Taking The Leap From…

‘Desktop computer to laptop isn’t, and will never be, a big deal, lots of people have done it and benefitted from the added mobility, not being chained to a single location. Now what about the leap for laptop to tablet, putting all your computer needs to something commonly referred to as a “device” and not a computer, yet they can do a lot of the things that most people use a “computer” for so why not make that change?


I used a laptop computer for surfing the internet, social media, writing, and of course porn. All of these things can be done with a tablet. Though with regards to writing I’d suggest getting an external Bluetooth keyboard, because typing on the virtual kind is less productive, sure it’s fine “on the go” or in a pinch, but for writing a novel it can get tiresome.

Once the tablet is set up the way you want it, it makes life easier, for one you don’t need to turn it off, you just put it to sleep, this also means that you don’t need to start it up or boot it up, you simply, wake it up. With a 6 digit passcode and of course finger print recognition it’s secure.

Right now I’m lying back on my sofa typing this out, it’s not hot and it’s not heavy.

I love this thing.

I really really love this thing… why doesn’t everyone just get rid of your computers, desktops or laptops and just go tablet!?

Internet browsing is easy now that these things can give you the desktop versions of website. Social media “apps”, which were designed for smartphones anyway, work great on tablets because tablets are just massive smartphones. Porn is great because, you know, safe and secure tablet with finger print lock… and writing.

I’ve been saving my writings in 3 different formats; .rtf (rich text format), .pages (Mac word processor), and .scriv (Scrivener).

Now the rtf and pages documents are readable on my tablet via the Pages app, as are my spreadsheets via the Numbers app, and the Scrivener files via the Scrivener app (£15)… however.

Most of my Scrivener files were saved on an older version of the desktop application and so couldn’t be opened in the new(‘ish) app. But it was an easy fix, just open the older files In Scrivener and re-save them… My 5 years old MacBook Pro didn’t like this and so it took 16 times longer to do than it should have, I then just uploaded them to my Dropbox account, something I had to create for the single purpose of transferring my Scrivener files to my tablet. Open the Scrivener app and sync with Dropbox and voila, I can now edit all my Scrivener projects from my iPad Pro (12.9).

I just need that fucking Bluetooth keyboard now.
The fact there is no boot up time is fantastic. You pick it up, touch it, and there you are.

Typing on a glass keyboard

So I’m looking to replace my laptop with this


This not only means updating my blog here (when I get around to doing so) but writing in general.

I have Pages to write with and Scrivener (once I figure out how to get my shot onto this iPad) but it’s the glass “virtual” keyboard that is slowing me down. I’m so used to a regular keyboard, maybe I’ll get used to this for updating this blog, but typing out a 100k word novel look this is gonna hurt.

Yes, I can buy an external (regular) keyboard for this thing (iPad Pro) but they are either expensive or don’t seem to last very long, as in the buttons fall off or stop working. I’ll muddle through.

The Elements of Style.

I bought this book by William Strunk jr. and E.B. White many years ago, but being someone who failed his English exam quite miserably not a lot ofimg_0592 it made much sense.

So here I am giving it another go and after the first chapter: ‘Elementary Rules of Usage‘, I seem to be gasping why I failed English 20 odd years ago.

Okay I might be underestimating my understanding of punctuation. But not by much… And this is probably not the best book to be reading when you’re a third of the way through editing your book.

I’ve already wanted to go back and start over. But no. I mustn’t, I must get to the end of my first edit and then I can go back and correct sentence structure, grammar and punctuation.

I mean look at it this way, editors cost a fucking fortune so you might as well learn to do it yourself, right?

Okay, probably not such a great idea. But when you get quoted $850 to edit 60k words, and you’re currently unemployed, hiring an editor seems a little out of reach.

I have to go now, I need to read chapter 2: Elementary Principles of Composition.

That Scary Moment When.

You upload your work to the internet for critique. It’s the first time you’ve let someone read your work, and I mean the only person whose eyes have seen this is you, and up load it to the interwebz.

For all to see.

