Short story writing, don’t try this at home (5)

This is not meant to be a treatise on short story writing.  Far be it for me to advise anyone on the subject.  I prefer to say how it is that I do it so you can learn all of the pitfalls in one go.

Now, there’s this thing called continuity, but it covers a whole range of writing sins, most of which I eventually get caught out.  Films sometimes miss a few items, like back in the roman days, there are plane trails in the sky, in a 1920’s period piece, there’s a mobile phone sitting on a desk.

Like one minute the hero has a gun, and the next he’s fighting for his life with a knife, and, hey presto, there’s that gun again.  The error might not be that big but you can’t pull out a weapon you don’t have or wasn’t there in the first place.

Similarly, the hero pulls out a mobile phone, but there’s only one problem, it’s 1980, and there are no mobile phones.  Our problem might be that we are so used to doing and using certain things that we might forget, for a minute or two, that were not available in the past.

The same goes for the fashion of the day.

And my all-time favourite, getting the right make and model of car.

Oh, and just for good measure, back in the old days they used acoustic couplers to attach to phones via a serial port to dial-up not a server, but a BBS, Bulletin Board Service, at a rate of 300 baud, or a little while later, 1,200 baud.

There was no internet in general use.  If you wanted to call the office when out, use a telephone box.  Or carrier pigeon.

And the use of language, there’s a lot of stuff relevant today that was not used back then, and there was a lot of stuff back then that isn’t tolerated now.  Some of it might be hard to get your head around.  It isn’t for me, because I can remember the 1970s and 1980s, but I’m not too sure about allowing some of what happened then to creep into my work.

So, you get the picture.  Try to use the past as the past, or leave it in the past.

Unless it’s a book about time travel, then all bets are off.

There ain’t no mountain high enough

If only it was as easy to write one line of a song as it is to write a sentence, a paragraph, or a page of a book.  Of course, if you were to ask a songwriter the same question, he or she would probably twist it around, and not without reason.

The bottom line in all scenarios, whether writing a story, writing a song, or writing a letter, at times it feels like it is like climbing a mountain.

It’s why we have waste paper bins, and imaginary shooting practice sessions.  By the way, I don’t get very many scrunched paper balls in.

Curiously, we seem to categorize almost insurmountable problems in terms of climbing mountains.  Of course, I’ve yet to attempt to climb the north face of Mount Everest, but I suspect I’ll have to do a lot of practice to do so.

Maybe that’s what I need to do as a writer.  Practice, not climbing mountains.

Mountains have always been part of the metaphor for overcoming obstacles.  So, metaphorically, to overcome this ‘obstacle’, we can choose to climb over it, blow it up, or tunnel through it.

But the salient point is the same in all cases, obstacles, metaphorical or not, are not insurmountable, they just need time to find a solution.

So, in my case, there are two items to note when it comes to mountains, the first, I prefer to go through a tunnel, and the second, there’s not a mountain I’ve been up that hasn’t had a magnificent view.  Of course, getting to the top has been easy, I just hopped on the tram or the gondola.

After all, isn’t that what they’re there for?

Ok, flippancy aside, I have had to climb a few mountains of my own over the years, and, yes, it’s hard work, and, at times, I’ve wanted to give up.

But, not today.  Today is a good day.

And as the title says, ‘There ain’t no mountain high enough!’

 

 

Searching for locations: San Gimignano, Italy

We have visited this town on a hill, famous for its fourteen towers, twice.  The first time we stayed in a hotel overlooking the main piazza, and the second time, for a day visit, and return to a little restaurant tucked away off the main piazza for its home cooking.

No cars are allowed inside the town and parking is provided outside the town walls.  You can drive up to the hotel to deliver your baggage, but the car must return to the carpark overnight.

This is one of the fourteen towers

I didn’t attempt to climb to the tower, which you can do in some of them, just getting up the church steps was enough for me.  Inside the building was, if I remember correctly, a museum.

Looking up the piazza towards some battlements, and when you reach the top and turn left, there is a small restaurant on the right-hand side of the laneway that had the best wild boar pasta.

Another of the fourteen towers, and through the arch, down a lane to the gated fence that surrounds the town.  The fortifications are quite formidable and there are several places along the fence where you can stand and look down the hill at the oncoming enemy (if there was one).

Part of the main piazza which is quite large, and on the right, the wishing well where my wish for a cooler day was not granted.

Officially, the Piazza della Cisterna is the most beautiful square of the town, San Gimignano.  The well was built in 1273 and enlarged in 1346 by Podestà Guccio dei Malavolti.

