Linwood Barclay Boredom….

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A few months ago, I discovered a post on Goodreads asking about the thriller author, Linwood Barclay (evidently, Stephen King had recommended Barclay as an author, thus encouraging many King fans to look at Barclay and his work). As I remember, the answers were mostly positive, saying that Barclay was a high caliber crime thriller writer and well worth a read.聽 So, when an offer came up on Amazon, I decided to read a few Barclay books.

The first book I read (I think… you will see why they all blur in a moment…) was Never Look Away. this is the story of a small town reporter whose wife disappears on a day trip to an amusement park.

Never Look Away seemed to me a fairly entertaining read, but a little long winded.

Now this is not to say I want all action and quick resolutions in a thriller. I don’t. I much prefer getting into the characters’ heads. But in this case, the main character’s first person ramblings, coupled with his seemingly complete inability to recognise what was happening in front of his eyes, soon began to get on my nerves. Nevertheless, I persevered, only to find a rather unsatisfying conclusion. Okay, we do find out all the answers, but did Barclay really have to use such a cliche killing off of one of the main characters in order to set things right?

However, I kept on reading Linwood Barclay. By now I had him marked as an easy read and his novels were definitely put down-able and pick up-able again, which enabled me to read them without losing the plot when I had time during what has been a very busy working schedule.

And as I had a whole set of Linwood Barclay books, I thought I may as well continue….

But now Linwood Barclay boredom is definitely settling in…and I still have a few books to go!

The problem with Barclay is that, even though (apart from his early books with the character of Zack Walker) all his first person characters are different people, they all share many of the same characteristics:

  • They all ramble on in their heads
  • They all make stupid decisions
  • Many of them have a journalist or writing background (some have both)
  • They are all middle class, small town Americans
  • They all have (or have had) wives and children who do not understand them, but put up with them.
  • These guys are all likeable and have a strong need to do the right thing, but they are totally frustrating to those who have to deal with them.

Basically, they are all middle class American men who, I would guess, the author wants to relate to his books.

So what about Barclay’s other characters?

  • Well, he has the wife, who nearly always appears to look and act the same (in my head at least). She is sensible, usually successful, and long suffering of our main character. Even when she is killed off (not that often, but it happens), it is discovered that she was really trying to be a good person but was defeated or tricked by circumstances.
  • There is the teenage daughter. She is pretty, clever, and also long suffering of her dad. Not much else to say there really. Read a novel about any mid America teenage daughter and you will get my drift…
  • There is the teenage son. He is usually a younger version of his father (although he doesn’t know it yet…), making the same mistakes and causing the same havoc.

I could probably take these three characters and place them in most Linwood Barclay books.

We also have the minor characters. These are there to show us that Barclay is a liberal minded man.聽
For example, we have the middle class dominatrix with a soft heart; the gay black guy with a great sense of humour; even a mercenary killer who does the right thing before dieing.

By now, I know as soon as I read a new Barclay character, what is going to happen to them.

Barclay then takes these characters and drops them into the middle of a thriller plot, thus producing, as some would call it, a domestic thriller.

Now there’s nothing wrong with this, you could say. Why shouldn’t your average American male be able to know his hero inside out? And what could possibly be more unsettling than something happening to a typical family…just like us…?

But for those of us who are not middle class American males, or part of their family group, this ongoing characterisation is extremely boring and predictable (as I guess it might also be for those mid American males…).

I guess that there are other British working class female readers of Linwood Barclay. It does appear that he is reasonably popular in UK libraries…
Barclay was at number 50 on lending figures for 2011.
And Trust Your Eyes has been reviewed on British TV recently .

I will admit that I have yet to read Barclay’s Trust Your Eyes, or A Tap on the Window (and the last of his Zack Walker ones), so perhaps I can still find something to rave about.
And he is an easy read….

