By completing more than one book a year and selling them will net you more income. For example, if you produce only one book every one or two years you probably will not make enough to earn a living, but by producing three or more a year you will increase your chances of making more and be able to live off it.

Once more I could not help trail off a bit, next week I hope to produce more words and be closer to finishing the first draft. At the moment for my WIP I have written a total of 47998 words, about 32000 words to go. (Maybe less)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What does skateboarding have to do with writing?

What does skateboarding got to do with writing? You would think not much, but yesterday I learned that it has somethings in common with writing. I tend to do things, to my wife's dismay, most people my age would not think to do. Sometimes I am just so focused on doing something, that I forget (more I do not care) what people might think or not think.

Yesterday we had our daughters eight year birthday party, my house was crazy full with kids a total of eight including my own, to me it seemed like thirty kids. After the kids went on to their home leaving us tired and spend (babysitting is a hard job), family showed up.

First to arrive was a young nephew of my wife, he brought a skateboard with him. My daughter immediately wanted to try it out, outside he showed her how to skateboard, but after a while they started playing tag. A skater boy running after my kids leaving his skateboard unguarded.

Too tired to join in on the tag game, I stared at the skate board. It compelled me to come an try it out. I thought about my old bones and muscles, breaking and tearing leaving me a mess of a man. I though to be too damn old for this sheet. Having difficulty listening to reason, even my own, I gave in to the skateboard's compelling call.

I stood on it and I was happy, I did not fall. I wiggled a bit on it, still not falling. I though, hey lets try it like that wave board I saw on television, that did obviously not work, still I did not fall down and break something. So i tried instead of moving side ways to push forward standing on the skate board. I went forward a little and still standing, my ego grew a bit I thought it could not be so hard.

Remembering the instructions my daughter previously got I tried them out. One foot on board and step with the other, that did not go that well, few times the skateboard went forward or backwards while I stayed behind other times the reverse happened. Have to say may ego got put back in check.

Not giving up easily once started, I kept at it and lo and behold I managed to step and mount that board and keep standing. Next I tried two consecutive steps and after trying and once falling I succeeded at that. Soon enough I could skateboard a bit up and down. I showed my wife my technique, she smiled and cheered amazed at my skill or craziness or both.

Now back to the question, what does skateboarding have to do with writing. To me it means you should be willing to try new thing no matter how weird or different it may seem to you or others and as in almost everything to be able to do something you need to keep trying and not giving up till you succeed.

No one will be able to do anything unless one tries and keep at it, not even a genius. The more you practice the easier it will get. One should with all things in life, look for the next step in learning so to improve instead of stagnate on current knowledge. Never take granted what you have learned.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It's late night and after drinking a few glasses of cream sherry and watching the movie Kick-Ass, which was awesome, I thought about my progress so far. It's been a while I've posted anything significant about how I am doing writing wise concerning my projects.

These last few weeks had been slow, I indeed wrote just not on my WIP, I was busy posting on websites and sending many e-mails to my lovely wife. (Hey a man gets lonely when at work) I tend to send her one of those long e-mails, you know those 500 words ones, about daily stuff but it always ends up with me telling her about writing, boring her to dead with my passion. She is a great wife putting up with my craziness, I love her very much. (It's not just the alcohol talking, I really do.) Bottom line is my progress on my book had slowed down.

Monday I thought about maybe if I put a deadline for the first draft to be finished, that I would work harder. To make it sweeter for myself and entice myself to sit my butt on my chair and write my story instead of many other things, I made the promise that I would only game (another passion of mine) after at least having written one thousand words of story that day.

Well it worked, I started to write more regularly since then and what amazed me is that I managed to churn out more words a day than before.

This week I manged:

Monday 1645 words
Tuesday 1523 words
Wednesday 1211 words
Thursday 777 words
Friday 1242 words
Saturday 270 words
Sunday 1094 words

Total 7762

It could have been better if I had worked harder on Thursday and Saturday, still I am proud having written everyday and averaged more than a thousand words a day. I could improve on this and hope to do so soon.

I've also changed my way of writing. First I was a pure chronological writer, I wrote chapters in the way they would go. This time I jumped chapters and wrote them out of order. I noticed this helps when you are at a part that slows you down for whatever reason, by going forward in the story you may come up with the idea to connect the part you had difficulty with to where you jumped. Also jumping ahead you change pace,this can be exciting and eventually that will show in the writing.

