Thursday, 27 September 2012

Why Twitter is good for Writing and Writers

I have been on twitter a while, but I’ve only recently discovered all the joyous ways it can help not just writers to meet and talk about writing, but also help in the art of writing. Bear with me.

Let’s break it down.

The very act of writing a tweet involves, um, writing. The fact they are short and snappy involves a particular skill, I admit, which may seem at odds with novel writing for example. However let's be positive, I think some of these skills can be applied to your broader writing (I think any writing we do, is a good thing). For example:
  • Twitter teaches you to be concise: How often have you to reword a tweet to get it within that pesky limit? Taken out unnecessary words or rewritten your whole sentence? This is a great exercise to apply to writing. Take 100 words of your draft and cut 5 words out. Now another 5. 10. (Look at an author like Jacqueline Wilson, and try and cut 5 words from a page. It’s hard.)
Get those scissors out.
And yes those are my scissors.
And kitchen counter.

  • Twitter is your voice: Look back at your tweets. How much do they reflect who  you are? What idea do you get of people you’ve maybe never met, just from their tweets? I bet quite a strong one. This is the kind of voice your MC needs. Try writing out a few tweets for them, whatever time period they live in. Are they an ‘OMG THIS JUST HAPPENED’ tweeter? A snarky tweeter? Get this sort of voice in your novel. (I think a ‘tweet as your MC’ tweet/blog hop sometime might be fun. Though confusing, maybe!).

  • Twitter is about grabbing attention. By this I mean, how often do you reword a tweet to make more people pay attention to it? Make it funnier, or more informative, or simply ‘snappier’? By this I don’t mean that every joke in a WIP has to be super hilarious or every sad moment super sad, it has to be appropriate to the character and moment. I just mean there are sentences we can all polish to stand out more. It is easy to do when you only have 140 characters and harder when you have a lot.

As well as the art of writing there are obviously all the social aspects of twitter, helping you to meet other writers, to get support if you need encouragement to finish that piece of writing. You can also hear about competitions or see links to interesting and useful blog posts about the art of writing.

These are all ways of connecting you note, and for me that’s what it is about. Twitter feels like ‘broadcasting’ and a lot of people do use it, very successfully, as a way of self-promotion and broadcasting about what they’re up to. Which is great.

But the best parts for me are the @ connections you can make and the conversations which happen. I know people who say, I don’t tweet, who cares what I have to say, and my response is, it’s not about that. Or it isn’t for me. It’s about starting a conversation. The writing community is hugely supportive, as I've found on this blog, and twitter is an extension of that.

Another great thing are the hashtags which help you meet new people and discuss writing tips and the like.

Some of my faves are:

#amwriting – does what it says on the, er, tin
#1k1hr – race to get to 1k in an hour (love this one)
#askagent – sessions run where agents take and answer your question
#writemotivation – monthly group run by KT Hanna (every other month I think). You set goals, and encourage others to meet them and get encouragement.
#writeclub – a new one! Started by @MeganWhitmer I believe for writers to find other people currently writing (started on a Friday night when a few people were all writing. And NOT to be confused with DL Hammons writeclub which did throw me at first.)
#YAWritersAAT – Sunday night chat where you can ask teens a question for research, started by Leigh Ann Kopans I think and transcripts go up on yamisfits. (Must catch up on the transcripts, as am asleep for the chats being UK, which I think it 9 EST).

Here are two great posts listing all kinds of hashtags  - here and here – though am tempted to write a master list sometime (If anybody would want to help with that project, let me know!)

Does anyone agree with my list above of how it can help your actual writing? Will you try any of these? Would a master list of hashtags or some MC tweets be fun?

Are you on twitter? If you are and I don’t already follow you, please leave your @ name in the comments or follow me and I’ll follow back.

My twitter button is on the right, please connect with me there, and if you like this post, let me know what you think – or tweet me about it!

