This week you will find me frantically editing for Faye Ling. Working with Faye is always a test of how assertive you are—she has already sent me two scathing emails demanding I, “Stop [mess]ing around on that stupid blog thing that no one reads and get on with editing my writer’s guide.” (Excerpt here).
Pressed for time and too distracted to be inspired for anything creative of my own, I thought the best option was to put together a news flash—something I haven’t done for a while. Continue reading
This week I am hosting fellow writer, Faye Ling, who is new to the online world, and blogging in particular. Blackmail is such a dirty word, so let’s just say I owed her a few favours that she recently called in, and so today I ‘ve been forced to offer her this opportunity to try her hand at blogging. She is outspoken, often controversial, and takes no prisoners. Before I nervously hand over to my first guest blogger, I feel the need to issue a disclaimer:
EDITORIAL NOTE FROM T. JAMES: The views expressed in the following guest post are entirely those of its author, Miss Faye Ling. I have given editorial control to Faye for the purposes of this post. Except for her use of expletives, which I have edited, I take no responsibility for the opinions she expresses, or the way in which she chooses to express them. The words are entirely hers and in no way reflect my own beliefs or opinions. After some negotiation, I also managed to get Faye to agree to issue the following statement (although she has paraphrased my original wording):
“T. James has insisted that I say up front that I had no one in particular in mind when I wrote this post. I mean, I can think of several people this post applies to, but for some reason T. James has refused to introduce me to anyone he knows online, so obviously I’m not thinking of any of you. But because the hard-of-thinking assume that any negative generalisation somehow applies to them as an individual, any offense taken is completely the fault of the idiot choosing to be offended. Go and get some therapy for your low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem and you aren’t prepared to embrace the darkside, do not read this post. If you’ve had a sense-of-humour bypass in the last twelve months, do not read this post. In fact, it is probably just better for you if you do not read this post.” Continue reading
Recently, I have read several blog posts that told me how I ought to write. I’m up for some constructive criticism. In fact I need constructive criticism, but these diktats seemed to be based on the assumption that our readers do not have two brain cells to rub together.
The advice given by some is that we should always use the simplest language when writing, regardless of the style, genre, intended readership group, or subject of the piece concerned. Comments like, “Why use a $10 word when a 10 cent word will do?” illustrate the thinking.
I will put my neck out and say I disagree. As a reader, writer, reviewer, crit-partner – whatever your role – shouldn’t we look at how well the language used works within the context of the piece, and not just seek to see how well it adheres to a set of predefined ‘rules’? Continue reading
It’s the New Year folks, when we all start to think about our futures… While
skiving off taking a break from writing my current short story I came across these two videos on Youtube. They got me thinking about mine, but what do you think about yours? Continue reading
Is Andy Warhol a good painter? Some have argued that a talented teenager could replicate his work. If one of his paintings had been taken back in time, before he became famous, and was displayed at a high-school art show, would it even be noticed? Years later he became a darling of the media, and acclaimed by celebrities. Then, any piece of work done by Andy Warhol could be displayed anywhere, and would be admired, simply because it was an Andy Warhol. In writing, as in the visual arts, the context of a piece of work can change everything. Ignore it at your own risk.
I came across several articles on the ‘net recently asking the question, “What type of writer are you?” Do you write by pre-planning the scenes and plot-lines within your story, i.e. are you a ‘plotter’?
Or, do you write by making-it-up-as-you-go-along, “By the seat of your pants,” i.e. are you a ‘pantser‘?
My instant response was, “WHAT?” I have the choice of being a subversive, probably sadistic, psychopathic author of nefarious conspiracy, or being named after a traditional British male undergarment*. Continue reading
First the confession. I’ve become distracted, neglecting writing my book to give my love and attention to another new thing. I could blame J. K. Rowling, but that would hardly be fair. (No, I haven’t just seen the last Harry Potter movie, and I’m not repressing the irresistible urge to re-read the entire series of her books, although the film is on my ‘to watch’ list). I read about her new web venture, going fully public in October. Ah-ha! A website! A little research, and it seems all the good authors have their own websites, displaying their creations to the world, and sharing varying amounts of personal information; from their inside leg measurement, and the fact that they like Marmite; to multiple pseudonyms and a secret identity. Continue reading
It occurred as I sat, slaving over a hot word processor, and going through the process of putting one of my characters to a gruesome and untimely end. ‘It’ was the realization that as my character went through sundry trials and agonies, and ultimately met an ignominious end, the whole tawdry tale of suffering and pain was accompanied by the sounds of hauntingly beautiful music. Perhaps my soul had been touched by the poignancy of my character’s fate. Perhaps the unfathomable biology of the human intestine was at work, but the dissonance between what I was putting on the page, and what my ears were hearing distracted me, and I was taken by the thought that writing can often be a surreal experience.
Indeed, writing itself seems a strange thing to do when I think about it logically. Writers can work long hours, often for little material reward, to produce work that may be read by only a handful of people. Yet we choose this way of spending our time over others. Why have I just started to write? I’m genuinely not sure, other than the process of creating something (hopefully) unique is fascinating, varied, and allows for the consumption of chocolate at the same time. When I have a more complete answer I may write about it, but until then (assuming anyone is reading this post) does anyone in Webland have an answer? Why do you write, even when given the option to do other things instead? What are your strangest experiences of the writing, or publishing process? I’d be interested to know.