Once Upon A Cliché

TelegraphThe humble cliché. Bane of the writer’s life, or so we’re led to believe. My book: In Too Deep has a fair amount sprayed inside its pages. Hell, even the title’s a cliché!

But seriously, I thought about it. My book is written from a first-person point of view and I don’t think it would be authentic if there weren’t clichés in there. If you actually listen to how we speak, we use them all the time. We’re all living, breathing, walking, talking clichés.

I admit I used to hate it if one cropped up in my writing, but I’ve mellowed. If a cliché says what I want to say, in the best way possible, then I use it and sod the consequences.

I’ve probably shot myself in the foot for writing this post. But let’s face it, at the end of the day, if we don’t grab the bull by its horns and run with it, once in a while, then life just wouldn’t be worth living.

Well, you know what they say: ‘that’s life …’

 

‘Authors For Charity’

Is a group set up by five authors to raise money for charity – the actual charity will change annually.

Its first charity book is a children’s title: Tales of an Old Wizard and can be purchased here and here.

To find out more visit their Facebook page here.

 

 

 

*Source: Writing magazine.

Learnt A New Word

I learnt a new word today whilst planting some catnip seeds …

Ailurophilia …

Jones

Definition: One who loves cats…

A condition that affects  people across the globe.

“As long as there have been humans there have been cats to love them. They have been our protectors and our foes, touted as both Gods and demons throughout history.

From Sylvester, Felix and Garfield, cats have been leaving their mark on our world (and our furniture) for years. They are our best friends and can often train us better than we could ever hope to train them, purring like little engines to reassure us that we have done right by them. And they have no trouble turning tail and letting us know when they think we are misbehaving.” From: The little book of Catnip – Anon … (it came with the seeds :))

I thought the above summed up my feelings about cats. I’ve always loved them and can’t understand how others don’t feel the same way. But we’re all individuals, right? ‘Live and let live’ … a saying that would serve us well if we paid more attention to it!

Lil’un aka Indiana and sometimes Dave!

“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats.” Albert Schweitzer

“In a cats eye – all things belong to cats” An English Proverb

“One cat just leads to another.” Ernest Hemingway

So go on, treat your cat to some catnip. He’ll love you forever. But then, he probably will anyway 😉

 

What Inspires Us To Write?

Many writers, poets, artists, musicians … talk about their ‘muse’.  But what does that actually mean? At this point in time I’m not talking about the band, although, that might come later.

‘The Muse of Poesie’
by Konstantin Makovsky (1839 -1915)

The freeonlinedictionary defines ‘muse’ as:

1. Greek Mythology: Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.

2. muse:

a. A guiding spirit.

b. A source of inspiration.

3. muse: A poet.

 

And wikipedia describes the ‘muse of literature’:

“Some authors invoke Muses when writing poetry, hymns, or epic history. The invocation typically occurs at or near the beginning, and calls for help or inspiration, or simply invites the Muse to sing through the author. Some prose authors also call on the aid of Muses, who are called as the true speaker for whom an author is merely a mouthpiece.”

So what calls forth your ‘muse’? Is it beautiful scenery? Shafts of sunlight over water? Does there have to be anything present in the vision – for example, do you love boats and can your image of beauty only be complete when one is there for you to gaze upon, or is the play of the sun’s rays across the water enough to inspire you?

Maybe your ‘muse’ is summoned by observing nature and, like Dickens, you’re inspiration is invoked through long walks in the countryside.

Perhaps you get turned on by technology – steam trains, cars, motorbikes …? Or architecture – train stations, cathedrals, castles …? Or then again, your idea of inspiration might come from the sea.

The list is endless. We’re all individuals and therefore have diverse ideas about what helps us to write, paint, sculpt ….

Whatever your ‘muse’ may it serve you well 😉

Here are a few musings (ha!) on what ‘muse’ is for other writers:

Mandy Boyle  Camsolivia  Alice E Vincent

 

Crossing The Genre Line

At the moment I’m writing a book that explores two genres, crime, and horror. My protagonist is half-human, half-vampire. He  works as a forensic pathologist with the Metropolitan police.

But this isn’t about the book, it’s about bias. I’ve noticed some interesting feedback from people who have read the first few chapters of the story (I won’t call it a book yet because it’s not finished). Here’s one such comment:

 

‘Hmmm what an unusual mix of genre. It’s well written but I’m just not sure who it will appeal to. It’s vampires etc and isn’t that predominately aimed at YA? But then there’s all the cop talk etc that I really enjoyed by the way, but wouldn’t that be more your crime/thriller reader? Now maybe I’m underestimating YA readers and they are sick of the usual vampire story and want something with a little more bite (pardon the pun). If that’s the case then you’ve certainly delivered.’

 

That’s a fair comment. But I’m a little bit fed-up with being pigeon-holed. I like reading and writing crime fiction. I’ve also come to like reading original horror – vampire stories with a bit more oomph to them. Can’t abide the ‘Twilight’ stuff. There are novels out there that attempt to give us adult vampire literature. Some of it is well-written, has great plot-lines and the characters within the pages are strong and engaging.

I had this idea to write a crime novel led by a vampire – a good vampire, one that sees the world differently to all other vampires. And already I’m stalled before I even start. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to push the boundaries of Genre? If agents or publishers won’t touch your book because it crosses the Genre line, then self-publishing is the way to go. But will people read it? Will your stalwart reader of crime fiction actually cross that line?