And read and comment and tell you just how fucking bad you are at this writing thing.

But that isn’t what happened and I have proof [HERE], go read the comments.

This week i’ve not been in the best writing mood, I blogged about it a few days ago. I’m better now. But I was in one of those low points where I figured I was just bad at this. Of course this all happened after I said I’d upload my first chapter (that link above). So this morning before uploading I was pretty sure I’d get nothing but bad comments, people telling me I should be a writer. That I was a disgrace to writers. This didn’t happen.

What did happen was I now feel a lot better about my writing. My style. My ability to take criticism. And you guys.

Thank you *smily face

Some of the criticisms can be transposed to the rest of the book which is something I need to look into. But all in all a good day.

Chapter One.

Below is the first chapter of my novel ‘Where There Are No Eyes’.
Please read and critique. “I like it” or “I don’t like it” are pointless remarks. Why do you like it, why don’t you like it?
Is the character of Shelley Winters fully formed in your mind?
What is your overall feeling of the chapters mood and or emotion?
Do you care about Shelley?

This is only a second draft running at 7 pages and 1696 words and please excuse spelling and grammatical errors. This WordPress theme doesn’t allow paragraph indents.

Where There Are No Eyes follows Detective Chief Inspector Robert Carter as he tries to solve a series of horrific murders while dealing with his own personal problems, a promise he shouldn’t have made, and bureaucratic nonsense.’

Enjoy.

Edit: 14:06 22/07/16

Edit: 20:29 23/07/16


Nine Days Ago


The streets of London are in shadow as the sun dances on the horizon to the West, casting an orange light, turning the clouds shades of pink and orange, giving them the appearance of candy floss. But this sky isn’t so sweet.

Shelley Winters, young, blond, beautiful in a conventional way has picked up her pace as she has no intention of being caught in the rain, but her shoes are not for running, frankly they are not for working either, but it is Friday night, and London is as predictable as the clouds above.

People leave work as early as they can, heading to the bars, pubs, or events depending on their tastes, and London can cater to all sorts of proclivities. Shelley is heading to a local bar across the street and like her shoes her clothes are not run friendly either. The tight skirt restricts her movements.

As the sun kisses the horizon there is a flash of lightning, and for a second the clouds vanish, the darkening streets light up, and the path to the underworld is revealed. Then comes the rain.

Shelley enters the bar just as the rain comes down in sheets as think as lead. She stops by the door, and the sky out side turns a monochrome of filth. She didn’t bring an umbrella today, wether report said it wasn’t going rain until Saturday, so here she is, a mid-September Friday, no umbrella or coat, just a suit, blouse, and high heels, all made to look sexy, pulled tight at the waist to show off her figure, maybe to impress a guy, all gone because of the rain.

Though she is wearing five inch high heels she needs to raise herself up on her tip toes to scan over the crowd but her small size makes this difficult, even though she is standing on a step. A subtle haze floats about everyone’s head. It’s not smoke or steam, just a pub haze, could be dust. The noise is just below deafening, and it’s impossible to make out any one conversation.

She checks the message on her phone again then looks to the far right corner of the room, a hair style she recognises, the red bob cut shining like polished copper lit up by a wall light. She moves down the step and disappears beneath the bodies with only the direction of the bar to guide her movements. Pushing past patrons who are taking up all available space.

Though the bar has separated seating and standing areas, people in the city will stand where they please on a Friday afternoon. Shelley moved past them to a cat call, “Whoa, whoa, whoa luv, where you going so fast?”

She was close enough to smell the stale beer on his breath with an undertone of cigarette and coffee but they were not enough to cover the reek of aftershave he clearly applied liberally, just before heading out of the office.

Shelley doesn’t respond, she knows the guy and is used to his alpha male bullshit, he’s the kind of guy who wears tight trousers to accentuate his arse and crouch, then there is the fake Rolex. These so called alphas have been drinking and think this mixed with their boyish good looks is enough to get the girl no matter how stupid the pick up line.

