So, Olympic fever has well and truly gripped the nation. Did you watch the opening ceremony? I saw the highlights. I have to say, as impressive as it looked, I tend to lean towards the view that £27m is a little excessive, especially in these hard times. However, I enjoyed the Red Arrows flypast and I delighted in seeing Her Majesty with Mr Bond. In fact, it cheered me up after a week in which I had a few mishaps.
I'm something of a clumsy clot, so I'll spare you the list of weekly antics. However, the one that really had me pulling my hair out in frustration, was when I accidentally deleted a 52,000 word manuscript. Yes, fellow writers, I can hear your moans and gasps at this revelation.
I'm not sure what happened. My fingers must have clicked on a shortcut key and it wiped my document. When I clicked to leave, knowing I could just go back, I accidentally told the pc to save the changes instead of just coming out of it and then going to the last save. Duh!!!
Now, I know there will be those of you who will say that it's my fault for not saving the document and backing it up in the first place. Well, I do save. I always save my documents on my pc and on a spare usb stick, as well as my working usb. Unfortunately, whislt I save as I go along, I only back up the document at the end of the day. Big mistake, as I have learned.
When I'd done punching the wall and screaming at my faultless pc, and pacing the floor, I took a deep breath and tried to fix my blunder. Basically, this entailed trying to remember my edits, as well as going back over the last red inked, editted copy, in a bid to redo the chapter I'd not saved.
It cost me a couple of hours of my time that I could have better spent elsewhere. Or could it? A friend suggested that perhaps this was Fate's way of saying that those edits I'd lost weren't up to scratch. What if the new edits (because I couldn't remember the ones lost), are better?
I have to say, I hadn't looked at it from that point of view. On saying that, this particular friend subscribes to the, "every cloud has a silver lining", pick yourself up, dust yourself off and look for the good in the bad, newsletter.
So, I ask you, how precious are you with your writing? I have to confess, I used to be terrible. I hated criticism, I hated to cut out chunks of my work (even when I knew that they were extraneous to plot etc). Now, I have learned the error of my ways and have swallowed my pride.
None of us like criticism, and it has been quite painful highlighting certain passages and condemning them to the recycle bin, when I have considered them to be especially well written (in my opinion). However, it has to be done.
The above makes me sound quite pompous, I'm sure. Well, in my defence, it took me several years before I even plucked up the courage to submit anything - novels or short stories. Why? Hmm, lack of confidence played a key role. However, primarily, I think it's the fear of failure and not wanting to have my words ripped to shreds.
Now, I look back and think of all the missed opportunities. Like my friend says, there is always something good in something bad. I'm not sure I hold to that opinion about everyting, but when it comes to my work...
A good example was a short story I wrote for a competition. You had to write a ghost story. I struggle with these and eventually submitted a story about a cot death. The story was told from the viewpoint of the baby's dead father. I wasn't overly impressed with it, but submitted it anyway, knowing I'd done my best. It placed second. I was chuffed to bits. Furthermore, the judge's critique offered an interpretation of the story that I hadn't considered. That gave me an idea for a future project.
So, you never know. However bad you think your day i, however disappointed you are in your days work, it really pays to remind yourself that everything is a learning curve....and material for your next masterpiece.
Bring on the next Calamity!!
It's been a steady week, at least as far as my writing has gone. I've started editing the next manuscript I want to submit to a mainstream publisher, have managed to write a couple of short stories and have finished editing my latest anthology of erotic short stories. The latter, it has to be said, still needs some work. I don't know about you, but I tend to work on a project, then put it down when a draft is finished and work on something else. That way I can go back to it with fresh eyes. It's taken me a long time not to be so precious about the words I place on a page, but I'm getting there.
During one of my time outs I heard Colin Moynihan telling a journalist packed room that the British olympians are striving to match the achievements in Beijing and are striving to be fourth in the medal tables. Hmm...
I have to say, this incensed me. Yes, it's good to have dreams, and matching past achievements is good, but why not try and surpass them? What's wrong with aiming for Gold? Well, you might say, at least if we strive for fourth there's less hieght to fall from if we don't make it. Oh, and then there's all the joy and excitement if we actually get third or higher.
However, I have long held the belief that a lot of success is in the mind set. Yes, it's true, there has to be some degree of talent, but if you don't aim for success, what's the point? Oh, I know there are those who subscribe to the view that it's not about winning. it's about taking part. Yes, that's true. Whatever we do, we should be happy that we are a part of "something". All those athletes are proud to be taking part for their respective countries. Equally, they will be just as proud to WIN.
It's the same in writing. For example, if you write something and then never place it gently into an envelope, seal it with a loving kiss and pop it in the post box with fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed, then you will never get published. It's that simple. OKay, you might submit and still never get published. But..... Dream high. Yes, you might fall further, but why settle for less than the best you can be?
Fourth????? Aim for First. Aim for Gold. And if one publisher doesn't see the glitter in your prose well, at least you will have the satisfaction that you are aiming high and are giving your goals the very best chance they deserve. As my website says, if you want to soar with the eagles, you have to stop gaggling with the geese!