But please Barclay, let’s have some new viewpoints.
You seem like a likeable guy, which is why, I suspect, I carry on reading your books…

Perhaps I should just take some time off from Linwood Barclay boredom and read a few short stories from someone else (anyone but Barclay!). I might then arrive at the next Zack Walker novel feeling refreshed….

But this is feeling like a marathon now, and one I have to finish.

The Satisfaction In Completing A Short Story

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I’ve been away for a few days quietly working.
No I don’t mean my usual paid copy writing work, but work on an actual short story, start to finish.

For too long I have been dabbling at being a writer: typing out a few more pages of my novel; discussing the plot between characters in my head; writing about the process here on this blog….

But none of that was actually doing anything – just trying to make me feel more like a writer, rather than a pretender to the writer’s throne.

Now, I am one of those people who detects charlatans a mile off. And I was beginning to detect myself as one!

It is no lie that I have some 50k words completed on my novel, but the whole process of writing something so long was beginning to drag me down (not to mention that many of those 50k words will probably be shredder material once the novel is actually finished and edited). So I decided to do something to prove to myself I could still write and get published.

So over the last five days I have written, edited, re-written and finally sent off a new short story.

The strange thing is, although I had many part-finished short stories stored away on my PC, this one was new from start to finish. I found a publisher asking for stories for a themed horror anthology and went for it.

The theme – creatures of the night (emphasis on actual creatures) – is not something I had considered before. My horror story writing is usually of the creepy ghost kind. The audience, Young Adult, was not something I had seriously considered before either. But letting the idea scurry around in my head produced a story, so I went for it.

The main drawback here was a seven day deadline from the date I found the call for submissions. This means that only I, my long-suffering husband and my friend up the road have read the story. So, even though I have been vicious in editing, strict on getting POV’s correct and have ensured that my use of adverbs is almost non-existent, I know deep down that asking for input from a beta reader would have helped make my story more suitable for publication. But I didn’t have the time.

So I will not be disappointed when I receive a rejection slip (ok, I’m lying. I will be disappointed, but I know it is likely to happen).

But the process of writing that short story, start to finish, was so satisfying I can hardly believe it.

After the experience of completing my short story, I now know I can write a story, sticking to publisher guidelines and following rules on ‘show don’t tell’, POV, etc, which had been getting me down. I also feel confident that the story will eventually sell, perhaps not in the form I submitted to the publisher, but close enough.

In other words, I have my confidence back.

Of course, this still doesn’t prove that I can produce a novel. As I said in my post Can a Writer Of Short Stories Write A Novel, those thoughts still concern me a little, but now at least I know that when time necessitates I can be disciplined in my approach to writing.

So all I need now is for a publisher to tell me that he or she wants my novel completed in six months time. That should do it. 馃檪

Are You Prepared To Be Sociable To Promote Your Book?

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I was browsing my bookmarks today and found an old blog post by social media blogger, Chris Brogan. It is called An Author’s Plan For Social Media Efforts. The post is now two years old, but all but two of the links on it still work, so it’s definitely worth a look.

What I found interesting about this post is the amount of effort Brogan thinks the author of a new book needs to put in to cause interest across the social networking spectrum.

I’m not saying he is wrong, it is simply that my brain went into “don’t want to know” mode as I ploughed through the long list of things to do. However, as I had bookmarked this post, I guess I had thought I would come back to it in due course and maybe give the suggestions a go.

Brogan gives 21 different ways to promote a book and the comments (if you ignore the spam ones) give even more. Some of the advice is geared more towards those writing business books, but the advice is still pretty sound. And, as it turned out, I am already following some of his tips anyway.

Basically, you need to get out there and learn and use every aspect of social media to best effect.

Okay…so, let’s say I was intent on promoting my book (I’m not – I haven’t finished it yet!).

First of all I would need a website with a domain to fit the book (not hard to do as I already have hosting and am good at finding domains to use, so I can almost check that one), a blog (check), a Twitter account (check), a Facebook account (well, I guess my ‘keep in touch with family and friends site’ could do with a change of emphasis.. so… check).

