When I wrote my novel Blood Addiction, you could say that I wrote it in reaction to the novel Twilight. I confess I haven’t actually read Twilight because I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like to read what everyone else is reading but I would need to live in a cave not to have heard about it!
Actually the thing that annoyed me most about Twilight was the idea of Vampires that don’t kill people! I mean; what is the point of that? Its like rock stars who don’t take drugs and bang the groupies. Isn’t that the point of being a rock star? And isn’t the killing part the point of vampires? The idea of a vampire that doesn’t kill disgusts me! If you don’t want any killing in your book then write about little fluffy bunnies; not vampires!
So when I wrote Blood Addiction I was determined to make my vampires monsters. Even Vladimir, the anti-hero of the whole thing, kills a teenage girl in the first chapter. And Lord Ruthven, who’s the villain of the piece, even kills two young children. So if this is the sort of thing you don’t like, here’s a heads-up. Don’t read Blood Addiction. But if you like your vampires to be proper killing machines, then its possible that Blood Addiction might just be the book for you!
Okay, I admit it; I’ve been in the doldrums for a while. I haven’t written a word in ages because first I told myself I was going away to Ireland and I’d start again when I got back. Then I told myself that I’d start at the beginning of July, but I missed that date. I realise that I was just making excuses so yesterday I bit the bullet and just wrote another chapter of my work in progress. I must say that I felt a lot better for doing it. Yesterday I also managed to sort out the favourites on my computer, which was a job I’d been meaning to do for ages and kept putting off. I practised my guitar, figured out how to listen to an audio book on my Kindle Fire and did 750 words.
Today I chopped all the weeds back in our front garden, wrote another chapter of my work in progress, practised my guitar and had another guitar lesson, did this blog post and plan to do another 750 words later. So after a long pause it’s back to full speed ahead!
Since about September last year I have been learning to play the guitar. I don’t think I’m doing very well but then I never do. But it has struck me how much like writing learning the guitar is.
Firstly, progress is always painfully slow. I sincerely wish I could pick up the guitar one day and play like Hendrix the next but that’s never going to happen. It’s endless hours of practise that improves one’s playing and nothing else. I have heard rumours that if you go down to the crossroads and sell your soul to a tall dark gentleman with horns and a tail, then your ability can drastically improve very quickly but that’s too high a price to pay in my book. But there are so many other things to do in life and so many times when the last thing you feel like doing is writing or practising the guitar.
And when you’re learning anything new is can be so disheartening. As someone who suffers with a lot of self doubt, I never think I’m doing enough or doing it properly. I feel guilty if I don’t practise the same as if I don’t write. At least I have a guitar teacher to give me a small sense of perspective. He’s always a lot more enthusiastic about my playing than I am. But with writing, it’s much harder to get perspective and I’m sure all writers are familiar with the feeling that every thing they write is probably garbage and how they feel they’re probably wasting their time doing this.
However, when a break through does occur and something goes well, the feeling of achievement is monumental. Music, writing and creativity in general is, despite the difficulties and setbacks, such a joy. With the guitar, my aim is to be good enough to be in a band. With the writing, I want to be a successful published author. What I really want is some sort of public vindication. Yes, a best selling novel or a grammy awarded album would be great but what I really want is for people to like what I do. I want my creativity to be appreciated. Surely that’s not too much to ask?
I never realised when I first started doing the Facebook thing that it would turn me into a grammar nerd. The urge to correct bad spelling and grammar is so strong that sometimes it is really hard to resist. One of the most prominent and frequent errors occurs around the words ‘there, their and they’re’. So let me explain.
‘There’ refers to an unspecified place, as in “The Beatles are over there.” ‘Their’ refers to things that belong to them, as “The Beatles have their hats on today.” ‘They’re’ is an abbreviation of ‘they are’ as in “The Beatles have arrived and they’re on stage.” I hope this clears things up. I know a lot of people on Facebook will continue to get it wrong.
I can understand if English is not your first language or if you are dyslexic or have other learning difficulties; fair enough then. But if English is your first language and you went to school I can’t help thinking that you should know this stuff. Perhaps that makes me a pedant but then so be it!
Wrote a first draft of my current novel for NaNoWriMo and it went okay except for the fact that it was way too short! Finished at about 25,000 words which is only half of what I should have. Left it until after Christmas to start the editing process and decided to re-write from the beginning hoping that each time I wrote it, it would come out longer. The first edition was actually only the bare bones of the plot with very little of what the characters were thinking and the action practically took place in a vacuum.
