Welcome to the web page and blog of Gregor James, children and adult fictional author.

So there I was - this Saturday, at the start of my big weekend. Time to smash heroically through the writers block.

 

I had reached a critical point, you see. For - I dunno - 6 weeks - a month maybe - I had been hardly writing anything because I couldn't find space for it in my routine. Regular space, that is. I tried to do it after work, but family stuff takes over. Not all the time - but enough of the time. And that lack of routine is fatal to me - maybe that means I am not committed enough I dunno - let's hope not.

 

Anyway - during Sunday planning (geek!) I found a solution. I get up early, exercise (without which spending all day in the house is fken hellish) and sit here until 8:15 when the kids need a lift to school. Giving me 30-45 minutes of regular time. The family are still there at this point, but too half-asleep to make too many demands. Now I read this over I realise I need to add to this even to get to my miserable commuting writing time, but hey - it's a move in the right direction.

 

And it worked - for a bit. Week 1 I got stuck into my second short story - developed a couple of characters, began actually writing. Since then though…not so good. A lot of the time I seem to peter out after about 200 words. Saturday being a case in point.

 

I was writing a scene in which Richard, my main man, is talking to Rachel, his wife, who is wheelchair-bound. It's set in the near future. And at some point it seems apposite that she might stop talking, and, I dunno - pick up a cup of coffee. But then I get stuck. Why? Because I haven't really worked out how bad her condition is, what her wheelchair is like, what her house is like. How will she move? Can she even drink the coffee properly? What height is the table? So it's simple right? I have gone too far toward the write side of the 'prepare' vs 'just fken write' spectrum, and I need to work out how the MND patient of the future lives.

 

So why have I spent the rest of weekend moping, rather than coming to this basic conclusion, Hm? Should come to you first, right? I just hope it's just that simple. I plan a bit more, unblock, and hit a gusher. Lord knows I'm due one…

Allright imaginary fans. So a couple of things to update you on. Firstly, John my author buddy told me some home truths about my short story. Unsurprisingly for a first ever short story, it has significant structural issues, which I am glad to get the chance to work on. As I was sneakily aware, my biggest problem is perspective - I am utterly useless at appraising my own work. Most of the things John said make me go 'yeah of course. I knew that. Why didn't I do anything about it'. To which the answer was: 'You have accused yourself of every possible kind of writing issue, so picking out the genuine ones is not always easy'.

Anyway - to assist me I have purchased a kindle copy of 'The Story Grid' by Shawn Coyne (amazon link). I am not sure whether I'm going to apply to Woburn, the first story, or write a new one I have half planned according to the new structure. I'll let you know how that goes.

Secondly I feel the need to express my thanks to Brad Reed, of the Brad Reed Writes podcast and other resources https://www.bradreedwrites.com/ for giving me oodles of writing tips - including the recommendation of Sean's grid thing. About 25 years ago I went to a creative writing class - and it was a bit pants tbh. Teacher was very charismatic but useless - not really interested/able to actually teach anything about plot structure, characterisation. Anything at all really. If only she'd been more like Brad I'd be famous by now!

So that's it for now. Tune in next fortnight/month/aeon.

Hello again - quick one today because I am prioritising badly. I'd rather eat barbecue than talk to you basically.

Some progress. My wife read the story, said she didn't 'get' short stories, and corrected a few typos. Triumphant, huh? 

Better is that I have made more attempts to get other folks checking my stuff out. I've signed up for Scribophile - a peer review site similar to YouWriteOn, but with a payment model (yuk), and a much harder way of reviewing - it seems like you have to do it all online, which I don't really have time for. I sent them a grumpy mail - which I need to check for a reply to actually. 

Also I sent to book to my author buddy, so will tell you how horrible he was about it. 

Plan for next blog is to get a piece of the book onto Scribophile, and find out what short story sites/publishers I could submit my thing to, though acceptances seem pretty rare.

They haven't seen my beautiful prose yet though. Aha ha ha. Ha ha. Hmmm.

Anyway ttfn - see you in a fortnight...ish

 

'sup gang. It's me again.

So I think I might have missed a slot. Sorry about that. But it does at least mean that I have news. The short story is finished. Yay! But I cannot convince either my wife or daughter to read it. Boo! This is not what you'd call an auspicious start.

But besides this I feel strangely optimistic. I have lined up 2 proper beta-readers - one fellow struggling author (though he's been published, the git) and a friend with similar fantasy/sci-fi reading tastes. I was just hoping to get someone in the house to stupid-check it first.

Speaking of writer infrastructure, I've been trying to find other sources of help. Remember YouWriteOn - the place where people would review a chapter of your book if you did the same for them? Gone. Not entirely sure where, but the site is down :(. Apparently there are other places, but I haven't got the time/cohones together to check them out yet. Currently wrestling with urges to start/research another story/do more paid(ish) work. Indecision is final again.

So what you you do, web-crawler/hacker bot? OK - you'd register this site as not worthy of further action and move onto the next one. But what if you were a helpful conscious entity of some kind, rather than a semi-autonomous algorithm? You'd tell me to seek the answer inside myself huh? Well that was helpful.

I think the last time I was at this point I decided to focus on the resources to hone the writing. Review sites, forums and that. So I'll do that. And come back and tell you about it. Because I know you are counting on me, right ;).