Monday, 24 September 2012

#writemotivation & Competition Success

Two pieces of success for me, and afterwards I will ask for your successes of the week.

Firstly, my goal for this month's #writemotivation was to write 25000 words and am currently standing  at 30000 thanks to the Fast Drafting I have been doing. Woo! I will write a post about Fast Draft when I have finished it telling you all how I found it.

How is everyone's #writemotivation going?

Secondly I entered a competition in a local book festival to write a piece of flash fiction. I am one of 12 finalists and I have to go read it out at an event where people vote for the winner! It will just be exciting to be part of it, and it's nice to have a wee boost like that.

What are your successes of the week? Get that difficult chapter done? Finally tidy the front room? :) Let me know!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Next Big Thing MeMe

Thank you for the tag Tara and Kyra - I have seen this MeMe going round and it looks fun!

I thought I would talk about my WIP, to encourage me to finish it! (I have another WIP about clones but thought I'd do this one! I have been tagged twice so I could do the other one another time.)

What is the working title of your book?

Cara Stone Sucks.Com

Where did the idea come from?

Various celebrities being insulted on twitter. I started to think about cyberbullying in general and how when I was a kid I never had to worry about that. At first I thought about a sci fi type setting as I like to write sci fi but it fit better as contemporary!

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary with a 'who done it' element.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Ah well the main character would be a young Kate Middleton (think shiny very conditioned hair and lots of outfit changes) and the love interest would be a Josh Hutcherson type.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? 

When Cara discovers a website solely dedicated not only to hating on her but revealing all of her secrets, she sets out to find out who's behind it and stop them, before their threats turn real.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

Gosh got to finish it first!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

Still writing. I started on Monday as part of Fast Draft and am 14k in. (How many of them make sense, we'll see).

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

See above!

What else about your book would pique the reader's interest? 

I am having fun writing lots of banter between my main character Cara and the love interest Logan. I haven't written banter like this before and it's coming quite nicely!

I tag anyone who'd like to do this - feel free and hook me up with a link here I'd love to hear what you are writing on!

So what do you make of the above? I am worried about the stakes so hope it's tense enough when it's written! If anyone is interested in reading a draft when it's done btw, I am happy to swap a 'readers report' type CP with you! (I will be pestering my current CPs with the clone story see!)

Monday, 17 September 2012

writemotivation & Guilty Pleasures BlogFest

I am no further ahead with my #writemotivation goals (sadface, not going well this month) and I missed any GUTGAA windows!

So not much to report there. If you are in GUTGAA let me know. Hook me up with your entry so I can admire it ;)

But onto cheery topics, today is the: Genre Favorites Blogfest run by the awesome Alex Cavanaugh.

You pick your fave genre of Movie, Music, Books and a Guilty Pleasure. So here goes!

Movie: Spy movies.

Think Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible, Bond. I love all the intrigue and chasing about. Especially if people wear daft outfits and break into places in an impossible manner. Which brings me onto another genre I love: the heist movie. Oceans Eleven! Who can beat a good heist movie? No one. Spy probably just wins out but they are very closely intertwined I find.

I don’t want you to think I like spying on people and breaking into places. I just like watching it in the movies, honest.

Music: Singalong Indie Rock. Think the Killers, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs. Perhaps I just like artists beginning with K as I do like Kylie too. (Though I’m not really a fan of Kanye West or Katie Melua so it falls down there. Back to Indie Rock.) Yes the more jangly guitars and singalong the tune the better. The Killers ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ is the perfect example of this.

Books: Dystopian. I love a good dystopian. I am truly sorry if this genre is on the wane and they won’t publish so many because I have really enjoyed the flood of these in the market. More broadly: I like Sci Fi in general so time travelling parallel world doppelgangers come on down!