Shelley reaches the bar, it’s bright back lighting a contrast to the dark outside and the haze inside, it hurts her eyes for a second, the barmen asks her what she’s having she shakes her head and moves away to the other end of the bar. She’s seen the people she knows. A brief path has just opened up for her, she hurriedly moves through it before the next wave of consumers crash the bar like a stale wave on rock.

She reaches her friends who greet her the way women do, a cuddle and a kiss on the cheek, Shelley shows them the message on her phone and apologises for having to leave. One of her best friends from college is in town and wants to see her tonight. Red bob touches her arm in an understanding way.

Shelley leaves the way she came, her small frame weaving past the bodies crowding the bar and again passes the alphas by the door. One reaches out and grabs her arm, “Where you going so fast?” he says.

It’s the guy Shelley knows. She shakes her arm loose and shoots him a look. Outside, the city lights up, and a second later a clap of thunder loud enough to rattle the windows, for a second the bar goes quiet and you can hear a few bars of ‘White Shadows’ by Coldplay, then there is a unified cheer to the god of thunder. Shelley is out the door before the cheer ends to the sound of the three men laughing. These are what Shelley, and many others call, Wankers.

Shelley waits by the door for the rain to let up enough to get a taxi. The candy sky has been washed away, replaced with dark. The rain seems to slow, so holding her handbag over her head, Shelley runs to the curb to flag down a taxi. She throws out her hand and the car stops. She opens the door and practically dives in, hitting the floor hard, the driver asks if she’s okay. She gets up, sits down on the back seat and nods, then gives the driver the name of a club in Soho. Her hair is ruined.

Fifteen minutes later, Shelley has fixed her makeup and has done what she could with her hair to the soundtrack of ‘I’ll tell you what’s wrong with London’ and the constant rattle of the vehicle. She steps out into the rain, pays the driver, and thanks him for the ride, then quickly moves to the vague shelter of the nearest building. The driver touches his flat cap and drives on before stopping to pick up another fare.

The streets are filled with people moving in all directions, and traffic is blocking the streets, which is why Shelley jumped out of the taxi early. People moving In and out of shops and services. Laughing, joking, crying, running to escape the rain which is getting heavier. The streets are dark enough to make every light seem brighter than it is.

Soho is a very different place to the rest of London, the way it sounds with the record shops pumping out the latest indie releases, the way it smells, there is a feeling of togetherness here, like everyone in Soho is there for the same reason, a good time. It is also an area of London filled with small tight streets, with buildings which seem to be leaning over you, and alley ways allowing services to keep trash off the streets for the most part.

Shelley knows her way around and takes a short cut through an alley way, it’ll also provide a little protection from the downpour, but as she makes her turn she almost walks into the back of a parked van, taking up all but a little space on the left hand side. She thinks nothing of it and moves around the van. She usually counts on the street lights to provide some elimination, but the van has it’s lights on, and the small court yard beyond is lit up.

Shelley’s phone buzzes. It’s a text message — ‘Got Ur drink w8ing in back.

Shelley stopped by the van’s cab to check the message and noticed the van is empty. She moves on, it’s lights making the rain visible in the dark, its engine running, and steam rising up from the bonnet. She steps into the wash of its headlights, and for a moment her shadow is 30 feet high. The rain running down the walls like insects.

The small court yard area beyond is empty, it smells of London’s underbelly, piss, shit, and vomit, none of which will ever get washed away no matter heavy the rain gets. It could rain bleach and those smells will remain, they are apart of London, they have permeated the stone of the buildings and the very foundations of the city, even the very air here is stale, like the last breath of a dying man.

The lights turn off, and Shelley is now standing in the dark. She turns but the van is alone. She knows this place and tries to walk it from memory. She enters the open court yard, back doors to cafe’s, restaurants, and the flats above them, but no lights are on, and the height of the building stops the street lights on the other side of Shelley’s short cut from reaching her, only the top of the building is lit.

The wet surface catches what little light there is, making it easier to figure out where to step and where to avoid. She can make out subtle features on the walls, the drain pipes, where the brick work is uneven, doors, window frames, the drain in the middle of this tight pungent square seems to be the only outlet for the rain, its constant wash louder than the streets beyond. In this space it sounds like a waterfall.

