Daily Flash Fiction: The Early Conclusion

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Genesis 1:31

And the writer saw everything he had written, and behold, he saw 14 grammatical errors, 27 spelling mistakes, 5 plot inconsistencies, and 3 unbelievable truths

Jonathan L. Lawrence, May 2013

 

Hands up if anyone noticed I’d not posted in a month? Well I noticed, and it was very annoying, because it means I’m really really quite far behind on my daily flash fic posting. So far behind that it’s gotten to a month and a half, (well 44 days to be precise). I’m never going to catch that up, because I don’t think I can commit to daily stories at the moment. It’s never been my style, I’m not a short story writer. Well despite 135 short stories to the contrary.

That said, I am really proud of some of them, yes they all need a lot of work – the challenge was not to edit and just keep posting, but there are some real gems in there.

And since I’m very fond of stats, I’ve had a look at some for this challenge:

105,168 words written (in story only)

796 average story length

Here’s some graphs, because I love a good graph. The first shows my words per day, and a moving average word count. It shows I was gradually getting shorter in length, which was a goal of the challenge, so that’s something positive to take away:

From Word Usage

The second is just for my interest really, I like seeing an accumulative word count. Of course with a limit of 1,000 words maximum, and for most of the challenge a minimum of 500 it was pretty much guaranteed to run a relatively straight line, but it’s nice to see all the same:

From Word Usage

Aside from getting bogged down in distractions, apathy, and writer’s block, I’ve enjoyed the challenge for the most part. And it’s succeeded in several ways, such as having the chance to try new things, practice things I’ve never been particularly good at, writing with a little more abandon. It’s also given me ample opportunity to see where my skills are weakest in the fundamentals, (spelling and grammar that I simply don’t get).

It’s also more words than I’ve written outside of NaNoWriMo since I started doing NaNoWriMo, and probably from before then too.

I’m not done though, although I won’t be trying to keep up with 365 short stories in a year, I am going to post the occasional short story – to keep my eye in for next year, to give me a break from other projects, and to simply test out an idea I’ve got bouncing round in my head.

In the meantime I’ve got two pretty big story ideas, neither of which will be saved for NaNo, I want to write them now. I’m in a planning phase at the moment with brain storms and notes scattered all around. I’ve decided which one I’m going to write first, though I’ve written a few lines, (the proverbial foothold in enemy territory of the plain white page), I’m mostly writing out the back story. It’s a fantasy piece and it requires a good backing mythos to really work.

I’ll get you next time, Gadget. Next time!

Admin Round-up

It’s been a while since I did an admin post, probably because I don’t use my blog nearly enough.

However I’m definitely doing better on that front. As part of my daily challenge there’s writing going into my blog every day. Not just the daily flash fic challenge posts, I’m also working on:

  • Book reviews (I’m not good at these so I’m taking my time on my first one to establish what i want to get out of my reviews – otherwise known as the first attempt is already 4,000 words long and needs a good editing massacre)
  • Already one additional flash fic not related to the daily challenge, there might be otehrs to come, especially as it’s the weekend and plenty of time to write
  • I’m wokring on a full short story based on one of my Flash fics right now, and there’s several others begging for promotion to short story status, (either by sequel, prequel, or retelling)
  • I’m going to try and cover off some news stories and such
  • I’m planning a hand ful of articles based on my experiences for the first couple of months of the new year

 So, now’s a good time to review how my blog looks, and how it works.

Since I used WordPress, themes are a dime a dozen, though finding one I like is quite difficult. I’ve temporary settled on one called Scrappy By Caroline Moore, but with a couple of modifications for a more readable font, a header and picture of Ilkley.

Decembers Theme

It’s absolutely lovely, but it still isn’t quite what I’m after. I just can’t quite find one. That’s fine though, it gives me a new challenge, along side writing more frequently. I’m going to try and design my own theme – as with many things outside of writing, and often including writing, it’ll be ambitious but rubbish. I’m willing to give it a go though.

Speaking of ambitious I want a nice theme that can handle variety too – that way I can use a plug in or something to give certain categories their own theme when accessed. I.e. a sci fi category that has very similar theme to the front page but maybe has darker colours with bright blue detail, and a header pic that’s a nice generic sci fi pic (royalty free or self created of course). Each of my main writing categories would have their own theme, ones I don’t use often would be left with the main theme, as would posts in other areas, (except maybe poetry).

It also comes with a second job, reorganising my categories and tags and stuff. Which is on my to do list anyway.

