I am bad at editing. I don’t plan my stories and find that I don’t like rereading my own work. The story is only ever fresh to me in that brief moment between conception and preservation, between the initial idea and its translation to the page. Because of this I find the process of going through the work after the fact so much more difficult. Growing a story without clear structure is all fair and good but it is easy to create plot-holes while an excited flurry of wring leaves you prone to typos.
As such, while editing is often dry, demoralising and not remotely creative, it is a vital thing that all writers need to be able to do well. Being bad at it, I have spent a lot of time learning how to get better, some of it by proactively going and reading advice from other writers and editors, others by doing the wrong things and learning from my mistakes. I am still far, far from perfect but since I am in the editing phase myself at the moment, I felt that it might be worth presenting what I have learned for others in my position. Continue reading
It has been over a year since I first posted an extract of my current story. In that time I have learned a lot about editing and actually pushed to get reader feedback so now have a far more polished version of the story. This polishing isn’t fully finished yet but I figured that I would show how far the story has come by posting the 1st chapter of its current draft.
The original version can be found here.
Once again, any feedback is welcome. Enjoy.
A dark shape flew through heavy clouds far above Abernethy Forest. In a land of ancient myths such as Scotland, where mountains vie with dark forests while snow and cold winds dominate the rugged landscape, it was all too easy to see contorted faces staring down from the icy heavens. The shape disappeared into the churning clouds before erupting out from the silently screaming mouth of an angry god to swoop down low above the treetops. Leathery wings glided serenely for several seconds then lunged into the greenery to vanish from sight completely.
A short distance from here was a large wooden building known as Aife’s Lodge. It had once been a private manor house but had been converted into a hotel in recent years. Fitting with its remote location it was the kind of place where people went to escape society completely.
The clouds parted just enough to reveal the moon through the black veiled sky. A warped howl echoed through the snowy night. Nobody heard it over the festivities though. It was just before midnight on New Year’s Eve and the few guests of Aife’s Lodge had forgone seclusion and gathered together in the main hall to celebrate. A stone fireplace dominated one wall while numerous stuffed animals showcased the local fauna. Long dead deer and wildcats seemed almost alive in the flickering light. The guests mingled awkwardly in groups of two or three, the conversations gradually becoming less passive as the alcohol flowed. Continue reading
Today marks the two years anniversary of the passing of a man that inspired thousands across the world. Many such people die each year, and this particular man is considered unknown except in certain circles, but what his life represented is something that needs to be spread.
Monty Oum died at only 33 but in the brief years that he had he spent his time creating. Creating art, costumes, animations, characters and worlds. It didn’t matter what he was creating, only that he was creating. He spread joy through his work and was a constant inspiration to others to do the same. Monty is no longer with us but his work lives on and that creative seed that he planted within the hearts of his fans continue to live on and grow, spreading seeds of their own so that the ripples never end.
And this is what brings me to write this post. To commemorate Monty’s death, the community created the The Monty Oum Project. The aims of this are simple, to encourage people of all walks of life to start a creative project that they have perhaps always wanted to do but never found the time or motivation for. Start that story that you have always wanted to tell. Create the art that is always at the back of you mind. Learn a new skill that you’ve always wanted. Do anything. Life is too short to lock our dreams away to wither and die. Not only does it make us unhappy but it is through our creativity that we spread joy through the world and truly live forever.
This time next year, any of us could no longer be here. Don’t let the opportunity that we call life go to waste.
The Project is set for Saturday the 4th of February. Please feel free to take part. And remember: Keep moving forward.
Democracy began with the Greeks when the public would gather to cast votes on decisions that effected their community. This became impractical as the public continued to grow and the number of decisions that needed to be made constantly increased. Representatives of the people were then chosen to discuss and make these decisions in the name of those that they represented. This became the model of our modern day Western democracy and has been in place for centuries. These representatives gathered together under loose ideologies until we found ourselves voting for parties that matched our own rough political alignment more than a specific individual that would best represent our needs.
Within this same period society has changed drastically. From the jobs that we work, the roles that we conform to and the time and distance we can communicate, every facet of who we are and how we act as a community is new and different. The internet has allowed cultures and idea to mix at a far faster rate than when people were restricted to their local villages and towns. We can travel the world to experience other societies in a matter of hours and have a constant barrage of video on our TVs and phones. We are more aware of what is going on, more conscious of what our politicians are doing and as such can apply more scrutiny to their actions. Continue reading
Much has happened in British politics since labour last held the majority in Parliament. Our country’s young were tied up with lifelong debt from absurd tuition fee rises, scandles came and went and the UK has torn itself from the EU and is in the balance about just how united we are to remain. It has hardly been smooth sailing for the Conservative so why has the Labour Party not pressed its advantage and pushed to triumph at the elections like all sense says they should?
Instead, Labour has squandered its advantages in aggressive bouts of in-fighting and policy blunders. Labour has lost sight of what the party itself stands for and in the process has lost basically all of its support. Labour shouldn’t be seen as ‘the lesser of two evils’ that gain votes from grudging hands but should stand proudly for the workers of this nation. Continue reading
It is that time of the year again when our country’s children attain their GCSE results and have them paraded across social media and national news stations. The statistics show a dip in overall grade levels, predictable after Gove’s reforms increased test difficulties and altered grade boundaries. It is a time when many youths are likely distressed and upset by the results, only made more so by the news’ focus on those that achieved glowing A* results.
I want people to succeed and know all to well how devastating it is when you do not get what you worked to achieve. That being said though, I am left wondering if a different, more critical approach to grades isn’t the right answer. Continue reading
As a long time fan of The Lord of the Rings movies and a reader of all things Tolkien, I was very excited about the announcement that The Hobbit was being adapted to the big screen. Then it was turned into a trilogy and I was skeptical but had faith in the brilliant cast and the vision of Peter Jackson. Over their release schedule I saw each of the movies several times with different groups of friends and family yet always came out of the cinema feeling slightly baffled.
The movies were unbelievably… meh. Not good, not bad, just kind of… boring. All of the elements were there: A great source material, talented actors, stunning visuals and a skilled director with experience making great movies from similar books, so why did The Hobbit trilogy fail to interest me? Continue reading