Thursday, 30 June 2011

Out with the new. In with the old

My plot is coming along nicely. I've got most of the points figured out, I just need to work out a couple of details, mainly for the later part of the story. I'm one of those writers who prefers to have everything figured out before writing a single word of the story, it's weird but that's just the way that I am. There's a slight feeling of impatience within me though, like I really want to start writing even though some points still aren't clear to me. I think part of it is because soon I'm going to be forced to spend days at a time working on my webcomic, rather then writing. The first page is set to be released on Saturday.. very nervous about the response, particularly as the third page, set to be released the weekend of my graduation week, isn't finished yet. In fact I have to redraw it. Any way this blog is getting off topic from writing into comicing and although comicing does involve writing I need to say what I was going to say.
I love Terry Brooks. I've rediscovered what it was that I loved about the novels. They're good old-fashioned sword and sorcery novels that have an element of our past and history within the way they're written. Like a film produced in the 70s and 80s. It might not be the past/history for most people but given that I wasn't even born then it's the past for me. Anyway, too often now fantasy novels are written for the action, there's very little character development or the main characters are ridiculously young and are coming of age. With Brooks though it's different. Oh don't get me wrong there's action... great sword battles and slashing fire between enemies. But he also focuses on the characters, letting readers know what they're thinking, suggesting their past and issues they may have to the reader rather then shoving it down their throats. I can't help but think as I read them "That's how I want to write, I want the best of both worlds" It's how I used to write, or at least try to write, as long as I can remember. I'd try desperately to get a balance between character and story. I was only about 12 at the time though so I struggled to figure it out properly. Gradually I just sort of wrote what I want to, often trailing off within the first few chapters as the characters just sort of got stuck and the story went nowhere. Now though, I'd decided "Screw those coming of age stories that come up in fantasy. I want a proper fantasy novel with swords and sorcery and dragons and monsters." I can't find one to read though... other than Brooks' Shannara series. I'm going to write one.
Right after I finish my BBQ Pork with mushrooms.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Learning about Writing.

So earlier I hit a minor writer's block. Nothing serious mind you but something that would delay the writing process for longer then I wanted. I wasn't sure where to go next, whether to start writing or to look at my plot more indepth. Reading Terry Brooks wasn't working so I decided to visit a couple of forums I frequent. One of them is the SmackJeeves forum.
Now, SJ is devoted to webcomics I will admit and yes.. I write and draw a webcomic myself. It's home to a fairly successful group of webcomicers as well. One of them is Gibson Twist whose comic 'Pictures of You' is, I've been told pretty good. It's a bit to wordy for my tastes but I can appreciate the art and writing for their quality, even if the content is something I'm not interested in. Anyway, he also writes tutorials for writing, both webcomic scripts and prose. I read the one he'd posted on SJ forums and it really helped me figure out where to go next. You can find it here: Gibson Twist's Writing tutorials It's got information that'd be useful for all levels of writing both beginners and experienced writers. If you're having trouble with any part of the writing process I'd suggest checking it out.
Back to the me doing a webcomic thing. It's still a baby, there's not even a single page up yet. I'm not happy with the banner either, both for the forums and the site itself. Meh, it'll get sorted eventually. I've just got to find a way to juggle the webcomic and the novel I'm writing. For the curious though, here's a quick glimpse of the banner for the site itsel.
The text isn't quite right but like I've said, I'll sort it.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Bye Bye Writer's Block. Hello shiny new novel plan.

  Mere hours after I got those Terry Brooks novels down, yes the ones that I spent much of the last blog gushing about, I had the inspiration for a new novel/story. I'd barely read a few passages of 'The Sword of Shannara' and I was already being hit by various ideas. Thankfully the vagueness of them meant that I could shove them all together into one big story but I'm just so glad that I'm no longer writer's blocky.
I really do suggest to any writer or artist that is suggering from writer's block to find the thing or things that inspired them before and go back to it. Although it might not work for everyone it certainly worked for me, almost instantly. Unfortunately I'm still grouchy.. less so then I was but still.. pretty grouchy. I'm just putting that down to hormones and ignoring it though.
 I'm so happy that I've managed to get back on track with writing though. There's just so much coming out and I'm actually enjoying writing for the sake of writing again. For the last three years I've had to write for my degree, it took away much of the fun that I'd previously found in it. Now though, with my degree at an end, I'm finding that I can enjoy it again, now that there's not this horrible pressure to write something and to write something in a genre that I just don't like. Those three years stretched me as a writer though I will admit. The lecturers pushed me into writing in genres I'd normally ignore and stir clear of. They forced me to consider character voices, different levels of description. Basically I studied my writing style indepth and evolved it. Maybe it's made it better, maybe it's made it worse. I really won't know until I write something that I enjoy writing and get more then 10 pages done.
  Who knows, maybe this story will start off a series, all set in my world. For all the future knows I could be the next Terry Brooks... except female and British and younger. I'd like that though. I'm not bothered about the money, I just want people to read what I've written, to share it with the whole world. I know that's what the internet is for and to be far I do plan on putting it online somewhere but I have a great love and respect for the printed word and would love, dearly, to see my words printed and bound in a book with a beautifully illustrated cover.
 But that's enough philosophising for one day... I'll leave you now as I return to my writing and give you one message.... Write what you love and failing that, write what you know.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Bane of my Existence and my Love

