Wednesday, November 7, 2018

If I ever write "tears were streaming down my face" can someone please come over and slap me.

I'm writing this because I saw that someone had taken their 'tear streaming' line and turned it into an image to post on their twitter. So, I mean, it's not so bad to sometimes use these simple cliches, but I don't think that is a keystone moment for your book.

Ok, ok. There are 83 books on my "read in 2018" list. And, let's face it, plenty of them are 'sizzling' romance novels. I'm not going to lie. I  L.O.V.E  them. But if you read (listen) pretty much constantly to stories, there are some things which as so common that they lose all impact. At least for me. Maybe this wouldn't be the case if I didn't read this a couple of times a week.

'Streaming tears' is up there with 'cold as ice' and 'hard as a rock.'

For me, doing figurative language is about evoking emotion. I try to describe what is happening in a way that couldn't be described in any other place and time. Something like this:
"The salt wind rushing from the ocean chilled my tears. It felt like ice was cutting lines down my face."
I want the reader to think; to engage their brain to picture what's happening. Cliche sometimes just feels like telling to me.

Am I being too judgmental? Is my figurative language too much? What doozies have you seen lately?

PS I'm over 20,000 for the month doing NaNoWriMo.  Look, some novels couldn't come out this way. But this one can, mostly. Except for one part which I'll outline and then check my research later.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

NaNoWriMo Mania

It's something to bash out a bunch of un-edited words. Normally my process involves writing it, reading it over. Re-writing it. Listening to the text-to-speech version of it. Editing it again. And then reading it over finally after a day or two. Rinse, repeat for each section. 
That process means that I normally get about one thousand words on a good day.
The NaNoWriMo month is an interesting way to write for me. I have unfixed typographical errors and I'm learning to see those red squiggly underlines and (pause for effect) leave them there.

I know right? Bats!

But the best thing about this process is that I have this many words in my second book the prequel.
My normal process would never have gotten me there. And if it's possible to write the first draft of a novel in a month that I'm working, then I reckon that bodes quite well for the future of me as a writer.

Sure it took 10 years for the first one. If the second one emerges after just 1 year, then I'll be ok.

I am still getting feedback from the first one and after this process, I'll go back through and give my first attempt another zhuzh before I go and actually contact an agent.

Oh I also made a mock Title Page.

Friday, October 26, 2018

How monetisation of the media has influenced truth in reporting and the representation of complex issues

Every time you turn around these days, you hear someone criticizing the media. Claims of bias, lies, fake news and agendas are thrown around very often, by politicians, and celebrities, but most viciously by the journalists themselves. It’s like reporters have given up searching for facts because they are too busy throwing stones across an ever-widening chasm of conflicting ideals. We in the western world are quick to throw stones at countries that control the media, like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, or most infamously, China. And we are up in arms for murdered journalists like Jamal Khashoggi, crying with shrill voices that a free press is the cornerstone of a good democracy. But I think we all know that it’s been a long time since the news media was truly free. Media is the worst example of the free market veering off its path to the detriment of everyone in pursuit of low effort, easy money. The recent reporting about the seven-thousand refuges, escaping gang violence in Honduras by fleeing to the US, is yet another example of journalism splitting down political lines to and take pot shots at each other with hollow, unfounded and alarmist rhetoric. From warning us not to believe everything we read, to Fox News warning us that these people are bringing economic ruin and disease, this real issue, where the lives of real people hang in the balance, has become yet another battleground for the media to attack each other without any need for pesky for facts to get involved.

The best example of this callous disregard for facts is a story which managed to construct a six hundred-and six-word news story about an eleven-word speculation from the president. Let me quote it for you. “There's no proof of anything. But they (terrorists) could very well be (inside the caravan).” This ridiculous news story drags on for pages centering on what even the president admitted was only a guess. This news story adds nothing of substance to the debate.

