Tag Archives: writing

How to get the writing started again…-ish

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My writing has been on vacation for a while now. At first I thought this was just my novel writing, but as some of you may have noticed since I posted When the Writing Stops, I’ve stopped my reviews as well.

It isn’t as if I don’t have plenty to post either; I have a massive list of films I’ve seen recently. Most of them were the Oscar contenders, but I just haven’t got around to talking about them yet. I have pretty much just been procrastinating from my writing by playing video games instead.

However, the writing has started up again. Sort of. Technically what I’m doing is editing an existing book, in the hope that if I tidy it up a bit, I might be able to get my head around what I want to do in its sequel.

And it does seem to be working, and it is because of that great bit of advice when you are stuck with your writing.

Try Writing Something Else!

Admittedly I’m already doing this; the books I am working on at the minute I’m doing because I can’t get a book I’ve been working on for nearly a decade to work. It is so frustrating that it has happened again.

I think I mentioned the Importance of Erna, in When the Writing Stops. Honestly, it is an appalling idea; utter rubbish. It was so bad that my brain suddenly spewed out the solution to my writing problems rather than be forced to continue working on drivel.

So here is my advice, take one of your bad ideas and try and write it. Hopefully what will happen next is that that the better idea you were already working on before will work itself out in the meanwhile.

 

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When the Writing Stops

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Every now and then my writing just stops.

Whenever I have talked about it before on this blog it has always been in the past tense. Normally, I’ve had a breakthrough and the ability to create a story has come back.

Right now I am smack bang in the middle of not being able to write a word of my novel.

It is the most frustrating feeling in the world; I’m sure there must be a word in some language out there to describe this sort of frustration.

I have the desire to write, but too much doubt to let me because I keep having false starts. I’m more stressed and tense than normal because writing relaxes me. And worst of all I have too much on my mind because my story is in here, but it isn’t coming out coherently.

Essentially imagine you are stuck at the the front of the queue at the grocery store and the people behind you are shouting at you to get on with it, but you can’t because the self-serve machine keeps telling you there is an unexpected item in the bagging area when everything in there is expected or there’s nothing there; the screen keeps freezing and you have to start again; and then you put the wrong PIN number in.

Wait I am describing a scene from Sherlock? Probably.

Well not being able to write feels like that; except the voices I can hear shouting are my characters wondering when I’m going to get on with it already. I want nothing more than to just shout and storm off, except writing is such a massive part of who I am it would be like trying to walk away from sleeping, eating and drinking.

ARGH!!!!

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Hopefully I will get to have my breakthrough soon because I’m referencing Catullus now; clearly I’m having problems with originality at the minute.

Which probably explains why I’ve been contemplating writing a book called ‘The Importance of Erna’.

(Go ahead roll your eyes, I did when my frustrated brain came up with that title)

Film Review: The Post

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There was quite a bit of hype surrounding this film; the times we live in and the need we have for making our governments accountable; the times we live in when women have stopped tolerating being seen as unequal; the performances by the actors, especially Meryl Streep, are being nominated for awards. The hype of it being a Steven Spielberg film with a John Williams soundtrack. There is nothing small about the expectations people have of this film.

And it delivers.

The other film which has a lot of hype at the moment is ‘Darkest Hour‘. I heavily criticised it for being a film depicting historical events and not having any tension, which just made it boring to watch. ‘The Post’ is a similar premise; it is a film that depicts historical events, except what Spielberg did was make an entertaining film, as well as a film about real-life people and the remarkable things they did.

I have no idea how historically accurate ‘The Post’ is, as while I am familiar with the events in the film, I’ve never studied post-WW2 American History in any sort of depth. However, like I said in my review of ‘Darkest Hour’, some creative license does need to be wielded when making historical films. If if isn’t accurate, and that annoys you, then please remember that the events in the film are just as relevant today and because it is an entertaining film, making people aware of it and be inspired by it is just as important as accuracy.

And it is vastly better than ‘Darkest Hour’. The plot moved forward, and each scene made you want to see the next one until you reached the conclusion. The main characters were fleshed out enough to suit the purpose of the film, and not a single speaking role was superfluous. The cinematography was understated but it suited the film, and personally I loved seeing how pages of a newspaper were constructed using moveable type. It showed just how laborious putting a newspaper together really was before digital technology made it easier.