This week I worked hard, made the effort and it was very rewarding. This coming week I'll try the same, if I keep writing like this I will succeed finishing the first draft before my deadline, 17 July.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Am I afraid of spiders? Not really, I am a big macho man, spiders don't phase me at all, really they don't. Well I do not touch them, I actually do not like to see them, whenever I see one I take a wide berth around them. The times(often) my wife wanted me to dispose of one, I would complain, complain and complain some more then after minutes of yet more complaining I would use a dustpan and brush to catch it and remove it. Maybe I am indeed afraid of spiders, am I?

Is the novel "Along came a spider" about spiders? No. So why do I start with fear for spiders? No reason at all, I just thought it would be a nice start. No hidden meaning, I am too simple for that, or am I?

About the book. I read it in a few days, I kept reading whenever I had a possible gap in time, lucky for me I had two weeks off, so time a plenty. It is a page turner.

The story is about a black detective, Alex Cross, investigating the kidnapping of two white upper class children from a highly exclusive private school. The kidnapping was done by Gary Soneji, a serial killer out for fame and a little fortune at the side.

The FBI with assistance secret agents leads the case, Alex Cross help in the case is requested on and off. There is more to the kidnapping that is evident from the start, at the end there are some refreshing but foreseeable twist in the story.

The story is told in first person when told from Alex Cross point of view, when a chapter is about another character it is told from the third person. It worked out well and I could see myself using the same technique in the future, it was good seeing a well done example.

The main character being black and the writer white posed some problems for some readers. I've read some reviews where some feel the dialog or mannerism depicted by the character Alex Cross sounded fake. I myself noticed some extra attention to blackness in Mr. Patterson's writing that needed not be there, but taking the whole story in account and it being fiction I did not see all that wrong with it. For example he mention at times, maybe too much, the color of characters and not only in describing, it's been done with a tad too much emphasis. Like I said these are details which I feel should not be taken into account into judging this book, again it's fiction.

One thing I notice while reading was the word "orangish" he mentioned it more than once. It's the word for the color between red and yellow, actually just orange would do. It's the first time in my life I saw this word, it stuck to me and I noticed it again and again, about six times. It irritated me, I do not know why but it just did.

I mention it because it is an example how a repeating word can affect a reader. A word that is strange to the person reading it, will be noticed more than a known word. A very common and known word such as "Said" will be noticed less than a not common word (in my case) "Orangish".
Imagine if this word had been repeated to dead instead of only about six times, what effect would it have had on me as a reader? I probably would have put the book down and not finished it. I am glad I now notice these things, it makes it that more clear to take care with how to write.

I liked "Along came a spider", it's a well written and entertaining novel. I recommend anyone who did not read it to try it out, the chance you will like it (if you like thrillers) is greater than that you would be put off by it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm going to read some fine books

For my birthday (April) I recieved a gift certificate from my employer. With it I bought these five books: "Along came a spider" by James Patterson; "Darkfall" by Dean Koontz; "Weaveworld" by Clive Barker; "The colour of magic" by Terry Pratchett and "I am legend" by Richard Matheson.

I just finished reading "Along came a spider" and "I am legend" and I am now reading "Darkfall".

"Along came a spider" is the first James Patterson novel I read. I knew him from his movie book adaptations. I liked his writing and I will elaborate on his book later this week with a mini review.

Last year I saw the movie "I am legend" starring Will Smith. I expected the novel to be along the same line as the movie, maybe few different details, but I was wrong! The movie was a bad adaptation of the book, unrelated except for the title. I liked the book better and I can recommend anybody that did not read the novel to read it, it's worth it.

I started reading "Darkfall" today, the story is about a detective investigating a string of gruesome murders done by supernatural creatures and as far I understand they operate in the shadows. The first pages are gripping, they sucked me in completely. I hope the quality at the start continues throughout the story till the end.

I chose to buy "Weaveworld" because I wanted to read one more Clive Barker book. It was an impulse buy. The story is about a magical world woven into a rug, I hope the story will be as interesting as it sounds. I plan to read this one after I'm finished with "Darkfall".

I heard about Terry Pratchett from acquaintances playing the Discworld computer games. They praised the novels and I planned to one day to read them, after about 10 years I finally decided to do just that.