But if only all the articles were this vapid.  Fox news has a different take on the event, labelling it “an invasion into this country.” On The Ingram Angle, Laura Ingraham talks to a couple of experts about the event, but it’s her questions that really stand out. In a question that takes nearly 30 seconds to ask, she calls it a national security issue, an economic issue, a schooling and a healthcare issue. She highlights the range of wild diseases the people “might” bring into the country. She’s hitting the appeal to fear, again and again, beating up anxiety over sickness, and security with very little information in her report. She calls the situation “a national emergency, maybe most of them are unarmed, we don’t know, this is an invasion into this country.” This is a ludicrous statement. The only unarmed invasion is a zombie invasion, and zombies aren’t real. But what I think is most disturbing about this kind of reporting is the number of times the pundits in this kind of show can say “Might,” “maybe,” and “we don’t know,” and never be asked Why don’t you know? If this is the news, and you don’t know anything, why am I listening to you? Why are any of us watching these people who don’t even know what’s going on?

Misinformation is one thing, but lack of information is reprehensible. So you’ll be happy to know that Wired has us covered. At least, a little bit. In its article ALERT: Don’t believe everything you read about the Migrant caravan we get a one-hundred-and-forty word summary about the event including the date it began, “the 13th of October,” where it began, “northern Honduras.” How many people are marching, “around 7,500,” and how far it is to the US border, “approximately 2,000 miles.” Great, now I know slightly more than nothing about what’s going on. What’s really unfortunate that instead of continuing on with the detail about the underlying problems that caused this massive group of people to make a dangerous trek across inhospitable countries with their children clutched in their arms, Wired goes on with nearly seven hundred words of navel-gazing discussing not the issue, but what other news outlets are reporting about the issue. This doesn’t even include the other 130 words of introduction about the crisis of trust that currently plagues the media.

The media is a business which needs to make money, and the problem with that is that finding out things is extremely time-consuming, and expensive. You can imagine that to find out what is really happening with these refugees you would need to send a person to talk to them, and another one to Honduras to interview people there who know the situation. You would need to spend time sorting out facts from lies and to write that up in a calm and responsible manner. It’s a lot more expedient to simply say, “we don’t know,” and then report on what someone else has said. Even if that other person has no idea what’s going on either. When even the president has, “no proof,” should we expect more from our media?

My answer to that is yes. We do need to expect more from our media, but sadly at the moment, that’s not what we are getting. There is a pathological unwillingness in this modern age to engage with real issues on a deep and complex level. Media these days is little more than weeping and gnashing of teeth. It has become a competition about who can make the wildest unfounded speculation and the winner is the one who can get the most clicks before getting sued. What has happened to the public interest standard? Prior to the 1980s media companies were required to provide programming that was in the public interest, and the news was seen as good for society, but not good fur the hip pocket. How can we get back to honesty?

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The next book is a prequel

There is a massive gaping hole in the first story and that it the origin story of one of the minor characters Emily.

She's a tiny little girl who is always buried behind her massive trio of monitors. Who is she? There's no real detail in the first story.

But in this second chapter, I'm giving her a wild adventure to invite her into this world.

I'm trying a new method of writing. I have written an outline, I know some of the characters and how they play out. It's a much more linear narrative.

But as I continue to think (I just had a flashback idea just now) little details fill themselves in and flesh themselves out.

I'll see how writing to an outline works this time compared to letting the world unfold in a random and lumbering way.  I'm also going to try 100% first-person.

Your genre is dead

I have been spending some time thinking and digesting the feedback from a literary agent that I received a few weeks ago.

Your genre is dead. No one is buying it. No one is publishing it. It's been dead for a good long while now after being utterly flooded with books in that genre.

You know, I get it. There are a LOT of books in the genre. There are PLENTY of stories that are told and told and told in this and I have been having a lot of trouble thinking about the answer to "What about your book is different?"

Can I answer this question?  Maybe. Maybe the difference I can give is something that people won't like though. Maybe sensible isn't what people want from their fiction.

But what she did say was that I can write. That what I write is easy to read and flows nicely.

So..................... there's nothing I can do with that, other than just keep doing it. Write all the stories and get better at writing overall.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Vampire + eggs

Having finished... No, I'm not going to tell you, you'll just figure it out.  No one is reading this anyway.

So anyway - what if you were a new vampire, and someone asked you to eat eggs from breakfast?

Here's my take:

I lifted a fork of the yellow stuff to my lips and moved it around in my mouth. That’s the chicken shit alright. And the dirt under their feet. That’s the fetus and the undeveloped feathers. I had to fight my gag reflex to swallow it but as soon as it was down, I knew it was wrong.

How would you describe their experience?

Pink Moto