Writing – literary or genre?

There is a question all writers should confront at some point during their writing life:

What sort of writer do I want to be?

Because, of course, there are a number of different types of writer. Perhaps the question should be: “What do I want from my writing life?”

Believe it or not, this is something nearly all writers fail to ask themselves. I know, we all start off writing as a bit of a hobby. Most of the population can physically write, putting letters together to form words, and words together to form sentences. That’s a basic function many can handle.

But writing seriously? Learning how to write productively, and with a purpose and with an intention to gain an audience?

THAT’S DIFFERENT

To align with this blog’s title, one of the choices fiction writers should make is: do we want to write genre or literary fiction?

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Location research

I’m not a researcher. I’m not big on spending hours talking to people, interviewing them even, learning about them, their jobs, their private lives, the places they live and work. I do know authors who are researchers, and they love spending time learning stuff.

Nope. Not me.

But this week, I travelled about an hour away from home to look at a small village that I might use for a new series of cosy mysteries.

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Creativity

I want to talk about creativity. It concerns one of the most asked questions of authors – where do you get your ideas from? I know it sounds like a cliché, but so many non-authors want to know how we can ‘come up with’ such devious, exciting and intricate plots for our novels.

And I think we all have a slightly different answer. “I get my best ideas when I’m in the shower / out walking / drunk on a Saturday night”; “some of my most well-received novels have been based on dreams / nightmares / the result of imbibing vast quantities of psychedelic drugs”; or the asinine “I don’t know, really – they just come to me when I’m sitting in my garden writing studio listening to the sounds of nature”.

Some of these may be true, but it’s not my version of truth.

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Productivity

I’m working hard on writing my novels, but I’m also working on a new project – The Efficient Novelist program. More details on that in the near future. And apologies for those who feel offended by the spelling of programme.

But as I’m writing alongside the program, and making notes on what I do and what I could do better, I’m also wondering how I collate these notes to make sure they’re not lost, and how I can organise them into the sections of the program. Writing them down in a notebook, on pieces of paper or index cards means duplication of effort as they’ll need to be transferred into electronic format at some time in the future. Creating a MS Word document means lots of scrolling as I find the right section in which to place the notes. 

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Is good enough good enough?

Do you know what that picture is, above this post? I know, it’s two lines – a straight red one, and a curvy blue one. Any mathematicians amongst you know what it’s called?

It’s an ASYMPTOTE

What the dickens is an asymptote? It’s defined as: a line that a curve approaches, as it heads towards infinity.

So in our image above, the red line is the asymptote.
All very well and good, but what’s this got to do with writing?

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2021 Non-resolution Resolutions

Long time readers will know that I don’t like RESOLUTIONS. There’s too much focus on one day in the year, and there’s too much looking back on a previous year with regret, with a false determination to DO BETTER next year.
And it’s all too easy for the resolutions to fall flat.
Like: “This year, I’m going to lose x weight”. It’s a focussed target, which might appear to be good, but it’s a digital target. You will either succeed, or you will do the ‘F’ word – FAIL. And failure is a destructive state of mind.
We don’t like destructive things – we only like constructive things. So my resolutions are NOT resolutions – they’re aims, or goals. If I don’t reach those goals, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, because as you will have seen if you’ve read my ‘looking back‘ post, there’s still a lot to celebrate.
So let’s get started.

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2020 ROUNDUP

Yes, I know this year has been … different. That ancient philosopher who said “may you live in interesting times” needs to just shut up now. The ‘featured image’ sums up what a lot of people think about the year just gone.

But that doesn’t stop me from doing my annual roundup – a look back to last New Year at what I said I was going to try and do during 2020, and what I actually have done.

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Creativity, Style and Voice

Featured image photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
https://unsplash.com/photos/ePkfwrVYoTc
instagram.com/jannerboy62

In today’s blog post, I want to talk about creativity and the inner voice. When looking for a suitable featured image, I instantly loved the bike at the top of my post. Connecting two great loves of mine – cycling and creativity.

Writing fiction is just one aspect of creativity. It’s easy to imagine the impoverished author – sitting in a lonely Parisian garrett, with just their imagination and a typewriter with which to express their innermost thoughts.

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R.I.P. EVH

Tuesday, 6th October, 2020. The day Eddie Van Halen died from throat cancer.

Some of you may not know who Eddie Van Halen was – EVH for short. He was an American rock guitarist who, like Jimi Hendrix, changed how people played rock guitar. He was an inspiration to several generations of rock guitarists.

He had to deal with a lot of issues in his life, like injuries (from his high-octane stage act) and the almost inevitable drink and drugs. He eventually succumbed to throat cancer at the age of 65. He had smoked since he was 12.

Over his career, he sold 56 million records.

So what’s all this got to do with writing?

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