writing

The “That’s really stupid hurdle”

There lives a grumpy old man. His wife dies, he gets angry at the property developments near his house. He physically assaults a construction worker, goes to court. Sentence is conditional, he has to move to an old folks home.

Overnight, he blows up thousands of balloons and attaches them to his house. When the staff of the home come to collect him, he releases the balloons and they cause his house to fly to Paradise Falls, where he meets a rare bird and a wonderful talking Dog.

Squirrel!
Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2009 MMB 31 G-UPOI

This is of course a brief outline of the beginning of Pixar’s glorious film “Up!” (Not seen it? Watch it right now) It is written superbly. Watching it the other day made me think of my own writing, or lack of it. I now feel I could never write anything like Up, or anything vaguely close. I can write about an old man, I could write about him being arrested. But a flying house? That’s where my “That’s really stupid” would hit. Yet the writers of Up had this idea and went with it as countless others with even more outlandish ideas have. Hell even I have in the past.

But not now. Even this very piece as I write it, I’m doubting the tone and phrasing, wondering who exactly will read it. Why am I writing it? Is it for validation from the masses of the internet. No, at least I don’t think so, I mean if it got to be really popular would I shun the hits and take it down. No, everyone likes attention but that’s not my main focus. So am I writing this to get to the bottom of why my ideas for the fantastical lost the battle with my rational brain.

It could of course be that my ideas are not as good as I once thought they were, and my brain is merely better quality control than it was before. But reading through my old published pieces here, some I still think are quite good (high praise indeed!) so that isn’t it. Opinion pieces I feel are more difficult to write now, I can’t write about politics, my views on religion haven’t changed, so I can now write about “bits of string” and with everything else going on in the world anything about string seems rather stupid.

I guess if I am gonna have my own flying house moment, a vibrant flight of fantasy, I’m gonna have to be braver when it comes to crashing into the ground. Read more, read anything, write more, write anything. Even if its crap, starting with a meta piece about writing.

There lives a grumpy old man….

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5 Mistakes We Make as Aspiring Writers

If you look at the date of my last posting you will see that my once quite regular postings here have dwindled. Number of reasons for this. 1. I’ve started a new course and don’t have so much time and 2. The main one I start and go “Nah this is crappy” so this is where I think I’m going wrong.

1.Comparisons to our bestselling favourites

If you are an aspiring sportsman whilst you are aware of Lionel Messi you are also aware that although you might make the team, Lionel will always be a class apart, because he is a “once in a generation” type talent.

Why then do we (or me at least) compare ourselves to the masters of the art, Stephen King’s of the world. I have read numerous articles and books on how so and so Mr Bestseller wrote by candle light inside a cardboard Pringles tube, whilst his family lighted their own farts for warmth before his big break. He still writes in the pringles tube by the way, his family is a lot warmer and less smelly.

Whilst Mr Bestsellers approach obviously worked for him, he’s not you so cut yourself some slack. Otherwise it’ll put you off writing anything.

2. Devotion to the craft

Similar point, but… some are able to be “devoted to writing” writing 8-12 hours a day everyday. Some of us have families and bills to pay. Granted to write an 1800 page opus you are going to need time. But you have a lifetime. Write when you can, enjoy it. Enjoy life

3. Forgotten why we do it

I have always written. It’s been for me always, for fun. I would hope that even at the very top with contracts and book deals and movie screenplays it’s still fun. I started this blog to show people what I write, I welcome comments but I don’t really care what anyone thinks. It’s for me if anyone else likes it it’s a bonus. If they like it so much they’ll pay me to write it, happy days.

4.Meh, It’s been done

Everything has been done. Everything. That brand new fresh original is a copy at least in part of something else. There is even a very similar list to this somewhere in the world. As long as you don’t rip it off entirely, copy, rewrite, rephrase. Do it better, make the starcrossed lovers divorce, kill the good guy. “It’s your world” to quote Bob Ross, so write about a happy little tree.

