Both are valid as short stories, although the latter would also fit under the flash fiction label.
Train Trouble is long enough to include two main characters, a minor character and some walk-on parts. It also contains several descriptions of places, indoors and out, and a number of scenes.
A Sticky Interview has two characters and two scenes. Descriptions are sparse and concern themselves with nothing more than the particular topic of the story. Yet, its very length led me to experiment. Where else would I write a sentence like:
The blushes lap at his throat, burning his words.
I haven’t written anything quite like that in a longer short story, and certainly not in a novel. Perhaps I should try it, but would I be able to maintain the style in a longer piece?
I got homework to explain why I write books – in a one-minute video. How can I condense all that into one minute? Could you?
Whenever I have limited time or word count to deliver a message, I write down what I want to say and then cut it down to size. I’ve decided to use this blog post to write my thoughts in full. While you read it, think about how you would explain why you do what you do in one minute. I think it’s a great exercise for focusing your reasons, which in turn helps you to move in the right direction.
This is an interesting question. It’s not why did I begin writing. I’ve answered that question many times. I begin my answer with my late friend, Gill, who told me about social anxiety, leading to my becoming passionate about raising awareness of social anxiety and eventually finding an outlet in writing.
But this question is different. It asks why I write now, and it deserves a different answer.
Firstly, I love writing. I love combining words that make sense together, whether fiction or non-fiction. I love creating characters and exploring how they react and interact in familiar settings and in usual or unusual situations. I love the freedom writing gives me to clarify my thoughts, something I’ve never been able to do in conversation.
And I love editing, because editing lets you refine those words to read in the best way that they can. And it lets you find all the typos, point-of-view changes, repeated words and other issues in the text. I know, lots of authors don’t like editing, but I get a thrill out of spotting errors and possibilities for improvement.
I’ve met some wonderful people through writing, people who have helped, provided support, or just popped into in my life.
Just as important are the readers. Without readers, all my hard work would seem pointless. I write so that people can enjoy reading. That’s the main reason. But also, I write so that readers can empathise and sympathise, love and hate. I hope to arouse emotions in them. I also hope they learn something from the experience; we are all constantly learning, as long as we keep our minds open.
Why else do I write? I hope that, through my writing, I will become better known. I hope that more people will read or listen to me, and I’ll be able to promote better understanding of the issues I stand for.
You know what? If I were better at spontaneous verbal communication, I could probably say all of that in a minute. But I’m not, and so I’m going to concentrate on the three topics: writing, readers and raising awareness.
This particular video will appear only in a private Facebook group, but I will be producing public videos in the coming months.
Did you think about how you would transmit the why of what you do in a one-minute video? I’d love to hear about your thoughts.
Remember that novel I was going to write in November? Well, I wrote it. I didn’t reach the magic total of 50,000 words, by I did pass 40,000, and now I have the first draft of a sequel to Style and the Solitary that will need a lot more work before I can submit it for publication.
As well as spending time writing every day in November, I wandered around Jerusalem and further afield, gathering information for the novel. Here are a few of the pictures I took:
As every year, there was plenty of support from our local group of writers, and in particular Melina Kantor and Shoshana Raun. I wouldn’t have managed without them.
Now, I’m trying to catch up on all the tasks I postponed in November.
I’m also looking forward to the publication of Dark Paris, an anthology of dark stories set in Paris, all proceeds of which go to two charities: Restaurants du Cœur and Fondation Brigitte Bardot. My contribution to the anthology is called Train Trouble.
That’s all I remember of the nursery rhyme about the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 by Guy Fawkes and others. I don’t know if it’s still recited, but Guy Fawkes Night is definitely still celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. Of course, like all festivals, it has unfortunately become more commercialised than it was when I lived in the UK.
But this post isn’t about Guy Fawkes Night. It’s about the month of November and how I’ll be spending it.
As I’ve been doing for several years, I’ll be writing a novel. Unlike in previous years, this won’t be part of NaNoWriMo, or at least part of that organisation. As I explained in a previous post, although not in detail, I left the organisation in July. I considered writing more about my reasons today, but really, that’s not what this blog is about.
So, I’m calling it MyNoWriMo. The ‘National’ part of the name hasn’t been true for a long time, anyway.
I have a spreadsheet ready to record my daily word counts and show them in graphs. I have a name (which I’m not ready to reveal) and a temporary cover.
I also have lots of plans and ideas for this sequel to Style and the Solitary. Today, I read about the lion and the lamb, and the lion of Judah. They might just fit into the novel, somehow.
Our local group of writers has been getting more active lately, and I’m looking forward to all the encouragement and help it provides during November.
If you’re also writing a novel in November, I wish you lots of luck. If not, well I hope you manage to enjoy November nonetheless. 😉
This post is part of the blog tour organised by Reading Between the Lines. It’s a post I’m pleased to have been invited to write, and one that I now tackle with enthusiasm and, well… embarrassment, but only a little. Read on…
The blog tour is for the book Creativity Matters: Find your Passion for Writing, which is compiled by Wendy H. Jones.
