Category Archives: writing

Brain treason

I’m a writer – that’s no news to you right? So I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen typing. I just typed the following sentece:

The short hall led to an opening.

It’s part of a description for a house a police officer steps into. You should read that and think, so what? There’s nothing wrong with that sentence. And you are absolutely right. There is nothing wrong with that sentence.

Except that as soon as I finished it, my brain stopped me writing further, demanding that I change ‘led’ to ‘lead’. I literally had to stop and question my own brain questioning my own brain. I’d typed what I had because instictively I knew it was right, but the mere suggestion that I might be wrong stopped me mid-flow.

You might also have realised that when I say it stopped me, it really stopped me, because look, I’m here typing this blog rather than carrying on with my story.

My brain does this a lot. I instictively know the right answer, but have so little belief in myself that I don’t trust that I am correct. I double guess myself all the time. Not just with the writing, but it everything, which is one of the reasons I keep largely to myself, I’m convinced I’ll never understand other people. My brain is litterally betraying me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Feminist Read

We Should All Be Feminists by [Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie]

Have recently read “We Should All Be Feminists”, and it’s shown me things I have been fortunately enough never to have experienced.

I not about to burn my bra, but I do consider myself a feminist. So there wasn’t a lot in the book that was a brand-new idea to me, but these points were explained in ways that I have never considered before.

The author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, tells of how in Nigeria if a couple walk into a restaurant, the greeter will greet the gentleman, and not the lady.  Now I have experienced that in the UK, but I never really thought about how it really is a sexist act.  Funnily enough the sexist thing I have experienced comes shortly after that, where the menu with the prices is given to the man, as is the bill, even when I’ve asked for the bill.

There are other references that also made me think – the way that a woman alone will be questioned at a hotel in case they aren’t a patron, but a prostitute.  This is horrific to me, a woman who has travelled overseas alone. I really wouldn’t know how to deal with that.

The book is very short (50 pages), and it’s a quick read – unless you actually stop and really think about the points made. And I guarantee if you read this book, it will make you think, it will stay with you for a while. I would highly recommend everyone read this book, where ever you stand on the issue, this book will give you food for thought.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Hopefully

Okay, reaction to the rejection over.  Big girl pants on and behaving myself today.

After my wobble, I tripped over an older log of mine, this one: Getting an agent – some more ideas.  So I read it. You know what, when I’m not an emotional cripple, I actually can talk some sense.  

As a result, yesterday evening, after I’d finished working, I sat down with “The Writers and Artist Yearbook” (admittedly from 2019, but that’s new enough), and went through looking for other possible agents. I checked their websites to ensure that they were open to submissions and if so, what they wanted in a submission – not all agents want the same thing so there’s no point in sending the same thing to everyone.

I also had a bit of a chat about things with a couple of friends who were helpful with suggestions about agents they know and who cast a quick eye over my submission prep. I then spent this morning revising and polishing my pitch, synopsis and first 50 pages.  And more importantly, I’ve submitted to another agent. 

This is good on the principle that each submission is one step closer to the agent who’s going to take me on.  But there’s still the awful wait of up to 3 months to hear possibly nothing if they aren’t interested.  But that’s the way with agents. All I can do is write my best work and present it, and in the manner of “Sweet Charity”, do my best to live hopefully ever after.

Sweet Charity (1969) - Film | cinema.de

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Loser

Another day, another rejection. It gets difficult to stay positive when all you get is negative reinforcement. 

I get my work out there, put myself out there, but I get a fair bit of negativity back, though in fairness, a little positivity too.  I keep trying, I make  submissions to agents and publishers, but the big publishers can only be accessed via an agent, and the agents just reject or just don’t respond. 

I am a good writer, and quite a prolific one. Here are all but one of the books I have out (one is missing because it published 7 days ago and I haven’t had chance to change the graphic to my satisfaction yet):

The problem seems to be that I don’t fit easily into any particular pigeon hole. On those rare occasions when I get feedback, it’s not the writing they reject, it’s the fact that they don’t know how to market the work.

If the people whose job it is to sell stuff don’t know how to sell my writing, how should I? Marketing was never my strong suit. Well, here’s the thing, that’s what I’m going to have to figure out isn’t it? Learn to do the marketing.  

Sigh, but not today, today I’m going to let myself experience the emotions another rejection brings up, I’m going to sort the TBR pile into the space I’ve recently made for it, and tomorrow I will dust myself down, pick myself up and submit again. I will learn and improve. As things should be.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Getting Shorty

Between other things today, I have been working on my short story for the Honno submission. I’ve got the word count to the exact allowance, and I’ve checked spelling and grammar, all seems okay.

Only thing is – I’m not sure if it’s great or awful.

This kind of self doubt is not exactly a me problem, it’s a writer thing. Lots of writers I know suffer with what’s called ‘imposter syndrome’. We’re all just waiting to be found out. The reality is that we’re not imposters, but writing is a difficult game.

Anyway, one thing about the short story, is that it’s actually an origin story for the main character in a new series that I’m working on. So I’m hoping that my story gets picked because it’s the first test of the character, so if it gets rejected, I’m in trouble for the series. Very nerve wracking.