5. The search for perfection

We all have standards for ourselves. Whilst these can encourage us to reach for the stars and be the best it can also encourage us to throw away a potential masterpiece. The beauty of being a blogger or “amateur” writer is that it doesn’t matter overly what you write. Get it done, get it out. You can always amend it later or it can serve as an inspiration for someone elses number 4!

Poem: Handwritten

IMG_2377

In case you can’t read my scrawl..

Handwritten

This is how I used to write before,
The search engines kept the score,
Spell checks and metatags
Hit Counters Server Lag
Just me, ideas and my scrawl
On paper, fag packet or the wall,
Mistakes there for all to see,
Great plans, the never meant to bes,
Great beginning
Cliched end
Never having to click “Send”
The crossing out
Tippex Pen
Screw it up
Start again!

Lets Twist Again

Hello dear reader it’s been a long time for which I again apologise (to all 5 of you!) Worry not my desire to write has not decreased, hence this piece. Merely my motivation and inner quality control has intervened

My fictional ideas, well my real ideas about fictional things, have been poor or similar to things I have done before, or both. So the little starts on bits I made have remained just starts, under developed characters in unrealistic situations. “That never stopped Russell T Davies” I hear you shout. Whilst I agree with this self heckle Russell TD is an award winning writer (mostly about his love for the “D” but still) and I am blogger, so he wins.

My opinion pieces, so pant wettingly well put together in the past have suffered over the last year. Why? Well 2014 was such an event packed year, generally speaking all of it horrid. Personally I got my shit together, but the world was busy going crazy. Lots to write about you may think. Well no, not really. There are many things I can’t write about because of work, of things I can speak of I don’t really add anything new to the party, in that I agree, because who wouldn’t, with the common consensus. Gunmen in cafes and the offices of paris satirists are bad. People protesting over everything, from “corrupt police” to “Jeremy Clarkson” None of it really interests me. There is no contrast, no grey area. If you think your God is offended by a cartoon, not a very strong willed God by the way.

So that leaves poetry. Seems my type of whimsy is well suited for the web, being that it’s short and easily forgettable, much like me! I like writing it, and some of you enjoy reading it, but I never intended this whole thing to be a tribute to Pam Ayres (much maligned as she is, name 5 poets, she’ll be in most peoples lists)

I always have enjoyed writing, like most things, I’ll never be the best or the most popular but I will always try to write things I like in the hope that anyone who reads it might like them too. Hopefully I’ll hop back on the fiction wagon soon, with a twist so devious even Chubby Checker would be jealous. Who knows when motivation strikes.

Rama-ramama-argh

I am far from being a professional writer. Some people actually like what I write, which continues to amaze me. I do favour the macabre, my stories often featuring a gruesome end for one of many of my characters. I am no good at fantasy, story wise of course give me a beautiful american, Karen Gillan a Nun’s outfit and a stick of Celery and I can fantasise all day!

Rollerblading nuns

Sex on wheels.. no?

I digress I have been challenged to write different genres, sci-fi and more recently romance. Now I class myself as a romantic kinda guy, the candles, moonlight, diamonds and poetic serenades have all played a part in my life. But writing romance for me is proving very difficult.

OK so it’s going to be published here. So I try therefore to keep it under 1000 words, otherwise no-one will read it. So that gives me a thousand words to establish at least two likeable (a stretch for me) characters who you dear reader will be championing, wondering will they, won’t they, but knowing that they will for it is a Romance after all. Believable dialog is also required along with  some kind of tension that allows me to twist and turn.

Trouble is, everything I have tried so far is cliché central. “She looked deep into his steely grey eyes and trembled” OK not quite but close. I don’t want trembling in my story, not lips or knees (I have enough trouble standing as it is) I want strong characters. It’s too easy to write about a bewildered woman who cannot exist without a man. I don’t believe these women actually exist (if they do my email is in the about section.. just saying)

I know these stories are supposed to pander to a fantasy. A fantasy where the dragons and wizards are replaced with perfect men who’s farts smell of roses and has baby soft skin with the talent for fucking, sorry “making love” that rivals Neymars skills with a football. The rose tinted quest continues.