The thing I loved the most about the film though is when Sarah Paulson’s character, Tony Bradlee, is talking about Katherine Graham making the decision to publish. I can’t find the exact quote, but it is something along the lines of ‘if people keep telling you that you have no value, then you do eventually start to believe them.’ It was one woman defending another woman at a time when women were deemed unsuitable to have and wield power. Hopefully it will surface on the internet in full at some point, but it was by far my favourite scene.

I highly recommend this film. You don’t need to know anything about the history of the events to understand the importance of the messages within it; governments need to be accountable and women have the right to be equal.

New Year’s Resolutions – Book Tag 2018

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It wouldn’t be the New Year if I didn’t do the New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag. I adore preparing this tag, and reflecting on what I have read and what I want to read. Here’s what I loved in 2018

Get in shape – name a book that doesn’t quite fit on your shelf correctly

The White Book by Han Kang – I just don’t know where to put it. It isn’t that the shape is awkward, I just don’t know how to categorize it.

Eat healthy – name a book you feel was good for you to read

Cheer-Up Love by Susan Calman, because it reminded me that I am not alone in having depression and somehow she made talking about the topic funny.

Forces of Nature by Prof Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen as it reminded me that despite the impression I was left with at school, I can and do understand science.

Read more – name a book you keep telling yourself to read but haven’t yet

So in 2016 and 2017 I have said 1984 by George Orwell. I still haven’t read it; however I have bought a new copy as my husband’s copy is delicate and wouldn’t survive my handbag, so this year might be the year. Maybe.

Quit smoking – name a book you kept going back to even though you had finished it

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I finally found poetry that makes me cry and I adore it. The Sun and her Flowers, her second collection, is also amazing.

Save more money – name a book you got for a really good price

Tom Hank’s Uncommon Type – I was going to wait for it to come out in paperback, but I managed to get the hardback at a reasonable price from a supermarket.

Be more organized – how do you organize your bookshelf?

Not very well; it’s something I need to work on.

Be punctual – shortest time and longest time it took you to read a book

Call me by your name by Andre Aciman lasted about four hours. They were exquisite hours.

I’ve been dipping in and out of  The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany-Watt Smith for a few months now, and I’m only half-way through the alphabet.

Also I’m still reading Vermeer’s Hat in sporadic intervals. That’s a one that has been on the go for over a year now.

Go out more – what book isolated you from reality?

I have a couple of contenders for this one. Call me by your name, in conjunction with the film and soundtrack has devoured me.

However, I think the winner might be Love from Boy – I remember reading this outside in the hot spring sun, and it was as if I was in Dar es Salaam.

Be unique – what was your favourite book of 2017?

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a rough year, and one of many low points for me was the backlash fans had against the new series of Sherlock. I wrote about this in ‘My Many Selves as a Geeky Fan.’

Therefore I think that discovering Mark Gatiss as a novelist has been a highlight and something positive for me to reflect upon in relation to one of my favourite writers and actors. I adored Lucifer Box; so this year it isn’t a single book, but three: The Vesuvius Club, The Devil in Amber and Black Butterfly.

Be more personal – what book are you most looking forward to this year?

The novelisation of the new Star Wars film, and once it gets released in paperback, Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami. I have Norwegian Wood waiting in the wings to keep me going in the meanwhile.

Really, resolutions – which book do you promise to read during the year?

Less a specific book, and more I have a lot of non-fiction books that I’ve acquired over the year and need to read.

I also really need to read some more Kazuo Ishiguro, and I have to go back to Benedict Jacka at some point.

Essay: My Many Selves as a Geeky Fan

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I’ve been thinking a great deal in recent months about what it means to be a fan; bear with me, I think a lot, I write it all down, and I’m not averse to an unhappy ending. This essay is the story of who I have been all my life; I am a geek. I’m not just a geek, but that aspect of who I am has evolved over the years and is a large part of my life.

For the first time ever though I’ve evolved because of other fans and I’ve been hurt by that change. For you to understand my heartbreak you need to know the context that came before.

