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Happy New Year! January 18, 2014

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Matt F Alleyway_photo VandalAnd I do hope it is a very happy and successful one for you all.

I have been a little bit lapse in this blog. And by lapse, I mean that apparently my last post was June, even though a birthday post was written, but seemed to not have been published. So, 6 months have passed by without an update here. How is this possible?

I will put the initial blame down to a lack of organisation and discipline. My workload picked up significantly in the second half of 2013, and I prioritised doing work for clients, obviously. This involved content research, gathering and writing up of stuff. I was also concentrating on marketing and managing all this work, keeping on top of my business blog, which slid by the wayside as well.

And so, the priority for this blog slid to the bottom of the pile. Which was more important to me? Writing for clients which pay me, followed by trying to build ME as a brand, and then a blog where i rant a little bit, I play a little bit more? I talk about writing and things which are not purely business based? It turned into a guilty pleasure, of sorts.

And then there was the fact that this blog wasn’t the only thing which was let to slip. Reading. I didn’t read a book, not a one, in the final 6 months of the year. Except after Christmas, but I’ll speak about that later.

So, what things have I been doing for the past 6 months? Let me look at my novels. Much like this blog, writing my novel slid down the priority list. That thought process of – this writing is not making me money! I kind of forgot what writing is to me. I love writing first, and am lucky to be able to make some coin from it. So I need to remember that I am allowed to write and not make money. Writing is important to me, first and foremost.

So, I did eventually finish writing book 2 – South of the Border. And as with all good middle books of the trilogy, i left the characters beaten and bruised, kidnapped, stolen, and near death, so you are going- WHAT!!! And craving book 3. I am currently re-reading through SOTB before handing it off to my editors. And then the re-write. Ugh.

2013-Winner-Vertical-BannerBook 3! Of course, Nanowrimo came around, and so I started on Book 3. As will 2012, I struggled to write masses of words. I checked in at 51k and “won”, but I am only 1/3 of the way through the book. It is going to be huge. I already worked through one battle and conflict, I now have to place the pieces on the board for the next one, free MC1 from being tortured, ramp up the aggression between rebels, The Children, who are little robots, the Royals and then Lenzell and Associates. And THEN throw in a surprise attack. AND THEN wind it all up nicely with happy endings and those damn open-ended problems which leave the possibility of another movie. You know how it goes.

I also wrote a short story last year. I can’t find the link, gosh darn it, but it was about Death, cooking a chilli con carne, for War, who bragged he could eat anything with spice. So Death made it with the ash from a Phoenix. HA! Cop that War… it was the first short I had written in a while, and was fun. I want to do more of them. I’d like to organise a writing group, but, organising anything which involves people is a little tricky, I have found.

I began working on a revamp of my website with two of my good friends. There is me, the copy writer, my friend Craig, who is a graphic designer, and designed my Wonderdog Logo, and there is my friend Brodie, who lives in the UK, and is a WordPress hacking fiend. The three of us spent time on Skype together one night, working on my new site. The dynamic we have, I totally believe the three of us could work together helping people get online with design, words and so on, and make a lot of money. However, what would normally take a week, may take us 2 weeks, because we just fart-arse around too much and have too much fun being silly.

But this idea of helping others be successful in business was a growing theme in the second half of my year. I approached a good friend of mine, and my business coach, with a plan to help people who have an IDEA, but not the know how of how to be in a business, to be a business. He thought my plan and proposal was pretty good. He then spent a couple of months throwing stones at it, and discovered he could not poke any holes in the idea. He loves it, which makes me feel pretty special. Someone I respect highly, thinks one of my ideas is good? We just need a fecking NAME for this venture, so I can start working on it more.

But this need to grow, to move, has been with me since earlier in 2013. I am a member of BNI, and I will say that if it wasn’t for this organisation, I would probably be back in 9-5 work, not freelancing. However, trying to get the members to move, to think excitedly, to DO something, to get organised into POWER GROUPS, has been difficult. Sometimes described as trying to herd cats, sometimes as glacial. It was this frustration which lead me to my Business Coach to start this idea, which is essentially a Power Group working together.

shutterstock_123153736My frustrations are also the reason I have become quite good friends with a client, and member of the group, who wants to shake things up ad get things moving as well. Despite my long hair and out-there kind of attitude, I am not always extroverted in situations such as BNI, or other GROUP situations. Simon is. We both have clicked in regards to what we want to do, and I have become his ‘partner in crime’ as I like to put it, in getting things rolling.