Another flash, but this one doesn’t light up the alley way, and there isn’t a roll of thunder coming. Shelley loses focus and drops to her knees on the wet cobblestone ground, a sharp pain shoots up her thigh from the impact, she falls to the side, turning and landing on her back. She lies there for a second, wondering what just happened, the clouds a contrast in grey slowly moving over head, and why the rain now feels warm as it runs down the back of her head.

She can see movement to her right, she tries to look but finds if difficult to move anything other than her eyes, but there is definitely someone standing over her, his shape against the clouds. Her eyes lose their focus again and a grey wash moves in to take her sight completely, like a cloud.


Chapters two and three to follow soon.

Can’t Get My Head In Gear.

Woke up today wanting to get some writing/editing done as usual. Went through my morning routine, got the computer fired up and i’ve sat here for nearly 2 hours and edited exactly nothing.

It doesn’t feel like a blockage but rather a lack of motivations, though the thoughts of ‘I can’t do this‘ did pop in there for a second, it was then I decided to write this blog.

I’m hope writing this will kick start what ever is going on in my head. Also i’ve notice while writing this my fingers don’t seem to be as acutely aware of the keyboard as they did yesterday. I’m missing letters, having to delete words because I typed the wrong one and hitting the wrong key altogether. Basically i’m a typing nightmare.

I was trying to edit a simple enough scene. All it needed was some location description. I had nothing, I couldn’t see the place in my head as I usually do.

Even now i’m having trouble writing this post. Can’t really…

Fuck it. I’m taking a break.

To Be Continued.

“Shit!” Said Pointless.


Before this post goes on I just want to say this week I’ll be posting the first chapter of my novel, ‘Where There Are No Eyes’ for critique. Be harsh or i’ll never learn. Thank you.


And damn right you should be saying shit mutha fucka (to be said in the voice of Samuel L Jackson). Today (July 18th) I edited chapter 7 of ‘Where There Are No Eyes‘ (formally Shadow of Doubt) which had a character whose purpose seemed a little pointless. He just seemed to be filling a hole and checking a minority box.

Bad character, BAD!

Or is it bad writer!?

Anyway, I cut the guy. Sorry dude, but you’re outta here. I’ve said before you should think of writing as a job, not a hobby (if you want to make a living doing this) which means you’re self-employed doing this job on your own. The last thing you need is hangers on. Streamline the shit out of it and get rid of crap you don’t need.

When you write a novel you’re either an under writer or an over writer.

Under Writer;

Someone who doesn’t write enough material and ends up having to expand on your first draft.

Over Writer;

Someone who writes a first draft with EVERYTHING! And ends up cutting away the fat.

Either way during your edits you’re going to be streamlining your novel. Removing crap words and sentences you don’t need, maybe whole chapters. You’re trying to make the book a good read by removing crap you don’t need.

Look, you ain’t J R R Tolkien and you haven’t written a Tom Bombadil character. I had a character, and reading him for the first time after writing him, realised he exists to check a minority box, which isn’t a good enough reason to keep a pointless character. What’s worse is when I removed everything he did and said in chapter 7 (his introduction) I only had to give one line of dialogue to someone else, the rest I just deleted and the chapter didn’t seem to notice. Basically the definition of a pointless character. This is the kind of stuff you won’t be notice in your outline. But watch out for it in your edits.

If you think you can do without someone or something, read the chapter without it, if it still works remove it. Then wonder why you put it there in the first place. And give it serious though as to whether you need it.

Editing: Redundant Information.

While editing chapter 3 last week I realised a lot of information in this chapter is mirrored in chapter 7. This basically means the information in chapter 7 is redundant and not really needed, except I need it there. I also need it in chapter 3.

Dilema.

I wanted to pay two hobo’s with strongbow to slug it out for ownership of the information, Hobo 1 representing chapter 3 and Hobo 2 representing chapter 7.

But I didn’t do that. Something about there not being a permit for Hobo cage fighting. Stupid laws.

