Whoever created this is a genius, had to share!
Choose your own outcome…
When I was little there was a children’s book I read, and in the book you got to choose what happened next. Such books were not new then, and they are still around now. I saw an adult version of this not very long ago. You know the kind…
Lots of exciting stuff has happened…do you:
- Open the door – go to page 64
- Turn around and walk away – go to page 72
This got me thinking about the writing process, and how, when we write, we sit out of time, as if we are sitting on the edge of countless parallel universes.
Nobody knows the exact way the book will turn out when they start to write. Writers are always talking about the way characters can surprise them, or how the story can twist unexpectedly. Our imaginations, our life journeys, our jobs and the people we spend time with can all impact the words we write on the page.
In what other ways, do we the writer, impact the story?
What if we sit down to write a chapter today, would it be the same chapter if we wrote it tomorrow instead? Would it be close, slightly different, or very different? And if it was different, could it shape the entire rest of the book?
Hence my parallel universe reference.
It’s a little mind blowing to think that if you sit down at your keyboard you may write a scene in a completely different way just because you are feeling particularly happy or particularly sad. And what if the phone rings and interrupts you, and when you come back you have decided that a character needs to die, or fall in love, or something else that you had no inkling of before.
It’s in that moment when you decide to stop writing, when you move away from your keyboard for whatever reason, must a new parallel universe inevitably pop up? Like a deck of cards on endless shuffle, or a kaleidoscope shifting sand, you never know exactly how the dice are going to fall until they do fall, or in writing terms, you sit back down at your computer. And when you do everything has shifted and you sit down to a different place and a different head space.
Every time we write a story, we could have written a million more.
Would those other variations have been better or worse or just different?
Life too, is full of choices and the consequence of those choices impact everything that comes after, so it seems only fair that our fictitious worlds should be subject to the same whims.
We might think that there are a million stories or a million lives we could have lived, but ultimately there is only one story, just as there is only one passage through our life, and that is the one we choose to write.
It’s been nearly four years now since I started blogging, and exactly four years since I set myself a goal to write a book. With this anniversary in mind, I thought I would share my own reason why I believe in setting new year’s goals. I still have a long way to go in my writing journey, but every year spent working toward my writing dream is a year well spent.
I just wished I had started working toward it sooner 🙂
You don’t have to set a goal on the 1st January, whenever you set that goal is the right time. But sometimes a new year provides an opportunity for us to assess where we are and where we want to be.
It can also be the catalyst for us to embrace change, set a new direction, and follow our dreams.
If you have read my about page, some of this will be familiar…
Why I believe in setting New Year’s goals…
I have never been one for new years resolutions, for making plans, or setting goals, or any of those things that most people do every year on the 1st January.
I don’t do diets – too boring.
I don’t want to run a marathon – too hard, jump out of a plane – too scary, or to ‘find myself’ in Tibet.
I have always been at heart a bit of a drifter, and a lot of a procrastinator, and yet at the same time I have never let go of my dream to publish a book.
I spend anywhere up to 20 hours a week working toward this dream and have done so for nearly 20 years. For far too many of those years I never actually committed to converting that dream into a reality…I am the living embodiment of George McFly out of back to the future.
On 1st January 2013, I watched the ball drop in Times Square, and like every other year I never set myself a goal.
The 1st January 2014 was a little quieter, and I had a little more time to reflect. This time, everything changed because I set myself a goal – just one – to publish a book.
It took me a lot longer to get there than I ever expected, but I’m always going to look back on that day and be thankful and grateful that I changed my mindset.
Happy reading and writing and dream chasing in 2018!
“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book.
Write a good one.”
~ Brad Paisley
Love it or loathe it, it’s a necessary part of the writing process. But it does present some challenges.
Life is sweet…
“Oh, look at that sentence.
So beautiful and so perfect!
Who says you can’t write a sentence right the first time, go me!”
“Why did I put that comma there?”