The Early Years

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I can remember being an obsessive person from a very young age. As a geek, it started with the Ewok cartoons, before I even knew about the Star Wars films. I was also into ‘Back to the Future’, something I have since identified as being one of my first real obsessions a one, unlike the Ewok cartoons, I am still captivated by.

I’ve always been relatively secure in my interests; if I had periods of trying to conform to ‘normal’ because of peer pressure then they were short lived. I know they did happen, and generally speaking they stopped because I was bored.

I was the kid that got called a geek, a nerd and a swot. When I was younger that hurt. Then, when I was about twelve and I turned around to someone shouting it at me with a simple reply; ‘And?”. They were confused; ‘So what if I’m a swot?”. It didn’t stop them from shouting it at me for a while, until they realised it didn’t bother me. They started shouting other things instead, but that’s different. I was sure of myself and my interests, and it stopped hurting.

This was before the internet and social media were all the rage; I spent my teen years having hushed conversations with friends about whether Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager was the best Star Trek Series (for which the answer is Deep Space Nine), or whether the Klingons, The Dominion or the Borg were the best villains (despite previous answer, The Borg, hands down). That was about as much interaction as I had with other people about geeky things; I talked with like-minded folks, who also had things like ‘swot’ shouted at them down the corridors.

And I never considered myself lonely; I had friends for other reasons. Being a geeky fan was an entirely different part of my life. It had more to do with my parents than with my peers.

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The first time I saw the Star Wars films was when they re-released the films in the cinema in 1997, branded as the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy. Like the generation when Star Wars was first released, I got to see it for the very first time in the cinema.

My parents introduced me to Star Trek. I can even remember being excited about the last few series of Deep Space Nine and Voyager broadcasting for the first time. It’s the same with Stargate SG-1, which I think we watched because of me and my love for the fact they combined science fiction with Ancient Egyptian mythology.

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And then there is J.R.R. Tolkien. I was never taken with ‘The Hobbit’, which I read as a child, so Tolkien was a bit of a mystery to me overall. All I knew was that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was one of the few books my dad would read again and again. I can remember seeing the trailer for The Fellowship of the Ring, and being intrigued by the fact my dad was excited by it. And then I saw the film for the first time. Wham! In the space of 178 minutes, I became a fully-fledged fantasy fan as well as a sci-fi geek.

It was my first evolution; it changed everything. I still didn’t like ‘The Hobbit’, but I devoured ‘The Lord of the Rings’, its appendices, and swiftly moved onto ‘The Silmarillion’ and ‘The Unfinished Tales’. It made me take interest in Harry Potter. I discovered Trudi Canavan. The Chronicles of Narnia, which I had already loved as a kid, became even more important. As a writer now I write about magic, and it is all because of Tolkien and Peter Jackson.

It was also the beginning of my passion for special features; how it was made, how they did it, how the actors felt being part of the production. I read the movie guides and re-read the books again and again. It wasn’t just with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ I did this. It spread to other passions. I practically memorised the Star Trek Encyclopaedia by Michael and Denise Okuda as well.

Being a geek was something I did with trusted friends, my parents and in the privacy of my room where I could devour my interest, safe in the knowledge that no-one could stop me from enjoying myself. I didn’t know what it meant to be an introvert at the time, but knowing that now, explains a great deal about why I was a private geek. This continued on for many years.

Discovering Fan Fiction

Up until I was about sixteen the internet had nothing to do with my life as a geek. The geekiest thing I did on the computer was read the Encarta Encyclopaedia. Despite the internet becoming more popular, it was something the cool kids did.

Given they called me names in person and my books didn’t, I didn’t really gravitate towards using emails, MSN messenger or MySpace, because books were better. The first email I sent was when I started university in September 2006. I didn’t join Facebook until 2007 because my boyfriend (now my husband) persuaded me, and also set me up a personal email account at the same time.

Before then I hadn’t shown much interest; I can even remember the first time I accessed a website. It was at school, and one of the German teachers looked at me as if I was completely thick when she told us we needed to access a website and I said didn’t know how; conversation went like this.

“Miss it doesn’t seem to be working.”

“Type in the correct web address.”

“Yeah Miss, I’ve done that, but it isn’t coming up.” So I closed it down and started it up again because she thought it must have been the connection. She watched me type in the address again. I waited. “See Miss it isn’t working.” Then the look came.