Have you always thought about writing a book but don’t know where to start? Are you an experienced author and want to spread your wings? Are you looking for inspiration for every step in your writing journey? This is a book for everyone who wants to write, whether history or contemporary, science fiction or humour, local fiction or set in a made-up world, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, there’s something here for you. Join thirteen authors as they share their passion for why you should write in their genre and find your own passion as you read.
It’s time for you to spread your wings, follow your dreams and find your passion for writing.
Here begins the embarrassing part.
You see, when I was asked to take part, I was away, hiking in the Bernese Oberland and other parts of Switzerland. I know, I haven’t blogged about that yet, but I plan to. I digress.
Since returning home, my time hasn’t been my own. I’ve had to attend to family matters and in particular to culinary matters, and the result is that I didn’t spend much time on creative matters and I Didn’t finish reading the book.
However, I did warn the organiser in advance, and I’ve read enough of the book to have something to say about it, which is this:
I love it and am looking forward to reading the rest. All the participating authors are clearly passionate about writing in their particuar genres, and their enthusiasm is catching. Each one answers the question ‘why write?’ rather than ‘how to write?’ and yet the ‘how to’ question is answered in a ‘show don’t tell’ sort of way – by example.
The chapter on writing drama particularly appealed to me because it was written as a drama. I’ve never even considered writing drama before, but this might even get me started. All I need is time!
If you have time and want to write in any genre or to switch genres, this book will spur you on.
I joined NaNoWriMo in 2012. I wrote eight novels inspired by NaNoWriMo. Four times, I reached the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. Today, I deleted my NaNoWriMo account.
When I joined NaNoWriMo, it was to connect with writers around the world. It didn’t matter to me what they wrote or how they wrote it. What mattered was that we were all in this together. It was the cameraderie that drew me in and kept me updating my profile and creating a new project every year (except for one).
Recently, NaNoWriMo has shown itself not to be the organisation I joined. They’ve taken sides in an incredibly complicated conflict, showing themselves to be swayed by popular belief and unable to comprehend even the existence of another side. Rather than bringing writers together under the common theme of writing, they’ve pushed them apart by taking a stance in a conflict they clearly don’t understand.
I didn’t leave on a whim or in a bout of fury. I wrote to them and received an unsatisfactory response. Then I waited for three weeks before making the final decision. I’m sorry to leave, but I think it was the right thing for me to do. I would never encourage anyone else to do the same.
I will continue to write. I will probably continue to write novels in November, spurred on by my local writer friends; I’m not leaving our Facebook group. And I discovered a wonderful video that explains how to create NaNo-type, word-count graphs.
Bye bye, NaNoWriMo. We had great times together. I’m so sad it’s over.
I was looking forward to reading an extract from my novel, but not so much to tackling questions. In fact I was sure I’d mess that part up. I was ready to say, “I haven’t done your question justice, but I’d be happy to answer it properly on social media.”
In the event, there were no such problems and I managed to answer fairly well. But there was a different problem. There were several questions that I didn’t get to answer, many of which I didn’t even have a chance to see.
So, I’m opening this post up for the questions that weren’t answered, and for questions that weren’t asked before. Ask, in the comments below, about Style and the Solitary. Ask about me as an author, or as a person. With time to consider my responses, I’m likely provide a more satisfactory answer, anyway. I’ll reply to the comments or write one or more separate posts in response if the question warrants it.
What you should know about Style and the Solitary
It’s a murder mystery
It’s set in Jerusalem
It includes a romance
One character has social anxiety
One character is a new immigrant from France
It involves the power of belief
And many thanks to all those who attended the event and those who tried but failed.
It’s been a while since I wrote my Word Tips for Authors. However, I recently thought of a new one:
When you’ve finished editing a manuscript using Track Changes as described in Tip 6, you need to accept all changes and turn off Track Changes in order to continue with publication. My advice is to read the whole manuscript again at this point.
Why? Because sometimes things aren’t what they seem. I’ve noticed several mistakes in novels that I believe arose because the manuscript wasn’t read at this stage. For example, sometimes there are words that shouldn’t be there, like:
At the back of the bus was a the girl.
Probably, ‘a’ was changed to ‘the’ or vice versa and it wasn’t clear, while Track Changes was on, that the change wasn’t made correctly.
We all make mistakes, sometimes. We all need to listen to advice, sometimes, especially when that advice comes from a voice of experience.
But equally important is the notion that we need to have confidence in our own abilities to think, so that, after listening to advice and learning all we can, we are able to make and follow our own decisions.
I’ve just made a decision about one of my books, one that I should and would have made sooner if I’d had more confidence to follow the path I’d chosen. Because no matter who the person is who advised changing direction, the final decision should have been mine.
I’m not going to explain any more now, but in about three months I’ll refer back to this post.
In the meantime, the message of this post is universal:
You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.
Writing is tough. Life is tough. But we can do it.