The Great Time-Keeping Calamity

While it may seem that I have disappeared off of the face of the Earth (I hear good things about Mars…), I assure you it is quite the opposite.  Unlike the aforementioned Red Planet, life on Earth is filled with many complexities and complications – all seemingly relentless in their unending quest to monopolize my time.

Does this entry have anything to do with the book I’m writing? No.

Will anyone actually read this post? Possibly.

Life is filled with distractions and hurdles, distractions like Doom or The Last of US are fun (that’s the problem) and addictive ways to spend one’s time, and a convenient way to slow the progress and development of my book even further.  Hurdles like not having a charging cable for my laptop – for I detest writing on my desktop PC, make the convenience and joy of writing on a laptop all the more frustrating when I am forced to do so in the clutches of a machine that is a veritable cache of distractions and time-consuming activities.

I haven’t made a blog entry on any of my sites for quite some time now, but have found the new WordPress dashboard/interface quite pleasant and free of distractions, so I guess that’s a win.

Unfortunately, the largest hurdle I’ve encountered this year was my father’s death on the 1st May, and the ensuing avalanche of time-consuming, circular legal crap that I am left to deal with hasn’t made it any easier either.  Having lost my mother in 2014, loss of a loved one is a feeling I’ve become oddly accustomed to as the strange, surreal haze of such a profound loss takes up residence in the recesses of my mind, forever threatening to overcome the large walls I’ve put up in an effort to remain functional.  Sounds dramatic, but it’s about the best way that I can articulate it.

I’ve been watching a number of documentaries on J.K. Rowling, which has provided considerable inspiration for me to wrap this book up and get it to publishers as soon as possible.  Though make no mistake, I am under no illusion that my book will be anywhere close to the brilliance of her work…I just wish to be an author because writing makes me happy.

At any rate, I will hopefully be making more frequent updates on this blog and the various others I have, unfortunately my day job does demand a considerable amount of my time although I do have a few observational pieces bouncing around my brain, as well as a short story that I’d like to get out soon so it’s all a matter of time-management I suppose.

 

Name Consolidation

Some of you may or may not have noticed, I am in the process of consolidating the various other blogs that I have in order to have them all under the bradwrites moniker and I believe this undertaking will be quite beneficial in aiding the growth of my online presence.

So as it stands, you can check out my other blogs under my Blogroll, illbethejudgeofthat being the oldest and most successful one I have (currently standing on 309,561 hits).

Techamber is a technology blog (last updated on 2015-07-05) and comicinformer is pretty self-explanatory although I haven’t posted there in a long, long time (since 2012, eep…) – a definite revamp is in order.

Bradwrites is the Twitter handle I use and for some reason it really stuck with me.  I am slowly adopting it for all my online dealings and have therefore amended various other accounts such as my askubuntu profile and so forth.

I am busy with a few other creative projects in between my online shenanigans (design related) – a book cover design and graphic novel (more info soon) being at the forefront but rest-assured, any updates will be posted here so watch this space.

Pay per Page…?

So Amazon has put a new system into place that changes the way they remunerate authors who self-publish.

This restructuring has of course sent waves through the writing community but Amazon seem to think this new system was at the behest of writers themselves – they now pay self-published authors based upon how many pages of their book is read.

Basically, if a person reads half of your book Amazon will only pay you half the profits.  Sounds fair to you? Yup, me neither.

As one person so eloquently put it – “Writers produce a product. They are not responsible for how much of it the consumer utilizes.”

The problem is escalation, where does it stop? If I go to a cinema to watch a film and I decide I don’t like it a quarter of the way through should I only pay for a quarter of the ticket costs? No, of course not, that would be insane as whether or not an individual likes something comes down to personal preference.  Presumably, were I to go watch a film, it’s a film I chose to see as it is relevant to my interests.

The same goes for books, an author takes the time to write a book catering to a specific audience, he cannot be liable for every reader who doesn’t enjoy or finish the book.

This system applies to authors who self-publish their book through the Kindle Direct Publishing Selecte programme.  Presumably, Kindle devices will be able to monitor the reader’s progress in some shape or form, but what would happen if I just flip through every page until the end? How would Amazon curb botched stats?

So now Amazon will keep track of what and how we read, seems invasive monitoring and data-mining are the status quo now.

Reading should be an escape, not a prison.

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This One Summer

4526457671I came across This One Summer purely by happenstance whilst browsing Pinterest (be cautious of the mobile app’s addictive nature, you will spend many an hour stuck in its clutches).  Not to be misunderstood, by no stretch of the imagination is this a review – it would be more accurate to say observational piece.

Going into This One Summer, I had no idea what to expect but with every page turned for whatever reason, I was expecting some sort of supernatural element or oddity to reveal itself but this was not so.  To me, this story – focusing on the dynamics of family and friendship taking place during a traditional family getaway, made me expectant of something more magical.  The irony of course being a distinct lack of any magical premise or supernatural entity that actually assisted in making the story magical in a purely figurative manner.

This One Summer is a pure slice-of-life story, wonderfully executed and illustrated by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.  From time-to-time I will come across a story like this (as you may have guessed I have an affinity for science-fiction/fantasy) and generally find it quite enjoyable.  Strangely enough, I find the slice-of-life genre to be quite appealing but perhaps that’s due to a familiar subject matter that a reader would draw comparisons and relate to.

So I suppose the observational aspect of this entry would be that from a reader’s perspective, I found myself enjoying a particular story even though I was expecting something completely different, and to me that displays incredible skill for a writer – the ability to make one’s storytelling enjoyable even to a reader who has no interest in the subject matter or was expectant of something else entirely.

In conclusion, I’d say the next time you’re about to overlook a book or graphic novel because you feel it’s not to your tastes, attempt to push past that compulsion and give it a try, you may end up being pleasantly surprised.

Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written.

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Don’t get it right. Get it written. – James Thurber (Pictured above).

The above quote is perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice any writer should adhere to, it’s telling you to write down your ideas regardless of whether or not it’s perfect.  Just get it down on paper or screen so that you have a framework to work with.

Your idea can be perfect but your initial implementation of that idea doesn’t have to be.  In fact, can you imagine just how long it would take an author to put out a book if he attempted to make every written page perfect each time before moving onto the next?  That’s what editing is for, so remember that.

So that’s just what I’ve done.  I whipped out my first draft for my first novel in a matter of months after a single, solitary idea popped into my head one night and lo and behold I fashioned an entire book around one key idea.  Oftentimes I couldn’t get the ideas out faster enough to the point where I had a backlog of chapters in my head, this backlog served as the perfect goalpost as the story I had to tell poured out of me like a broken sieve.  I had plenty ideas in my brain and every time one popped up I had to work out how my story would reach that point, and after enough instances of that I was sitting with a full-length book ready to be edited and fine-tuned.

Believe me when I say that having a completed draft to work with makes the experience all the more enjoyable.  Do the characters and names have to stay the same? Do their motivations and agendas need to be fixed? Of course not and I guarantee you as you progress through your novel with each revision you will go back to change things or omit something in order to make your story all the more greater.

I’ve been editing my work for almost three years now and even though a lot has changed the one thing that never did was the book’s core.  So tear a page out of Thurber’s book (completely metaphorical of course – he was a great American author), and just get it written!

Site Banner

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve added a banner to the front page (something I whipped up quickly this morning).  The banner will be an evolving fixture so in the meantime just think of it as a placeholder for something better.

If for some or other reason you actually like the banner – let me know, it may stick around longer, it may not.  I have a steam-punk theme in mind (as the genre reflects my book’s subject matter).  As always I am open to suggestions.