And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories: this would be Keanu Reeves Movies. Yes it deserves to be a genre. I don’t just love the good ones like the Matrix, Speed or Bill&Ted. I will happily spend good money even on the rubbish ones like the Lake House and that one with the aliens. (The Matrix sequels upset me a bit, because the first one was so good, but I still went to see them. Even The Matrix 3 when I knew it would be bad). The same goes for early Christian Slater movies btw, I haven’t just seen Heathers and Pump Up the Volume. Or even Gleaming the Cube, but also the likes of The Wizard. *ah happy sigh*

What are your genre faves? And go the contests and monthly goals?

Monday, 10 September 2012

Writemotivation and How Fast Do You Draft?

September is another #writemotivation month and my aim this month is simple:

Write 25,000 words of my WIP.

So far I have about 5k, so a bit behind.

As a result of my general aim to get some of this draft out, I have signed up for Fast Draft Boot Camp (deets here). Hopefully I will learn to get this draft out quicker than the last.

(I don't believe in rushing things in a desperate bid to cross the finish line, but I suspect that the draft won't be too much worse off my usual for speeding it up. We'll SEE.)

I will let you know how it goes!

In the meantime:

How Fast Do you Draft?

Is there an average? Do you knock out a draft in a week you speedy ones? Or do you take six months? How long does your editing take (do you think there's a correlation? Long First Draft = Less edits?)

Fill me in. In the meantime if you have an entry in a contest anywhere good luck, hook me up with the links.

I wanted to be amusing in the above post, however I am tired. Instead, I leave you with a bad joke:
The Scarecrow was outstanding in his field.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


Before I get into IWSG just to say thank you to everyone who visited my GUTGAA post and I will reply to everyone and get round a few more GUTGAA and IWSG posts myself. I wanted to get this up though ;)

That’s a very Borg esque headline isn’t it? It’s because Dr Who is back on. It seems to me that often our insecurities come from comparing ourselves to other people. Not in a bad, jealous way, but in a woe is me way.

For example, I see people post that they got their first draft done in a day or did barely a revision and out popped this beautiful piece. I compare it to my own piece which took a million years and a hundred edits (okay I may be exaggerating these timelines, but you get the idea) and I feel all forlorn and in need of eating chocolate.

It’s the same with blogging/twittering/etc. I am new to this lark and recently had four people ‘unfollow’ me in a day. I hadn’t even posted anything that day! Was it something I said? Do I smell? Similarly I see people with 1000 followers on whatever platform and think crikey! Not that many people are following me! I must be very dull!

Well. It’s all madness isn’t it. We know it’s madness yet (if we’re honest, which I think you’ll find I am being) we all do it a little bit. It’s human nature.

The writing process comparison is madness because it’s like we’ve all been told ‘build a chair’. Just that. No more instructions. So some of us are making joey and chandler style lazyboys (I don’t know what they’re called. You know what I mean). Some of us a wooden kitchen chair. Some of us maybe a beanbag (bit left field, but I think a beanbag could fit the ‘chair’ genre). No wonder we’re all doing it differently. Even if we were all told ‘make a wooden chair with five legs’ we’d all make a different one because we’re different people and good at different parts of the chair making process.

I don’t know why I have picked a chair analogy. Perhaps all this giving up caffeine makes me want to sit down.

But you get the point. We can take tips and learn from others, sure. For example (and I won’t use a chair analogy), I am good at pace. I can do pacey writing but I have to work harder at a beautiful description of a scene say. Doesn’t mean I can’t work hard at it. Doesn’t mean I can’t take tips from those who are excellent at description. But doesn’t mean a) I should feel bad when I inevitably make these comparisons or b) lose the fact that I’m good at pace.

The same with blogging. We all have different amounts of time to put back into blogging/twitter, and are good at different things. Some people are good at pithy short statements so they love twitter. Others better at spending time on a long blog post. Some people just *do* have more time to give to it, or able to make more time and man, I so admire the amount some people put into the blogosphere. I am still learning and trying and maybe I will never give as much back as some, but I try. Those who have a lot of followers tend to put a heck of a lot out there too.

