storytimewithbuffy

Posts Tagged ‘My writing’

On life changes and writing

In My Writing on September 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

So, things are happening in the world of Buffy. I do have two posts to write on books, but I’ll save those for another day. Recently, I’ve had a big success as well as a…ummm…non-success. (The word ‘failure’ makes me cringe. But also, it’s not really that big of a deal.)

We’ll start with the non-success first.

Back in June, I submitted a short story to a competition and I just found out this past week that I didn’t win. I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I would be though. I’ve never been good at handling rejection and that’s one of the things that, in the past, has put me off about writing. The thought of bleeding my heart and soul onto paper and then having someone say ‘Nope, don’t like it’ has always been a horrifying thing for me. (This is pretty much the reason that I don’t slate books that I don’t like on my blog. I’m hoping that I’m gathering enough karma points so that people are gentle with my work. I know that it doesn’t work that way, but a girl can hope.) The more I’ve been writing, however, the braver I’ve become. I’ve let more and more people actually read my writing and I’ve been less scared of what they think. I think that I’ve now reached the point where I’m not as sensitive. What’s the point of being afraid anyway? Just freaking do it and get on with your life.

And there are other competitions. I think that I’ll revamp my story at some point and resubmit to a different one.

On to my big success. This past Friday was my last day at work. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally found a new job. I’ve been massively unhappy in the role that I’ve been in for the past 3 1/2 years and I finally bit the bullet and looked for something new. I’ve gotta say, my writing suffered massively during this time. I’ve found it impossible to apply for jobs and be creative at the same time. Luckily, I found my new job quite quickly.

I’ve now been writing again. For realsies. I have a feeling that I’ll get a lot further than I have before because I’m much happier at the moment. I’m not the sort of writer who thrives on being miserable. My creativity is stoked when I’m in a happy place.

Also, I bought a new notebook to organise all of my thoughts for my story. It turns out that I’ve been keeping all of my notes in many different places so I’ve been compiling them so that they’re all together. It’s hard to build a world and keep all of your characters straight when everything is on bits of paper or in other notebooks. Although, I will say that this probably shouldn’t be referred to as a ‘notebook’ as it’s more like a journal or record log. It’s far too beautiful to be a notebook.

Behold:

Bought at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Because I love museum gift shops. And it's awesome.

Bought at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Because I love museum gift shops. And it’s awesome.

So that’s what’s happening in the world of Buffy these days. I shall see you on Wednesday with a book post!

Fleshing Out My Characters

In My Writing on February 23, 2014 at 11:59 am

With the demise of Novel 1, I’ve been putting all of my efforts toward Novel 2. Here’s a little bit of background on what I’m doing.

Novel 2 is based on mythology from various African nations/tribes/cultures. I’ve taken bits from these various sources and am combining them to create a story that is uniquely mine. I’m setting all of this in a world of my own making so that I can create my own geography and rules of nature. If you’ve read Lian Hearn’s Across the Nightingale Floor, you’ll totally get what I’m doing.

Before you ask, no, I’ve never visited any country in Africa, although I would love to one day.

Because I’ve never been there, I have to rely on pictures from the internet to give me a feel for what I want to write. I’ve been surrounding myself with pictures that express what it is that’s in my head. You see, I’m basing the aesthetics on African art rather than on realistic pictures of landscapes. In my head my entire story plays out as an animated feature or a graphic novel. I imagine my characters with graceful, elongated bodies and facial features that aren’t fully defined. I imagine brightly coloured landscapes and highly stylised animals. It’s quite beautiful in my head. I’m going to do my best to convey that beauty onto the page.

No pressure.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve learned a lot from my oh-so many mistakes in Novel 1. One of the things I’ve learned is that I can’t have a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach to structure. I’m the type of person who needs an outline. I need to know what’s going to happen and where the story needs to go.

I also need more consistency in my characters. The ones I had in Novel 1 were kind of flat and boring so I’ve set about making more detailed character profiles for this story. I’ve also gone a step further and have cast my characters as though there was going to be a film version of my story. This may seem to contradict what I wrote about not having characters with fully defined facial features and such, but I want to make them feel like fully fleshed out human beings. This is purely for myself in an effort to make them more real for me. So, no, I won’t be sharing my casting choices with you. It’s for my edification only.

So, that’s where I am with Novel 2. (Sorry, no working title yet.) It’s chugging along slowly but steadily and I feel really good about it.

Sometimes You Just Have to Let it DIE!

In My Writing on February 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Of course, I’m talking about my first novel. You may remember a few months ago I dusted off Novel 1 in an effort to re-edit and make it publishable.

Oh my days…

As it turns out, it’s not very good. That’s the cold, hard truth I’m afraid. I’ve given it several drafts in an effort to crush that piece of coal into a spectacularly shiny diamond. But as the saying goes: you can’t polish a turd.

It might sound like a harsh thing to say about my very own piece of work that I’ve worked on for such a long time (two years and a bit), but I feel that I must be honest with myself if I’m going to grow as a writer.

I found myself staring at the words at a complete loss as to how to make them better. This then made me reluctant to work on it at all. I came up with all kinds of excuses to avoid writing. The result being that I haven’t written properly in a couple of months now. It also made me lose my confidence. How can something I’ve worked on for so long still need so much work? I started questioning whether or not I would ever write anything good. I also kept thinking about Novel 2 and how much I really wanted to work on that.

The truth is that I’ve learned so much from this project and I’ll be able to apply that knowledge to Novel 2. I think that it’s time that I let this one go.

Pull the plug. Do not resuscitate.

Maybe one day I’ll drag it once more into the light of day, but for now I think that it’s best left alone. It was a difficult decision. We’ve been through a lot together, me and Novel 1. We’ve hashed it out during my commute, had lunches together, spent lots of time in coffee shops, late nights, weekends… We even took several holidays together. I don’t put this down lightly. In fact, it was kind of like breaking up with that boyfriend who is super nice and you don’t want to hurt his feelings but you have to do it because he just isn’t THE ONE.

It’s important to know when enough is enough.

I feel much better having made this decision. I’ve once again picked up Novel 2 which is in its early stages and guess what… I’ve actually been writing!! I’ve also reread what I’ve written so far and am pleased with it. It almost sounds like a real novel. Obviously, it will need a lot of work and polishing as it’s in its infancy, but I feel good about it. My confidence has been restored. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve attacked this novel from a different angle based on the mistakes I made whilst writing Novel 1.

No more excuses. No more dithering. Novel 1 is out; Novel 2 is full steam ahead.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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