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)