It's been a while I read fiction. I've been busy writing my own stories and practicing my writing. By reading and paying a little more attention (reading more like a writer than a reader), I got a better feeling of the flow and the how the novel was written.

It's a more superficial knowledge gained than by copying the work. By copying you will absorb and notice much more about the written word. The drawback of copying by pen is that it takes a lot of time and it isn't that entertaining.

Reading and enjoying a story is much faster and can motivate your own urge to write. These last weeks reading more and writing less, my motivation to write had a significant boost.

Sometimes it is good to just unwind and read the stories of others.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What does a pizza have to do with writing

Look at this beautifully tasty Pizza, doesn't it make your mouth drool with the expectation of one bite of it's deliciousness?

It made my own, my wive, my mother and my son mouth drool. Only my daughter did not like it, she hates onions.

Her sour face broke my hart, this delicious thing I made with my very own hands and poured all my hart into it, she just flat out rejected it.

Same for writing a novel, you come up with a nice story write it down with all your skill while pouring your soul into it. Once finished you proudly show your new novel around and many will like it, but there will always be some that wont.

Sometimes those who say they like it will just say so because they love you, that is why sometimes it is good when someone says truthfully they did not like it and most importantly explain why they did not. This could be the feedback needed to improve your own work.

This was not the case with my Pizza, my Pizza was extremely delicious. It's just my daughter hates onions and she is very vocal about it. She told me; "Daddy next time do not put onions in your Pizza." I answered very kindly (Okay not very kindly); "No Pizza for you!"

As with writing one should be careful to judge the criticism. Some can be good, but you need to discern those that are more about taste than really something that you should work on. Take for example if you write horror and someone criticize your work cause there is no romance in it. Don't put romance in the story just because of some ones opinion if it does not add nothing to the story. Well maybe put some romance in but make it end gruesome, it's an horror after all.

About my Pizza picture. If you zoom in you are able to read a bit of my second novel, it is still a work in progress. I hope to finish it this year, along with my first one and a children book I promised my daughter I would write. (My onion hating daughter begged me to write one)

Friday, April 30, 2010

The horror of spelling and grammar

The horror of spelling and grammar, well in any case my spelling and grammar is a horror to be seen. I've to edit and edit before anything I write become less of a sore to the eyes. That's how I see it, though my wife would say I am over critical. (It's her Love talking.)

Though she has to admit I am partially right, being that she is my proofreader, she must have suffered a lot from my writing. For example she still taunts me with my overuse of the word "Towards" in my first finished manuscript.

Horror defined by a dictionary: An overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear: to shrink back from a mutilated corpse in horror.

Well I have to admit the more I write the better my spelling and grammar is becoming. Sometimes I can write a whole sentence without one misspelling or bad grammar. Copying over the work of better writers has payed of. My grammar is not an overwhelming and painful anymore, just painful.

Spelling and grammar for me is a daunting task, sometimes I shudder in fear with the thought of writing. My wife sometimes....actually all the times says I over dramatize. But hey, I am the one reading what I wrote first and I am first to edit my work, I suffer, I really do. Despite all that when I happen to edit my work to a higher level, I feel extremely satisfied.

I believe for many it is something we have to learn and surpass, not letting ourselves be overwhelmed by the task ahead. Despite our shortcomings we need to go forth and only by doing so will we surpass said shortcomings.

I may think my spelling and grammar may be horrible, but I also know yesterday it was worse. Progress be it step by step is what makes me go on writing. One day I hope to have surpassed my shortcomings and that day will be closer the day I publish my novel.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

In March I wrote about receiving two books, one about grammar and the other about editing. I finished reading "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" and as promised I would write a more in-depth review.

Before I start, first a bit about the authors.

Renni Browne: She used to be a senior editor for William Morrow and many other companies. In 1980 she left mainstream publishing to found the book-editing company The Editorial Department.

Dave King: He works as an independent editor at home and online at his website.

Now about the book; I want to start with saying I loved it and it helped me in better understand certain things.

The book has twelve chapters in total. I will not write about all the chapters but only those that had the most impact.

The first chapter is about "Show and Tell". Sample writings are used to explain how "Show and Tell" works. Everything is explained in a clear and understanding, easy to read way.

It helped me understand a concept of writing I knew a bit about it but could not place yet. I am confident now that I will be better in knowing how and when to show and tell. This chapter alone had enough value for me to justify buying this book.

