Writing Time

I have been struggling to write anything lately.

This is due to two factors.

First, I simply lack the time to do so. The first half of my current manuscript was hammered out in a relatively short time while I was unemployed and looking for work. I had loads of spare time on my hands, and could type away for hours each day. This freedom has been seriously hampered by the two jobs I currently have. I work 8 hours during the day, and again 2 or 3 hours at night. Between getting to and from work, eating, showering, doing the laundry and getting the grocery shopping done, I barely have time to get into bed on time.


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Books to read

I’ve inherited a Kindle.

At first I didn’t get into it, as I really prefer a book in my hands, but there is a huge advantage to it: you get books for free.

There are two kinds of free ebooks.

First, books that have passed out of copyright into the public domain are available for free from multiple places. There are a lot of classics I have never read, like Wuthering Heights or Moby Dick, and others I have devoured as a child but would love to re-read at some point, like Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Gulliver’s Travels.

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Things to learn

I’m currently reading Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson and as I sat on the commuter train with my Kindle, it suddenly struck me that my own writing lacks sufficient description of details.

In the novel, Amy shows a nurse into a bedroom for her to have a lie-down, and she folds back the covers for her. My own recent writing wouldn’t have included that detail, it would probably have gone something like “…showed the nurse to the bedroom and left her to have a rest.”

But folding back the covers brings the whole scene to life. I could see her in my mind, folding the covers back. It wasn’t too detailed either. I don’t know whether the bedspread is green or red or patterned, or whether the bed is standing under the window or not. But it’s an offhand detail that makes the whole thing seem more real.

I definitely need to work on that. I tend to describe either too much (where the bed stands and what colour the blanket is), or too little (no mention of the bed at all).

On a different note:

I’m really enjoying this novel. Check it out on Amazon!

Getting back on the horse

I totally slacked off and didn’t write anything related to the Spicers in a long time.

I had another project happening, as well as taking on a second job that takes up quite a chunk of my time after coming home from my regular fulltime job.

So how do you get back to writing after slacking off for weeks on end? I had the weekend off, with nothing to do, and I resolved to sit down and write. I then spent the entire morning staring at a blank screen and not writing anything, while thinking about the sunshine outside.

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The language you choose…

…determines the result of your story.

I’m currently translating fairytales, and I found that they have a very unique rhythm.

Just take the beginning and ending of a typical fairytale. It always starts with “Once upon a time…” and more often than not ends with “…and they lived happily ever after”.

Why doesn’t it say “A long time ago…” and “…then they got married, the end.”

Because then it wouldn’t be a traditional fairytale format, that’s why.

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Character Sheets

I’ve been introduced to the idea of character sheets for writing quite late into the process. I knew character sheets from gaming, where you record the strengths and weaknesses of a character, and note changes like level ups and so on, but for writing this never occurred to me.

I did have a list, though.

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Novel writing software?

For a long time I wrote in Microsoft Word, simply because it was there, and you use it to create documents.

When I started to write different scenes and different parts of my stories at different time, I ended up with multiple documents that all belonged to the same story. Apart from the fact that I had to copy and paste them all together in the end (tedious!), I also had to invent a way to keep them in order.

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non-linear writing

I always imagined people who write books to sit down and start at the beginning, and then keep going until the end. Somehow I feel that is how books ought to be written, so I try and follow that pattern.

But so often I suddenly veer off in my head and have a really cool idea for something that’s going to happen much later on. Before, I would try to keep the idea in my head until I got to that part, or I would jot down ideas on a notepad and keep it for later.

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Tuunish Saltkale (the recipe)

Tuunish Saltkale features in the spicer stories. It’s a kind of salty stewed kale that you either love or hate.

My friend Pepper asked me if I had a real dish in mind when I wrote about it, or whether I just made it up. Actually, at first I made it up and it was called Ripple Stew. I changed it later on, after I found myself thinking about dishes I know that separate foodies over how good or bad it is.

So here’s the actual recipe. You’re welcome.

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It’s National Novel Writing Month!

Thousands of talented writers all over the world are sitting down and creating a Novel in a month, start to finish.

I’m totally in awe of everybody who is taking part, because I’m utterly unable to do this myself. I’m the slowest writer I know, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything I ever wrote that has a proper finish ( a few short fairytales for my nieces excluded).

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