As in [some post last week] blog I said editing is where you use critical thinking to solve problems. This is a problem as I don’t want to repeat myself or have the reader go through this information twice in 4 chapters.

So what to do?In chapter 7 the information is necessary but in a more detailed way as it is presented by a doctor. So in chapter 3 I can keep it basic and even remove some of it only keeping enough to keep the reader invested which tightens up the chapter, making it an easier read.

Strangely I did all this without really thinking about it. Reducing the information in chapter 3 seemed like the right thing to do. It shortened the chapter and removed a ton of dull dialogue, two things are awesome in edits.

Try to to repeat information over and over. If you feel read might have forgotten something, be subtle, there is not need to repeat everything, have faith your reader will remember because even if they don’t off the bat, a small reminder will bring it all back, “Oh yeah!


Before you bugger off I just want to say this week I’ll be posting the first chapter of my novel, ‘Where There Are No Eyes’ for critique. Be harsh or i’ll never learn. Thank you.

Writers BLOCK!

DUN DUN DUUUN!

I have to admit, I don’t like the phrase “Writers Block“.

I should to point out at this point, some writers don’t get “writers block“. These I suspect are people who have been writing for a long time and didn’t just decide one day while working in their Orwellian cubical, where if you even think, ‘I hate my job‘ the thought police will drag you away to room 101. And if you return you’ll not only be a studious worker but you’ll be on the fast track to management. Good for you.

So, if you don’t get the blockage you can leave because the rest of us hate you!

If you’re a normal person then read on.

The reason could be you are losing interest in your work. In this case you should probably stop, sit back and think hard about what you are writing. Should you continue to write something you have no interest in writing and start something new?

Maybe the story isn’t exciting enough, which frankly is your own fault because your the one writing it (been there). In which case stop writing the chapter and start one which is more exciting, this way you can still get shit done. But remember a book isn’t just action action action. Sometimes you need to write a story, with characters and stuff.

Maybe your outline isn’t detailed enough and your writing as taken on a life of its own and dragged you someplace you didn’t count on. Instead of freaking out sit back and think it through. Expand your outline. Think about where you are in the chapter and what you want to achieve by the end. Now get to work.

Anne Lamott said in her book Bird by Bird, writers block isn’t so much a blockage of creativity so much as you’re running on empty. Try to think of it as a gas tank which is running on fumes. You just need a refill. And the best way to refill your tank is to experience.

Read a book. Watch a movie. Binge watch Mr. Robot on Amazon Prime. Go out for a walk, and take the dog with you. I’ve found the latter works, because while out on walks I tend to think about writing and it doesn’t take to long, 30 or 40 minutes then i’m back at ‘me’ laptop working away.

There is no cure all for “writers block“, what works for some won’t work for others. Figure out your solution and use it. But try not to stop writing for to long. Even if you have to stop working on your current project, start or at least think about something new.

Personally I can’t force it, it’s not like taking a shit where if I push harder it’ll come out quicker, no. (sorry)

Something I’ve realised while writing this post: I can’t remember the last time this happened to me. Maybe I’m no longer “normal?” It could be the more you write the better your brain gets at sorting out creative problems like this. Extra neurons are created and connections are made, they work specifically during the creative process of writing. It could be now-a-days I put a lot of time and effort into pre-planning, outlining, character profiling and such. Or it could be both or neither.

Whether you believe writers block is real or an excuse Identify the problem (Most “blockages” are because of poor planning) and work out a way to deal with it.

One final note. Your “blockage” could be purely psychological. If you have no support structure. If their are no people encouraging you along the way or if you only get disparaging comments from family, friends and online, than your “blockage” could be a conflict in your subconscious mind “I can do this – No You Can’t!” Retrain your mind, either don’t talk to those people about writing or remove them from your life, which ever is easier. Over the next 6 months your mind, with regards to writing, should slowly “reset“, those conflicting thoughts should stop. Until then do the work, plan out your projects in detail and power through.

Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do this. YOU CAN!

%d bloggers like this: