Tag Archives: writing


Hands Typing Typewriter Ancient Retro Classic Keyboard I have just validated my novel. Yes 50,000 words written in a month. This is only the beginning of course and many cuts will have to be made – and maybe the story isn’t even any good.

Nevertheless a story exists now that did not before and now all that remains is to finish it… more words and edit; edit; edit.

After all as someone wise once said: ‘You can’t edit a blank page!’

Woo hoo!

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.


The picture here is from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nanowrimo 2017 – Half Way

pexels-photo-261510 It has been more than a fortnight since I last posted. That is because I have been working on Nanowrimo.

Juggling my writing, work, housework, and food is not easy. This is part of the reason the washing up has rather piled up in the last few days, why my flat is even more of a mess, and why I had a wired meal just now of: steak, a bell pepper, and Doritos. I have to leave for work in about an hour so I really should snap to it – by it I mean washing up – met writing target for today.

The novel is going well. One of the chapters is at nearly 15,000 words. For the finished piece I’ll have to edit it to at least seven chapters. The point is it is going well. That is due, in a large part, to drawing inspiration from my own life. Write what you know. Am I write?

I have a week off next week so the target will be reached. Here’s to the final push!

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.


The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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Nanowrimo – 2017

pexels-photo-261510 Nanowrimo is almost here. And once again I am going to attempt this rather difficult feat.

Last year I failed to meet the 50,000 word target. Also Thor, my laptop, died right near the end of it. I lost none of my work though as I have backups of everything.

I still haven’t finished that novel. I have several unfinished novels. I know that that isn’t good. I still enjoy the process of writing. Beginnings are always fun. In those moments you create a new world. After the first few chapters it is easy to become a little lost. It is like when playing with toy soldiers as a child: I’m not sure I ever did but it works for a metaphor. green plastic toy soldiers

When playing such games we imagine the great battle, the establishment of a beachhead, and the destruction of enemy forces.

We rarely play the aftermath. There are computer games for the Battle of Britain. They don’t make computer games where you have to work out the minutiae of the Paris peace treaties.

A novel is still a tall order but one I feel I will achieve some day.  The words ‘some day’ are a curse but there they are.

This year I am going to attempt something a little different. I won’t be working in my usual genera but in romance.

1280px-Narrowboats-at-tardebigge It will be about a lonely man who lives on a narrowboat and finds love. It is a story that has been brewing in my mind for a while.

I have no solid idea of exactly what is going to happen in the story but I am excited to see where it goes.

If you are attempting Nanowrimo this year I wish you the best of luck. See you on the other side.

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.


The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

The narrowboat picture is from: 

Norman Rogers

en:Narrowboats moored up near en:TardebiggeEngland.



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I’m Pretty Sure I Had an Idea a Second Ago

light-bulb-current-light-glow-40889 A few minutes ago I had an idea for this post. I know I know – it is not good to have two posts in a row that talk about ideas or lack of same.

Actually in general ideas are fairly easy to come by. I think if you’re serious about writing you will probably find this to be true. Of course having an idea, or a concept, is no guarantee of turning it into a workable story. Sometimes when writing I hit a brick wall pexels-photo-207142 with writing because I lack a certain piece of knowledge.  And finding out some information can be very difficult.

I’ll tell you one idea I had a while ago in a bit – but first let me destroy a concept that some people have. Giving a writer an idea does not mean you have done a significant part of the job. It is the tiniest part of the whole thing. For instance the concept of a TV series like ER or Casualty is quite straight  forward – the drama of hospitals – life or death – and the drama of the staff too. To write that? You have to lean so many details of diseases, treatments, and so on and so on.

When starting to think of a TV series I have heard two, in a broad generalisation, ways a show can be pitched. The first is to say that your idea is this meets that. Deep Space Nice could, arguably, be a western meets space opera. A workable metaphor. Sisko is the mayor, Odo the sheriff, Quark runs the saloon/brothel, you get the idea. The second way to pitch is the what if question. The TV series The Man in the High Castle, based on a book, is: ‘What if we last the war.’ It is a quick way to explain an idea.

So here’s my idea: What if a Roman Legion, or other primitive society, discovered advanced alien technology.    pexels-photo-339805

To me this idea has great potential. Romans were advanced for their time and it would be interesting to explore what they would do if the galaxy was opened up to them.

