Category Archives: Writing

Rewriting and Rewriting and Rewriting and…


I thought Bacchus and Sanderson (Deceased) was complete, finished, dealt with, ready to go. It had been edited, typo’s removed (hopefully), grammar checked and now pretty good. So good to send to agents and see if there is any interest or whether I am going to be Indie man. I’m happy either way to be honest and the fact that I have commissioned a cover design perhaps adds credence to the inevitability of following the independent publishing route.

I had found three agents who handle the type of book I have written. Checked there submission criteria, the main one seems to be, spell their names correctly…So I decided a quick reread through the first three chapters to double check for typo’s would be a good idea. Oh shit, I can’t send this out it’s awful, really awful. After the nausea had subsided and I’d stopped hyperventilating, I accepted a little light polishing would be useful and began the buffing. Two day’s and five attempts to improve the first three chapters later, it was better, much better. Tighter, more tension, atmospheric. Excellent.

I began working on the synopsis and covering letter. I’ll come back to those in my next post. Synopsis and letter complete, I’ll read through everything I’m sending and then email it to the agents I’d chosen. Oh shit. Not quite as shocking, but had I thought this was good? This process was in danger of repeating itself for weeks, possibly months.

I’m think I’m suffering from a common writing ailment, obsessive rewriting syndrome. The symptoms are, an inability to see if a piece is good or really does need more work and a reluctance to let go. The reluctance to let go is the hardest to deal with, as will be the inevitable rejection, humiliation, penury, followed by self loathing and…okay, wait a moment. Now I have identified the disease the cure would be self apparent. Never ever send anything to anyone, no that was the alter ego speaking.

If you believe it’s as good as it can be, send it, post it, publish it, get it out there. With feedback comes insight. You never know someone may like it.

Have a look at my Facebook page, Worried of Woolcombe and if you’re in the mood, give me a like. I’m happy to reciprocate.

Is plotting okay?


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I ask this question because of Stephen King. Let me explain. I have been listening to his book – On Writing – which is amazing and he is vehemently anti-plotting and advocates a free thinking, stream of consciousness approach.

I have and would continue to struggle with that. I like the structure that is offered by a planned plot line. I know where I am, I can see how the plot will advance and how my main characters are interacting with each other. I know I have covered all of my bases and not let a  character or sub plot slide off to one side and disappear, unconnected to it’s encouraging introduction. Is this wrong?

Should I feel intellectually inadequate because I prefer to have what some view as an a cheat sheet to see me to the end of my novel?

I have thought about this a lot and come to the obvious conclusion. Of course not. In my view plotting a novel doesn’t suppress spontaneity, it helps you focus on the nuts and bolts leaving your sub-concious the time to work on the twists and turns. An outline is a roadmap or perhaps even a shopping list. It allows you to see the routes from beginning to end and not lose sight of subplots and minor characters.

Will I continue to write in this way? Yes. Should I join the free thinking seat of my pants writing? May be one day when I have the confidence and trust in my ability to venture away from what I know and am familiar with.

Beyond fitbit and Fast Diet


From Wikipedia. Photograph by George Stepanek
From Wikipedia. Photograph by George Stepanek

This post is by way of an update on my experiment with The Fast Diet and a fitbit  exercise tracker.

Fitbit first. I love it. The determination to get all of the lights lit up isn’t quite as obsessive as it was, but I still value it as a way of showing myself that I haven’t just sat and eaten. According to the fitbit I must have moved as well as eaten…

The Fast Diet isn’t such a success story. I struggled to organise myself sufficiently to do fast days. By that I mean, I would happily come down in the morning, eat breakfast and then realise that I was supposed to be fasting. So fasting would be postponed until the next day. The following day we would repeat the eating breakfast mistake, this time because it wasn’t my usual fast day and the cycle would be repeated. I actually went weeks threatening to have a fast day, but being too disorganise and dim to actually achieve it.

So we thought we would juice. We bought the juicer, the Reboot with Joe Cross Juice Diet book, three hundred pounds of assorted vegetables and went for it. When I say went for it, that isn’t entirely accurate. Actually it’s a complete fib.

The first morning we juiced for breakfast after having ginger slices and lemon in hot water instead of our usual cups of tea. Not too bad, this might be okay. Lunch was a green juice involving kale. Not so good. The sulphurous, cruciferous vegetables were a mainstay of the majority of the main meal shakes and were more than I could  deal with. If this was the only way  forward I was doomed. We have now sold the juicer.

Redemption came in the form of the gym at Sherborne Sports Centre. I have never been an enthusiastic exerciser, or even a reluctant exerciser to be honest. Then I had my epiphany and the eat less, move more, mantra became mine. This gym is excellent. The staff are knowledgable and helpful, the equipment is in superb condition and the other facilities are what one would expect from a sports centre adjoining a top public school.

I have begun to get a figure that I can be proud of. Lumps and bumps where they should be. A better posture which is pulling the sagging bits into line. The biggest pay off from this investment in me is confidence. Now I’m starting to believe I can do whatever I want to do. I just have to prove myself right.

The Dorset Kitchen


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I’ve not had any time to write over the previous two weeks as the boss is opening a new business. We have been running an outside catering business for the last five years and a change was required. Not a complete revocation of the outside catering, more an adjunct to it.

The Dorset Kitchen is a cookery school with a twist. The school is principally aimed at children 8 years and over to show them how to cook outstanding food using local ingredients. The school opens on 14 July 2014 and will run daily over the course of the children’s summer holiday’s. After that, dependant upon the response over the summer, the boss will be running weekend cookery clubs for children and begin offering a small number of back to basics adult classes.

My role in this venture is website designer, Facebook and Twitter content developer and chief washer upper. As the first advertisements begin to appear the pressure to get the website live and kicking gets increasingly intense. The boss’s expectations vis a vis web design have completely outstripped my ability. What we end up with will be a combination of luck, flair and fortitude in adversity.  Or, pulling out of day dream land, whatever I can cobble together by tomorrow afternoon.

Writing


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We have recently changed the way we run our business which has given me some spare time to write.

I am a writer. I’ve never said that before. I’ve thought it, called myself a part time scribbler, but never acknowledge that is what I am. Back to the spare time. My wife has supported my scribbling for years. She encourages me and gives me as much time to indulge myself as our business allowed.

Now i’m a writer. It’s my job. I sit down in front of my computer and I tell stories. Everything has been going well. Word counts have risen, i have completed the first two drafts of my first full length novel and i’m a quarter of the way through the next one. Well done me. But…

Procrastination. Treating the writing as a job rather than a hobby means the application of the bottom to the seat for a certain number of hours a day and writing. This has taken a lot of getting used to. I honestly believed that as soon as I had the time to follow my dream I would write until my fingers bled. Not quite.

I still have certain responsibilities for our catering business. We still have a family with all that entails. I am the part time chauffeur for children’s activities, delivery driver for our catering business and anything else that needs doing.

A book that is a huge eye opener on procrastination is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I’ll be reviewing it in my new weekly book review section, beginning next week. As one of the most influential books I’ve read it’ll be the first review.