I may go through and hide some of my earlier posts that I’m really not happy with, and edit them up to be fresher, up to date, and not ridicuously awful – plus you know, quick win on new content. I don’t mean that purely as a cheat, but because genuinely they’ll need plenty of work, and be changed enough to be pretty much new.

I also need to go through clean up my plugins, and update my pages to be either more up to date, or less date specific.

Lastly, these jobs are not a job for my blog directly, but I need to go through and organise my Picaso account better, and arrange permissions properly. I’d like to use that as the primary source for my blog images and stuff. While i have plenty of bandwidth and stuff, it makes sure i have plenty, and should the worst happen and my site is wiped, not only do I have frequent emaled database backups, my iamges aren’t in the same place as my site.

Plus there must be a good plug-in somewhere that can conenct picasa to my blog to make it easy to share media.

I’ve also started a tumblr account, and a sperate twitter account, (thus seperating writing subject from my business/travel/random fun twitter account). While this may have no obvious advantages right now, next year I’m going to try and actually drive traffic to my blog.

Courtesy of the great people I’ve met on #NaNoYorks, there’s already been a big jump, (but in fairness they are lovely people, and will click most links you show them, even if it takes them to a animated gif of a man naked (facing away from the camera) jumping for joy).

visitor-chart

So, that’s my state of the nation speech, covered pretty well.

If you had no faith in me as a blogger, lets see if I can turn that around. If might fail to achieve my plans – but I’d rather fail spectacularly then never have tried.

My Daily Challenge for 2013

Okay, so now NaNoWriMo is over for another year, I have to face up to something. I’m not really writing at any other time of year, which is a very bad habit. So, I’ve had this cunning plan of copying someone else sort. There’s a member of NaNoYorks called LittleSparks, who is writing 750 words a day, and has done so for the past 340 days consecutively.

This, I find incredibly impressive, and so I’m going to copy, kind of.

What I’m going to do though is try and do a single story every day for a year. Including right through NaNoWriMo, and the two Camp NaNoWriMo’s that precede it. Completely separate from any other word count scores I should add.

Then, I’ll post them here, after a little bit of editing.

It’s an act of creativity, perseverance, and timing.

It doesn’t matter where I do it, or how I do it, it just has to be done everyday, no catchups, no getting ahead. Each one has to be greater than 500 words, but less than or equal to 1,000 words. It doesn’t have to be super original, in fact I doubt I could do 365 short stories and be truly unique with even a handful of them, so there’ll be cliches, and things might seem familiar on occaision. They will hwoever be my words, and my idea at the time of writing.

What else? Oh yes, to achieve this awesome goal, I’m going to use prompts. Anything from a random photograph, conversation, and yes my much trusted and used StoryCubes. Where possible, I will try and include the prompt, if someone feels they can do better, who am I to stand in their way?

This is running from today (2nd December 2012), until the 1st December 2013

Anyway, I’ve set up a category for my daily challenge, let’s see if on 2nd December next year I can look back and count 365 seperate posts in there.

In the meantime, a post is coming up with my first offering.

Also, if you want to find out a bit more about Flash Fiction (i.e. very short, self contained stories), there’s a wikipedia page to explain here, and here you can go read countless examples of the art form.

 

Ta ra folks.

Poetry Practice: Day Eleven

My eleventh day of poetry practice, somewhat delayed after first having site issues, and then computer ones to boot. I’m not giving up, and I do have a back log of poetry to post, however I’m at work, so figured I’d write a quick one, and prove I’m still alive.

Disaster of a Dream

Soaring high above the world,
Glorious hue of unadultered blue,
Wisps of clouds stretching far beneath,
Breaks of green, and brown, and blue,
I am free, nothing can ever get to me here.

Feeling secure here, I swirled,
Blinded by beauty, I never had a clue,
My flight is at an end, I fall towards heath,
Panic flairs, my joy now seesm untrue,
I am trapped, falling to my death in fear.

Without warning, I am curled,
My workplace, twisted and strange,
An assault of vaunted ceilings, and a scary bar,
Signs of the office I know in the range,
I flee, this new world is out to get me.

The scene to Birmingham I’m hurled,
All about me recognised in change,
I bump into a scarey person with a scar,
He grabs me, we fall down a derange,
I hold on, he continues to fall free.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

Now just a bit about this poem : Continue reading

Poetry Practice: Day Ten

My tenth day of writing practice poems to get myself fit for competition.