“You need to press enter,” she said in an incredibly condescending tone.

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” I said. I pressed enter; it worked.

“How did you not know that?”

“Never used the internet before Miss,” I answered. The look again; I got it from quite a few classmates as well.

Admittedly, I must have been about fifteen, this was 2003 and the internet wasn’t exactly in the flush of youth anymore. I think using the internet was expected to be a basic skill. Needless to say I try and watch my tone when people admit they can’t do basic things; if you’ve never been shown then, HOW are you supposed to know?

And now I had been shown, I still wasn’t interested.

It’s rather miraculous really that I ever discovered online Fan Fiction. I’m not even entirely sure why I found it. I think it was because I’d been writing Harry Potter fan fiction (from the Marauder Era, but my protagonist was a character I created, and J.K. Rowling’s characters were just there for me to practice with). When I discovered other people did this too, it never occurred to me to join them and publish my writing online.

I was taught that sharing online was a dangerous thing to do because there were nasty people on the internet. There still are and I’m still careful, and I think the re-definition of ‘troll’ is one of the best examples of how language can be re-purposed.

It was also because I had no desire to share my stories online. If I was going to be a writer, then I wanted my work to be in a book and printed on actual paper with ink. I still want that now. I dread to think what people would have thought of my writing, because reading it back it is terrible. But it was practice. I did however have a very short phase of reading other people’s fan fiction with great interest, but I was only ever interested in Harry Potter. I knew Lord of the Rings stuff existed, but I had no interest in it.

It was I guess my first introduction to what we now call shipping. As a fan of the Harry Potter books I always thought Harry and Hermione would end up together. I still think that, but I’ve always been of the opinion that J.K. Rowling as the writer had the right to do what she wanted with her story, and I accepted that. In Fan Fiction though I was drawn to Hermione and Severus Snape ending up together.

It is weird thinking about it now, but all I can assume attracted me to it was the fact that I related a great deal to Hermione as a teenager, in the same way I did to Matilda when I was even younger. They were both girls that loved books and were rather clever, and they were accepted as such; I say the shouting of ‘swot’ down the corridor stopped hurting. It would however have been nicer to not have to hear it at all.

And Snape was for me the perfect complex character. I didn’t quite know what he was really thinking or who he was really working for; he was a mystery and I loved him as an anti-hero. At this point Alan Rickman had also been cast, and I have a soft spot for him, because I loved him as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

I cried, several times, when I learnt he had died; I do that very rarely for celebrities, Natasha Richardson having been the previous instance. All I can assume is that I liked the combination of Hermione and Snape, because as a hormonal teen, it was a weird way of having a crush on an actor.  This phase lasted probably about three weeks as a deep obsession, before I got bored and it petered away, and I went back to how I had been before; private.

There is however a reason why I have mentioned it; it was my first foray into the idea that people explore stories outside of canon. I’ll come back to that.

The University Years

I consider being a student at University as my formative years. Because in university, I met more geeks, and being into geeky stuff at university isn’t uncool. I didn’t have to talk in a hushed voice about my opinions. People in university are a lot more grown up than school kids.

I also theorise that alcohol, partying, and the freedom to do whatever you wanted outside of parental constraints but within the law, changed most people that thought being a geek was a bad thing by teaching them a lesson. The lesson being that people are allowed to be whoever they want to be. All the geeks, nerds and swots actually had a head-start on the cool kids with that freedom, because we had been free being ourselves for a lot longer.

I went out in Newcastle on my first night as a student; I was out until 3am with a girl I didn’t know but who I had to now share a bathroom with. I was also utterly naïve to partying, and I hated every minute of it. I stayed sober, and somehow managed to get myself to my 9am introductory lecture in the morning. I was bleary eyed, but I paid attention enough to discover I could be a student representative, and thus started my interest in politics, but that’s another story.

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That night, rather than go out again I stayed in reading a new book I’d treated myself to with my student loan ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger. It is the only time I have read the book, because the context I read it in is too important for me to consider going back to it just yet (this is how I still feel ten years later). I lost myself in its pages, rather than go out to ‘have fun’ just because I could. I already knew who I was as a person, and it was the sort of person who curls up with a good book rather than light up the ‘Toon’.

