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dots I am beginning to join June 8, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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I am still going through the deconstruction of my novel. I have gone back and looked at The Hero’s Journey. I have drawn the circle which represents the start of the hero’s journey, the descent into the unknown, the turning point, and the return to the beginning after change “with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man

I numbered 7 key points in my story around the circle. For each number I have described where each of my 3 main characters are, and what happens to them. By the time I get back to point 1, I describe what i want to have changed with them, and in the way they interact with the other characters.

Now I can study my scene cards closer. I can whittle them down and group them into the 7 core scenes of my book. I can then apply what changes I want to occur to my 3 main characters.

I may dress each scene up with some fluff, some witty banter, a bit of back story or observation, some dialogue for character development, so long as each of the 7 scenes carry the plot along, carry the 3 characters along, to the conclusion.

I am feeling quite strong about this. I have some solid direction, very simple and strong goals to achieve in each scene. I know where I want to begin a scene, and end a scene, to which would lead into the next scene. I have made it simpler for me to understand. I like this.

This is not to say my book is going to be seven chapters long. There is a story there, there is action and set pieces, some scenes are longer than others.

But to have these 7 scenes, 7 objects, if you will, to play with, hold, manipulate and fit into the fabric of the overall work?

This feels very good to me.


The writing you dont like to do can be good for you June 5, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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I would love to be a published author. I know many people who read this would also love to be a published author. To be able to pay the bills and grocery shop with money earned through writing creatively? That would be awesome.

However, we do need to work the nine to five job in the mean time, to pay the bills and buy groceries. My day-to-day role is in customer service. I get to write a lot, which is good, but it is mainly repetitive answering of questions. A part of my role is to handle escalated customer inquiries, as I like to put it, or talk to customers or write to them, when they are quite angry. This is not the fun part of my job.

There have been quite a few angry customers of late. Perhaps there is something in the water. Oh, wait, I just checked and it is the full moon currently. Yesterday I had to compose an email to a very angry customer explaining things. It took a good deal of time to compose this email, making sure I had answered all questions asked, in a way which was explanatory, well sounding, well-mannered and acceptable from my company’s point of view. I also had to ring a different customer, and write a follow-up report on that phone call and how the customer felt about everything.

In both instances, particularly the phone call, neither customer was happy with the outcome, but it was something that you would never be happy with.

However, my manager took me aside and gave me praise about the way I handled both accounts. The email I sent the first customer, and the report I wrote on the second, she said were both well constructed, worded and written.

In the midst of all these bad vibes over the content, to be told that I wrote the follow-up well, and handled myself well in this situation, made me feel better about the whole situation.

I am currently still chewing over the feedback Jason gave me for my novel. I am partly in that same head space of stress and bad vibes over how to rework it, in particular the main crux of the entire novel – why would a company attack its own employees with pirates?

I have gained some confidence that, being in a similar head-space with my personal creative work as I am in my day-to-day work, I may still produce strong content which is well written, well constructed, and has a clear message.

I am a subliminal zombie June 1, 2010

Posted by mattfarmer in Writing Group.
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In writing group last week I asked the group to put up some prompts for shot stories. I often set writing tasks and prompts. I use many different methods to get ideas and prompts together. I few great websites to help me include: The Fake Name Generator and the 7th Sanctum page of generators. I also trawl the forum boards of RPG.net for such awesome topics such as corpse scenes and 101 artifacts for an urban fantasy.

I have other such oblique web sites and resource, and love the ideas and varieties of each. The annual DARES thread in the varoius Nanowrimo forums are terrific.

But I wanted the group to set me something. So one member began a word association exercise. She gave us a word, and we had to think of a word to match. The three words she gave were – bark; black; and sky. My responses were – bite, betty, open.

This is why I think I may be a subliminal zombie.

The challenge was a 500 word piece using those three words as a prompt. Despite the allusions to zombies, I wrote a piece about Betty, leaving a small outback town, in the back of a ute, under the wide open sky, eating an apple.

No, I don’t think its brilliant. I don’t think I achieved the subtlety I wanted. But it was nice to get away from science fiction for a brief moment, and create a new character with prompts someone else gave me.

It was refreshing. For me.

There is still the potential for a zombie story, about a zombie with a moral crisis about eating the brains of Betty, who used to be their friend.

Too literal?