Chapter three covers a subject many writers struggle with; "Point of View". In much the same way as the previous chapter and following ones, the subject is explained by example. To me this is a great way to open ones eyes about how things should be done.

This chapter taught me about how to better utilize POV and made it clear why not to ping pong switch the POV between characters. By showing how it's done, you get to see how much better and clear a story can be. It's easy to get lost while reading when the POV keep changing at random.

Chapter four "Proportion" describes why not everything should be written. Somethings are better left to the imagination of the reader. Too much explaining can slow down the pace and bore or frustrate a reader. E very important lesson.

I used to write too much detail about the goings of my main Character. While reading I kept thinking about my first manuscript and how many things I still needed to edit and I know now how I will improve my writing.

"Easy Beats" chapter eight showed the way to better add beats or omit them. Before I read this book I already recognized the need for beats. Though I already used beats I am still thankful to this chapter. I now know better the why and how to add them. This will make you book read much more flowing and when needed to slow down the pace.

The last chapter is about "Voice" It explains what voice is and that it will grow with practice. Before reading this chapter I have to admit I had no clear idea about voice. I always thought my voice was the way I write and surprisingly to myself that was in a sense correct. By having it explained to me, in the way this book has, I now feel more comfortable about the knowledge.

As I understood Voice is something that we writers develop with time, the more confident we become in our own ability the more clear our voice will be. It's okay to observe other writers voice but not to assimilate and try to make that voice our own, because that will only hurt our own writing. It's just better to let it become what it will become.

I have said before and will say again I am happy with this book and I believe it will help my writing and probably in those of others.

The chapters are clearly written with many samples, all is explained in an easy way to understand. At the end of each chapter there is checklist and Exercises.

The checklist is some questions about the subject at hand in combination with your own writing. This is an wonderful way for you to think about how you yourself write and by doing so making clear the mistakes you might make.

The exercises are sample text given, on which you must use the techniques taught in the chapter. The answers are at the back of the book. By doing them you remember better what was taught.

I think this book is a must have for those starting with writing and good buy for those of intermediate skills but not clear yet with all the techniques. For those with greater skill the book might not be of much use but for freshening up the subject.

I sincerely recommend this book.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What has swordfighting got to do with writing.

"The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Shoho, "The Way of The Living Sword" by Yagyu Munenori and "The Sword & The Mind" by Hiroaki Sato are books about the mind and sword-fighting.

I used to practice Kendo. Despite having stopped practicing, I haven't stopped practicing in my mind, I often think about Kendo and sword fighting in general.

I bought these books to gain more knowledge about the art of fighting and by that improving my skill in Kendo. Though it did much more for me.

Takuan Soho was a Zen Buddhist who advised many famous Japanese master swordsman like Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyu Munenori. In "The Unfettered Mind" he tries to apply Zen Buddhism to Martial Arts.

Yagyu Munenori was a master swordsman and daimyo (Feudal Lord) and founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū. "The Way of the Living Sword" is a study about the connection between martial arts and the mental process of Zen.

Hiroaki Sato is a Japanese poet and translator. "The Sword & The mind" is a translation of ideas and experience from these three sword masters, Hidetsuna, Muneyoshi, and Munenor.

The big question is what do these books have to do with writing, besides being beautiful pieces of written text.

Kendo changed, in great deal, how I think and deal with everyday problems. It was a life changing moment when a fellow Kendoka in full gear came charging at me and I felt my mind at peace and my hart without fear nor doubt and I charged head on.

I learned, when needed, to let go of fear and doubt. If you can't let go, the fear and doubt will paralyze you and you will suffer that what you fear, by moving forward you might escape the sad fate that awaits you.

To writing this translates into that however bleak the market can be and how challenging the task ahead may seem, if you keep doubting yourself and fear failing you will never take the steps needed to succeed.

Another lesson I took at hart is the way to become a master in your art. A beginner does yet not know the techniques of the art, he could have raw talent and make beautiful art yet there would be no form into it.

By practicing and learning the required techniques one sets a strong basis of knowledge but by being constrained by what one learned, loose the fluency and spontaneity of the beginner.

To become a master one would need to unlearn the rules and gain back the fluency and spontaneity of a beginner but unlike a beginner use the ability to steer ones talent.