I did meet people at university though, including the man that is now my husband. I did it my way though, via social interaction that didn’t involve being hungover the next day. I was bruised, but that happens in Karate. I made friends on my history course, and through my hobby, and discovered commons interests with them. With my partner, we shared our interests by binge watching box sets, and talking about geeky stuff we loved as we got to know each other.

I was no longer a private geek; I had my partner and I had friends at university that were a lot more open to accepting me as being a geek. I was also becoming a great deal more certain about the fact that I want to be a writer. This lead me to the internet.

Social Media

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I have this blog, and it is the foundation stone for my platform as a writer. It links to Facebook and to Twitter. It linked to Google+ and being a good little social networker, I set myself up on Pinterest and Tumblr too; I was connected.

Google+ was the first to fall away due to it being mysterious. Pinterest never really worked for me and my blog. Tumblr just became somewhere else where I copied my WordPress posts to without much readership. It is only really on Facebook and Twitter that I’ve maintained my author platform.

Pinterest and Tumblr though become something else to me; they became the places I went to follow my geeky interests. I find crossovers amusing; there are some really great examples of fan art out there, and while I don’t participate myself I have been stunned by the creativity and dedication some people put into their passion.

I evolved again; I was no longer a private geek, I was a social media geek. I laughed alongside everyone else at the joke about the ‘basic’ girl being a bit frightened by fandoms.

I began to identify as being part of fandoms. I connected with other like-minded people. It became something that I would share with my partner; I’d even share content on Facebook with my non-geek friends as a demonstration of who I am as a person. I would laugh at, like, re-blog, pin, and tweet about things geeky that I loved. While my platform was still there for writing, it also became the online extension of the geeky part of my personality.

I was no longer a private geek, and when on this very blog I started to write reviews, I deliberately developed sections dedicated to certain fandoms. I doubt that I am alone in having done this, and I would very much correlate this rise in geeks creating content for the internet with the rise in franchises. Because why not? Fan content is free marketing. Why create something new, when what you can do instead is simply add to an existing franchise with a fandom that will go on to passionately share their fan-art and memes. Many will even go on to write fan-fiction.

This is who I became. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t admired everything that I’ve seen over the years with wide-eyed naivety. There are things that don’t amuse me, there are fandoms that I’m not a part of, and I don’t always agree with everything shared on the internet.

I am also just not that into shipping; the foray into Harry Potter fan fiction was brief. I also very briefly developed in interest in Reylo because of one sketch by a fan. I read one fan fiction dedicated to Kylux. Then people started shipping Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, and alarm bells went off in my head. I stopped paying attention to shipping and went back a step to crossovers, memes and great art work.

To be honest, I ashamed that I didn’t see what happened next coming from a mile off.

‘The Final Problem’

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Needless to say I no longer laugh at the joke about the ‘basic’ girl being a bit frightened by fandoms. Whether she was ever real or not, the joke was real and that girl saw something I didn’t. She saw the obsession of some fans and was frightened by how intensely protective they are their interest.

I’m not frightened; I am really disappointed.

As you can see from my essay, I have evolved as a fan over the years. I was the little girl pouring over books, and watching the television with my parents. I dipped my toe here or there into the internet, before becoming a confident half of a partnership not scared to be geeky together. And then I became the social media geek.

Over the years, what I have liked has changed. I mentioned ‘Matilda’ before; I was a massive Roald Dahl fan. That faded for years until I recently read ‘Love from Boy’.

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I am still a massive fan of ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Silmarillion’, and I also like ‘The Hobbit’ films, despite the fact I dislike the book.

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I have had a love/hate relationship with the MCU for years; I hate Tony Stark, but ‘The Winter Soldier’ made me fall into love with the rest of the MCU. Now though I’m a bit ‘meh’ about it because I’ve got bored.

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I’ve also figured out why I’ve struggled to connect to Doctor Who in recent years because of the cancellation of Doctor Who Confidential which satisfied my love of knowing how it was made.

And there are many more; I am a Browncoat; I find joy in Benedict Jacka’s Alex Verus books. There are standalone books like ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ that have wormed their way into my heart. I’ve never blogged about Harry Potter, but Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them re-sparked inspiration for my own writing.

