Tag Archives: writing fiction

New week, yay!

Hope everyone had a great start to the new year. I managed to have the first piece of fiction accepted and completed another in time that has now been submitted. I am about to research for the third. So, so far so good.

I  have a client report to finish this afternoon and then I have one more edit scheduled, before the wedding… the next couple of weeks are going to be super busy! And then I have a week off after the big day!

So I will keep today’s post short and sweet and say happy writing and stay focussed! I am off for what I hope is the final wedding dress fitting this morning!

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Write Away

Here I am with apologies for the lack of posts last week; apart from a cough and cold and swollen glands that have haunted me for a month (everyone seems to have something, right?!) and a bit of foot injury from stepping funny (don’t ask) I have actually had some time off… well kind of as I have still had deadlines for edits and this morning am working on a story I have been commissioned to write! Not liking not being able to go to the gym, give me a kettlebell someone! How much does the cat weigh? Kidding! … no room to swing a cat?!

So here I am at my desk. Last week I looked at all my short stories and subbed 11 to competitions, some old ones and some that had yet to do the rounds. I feel as if I need work out there. I urge you all to do the same.

Next week for World Book Day I will be in a local school talking about stories and so I need to get my skates on and prepare for that. Year 7s get ready! And I have my workshop, poster below. Anyone in Essex who would like to come along then there is a PayPal button on my website or if you’re local then you can arrange to meet to pay for this. I did one like it before and it was really successful, but not one in Essex yet.I try to make it a little different from other workshops I have been to, so writers feel empowered with the tools they need to edit their work. But at the same time, I have been asked if new writers would gain from this and yes…. absolutely! I will be talking about editing, but also how to write a piece with voice, how to plot, what kinds of questions to ask. Writing time, discussion time, and eating time all allowed!

Link:  http://www.debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk/Pages/Events.aspx

So all I will say is have a fab day and an amazing week and back tomorrow…

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Filed under Uncategorized, Writing workshop Canvey Island

All that Buzz

It’s Monday and it’s a day full of hope and all the excitement a new shiny week will bring. So are you ready?

We have Canvey Writers tonight when we put into action our plan for 2017, and it looks exciting. Year 3 of the group and it’s time to jazz it up a bit.

I dreamed the other night that someone stood in front of me and said to me, “If you could write a mission statement to live your life by, what would it be?”

I pointed to the one I wrote for myself; the shorter version of it — the one that sits on my wall in my office: Changing people’s lives, one story at a time.

But then the stranger in the dreamer said, “That’s great, Debz. But what about one that reflects how you live in general. And I heard myself reciting the slogan of Havens Hospices, who I collected money for recently and realised that while I can’t steal theirs, I am going to borrow it because I don’t think there is anything better. And I will leave you with that message today:

Make every day count.

Do it…

excited

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Filed under Being a professional editor, being a successful writer, Being a writer, Believe, Believing, Uncategorized

Following principles not formulas …

I decided to choose a random thought or idea from one of the many writing books that grace my shelves and explore it. This is the first thing I read:  A rule says, “You must do it this way.” A principle says, “This works … and has through all remembered time.”

I like this. I like this a lot because it ties into some thoughts I’ve had about feedback and in keeping with what I was saying yesterday. I usually says it’s not so much about right and wrong (creativity doesn’t have the definitive answer in the same way as mathematics 2+2=) but more about weaker and stronger, less engaging and more engaging, okay and great. It’s about reducing the subjectivity that accounts for different tastes and looking and what works best for most people, the majority of the time. I guess in essence we’re saying effective and less effective rather than this way is right and that way is wrong.

The quotation goes on to say, “The difference is crucial. Your work needn’t be modelled after the ‘well-made’ rather it must be well made within the principles that shape our art.”

Whenever I talk to writers about a piece of prose, as I did last night in Fiction Clinic at my writing group, you will always find people question some point or other (as they should) sometimes really small points, but never the less valid as all comment is. You will always get people who say but I like it that way.  Perhaps there are those who have different interpretations of the ‘well-made’ (the above talks more specifically about writing plays but is equally applicable to writing fiction). Perhaps some do like a piece of writing that is to my mind weak, perhaps full of telling, too much exposition, no depth of character. It might be  based on expectation, personal taste, some innate factor that shapes this, when most can see the weakness of clunky prose, let’s say. However, and this is where I think things like Fiction Clinic and good critique come to life, if you show how you could rework a scene, rewrite a story, restructure a chapter, using what is known to be more effective story-telling you have yourself a live demonstration of principle. Let’s return to the opening quote (from Robert McKee’s Story by the way) to re-emphasise the opening here: A rule says, “You must do it this way.” A principle says, “This works … and has through all remembered time.”  

This is consistent with the point I made yesterday about knowing about showing and telling or clunky phrasing, but not being able to see it in your own work. I like to think that one of the things I can bring to a critique, as a fellow writer, is a perspective about a different way to do something; have you thought about trying this …  I never say YOU MUST DO IT THIS WAY. No. I am saying try this, applying a principle that works, bringing together different narrative devices the author may not have thought about, to find a more effective way. Often they find a way between my suggestion, their original version and we have something all together ‘better’ or should I say ‘more effective’, ‘more engaging’, ‘sharper’ etc. That is always my hope. It’s great being creative together.

I would suggest those I referred to who originally said, “But I like it that way” about an information dump that’s all telling, let’s say, might just be less discerning and have less access to knowing what the work could be? But showing how it might have been done ‘better’ might just bring about a change of heart. Or maybe not? I don’t gamble, but I’d take a punt on the former being the case.

It brings me to something else I was thinking about yesterday as I prepared to hold the session; we are only as good as what we know.  When we have the courage to send our work out there for feedback, be it a new writer’s first draft of a first novel (and no one has ever looked at their work) or a published writer with a string of qualifications and validations who has clearly polished a piece, we reach the same point.  We are all equal at this point. It’s the point where we are happy enough, with the knowledge we have at that moment, and can not see how to make it better than it is. And that’s when another pair of ‘educated eyes’ is invaluable. For the new writer there may be much to learn but the curve is steep and improvement can be rapid. Or for the polished writer, perhaps they seek validation and the editor merely tweaks it that step closer to the perfection we all seek.

But by the way, I might suggest that perfection is in the eye of the beholder. It might even be a myth!

And to end this ramble, I will add the final quote from Robert McKee … oddly I have created this whole post out of the first six lines of the Introduction. Imagine if I did the whole book!

So here it is …

Anxious inexperienced writers OBEY the rules. Rebellious, unschooled writers BREAK the rules. Artists master the form. STORY is about eternal, universal forms, not formulas.

Have a great day 🙂

Great book by the way … for any writer CLICK here to find out more LINK

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