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, Uncategorized, writing

Reading Between the Lines

Today the Reading Between the Lines festival began, and I was very fortunate to be on a panel this afternoon with Jackie Baldwin and Val Penny.

Before the event we read one another’s books and used those as a basis for the discussion.

All three books have a strong theme of family, not just blood relations, though of course there are plenty of those, but the families we choose to be part of, through friendship, proximity, work and whatever it is that brings people together.

If you want to hear what we had to say, check out the YouTube Reading Between the Lines channel and look for our video, should be up soon. Of course because this is a channel, you’ll also find all the other events there. And congratulations to Lynsey Adams from doing the hard work of pulling all this together.

If you want to read these fabulous books, here are the links
Dead Man’s Prayer
Hunter’s Chase
The Chair

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, Uncategorized, writing

Timing

Timing is everything in life, but what about in competition?

The last week I’ve been working on a short story for a competition for Honno Crime Anthology, see Honno for details.  I’ve written a whole 5,000 word new and original story.  I’ve had a friend look over it and give me notes. I’ve edited it and I’m happy with it.

It’s now 22nd of March and the competition doesn’t close until the 30th June.  So what do I do?  Do I send it off now or wait till June?

If I send it off now, that will mean it’s done and I can forget all about it and concentration on other projects.

If I wait, I can put it to the back of my mind for a couple of months, then read/edit again before I send off.  But I’ve got a memory like a sieve – what if I forget to send it? Well I guess that’s what diary reminders are for.  I’ve also got a dying laptop – what if I lose the file?  Well that’s what doing a backup is for.

What if in the intervening months, I think of a whole new short story worth putting in?  Well if I’ve not sent anything, then it won’t matter, I can write the new idea and compare the two, then decided. Or possibly send two – not sure if that’s allowed, doesn’t say one way or the other, but I’ll check later.

This is just one of those writer dilemmas that I’m never sure of.  What would you do?

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, Uncategorized, writing

Month 2

Well February was hectic!

I know I didn’t do much here but that was because I was busy on my crime blog, I did an author interview per day, and I’m deep into an editing commission, did an interview about my last crime release and I’ve been finishing one steampunk series and starting another. I was also reading a lot, mostly because I have a couple of festivals coming up – more on them later.

While this is my musing blog, I also set it up to talk about writing more, and share some experiences/knowledge and learning with you guys. I hope you find at least some of it interesting. So over the coming months, I intend to have a few guest posts, see what others have to say too. Hope that that’s okay with you all, shoul spice things up a bit.

Reading wise this year I set my Goodreads challenge at 24 – I read 7 books in January and am on 10 for February. Though to be honest, I think it was 6, you see I read a comic volume (yes they still count) which Goodreads only had in issue form, so it counted as 5 instead of 1 book. Seeing that – I bumped up my target to 30 to more than compensate. However, since I’ve already done 17 in total, I may bump that up. What to I haven’t decided yet, may go to 48, which is what I did last year. Once I decide, I’ll hitch the target up.

If you want to follow me on Goodread – friends are always welcome, here’s the link to me (and yes, that is now a very old photo!)

Have fun as we move on to March, and happy St Davids Day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Stationery

A writer friend posed a question on Facebook today asking if anyone else had a stationery addiction. That would be me.  I have more notebooks than I expect to get through, but I still see a pretty notebook and want it. During the discussion on the post, I also realised that I have distinct uses for the different types of notebooks I have.

The picture is of the drawer I keep of the unused notebooks that look good.  Most of them are spiral bound and hard backed, because these are the type I most like to do my first draft writing in.  These are generally A5 but a few are B5, but mostly I prefer A5.

I use the A6 notebooks for ideas. They’re easy to carry and if they get messed up, I don’t mind. I have one I’ve nearly filled with ideas for my next steampunk trilogy, including character descriptions, background data, details on fashion, architecture, world history and even sketches of ‘hieroglyphs’ that will be used in the series.

What I won’t photograph are the stacks of A4 pads and papers that I have at least two magazine racks packed with.  These I keep for editing, when I write out the story events by chapter to ensure that I’ve got everything I the right order.  This does not, of course, include my stash of A4 printer paper.

The there are the piles of part used notebooks from which I have torn pages already transcribed.  These get used when I want to write something short, usually one-off-scenes or short stories.  Or maybe when the mode is “I need to use up some of these notebooks” before someone points out my notebook hoard is out of control.

Glue-spined, soft-cover notebooks are not a favourite , which means I won’t buy them, but I still get gifted them.  These notebooks I use for working out stuff, crosswords clues, codeword possibilities, games score, or generally use as needed.

Remember this is just about my stash of writing papers. Probably best not to ask about my pen/pencil collection – and don’t even start on the sticky notes!

I love stationery, how about you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized, writing

Crime Blog

Here’s a thing you may not know about me, I have a second blog:

GB Williams Crime Blog

If you get a chance, please pop over there in February as I’m posting a series of interviews with crime authors and I’m finding it interesting to learn more about what makes these people tick.

Leave a comment

Filed under crime, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Business