I blog reviews and I talk about my passions a lot. However, except from having the odd discussion on WordPress with other bloggers, all of which have been pleasant even if we haven’t always agreed, I was only ever really an observer of internet fandoms.

I’m really struggling to be that anymore. Every time I go on Tumblr now I leave it feeling low. I’ve pretty much stopped because instead of cheering me up and being a place of refuge it has become a place where I only find hatred. If it was not for the fact I go on Tumblr to also read about Feminism, LBGTQIA and INTJ, I might have already followed through with my deleting my account entirely.  I’ve retreated on Pinterest; I haven’t deleted my ‘Geek!’ board but it is now a private place just for me and my husband.

I want to be a private geek again; someone who talks with like-minded people in person. The appeal of being part of a fandom died a sudden death and it utterly broke my heart. There have been actual tears because I loved going on the internet and seeing that I was not alone as a geek. I even tweeted this not long ago before I’d come to fully realise and process all of my recent feelings.

Like I said I wasn’t lonely as a geeky child, but there were fewer of us. Before the internet I hadn’t really been able to discover the true richness of being able to share your passions with other people. I was able to become that person over time and through the development of technology that put other people in the palm of my hand wherever I was, provided I had enough battery and a decent 4G signal. Pulling back from what I had become hurts.

It hurts all the more, because it isn’t what I love that’s changed and changed me like it had been before. Other fans crossing the line has forced this transformation.

I have been disappointed over the years by things I love. I don’t like ‘The Half-Blood Prince’ all that much, either the book or the film. I don’t hate J.K. Rowling because of it though. I was deeply disappointed by ‘Civil War’; I don’t hate the creators of the MCU though. I don’t dislike Tolkien just because I’ve never liked ‘The Hobbit’. I might never forgive the BBC for cancelling Doctor Who Confidential, or Fox for cancelling Firefly; I don’t hate the people who made that decision though.

And I might not have been thrilled with ‘The Final Problem’ the last episode in the fourth series of Sherlock, but I mostly certainly don’t hate Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss because of it. I certainly don’t send threating tweets or blog on Tumblr about how the creators are now not allowed to identify themselves as being who they are because people disliked what they didn’t do in Sherlock. I don’t lash out angrily at other fans because they are fans of Sherlock in a different way, and didn’t have the same hate-fuelled reaction to the episode. I don’t believe my opinion is the only one that matters and anyone else is wrong, which therefore justifies bullying.

I have never hated a writer because they did something I disliked. I’ve been disappointed, and fine yes the first time I watched ‘The Final Problem’ I was a bit bored. I wasn’t the second time though and while it will never be one of my favourite episodes it is still better than most television I’ve ever watched. In fact I would credit Stephen Moffat and Mark Gatiss with sparking off a bit of a television revolution. I doubt clever shows that don’t dumb it down for their audience such as ‘The Man in the High Castle’ or ‘Westworld’ would exist if the foundation of modern clever television that started with Sherlock hadn’t been laid.

I will never agree with the reasons people are justifying those actions ; the creators are human beings and that in itself is enough for me to be respectful. I reserve hatred for rare examples of human beings who are actively making the very real lives of human beings miserable. I’d never hate someone because of something fictional.

The fact people are acting like this has actually made me ashamed of being a geek, something I have never felt in my life.

I shed tears when I first saw Gandalf fall in Moria; I still cry when Dumbledore dies; I struggle to watch John Watson talking to Sherlock’s grave; and the ending to The Moon is a Harsh Mistress chokes me up just thinking about it. I’ve been moved to tears many times over the years because of the books, films and televisions shows that I have let into my heart.

I never thought I’d ever cry because another fan had hurt me, but I have, and those tears have been the most painful, because they came from the very last sort of people I ever thought; the sort of people who like me probably got called a ‘swot’ or a ‘geek’ or a ‘nerd’ when it was meant as an insult rather than as a way of identifying ourselves.

Moving forward…

I detest the word fandom now; I’m seriously contemplating editing my entire blog to remove the word. If it does disappear then you know I did.