While it may sound malicious and such, it really isn’t. What we want to do is to work on our businesses, and help others work on theirs. We want to not only find people who need us, or our professional contacts, but also look beyond that, and see who knows who. Do you know 5 people, who know 5 people, who may want to know about Social Media? There’s 25 people who may want to know more. Lets have a lunch, listen to what I have to say, and see what we can do together.

It is the combination of these two gentleman which is making me feel like I can go forth in the new year, with a RAAAAAAAWR attitude. If not everything works, that’s okay, a lot of stuff WILL!

Another little project I have started, and am quite proud of, is my jewelry store. Someone showed me a while ago, how they had converted, or re-purposed, a Star Wars toy into an earring. It was the right size and looked freaking awesome. A couple of years later, I was sitting here and thinking- I want to get crafty. I want to do something, creative, buildery, or something. I would like to learn to mod and paint nerf guns. I’d love to build those secret books and so on. And then I remembered that Star Wars toys.

Bought me some, worked on them, and many friends said the same thing- OMG they are AWESOME! So, I came up with a name, and now have an online store and Facebook page.

The name of my store is Meraki Cosmogyral. I can hear many people saying- what? It is two separate words which describe me so well, and what attitude I bring to this venture. Meraki – (v.) to do something with soul, creativity or love; to put something of yourself into your work. Cosmogyral – (adj) whirling around the universe. For me, just seeing those words, together, gives me a smile. I like the idea that we’re going WEEEEEE around the universe. I like that.

What it means now is, I get to wander around toy stores, looking for things to make into earrings, key rings, or charms for necklaces. And friends find things and are thinking- Matt could use this too! I love when my ideas get others thinking as well.

Meraki Cosmogyral Store Envy

So, 2013 was a great year for me, even if I didn’t keep up with the blogging. As a Freelancer, I finally broke even, and have been able to work, and buy stuff, for a good six months. I am growing, as a business person, making great connections, finding more and more clients, growing in confidence.

What is in store for me in 2014? Having more clients and having them for longer. Getting the process down so I can slot a client into a program, create content, spread the word, build their brand and make them known. Release book 2. Collaborate with people to help others grow their businesses. Educate people more, through presentations, courses, and so forth.

I am really looking forward to 2014.

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Time flies when you’re having fun, except… July 6, 2013

Posted by mattfarmer in books and reading, Writing Group.
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writing-a-bookAccording to my log, it has been close to 2 months since last I wrote here. I think I am seeing a trend. I am scheduling things, planning things, and then letting them slip. I plan on doing a regular blog here, once a week on a Wednesday, and a business based blog on my website once a week. I plan on releasing a newsletter once a month. In all three cases I have let myself slip. I have my reasons, but when you take a step back, perhaps i need to say to myself- no more excuses?

Well, let me look at these excuses.

This blog? I have been particularly busy in the 2 months since April. I have made the transition from scraping a living, to break even and into the black. I picked up 7 clients in 2 months, who want regular social media from me. Plus the odd job here and there. I am now working on my time management so I don’t get overwhelmed with just 7 clients, and I can handle even more, and this is working. But the process to get there did steal time away from other writing.

The newsletter? In the month of June, I attended 2 funerals- one for my grandfather, and then literally 2 weeks later, for a refereeing mentor, and father of one of my good friends. Both of these events threw me, I must be honest. I would start to write and just not be in the mood. I have not been in the mood before and broke on through, I believe this has been something I have gained this year- being able to write, for my job, even when I didn’t want to. But this was different. And people I knew were sympathetic to me, and understood why I stopped and lay down for a while.

excuses-flow1My weekly business blog? Catching up on work, and being busy with work, I let a couple of weeks slip by. Poor time management, as I said before, of which I am tightening up on.