I know how to use Google alerts, so I could easily set one up for my book (check), same with Google blog search so I can comment on other people’s blogs when they write about my book (check), I always try to be gracious to people commenting on my blogs (unless they are complete a’holes) because after all, they have not only read my post, but they taken the time to comment, so I can check that one too.

Writing guest posts on other blogs always seems like spamming to me, if you are only doing it to promote something of yours. That’s actually a shame, as I would (probably…) love to post on another person’s blog if they’d let me (and, of course, if I had something interesting to say!), so I can check that too without much worry.

No real problems so far.

But then things get a bit more technical.

I have no idea about setting up an email list and newsletters (apart from using Feedburner, which probably doesn’t count), so that would require a good bit of research and comparisons of best systems to use.

I had no clue what a ‘blogger outreach project’ was until I looked it up (I’m still working it out, but I think it concerns juggling a list of bloggers who review different parts of your book – but I could well be wrong!).

Making a YouTube video promoting my book seems like a great idea, but I would probably need help with that too (unless I want to look like a complete amateur – there again, that could be appealing in certain circumstances.. I guess…).

Then there is finding out how to arrange speaking trips and radio and TV appearances. I would assume that your publisher or agent would help with this, but it appears that a publisher’s promotional help is never enough and you should be doing most of your book promotion yourself, so… I would have to build networks with local media companies, perhaps book clubs, university literature groups, etc. Lots of hard work there, but worth the effort I would think…

That’s a pr茅cis of most of the tips. Others seem like common sense (to me, anyway), or like something you would work on in conjunction with your publisher (unless you are a self-publisher of course…).

But one thing I did notice with nearly all of these tips is…

An author needs to be very, very sociable.

I saw in the comments on this article that some assumed that writers were naturally sociable, gregarious beings – good speakers too. But are authors really like that?

It appears to me that many writers are far from gregarious. Spending your days alone, pounding out thousands of words onto your PC doesn’t give you much time for socialising (unless you give up in disgust and drown your sorrows at the local bar, of course).

Many writers also tend to be introverts, preferring to let others take the stage while they sit back and ‘people watch’. I would go as far as to say that being the darling of social media would appear as an almost insurmountable challenge to many writers, as the concept would be totally alien to them.

Taking that further, I would say that it isn’t so much the length of the ‘to do’ list that will faze a large number of authors, it is more that, after already producing a cast of believable characters for their book, they will now have to invent a ‘sociable’, outgoing character for themselves.

So, are you prepared to be sociable to promote your book?

And before you say an outright ‘No!’, think about all the blood, sweat and tears you have spent writing your masterpiece. And how much of your life has been invested in this moment, when your book has reached the publication stage.

I personally am sociable enough in that I like communicating with people, but I have to admit that it would take real effort on my part to be the life and soul of the party on and offline for days on end without let-up. But in this situation, I would not want to let my book down now by failing at ‘being sociable’. So, I guess I would have to grit my teeth, put on a suitable ‘sociable’ persona, and go for it! 馃檪

No Hay Dos Sin Tres

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La Roja Celebrate Winning The European Championship

No writing today, this is just to say Well Done Spain!

Watching Spanish TV over the last few days, where the caption has been No Hay Dos Sin Tres, we kept our fingers and toes crossed that everyone would be proved right.

Well, they were – Spain beat Italy 4-0, making them Champions of Europe for the second time running as well as Champions of the World!

Well done La Roja!

Differences In Writing Styles

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Do you have the tendency to get your writing styles mixed up? I do.

My work is writing for websites, mainly advertising text which is descriptive. My readers here do not want to know about the inner workings of a character’s mind. These readers want to be told how the character struggled with a problem which the purchase of a particular item can solve (usually written in first person); how the character looks good and feels good in a particular garment; how they managed to find something at a great value price; is in the news again and why; or (for my adult audience), is really enjoying what is going on in a particular video…

In my work text I use exclamation marks galore, change font size regularly and sometimes highlight in eye-catching colours.

