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and on the 7th day, he was still writing Nanowrimo.. November 7, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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7 days into the month of November, a month which brings you a world of men growing moustaches for a good cause –

A month which brings you the “Race that stops a nation” 

An election in some country –

And an awesome world wide writing contest!

I am currently sitting on just over 13 000 words on day 7, which is ahead of schedule. November 1st was a Thursday, and I didn’t really get started writing until 10pm that night. Friday was out for me, and so was most of Saturday, so, I wrote the bulk of my words in the 2 days of Monday and Tuesday. Not bad.

I am having a very casual word war with Penmonkey. She and I are old hats at Nanowrimo. We are both confident of hitting the 50k score SOMETIME this month, so are just slowly pottering along, encouraging and taunting each other. I feel like a gentlmanly old man, walking arm and arm with a ‘lady’ pointing my cane at the youth of today and saying- off you go, write with vigour. We will see you home soon. Rah rah, pip pip!

What I have noticed, and enjoyed, in the past couple of days, is the anarchy of characters taking over the writing. I have been writing so controlled for so long, either editing a novel already in play, or writing copy which needs control in and of itself, that to have characters do unexpected things, has been both scary and fun. What do I mean?

Well, I did plan on my MC’s having a battle with slavers, discovering how they are capturing so many slaves so easily. What I did not intend on happening was Mizzell being captured, and Navarr launching a solo boarding mission to rescue her! Luckily 2 of his allies joined him, but still, 3 people against a boatload of slavers?

I have been stuck in this scene for a day or more trying to figure out how to get them out. Navarr caught a knife in the left shoulder, so now that arm doesn’t work, one of the Mountain Men is down, blood everywhere, possibly dead. There is no key to the slave cage, and to top it off, the fight is happening around a great hole in the bottom of a sky ship. Any wrong move and you’re freefalling.

I must admit I am not writing with as much gusto as  I did last year. I feel more like I am putting in the yards and getting ahead of the word count, but I am not rushing ahead with a wicked gleam in my eye. It is possibly outside influences, or pressures. For example, today, I have a to-do list. I have a timer set on 50 minutes, so I dedicate some time to each dot point, and then have a ten minute break. The list includes-

  • Writing my Facebook Document & promotional material
  • Blog writing
  • Social Media work for Ilinga Books
  • Write and review and update website
  • Filling out worksheets examining completion on copy writing & marketing channels worksheet
  • Writing novel

Some where in there I might leave the house.

I have always said that Nanowrimo is good for showing how you can really work writing around your life. I am trying to squeeze it into my writing life, as a writer, while I write, other stuff. And, lacking on that list is client work, which I haven’t got at the moment. I am working on a plan to go GET clients, but I don’t think it is a real, exact science, not for me. Maybe people will need great copy to sell their wares ‘just in time for Christmas?

Well, as you can see, writing a blog post was number 2 on the list, and according to my counter, I have 8 minutes left. This gives me enough time to talk about future projects. I am planning a collection of short stories based in the world of my current Steampunk novels. Events which happen, seen from other points of view perhaps? Other locations which had a brief mention getting some meat and potatoes? I like the idea of a rogue piece written from the Ravens point of view, the Royal Secret Service. That could be cool.

I am planning to put together a collection of articles on how I plot and plan and write a book. My 11th Nanowrimo and I am getting people asking me how i do it, how I continually do it, and what do I do? So,  I have taken some time to figure out what it is I do, since some people are curious and want to know.

Thanks to a client, I have created another package I can offer to clients- the Sock-Knocking Tag-Line package. Watch this space for more!


One big leap for this writer… June 26, 2012

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I am writing this blog post after I put the finishing little buff of the arm sleeve to my book, The Girl From Out of Town. This is very exciting for me, very scary, very, LARGE. This weekend, I am releasing my first novel to the world. While people have tasted a free sample, and many of those people loved it and pestered me for the whole book, this will be the first time I have ever released a significant body of work.

I have written 9 other novels through Nanowrimo and various friends and family have read them and said I should publish them, and while I nodded my head and said- sure, just one more re-write, I have never been at this point before. No more re-writes. No more telling someone that I am just doing a bit more editing. This is it. The book I have sitting on my hard drive, and on my USB key, and emailed to three different email addresses and a friend, is about to be published, by me.