Maybe it is a mid-season slump. The second act in a three-act play which will pick up in the final third. I think this may be the case. That stunned moment when lots of good things happen to you, mixed in with a couple of real bad things. Then you get yourself back on the metaphorical horse, and get riding again.

I wrote about 10k words of my novel in this time. That sounds like a lot, but it was all done in a two-day moment of clarity. Other than those 2 days, it has continued to be relegated down my list of things to do. It was a year ago that I released the first book. I said I would get the second book out by now. Wow, letting the fans down.

So, I think I came into this blog to put it out there that I have not kept up my end of this bargain I have made, but I recognise it. So, just before the end of the second act, a spark of hope will appear. Could it be? Could he really?

Stay tuned to find out….

Sorry I haven’t blogged, I lost the keys… September 26, 2012

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And doesn’t that excuse sound pathetic? Well, it should. It has been a case of – have I been doing anything worth writing about? Let me think.

  • I am writing up some documents to give away FREE on my website. You need to entice people to like you more. Give them something free for making the effort to come and see you.
  • I put together another newsletter
  • I am putting together a weekly presentation for my BNI group. Yep, another weekly thing for them.
  • A quick job which landed on my phone last week

I have planned 3 stories, short stories, for the world of my novel. And then I got a cool idea about some cross-over scenes between short story and novel, and so now I am re-thinking so I can have ALL of them cross-over. I DO plan on writing these as part of my October plotting and planning month. Get me a feel for the world again, writing about the vast deserts in the south.

But, to be honest, while I have been writing, I have not been doing much writing of substance. I think I slipped into neutral. Trying to maintain my writing has been a bit tiring of late.

However, the most productive time of the year is coming for me. So I expect to be writing and blogging and novelling and writing and doing a few newsletters and stuff. Just to remind myself that I can fit it all into one day.

Now, its 11.30 at night, and I am doing some homework. MORE WRITING! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometimes it is okay to not write, just admit that you’re not. Don’t make dinky and silly excuses.

 

Absence makes the mind go wander… September 2, 2012

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According to the stats, it has been almost a month since I last blogged. I should be blogging more regularly, I should. This is a way to keep in touch with an audience, and a way for you to get to know me.

So what have I been doing for almost a month? Let me see.

I have been concentrating on the professional side of my writing, trying to build that some more. To this end I have engaged a business coach and I am learning about Neuro Linguistic Programming, the language of selling, how to shape your language to one of persuasion, of a more positive nature. When someone asks you how you are, rather than saying- “not bad” which is, essentially 2 negatives, you say- I’m pretty good, 2 positives. Both answers more or less mean the same thing, right?

I have been studying up and strengthening my knowledge of Social Media, as it is a product I am offering, professionally, to clients. Building and running a social media presence for them, finding relevant content for their industry and engaging with followers and people who like them. And offering it cheaper than my competition, it seems. ๐Ÿ˜‰

On the creative front, the novel isn’t selling that well, but then I did slacken off on the marketing front. Without constantly posting links to my book on Facebook, which reaps me likes but no sale, I’m not too sure what I can do to make sales on the book. I have tried to work the Goodreads, but am still getting lost over that. So much social media, so little brain cells!

I have sat with my cover designer to organise the printed version of my book. I still need to confirm the book size, and arrange the rear cover. This is something to be done during the week, and not on weekends apparently.

An idea which was posed to me was to write some short stories based in my steampunk verse, to give it some background, some depth and colour and history and stuff. I like the idea and have a couple of ideas, but the ideas are not strong enough to be total stories. And since all of my readers have purchased my book and have read it, I no longer have to consider spoilers when I talk about them. Also, my vandalwife has suggested that this blog would be good place to put the ideas, even if they are not whole stories, just to give an idea as to how my brain works.

Scary thought.

I have thought of the back story to Tempest and how she obtained her dragon-skin cloak, and the dragon hunt she went on. But then, how is that a story? Show her hunting a dragon? Which you know she does because she has the coat, and the blades, and her special ammunition for her pepper-box gun. I think it might deepen the mystery about her, rather than give any insight, since I do plan a reveal in book 2.

