Monday, 23 January 2017

Catching up on Twitter...

The nasty winter bug finally caught up with me last week, and my brain went on go-slow until the antibiotics started to get control of the infection in my lungs.

In fact I don't think my characters got out of the imaginary beds/chairs that they'd got comfy in.

As I was quite tired after my couple of brief trips out (essential appointments) I really didn't have the energy to do much beyond a quick trip into the kitchen (next door to my office) to replenish the mug and browse.

So I used the time to catch up on reading blog posts, self-publishing related items, and giving a little more time to Twitter.

Usually I pop into Twitter a few times a week for ten to fifteen minutes a visit, and the regular #writingchat session on a Wednesday night for an hour between 8 and 9 pm- when I'm not at the writers' club. At the weekend I can take a little longer.

When I finish this blog post the link will be tweeted and I'll pin the tweet to the top of my Twitter page feed.

(If you don't know where to find it, just click the little down arrow symbol on the top right of your chosen tweet and choose the pin tweet option- or unpin to change it. It used to be found when you clicked the three dots symbol.)

Do you pin your
I only started to pin my tweets in December, after it was mentioned at the Leicester RNA Chapter meeting during the book blogger discussions. It gets over having to keep tweeting a link, and if someone looks at your profile and the tweets, my latest blog post link is the first tweet seen.

It can easily be retweeted from your profile too. And with a few clicks you can unpin one tweet and replace it with another- especially useful if you're promoting a book you've got on special offer...

Now the following isn't a rant, and I'm talking generally here.

I spent some time looking at what irritated me with tweets, so I don't do it myself.

Obviously writers need to reach readers all over the world. It's just when the book cover and buying link are posted not just once but four or more times in a row, one after another- no gap between them...

Maybe that works for some people, but it just makes me scroll by very quickly.

I have bought e-books after seeing them on Twitter, but that's been because of an intriguing cover image and/or tagline that makes me click the link to find out more, then once I'm there an interesting blurb that convinces me to buy. (Plus those books were a couple of tweets spaced apart by a few minutes.)

Now I am not a prude, but I do not want to be scrolling down my twitter feed and see a full-length book cover that probably wouldn't look out of place in porn- it doesn't happen often, but one from the other week has still not been scrubbed from my retinas!!!

Neither do I automatically follow back; which seems to be the only reason some follow, and then within 24 hours they've unfollowed you because you haven't followed them back. I suspect they work their way through the alphabet of twitter names...

Yes, I follow magazines and companies, but I have a different @name for those. No one wants their twitter feed full of cosmetics, clothes and home decor when you're a writer and time is valuable.

Tweetdeck is useful to schedule tweets and I've begun to use it more. It never worked well on my previous computer, so when I had to replace my desktop I decided to download it and try again, and I'm glad I did.

I've not used Twitter lists-yet- but will have to soon.

Hootsuite, I've heard of, but that's all. You can find out more about it on the Story Empire Blog.

Is there anything you like or dislike about Twitter? Any useful tips to pass on?

Monday, 16 January 2017

1920's Revival...

A useful reference
(image source:Amazon)

Yes, I was meant to be writing a short story, and getting on with my second draft, but my pocket novel idea suddenly started getting in the way.

You may remember my mentioning I was doing some research during the summer holiday months while family members (usually at University or College) were at home. When I can't write in depth due to distractions and noise, I research instead.

I had two beginnings, random scenes and a few characters, an odd idea and snippets of plot, but it wasn't getting anywhere. So I saved everything and got back to other projects.

Actually I think that Epistolary story acted as a trigger, as that too is set in the 1920's; so I was already thinking about that time period.

Over the last few days my word total has been creeping up as I add snippets to this story, and where appropriate fit in the random scenes I wrote in the summer.

I'm just about at the end of the ideas I have for the early chapters, and think it may just turn into a novella or long short story rather than a pocket novel.

I much prefer to concentrate on one project at a time, but other things do get in the way sometimes, and I know that unless I write it out it will block the other work.

While I can compartmentalise the different stories with their characters, setting and plot, some ideas continue to get in the way, refusing to wait.

I'm going to have to try splitting my time between a short project and a long project. I did try this last year, but just couldn't deal with it. But I'm going to try again...

As I still had a National Book Token gift-card from January last year,  I couldn't resist using it to buy the book- picture top-right- 1920's Fashion The Definitive Sourcebook.

It's a wonderful selection of images covering the 1920's. There are drawings, fashion plates, adverts and photographs covering the various categories, among them: Daywear, Outerwear and other less obvious items like shoes, wedding dresses, and swimming costumes.While many of the drawings are of Parisian origin, there is enough of a mix to satisfy every reader.

I even recognised the style of coats with fur collars, and the cloche hats worn by my paternal grandmother and aunt in some old black and white family photos, taken in the mid to late 1920's.

Anyway, back to work...

Sunday, 8 January 2017

A Very Slow Start...

Getting back to the normal everyday routine is not going well.

So this coming week I really must be tough with myself.

Over the years I've learnt to listen to my inner writer, it's that little voice that says you really should or shouldn't do something, whether it's writing or generally. When I ignore it I usually find later that it was the wrong thing to do.

Well that's what happened the other day, and it was quite a shock.

You may have previously seen me mention an epistolary story that I'd written for one of the quarterly prose competitions at the writers club, and that I intended to rewrite it for a Writing Magazine subscribers competition currently running.

Well I made a copy to work on from the version on my external drive, settled down to read through it and see where improvements and additions could be made to increase the overall length to be within the required word count.

At the time it was originally written I had a sneaky feeling it needed to be longer, but I had no idea in what way; so I was fairly confident that I'd be able to work on it now.

Having decided how I could extend the 900 word story without losing the best bits of the existing story, I considered how I could create a slightly more resolved ending.

That was when my inner voice screamed: STOP! Don't do it! It's NOT FINISHED! There's a bigger story behind this. You need to tell that story before you write the end!

And that is not an exaggeration...

After a few deep breaths and half a mug of coffee I felt calm enough to look at the text again, and I knew that inner voice was right. It won't work at the required length for the competition.

It's certainly not a full length work, nor a short novel. Perhaps it's a longer short story or a novella.

So it's being put aside to brew whilst I get on with other stories.

Will I be able to write epistolary story to fit the entry requirements? I don't know. But I do know the decision I made about this existing one was right.

Like the plants in the picture, some stories are neat and compact, and others keep growing where they want to...

Stories can be like
these plants...