“Nope, it was right before.”
“Nope, it’s a semicolon!”
…replaces with a semicolon
“It works better as two sentences. Ha!”
…splits into two sentences
…removes all punctuation and joins using an ‘and’
“Why do I have three sentences in a row starting with ‘He’!”
“I don’t like that word…it feels clunky…I need a better word.”
…puts original words back
When nothing works…
“OMG! This sentence is so bad! What the bloody hell was a trying to say!”
…changes to internal thoughts
…gives to another character as speach
“OMG!!! I hate this sentence!”
I’m Red, all in, no hesitation 🙂
What color are you?
Where we write…
I thought I would begin my writing update by sharing a little about my writer’s nook (or pod in my case).
The funny looking structure above is my writer’s pod (The bit on the left…the big bit is a bedroom). I call it a pod, because…it really is a little pod on stilts and the perfect place to hideaway and write.
Here is the view into the valley from my window, which of course I never look at because I’m so focused on my writing! Okay sometimes I peak.
The inside of my writer’s pod…it doesn’t normally look quite that tidy! And I am also normally squished onto one side of the desk to make space for my cats…and their blanket.
And this is Toby, who was snoozing beside me while I was writing yesterday.
I’ve been busy with a couple of writerly things. Firstly, book three has received all the beta feedback, so I’ve made the changes and will let it settle for a couple of weeks before I tackle the final read and review. I’m very excited to see the trilogy completed! And very grateful for all the constructive feedback I’ve had on the book…including all my bloopers. Between ‘discounting’ a horse instead of ‘dismounting’ and ‘lunching’ instead of ‘launching’, I’ve kept my beta readers entertained for all the wrong reasons! 🙂
My second bit of writerly activity, has been cracking into a new draft. This is set on the same planet as my current trilogy, but with a new cast and explores the planet’s colonisation. I’m about 30% in, and going reasonably well…reasonably, because I never feel comfortable with a draft until I get to the end and all the bits come together.
About my beta readers!
We are all at different stages of our writing journey, and so I would like to finish by dropping links and bios on two of my beta readers who are published authors themselves.
Jason J. McCuiston’s story, “The Wyvern” can be found in Pole to Pole Publishing’s new anthology, Dark Luminous Wings. It is a post-apocalyptic steampunk horror story set in the skies above a Mojave Desert filled with magic and dark memories.
You can find out a little more about Jason here in his guest post. Talking about sport and writing! Don’t let the title scare you, I am the least sporty person on the planet, and I learnt something new 🙂
And this is the lovely Cassandra Parker, who always has at least 3 writing projects on the go, but still finds time to read my book and give me feedback! If you are looking for a little 70’s nostalgia with a wistful and endearing love story thrown into the mix then check out her book Harley & Me.
You can also find out more about Cassandra in her author interview here. Author Interview – Cassandra Parker
Wishing everyone happy reading and writing! 🙂
I have never been a person enamoured with that thing called adventure. If there is something exciting going on, I am usually heading in the other direction. For me adventure is trying out a new restaurant, or cutting an extra inch off my hair.
I think the technical term is ‘novelty averse’.
I am the sort of person who feels deeply emotional when hearing an anecdotal story about someone I have never even met. Homeless puppies, sagas of lost journals, can really tear me up. If there’s a spider trapped in a sink, I am the kind of person who rescues it—Ok, maybe not the spider.
Despite this I have lived a million adventures within the pages of a book, and particularly bloodthirsty adventures at that.
Yes, I will confess at this point that I possess particularly violent taste when it comes to other peoples adventures. Torture and killing is absolutely fine in the quest of a good story—the more brutal the better. Our heroes wouldn’t have a chance to shine without a few trials and obstacles in their way.
Let’s face it, a walk in the park never made a hero—unless the walk in the park happened to involve thwarting an attack by alien vampires with secret plans to destroy the earth.
Perhaps it’s just as well that I stick to the books 😉