In writing we should strife to get to that point where we do not need to think about the technique we use and write without the constraint of the rules we learned.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Practice by copying

Dean Koontz one of the great names in writing wrote Life Expectancy in 2004, I think I bought this book around 2006--I may already have said my memory is not all that great?--I loved the story and his writing.

I read it without expectations, it was a chance buy a gamble on my part because I did not know who Dean Koontz was at that time. Now I feel a bit stupid because he writes in the genre I like to read, so missing a author like him is something to be ashamed off.

The story and writing in itself will not please or entertain everybody, for those used to Mr. Koontz writing can compare to his other books and deem this one, one of the lesser. For me it was my first and I liked it.

If you look at the picture I guess you noticed the wear on my copy. After I finished reading it, my wife , who doesn't read much, flipped through it on a chance occasion and got hooked. It's the first time I saw her actually read.

She told a nephew of hers about this book and he came visit one day and borrowed it--My wife had not yet finished reading--after a few weeks or be it months he returned it. By that time the book was well read and to make matters worse we lost it.

On one of the many cleaning sessions we finally found it, tucked away somewhere . My wife wants to finish reading it, but at present time can't make time for it in the meantime I use it for practice.

When I start writing about something I like, I tend to go on and on about the subject. What I want to tell about, beside loving Life Expectancy, is that a way to practice ones skill in writing is by copying the work of a successful author.

By writing down the finalized words, sentences, paragraphs of a published book, you will get a better picture of how and why certain sentences are written. You get many examples how things can be done or can go wrong. You even may find errors kept in the book after editing, showing that even the great authors and their army of editors can leave one or more mistakes in.

Many people now a days only type, we tend not to practice our hand writing skill. By writing with ink and paper we train our softer motor skills and stimulate our brain. I hope that soon my hand will get used to it and stops aching after a few lines of text.

By coping the whole book one can learn the flow of another writer and hopefully integrate some of it into ones own writing.

At the moment I am copying Life Expectancy (By hand) and The gunslinger (By typing). So far I improved my spelling and to better structure my sentences, but I still am not there yet. By keep practicing I hope to improve in the long run.

We each can learn from those whose skill are farther than our own, and they themselves should keep learning cause even in those who know less there is some lessons to be had.

Disclaimer: All copies made by me will be discarded after finished practicing .

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Books, books, I ordered some Books and recieved them!

I came home from work after a long drive and lo and behold, on the table stood a package waiting for me. I felt giddy inside, I did not expect the package to arrive so soon, being I placed the order just a week ago. I hastily opened the package and saw my new books, I contained myself making the new book dance. (My wife suffered a lot of my dancing already.)

I bought "Practical English Usage" and "Self-Editing for fiction writers" from Amzaon. Enthusiastic I searched for my digital camera and made a picture.

The book "Practical English Usage" I came upon by searching for a grammar book on Amazon. It's a book aimed at non native English writers, I fit the bill here, on that and the good reviews it received, I bought it . I browsed through it and the content shows promise, I am exited to delve a bit more into the subject.

"Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" was recommended on the forums of the website "Absolute Write". On basis of good advice given on this forum, I bought it. I read part of the first chapter "Show and Tell" and I have to say, it's clear on the subject, explaining with examples.

I am exited to read both books, when I finish reading them, I will explain in depth about the contents and what I got out of it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Work in progress (Week 11)

Last week was a slow one, this week was slower. Much and much slower. Over the span of 7 days I wrote 1119 words. Book 2 stands now at 20381 words. Obviously I did not progress much this week.

It is not, that I have not been writing. I wrote a lot just not on my second book. My story wants to flow out, but my discipline lacks the energy to guide the words out.

Having a full time job and a family with kids makes it difficult to write, add some external problems and it becomes hard to get into the flow of writing. I have collected my thoughts and freed myself from some of my worries. I will try my best for next week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My repeating word is 'Towards'

Oh my bane, the word I have repeated on and on in my first books draft. Contemplating an online dictionary I got the following description:

–preposition Also, to·wards.
1. in the direction of: to walk toward the river.
2. with a view to obtaining or having; for: They're saving money toward a new house.
3. in the area or vicinity of; near: Our cabin is toward the top of the hill.
4. turned to; facing: Her back was toward me.
5. shortly before; close to: toward midnight.
6. as a help or contribution to: to give money toward a person's expenses.
7. with respect to; as regards: his attitude toward women.