However to write this story would be so difficult. I know very little about Roman culture, tactics, cuisine, and so on. I think the Legate, in charge of the legion, discovered this technology he would probably use it to take over the Empire.

This could be an excellent story, if I do say so myself, but writing it might be beyond me.

Although, now that I think about it, maybe there is another way. Maybe I don’t have to be historically accurate. Maybe I could invent my own pre-industrial society and work with that – but an idea does not a story make.


I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.


The pictures here are from: https://www.pexels.com/

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17 Days

How is your year going?

For me, in those seventeen days, I have utterly failed to go to the gym. So that’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

Writing though is going well. My long worked on novel is finally all coming together. The key, it seems, was to have a narrator. She is able to pull the threads together and tell the story. Plus she can act as an author surrogate and speak in a more colloquial fashion.

Today is Sunday and I have the day off. Outside my window it’s so misty I can hardly see the tops of the mountains. It may be 1339 here but I haven’t been up long. Last night I didn’t sleep well and on waking it took a while to get out of bed.

This is ramble in case you hadn’t noticed.

I’ve set myself the task of reading 52 books this year. So far I’ve read: Gaslight Carnival, The Hobbit, and The Five Orange Pips. The Hobbit I actually listened to and the other two are short stories but I’m still counting them. 52 books should be doable.

The version of The Hobbit I listened to was read by Rob Inglis and it was excellent. I remember being bored by the book when I was younger but this time it was very good.

I’m keeping up with leaning Welsh though I’m not sure how much of it is sinking in. I can’t write it here as I only know how to say it. Also if I can’t handle English gamma and spelling do you really think I could handle it for Welsh?

Yesterday I didn’t leave the flat, and may not again today, that’s okay though. I will create worlds, play Mario Kart, and try and tidy up a bit.

This is a strange post I know. I’d make it a poem if I knew how. Maybe that is something to work on.

I received notification of not having won a short story competition the other day. It’s the taking part that counts though. Someone read it which is good. It means I have something to submit to another magazine.

Hope your year is going well and I’ll be back soon.


I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Why I Write

I’ve been interested in telling stories for as long as I can remember. Somewhere I have a story written in crayon from when I was five. I believe I’ve wanted to write, or just tell stories, for as long as I’ve been aware of language.

I remember telling, possibly annoying, dad a story while climbing Cadair Idris. I would’ve been quite young. It was a story about the founder of an alien religion. Her name was Qwan and she spent a retreat in a cave on a mountain. Dad said afterwards that he let me continue as it meant I didn’t notice the progress I was making.

Writing is a compulsion. If it was cocaine or alcohol I might have dscn0620_37352048_oa problem. Many of the actual minutes of writing can be quite a struggle. The translation of a beautiful scene in my head to the page is not always an easy one. As evidenced by the amount of times I’ve restarted my novel.

I have an MA in Scriptwriting and this has made me rather critical. When watching a TV show, film, or reading a book. I start to think of how I might have approached a story differently. The advantage of first person over third person, whether a chronological structure is best or if a non linear approach would give more possibilities. The films of the Hunger Games are interesting on this point. The books are first person but the films, deciding not to have a narrator, are able to show the story from more perspectives.

I fear that writing has made me somewhat arrogant. I sometimes look at what has been done and feel I could have done that better. This perhaps is perfectly normal. They say that art is never finished only abandoned and perhaps every piece of film and TV has that one scene, or line, which the author wishes they could rewrite.

The foundations laid by works like: Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and any other can be taken20130609_154715 in knew and exciting directions. I’m not talking about fan fiction or writing stories in those universes but about the sparks that they can engender. Star Trek or Star Wars cannot take ownership of space for a story telling frontier but they can inspire new stories.

Sometimes I’ll watch a film and think I know where the story is going. When it veers off in another direction and that is wonderful as I can write the story that that film sparked. In this way I write because ideas arise in my mind from everything I see. Ideas for silly stories, ideas for serious stories, ideas that would take a lot or work, and ideas that might never work.

I said in a previous post that making the ideas stop is the problem not coming up with them. I write because I have to write. My mind gets over loaded wi20130609_152814th ideas. I have characters in my head and I want to tell their story: Michael Wisdom, Stephanie McKnight, Virgil Noxon, Stacy Tanner, Tina Hilton – those are some of my characters that I hope will be know to the world one day.