And not to be outdone by any other the other old towns, there is an old church, one of several.  It is the Collegiate Church or the Duomo di San Gimignano, a monument of Romanesque architecture built around 1000 and enlarged over time.

Next door is the Museum of Sacred Art.

And I guess it’s rather odd to see television aerials on top of houses that are quite literally about a thousand years old.  I wonder what they did back then for entertainment?

“One Last Look”, nothing is what it seems

A single event can have enormous consequences.

A single event driven by fate, after Ben told his wife Charlotte he would be late home one night, he left early, and by chance discovers his wife having dinner in their favourite restaurant with another man.

A single event where it could be said Ben was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who was this man?  Why was she having dinner with him?

A simple truth to explain the single event was all Ben required.  Instead, Charlotte told him a lie.

A single event that forces Ben to question everything he thought he knew about his wife, and the people who are around her.

After a near-death experience and forced retirement into a world he is unfamiliar with, Ben finds himself once again drawn back into that life of lies, violence, and intrigue.

From London to a small village in Tuscany, little by little Ben discovers who the woman he married is, and the real reason why fate had brought them together.

http://amzn.to/2CqUBcz

onelastlookcoverfinal2

What’s that coming out of left field?

Why is it ideas come at the least expected and most inconvenient time?

I thought I’d trained my thoughts to assemble when I was having a shower.

Then there’s that quiet spot down in the lounge, by the window, away from everything.  But now it seems that will not work all that well because the telephone rings regularly with scammers, threatening to cut off my internet, my telephone, just about every wire that comes into the house.

Don’t you hate that?

I wasn’t considering a new idea for yet another book; I have so many on the go already.  But, the sad truth is, you have no control over it.

When I sit down, listening to Ravel, or some other classical music, I close my eyes and drift along to the music, waiting for the imagination to kick in.

Can’t force it, can you?

But, five minutes to three, after a frantic call announcing yet another storm in a teacup, I’m racing out the door, setting the alarm, locking the door, and …

… bing …

The idea is there, out of left field, in front of me.

Good thing my phone is now a recording device enabling me to speak and drive and solve all manner of crises on the go.

Try and beast that superman, batman, spiderman…

 

 

Trying to get off, or is that on, the merry-go-round

Self-published authors are fully aware that perhaps the easiest part of the writing journey is the actual writing.  Well, compared to the marketing aspect I believe it is.

I have read a lot of articles, suggestions and tips and tricks to market the book to the reading public.  It is, to say the least, a lot harder to market eBooks than perhaps their hard or paper-covered relatives.

This is despite the millions of eReaders out there.

Then there is that other fickle part of the publishing cycle, the need for reviews.

Proper reviews of course.

As we are learning, reviews can be bought, and in more ways than one.  What happened to finding writers of the same genre and offering to buy one copy and write a review in return for a buy one copy and write a review.

I’ve noticed that all the current best selling novelists do the same for their fellow novelists though I guess when you get to be a best-seller, you might not have to buy a copy, so I can only dream of attaining such lofty heights in the publishing world.

But until I reach such rarefied air, I guess I have to figure out how to appeal to my fellow writers, and, of course, hope that my work is good enough.

It might be a start in getting through that difficult cycle, more reviews means more sales, etc.  And getting those first sales and reviews  …

Therein lies the conundrum.  It is a question of paying for advertising or working it out for ourselves.  I guess if I were to get more sales, I could afford the advertising … yes, back on the merry-go-round!

And yet, the harder the road, the more I enjoy what I do.  It is exhilarating while writing, it is a joy to finish the first draft, it is an accomplishment when it is published, but when you sell that first book, well, there is no other feeling like it.

I am inspired.

Bow as for that advertisement and where to post it…

In a word: There

Tes, the dog is over there.  It’s a place somewhere other than where you are currently.

Or, you could say, there was a brave man, but he couldn’t help so there was no hope.  It doesn’t refer to a place.

Or I’m taking you to the border, but from there you’re on your own.

Confused yet?

Let’s try by adding a similar word, their

It means belonging to a group as in, it was their dog that caused the damage.

Of course, this can be twisted a little, and you could say, everyone has to bring their own pack, meaning at times it could refer to one, or many,

Then just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, there’s they’re.

This is a contraction for they are, so it’s they’re not going to fo as their told.

Wow, it starts getting complicated when you use two or more of those similar words in the same sentence.

Confusing?

That’s why it always pays to have a dictionary handy.

Just in case autocorrect fails, which it seems to quite often for me.  I’m not sure why.