I’m in two minds about keeping my Tumblr account, and I doubt my ‘Geek!’ board will ever re-emerge as a public board on Pinterest. I’ve stopped reading the comment threads on twitter, especially on anything Mark Gatiss tweets. I’ve followed him for years, for various reasons and loved reading the commentary because many of his fans are witty and respectful. Now, I always find one that isn’t.

I don’t want to be associated with that backlash. I don’t want to be thought of as a member of any fandom, because for me the word has come to be associated with being part of the ownership of what has been created. Rather than the writer being the owner, the audience is instead, which is a very postmodernism viewpoint and I dislike postmodernism for many reasons.

Fan Fiction in the days when I developed an interest in Snape/Hermione was a bit of fun. I should have known when people started shipping Daisy and Adam, rather than Rey and Kylo that the lines between reality and fiction, canon and fan fiction have become blurred. For some people I don’t even think they exist at all.

And I think it is going to take me a long time to come to terms with the disappointment I felt when fans of Sherlock lashed out in hatred.

For now I’m just pottering along; I’m still going to blog, because I’m not going to silence my voice because I’ve been disappointed by what others have said with theirs. I’m using twitter to tweet some geeky stuff, because I’m not going to deny part of myself because other fans have made me feel ashamed.

But the most recent evolution of myself as a geek has shaken me to the very core and I’m not going to get over that easily. I also don’t see this evolution of myself as a geek being able to move forward with the sort of positive progress I have made over the years; I can’t ever go backwards, but I don’t see forwards as being an option either.

I’m stuck as a geek who can no longer entirely trust other geeks to have my back even if we have a different opinion. We didn’t all hush our voices because we were ashamed of being who we are, some of us just weren’t as confident about being a geek as others. We whispered to save those that were a bit embarrassed from being overheard by our bullies.

I never thought the geeks would become like the bullies. Maybe I am just a bit more wide-eyed and naïve than I had thought.

Book (Re)Writing – From Rewriting to Writing

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This will be the last blog post (maybe forever or maybe just for a while) in my blog series ‘Book (Re)Writing’ purely because I have finally moved beyond the stage where I am simply considering a re-write of my book ‘From the Ashes’ to actually being at the point of writing it again.

When I first conceived this blog series, I called it (Re)Writing because I was personally torn between whether I needed to do a rewrite, or whether I was going to have to write the book again. In my mind there is a difference and I kept it vague using the brackets so that I didn’t confine myself to one or the other. I have finally come to the conclusion that what I have to do is the latter.

I think it will have been obvious to anyone who has read the entire series, that this blog about writing have been markedly different from one of my previous series about writing, ‘The Key to a Great Story‘, which was more technical. ‘Book (Re)Writing‘ has been a great deal more personal, a way of making myself accountable in what I’ve been doing in the process of approaching a rewrite.

It has even become a way of sharing that the processes of writing and being a writer is not easy. Also a way for anyone who might have similar problems to know that they are not alone. On an even more personal level it has been therapeutic for me to share my feelings about my novel rather than bottle them up.

However, I am currently at a very good place because I have finally figured out that it isn’t a re-write in the sense that I’m working on what currently exists and doing a major edit. I have to write the book again from scratch. To me that means I am writing my book, not rewriting it. Some may quibble that definition; let me explain.

One of the key reasons why I have come to this conclusion is because I have finally managed to clear my head and work through my feelings about my book well enough  to write up a new outline for my book. I’ve spoken about doing an outline of what was already existing and I’ve spoken about writing an overall plan for my series, but until now that was all focused on figuring out what was wrong.

I’ve done that, and I’ve now moved onto the new step. A new outline for the book and what has resulted is that I’m writing a new book. I’m not rewriting the one that already exists; the plot is different, some of the characters are going to be refined and I think that I may literally have one scene that will play out in exactly the same way.

The title will be the same, the characters will be mostly the same, but it is going to be a different book. It is going to lead to a different place. There will be major plot points that now are going to end up discarded entirely (though potentially recycled elsewhere) and I have even made the rather major decision to write it in the third person rather than in the first.

That last one for me is the most important reason why I’m now defining what I have to do as writing not re-writing. I am a massive advocate of using first person, but in order to pull off the story I want to tell, for the moment (I might change my mind) I’m going to change the perspective. For me this is all new.