Writing is always there in the back of my mind. Sometimes I’ll spend hours staring at a computer and get no where. Then a walk to the shops, a trip to the gym, or just doing the washing up and the problem unclogs itself and I can finally figure out the problem.

I’ve yet to experience that wonderful moment of my characters speaking to me. It sounds so magical that, when the foundations are laid, the story practically writes itself. I have had the wired magic of a character telling me about themselves.

Sometimes a character’s full background is irrelevant. You can tell the story of the brilliant Doctor/Detective/Wizard or whatever it might be without delving into his or her background. It’s nice to know these things though. Once you start thinking about these things the ideas flow to you.

You see your character as a child and you imagine what their life was like. Then, out of the emptiness, ideas pop into your mind like a firework.  dscn0416_11670707_oI had this experience with my character Virgil Noxon. I knew he was black and the first officer of the Sovereignty, the starship in my story, but that was about it. I needed to know more.

So I started to write a scene of him visiting his father. The idea came to mind that they had a very formal relationship. They had a good relationship but I could more easily imagine them shaking hands rather than hugging.

And the strange thing? His farther was white. So this gave a new direction for the character. He was adopted and had two younger siblings: Morgana and Wyatt. Incidentally he was named Virgil after Virgil Earp. Wyatt was a natural choice for his brother and Morgana came from Morgan Earp – his father just wanted to change it a little as he’d had a daughter instead of a son. The names just seemed to fit.

With Stacy Tanner, one of my novel’s central characters, I knew she was an only child from the get-go and I can’t say why. Michael Wisdom is a middle child, Stephanie McKnight, has one older brother, Tina Hilton has a younger sister and her mother was a teenager when Tina was born.

I don’t know where some of these ideas came from. The random nature of ideas arising in the mind is probably the primary reason I write. Whether my stories are any good is another question entirely but I know I can’t stop myself. Writing is a compulsion you become like a God to your characters and get into the wired situation of thinking about who you have to kill to get to the next plot point. Writing is my addiction there’s nothing else to say.

This post was written in response to a prompt from Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.com

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The Writing Nemisis

Did you know that the blank screen is the greatest nemesis for a writer? It’s true. I have found that when it comes to writing a story never arrives fully formed there is always a part that its illusive.

Stories are broadly broken down in to three parts or tercios.

  1. The Beginning
  2. The Middle
  3. The End

This is probably not a revelation.

Consider a superhero: Tyrannosaurus-Woman. The middle of the story seems obvious a woman who fights crime by becoming a massive dinosaur. It could be good. You can’t have a superhero with out an origin story but hasn’t it all been done? We all know several superhero origins: radiation, botched science experiments, or just being an alien. So Its unlikely that Tyrannosaurus-Woman could offer anything knew in that regard. The beginning is the issue. How does a superhero story end? The bad guys are defeated but you need a pretty good bad guy to stand up to a tyrannosaurus.

Consider a space opera: Trek War. The beginning is easy. An ensemble on a starship: the warrior, the fearless leader, the faithful second, the brilliant engineer, the doctor, the annoying character, and the one who’s job is to die. The end is again easy they return triumphant – unless you ask Ensign Ricky’s parents. What about the middle? I don’t want another science fiction film of an alien invasion. So it’s a challenge to find something new.

Consider a fantasy novel. I’m working on a fantasy novel. The beginning is easy. A young woman discovers she has magical powers. She is excited by the prospect. The middle of the story is okay. She hones her power and discovers what she is capable of. She has to have challenges so there will be a bad guy. That’s not too difficult. The end is difficult. Well not the very end. I’m pretty sure I know what the last line of the novel is going to be. How the story actually wraps up is very evasive.

Some people think, as I’ve said before, that an idea is the most important thing in writing. Ideas are easy for me its the bridging. I can imagine my protagonist as an ordinary woman.

Her name is Stacy Tanner. She is studying journalism. She also works at the university as a note taker for children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. She enjoys science fiction and knows taekwondo. She has a boyfriend, Jake MacNiell, and her best friend is Tina Hilton.

Later she discovers her magic. I know how she will be with her new powers, no spoilers, but how do I get her their? That is the problem with my novel. The bridging. I know the stages of Stacy’s life. I don’t know how to get her to each new reality.