I also write the occasional non-fiction article for magazines (and have a book in the makings, hidden among a pile of other projects…). Here again I am descriptive. I am teaching a subject and providing information. I highlight a change of subject within the text in bold and important points with italics. I use bullet points and number indents. The idea here (as with the often garish layout of advertising text) is to guide the reader to the main learning points of the article. All of this is accepted in the layout of non-fiction.

Then there is blog writing. For this I use a much more chatty style. I write as I think and the grammar and punctuation styles I use reflect this. I couldn’t possibly write a blog post if I had to bother about getting my grammar exactly right, or thinking about how many commas, dashes and ellipses I use…. 馃檪

Blogging, for me, is a way of clearing my mind. I find it relaxing, therefore I blog in a relaxed style.

Forum posting – for me, that will contain a few ‘lols!’, even more smileys than I use in blog posts, and again a relaxed approach (unless I am on a writing forum and am aware that others may be checking me out!).

Facebook – the less I say on FB the better. 馃檪

Twitter – actually helps me get my writing down to the bare bones. Similar to texting I guess, without the text speak (if you see what I mean).

The problem here is, that with all these different writing styles come different writing personalities:

The salesperson overflowing with eagerness to extol the benefits of their product; the adult website writer extolling virtues of a different kind…; the blogger, eager to clear their head whilst getting a point across; the forum poster, eager to join in the conversation and say their bit; and the FB and Twitter poster, sometimes promoting their own stuff, but often using these platforms to post links to others of interest, or funny videos which have caught their eye (at least, that’s mainly what I use FB for 馃檪 ).

But this discussion of using different writing styles according to what you are writing and where you are writing it, brings me now to writing Fiction, where you are faced with a whole new writing style:

Show not tell; characterization; point of view; not overusing adverbs or qualifiers; sticking to a defined punctuation formula; making sure you have action points, character interaction, specific speaking styles for different characters; etc, etc,…

I am finding more and more that I have to set aside a particular time to get my head in gear to write fiction. Otherwise I could end up with a chapter where the characters say ‘lol!’ rather than laughing, try to teach the reader something, or chat away to each other in forum and blog style, not to reach a resolution on anything, but just because they can. 馃檪

Perhaps it is just me who has a problem with changing my writing style according to context, but there again, I really don’t think so. 馃檪

The Problem Of Writing In Notebooks

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I have three different ways of writing. Most of the time I type my stories and notes straight onto my PC or netbook. At other times I pick up a ‘real’ notebook and write… and write…. and write!

My manuscripts have their home on my PC, organised in many folders and sub-folders according to type. When I am sitting at my PC I feel quite efficient. I have a small ‘workroom’ off our main living area, with desk, filing cabinets, and all those essential ‘office tools’ and this gives me the sense of actually working and (most of the time…) the attitude to go with it.

However, when I want to be a little more sociable (or it isn’t ‘work hours’), I have my netbook beside me, just in case something prompts me to take a note or two, or if I suddenly get the urge to go online and research something.

Of course, there are times when my ‘quick notes’ on the netbook turn into a full chapter or two, or a new character or plot outline. In this case, everything has to be copied to an external hard drive so that I can transfer it to a file in the right folder on my PC. No problem really, although a little frustrating if I forget to do this.

But sometimes I simply get the urge to write. You know, with a pen and using an actual paper notebook. 馃檪

In fact, when I write in my notebooks, I can write for hours. Words come easily, plot outlines make sense, characters leap from the page… That sounds good, right?

Well… yes and no…

You see, I have cupboards full of notebooks, bursting to the brim with plots, characterizations, writing ideas… You name it, you may well find it in one of my notebooks.
The problem is, that I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one!