I thought of a story about a couple of smart, and smart-arsed, students at the Voroy University of Darbeton. They are like, anarchic students, think Revenge of the Nerds, or Animal House. They prank the dean, who happens to be Voroy. Voroy gets quite mad, and being on the board of Lenzell and Associates, revenge is quite the trip. Slap Stick doesn’t feel quite right, as I am still inspired by those films, and trying to think of WHAT they do which is so dastardly that they get expelled is still working its way through my brain…

I am thinking of writing a couple of shorts based in the Southern Lands (Sequel = South of the Border, remember?). This can set up some back-story characters, and get me into my own worlds, a visit before I set up shop there in November. Ideas include a reluctant or forbidden love story, something about slavery, or the beasties they are riding around on. Perhaps, during October, I should write these as apart of my plotting and planning month.

I haven’t written anything novellistic this month, and funnily enough I haven’t missed it. But it doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it, or considered options. But just thinking about it, isn’t the same as doing it, which is more powerful.

I’ll get to that later… April 26, 2012

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Hello. It is late, closing in on Midnight. I haven’t posted here for a bit, why? Because I’ll get to that later. This is a common cry heard from the Procrastinating Writer. I can hear Sir David Attenborough pointing at me, in his hushed voice saying, there he is, the Scriptor qui excusat. (Bad Latin translation).

I have been doing some professional work, writing some of my novel, getting some quality time. For instance, today is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, a public holiday. So I did not turn my computer on until now. The only reason I did was my phone told me of some important emails. I did see The Avengers today. That was freaking cool.

And life stress keeps me away from here. Everyone has life stress, I know. Trying to be a writer, a professional writer, and making a living from it is great, but if there is no work, there is no money, and that can cause stress. Thankfully a good friend threw… wait. I was going to go into some fancy basketball symbology here, threw me an alley-oop dunk. But that’s kind of full of wank. An opportunity arose, a friend thought of me, which was great. He is one of those friends who is a bit… out there. But his heart is in the greatest place. So I have got some work, which helps. And now I am back, writing a blog, at midnight, when I have a 7am breakfast meeting. Damn…

But I have not blogged. It is something I should do, a regular communique, part of a discipline to do things on a regular basis. My fellow writers and authors do it regularly, and so should I. I will be doing a role-call of some cool blog posts I have found this week, later…. maybe… ๐Ÿ˜‰

But, this term – I’ll get to that later, has also been a positive thing for me. There is a scene in my book which, now that I changed some previous content, holds much more weight. It is a key scene where my heroes find out what has happened in the city once they escaped. It gives a hint at the tensions between the Royalty and the big corporate bad guys, and how my two heroes are stuck in the middle. And I struggled to write it. 3 times I struggled. And this meant I was not progressing with the re-write. It was delaying me.

So, I have tagged that scene, and I am going to come back to it later. I will write the rest of the book, which I know how it goes, and then come back to it later. And when I get there, I may just ask some help from my editor. I have already had help from my first editor, writing the scene in 3 ways you shouldn’t, or wouldn’t have written it. And crazily I agreed to write a quasi-homo-erotic-suggestive-in-bed scene. And I just wanted to put all those hyphens there. She thinks that, if I put the characters in a different place, then the message may come through, and I can put the message back into the right scene. No harm in trying.

Alright, bed time now. But, on other news, I am planning on writing a regular monthly newsletter about me. I need to put some things in place, and I should be throwing it into the interverse on the 10th of May. If not, then the 10th of June. You can visit my website – www.matthewfarmer.com.au and sign up. It will be about writing, of course, since writing is my passion. What I am doing, what I can offer people who would consider hiring me to do writerly things for them. Articles of interest about writing, interviews with people involved with writing. Someone suggested reviews, such as keyboard reviews, cafe reviews, reviews of pens, in the vein of certain jocular car shows. We will see ๐Ÿ™‚

Some fictional Darwinianism, and a promise I didnt actually make to you July 12, 2011

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To start with, I was sent this awesome link – On the origins of the novel species I read that and think about my characters, did they have a genesis from something? And, I don’t think they do. Sure, I put elements of people I know into my characters, we all do. The only way you can make a character feel alive is if you give it some life that you know. I may unconsciously be puttingย  shades of my primary and high school bullies into the bad guys in my story, and my child hood heroes into the good guys. I may put shades of girls and boys I know into the main characters, or those walk-on parts which are like a Rob Schneider cameo role.

