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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

I have been reading about matters relating to my paid employment this week – working on projects as I do, there’s a lot of research because my focus can change pretty regularly.  I even dug out an old project management techniques book to do a little revision 🙂

Yep, this week has been more text books and guidance notes than lost hours travelling through new worlds.

I don’t mind though; I appreciate it’s not the kind of thing I will share here but I do love learning, and having to focus on the core of a topic is definitely filling that need in me.

So for the week, at least, I am going to proudly concentrate on text books and developing my understanding of new areas.

Spoiler alert: I will enjoy myself throughout!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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I have just started a new book, which I chose because I thought it would give me a standard to aim for in my writing.  The blurb calls the writer ‘strikingly elegant’ (I assume in her prose not her person!) and the subject matter is domestic reality, which is really where all my stories are centred.

These made it seem like a good read for learning and improving my own work.

However, I am a little concerned by the start.  It is not to my taste, I kept losing focus and having to re-read lines, and after only a short space of time I am left with limited memory of the section except it being vaguely irritating.  I will carry on but I wasn’t really engaged.

Saying that, I do remember noticing some interesting descriptions and an unusual choice of words here and there which I did appreciate. Maybe it will all make more sense when I get a bit further…

It’s not a huge book so I hope to finish by next week – if I haven’t, I have probably given up!

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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If you imagined that being sung by Dory, you are not alone 🙂

I am still reading Gillespie and I, although I have to be honest and say I gave it up for a few days.  I found it a little stodgy early on, and there was something else I didn’t quite connect with which I will try to decipher for next week!

But I am a reader, and a reader doesn’t give up that easily, so I picked it up and started again, and I am getting quite into the story.  This is why I don’t like giving up too early, even if I have learnt that some books are just not right for me!

I am now on page 151 of 605 so I better get a move on if I am going to report back on this one next week.  If I don’t, as long as I am reading, enjoying and learning something for my writing self, it’s all good.

Happy reading,

EJ

🙂

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Every day, I set aside some time to write and do any coursework needed. It’s time set aside from paid work, housework, social life, hobbies etc and it is down to me how – and how well – I use the time.

This week has been more about reading than writing, with most of my literary time spent in Americanah, or textbooks, or newspapers.

After Thursday’s post I practiced what I preached and bought a newspaper to dig through over the next few days.  It is big and has many supplements so it’ll take me a bit of time to dissect the stories and articles, balance them and see what, if anything, inspires me.

I already have a few ideas and I am eager to see if they fly…

Although there are no new words on paper, to write I must give myself time to read, so this week was like research, or an extension of my learning.

It’s been a good exercise in identifying how the right word was chosen, understanding the subtle manipulations of thought that writers have to achieve, identifying what grabs my attention as a reader.

In many respects, it has been an opportunity to review my recent learning on style, language and context.

Over the next week I will be getting into my next writing course, playing with the newspaper articles to see what they create, and finishing Americanah so I have a chance to reflect on difference in writing.

For now, I am going to curl up with a good book and a pile of newspaper in the hope that I can share my experiences with you next week!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I am studying more slowly than planned but so far it’s been a worthwhile exercise to get back to thinking more analytically about writing.

The biggest benefit, however, comes when I get back to putting a story on paper.  Specifically, how less really is more!

I have some great tips and techniques for revising my work, from thinking through each scene to see if it does what it should – and includes the elements that give it purpose – to identifying how to tighten up the language and what type of words to consider cutting first.

All I need now is to take my ideas book, and see what ideas I want to pursue, if any!

One thing I will try in my next writing outing is revising as I go, a technique that works for many people but has never really appealed to me.  However it seems sensible to try it and see if it helps because my whole ethos on the next story is about planning, organising and controlling – I don’t want to write another 50k words before I realise my story is fundamentally flawed!

Now I have a better, more practical understanding of the revision process, I need to make it part of my writing practice.  That will take some time but we all know writing is at least partially habit so I don’t see why editing should be any different!

Until next time – happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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I have found my writing mind wandering rather a lot over the last few days, seeking out the perfect words to start a story.

It comes, of course, from studying the importance of language and the need to find the right word.

I don’t have a story, as such: what I want is an opening line.  A selection of sounds that creates a rhythm, a selection of ideas which form a substance.  A selection that say exactly what I want them to say.

But I am torn, because I know this urge to just write has to be contained in some way: I jump into writing with no plan too often and struggle to build a back story to support my beginning.

So I am going to try a new writing exercise, an experiment in control.  I am going to work at writing a great sentence, honing it and moulding it until it is exactly what I want – and then I will put it aside and start on another one.  And then another, and another and so on. But I will not use them; instead they will sit, ready and waiting, for my planning and shaping to be done.

It feels odd and slightly ridiculous to want to find a perfect sentence and risk never using it, but that isn’t the point of the exercise.

No, the point is that all sentences deserve that level of attention – and still they might never make it into a story.  Meanwhile I will get into the habit of working harder at seeking out the exact word I need, and checking for the sound of my work, in all aspects of my writing.

I am really excited to see what I can produce!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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This week, I started writing the new book, ‘The Ridge House’. I have an opening page or so – not masses, but neatly tied in with the planning work I have done. I haven’t made a final decision on the writing software, but all the notes and character profiling I’ve done is just as good (for my purposes) right now.

If you were to look on my computer, or in my notebooks, you would see sections on characters (including background and personality traits; I based my notes on the Epiguide.com character chart with a few tweaks); on the house; on the health issues covered in the story; on the plot and structure and key plot point and milestones within the story.  I’ve also got all archived notes, segments of writing I might want to use, ideas that are repeated throughout, and more.

I really feel that there is a proper path in this story from start to finish – and from chapter to chapter.  I also feel there’s enough in it for a good 80,000 word story so there’s no risk of having to fill in gaps; this was identified and resolved when I was working through the plot on retreat and I found a logical way to resolve it that was in keeping with the storyline.

Seeing how in-depth the planning and organising is for this book, compared to what I did for the Woods one, I know how that went so wrong.  I still love the characters and still see the merits of the tale but it’s clear that in its current format I don’t have the tools I need to bring it back in line with the intention.  There is no path marked, so you can’t see where it started heading down the wrong one!

Once I’ve drafted up the first version of The Ridge House I’m going back to basics on the other – archiving the whole of the writing as a resource if needed but starting once again with the plot planning.

I said when I started this blog that I would share lessons I learnt along the way and I think that’s one of the biggest really – a great idea can’t become a great book just based on hope.  It’s a bit like building a house – you must have solid foundations or it can’t stand on its own.

Anyway, over the next week I hope to get most of the first chapter of  The Ridge House done and then we get to the spookier parts – which I’m really looking forward to writing 🙂

In other news – we’re on book 33 of the 100 novels list: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser.  I have a copy of this so hope to read it soon, mainly because I read that it should be devoured quickly and I’m falling behind on my reading targets!

And finally – I’d like to say hi to all my new (and continuing) followers; it’s so exciting to see that little plus sign pop up, and I really appreciate the support I get from people who e-mail, follow, comment or just pop into the blog to have a look around.  Over time this blog has really changed and I hope you enjoy what I post – if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see just let me know, I’m always up for a challenge!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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