It’s a hard question and one that’s going to be interesting to find out.

Spoilt for Genre

Genre – an interesting word.

Definition:

  1. A type of class.
  2. a.  kind, category, or sort, esp of literary or artistic work
    b.  (as modifiergenre fiction.
  3. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) a category of painting in which domestic scenes or incidents from everyday life are depicted.

It’s a concept I never really thought about until I joined Authonomy. Whilst there, I grew from being a fledgling writer to understanding the art, its laws, and the fact that grammar and punctuation are tantamount to telling the story (hang-on, just need to remove my tongue from inside my cheek 🙂

I learnt a lot, got loads of excellent feedback and my writing improved tremendously for it. As with most things in life, the journey towards perfection is ongoing … we never stop learning.

One of the best things about Authonomy (apart from the feedback) is the choice of genre … crime, thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, sci-fi, horror, comedy, romance, erotica (the list goes on) all set down in one place. A writer’s and reader’s paradise. Granted, not every work-in-progress you might click on is going to be the next Ian Rankin, Stephen King or Jane Austen, but that is the point of the site – to improve. There are, however, some very good stories waiting for you to stumble upon.

My point is, I read stuff there, I would never have looked at in a book shop. My horizons were broadened and I found myself enjoying such things as vampire stories, chick-lit, fantasy, young adult, and even children’s books.

There’s a wealth of imagination out there if only we stopped, pondered and gave everything a chance instead of writing it off as another same old, same old ... Give it a try, you can always put it down or delete it. In this digital age of Ebooks it is that simple and there’s a lot of books going free online to whet your appetite. Go here and find some interesting FREE books to read.

And enjoy yourself 😉

Nice To Tweet You …

What is Twitter good for? Absolutely everything!

I confess, when Twitter first started I was very sceptical. I thought: ‘it’ll be full of a bunch of nobodies telling us about what they’re doing every five minutes.’ And, to be honest, who really wants to know?

But, as a budding writer, I was constantly being bombarded with the idea that to get my writing noticed I should embrace social media. Not just Twitter but Facebook, Blogger, WordPress  LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and MySpace … the list goes on.

Yeah, ‘crikey’ that’s what I thought. To involve myself in ALL of the above would leave no time to play away from the internet. I chose my social media networks with care.

I’m gradually working my way around twitter and learning how to interact there. The 140 character limit is pretty challenging, but a good lesson in choosing your words and images carefully when promoting yourself and your work.

Whatever you may think of social media it’s here to stay so we might as well make the most of it, eh?

Want to learn more about Twitter? Go here.

Silly Mitsakes …

I get very cross with myself when I find silly mistakes in my writing. It’s even more embarrassing when someone else finds them. It was just pointed out to me that I made one of those cringe worthy mistakes in one of my recent posts (I have since corrected it) and I’m very thankful to that person (bar steward) … no, I really am grateful. If it weren’t for people like him I would be making such an arse of myself all over the internet.

Just to share, here are a few of my worst gaffs:

– your instead of your’re (one of my pet hates, when I see it in others‘ writing … is that apostrophe in the right place? Or should it even be there?)

– its instead of it’s.

– it’s instead of its.

– Calvin Clein instead of Klein (ouch! – I’m not into fashion)

And I use the humble comma in abundance and with humility. This is being dealt with via a daily mantra: Cull those curly little bastards.

A swift browse of the internet highlighted the fact that I’m not in the minority. I suppose it’s an occupational hazard. I put it down to imagination overload – got to get the story down come hell or high water. And, if it didn’t happen, there would be no need for proof-readers. So, in essence, we’re doing a lot of people a huge favour.

Okay, I’ve made myself feel better now. I hope I haven’t put any agent or publisher off …

I found this article interesting: twenty common mistakes that (almost) everyone makes.

Right, off to polish my finished manuscript …

A Mystery To Me …

I often wonder what it is about a book’s blurb that pulls me in. What is it that elicits that first, tentative look? The cover and title grab me first, but what must those words on the back, conjure in my mind? A sense of adventure, maybe? The words definitely have to engage my imagination, or I wouldn’t bother reading on.

One of my favourite pastimes is to browse the books in charity shops. At the beginning of 2012 I found this book: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and it changed my outlook on life completely. I’m still, to this day, trying to understand what made me pick it up in the first place. I’m not a religious person but I don’t think this book is about religion. It’s a book about life. A text book, if you like, written so eloquently that it made me listen and what I heard is now helping me to reinvent myself. I’m not quite the person I want to be, yet. I don’t even know who that person is. But isn’t that what life is about … finding ourselves?

2012 was a good year for me. I found my niche writing wise. I do like to experiment with it and I’m more confident about doing that now, and sharing what I’ve produced is part of the new me. I’ve made some terrible mistakes, some of the worse ones in the last couple of years. I know I’ve hurt some of my friends and I’m sad about that.

2013 is  going to be about forgiveness and as long as I’m preparing myself for death nothing will phase me.

PeacePeace brothers and sisters 😀

 

 

 

The Wonder Of Film

I never could get into Tolkein. I tried. I found his writing was unable to engage my imagination … or maybe it was because everyone else around me loved  him. Who knows, eh? One thing I do know, I always have to be different! 😀

However, there’s hope. I went to see The Hobbit on the big screen on NYE … WOW! Blew my mind. I’m now absolutely convinced Peter Jackson is a God …

Peter JacksonThat’s just my opinion, by the way 🙂