Egotism

IWSG: The Problem of Consistency

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, a way for writers to discuss their writing anxieties. It cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

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One of the biggest problems I have as a writer is writing steadily and consistently. Looking back through my blog there is plentiful evidence of this – I have often gone months without posting, and my posts seem to cluster around a few weeks of activity at a time.

Most writers will have felt the instinct to wait for inspiration to strike, to write when the ideas are flowing most readily. But sometimes ideas have to be wrung forcefully from our minds, so that there is at least a terrible first draft when inspiration does strike – a rough skeleton that a better version can be superimposed on top of.

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Analysis, Close Reading, Egotism

IWSG: Lazy Reference Humour

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

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The suggested theme in this month’s edition is ‘pet peeves’.

One of my biggest peeves is writers using references in place of humour. Both Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory get stick for this – rightly in my opinion – but during the last week I’ve read an extract from the Ernest Cline novel Ready Player One which takes this to an incredible extreme.

There’s nothing wrong with fiction drawing on references to real life of course – in fact it’s a good thing, as it connects the fictional world to the wider real world, giving the fictional world a greater sense of depth and a broader range of material to draw jokes from.

One of my favourite examples of this kind of humour is from the second ever episode of Family Guy. After Stewie Griffin opines that television is evil because of its influence on Charles Manson, the show cuts away to Manson’s jail cell where he’s watching TV. Manson says “If I haven’t seen it, its new to me” – a slogan NBC were using at the time to promote their repeats. On the surface level this is (darkly) amusing because of the contrast between the very serious image of the mass murderer and the very silly idea of him repeating back an advertising slogan.

Thinking a bit more deeply, this is also a joke about the nature of advertising. By attempting to mould viewers’ desires to suit their own, advertisers are basically trying to do what Manson’s paranoia convinced him that The Beatles were doing.
Egotism

IWSG: The First Draft

This entry is part of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group – a group of writers helping each other deal with insecurities that are part of the writing process.

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A consistent problem that I’ve always had when writing is getting the rough draft of the story down on paper. I enjoy the research and world-building – for instance today I’ve been looking at animals that are able to control electricity for background to a science fiction idea. I also enjoy structuring stories – building a kind of scaffolding to outline the key events, how the characters are going to change and when the key pieces of information will be revealed to the reader. But I struggle when it comes to writing the first full version of the story.

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Egotism, Storytelling Geekery

IWSG: Keeping up Forward Momentum

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 2016

Being a perfectionist, ambitious, and having flickering self-confidence is not a great combination.
At times I feel that I’ve stumbled across a great idea, an idea for a novel or other form of fiction which no-one else is writing, and turning it into a major hit is just a matter of putting it down on paper. Unfortunately, turning a vague idea into a practical reality is a little trickier than that.

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Egotism

Relaunching the Blog

I first began blogging back in November 2011, as a way of giving myself small, accomplishable writing tasks to keep myself focused and motivated. The aim was also that it would eventually be a useful tool for self-promotion – once I had something worth promoting.

My use of the blog has waxed and waned, definitely more of the latter in recent years. I’ve written just five posts in the last thirty-one months – it’s fair to say that I’ve been neglecting the blog a little bit. But I’ve got a few projects on the go that I’m enthusiastic and confident about, and I’ve learned a little about social media promotion in the five and a quarter years since I started doing this, so it makes sense to get the blog up and going again.

SONY DSC
Artistic.

I was aware when I started that it made sense to have a ‘brand name’ that would be distinctive and therefore easy to find online, but I probably made a bad choice in settling for ‘noonebutabloghead’. This was based on a Samuel Johnson quote that I sort of like but disagree with, that “no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money”. I added in a really bad pun (BLOGhead, get it?) and misremembered the quote as ‘noone’ rather than ‘no man’. Yes, when I started this I really was so amateurish that I didn’t check the quote my blog was named for.

I’ve found over time that the name ‘scififootball’ – a play on fantasy football, as well as being two major interests of mine – is surprisingly underclaimed across various social media platforms. So I’ve called dibs on the name on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram. Please follow me. Or don’t, it’s a free world.

I’ve chosen a new design for the blog, will be trying to post more regularly, hopefully sort out some consistent branding that hopefully will be better than my current home-made logo, and checking links in old posts still work and updating my menu bars. A lot of that feels quite boring, so I’ll end up doing it in stages rather than all at once.

And as I do that, I’ll try to form any ideas that pop into my head and that I think are interesting into new blog posts.
Egotism, Read My Fiction

I’ve Gotten Through the Cracks

I’ve written a poem for the Teesside Literary Society’s collection of poetry and short fiction, ‘Through the Cracks’, which had its launch event last Friday at Teesside University in Middlesbrough,  as part of T-Junction, the Teesside International Poetry Festival.

Through the Cracks anthology
Through the Cracks anthology

The anthology has been published by Ek Zuban Press, a local publisher mainly of poetry collections, and should be available online soon. Although I’ve not had the chance to read the whole book yet, I particularly liked Cat Brown’s Undercurrent (a story of childhood loss), Chris Stewart’s Transporter Isometrics (drawing on the heritage of Teesside’s steel industry) and Caroline Harvey’s Teesside Princess (a defiant piece of local pride). (The ‘c’s are a total coincidence!)

My own entry – titled Kerrosin of Nevot – is slightly weirder, a science-fictiony, Jabberwocky type thing. I’ll probably put it up here at the blog at some point, and I’ll post an update when the collection’s available to buy online.

Looking back through the blog, I don’t think I’ve made any mention of my only other previously published fiction, in a collection named Home Tomorrow, so I’ll write a blog post about that soon as well.

Egotism

IWSG: A Writer’s Insecurities

This is an entry for the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, which cross-posts on each others’ blogs on the first Wednesday of each month.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge 2016I have a complicated relationship with the writing process. I love to write. I love the creative process of playing around with fictional characters and scenarios, drawing on both the real world and other stories to create something original. I love using descriptive prose that has a sense of beauty all of its own, regardless of the purpose it’s used for. I love writing clever, sharp dialogue that I’m not quick enough to think of in the moment, or that only work because I provided a setup that the real world wasn’t kind enough to give me. Moving into non-fiction, writing helps me to make sense of my complex, messy, seemingly contradictory thoughts, whether of a personal nature, or just thoughts on a book or film I sort of love and hate simultaneously. There is a lot about the writing process I absolutely love.

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