More Than Words

Tabloid journos get a lot of stick, sometimes quite rightly for listening in to voicemails and generally making up stories, even misquoting to fit a stories narrative. But it must be quite difficult, especially when you are a correspondent for one particular subject matter like the Royals, Finance or Football.

I mean there are only so many words. If you are writing about the same topics day in day out, the words tend to blend into one another and lose their impact. It doesn’t however make the words any less true. I consider myself to have a wide vocabulary but in my writing and communication I get frustrated at times that the “right” words are words I use a lot and their impact is sometimes lost.

A quick look at thesaurus.com tells me for example, that there are 50 synonyms for the word “Beautiful”. So thats 50 times you describe a sunset or a dog or a woman or a bridge. But you can’t exactly say “My thats a foxy bridge” and if you said it 50 times it would get same-y.. and thats just me who writes a blog piece once in the blue moon (not one about a bridge). I guess I’ll have to start writing about pig-ugly women instead. But where is the fun in that!!

I choose my words carefully, and vocally in conversation I am not ever in the habit of saying things that I don’t mean. That’s a waste of time and it serves no purpose. So if I say your writing is good or you have a cute arse I mean it. Equally the same applies if I say you write with all the believability of Russell T Davies and your tits are saggy. I didn’t say I was nice all the time!!

Little wonder then that Shakespeare made up his own words, a load of which are in regular use today. Indeed without the bard we could neither be aroused or amazed by the sight of someones undressed radiance. I do have a concern that due to technology our language is losing it’s lyrical nature. “LOL” is now in the dictionary and now is uttered in real life, instead of actually laughing or in the reserved English nature, smiling politely.

I am interested to know peoples opinions on this. As most folks who read this will write in some shape or another. Do you get miffed by the lack of impact words? Or is my vocabulary very small needing some work.. Please comment, if you like!

Bridging the East River

A Foxy Bridge

Fiction: Still Water BC (A re-imagining)

First a little explanation. The Costa Coffee Short Story Award has recently revealed it’s finalists. You can read or listen to all the entries via the link. One of those finalist stories is one called Still Water, BC. Which I read today, I have to say it wasn’t my kinda thing. Not that I’m saying it’s bad, it’s a finalist which is more than I have ever been. I thought it might be fun to write my own version of it. I hope you (and the person who wrote Still Water BC) like my version and take time to read the original. Of course this is not my idea.. nor am I claiming it is. So don’t take me to court! Good Luck to all the Costa Coffee finalists.


She fell rather like one of the Doug Fir trees. That surrounded the logging plant.
The familiar faces around expressed a helpless horror as they watched. Olaf seemed to realise what he had done, a second too late to have stopped. Remorse realised on the face of the youngster as tried to avoid his falling Mother.

She landed on her hip. Missing the scrabbling Olaf by centimetres. Shopping bags splitting upon impact with the floor and adding their own explosions of colour and noise to the scene. Thorvald looked on, moving, his actions like those of his son a mere second too late.

“Eva.” He said speaking calmly despite racing heart. “You OK?”
“Yes.” She replied instantly, despite not being at all sure. She felt the embarrassment of being rather unceremoniously felled by her son and wanted to get up ‘OK’ or not.
“And my little minnow?”
“Yes, safe as houses.”
“You sure?”
“Yes I fell on my hip” Eva replied confidently, denying her own doubt. “Bump was spared.”
“Good.” Said Thorvald helping Eva to her feet.
Eva cradled her swollen baby bump, containing a “little minnow” as it had for the previous 7 months, she was sure it was a girl. The baby moved differently than Olaf had kicking with the strength of a mule with no regard for the day or night regulation of the outside world.

Thorveld led his growing family home, Eva protesting that she was “fine” despite limping like someone who has had Cerebral Palsy for the last 33 years. Olaf, a little more than subdued, held his fathers hand tightly as he made it his mission to kick, even if only gently, every rock on the trail.