8.about to come soon; imminent.
9.going on; in progress; afoot: There is work toward.
10.propitious; favorable.
a.promising or apt, as a student.
b.compliant; docile.

A word one can use for many a thing. A word I used too much. So much as that it started irritating me. So much that my wife, who is proofreading my first book, teases me with the word.
I am at a point I think about three or more times, before I put the word on paper.

What is the point I am making? The point is, when writing, you should not overuse one word. The name of the characters being frequently used is acceptable, but not any other word. My use of "Towards" was so frequent, that soon it would be irritating to a reader. Irritate a reader and said reader will put your book down and may never buy another book of yours again.

In my opinion this is a lesson to be learned as soon as possible. Writing my first manuscript I knew beforehand, about the wrongs of repeating words, yet I still made the mistake. For many writing you notice the fault less than a another person reading it. It is essential for a writer to check for such words.

Like I already mentioned (and could not mention enough) repeating words can be killing for your book. The story can be the story of the century, the prose near perfect but for that one repeating word and the reader will throw your book in a corner and curse you for branding that one word in their mind for ever. As a writer, you would not want that. In any case, I sure wouldn't want a reader to see my name and the only thought in the readers mind would be "Towards."

There are tools out online, one can get to help analyze your text for repeating words. Searching on google I found one called Textanz. There are many of these kind of tools which can help us find these words. Check your work regulary for repeating words.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Advice to someone who wants to write.

Today through Face book, I received a message from one of my added friends. She send me greetings and told me a bit about herself. She had a desire to write but so far she had put it off. I recognized a bit of myself in that. I also had put myself off from writing, it took me a long time before I started.

I told her a bit about my progress so far in writing my work in progress. If you read my previous post, you know it is going slower than I planned. Still I try to write everyday. Today I managed a mere 200 words, still better than zero, it does make me feel less bad. Even if I go slow eventually it will get finished.

Knowing how it feels wanting to write but not doing it, I could not help myself but give her some advice. My advice I was:
  • If you really desire to write, to just start doing it. To start today, even if it's just the title and one sentence.
  • To figure out which story she wishes to write.
  • To not expect the first draft to be any good.
  • To start writing a second book when finished with the first.
  • By writing more, your skill and experience increases.
  • After finishing the second book to use the experience gained to rewrite the first.
The thing is, if you want to write a book, you should start doing so. If you keep putting it off, you will never finish one. You will go in life questioning yourself "What if". Not knowing will surely leave a sad spot behind.

I hope my advice gets her to start writing. Also for anybody who wants to write, but has not yet started, if this advice resonates with your feelings, I hope it may aid you in writing and to keep writing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Work in progress

This week had been a slow one for me. I have not been writing regularly, because of some personal issues .

Last Saturday I left my work in progress (Book 2) at 16136 word count. I intended to write 7k more this week, however I did not make my target. Today my count stands at 19262 words, 3126 words written. I am almost 4k behind my planned schedule. Will I still catch up before this week? I don't think so. For next week I will set my target again at 7k words and this time I'll try my best to complete it.

I want to get some discipline in my writing. The more and often I write, the better I will become. Also I will have to practice more and seek avenues in improving my grammar. I plan to buy these books "Chicago Manual of Style" , "English Grammar for ESL Learners" , "Practical English Usage" and "A Practical English Grammar". I'll use them to hone my skill to that of sculptor of words.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writer' s Block

Oh the dreaded two words of that thing, that happen to almost all writers. Don't we have this happen to all of us? Don't we all who write, be it just a grocery list, had a moment where we just did not know how to put words on paper?

Wikipedia tells me that a writer's block is a condition in which a writer loses the ability to write. Wikipedia explains it all, actually the one person, that posted the info on Wikipedia did. We all who had it in some extend, know how it feels. For me it is sitting in front off the screen, looking at the empty white and not be able to allow my fingers to do their magic on the keyboard. Often my right hand deviates to the mouse and clickety-click I am on one or other site reading instead of writing. After a while I feel bad and I go back staring at my text editor, the blank space begging me to fill it with words. Demanding me to create and put on paper; the worlds, characters, dialog and occasional murderous monsters that dwell in my mind.

Despite the immense desire to write, at that exact moment I just do not know how to. At times the thoughts race through my head incoherent, which should be first and in what order, other times it is just a white noise in my head. The time ticks away and with each consecutive tick my window to write narrows down. Time is not your friend in those times. I then stress to put something on paper to progress my book, to finish it. This feeling for me only increases the block. Sometimes I near despair and feel a knot in my stomach which grows bigger and bigger, expanding till I may explode.