I know I have strongly based characters off people I know. I have a friend in my sci-fi story, but she doesn’t know. And I am liberally sprinkling my Steam Punk verse with people I know. But I am telling them, which they are excited about…

But reading about authors say this character is based on such and such, something which hit so hard and so deep into their psyche? I wonder if I will write that one awesome book which shakes the hard cover foundations and has an amazing character with depth and character, flaws and tragedy, and can say – yes, this is based off the old Greek man who always called me ‘boss’ when I ordered a quarter chicken and chips, every SUnday lunch time when I was hung over.

Now, that may sound sarcastic and taking the piss, and sorry to those who think I am being disrespectful. I am amazed and have total respect and awes for those authors who can draw so much from their past, and fill in a character full to the brim with life. But I’d just like to say that I now have a character who can be selling road side roadkill burgers and stray-cat sausage on a stick. He now has an accent, a way he speaks to everyone, how he is welcoming and can remember you and your favorite order if you are a regular.

Did I just throw out a self-fulfilling prophecy? I don’t know…

I had a plan on Wednesday. I was going to come here, into my blog and announce –ย  I WILL FINISH MY NOVEL THIS WEEKEND! My football team had a bye and wasn’t playing. The only commitments I had were Friday night mulled wine and watching The Wire (showing my friends the AWESOME that is), and I had Roller Derby commitments on Saturday night. The rest of the weekend was free. So, being into the last chapter I was going to say HA! I will finish! See what happens when I make a promise to the world, to the Universe. When I know people are watching and making sure I keep my end of the bargain.

But, my week went south. Things happened, the kind of things which make you doubt yourself, what you do, who you are. One of those things, you know? So I thought- nope, I dont feel like promising the Universe I will finish something when I feel this bad. Even if I was on perfect shiny happy street, I knew making that commitment would put a bit of pressure on me. But when there are storm clouds on shiny street? No way would I have been able to hit that. And then I would compound by going- wah! I made promise and I couldn’t keep it!

So, instead I wrote anyway. I checked out how I could go, in this place my mind was at. Tried a bit of writing on Saturday. Had a nanna nap and then went out to Derby.

Wrote on Sunday. I got 8 maybe 10 pages done? Wrote a load of dialogue, got bored, killed some people, had a fire fight and then SOMETHING HAPPENED… no, not to me, in the book, and I am about to do a great reveal.

But, I wrote. Which is the important thing.

And tomorrow night I am going to write again.

And on Wednesday morning before work I am going to write again.

But not this weekend. Friday night is football, Saturday is a wedding and Sunday is a tarot catch up.

But I have tomorrow night.

 

Insomniac Epiphanies July 2, 2011

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I think that would be a great name for a band.

I have been sick all this week. The Flu Monstergrabbed me last Saturday. Sneezes, coughing, phlegm, a whole bottle of cough syrup, 2 tissue boxes. Oh my…

This sickness did 2 things to me during my sleep-time. It gave me real bad dreams, and lack of sleep…

After one not so nice dream about carnivorous moths devouring spiders, I woke up and was awake. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t sleep. Yuck. So, as it does, the mind wandered around, thinking about this and that, and found its way through to the writing room in my brain, and started going over the last bits of my sci fi novel and the scraps and plot ideas for my steam punk book.

And woo hoo! It had a moment or three. My Sci Fi was stuck. I’m near the end, where everyone is in the same room, arguing. And I kept thinking – what a boring way to end that book. So, I figured out stuff to blow up, people to kill, and a good way to end it.

I then figured out some great ways to start my steam punk story. Motivations for my two leads to leave the Big Smoke while being chased by the bad guys, logical reasons for this and that.

Unfortunately I was in quarantine, spare room. I did not have my night pen (a pen which has an LED so you can write at night), and paper. So I had to madly type away on the iPod note book, with some interesting auto-corrects. It was good enough though. I finally have a better target to aim for in my Sci Fi, and now i wont stutter when November comes around, on how to get my steam punk moving along.

This is good. I was glad something productive came from my snot-filled hell.

