Wednesday, 31 August 2011

August Fiction day 31

I would have liked to write a long, reflective blog post about my fiction writing experience this month. But I'm too tired again.

So I did it. I wrote a piece of fiction almost every day and I blogged about it. A month ago, when I had the idea for Fiction August, I imagined I'd have lots of interesting things to say about the whole thing. Wishful thinking, I guess. Some days I struggled to find anything to say at all.

So now it's over and I'm glad about it. But I'm also glad I wrote so many different pieces of fiction.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

August Fiction day 30

I am rather fond of writing in the second person point of view: You do this, you see that, you think such and such.

Nailing this POV is more difficult than either first person or third person narration and if it's not done well, it bosses the reader around. Done well, though, and in the right context, it creates a closeness between reader and protagonist that no other form of narration can achieve.

I reckon short short stories lend themselves to second person POV because they are so short. I'm not sure I'd want to read a story with this POV that goes on for several hundred pages but for 500 words, I'm happy to let someone tell me what I do and think.

Monday, 29 August 2011

August Fiction day 29

I'm keeping it short for the rest of the month, I reckon, and there's even a competition for short short stories up to 500 words. The Flash 500 Competition is open all year with deadlines at the end of each quarter. I reckon I might just produce something that I'd be happy to submit in the next couple of days.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

August Fiction day 28

I have said it before, I do like short short fiction. Today, I spent my writing time composing ultra short stories, the size of a text message.

The character limit forces me to be as economical with the language as possible. There's no room for fillers or imprecise words. It's training for writing longer fiction, too. The more micro-fiction I write, the better I become at choosing the right words. Byebye word waste and imprecision.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

August Fiction day 27

Is August over soon? I can't wait for the end of the month. Yes, it's good that I challenged myself to write every day this month but it's the bank holiday weekend, there's a party going on outside and I don't want to write.

But hey, I've come this far. No giving up now.

Friday, 26 August 2011

August Fiction day 26

"The first draft of anything is shit."

Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, 25 August 2011

August Fiction day 25

Developing an idea is wonderful. Best thing, it often happens while you do other stuff. Taking a shower, washing the dishes, going for a run. In my experience, the better the idea, the more details will come to me while I'm busy.

The tricky part is to commit all the little details to memory. Nothing is more annoying than the memory of a great new aspect of your story when you can't actually remember anymore what exactly said aspect was.

Whenever my muse hurls another bit of story my way, I make sure I turn it over in my mind, replay it and know where it fits in. Sometimes I repeat it a few times just to make sure it's been committed to memory. And as soon as I can, I write it down, thus building the story bit by bit. Wonderful, wonderful.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

August Fiction day 24

I'm doing this August Fiction thing not just to force myself to write. I was also hoping for my muse, the part of my brain responsible for ideas, would become more productive through all the exercise she's getting.

I hope I'm not jinxing it by writing this, but I think today the exercise paid off. I had a pretty cool idea for a story, complete with a strong narrator. I outlined it and while I was at it, the muse threw more ideas at me. It looks like writing this baby will be a lot of fun.

I didn't write a new story but this was a good writing day nonetheless.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

August Fiction day 23

What goes up ... you know. Yesterday was a great day for writing, today was not. And I think I've said that at the beginning, when things don't go as planned, I'm going to blame the baby. Well, it's the baby's fault. Fiction is important, but not as important as the baby.

Monday, 22 August 2011

August Fiction day 22

There are writing days like yesterday when all you can do is quote Dorothy Parker.

And then, when you don't expect it, you write something and it's easy and you love the voice of your character and at the end you lean back and you pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming. Today was such a day for me.

Today I loved writing even more than I loved having written.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

August Fiction day 21

"I hate writing, I love having written."

Dorothy Parker

Saturday, 20 August 2011

August Fiction day 20

I've run out of writing competitions, so I'm writing whatever comes to mind when I start writing at the moment. The results are mixed but I never said I was going to write quality every day. Moving is always so much more work than you think it's going to be and at the moment I'm grateful I'm keeping up the momentum despite physical and mental exhaustion.

But at least we've left the old place and even though there is still a lot of work to be done here, I'm hoping I'll have time to look for a few more writing competitions for the rest of August tomorrow.

Friday, 19 August 2011

August Fiction day 19

I didn't write any fiction today. Tried but anything I started died within a couple of sentences. I may not like to admit it but there is such a thing as too tired to write. Tonight, that's what I am.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

August Fiction, day 18

Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing this to myself. Why say I'll write a blog post every day when I know I may not have time every day that particular month? Because now I've started I want to keep going. But I am so busy during the day that I don't start writing until late when I'm so tired I can hardly stay awake.

Right now, I'd rather be asleep. Instead, I've just written a terrible piece of flash fiction and now I'm working on this blog post. August was definitely the wrong month for the double challenge of writing fiction every day and blogging about it. Today is the 18th, though, and I'm not going to give up.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

August fiction, day 17

Moving is a time-consuming business. It also makes you tired. Add to that a cranky, clingy baby and you have an excuse for not being keen on writing when you could go to bed. And you know what? I'll go to bed.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

August Fiction, day 16

Tonight I wanted to write about generosity but the start of the story I wrote petered out pretty quickly. There are days when I'm too tired to create great stories, and today I was too tired to create a story full stop.