I am quite nervous, I must admit. I have invested a lot of time and energy into this, and it is something that I created, so I do hope people like it. I am trying to ready myself for the haters, reading advice such as this – ‘Someone will hate your book‘ and this one ‘It’s okay if you’re not perfect‘. I like the second one because it mentions a person who afraid of failure they never got published. That would be me, some time ago…

There is another post I have read about people hating your book, and how inevitable it is, and something about how there are people who hate puppies, so like, if there are people who hate puppies of COURSE there will be people who hate your book.

It is also going to be a relief to get this book out there, so I can then move onto the next book. I am not one of these people who can have multiple writing projects on the go. Mind you, having said that, I have had the novel, 2 websites and a safety guide on the go, at the same time, in past weeks. So, who knows.

Tonight I helped one of my editors create a Facebook page (And by help I pretty much made her do it), and from there, conversation lead to different ways to market your book. Scarlett, the lady who designed the cover for my book, is going on a Virtual Book Tour, her tour dates are HERE. I am thinking of doing something similar as well. We discussed book trailers, especially after I witnessed an awesome 30 second YouTube ad for an editor in Sydney, with grungy guitar riffs. I won’t link to the video because, sadly, he has put typoes into his description, and I would like to give him the chance to edit himself before we all go and see it. But, a girl I know who is a multimedia creator is interested in working on a book trailer, so that could be loads of fun.

So, this is going to be a crazy couple of days. Investigate B&N and Amazon, put a new page on my website for the book, discuss marketing options, re-brand my professional writing self, umpire basketball, go to a house warming, read tarot cards. OH MY GOSH! Busy little vegemite!

How right must you be when you write? April 3, 2012

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Two, no three things, came through my email today that had me thinking. How right do you have to be as a writer? In my professional line of work I know you have to be 100% right, but in whose opinion are you right? And what parts of your writing has to be right?

The Creative Penn posted this today, or yesterday, I don’t know if my email feed is slow this week or not. The heading which jumped out at me was “Are Writers Allowed to Make Mistakes?” My second questions was – to whom are we asking this permission? A lot of good points were made in this blog post, some of which resonate with me, especially the time of writing done, see below.

The second thing which came to me today was this comic strip: ‘How to get massive amounts of comments on your article‘. I know that when I wrote a blog post with ‘zombies’ in the title, I got close to 100 hits on that post. Why? Probably because zombies were cool that week.

The third item was an email newsletter about copy writing which I received. The email was titled ‘Oh Hi There!’, and the first paragraph was this:

I wanted to make the header “O hai,” but I wasn’t sure you were into LOLcats. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a link: http://tinyurl.com/2vmp9g )

All three examples show different ways that writers can be ‘wrong’, one deliberately, one contextually. But, with the purpose they are trying to convey, are they in fact ‘wrong’?

Two recent examples of my professional work have made me think about this question. One was three revisions of a website, to which eventually it turned out that all was needed was for the client to find their voice, and for me to edit it and polish it up, rather than take their voice and make it sound how I thought they wanted it to sound. The first two drafts I produced were not wrong, from my point of view. It was clean copy, it said what they wanted to say, it was laid out in the style their web graphics designer had presented them. It had key words for SEO and Google tracking. The second draft had the same text but more information about the client as a person, to give weight to their years of experience. But the flavour was not there. So the 3rd and final time was the win, with their words, some punctuation and grammar checking. I used the two free revisions term in my contract with this client. But, we got to where we wanted it to be, where the CLIENT wanted it to be.

So, was I wrong, with my first two attempts?

Another example, and one which makes me kick myself, was a recent tender writing task I had. It was due on a Tuesday, so I had everything completed by the Monday and sent off. I go off to play basketball and arrive home at 10pm to find an email requesting a table of contents, and to please have it to us by first thing in the morning. Here I was, tired and sore (I tend to play rough basketball. Hey, you play until they blow the whistle and THEN call the foul…), late at night. And I was about to work on an important document. My support staff were awesome, and did a quick supply run for flavoured milk and cookies while I showered and prepared myself. I had the table of contents finished and looking good, and emailed it to them at 1am in the morning.