Now to edit a novella, write a novel, watch basketball and win a carton of beer!

Copy that March 30, 2011

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I dragged myself to the end of a chapter the weekend before last. What I thought was going to be the second to last chapter got filled with dialogue, conspiracy, arguments, and a lot of fluff that a hard-nosed editor would probably cut mercilessly. Ah well. As long as the fluff propels me forward.

However I have put the novel on hold while I do some copy writing. I like copy writing. I know people who say it is dull and boring and stale and what not. But I find that I like it. I have also found that I seem to be kind of adept at it.

I am currently creating some web pages and a magazine ad for an assignment. I am wondering if the part of me enjoying the layout and type-setting is a close relation to the stationary-geek that gets lost in Office Works looking at all the pens and work books and office furniture. They must be related, surely.

I have discovered that I need to learn InDesign though. That would be a handy skill for when my tame graphic designer is not available to help at a moments notice. I like him. He knows this. ๐Ÿ™‚

Despite me putting the novel over in the corner under for a moment and concentrating on producing ad-copy, ideas for my Steampunk world keep being born. I have decided to have a second race besides humans in the world now. They have a written language with translates very easily into sign language, they like to scratch a lot and have massive nails to do this with. This detail is important.

Some world design documents and character design documents say that it is sometimes the smallest of details which can set something apart. With this in mind, and the nature of the Mountain People being, not primitive, but hunters and gatherers with big hands, I thought- claws. Why not claws. They can paint them, use them to scratch and scarify their bodies ritually. Dip them in deadly plant toxin and really ruin your day from a tiny scratch. Certain tribes have different scarification, different ways of cutting or pruning their claws to differentiate them from others. So, just that one small idea about nails, or claws, just spawned MORE ideas. I liked it.

My plan for this week, what is left of it, is to polish up the copy and send it to my graphic designer to make MORE shiny, with pictures, tentatively start down the path of ending the sci-fi epic, again. And maybe figure out a political system for my Steam Punk. A quiet week.

 

 

Entering the Last Chapter, maybe… March 6, 2011

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An irregular update, I know. I have been slowly coming down with a flu-like thing. And now I have it and back on the way up. So this is a Sunday afternoon where I am kind of unwell, but am trying to write through it.

A friend has asked for my help in writing copy for a website he is building. I am going to use a different set of writing tools, one i don’t get to use as much as I like, but one I find enjoyable. Copywriting and subject specific copy writing. I often imagine having a decorated case or box or something, with different labels which house different writing tools. Or perhaps it could be like the Matrix, when Trinity asks for the ability to pilot the helicopter. A few moments later she has the tools needed. I can uninstall novel writing tool-set, and install Copywriting tool-set.

There would certainly be core lines of code familiar with both kinds of writing. An element of creativity and productivity, the BIOS of spelling and grammar and proper language use. But from there, the themes and flavours would be different. And, while I write this I am getting some cyber-punk-esque ideas, so excuse me while I write them down in my fresh new notebook…

… so I am back now. That was more a character than a story idea. Don’t know where I would use him or her. I haven’t got a cyberpunk story in mind at the moment. But he can sit in my bits box for call up when required.

There is a cafe across the road from my work which does great coffee. I must go there at least twice a day. And they make awesome muffins. Oh my.. muffins.. yum. I am a regular there, and they know my regular order. Last week I arrived early. I wanted to write, outside, on the street, nice vibe. One of the baristas said good morning, talked a bit, wants to read my novel when I’m finished, and then gave me the wireless net password.

From a customer service point of view, I loved this. They know I’ve been there buying coffee for a LONG time. And now, they’ve given something back to me. It has encouraged me to go there early more and more, to write for half an hour before work. To get some creative sanity into my brain before the daily grind. I will say this does make Facebook and Chat available, but at that hour of the day, no one is online anyway. But, it is automatically saving to Dropbox each time, which i appreciate.

I think I am on to the last chapter, but it is going to be an epic chapter. Fifteen pages in and they’re almost at the final confrontation. Perhaps a chapter for that alone, and then the ending chapter to tie off loose ends and leave those annoying threads which will enable me to revisit the verse with my familiar old characters at a later date if I feel the need.

