Tag Archives: creative writing

I Am A Very Bad Blogger

I can do little but apologise for all this tardiness. I have been highly neglectful, but I’ve been rather busy in other areas of life.

I have two more articles up now, and many more are pending. Check them out if you have time (one was an Easter What’s On and the other is about beauty tips) because we’re after as many views, Likes and Tweets as we can get!

In other news, I am putting together two new blogs. One is just an overall portfolio of my work, because a blog seems like the best way to show folks what I’m producing. The other… Well, the other you’ll find out about when I’m ready to start posting. I’ve got a couple of articles written for it, but I want a healthy backlog for those weeks when life just gets in the way. Suffice to say, I hope all of you enjoy reading it when it goes up.

Other than that, I’m also attending a new writing group. It’s not a group to write with so much as a group to share writing experiences, and so far it’s been a brilliant networking experience. It’s nice to have something advisory rather than something creative, too – I have enough on my plate at the moment without too many extra stories!

What else has happened? I’m starting to write something for the Harry Bowler writing competition. It’s for first time writers in the UK, and the objective is to send them the first chapter of a novel. Doesn’t matter what the novel’s about. There’s only one condition: it has to be set in a specific city. Any city, I assume, as long as it actually exists in the real world. Naturally my first choice is Sheffield. I lived there for three years, after all, and know it fairly well. The only question is, what will the plot be?

It means putting my other novel on the back burner for a time, but I reckon it’s worth it for the chance of being published.

Speaking of the back burner, I’ve also put my current novel down in favour of writing a review for work. I won’t tell you what I’m reviewing yet, but I’ll let you know when it’s on the website. The book I’ve been reading, though, is another of my dusty paperbacks: Out by Natsuo Kirino. It’s a pretty sweet read so far, but we’ll see how it pans out when I get half a chance to read the rest of it.

Wow, I had more to say than I thought! Better get a move on, though: this article it’s going to write itself!


Five Triple-Oh

I just spent all week slamming plot points onto PowerPoint slides and reshuffling them, attempting to climb out of the plot-related rut in which I’ve found myself.  As a result, I am glad to say the second and final acts have finally fallen right into place.

The first act is still very fuzzy and uncertain, but I doubt it’s going to right itself – or, indeed, write itself – with any amount of further planning at this stage.  It’s reached that point where you’ve just got to scribble out reams of total garbage, then empty the bin and assess which bits can be used for junk modelling.

Therefore, this week I have decided: it is time for a big push forwards.  Over the course of the coming week, I am going to write at least 5,000 words.

That is a fairly high word count for me.  Anyone who recalls some of my old graphs will recall that I tend to write around 600 words per day.  On a roll I’ll pass the 1,000 mark but, at the end of the day, rolling isn’t going to win me the hundred metre sprint.  (I am pleased with that quote.)  I’ll have to be disciplined to make this work, especially with my shockingly limited progress lately.

Still, if I hit the ground running, 5,000 might not be quite enough.  It seems wrong not to drive myself to reach for the stars and see how far I get.  You don’t know if you don’t try, right?

To tackle this issue, I’ll take a leaf from the proverbial book of fellow blogger Jim Franklin, who set out his 2013 year targets as Xbox achievements to complete.  Instead of these, however, I think I’ll give this task a Crash Team Racing theme.

For anyone too young, old or deprived of life meaning to know what I’m talking about, I am referencing the time trial relic races on the Crash Bandicoot racing game, which still stands as one of the best games ever made.  If you haven’t played it, I demand that you buy it for your Playstation 3.  And if you don’t own a Playstation 3, I demand that you buy a Playstation 3 exclusively to have bestowed upon you the honour of having played this game.  Even Chandler and Joey played this game – true story.  So:

 Sapphire relic:
5,000 words

Gold relic:
10,000 words

Platinum relic:
15,000 words

On your marks.  Get set.  Go.

SCAMPER Outside the Box!

In the 1970s, Bob Eberle developed a method of innovative thinking which employed the mnemonic, “SCAMPER.”  The theory is based on the understanding that all inventions are merely modifications of things which came before.  Which I hope doesn’t bum anyone out.  It’s progress.  It’s evolution.  It’s a new Veet strip which doesn’t actively attempt to rip your skin off.  Not that I speak from experience or anything.  But, regardless, the concepts it highlights are:

Put to other use
Rearrange ( or Reverse)

As you can probably guess, SCAMPER is particularly geared towards inventing new products and Ze Business World.  However, I’d like to volunteer it as a process for creative writers, too.

If you’ve picked up a book about writing lately, you will have no doubt learned that there are only so many story premises in the world and only so many basic plots.  It can feel like a major soul-sucker when you first discover this principle.  You will suddenly feel, in the words of Tyler Durden, that your story is not a beautiful or unique snowflake because somebody has done something similar themselves in a different genre or setting.

However, SCAMPER can really help you to think outside the box with your writing.  It can also help you to look at other books differently, and perhaps generate enough of a distinction that you can turn something into an entirely different novel.  For example:

Substitute: What if Bridget Jones’s Diary was written by a man, not a woman?  (Not as in it’s a stalker’s notes on his neighbour, Bridget, or that a man actually called Bridget is writing the diary, but you get my meaning.)

Combine: How could one combine Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with The Hunger Games?  Would this be a preferable outcome for Foxface?


Adapt: Under what circumstances could the cast of The Only Way Is Essex become a crime-fighting squad of MENSA members who did charity work on weekends?

Magnify: What if Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were trained as a ninja and had a lot of clones?

Put to other use: What if Will’s knife in His Dark Materials cut through tough steak rather than the fabric between parallel worlds?

Eliminate: What if Bella Swan and Edward Cullen were not in Twilight?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Rearrange: What if Harry Potter’s parents had been killed by Voldemort during his time at Hogwarts in a cake-related disagreement, rather than before?

Who knows, maybe this tack of “modifying the pre-existing” could ironically produce something far more original?

A more detailed description of SCAMPER, as well as a list of related questions you can be asking yourself, can be found here.  Be sure to check out the question randomiser, too.

Now, SCAMPER away, my pretties!