I forgot to actually number the pages in the footer. A tiny detail I know, and I am still kicking myself over, even now. But, is it okay to say- it was a surprise request for work, late on a Monday night with a very tight deadline, and I was all tired and post-basketball? Is it okay that I produced an awesome table of contents but just forgot that one little thing? (That one thing which I guarantee I will never forget again).

With my fiction, there is a lot more wriggle room for the concept of right. The story and the idea? That can be, improved, honed, sharpened up. I have some excellent writing friends who help with that process, coming at my work from a Joseph Campbell point of view, a sci-fi fantasy geek girl point of view, a slush-pile editor point of view. I am absolutely appreciative of their harsh but fair critiques.

But at the next stage of copy editing and line editing, why do these tasks exist? Shouldn’t the writer be the expert at this? Do you not need an understanding of grammar and punctuation, language and sentence structure to actually write? So, it is okay to be wrong in certain areas because the editors will pick it up anyway?

I know the theory of being close to your work and not being able to see everything. That advice experts give about putting your manuscript away for a month so you can come back to it with fresh eyes is great, but it is still going to go through an editor, eyes and mind that did not conceive the book or the idea.

At this point, I am making my writing the best it can be. I am producing, for my clients, the best that I can, what I think is good copy. It is only after the fact you find out how wrong or right it is, and then, that is a subjective view as well. Isn’t it?

Week 3 Nanowrimo, Act 3 of my novel November 24, 2011

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It is late Thursday, Australia time, week 3 Nanowrimo. I am in Act 3, nearing the end, sitting just under 75k words as I write this. I am determined to get to the end of my story, although Act 3 implies a bit more story than I thought, dramatic ending, and such. They were just going to walk off into the sun(s) set, but I might have to make it a bit more deadly. Perhaps an avalanche. We will see.

I have noticed that I sometimes settle into a nice rut of conversation. A lot of talk, quirky talk, not dull conversation. But the book doesn’t go anywhere. That was happening today. I was enjoying the conversation. My Alchemist was fitting my MC with a gun, explaining how and why it works, what types of potions it fires and such. I enjoyed it because the workings of the weapon made a sense of logic for me. And the way they described things- this is the casting plate. I like the term casting plate. Plate, being a physical, metal object, which allows the ‘casting’ of a spell. I want a mix of magic and technology, brought through alchemy. And I feel like I even have the language to do this.

However, the book wasn’t going anywhere. I had such fun creating the village of Thunderfall, way up in the mountains, that I wanted them to stay a few days. But in a book, in an adventure, that can’t happen. So I brought the bad guys there, in the middle of the night. Okay, they didn’t arrive there, a massive dragon blew their ship up and it crashed. I thought- if that doesn’t get their butts moving, nothing will!

A few interesting things have happened to the book and to the characters while I have been writing. Some characters have been wrestling with me. The lead male and female both wanted screen time at the start of the book. I would manage to get one under control and then the other would start acting up. Then those two were quite happy to hop along with the ride, until they decided they wanted to be lovers. Well, I intended that, but it took them a while. And now they cant keep their hands off each other. The poor boy, just as he is getting around first base, SURPRISE! Goblin attack

But what I think was the most intriguing thing to happen was to a character who lives with my alchemist. He was found as a child, in the wild, and she more or less adopted him. Not a motherly type, their relationship is more like friends. He is a very talented tinkerer, which is like an engineer. Except he draws pictures of creatures and puts cogs and gears and pulleys in them. He has this way of seeing the world as it would look like as a machine. And that was the character basis. Then, when my MC meets him for the first time, I discovered he was autistic. I honestly had no intention of making him so. It literally just happened. He hasnt fought me over it, he hasnt argued, he is quite happy seeing the world as he sees it,”much better this way”, as he likes to say. It surprised me. But I am happy with it.

Being at home with not much work has enabled me to pull out 5000 word days, 3000 word days and the like. However, I am thinking I may need to delegate Thursdays as my ‘maintenance’ days. I have just began the weekly newsletter duties for my BNI Chapter. Great idea, I will get content from everyone and put it into a newsletter for them. Actually a bit of work, chasing down people to email you content. Lay it out in a template and such, and then send out. Free of charge. It’s always the setting up of templates that is the biggest bit, next time will be copy and paste under the picture. And 2 other people have expressed interest in me creating a newsletter for them

And some have expressed interest in me creating and maintaining a Facebook page for them. So I think I will delegate Thursday to be THE DAY where I update newsletter templates, update Facebook. Thursday will be my day of social networking. I must be on Facebook! As a job! Who would have thought…

Week one-and-a-bit nanowrimo. I am now recognised as a writer. November 9, 2011

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I was going to give a one week update of nanowrimo, however I got caught up with writing and family visits and the obligatory restaurant dinners, and so I am two days late.