Well I have to say, it sound worse than it really is for me. I may have writer's block from time to time, but it does not last a long period. I am in a way lucky. I heard that for some writers it can last ages and can ruin their careers. I can imagine that being possible. The little taste I get from time to time, is intense and I do not want to imagine how it would be if it went on for days. I am not sure I could handle that. I had times I did not write for weeks even months but never cause of a block. Those times it would be because of work or issues I had to deal with, which ate all my precious time. That's also frustrating, but it's different. The idea of every day trying to write but not being able scares me. I am glad it does not happen to me for days. (knock on wood) The hours I battle with not writing is anguish enough.

Before writing this piece I had one of those mini blocks. I sat in front of my screen, ready to start on this blog post. It was eight in the evening. The kids were sleeping (still are) and my wife went to bed early. I had all the silence I desired and nobody who would bother me for my attention. Still I stared at the screen, the feelings I described, I felt them all for one whole hour. Not a single word in that hour. I went to a forum I frequent to distract myself and try post something to get myself going, I could not. Nothing came to me, just a blank mind, ideas coming to it's border and just disappearing when touched by the blankness.

How did I deal with it today? I stood up and walked upstairs to my bedroom (the attic). I went to my sleeping wife (actually she was awake but I did not know yet) I hugged and kissed her and she giggled. She asked me if I was in a writing flow. I muttered something about a writer block and went back down. Again in front of an empty screen. I just started to write, starting with the title: Writer' s Block.

How do I normally deal with it? After going to the motions, I just decide to write anything. I force my fingers to type the words, all be it the 'abc'. It takes some willpower to endure the bad feelings that comes up and to decide not to give a &^%$ if you write well, good or if it has anything to do with the story. I will just write and eventually I get back into the flow. Once back in the flow I correct the craziness I wrote and pick up where I left. Sometimes the craziness I write, at moments like this, is not all that bad and I keep it.

Every writer has their own way to deal with it and for those that don't maybe my way may could help. Put the care away and press the any key.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My First Blog

First I want to say Hello to everybody so:


My pen name is Al.X. Ross. I started writing in 2008, I do not remember the exact month. My first confession to you my reader is, I got a bad memory. After my little introduction I will tell a bit what this has to do with me and my writing.

I think, if my fragmented memory allows it, I started writing between October and December 2008. I was 30 years old at the time. The first time I thought about writing I was 16, while reading a Stephen King book "The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower. Book 1)". Before that, I had read a lot of books, but none in the English language. nor did anything I had read before sucked me in as this book had. Reading The Gunslinger, ignited deep within myself the desire to one day write an epic story.

It took me 14 years to use this desire. I held myself back with the thought it would be too difficult to write in English as it is not my native language. Also like a lot of people who want to do something creative, I was hindered by the question 'Do I have what it takes'. With age and wisdom I came to know myself better. I realized in all what we do, if you do not get to do it, you will not know if you can do it, be it well or bad. With this firmly put in my head and trying my best not to forget it (a huge challenge) I just started writing.

The words flew as fast I could type on my screen I had a story in my mind, which along the road changed and grew. I finished my first draft and while I am editing it, I am writing my second book.

I noticed in writing a story, with a span over more books, requires you to keep taps on what happened before, so your time line stays in sync. Me having a bad memory, I do remember what happened before but not exactly when. Writing just, a one book story, that would not be such a problem, but I plan to write a trilogy.

Now writing my second book, I notice sometimes I have to stop the flow of words created, to check if it keeps consistent with what happened within the first one. Like I forgot (I am very ashamed!) what was the surname of the character in the first book, who now is the main in the second (Did I say I was ashamed?). I told my wife and she rolled her eyes, or I imagined she did.

To make it more difficult for myself, the story (I did not decide it, it's a monster that flows by itself) in both books happens in the same time frame. Some characters in both stories meet, but in each book they have their own experience. For me it is a big challenge to keep it in sync, it scares me and excites me at the same time.

Besides writing, I am trying to better my grammar and writing skills, with exercises. For me there is a lot of work to do, and in this blog I want to share my progress in creating novels. New, exciting stories for people to read. Hopefully more than just me.