Reading What We’re Writing

When I wrote a quick post about mine and Owen’s brainstorming session on Monday I forgot to mention that the cheeky sod gave me homework, homework!!!! He is very keen on one part of our Project Apollo universe having a strong tribal element so he’s given me a David Attenborough series about tribes. I am quite looking forward to watching it if I’m honest.

After Owen gave me this bit of homework I asked him what he thought of Battlestar Galactica, he gave me a guilty, sheepish smile, so no. I felt it would be helpful to him but he said he did not want to be influenced by other work that is similar. I can see what he means by that and I have heard other writers say the same, but I’ve also heard writers say that we need to read in our genre so we can see what other people are doing which will can inspire our own work. Ill admit I’m a big Galactica fan and seeing how the Galactica moves and how the Vipers and Raptors move has convinced me that’s the way to go with the space craft movement in this huge universe that Project Apollo and Project Delphi are set in. I think Battlestar Galactica did a lot of things right which has given me a lot to think about with some of the more background details.

I can see Owen’s point of view though. I’m dire it can be viewed as thieving ideas from others work but to me it is not. I think it’s a great way to thrash an idea out, and lets face it there is always something in one of our favourite books, TV shows, films etc. that we would change.

We are inspired and influenced by what fiction we’ve consumed. Owen is very highly influenced by The Lord Of The Rings, which is evident in what he writes. I think I’m influenced by Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek (mostly the later shows). These and other books, movies and shows do affect how I write. When I was watching Spartacus I found I was writing, dialogue in particular like how it is written in that show. The programme itself also gave me a very good idea for something of my own.

So I think we need to be exploring the genres we are working in, but caution is needed as none of us want to unintentionally steel from other writers (I know there is a specific word for that but of rather life of me I can’t remember what it is)

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Brainstorming

Yesterday me and Owen sat down and had a three-hour brainstorming session, and despite several digressions into pointless chatter we got a lot worked through. Yesterday was mainly focused on our Planetary Assembly universe. We have a few good stories but because we have them all tied into the same universe we needed to thrash out a number of details so we have some continuity throughout the universe. Already between The Space Watch (Project Delphi) and Project Apollo we had a number of contradictions so I’m happy we’ve got it all tidied up.

In theory we should find writing the universe easier now…..

The one thing that we did not get sorted out though is where I went wrong with Project Apollo.  I majorly ran out of steam with it and I’m hoping that when Owen re-reads it he’ll be able to find a path through my bad writing.

Some Free Time

This coming week I am off from the day job for some much-needed R&R. I’m quite lucky in the fact that I enjoy my day job a lot, work with a great group of lads and lasses and I have a great boss but I am really looking forward to taking this week and not having to think about the time I get to bed, or what time I get up.

It’s not all going to be sitting around and chilling though. Tomorrow (Monday) I’m off to Owen’s to work on Project Apollo, which in turn works on The Space Watch (Project Delphi). Hopefully we’ll be able to solve a problem we have with Project Apollo which is I ran out of steam just as I should have been smoothing the middle of the story out. I’m really hoping we can get it sorted so that once I am finished with my current, solo, WIP we can get Project Apollo finished and have a finished draft.

I would love to say that I will have my WIP finished by the end of the week, but I’m not going to say that. I don’t think I will be doing much writing this week if I am totally honest. I will be spending time with Tracie but also just relaxing. Feet up playing Xbox or watching a few movies (I might have a Battlestar Galactica marathon) Although saying that after talking to Owen tomorrow I may be inspired and get cracking with a new-found enthusiasm.

Mentioning Xbox just there, I was over my good friend Stefan’s (http://stefanmcmachan.wordpress.com/) last night and were spent the night killing aliens on Halo 4, which is a great game which I cannot wait to get for myself. The only aspect fo the game that I’m not a fan of is the Point Of View. It’s 1st person but I generally prefer the 3rd person POV you get with games like Gears Of War, but it doesnt put me off enough to stop playing 😉

Igniting Old Ideas

I’ve watched a couple of alien invasion movies recently, Skyline and Battle:Los Angeles. I was planning to watch this movie again soon but a post on I Am Ipodman’s blog pushed the viewing forward (http://iamipodman.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/have-you-watched-battle-los-angeles/)

Alien Invasion is something that I love but I’ve not found many examples recently that have really impressed me, Aside from Scott Sigler’s Infected and Contagion, and the movie District 9, but those are not what I think of as alien invasion, not in the Independence Day, War Of The Worlds sense. I would love an epic alien invasion story to come out (if anyone knows of one please feel free to share 😀 )

Me and Owen (writing partner) have an alien invasion story that we’ve played with but we never took it anywhere. I think it is far too complicated for our current level of writing ability but one day this could be a story that we go back to one day because like our Project Delphi and Project Apollo universe it is a world that we have batted about for many years and just because we have not been able to get a story up and running in the past doesn’t mean we wont be able to get it going in the future. If a story needs to be told, it’ll be told.

 

This week’s episode of The Dead Robots Society was really good. It was about description but slipped into Pacing too. I found this episode really helpful and it got me thinking about how I describe scenes and characters as well as how I’m pacing my work.

 

Here’s the link: http://deadrobotssociety.com/2013/01/29/episode-257-setting-the-scene/

Please go over and check it out. It’s an impression show and this episode in particular was very good.