I have had a fun time wrestling with the lead male character and the lead female character. Firstly, my male lead was trying to control the book and what happened. Admittedly the action was around him making discoveries, such as who the bad guys were, what his feelings for the lead female were, what drove the golems and made them creepy. Except, he was taking his time discovering these things, and when he did, he wanted to explore them more.

It may sound strange to say this, but I took control back from him, and made him behave, by changing the weather. A festival and a ball was going to happen once it stopped raining. It is going to be at this ball where the chase begins and they must escape the city. I made the rain stop early to stop my man from dawdling.

But then the female lead started taking control. She has developed strong mind control powers, suggestive powers. This has helped me move the plot along, but she is too powerful. And she met with royalty half a book earlier than she should have. I am going to give her a head injury so she loses those powers. Take over MY novel will you?

I have to admit, saying things like this, out loud- I will give her a head injury, is such a cool thing to do and say. In normal conversation you would be looked upon as strange and possibly as a felon if you said those things.

So, I am twenty two thousand words into the novel, and they havent left the city yet for the flight on the sky ship. Nearly halfway to the word count target, and they are still in act 1. I get the feeling a lot may need to be edited from the start of the book. I have only done one serious edit so far, and that was on a phrasing about the revelation of two suns for the world. I was very aware of feeding the reader small portions of explanation jelly beans about the names and the looks of the suns. So I Changed it, implied some and left the description minimalist. If you don’t get it, you will later on.

I am also updating my Facebook page at the end of each day with an exaggerated description of what I have done for the day in terms of nanowrimo. This has had some fun follow on effects for me. On the weekend a friend hugged me hello and asked if I could put her into my novel. On Saturday night a friend greeted me with a bow and said- Hello nanowrimos! Someone else, while skating, asked how my novel was going. She told me how her husband wanted to write a book and we should talk. I asked why he hadn’t started.

People are more aware of me as a writer, that I am writing a book and are actively asking about it. If they see me they ask how it is going. If I am online they ask if I am writing. Twice I have been guilted off Facebook to write. I like this in my friends.

And, to be honest, I am also enjoying people coming up to me and asking how my writing is progressing. Especially those whom I never thought would ask. That makes me feel like a legitimate writer. I can already hear friends saying- BUT YOU ARE! Yes yes, I know. But, its good to be reaffirmed.

I will give you an update at the halfway mark, November 14th. If they haven’t left the city by then I am dropping that asteroid on them. That will get them moving.

2 Days until it begins – National Novel Writing Month October 29, 2011

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Where I live, Nanowrimo starts on a public holiday. This is a good thing. I always try to get a head start in the daily word count because inevitably something will pop up which will mean some days I don’t write.

The difference this year is, I WANT something to pop up that means I can’t write my novel. Yes, you heard… or rather , read me correctly. I want something to pop up which means I am too busy to write the novel.

Yes, it was a brave move, and the right move, I still believe it was the right move, to be a freelance copywriter. It’s just not bearing many fruits just yet. One project briefly flashed into life, and then just as quickly disappeared due to budget cuts. Other ideas have surfaced which need to be thought upon before committing. And other projects, well there were some delays, I will just say that. This has put me in the position of willing and able, but not doing. So, if, as many people have been telling me, it is going to pour, not rain, then I will be too busy to write the novel. Then I will be stressing about finishing the novel in between writing reports and brochures and web pages and suchlike. That’s what I want.

But, until then, I will try to enjoy playing around in the sandbox of my magical steampunk verse. I use the word ‘try’ because I know my own mind. In years gone by when I have had the 9-5 job and written my sci-fi epi, I did enjoy escaping to that place and writing of a ship crew against the corporate MAN, trying to survive.

Now part of my mind is going to nag at me saying- you need to be earning coin.

ARGH! It even makes it way into this blog post!