There is another underlying reason, and it is very much a personal opinion on what doing a rewrite means. I associate the idea of editing as something that needs to be done in order to polish work, it is a positive and necessary part of the writing process. Rewriting though has come to mean something incredibly negative; in my mind having to do a rewrite is an indication that I’ve failed as a writer.

I will hold up my hands and admit I am not a positive person. I can be positive about things, but I am a pessimist and I view rewriting as the ultimate failure. I advocate that the first draft (and possibly the second draft) will be shoddy. Rewriting a new draft though doesn’t mean that the glass was just half-empty, it means to me that I missed the glass, the bench and I poured my story on the floor. I did say pessimist.

So for now I’m venturing into the very positive territory of writing my book. Given I’ve just identified as a pessimist, I genuinely don’t mean that sentence sarcastically at all.

I love writing. I love being a writer. The prospect of writing my book ‘From the Ashes’ is an exciting and positive step, because it gives me the opportunity to do it better and to do justice to my characters.

So I probably won’t be writing for ‘Book (Re)Writing’ again, though I’ll never say never, because I don’t know whether I’ll need to, or what I could contribute for the moment, but all I will say is thank you for everyone whose given me support in the process of this journey.

And if anyone is interested in how the writing is going, I’ll tweet about it (@kabrown4).

Book (Re)Writing – Fear, Distraction and Depression

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Well my last post on Book (Re)Writing was a lovely and positive post about having written out The Grand Plan. I actually made progress.

As usual the life of a writer is not as simple as that – for a kick off my mental health doesn’t always align with the progress that I’m making. Sometimes I make a step forward and my depression kicks me back beyond square one. Or so it feels. It has been a bad month or so, because of factors outside of my writing (mainly my job being stressful at the moment). This has not really been very useful in me making progress.

I am making the effort to really look after myself though (after a having hit a bit of a rock bottom yesterday – I’ve had worse bumps but it was a wake up call). I’m even planning on trying to make more of an effort use writing as part of looking after my well-being.

Leaving only two things stand in my way – Fear and Distraction

We’ll start with fear – I wrote the Grand Plan for my novels, and scared the hell out of myself. I know that I naturally think big, but until I have put it down on paper I had never realised the scale of my plans. Good grief I’m honestly punishing myself with the prospect of trying to pull off The Grand Plan.

I’m going to actually have to look at my plan and then make a list of novels entitled ‘I definitely have to write this within my lifetime’. Once I know that I can move onto outlining with a bit more detail.

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That isn’t the only fear though – a long time ago when I first started this blog, I wrote about the inspiration behind the name of my blog in ‘The Inner Fear‘ a blog post I later re-wrote two years later. Fear that I am not competent enough to even pull this off, and after the bruises that a beta reader left me with (which inspired this entire blog series in the first place) my confidence in my abilities (coupled with the doubt that depression whispers/shouts at you – yay depression! Yeah you can just screw off) hasn’t really been all that high at the moment.

I am afraid that I can’t write well enough for my characters.

This has lead to Distraction (read procrastination in some cases).

Let’s put it this way my mother has been trying to teach me how to knit since before my tenth birthday. While I’m an intermediate border-lining advanced crocheter, I’ve never really been able to knit.

I’ve since solved that as a distraction from my  writing – I can now knit. I’m confident enough to follow patterns, do shaping, knit cables, and I’ve even had a go at lace knitting.

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I’ve let myself be distracted by television – I’ve even joined Netflix at last to distract myself as much as possible.

I’ve let myself get distracted by twitter. Nothing is better than five minutes of reading tweets at the minute.

I’ve let myself get distracted by learning other languages – Mandarin via an evening class, and German and Italian via Duolingo. Usually I only do one of those at a time; nope three at the minute because the alternative is writing.

I’ve even let myself get distracted from this writing by thinking about other writing instead. Nothing makes my ideas for screenwriting work out better than me actually wanting to work on my novels. Just thinking though, I haven’t even made notes.

I am definitely an advanced procrastinator.I’m honestly surprised I haven’t signed up to do another degree in order to distract myself (not the entire reason why I have an MA, but certainly part of the reason.)

So writing recently has definitely not been going well of late. But I know why, and I’m willing to admit why to more than just myself. I have all my fingers crossed that the progress I had made can now start to go forward again.