When I write in a notebook, ideas flow, but not necessarily in any type of order. I do try to be organised by starting a new page with a new idea, but at the speed I write when in ‘notebook mode’, by the end of a brainstorming session I could have spread those disparate ideas across a number of different books.

Of course, the ideal solution would be for me to take each new note, type it up on my PC and save it into an appropriate, well-defined folder. And occasionally I do this. But most times typing up those thoughts and ideas and actually organising them (and correcting spelling and grammar mistakes, etc…) seems to take away some of their power and originality.

Or it could be simple laziness….

The good thing about my many notebooks is that I always have a source of inspiration for a plot, whatever notebook I pick up. So this strange, mass collection of writing isn’t that bad. But it does seem to be very wasteful of my time and energy which could be better spent getting my work ready for publication.

What would be so much better is if I could find some type of tablet which recognises my scrawl and turns it into print. Then it would simply be the case of transferring all those random scribbles onto my PC. No typing out already-written notes. No fuss.
(And a new tech toy to play with… 馃槈 ).

There again, there may be a further problem. I’m left-handed and most of these apps appear to have been set up only for right-handed people. So it’ll take a great deal of browsing with my trusty netbook to find any tablets with handwriting recognition apps which truly allow for south paws.

Unless anyone out there has some suggestions?

I promise I’ll take notes. 馃檪

My Creepy House Dream

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I was browsing a forum where people were talking about ‘scary dreams’. I have had plenty over the years, but one stays with me long after the others are just a vague memory. It is my own particular version of a ‘House Dream’.

The dream was too long to write about on a forum post, so I’m writing about it here instead. And I have to say, that for anyone who studies the meanings of dreams, or for any students of psychology, you are probably going to have a great time dissecting this. 馃檪

My House dream is a recurring dream, by the way. It occurs during times when I am overtired or stressed-out. The House in the dream is never quite the same, but the characters are.
Anyway, here is my dream as I remember it:

路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路

My House Dream

I am looking for a new place to live. I want somewhere large, with lots of rooms for different pursuits and a very large room where I can hold parties.

An estate agent takes me along to look at a house. It already looks creepy on the outside. It’s leaning a bit and some of the bricks are crumbling, but she assures me it’s okay, so, despite my misgivings, I go inside.

She takes me from room to room. There are so many of them, all with strange and different interior designs. It is like a group of mad artists, architects and interior designers have been let loose. I’m already creeped out and I am still only on the ground floor!

I ask the estate agent where is the largest room, as some of the rooms we have seen are very tiny.

She smiles and points to a room leading off of the room we are in, so in I go.
(she doesn’t follow me…).

It’s another strange-looking room, but this one has a door at the end – a low door which you have to bend down to go through. So I crawl inside.

The door opens out onto a huge ballroom. It is so large it is difficult to make out the furniture and pictures at the opposite end. Hundreds of chandeliers hang from the ceiling. They sparkle as if someone has dusted them recently. The ballroom floor glistens with newly-applied polish and the high, wide windows sparkly in the sunlight. I have never seen such a huge room in my life. It is like the house is a Tardis. There is no way this room would fit into the house you can see from the outside.

But the huge room doesn’t feel right… It is clean and sparkling, unlike any other room in the house, but it feels unreal in a way I can’t quite grasp. It is completely silent, apart from my echoing footsteps as I cross the floor. And as I walk, I get the sense that someone is watching me…

I want to run from the ballroom, but I can’t find the door I came in by. The only other way out is through another door on the far side, almost hidden behind a pillar.

I know this will take me even deeper into the house, but I feel I have no choice but to enter.

As I go through the door, I am faced with a long corridor with many doors leading off. I truly do not want to go through any of them!

Then a door half way along the corridor creeps open… and a girl slowly appears.

She is sepia-coloured, like an old photograph. She beckons me to come and meet her, but I know that something terrible will happen if I do.