So, with two days left, what do I have? I have a map! YES! It’s no where near as pretty as what you can get online at the cartographers guild, but it will serve for me. It has the general geography that I NEED. It has the city, and it has the plains leading to the hills. Beyond the hills it has deserts and sparse, desolate valleys. Then it has the tundra, which lead to the second and more imposing set of mountain ranges, where my frontier town lays. And that’s all I need.

I know there are frozen wastes to the north, with active volcanoes. I know there are tropical jungles and tracts of desert wastes to the south, and people ride dinosaurs there. I know there is a massive inland sea further to the west. But for THIS story, they’re not important, so they are not on my map. But, I know them.

Some people go to outrageous lengths to create a world, and then, because they have put so much effort into making that map, and that world, they feel the need to share every facet with the reader. I know I have a little bit of that in me, so part of a self-constraint was to only map the areas I knew my story would take. That and I suck at drawing maps, so the less map I had to draw, yay me!

But I have 2 characters ‘from the south’. They dress different, and their skin is darker. But pretty much that’s it. There is no interjected history about them and their race or culture. They’re just – from the south. I have some ‘mountain men’, giant creatures with blue skin. You could call them trolls, I guess, but I’m not. They’re mountain men. They are tribal, and have their own language and culture. But am I going to dump all that on the reader to say- how cool was this idea?!?! Nope.

Now, if, in book 2, our intrepid adventurers are forced into Mountain Man country, well, that gives me a chance to explore that culture. If, in book 3 theres something of value in the south, then you know what? They can go exploring the vast deserts and oasis kingdoms of the south.

Until then. I am going to assume that every character in my world knows enough to get by and say no more. If the reader doesn’t, well, that’s too bad.

Plus it means I don’t have to draw those maps until next year!

Am I ready to write novel number 10? Yes I am. I am really looking forward to stepping away from 5 years of sci-fi, and into a new universe, new characters. Its going to be fun.


You put your write hand in…. October 2, 2011

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This blog was due to go up on Wednesday, but I held out until today. Why? Because I was told by my second client I had done work for that he would pay me on Friday. So I wanted to wait until today, check my bank and then say – I am now a paid freelance copywriter. No, it’s not much, it was a small job and I discounted the hourly rate a lot, but it was a job, we sat down, we talked, he told me what he wanted, I suggested some ideas, wrote them up and sent them to him. He discarded half of what I wrote, moved the text to where he wanted them, changed something I wrote and sent it back to me. I told him what he changed was not good because it repeated a key word which makes the word have less power.

I have yet to see the final product, but he was happy and he paid me. The above proceedings are typical client actions, I think. You need to be less precious about your work. You present, the client may not have got across to you their vision, and change it. Once you’ve handed the copy over and they say – I like it, it is theirs. You may see it in the future and wince, but it is no longer yours to concern yourself over. This is a lesson I am learning.

But yes, I have been paid, for a job, which I scored through the networking group. I am hoping there will be more soon.

I am still in a bit of a grey zone, however. I jumped right in, two feet first, not knowing how deep the water I was jumping into was. I left my job, felt empowered by this. Encouraged by many, supported by the most important, and off I went. I created a database, refined my templates, wrote some web copy, and joined a networking group.

Then it didn’t happen so very fast. I know, in the back of my mind i need to be patient. And I am, well I am trying to be. I had some money to live on. Paid for web hosting, the electric bill, the rent. Oh, not so much money now. Am I doing the right thing? Lets call some temp agencies for some fill-in work. Lets comb through job ads to see if there is something I can do, make some good money maybe?

But during the past week… I met with, composed and sent off that job.

I attended the induction meeting about how to sell yourself to the group, how to pare down all the noise about stuff and nonsense to know what it is you want to do, why you want to do it, and how to get it done. I became a member of the BNI Group, with a name tag and everything.

I met with another member from the networking group, a photographer. We chatted while he took my picture, all professional and studio shiny good. He handed me an A4 pamphlet which had been created for him, before a copywriter joined the group. He wasn’t too happy with the copy and asked me to re-write it. What would I do?

I then met with a couple who are printers, graphic designers, working in the digital and print design world. From the induction meeting a concept was shown to me – that of the power group. Find those industries which truly complement yours, and work with them. Printers are the next step along from a copywriter. Often someone goes to the printer and discovers they need to go back one step to get copywriting done first.