Tonight, I'm looking forward to bed.

Monday, 15 August 2011

August Fiction day 15 - Swan Lake

I'm listening to tonight's Prom. It's Swan Lake, which is my favourite ballet. And somehow, swans, betrayal and heartbreak have made it into my story.

There is no particular competition on the subject of swans, I think, but there are a few open themed flash fiction competitions around. I reckon I could sent tonight's piece to one of them.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

August Fiction day 14

Here's why I think themed writing competitions or anthologies make good writing prompts.

They give us some direction and a deadline. Direction is good when we are stuck, deadlines are great even if we write regularly. We have our topic, we know how long it needs to be and we know when it's due. All we have to do is write our entry.

They might lead to publication and payment. Yes, we write because we love writing but let's be honest, we want to see our words in print. We want to be paid for our words. We are writers, we want an audience.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

August Fiction day 13

This weekend, I'm taking a break from fiction writing. Reason: We're moving. I'm writing my 750 words - not in the morning, mind you, but I'm writing them. There may be some fiction among them, but none planned. None written with a competition in mind.

This weekend, all that matters is that I write at all, tired and sore and not wanting to write at all.

Friday, 12 August 2011

August Fiction day 12 - Motherhood, take two

Today I had another go at my entry for the Mslexia Motherhood competition. The piece I'd written earlier wasn't all that good. This one looks like it could be good. Once I've tidied it up, pruned it, got it in the right order.

I thought about this one all day long. I had the beginning, it came to me during my walk with the little one earlier. Writing it was easy. That's always a good sign.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

August Fiction day 11

Wrote another 750 words about my Urban Wanderer character. She is a weird one. But in a nice way.

When I first discover a new character, I try to let them speak as much as possible. So I could file everything I wrote today under character development. It's my way of finding out who she is. This is definitely the fun stage of writing.

No idea what the story is yet but for the story to emerge, I have to know my character first.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

August Fiction day 10

I've had a bit of fun with the Urban Wanderer today. I'm not sure it's what the submission guidelines call for but who says I have to submit what I wrote.

A weird, interesting character emerged there. That's one of my favourite ways of creating a new character: I write something in response to a writing prompt and a distinct voice makes itself heard. Now I want to know more about her.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

August Fiction day 9 - London riots

I didn't really write a piece of fiction today and I didn't use anything to prompt me. I wrote about the riots. It's difficult to focus on anything else at the moment. It's difficult to ignore what's going on all over the city, when you can hear police sirens in the distance all the time and see the helicopters hovering in the sky. It's difficult not to think about the people who lost their homes and their shops.

It's difficult to turn the news off.

Monday, 8 August 2011

August Fiction day 8

Today, I wrote something which wasn't a response to a writing competition. It was an idea that struck while I was on the bus earlier. Nothing big, I think, but stories don't always have to be big. They always have to be worth someone's time, though. And this one, I thing, will be worth people's time when it's done.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

August Fiction, day 7

Today I gave creative non-fiction a go. The result is creative rather than non-fiction. I prefer making things up to sticking to the facts, so it's no surprise that my attempt was unsuccessful.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

August Fiction, day 6

It's more of the same today. I've had so much fun with Beatles-inspired micro-fiction that I wrote a few more today.

Friday, 5 August 2011

August Fiction day 5 - Keeping It Short

I'm a big fan of flash fiction. It's ideal when you only have a couple of minutes to spare, say while queueing at the supermarket check-out. As for the writing of micro fiction, it's great for a quick boost of confidence in your writing ability because you can finish several short short stories in an hour.

The competition I've chosen today is for the next themed edition of Short, Fast and Deadly: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Words Club. Stories submitted for the issue must make use of a corrupted or re-contextualized Beatles Lyric. I've written several just now and had a blast. Now I'll sleep on them and in the morning I'll see which of them are any good.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

August Fiction, day 4 - YA

I chose the WD Young Adult Competition as inspiration for my story today. The result is not entirely cheerful but I love the protagonist that strolled onto the page as if she'd been waiting to be let loose for a long time.

It's the first of my August fiction first drafts I'm 100 percent happy with. The deadline for the competition isn't until October 1st, so I have all of September for revision and editing. Yay!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

August Fiction, day 3 - France

Today I took a fictional trip to France.

I love writing about places I’ve visited. It gives me a reason to relive my visit, look at holiday pictures and reread my diary entries from that time. Every time I visit an unfamiliar place, I try to gather as many impressions as I can because you never know which place may play a role in one of your stories. A few, well-chosen details will do a better job at establishing the locale of your story than page after page of description.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

August Fiction, day 2 - Memoir

My writing prompt today was the Leaf Books Memoir Competition.

Memoir writing isn't quite the same as writing fiction, I know. Then again, I often use little episodes from my life and turn them into fiction. I don't know if I will use my 750-word memory to enter the competition, but I'm sure that the experience I chose will make its way into a story sooner or later.

Monday, 1 August 2011

August Fiction, day 1 - Motherhood

The competition theme I've chosen for my first piece of August fiction is motherhood. I've been a mother for eight months now, and it's difficult to believe that my life a year ago belongs to the same person as my life as it is now. And that's where the problem lies. I want to say so much about who hard and how wonderful it is that I struggle to say anything at all. I started a story twice but I'm not even getting close. It's harder than I thought it would be.