My heart is beating so fast it seems it will jump out of my chest. I want to move, but I’m stuck to the spot.

The girl is slowly walking towards me….

Then I wake up! 馃檪

路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路路

I know that the ‘House Dream’ is one of the all-time dream classics. Some dream interpreters say that the house represents the body, others that it represents the mind, others would say that it represents changes in our lives and decisions were are being forced to make.

As this dream occurs with me at times when I am faced with turmoil and indecision, or simply tiredness from burning out at work, I tend to go for the latter theory. I would also say that the size of the house represents my aspirations, which have always been larger than life and which themselves can put me under stress. 馃檪

But that doesn’t explain the sepia-coloured girl.
Or does it…..?

What Are The Meanings Behind Tales Of The Future?

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When I was doing some part time teaching at Uni, I had to organise a seminar to discuss ‘tales of the future’. As this was a seminar for Modern History students, I remember thinking that everyone would be talking about HG Wells and George Orwell. Well, most of them did choose to discuss these two authors, but others delved much deeper.

They came up with little-known books from the 19th and early 20th Centuries covering subjects like the Channel Tunnel (and the threat of invasion from France), the First Man On the Moon (being an Englishman :)), the discovery of aliens in ‘Darkest Africa’, and a number of apocalyptic events caused by germs attacking the population of Britain, carried in via ships, strange flying devices, or (again) the Channel Tunnel.

What all of these books had in common was actually a fear of what could happen in the future. Just like Orwell’s 1984, the novels dwelt upon current events and discussions and transferred these to a near-future with catastrophic consequences.

I searched alongside the students and could not find a single book which celebrated new technology or new social structures, or even the explorations of the World or Universe, without providing at least a sense of threat. Even the Englishman who landed on the Moon was forced to make a hasty retreat, before his craft was taken over by ‘moon men’ prepared to invade Earth.

What we were doing in the seminar was matching up novels that were published with events taking place at the same time. So, for example, the aliens discovered in Africa (I can’t remember the exact word used to describe them, but they were what we today would call ‘aliens’) were written about at the time when the ‘Scramble For Africa’ was taking place. It was as if the author was warning us that it was better not to go there at all, because we would discover beings and situations that we really did not wish to find. The student who presented this novel argued that the author was picking up on the message provided in Conrad’s ‘Heart Of Darkness‘ and taking it one step further, but others saw this as a speculation of events to follow on from the Scramble for Africa, culminating in the First World War.

Hindsight is a great thing I guess, but either way, the idea of ‘discovering something we do not wish to find’ when we undertake a new adventure, or partake in the discovery of new technology, scientific breakthrough, or new ways of ordering society, was a theme throughout these novels.

And looking at later novels and now films as well, there always appears to be an element of threat in a ‘future tale’.

Often the future appears to be a dreadful place to live. Perhaps it is the result of a technological error in the present which profoundly affects the future (Terminator), a future wasteland, raised to the ground by nuclear war (Mad Max and many other movies), a future where robots take over the world or, the complete nightmare, where humans are barely-living beings, plumbed into a giant Matrix and existing only in a virtual reality World. And those in charge of this future world are always shady beings who exert complete control over the rest of us.

And of course, it is always our fault for letting this happen. We should have seen that taking strides with technology or exploration of any kind was a bad thing…

Okay, at certain points in time, you do find novels and films being produced where the heroes beat back the ‘outsiders’, often with the use of technology, and the World lives to fight another day. But there is still a warning here – the future is a scary place. We really should be afraid of it. And in any case, bookshops and cinemas will soon be filled again with the ‘don’t mess with science/technology/the social structure as we know it’ … scenarios.

Interestingly a future novel with an optimistic ending – Jack Finney’s 1954 book ‘Body Snatchers‘ (linked variously to perceptions of McCarthyism, Soviet Russia or the Cold War), had its ending changed to something much darker when turned into a movie. In the original novel, things get tough for the residents of a small village, but ingenuity (and the short lifespan of the aliens) helps humankind survive. However, in the original movie, just before the final scene the main character can be found screaming, “They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next!” Later film versions have been even less optimistic.