It was a great meeting, we talked business opportunities for each other, what I could do for them, for myself, what they could do for me. It was thrilling. It was a big moment, the moment where I shifted gears. Or, more like the moment I put the clutch to the floor in preparation of changing gears. I sense things are about to pick up, in a massive way.

And then I got paid….. shake it all about.

Creatively? It is now October. This is traditionally my month of Plotting and Planning for November. Did I do the full 30 days of world building? Nope. I got stuck on the map. Stupid map. But, I figured out currencies, government, evil organisation, that yes, I can have 2 suns for my world (thank you NASA), weather patterns, some divinity. So, I got some good stuff out of that exercise.

Now it is time to create the characters, the races, the monsters and wild animals. And the map… Now it is time to have major plot points, and link them. That is how I work. What major events I want, in chronological order. How I get from one to the other, I don’t mind, but getting there I will.

And I have to think of a title. I can think of hooks and shout outs in the advertising world. But a title for a novel? Tricky.

I have found my range from the foul line again. September 9, 2011

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I play basketball and I enjoy it quite a bit. Have been playing for over twenty years. This year I had a niggling shoulder injury, tendonitis. It was the tendon which controls lift and extension in my right arm – the basketball shooting action. Each time I shot the ball it hurt, basically. I received some physio work on my shoulder and this eventually freed my arm up, lessened the pain and I could play again. However, during the time of being injured I was compensating for my injury by changing my shot. When I came back my shots were off.

This week I finally found my range again. I hit my sweet jump shots from the foul line, the high post, which I am known for. 8 points. Still need to get back the courage to go smashy-smashy under the ring, but that will come.

A friend was trying to link me finding my shooting range again to something of a higher guide, showing me that I am about to find other things again, that I will be given success. And while I do like my friend dearly, they can be a bit esoteric, even for my tastes.

While I appreciate the sentiment, often the Universe does not just grant you things. You have to show commitment and work towards what you want, and then the Universe rewards you. I had work done to my shoulder, and then went shooting the basketball to get my rhythm back and hey presto, shots fall.

I left my regular employment three weeks ago. A LOT of friends congratulated me on this bold move, telling me it was a good move to leave a negative space and open myself up for possibilities. And while I agreed with their sentiments, I was not expecting riches and writing fame to drop from the sky into my lap. No, I would have to work for it.

For the past three weeks I have attended the Business Networks International business meeting. I think I said in my last post I would update you on how it went. Sorry, I forgot. So, in short – they are a group of self-employed local business owners who meet for breakfast, give a 60 spiel about themselves and their business, talk about what they can offer and so on. Members refer clients to each other for work. Its great.

I met some people there, all friendly and easy to get along with. They were all mystified about what it is a copy writer did, but slowly they are understanding. Others, such as the printers and the graphics designer, they know all about it. So, in my third meeting yesterday I spoke to an IT consultant who wanted some copy writing done. And the graphics designer sat with me, also offering me some potential work.

By making the effort to get up for a 7am breakfast meeting every Thursday, I have made 2 contacts for potential work. It didn’t magically fall from the sky for me.

This has inspired me to put more work in, though. See what other fruits will grow from the seeds.

When the computer falls down… July 31, 2011

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Something bad happened. My computer died. While I have a net-book which I can write with, and I did, my main desktop computer, died. Luckily the hard drive didn’t die, it was the graphics card, or the mother board. Something like that.

I have been a week and a half without my computer. Without real email, blog access, without… my computer!

I had a panic because during that time I had my second Copy writing coaching call. I did manage to get my net book working with my headset, and I attended. Was a good night, I have some homework to do, and a website to consider. Stuff 🙂

I never knew how much I would miss this machine when it crashed. I do back things up, I have a drop box and an external hard drive. But when it just suddenly stops? You don’t have a chance to back up anything.

And now it is back, I can’t get to my old emails, I can’t get to my old internet book marks. I had a plethora of writing sites bookmarked, and now I cannot get to them! I must remember to book mark this blog before I close down. I guess I will just have to spend time looking for writing websites again.

I don’t even have a word processor installed! Shocked? You should be!

I will take the next week or so to get myself back to where i was. Get my applications set up (Itune re-download… get the games working) and then back into it with more steam.

So, just saying hi. I had a tragic week, losing my old steady desktop. But now I have something shinier, if a lot emptier.

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 putting  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 –  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.