February Noticeboard

February 28, 2010

Poseidon’s Trident:
Current Chapter in First Draft Stage:
20/33
Current Chapter in Edit Stage: None

Goals for February:

  • Write 250 words/day. Equals to about 7,000 words – Hmmm, not sure about that one. I did miss quite a few days, so I’ll say no.

Goals for March:

  • Write 250 words a day
  • Complete NPI

This month, I’ll be participating in another Novel Push Initiative, hosted by Nick Enlowe. Participants have to write 250+ words everyday to complete the NPI. I completed one late last year, but its duration was only two weeks, so this should be a bit more of a challenge. If you’re interested in participating in the NPI, check out Nick’s blog. He may or may not still be taking participants.

Continuing with my aim for a new post every three days, I’ll be posting on ‘World Building 101’ this month. I’m  yet to decide what to post towards the end of the month.

My reading pace slowed over February. I usually read one book a week, but due to a saggy middle, reading Stephen King’s ‘Rose Madder’ took a lot longer. This month, I also read ‘Pirate Latitudes’, by Michael Critchon.
In January, I read a Clive Cussler novel, ‘The Wrecker’, and ‘Cross’, by James Patterson, before starting Rose Madder.

One last thing. ‘The Writer’s Christmas’, a Christmas story I posted in 14 installments last year has now been posted as one whole on my Writing.Com account. Click here to read it.

Have a great day!

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Kill Those Weeds

February 24, 2010

Yesterday, I announced to my friends that I would be entering a writing competition in the school.

Friend:
A writing competition, ay?

Me: Yep. I reckon I can win. I’ve got this great story.

I sounded confident (probably because I was. I was going to enter my best short story). My friend must of notice because he commented on it.

Friend: You sound confident. What [marks] do you get for English?

Me: Uh, a B?

Friend: *Looks at me like I’m crazy* A B? And you think you can win? (This comment was innocent, and that he had probably had no idea how devastating they were.)

That’s all it took to sow seeds of doubt into my mind. I went from being confident in my ability to write a good story and win (at the very least, place) in the comp, to being doubtful, and filled with ‘what if’s.

What if he’s right?
What if I do really bad?
What if my writing isn’t as good as I think it is?

And so, I pondered his remarks during the day. At one point, I almost decided not to enter.

But, you know what? Those ‘seeds of doubt’ are actually ‘weeds of doubt’, and how do gardeners get rid of weeds? They kill them! [I’m talking about the weeds of doubt, not my friend]

So I’m killing those weeds. I’m ignoring his comments.

I KNOW I’m a good writer.

I KNOW I’m a good writer.

I KNOW I’m a good writer.

(Now I’m chanting it in my head).

How do you kill those weeds of doubt?


Indenting

February 22, 2010

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you will know that I’m currently at war with my English teacher over the use of indenting. I always indent, always have and most likely always will.

My teacher, however, says that indenting is old, and that nobody indents anymore. And today, after I told her that books indent, she brought in a ‘modern novel’ which doesn’t use indenting. I’m being honest when I tell you that the book she showed me was the first I’ve ever seen which doesn’t indent.

The point of today’s post is to ask your thoughts on indenting. Do you indent? Or not? Let me know  in the comments.



Saggy Middles

February 21, 2010

One thing I’ve been coming across lately is saggy middles. The beginning is good, the ending is good… but those hundred or so pages in between are saggy.

Those pages stink. They’re boring. They make me want to put down the book. It’s like the author doesn’t know what to write next, so they’re playing  writing it by ear.

As I write this, I’m reading a Stephen King novel, Rose Madder [I‘m not anymore, but this post will be based on my thoughts while I was reading it].
Beginning: good.
Ending: I dunno, because I’m still stuck in the middle. I’m only halfway through the book (roughly 300 pages), and already I’m sick of it. I’m losing patience. I’m beginning to hate the characters. My reading has slowed right down because I don’t want to sift through the boring. I’ve even considered skipping to the last hundred pages.

Tell me, what are your thoughts on saggy middles?


Crit Aftermath

February 19, 2010

The critiques are now over. I’d like to thank the three brave people who sent in their excerpts for you all to critique.  If you missed any, you can see them here, here, here and here.

Although there seemed to be a bit of interest according to my poll, when it came time to actually send in the excerpts, most people didn’t send any in. Never the less, I still feel the session was a success, and I’m sure the others would agree  when I say write that we all learnt something.

That’s all from me!


In-House Critique #4

February 18, 2010

Name: Little Scribbler
Title: Poseidon’s Trident
Genre: Action

First 250 words:
Private Adolf Bauer rested next to his shovel and wiped his brow. Digging was hard work in the best of conditions. In the heat of the midday sun in the Indian desert, it was torture. Beads of sweat trickled down his red face, off his unshaven chin, and onto his filthy uniform. His uniform had been tailored for combat in Europe – not digging in the desert. Still, he decided, digging in the scorching desert for a weapon was better than being around for the rising tensions in Europe.

“Bauer! Hurry up!” barked Captain Eberhardt. “You do not want to keep Fuer Hitler waiting, do you?”

“No, sir!” Bauer yelled back as he grabbed his shovel, and returned to the digging. All around him, men, soldiers like himself, dug furiously in the sand in a grid format. For a weapon. What that weapon was, Bauer didn’t know. But he had overheard the captain talking.

A weapon that would ensure world domination for Hitler and the Third Reich.
A weapon that would destroy London.
A weapon that would destroy the Jews.

The day wore on, and Bauer whistled as he worked. His hole soon turned into a trench, then a large pit. Soon, when the men around him complained, he turned to thinking about his wife, Eva, and his two young children, Dirk and Abigail, back in Berlin. They all missed him terribly, Bauer was sure of that. But they preferred his digging in India over the  alternative of combat in Poland. At least they could be sure he would return safely. Even if he couldn’t tell them what he was doing.



Readers: Would you read on? Why or why not? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What could be changed?


In-House Critique #3

February 17, 2010

Name: Merrilee Faber
Title: Under the Datura Tree
Genre: Magical Realism
Blog: http://notenoughwords.wordpress.com

First 250 words:

I was on the tail end of another game of who-gets-the-kids with my ex-wife when I arrived at the crime scene. My old blue bomb had one go at the steep driveway and decided it was too much. She stalled and started rolling down the hill towards the crowd at the bottom of the drive.

I dropped the phone and wrestled with steering wheel and spongy brakes. She finally swerved around and into a neighbour’s hedge, to a round of catcalls and applause.

“Goddamn bitch,” I muttered as I picked up the phone again.

“What?”

“Sorry, not you. Look, I can’t take the girls this weekend, Carol. I’ve just got too many open cases, and I’ll be working overtime.” I struggled out of the car and hurried up the drive. “It’s not my weekend, anyway. What about your mother?”

“She’s in hospital again for another set of x-rays. Damn it, Mike. I need to go to this workshop. What am I going to do?”

“Well, you’ll just have to get a babysitter.” I looked up as I came to the top of the drive. Senior Constable Rowe was standing under the wattle trees in front of the house.

“I have to go Carol. I’ll talk to you later.”

“No, wait, Mike-”

I flipped the phone closed as I reached him. “What have we got?”

“Couple in their 50’s,” said Rowe, “Allen and Marjorie Winebrenner. Throats cut with a kitchen knife, no sign of a struggle, no sign of forced entry.” He led the way towards the house.

Readers: Would you read on? Why or why not? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What could be changed?