The writing ha picked up a bit of speed. Still not as quick as I would like; still a bit of faffing around with conversation; still having awesome steam punk ideas which need to be looked at and acknowledged so I don’t forget them. But it is steady. If you manage to write at least half an hour a day before work, it is still a good thing.

It will be finished. Slowly but surely.!

Home printing, short stories and a new school year February 6, 2011

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I would like to know. How important is a printer at home? As a writer, do you print what you write, a lot? Read it on paper? I own an Epsom combination scanner/colour printer/fax machine, but it seems so old now that the colour isn’t colourful, the print quality is awful, with lines and so forth. I clean the nozzles each print, but…

So how important is owning a printer, if you are a writer? I can hear myself answering that question by saying- by gum it is VERY important. But I don’t use it that often, to be honest. I read and edit on the screen. When I submitted my manuscript for review last year, I went to Office Works and paid a small sum for printing and binding, which turned out nicely, I must say. I must also say that the manuscript never made it back to me. It is now on a big adventure sitting on an author’s shelf somewhere. One day, this author will take the manuscript down from the shelf and think- yes! It is time to publish this book! Heh.. sure, that is going to happen… really!

So, is a printer at home a good thing for a writer? How much should you pay for a ‘good printer’?

Short stories. I have written one, not really a story, more like me wanting to get a feel for the new world I am creating. It was a short piece about one of my characters getting out of bed, walking along the deck of the ship she knows so well, sneaking up to the prow of the ship and watching the sunrise. There really is no beginning middle and end, no character development or progress. Or is there?

I am resisting throwing myself into this world until the final book in my sci fi is at least written. I know I will get far to caught up with steam punk magic fantasy, to devote myself to finishing something else. But I find writing small things like this good for me so I can add colour to my ‘verse, or work ideas.

The 800 words I wrote for this gave me the character’s name, the names of her crew, possibly the name of her ship, and a secret side of her which doesn’t show through in the book. The character is a female, her name is Tempest, which I think suits her to well. She is a sniper on board a sky ship.ย  She is a tough woman who has lived with the shame and stigma of her unique racial heritage growing up. But this story showed me that there can still be a part of her that has room for joy. A sunrise makes her so happy.

I think I will write more of these little tid bits. It took not much time at all, and fitted in with what I mentioned in my last post regarding anti-procrastination, where you write something else, to give your brain a break from what it is writing now. A morning ride into work on the train? Shoot out a 500-800 quick little fiction piece about a character. Certainly a lot more engaging than those 5 page character sheets I used to do.

It is also a new school year. I could tell from all the school bags littering the aisles of my train. I don’t mind school kids on public transport. We were all young and rambunctious at one time in life. We’ve moved on from there, now it is their turn to be wild and free. Gosh knows when you hit the real world, opportunities for such shenanigans diminish rapidly.

What this also means is my writing group will soon get back together. I decided to base it on the school year, including time off for school holidays, so it didn’t feel like we had to meet every single week. Also, it gives you 2 weeks off to write something bigger if you like.

Last year was not very productive for me through the group. Not everyone turned up each week, and often while writing was discussed, not many pieces were produced.

I have decided this year that, no matter what is being discussed or what the topic of conversation, that everyone should turn up with 3 things- a person, a place and a thing. These will be kept on a tumblr account, so when you need just something to get you going, there can be 3 elements to a story starter.

I raised this idea with the group. One other person liked it. Someone else did tell me that I am quite capable of finding these images online, and if I need that kind of kick, I should really do it myself. A fair point. I do admit to lacking in some motivation, and one thing I do wish to improve, or strengthen, is my own resolve to get things done. But on the other hand, sometimes it is nice to see what someone else brings to the table, and how their tastes in imagery would affect what you could write.

I remember last year doing this exercise, someone produced a picture of a snow-covered and frozen graveyard, a puppy dog and a flower. These are images I wouldn’t have thought of, and sparked something very moody and dark from me, and a little sad. I liked it. Where normally I would try to lend a speculative fiction vibe to something I wrote, I deliberately steered clear of this for that piece.

Now, it is Sunday afternoon. Some novelling before I go off to play some mixed basketball.