Eva managed to prepare that evenings meal for the family. Thorveld, although not the most new age of men, had for his part offered quite firmly to chop and dice the meat. Eva shooed him successfully and after the meal was done she went for a lie down.

This was the time where she would notice movement inside her. During the dimming of the day, baby would usually get a good few kicks in.

Nothing.

Eva didn’t panic initially. Although the impact of the fall earlier was taken by her hip she had been pretty shaken. She guessed baby was too. Olaf had been a very still baby. Eva thought he was making up for it now, tripping her up like that. Mind you those bags were all her own fault.

“C’mon baby.” She said quietly.

Still nothing.

Eva got up and began to pace around the room.

“Calm down” she said more to herself than the baby. As she cradled her bump, protecting it retrospectively from the stresses of the day.

Eva felt an uneasy stillness within. She stopped pacing and sat on the edge of the bed. Although she tried to remain calm. Her eyes welled up and tears began to roll down her cheeks. She shook and sobbed uncontrollably.

Inside everything was still.

Powell River Company's mill

(WMB4X) The Dangers of Writing

I have successfully tossed out some old piece of something which you, dear reader, have been kind enough to read for the past few weeks. Don’t worry the month is nearly up! But blogging/writing is a dangerous business. Here’s why!

  1. On odd occasion I like to go old school and write. Actually write with pen and paper. It makes me feel more alive, more inspired, more pretentious. So two paper related dangers to begin. Paper cuts and poking yourself in the eye with either paper or pen. Writing happily then the paper cut. Hurts more than writing a bad sentence. On rare occasions it may even bleed making those murder mysteries more authentic. The poke in the eye can also occur, often when pondering a stories climax. At your most concentrated then, blinded.
  2. Alcohol. You are a writer. Everyone expects you to be pissed. There is however huge temptation to drink in order to to find inspiration. Whilst there are exceptions (Stephen King has books he can’t even remember as he was so drunk) almost always everything drunken you writes will be shit, leading to re-writes in the sober light of day. Often nursing the wonder excuse for not writing, the hangover.
  3. Boring others. You write, big whoop. Generally unless you are JK Rowling no-one gives a shit. However in the world in which you live, your project, your blog, your novel is your world. It fills your life. However your nearest and dearest could well be bored shitless by the plight of your protagonist. Something to bear in mind whilst down the pub.
  4. Technical issues. The creative wind is blowing in your sails, you have the idea of a lifetime. It is now that your pen runs dry or your computer crashes losing your idea forever. Thanks a bunch. You will care not a jot that Word has encountered a unexpected error.
  5. Distractions. Unless you are old schooling it up armed with your eye removing biro, you probably write on something that has access to your twitter feed or porn or LOL Cats. The distraction is very dangerous because it stops your flow and makes what you write when you return make no sense. Armadillos…
  6. Disappearing up your own arse. You are a writer, an artist, a visionary, a moulder of hearts and minds. With your pen or trusty laptop you can change the world forever. At least you could if you weren’t in your pants at 11:30am having not written anything and only just worked out how to get the lid off the marmalade. Yet you may fall into the trap of loving yourself, no not like that. You write, you are king. The postman is beneath you, as are your friends. You are a god in your own pants. You will never write any believable characters.
  7. Writing advice lists. You will write on the dangers of being a writer, ending with the last danger being writing lists, thinking how wonderfully droll you are being. You will end the list with a undeserved sense of wellbeing almost stopping mid.