The current continued interest in a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ could be seen to represent our acceptance that the World is in one hell of a mess right now, politically and most of all financially, and that no one can see a way out. Being European or American will not protect us. In fact, just like the ‘Walking Dead’ idea, that even if we remain unbitten, we will still become zombies on our demise, so it is that, with the current world crisis, no nation on Earth will be able to survive unscathed.

So it appears to me that our current interest in an ‘apocalyptic future’ simply follows on the historical trend that the future is to be feared and that all our efforts to control it (however ‘good’ those efforts may be) are worthless, as we have no real control over our future at all.

Or is it simply that, as thinking beings we prefer to be scared by a book or a film, rather than facing concrete issues in the real World?

Can A Writer Of Short Stories Write A Novel?

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Up until now, my writing efforts (and publications) have been limited to writing short stories and readers letters.

True – I have also had some academic articles published, but, as these were a prerequisite of obtaining my doctorate and were for a very specific audience, I saw them more as a part of the education process, rather than as writing for publication in the ‘I am an author’ sense. So I’m not considering my academic work in this stream of thought. But anyway… back to the topic in hand. 馃檪

I have always found writing short stories relatively easy. That’s not to say I haven’t struggled with the concept of getting a full story across to the reader in a very concise form, but the ‘shortness’ of the exercise seems to suit my frame of mind.

Likewise with writing ‘readers letters’ to magazines. I loved doing this. The ability to invent myself again and again as a different character was very appealing to me and it also meant that the subjects I commented on required only a minimum of research (after all, in readers letters opinions often matter much more than facts…). So, once in the flow of things, I could be several different people on the same day and discuss a whole range of subjects.

Sure, being many different people and writing for a vast number of magazines did require a very large filing cabinet and maintaining a very complex spreadsheet, plus several different email accounts. The writing, re-working and submission of my short stories also required similar organisation. But the process of writing involved did suit my butterfly mind.
(At this point, some may say that writing as many different people also shows signs of a very split personality, but that’s up to them. I’m as sane as the next person, whatever that means…. :))

But now I am in the throes of writing a novel…

At the moment, flitting from one subject to another isn’t a problem. If I get bored writing one scene, I can work on a character or on the finer points of the plot. I can also go off and do some more research.

But I am noticing that my research often takes me to places where I can procrastinate rather than actually research, and this leads me to different forums where I will join in with the conversation… or else something will switch on a light bulb in my head and I’ll feel obliged to tweet about it, or to write a blog post…

And as to working on characters and plot, I am finding that too much re-working is making my characters unable to fit the scenes I have designed for them. And, as I said when I wrote My Novel Is Turning Into From Dusk Till Dawn, the plot of my novel is moving to places I hadn’t envisaged.

So, I am beginning to get that sinking feeling that not only will this novel never reach the submission stage, but, even if I do complete the whole thing, putting all the (very) disparate parts together will be problematical to say the least!

There is also something else to consider…

While I am procrastinating as I write my novel, no short stories are being written (apart from an almost finished horror one…). That equals no (eventually) published works and therefore no payment for all this work I am putting in. I know that many will say that the writing process is not about payment but about writing itself, but I have bills to pay. 馃檪

Nevertheless, I would love to be a published author of a novel, a large, ‘keep the reader interested to the bitter end’ type of novel, but I have yet to decide whether this is just about ego rather than about reality. And, as becoming that type of author will require much more self-discipline, I am still wondering whether this would actually hurt my writing style, or improve it (or is that simply my excuse…?).

However, as this has been more of a ‘write down your thoughts and see what turns up’ type of post, rather than a statement of a concrete decision, I am still undecided as to my next move.

Perhaps I’ll do some more research while I think on this… 馃檪