I've been hit with the bane of any writer's existence... Writer's block. Just a day after I had that massive surge in creative ideas from my walk they all vanished. Me being me of course, I forgot to write them down. Now I'm stuck with the desire to write but nothing to actually put words to. I've been sat, staring at paper and a map, hoping desperately that something will come to me and I'll be able to write. At least that's how I spent most of yesterday and part of today. It's annoying me, and as a result, making me crabby and irritable. I'm snapping at my mum and sister despite knowing that it's not their fault.
I've got this desperate urge to write, to create a story, but I just can't. I can feel these half-formed ideas floating round my head; freeze-frames of a scene, names of characters, parts of a plot. None of them are staying around for very long though, certainly not long enough for me to jot them down and most definately disappearing as soon as they begin to form into bigger ideas and full plots.
I don't know if writer's block is that way for everyone. I've got the drive, hell I've got a setting. I just don't have anything to write about. Maybe I'm being over-ambitious, wanting to write a story that spans a whole world. Maybe instead I should concentrate on a single country in that world I created and write something set there, possibly one of their historical events. As I write this I'm getting a couple of ideas but nothing that can form an entire novel. It's doing my head in.
In desperation I've turned to some old classics, novels that in the past have sparked 101 ideas as I've read them. I'm not talking about Lord of the Rings, the kind of background Tolkien did, while amazing, is just not something I'm ready for at my level of writing. I'm talking about Terry Brooks and his Shannara series. I had to spend a sweaty 30 minutes rooting around the back of the attic searching for them before my mother pointed out that they were in the cooler entrance part of the attic... not happy about that. However I am happy, that with the minimum amount of lifting I have all of Brooks's books that I own spread out on my bed.
It amazes me that, for someone who started writing at 26 in the 1970s, he has over 10 books written, all set within the same world. I have 12 of his novels, I'm missing the last of one trilogy and two other prequel type trilogies, as well as a stand alone novel that bridges a gap. I found out about them yesterday and now all I can think of it 'Want them. Want them!'
I should probably explain why I love Brooks's books so much... but I can't. It may be that if you read them in the order that they were published you can see his skill as a writer growing. The characters become richer, more well-rounded. The world that the series is set in becomes more real, taking shape in my mind. Brooks was the first fantasy novelist that I read (At least the first grown up fantasy novelist that I read.) before I even so much as thought about Lord of the Rings or touched the Hobbit, despite my dad's best attempts. I suppose the fact that he was my first look into the genre that I love writing in may be the reason that I love him so much. We'll see eventually... when I finish all 12 books I own. Who knows, maybe as a graduation present I might get some of the others.
If this reading sparks any ideas you can be sure that this time, I'll be writing them down. Hell I might share some amazing insight with you... yeah right :P

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Creating stories

I went for a walk today, down to the country park. Completely alone interestingly, particularly when it comes to me. I took some pictures, sketched a bit and realised that sometimes being outdoors can fire up the creative muscles. I realised that I really do live in quite a beautiful area, it's urban but country at the same time. I'm a typical small-town girl I suppose.

I've been trying for weeks to create a slightly more... realistic... world for a couple of stories that I'm working on and the pictures I took and ideas I got whilst I was walking really helped me create this more well-rounded world. Unfortunately I forgot to take a camera, moron that I am, so had to resort to using my Blackberry's camera. The pictures aren't bad despite being tiny, and they've really fired up my creative ideas, so much so that I'm working on a world for a bunch of stories as we speak.

Having loads of ideas at once can be a pain though. You're trying to keep them all seperate but at the same time you're trying to get as much of each one written down as you possibly can. At least that's how it works for me. It was nice though... to have so many ideas coming in to my mind at once. I've been at a creative idea low for a while recently, I can work on ideas that I already have, mostly editting, but I haven't worked on new ones for a while, new ones haven't come to me for ages. Unfortunately I forgot to write these ideas down so many of them have slipped away but I took pictures of the sights that sparked these ideas so hopefully looking at them again may respark an idea.

I also saw a bunch of tiny little frogs, hopping across the path in front of me. They were absolutely tiny, I almost stood on some of them. I thought they were little rocks or bits of dust rolling across the ground until I stood still and one hopped across the ground. You can almost see it in this picture, I know it's there so I can see it. If you spot the diddy frog let me know.