Today we have one about the weather, which bears no relation to the weather experienced this weekend funnily enough.

Atmosphere Alight
Furous titans battle at the edge,
Tempestuous gods push back,
Might against might
The battle of nature rages.

Hurricanes battle warm fronts,
Thunder and lightening attack,
Atmosphere alight,
Man measures its puny gauges.

Rivers swell breaking banks,
Weather defences seem to lack,
Dangerous sight,
The battle for nature through ages.

Poetry Practice: Day nine

Well today is day nine, I’m starting to feel good about writing poetry, well I always did, but having been away for nearly a year, I felt anxious about writing. I’m not a confident person, I’m honest, hard working, and caring – all great qualities but I lack confidence. Writing today’s poem, I felt confident about writing poetry, and that is a fantastic feeling.

Anyway, here’s today’s poem:

Trumble

Trumble trumble
The train is speeding along the tracks,
Like the cliche it goes on and on,
It doesn’t care how many poets pay tribute,
How could it? It’s a train, it suffers no dispute,
Like the cliche it goes on and on,
Until age, fault, or accident attacks,
Trumble trumble.

Trumble trumble,
It might carry passengers or sacks,
Train doesn’t care, just goes it’s way,
For cheap fast long distance it suffers no substitute,
It’s masters do, they’re not nearly as astute,
They only care about getting more pay,
Preventing the goofd things train lacks,
Humble grumble.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

Well we’re back to political rantscommentary as poetry, throw in a bit of business, but mostly it’s politically motivated. The train may not care about the state of British railways, but I do – between Labour and Conservatives, the railways have been turned into a wasteful, inefficient, unenjoyable, expensive and ill-fated form of travel. Why ill fated? Well if enough train companie go under, the rail network would grind to a halt – either someone wealthy would get wealthier running a shadow of the service, or it simply stops. The rail network, and it’s subsidies, have been so artificially raised up, no government could take it back – though they’d happily pay as much to the wealthy hero to take over.

I’m grouchy – I love public transport, or loved is more accurate. Have such fantastic memories, and feelings of trains of old. By old I mean my relatively recent childhood – big black and white Intercity’s with their golden stripe were always a mystery. I never got to go on one before they became GNER, then National Express trains. The design, and routes may not have changed, these cheap rip-offs, the amateur replacements are no match in my mind for the glorious behemoths of memories.

I remember going to the National Railway Museum in York as a child with my grandparents – if I loved the idea of the Intercities, this was where I was blown away. Amazing contraptions everywhich way, Mallards, and Stephenson’s Rocket, walk through 30’s 1st class carriages, and even take a short ride along the tracks, steam billowing from the front, distinctive whistles blaring.

I’m on a train now, a Pandolino (on mobile so not easy to check spelling), it doesn’t compare, and though I have somewhere good to go, the journey isn’t the same.

I should probably have written a second poem, this post deserved it, as did my memories. Maybe another time I’ll revisit that passion.

Poetry Practice: Day Eight

So my poetry practice continues, where now into the second week, and still I hope to continue upon this path. I am going to start introducing mandatory elements into my daily practice poems, just to liven it up, and stretch myself technically, and emotively. I will cover these in more details in a post later, laying out what I intend on doing.

That being said, it is possibly that I won’t be posting for a few days as I go away, however I will try to avoid this, as I really like keeping to a poem a day, and will be writing them, so it is only a minor hassle to fathom a way to post them.

Anyway, onto today’s poem – as I write this, I haven’t started writing the poem, this is coming straight out of my head and into the pages of this blog. No preparation, or hesitation.


The Gifts of Poets Gone

As I lay here, on the backs of giants,
Poetry forebearers that carried the skill into art,
Whose tireless efforts, and many a sacrifice,
Have given me today,
The bed upon which I lay.

By which I mean the literary warrants,
The rules, tempers, and heritages they impart,
For which I am able to add my words, spice,
And never say nay,
The words my mind may.

As I lay here dwelling in fragments,
Of poetry past and present, musing my part,
I have yet to play, indulging my vice,
I suffer no defray,
It will be words day.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I think this poem is relatively clear, and it’s source easy to identify (see my last blog post), it is also something I genuinely believe and hold dear. Though I am a pale imitation of their art, their skill, and their lives, I am no less beholden to them for the gifts they have given that have led me to where I am.

Where I imitate there style, where I borrow from their prose, I hope they would be flattered, and hope they would appreciate my gratitude.