The Fear

One of the things that held me back from getting rolling with one of the many items in my editing pile was the fear that I did not know what I was doing, but I’ve done it before.  Technically I’ve editing a novel, Project Phoenix. I’ve also edited a few of the short stories I’ve written and there is The Space Watch which is still halfway through edits (That one is in limbo till we have other aspects of the wider universe thought through). So I’m not sure why this fear crept back into me? The more and more I think about it the moe I am convinced that it is a little bit of a lack of confidence on my part and a lack of experience. The thought of formatting for ebooks scares the life out of me and I think a lot of it is because I don’t know how to do it. I know I have some great people who will be more than happy to help out when the time comes but it is something that I will want to learn how to do myself.

On editing I think that I have a good eye for picking out mistakes and continuity issues so I am pretty confident that I find most of the mistakes before I send them out to Beta readers (Let’s see how many comments from my (Fabulous) Beta readers appear on this post lol) So I have no reason to worry about editing.  I know what I am doing with it.  I have a history of being slow on the uptake. It can take me a while to realise something and I think this is what has happened here.

Good this was a whiney post lol

Looking Back At My 2012

The last twelve years have probably been the most defining of my life.  Last year (2011) ended with the nasty ending of a relationship which left me asking a lot of questions of myself and what I wanted out of life.  Those questions found answers over a couple of months and the answers were that I did not need to change anything about who I am.  Those first two months of the year were tough for me, but thankfully I have some very good friends who kept me going.  Stefan, Gwen, Laura and Louise.  Aharon, Owen, Leah, Mike, Cinta and Chrystalyn were all there for me in one way or another when I needed them.  Especially Stefan, Gwen, Laura and Louise.  These four friends gave me more support then I knew that I needed at the time. It was not until I was beginning to feel like myself that I realised just how much they helped me through.  My Mum, Dad and Brother were also great during this time of the year, and the rest of the year. I just want to give my brother Ian a special shout out because he has been the best brother anyone could ever ask for.

In March my life had the biggest change when Tracie came into it. I am struggling to put into words just how happy she is making me.  This time last year I dreaded waking up, now, I can’t wait.  As of the 1st of January we have been together for nine months and those nine months have flown by so fast its almost hard to believe. Never has anyone made me smile and feel as alive as Tracie does.  She has an amazing spirit and a heart of gold. Tracie’s family has welcomed me and it feels like I’ve been part of it for my whole life.

Like anyone else who breaths I’ve had a few ups and downs and other changes.  One of the biggest changes was where I worked.  At the end of june I was asked to come and work for a former employer who I consider a good friend.  When my car was off the road last year he sorted out a car for me to use in the time that my car was not usable. He asked me to come back to work for him and I jumped at the chance.  I’m still a car valeter at a car sales, which I’ve been for twelve years now, but I’m working a few less hours a week and much happier in myself.

A highlight of the year was meeting Cinta Garcia de la Rosa in Oxford. It was great to meet someone that I have met through blogging and became friends with.  We spent the day walking around Oxford, we had a great lunch and it was great to talk to another writer.

As for writing, well, that’s not been quite as successful.  I’ve spent the bulk of the year working on The Space Watch (Project Delphi) which is all but complete, but the release date has now been pushed back due to other stories in this universe.  I’ll try to write a post giving a little more detail about that in the next few days.  Project Apollo is finally off the ground thanks to NaNoWriMo but is a fair way off completion.  Me and Owen need to sit down and plot out the story from the middle to the end.  I seemed to lose my way with it a fair bit so I’m eager to see what Owen has to say on it.

I feel like I’ve failed with writing this year as I have not hit any of my goals that I set out at the start of the year. Saying that though I have learnt a lot about the art of writing.  About the depth that good world building requires.  What makes a good character. I am still a long way off from where I want to be.  One major decision that I made was that I will publish my own work myself.  I’m not going to try to go for the traditional route to being published.

Looking back at the year I think its been one of discovery and settlement.  I’ve found who I am, I’ve found a lady who truly makes me happy.  I’ve come to appreciate just how important my family are to me and I have discovered who my true friends are.  There are things th at I never imagined myself doing, hell one night I went out wearing a bra and french knickers! and yes there are photos……… I’ve met great people and dropped the dead weight from my life.

In the years to come I am going to look back at 2012 and think of it as the year that I began to move forward.

Me and Tracie

The Christmas Period 2012

I hope that you have all had an amazing Christmas? I know that I have had my best Christmas since childhood, by a long way if I’m honest.   It was pretty relaxed and there was a lot of fun had 🙂 I managed to knock out about sixty pages of The Hunger Games Christmas Day. It was nice to be able to just sit down and read without thinking about having one of a dozen other things to do. I did get Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books for Christmas as well so I want to get started on them as soon as I can.

I’ve watched a few good movies (Ted, The Avengers (Avengers Assemble here in the UK) The Dark Knight Rises and The Rocky Horror Picture Show), had a Nerf gun fight, ate some really good food.  Spent time with my nearest and dearest and all in all it was a really good couple of days 🙂

There’s little time to rest though as I’ve been back at work today and for just a few days things will be back to normal, till New Years Eve at least. This is always an odd time of the year. Unless you’re lucky enough to have the entire Christmas and New Year period off then the days feel odd.  Like today for example it has felt like monday all day.  Weird.  I do love this time of year but I hate how it knocks me off my mental calendar.

Before New Year I’ve got a few days of work and I’m hoping to get down to Owen’s because he has a few notes for Project Apollo which in turn are a few notes for The Space Watch (Project Apollo). I’ll let you all know how that goes.