So for this version I’m writing now I’m trying to add a lot more interiors, if you understand what I mean, to the characters and do a lot more description. I thought that one way to add more interior thinking for my main character would be to switch from the third person that I’d written the original in to the first person and then she’d be able to think out loud. Also started writing in the present tense which I wasn’t sure about but decided to go with for now.
Well I got about twelve pages in and lost the present tense which I think is probably a good thing. But I also found myself shifting back to the third person. I did think that the first person wasn’t working out as well as I’d expected. So now I’m back in the past tense and the third person but still ploughing on. I’m full of all the usual worries like “Is this a load of crap?”, “Does this story work?”, “Should I abandon this and switch to another project?” etc, etc, etc.
The good news is that I am keeping up with the page a day challenge that I set myself on the first of January so I have seventeen pages of version two of The Bear In The Woods so far!
Not such a good week as last week I’m afraid. Did my 750 words and worked on my novel The Bear In The Woods every day but I only blogged once and that’s today. Didn’t fit in as much reading as I wanted to nor did I do as much cleaning/de-cluttering as I wanted. Didn’t practise my guitar for two days but I did over forty five minutes of practise today to try and make up for that.
My guitar teacher really likes my new guitar so that was good and he was impressed with the progress I’ve made and joy of joys, he said I have the strumming pattern that I’ve been practising for the last six weeks to the point where it was driving me insane! I can’t play it at the right speed but he said I do play it right and I figure that playing it right is more important than playing it fast. I can learn fast later but better to get it right to begin with.
Bought five new books at Glastonbury on Saturday so they’ve all been added to the To-Be-Read list. And I got another book out of the library! Ordered two more books from the Oldfield Park Bookshop and have to pick them up tomorrow as well!
Another year, another round of ROW. So I have a list of seven daily goals and my goal is to try to do all of them every day but not to hate myself if I don’t manage that. Then every week I shall assess how I’ve done and report back on that.
So my daily goals are
1) Do one page of my W.I.P. every day. So far I’m five for five on that one.
2) Practise guitar. Haven’t done that so far today but I have for the four other days this year.
3) Do 750 words every day either on the computer or longhand. Am five for five on that one too.
4) Blog every day. I have two blogs now. This one and The Queen of Books one so I must have something to say on at least one of them every day, you’d think but this task seems to be the one I have the most trouble with. Only two out of five on that one.
5) Reading. No problem there. Five for five as I would rather read than eat.
6) Cleaning. By this I mean above and beyond what I normally do. Not just the usual cleaning up but deep cleaning and/or decluttering. Managed three out of five so far.
7) Read Mike Young’s book, Kirk’s Landing and write a review on Amazon when I’m finished. I’ve read the first seven chapters.
And finally I’ve chosen my keyword for the year and it is ‘magical’. This will be a magical year for me in every sense of the word. It’s time for me to stop dabbling and really dive into the depths of my magical powers. Look out world!
Love is like iron.
Love is like the jaws of a shark; full of bite.
Love is like willow trees in the rain, bending their tears into the water.
Love is like coffee too hot to drink, it burns your mouth with its heat.
Love is like a mirror you look into and all you see reflected back is more love.
Love is like a duvet; warm, comforting, smothering.
Love is like that itch between your shoulder blades that you just can’t reach.
Love is like a symphony played slightly out of tune.
Love is like that jingle on the radio that you end up singing all day until it drives you crazy.
Love is just love.
Gosh I haven’t done one of these in ages! It’s been so long I’ve forgotten what my original goals were! Never mind, that’s a good excuse to come up with new ones. I now have a list of daily tasks which I aim to complete. So far I haven’t had a day where I do all of them but I managed to do most of them. The tasks are:
2) Write at least one page of my WIP
3) Practise my guitar
4) Work on my jungle/garden
5) Do 750 words thing
6) Do one blog post for either of my blogs (I have tow now!)
7) Carry on with all my with assorted reading
Today so far I have done one, three, six and seven. So I don’t think I’m doing too badly. I know full well that I’m not going to do everything every day; as I said I haven’t managed to achieve one day yet where I have done every task but if I’m doing most of them then that must be a good thing.
If I don’t do one task then I try to prioritise that one for the next day. Yesterday I forgot to practise my guitar so I made sure that I did that today.