I’m not giving up. This novel will be finished… at some point. Some authors speak of their work almost like it was a vision. Its like they can see what their characters are doing. Stacy is forthcoming about somethings but doesn’t want to tell me the whole story.

Writing is a battle ground. I hope to win the war soon.

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Writing Exercises

Over the years I’ve accumulated many writing guides. I’ve only read a handful of them. Some can be useful and others are really not. One thing these guides tend to have in common is writing exercises. Writing exercises can be useful as they take you to somewhere you might not have gone otherwise.  More than that though by looking at a picture, sentence, or having to include three specific items in a story, it can help to create fresh ideas.

I’m currently reading Wonderbook. This will take a while as it is big and beautiful and I’m not going to risk taking out of the house. I usually read on the train and this book is a bit too big for that. Anyway it has little writing exercise throughout. These I will bring to you from time to time.

As for book books I recently finished Divergent. I listened to the audio book version and it was most enjoyable. I’m now listening to the squeal. The final book I’m reading is Dragon’s Egg – so yes three books on the go at once.

Finally I found a new you tube channel called Geography Now. It talks about all countries in the world, or it will do, in alphabetical order. I never really enjoyed geography in school but this channel is interesting. I’m curious to hear what he has to say about where I live. However since I live in Wales in the United Kingdom and he’s on ‘B’ it could take quite a while.

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Make It Stop!

If you’ve ever seen an author interviewed I can almost guarantee one question they will be asked. They will be asked: ‘Where do you get your ideas?’

I can’t seem to find a source for this but one answer I’ve come across is: ‘The problem is not coming up with ideas – the problem is making them stop!’

While this is not a problem I’ve had in abundance it certainly something to which I can relate. With so much going on from articles, anecdotes, Facebook status,  and even mash-ups the possibilities are endless. That last one is of particular interest as a pitch for a new idea is ofter couched as a connection between two already awesome things: It’s Star Trek meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer – for instance.

When I see something interesting I bookmark it. I’ve got lots of bookmarked tabs with little snippets of things. Some might become short stories, some blog posts, and some as little more than just showing you that they exist.

Of course there are still times when the ideas don’t flow. This seems just ridiculous when you consider that the internet gives us access to the sum of all human knowledge.

Generally though ideas are easy. This brings me to another point. Ideas do not make a film (or novel ect)…

Some people seem to reckon that having an idea is doing most of the work. They tell you the idea and expect equal credit in making into an idea. They are wrong. They are very wrong.

While ideas for stories are always welcome they are a small part of the creative process. Take ER for instance. The premise of that show is simple. We can explore the doings of: doctors, nurses, administration staff, and the rest. We also have the opportunity to have episodic stories as patient’s lives intersect with the hospital.

To write the story…

I would need to know about: hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, arms, legs, heads, brains, hospital procedures, legal procedures, administrative procedures, stethoscopes, recovery times, cancer, emphysema, measles, meningitis, hospital acronyms, and exactly what it would look like having your arm severed by a helicopter – must be why they call them choppers.

Yes, ideas are nice but they are only the beginning.

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Short Stories and Shoe Horns

I’ve written a story. That is a rather redundant statement as I am a writer but its true.

Specifically I’ve written a story for a competition and I’m not sure its any good.

I’ve used a character I’ve used before and written a story for the competition. The competition simple asked for a story based around a provided opening line. I may have shoe horned an existing idea into place. It kind of fits. The story works. i.e: the protagonist has a problem, she discusses that problem, and comes up with a solution.

That is the basis of almost any story. The problem is it covers everything from walking in to Mordor to walking to the shops to buy an apple…

Problem: I’m hungry

Solution: Get food.

Once upon a time I was hungry and their was no food in the house. I got up off my lazy butt and went to the shops. I bought food. Several of the chocolate bars did not survive the journey home.

That is a story outline but unless you’re having to battle a dragon to get to the shop its not going to do too well.

There is something to be said for submitting anything and every thing. The simple act of writing can be an idea generation machine. So maybe I will. The entrance fee is £3 and the prize is £250. Which isn’t too bad really. Is there a point submitting when there isn’t much of a chance of winning? I’m not sure I have an answer to that.

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