Well, this week has been a pretty quiet week. Stan, as you can see, is doing one of his favourite things. One of his other delights, when he's not chasing squirrels, is to bring us a stream of gifts. So far, we have been spared the dead birds although, yesterday, he did present us with a small mouse.
No, Stan has obviously looked at his new mum and dad, (sorry, slaves), and decidedthat we need feeding up. So, almost on a daily basis, we are given pieces of stale bread, sausage, burger and he has even presented us with half a fat ball cake! Please forgive me if I don't smack my lips together and salivate in anticipation.
One morning this week, hubby was sitting on our doorstep dong a bit of DIY. Actually, he was fixing a piece of his windsurfing kit. Anyway, Stan swaggered up the drive and dropped a piece of wood at hubby's feet. How did he know that his minion was doing DIY? Is Stan especially gifted, or just an ooportunist?
This brings me nicely round to the subject of writing. For those of you who follow my Blog, please forgive me. I'm sure I have touched on inspiration before. However, deeper than that, comes the subject of material.
It's all well and good jumping up out of the bath, a tsunami of water cascading all over your bath mat, as you delight in the fact that your muse has just told you to write a ghost story or your next historical romance....But where do you get the material to adorn those pristine lined notebooks?
I have submitted some short stories to different competitions this week. However, I have struggled with one ofthem and might not meet the deadline now. Two ideas were scrapped. I don't necessarily think that they were bad ideas. It's just that I couldn't work through the quagmire of plots and characters in my troubled head.
And that is what separates good writing from bad, or so I've been told. Anyone can write a book. It's true, isn't it? The bottom line is, taking away the need for good grammar and the other technical stuff, the story has to be believable. Even the airy stories have to ring true. It doesn't matter how well written the piece, if the meat isn't on the bone, it's just going to get left to rot.
I have recently read advice about short story competitions. Basically, you should discard your first three or four ideas because everyone will be writing about those. Does this make you feel disheartened or inspired to dig deeper? I suspect a little of the first and a lot more of the second.
So, this next week, I'm going to be working on my full length mansucript, whilst instructing my muse to sit quietly in a corner and cogitate. She needs to think about the meat.
Or maybe I'll have a quiet word with Stan and see what he can find in the undergrowth?
I don't usually have a rant and rave, at least ot before my cup of caffeine! However, there have been several things this week that have really irritated me. The first, and most important, was the fact that I had to take 3 hours away from editting my latest manuscript to reformat my already published novel on Smashwords.
Nothing remiss there, you might add. Well, actually it was pretty annoying. Apple have changed the size requirements of their covers. Consequently, I decided to upload new covers to suit this. Having done so, my pc then told me that there were errors in the manuscript! Aargh!! I screamed. How can that be? I haven't uploaded a new manuscript? Anyway, I had little choice but to go through my 55,000 word mansucript and edit it...again.
The second irritating thing concerns the ubiquitous Fifty Shades Trilogy. Actually, it concerns those who are taking it far too seriously.
Have you succumbed to all the hype and publicity and picked up it up yet? I have and, for all the huffing and puffing it's generated, I am actually enjoying it. Okay, there are only so many foil packets you can stand to have ripped open, and poor Christian must be almost bald due to Ana's tugging. Oh, and those trousers he wears...do they really hang off his hips all the time? And the baggage....
However, I am on the third book and am finding it an easy, light, enjoyable story. Granted, it's not everyone's cup of tea, but does it really deserved to be burned at the stake? Come on, isn't it an over reaction?
Books, like all art forms, are subjective. Whatever your beliefs, your sexual proclivities, you are entitled to read what you want, when you want, where you want. Who are the critics to dare suggest that if you pick up this book you are depraved and immoral. Oh, and the thoughts that the book have put in my head....Should I be typing this on my knees in a red room waiting for hubby to assert is authority as my husband and boss?
Come on guys, get real!
What I would like to know is....What do these amateur critcs read?
The Bible?...there's enough sex and killing in there to turn you into the next serial killer...whatever the moral behind the stories.
Agatha Christie, perhaps?...Sweet Miss Marple...But wait, doesn't she solve murders and crime?... There's nothing immoral and depraved about murder...right?
Are we getting the point yet?
Sex, murder, drugs, love, romance.....These are all parts of life. People are just that...people. Human. Flesh and blood. Some commit bad acts. Some are simply happy to switch off at the end of the day, sit back and enjoy a ripping good yarn.I'm sure the murderers in the world weren't motivated by reading the books they read, not deep down.
I have two, rather salient, points to make on the whole thing.
Firstly, to those who state that Fifty Shades objectifies women.....Have you read the book? Ana actually enjoys the whole S & M stuff. Also, perhaps more importantly, she helps Christian see that there is more beyond his whips and handcuffs. Surely this illustrates the exact opposite of objectification?
Secondly, there is apparently no such thing as bad publicity.... so perhaps the last laugh is on E.L. James... and I doff my cap to her. Bring on the next Fifty!