Site of the writer Andrew Wood

Archive for January, 2011

Influences of Music in Writing

The absence of a blog post for a while has been bugging me, but then I was sitting around listening to my wide array of music and thought about the influences that music has had, for me, on the writing process.

This may not be the same for everyone so I will just talk about my own experiences here…

I have found that every so often a piece of music, whatever genre, has a profound effect on my mind – my imagination starts to concoct images and scenes to fit the song/tune that I’m listening to. Many songs from a diverse number of artists have just implanted themselves into my creative brain and mixed with my furtive imagination to produce some incredible mental images and scenes.

I have found that a lot of songs have spawned a great variety of battle scenes that I have incorporated into my work, both online (written fantasy role-play forum) and offline.

Examples of such artists are:

These are just a few. I have found these artists, above, invaluable in the creative process. Whenever I get stuck on how to play something out I usually try and find a song or tune that I feel would fit into the scene I am on. I therefore listen to it intently and allow my mind to create – this is a major part of me and my writing and I will continue with it whenever I am stumped.

Making A Story Seem Believable – Discussion Post!

Hello to you who take the time to read this :-)

I thought I would try and make a post that would warrant a discussion and I think that the subject/topic about how to make a story seem believable/real/atmospheric would be a good choice.

I would like as many people to tell myself and others how they go about this sort of thing when it comes to fictional or non-fictional writing. Do you:

  • Use an abundance of description?
  • Use first or third person? What type of first of third person narrative?
  • Use certain techniques to immerse yourself in the world your creating?
  • Insert as much poignant information as possible?
  • Use a variety of techniques? Maybe some more than others?

These are just a few points for thought. I would love for some contributions here :-)

Hope you all are well and take some time to think about this and post a comment :-)

Book Stores and Retailers

We all know that as of recent years the fate of many things are being sealed – it is only a matter of time. With the rise of online shopping sites such as Play, Amazon and eBay, which are dealing in a wide array of items to sell, from CDs and DVDs to books and clothing, the damage done to some stores in our local high streets is taking its toll. It is a case of survival of the fittest.

Waterstone’s are undoubtedly the strongest retailers of books in the UK and are, in my opinion, one of the fittest in this survival fight.

In years gone past we have seen the fall of a few once large-scale book retailers:

  • Ottakar’s – a who were taken over by Waterstone’s (A subsidiary of HMV Group) in March 2006
  • Dillons Booksellers – An age-old chain that started off as a single store in London. It ran from 1932 – 1999 and was bought by HMV Group in 1995. It ceased to exist as a separate name in 1998 and many branches were re-branded as Waterstone’s.

A more recent example of the decline of places such as these is the international book and music seller ‘Borders’. There has been a lot of publicity in recent months about the fate of this chain – profits and shares are plummeting and they owe a lot of money to publishers!

I remember the large Borders that was in Birmingham – I always liked to pop in and see what they had on special or to see if there were any DVDs or CDs I wanted. There was a Starbucks with it too so you had a bit of everything. But with the many payroll cuts and store closures… this branch was quick to go out with a major bang of a sale. Unfortunately I missed it!

Borders are reportedly relying on Publishers to help them out – http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0528385620110105

For a final thought – when it comes to those independent book shops that many have seen pop-up then quickly disappear, what chance do they have against the monopolisation of the big name chains?

Thoughts On Character Creation

I have been thinking about character creation the past few days as I am still in the process of touching up some of my supporting characters. I was wondering about the many methods that are around and what works for each and every writer.

For me I tend to use the interview method. The one I use is not as in-depth as this one – http://www.elfwood.com/farp/thewriting/crissychar/crissychar.html

My bio/interview list is broken down into 3 categories:

  • Physical/Biological
  • Psychological
  • Interpersonal/Cultural

I won’t list all the sub-categories in each section, but if you want me to then I will at someone’s request :P

Other good points about character creation are raised by the author ‘Holly Lisle’ in her web article – http://hollylisle.com/index.php/How-To-s/how-to-create-a-character.html

For me, apart from the interviewing method, I also keep a look out for any characters (be they from film, literature, video gaming, etc.) that relate to my own one. It doesn’t have to be entirely one element, such as appearance, but can be small bits:

  • Character motions
  • Voice
  • Gait/Walk
  • Parts of background
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • Approach to situations

I take many routes to the creation of various characters for my work, as do many others :-), and I am always open to other methods (there are some I have not mentioned).

If you take the time to read this then I would love for you to comment and let me know what you think about character creation and maybe how you go about it :-D

Procrastination

As someone who is a devil for procrastination I looked up a few things on various websites about dealing with this very common problem. I have focused on this one particular website called: http://www.it-career-coach.net/2008/01/02/how-to-overcome-procrastination-in-8-easy-steps/

**EDIT** I forgot to put in this line – This web page is aimed at IT projects but it can be easily moulded into the writing processes we writers perform :-)

The sections include:

  • The Procrastination Problem
  • So, What Makes Us Procrastinate?
  • The Cost of Procrastination
  • What’s On Your “Put It Off List”?
  • How To Overcome Procrastination

The final section about how to overcome the problem is divided into multiple steps:

  • Step One: Visualize the End from the Beginning
  • Step Two: Count the Cost
  • Step Three: Brainstorm
  • Step Four: Make a Public Commitment
  • Step Five: Gather Material
  • Step Six: Break it down ? Do it One Step at a Time
  • Step Seven: Sweat It Out For Ten Minutes
  • Step Eight: Set the Bar Low

These interesting steps/methods are rounded off with a ‘Final Thoughts’ message from the author of the post. A nice little ‘Best Wishes and all the Success’ kind of thing.

I hope you find something useful from this and the best of luck to you :-)

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