Go and visit a man with a thirst for danger the Resident Weeble

(WMB4X) Takin Care of Business

This is the first piece of WMB4X I’ve not really planned, off the cuff seat of the pants time here. You see I have always written at work in part, this is because my job involves a lot of waiting around for MS Access queries to run (yes Mac boy has to use a PC), tables to import. So I would fire up Pages on my iPhone to cleanse my soul, and appease the masses that read my blog. (Well at least the one man and his dog Hi Chili)

However that has been curtailed apparently the powers that be would much rather us just sit and look into space (the PC can’t multitask) rather than do anything creative. It did get me thinking though. How much time does the average office worker actually spend doing anything bordering on meaningful? Now before we get into this, two things. I do, and I make no secret of this, hate my job. However I do also have high standards of my work, so I am in the strange position of caring about what I do, but not really seeing the point of it. Anyway time waits for no man…

Lets say you work an 8hr day.. altogether now “You work an 8hr day”

Of that 8hrs you have to take a 30 min lunch break by law, although lots don’t. I mean why would you not. Unless you are one of the very small percentage of folks who do actually love what you do. There is legislation that says it’s ok to break, so go ahead and break already.

So we are already down to 7hrs 30 mins.

If you work on a computer (PC my sympathy, Mac you lucky shit) you are supposed to take a 10 minute break away from the screen every two hours. So to make my maths easier lets say you work on the computer for 6hrs that gives you 30 mins break away from the screen, it’s not all in a lump though so that probably means you’ll go for a wander so thats us down to 7hrs.

Of those 7hrs 20 mins of every day is spent walking up stairs, removing jackets and logging on to networks. So thats 6hrs 40. They say to keep optimally hydrated you should drink 8 pints (not beer, awwh) of water a day so lets say you spend 15 mins a day drinking. Thats 6hrs 25 mins maybe even a further 25 mins walking to and from the kitchen to fetch your beverage. 6hrs.

Then because you have drunk all that water you are gonna need to pee. Also lets to be frank here, you are also gonna wanna take advantage of the free bog roll and getting paid to crap bonus, which everyone loves. So lets be conservative here 30mins per day. 5:30.

So 5:30. Well offices all have notice boards or intranet pages you are supposed to read but never do. 30 mins for that 5hrs. If your office is like all the others there is that one person who wanders around talking to anyone who’ll listen about anything. Either you are that person (take those five remaining hours) or you will occasionally talk to them, take at least an hour. Or you will spend an hour trying to work unsuccessfully because of the inane prattle.

4hrs. Team meeting. 2hrs of sitting nodding, agreeing.

2hrs. Well it used to be researching and preparing the blog one hour each. But I guess I’ll have to do some actual work now.

(To any potential employers, I have held down a job since 2000, this is not a true representation of my work output…. I barely even go in)


Check out the fine work of the Resident Weeble who is always in work by the crack of Noon

“What you reading for?”

The title of this piece is of course stolen from the below Bill Hicks bit . But it is appropriate, what are you reading this for? My blog. Is it because you are my friend and you feel obliged to or do you just like the cut of my jib. Did you search for “Kelly Brook Fat” again and are frustrated you find yourself here instead of looking at a photoshopped Miss Brook. Kelly is lot of things, fat is not one of them.

I write this following the news that one of the bloggers I “follow” (I hate that wordpress changed it from subscribe) is to quit writing because amongst other things his readership has dwindled. Mine has never been high, my Status Quo gig review has been my biggest hit, largely because no-one else wrote one but 108 hits in a day in my career high. As I have been sporadic in updating averages of 20 views have fallen to 3 or 4. All folks looking for strange things.

When I first started this, I was consumed by viewing stats and I still am up to a point. After all this is not a diary, it is an opinion piece and I’d like my world view to be seen and discussed, even if it is “What a misguided arse SudoOne is.” What I don’t want to do however is write things to try and get hits, a thing that I have caught myself doing on occasion. I need to write well and more often for the 3 or 4 who might read it and that’s it.

I would love to write professionally. But due to my inability to deal with rejection I will never send any of the bits I write to be published. So this blog is a halfway house. It gets me writing, its allows me to express my (messed up) opinions to the anonymous masses (up to 20 of them at a time)

So I am writing for me. Not to be popular, not for money (I get no money from any ads that appear) I am writing for me, and for you dear reader my sincere thanks, but don’t expect to like or enjoy everything.

I just hope it doesn’t suck. I continue to be surprised, what the hell are you reading for!