We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others and feel insecure about what we’re not good at.  BE PROUD OF YOUR CHAIR.

Even if it’s wonky and missing a leg and isn’t that comfy, I bet you can improve on those things. And I bet you can still sit in it.

/end random analogy of the day/

Monday, 3 September 2012


Greetings All!

 Today is the GUTGAA Meet and Greet for the blogfest happening at Deana Barnhart's blog  and I am very excited because I like to chat. Yes SirreeBob.

A little bit about me: 
The facts: I live in the big smoke London Town, live with the boyf and pet fish, and have never broken anything (famous last words - am I now about to tipple over and smash a bone?)
The Loves: Eating cheese. Vampire Diaries. Superheroes. Books involving Teleportation or Time Travel. Caffeine.
The Hates: The Brussels Sprout (there is just no need for them). Grumpiness on the tube (though we all get grumpy!). when the writing doesn't come. Giving up Caffeine (like I am trying to do now, in a bid to be 'healthy'.)


Where do you write? I moved house earlier this year so I am now lucky enough to have A SPARE ROOM. In London, this is a luxury! A whole room without a person in it! WOW! I can also work from home for my job the odd day and work in it. It calls for all these exclamation marks because this is exciting. So I work from the spare room. Though sometimes old habits die hard and you'll find me on the sofa. Should you come looking. And if you do, I'll make you a nice cup of tea, because that's what we do here.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? Pants! And yes American People, by that I mean KNICKERS. Undies. Lingerie. Skivvies. Also socks, usually odd ones who mourn their partner and hope someday they will return from their ADVENTURE IN THE WASHING MACHINE. This is all a way of making 'my laundry' sound less dull, for that is to my left. (And again, London! What a luxury to be able to hang my laundry in a WHOLE OTHER ROOM and not have to look at it while I watch TV.)

If I am on the sofa then I am looking at the wall to my left. THRILLING.

-Favorite time to write?
Evening time before bed, 10-midnight ish depending on bedtime. It's the only time I can find as I really cannot get up early and I admire all these half five in the morning people. I SO DO. I am much more a nightowl! I like to have a notebook on me to make notes on the tube, if I don't have someone's elbow in my face or am alternatively sniffing an armpit.

-Drink of choice while writing? Water. I am addicted to Diet Coke but see earlier note re giving up caffeine. I am trying to break the hold it has on me. 

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? Silence. Music is far too distracting for me.

 I have also discovered this little X button on the google chrome page, it's an amazing invention, it means the internet is shut! I don't usually use it. But it does help me get more done ;) (Though I do find the #1k1hr twitter hashtag an amazing motivator too).

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
My completed MS is a sci fi thriller set in the near future and the first scene came to me very clearly, a girl arriving home, having snuck out and going in to face the music. I wrote this scene, took it along to a class I was taking at the time and people said nice things about the setting/scene so I worked away on it and wrote a novel. Somehow. The opening scene has changed a lot since then but it all came from there.

For the two WIPs I am currently working on: one is a girl who may be a clone, or may just be going mad and I literally thought there, hmm, it would be fun to write about CLONES what could I do? And worked it out.

The other WIP, tentatively called CaraStoneSucks.Com, I really wanted to write about cyberbullying. As I am a sci fi writer I tried lots of ways to make it sci fi and the initial inspiration was sci fi. However I realised it is really a contemporary idea, so I am going to have a go at that! 

(I have more about these ideas in one of my old posts and will be joining in the CP/BETA fun on Wed if anybody is looking for CPs/BETAs hope to see you there!)

-What's your most valuable writing tip?
EDIT. I know it seems obvious but really, when I first started writing I'd write a story and press Finish and think that was it. Oh naive me. Then I'd feel bad that my work wasn't as good as all these finished books I see. So EDIT EDIT EDIT.Then ... edit some more. Edit until you are sick of editing, then you might just be done ;)

I love to meet people and love to chat so please if you have waded through all of the above - SAY HELLO!