Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting There

Over the past few days I did a little re-write on my contribution for the anthology. It was good to leave it to one side for a few weeks and to let it float around in my head for a while. I would definitely be expecting at least another couple of re-writes before I have to tackle the dreaded proofread.

All in all I'm happy with how the story has come together and all within the word limit. Spending time in prep has been a worthwhile exercise. Short stories are a format that I will write in again as I've found it very enjoyable.
Next step over the coming weeks will be to get together with other group members and start working on another re-write based on thoughts some of them may have about it and hopefully helping out with one or two of the other stories if needed.

We will also be chatting about other things, like possible titles for the eventual book and the possibility of posting short extracts from the pieces we are all busy on right now.

Though it has been quite of late here there will be plenty more to come very soon.

Noel's writing blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

And you're worried about writer's block?

It's a common theme with writers I've spoken to, both on line and face to face. It's a question that comes up at every talk or discussion about the writing life.

" How do you beat writer's block?"

My basic answer : Stuffed if I know.

I don't suffer writers block. Never have. I suffer from excessive laziness and a very short attention span. That's why I don't write as much as I should or could. Any bright, shiny, noisy object that comes into my personal space must be investigated rather than work on my current project(s). And that's where the trouble begins.

I shall digress.

The understanding when I joined this crew was to write a short story at approximately 10,000 words. A lot of people throw their hands in the air at that. Others just laugh and tell me that 10,000 is just saying hello. Goodbye must be a novella. 10,000 is just a tad (and a very small tad at that) larger than my comfort zone but out of my reach. First draft was 10,227. Right on target.

So, I put it to bed for a few days, what with disasters seemingly falling out of the sky, and when I pick it up to edit, I have red pen in hand and an eye to kill a few darlings. In Stephen King's "On Writing" he mentions a rough target of ten percent to be shaved off in editing mostly useless, passive words, sentences that go nowhere or add nothing to the story.

I took out nearly two thousand.

And promptly put back another 9,000.

Yeah, you got it right.Literary diarrhea has flowed from my brain, through my fingers and into my harddrive. And some of it is damn good, too!

So, what to take out. My story has moved in a newish direction. Not an unplanned one, but it's fattened my little calf to the point I need to put it on a bit of a language diet.

But - and I repeat - what to take out?

I have some cool characters, a few that are needed for side dressing and diversion. None of them are ripe for the chop. Neither are any of the situations by darlings have found themselves in. But 6 - 7,000 words must be taken out, and I alone have the power to choose them.

The other problem? (Did I mention that there is never really one problem? They always seem to come in herds!) The other problem is oversupply of ideas. I suffer from a very active imagination. Give it a few minutes to run loose and it's off, dragging random factoids, heresay and pure bullshit together into a possible new project. SoI take notes. In the month that I have been working on this project, no mless than 15 more have been noted. More than a few will not survive the thinking/planning process and will be doomed to the box of notebooks stashed cleverly in my office under a growing pile of crap. But at least three (at this writing) have stayed with me, taken root in my clutered and hsort-spaced sub conscious and grown.

Not counting the other projects I was already invoved in. (told you, herds!!)

Thankfully, the urge to write comes along frequently enough to quiet the voices in my head, all clamouring for attention. Look at me, look at me. I focus on what I can, note what I can't, and those I lose, I lose with regret and hope that one day they come back to me so that I may do them the justice they deserve.

But enough of that, back to my story. I may post a bit here on the weekend. We'll see.

From the engine room, I bid you good-night.


Friday, August 6, 2010

First Draft ~ Cripple

I spent much of the past week writing the first draft of my contribution to the anthology. So much for stating I'd try to knock it out in one writing session that would render me zombie-like.
I started at pace, knocking out a third in about five hours before the dawn approached and I had somewhere to be.
When I returned to it, the same blood wasn't flowing through my creative juices so instead of trying to hinder progress, I left it until I had time to turn things over in my mind. The story was the better for it. I paced myself, took time to think about what I was writing. Structurally, I adhered to what I had prepped for myself. Structure is nothing unless you fill in the gaps in between, and I was glad it took the week, wrote in leisure at my own pace, in times of my choosing and to me, that's important and I'm lucky to have that freedom.

I came up 500 words short than my target. That's fine, I've plenty of re-writing to do. From the first draft I now have a blue print to work from. Given it's only 15 pages in length in it's current state, I'll print it out next week and save some of the sight I have left. I'll work from a print out as I set about fine tuning it. There's plenty of time to return to it a few more times and I intend to. I'm excited I've tried something new, I've wrote short stories but they were all filed away completed in first draft form never to be re-visited.

I'm happy with what I've wrote. I wrote it in the first person. I find it easier when writing a character to step into their shoes. I can still step in more but that will require more work. It's possible I'll do it but that won't become apparent until I've read it a number of times again. If it's anything like the process of writing a book I'm sure it will change quite a bit. This time though, I won't have the battle of deciding which words to delete.

This time I need a few more...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Erasings Days

In response to an earlier post from Barry, I though I should expand a little on the theme of the anthology and how it came about.
Over the course of the past few years, I have found a little time on my hands and as such found myself reading about people on Wikipedia. It was there I discovered a man by the name of Hugh Everett, a physicist who brought a theory about parallel worlds and universes to the world. Cascaded and frowned upon after he wrote it, Everett moved away from Academia and worked for the US government in various roles up until his untimely death early in his fifties.

Everett's theory has since been accepted as a ground-breaking work in the years since he wrote it. Everett was an alcoholic and could be a little eccentric. His family life laid him bare as a cold being, his wife died young as did his daughter, who committed suicide soon after her father's death. His son Mark is the lead singer with the group Eels.

If you want to find out more about Everett's life, I suggest you watch a documentary called Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives, if for no other reason than to learn a little more about this extraordinary story.

His theory speaks to me somewhat. Though it is difficult to comprehend, it does open up another line of thinking when it comes to thought about who we are and what existence is all about. From that and in an effort to try and come up with a loosely based theme for the anthology, I thought I'd ask the participating writers to explore a theme surrounding 'if there was one day in life they could erase'.

I told everybody that they could draw from that what they please, but I felt it was important to at least attempt to have a running theme through all the short stories and that's what I came up with.

Though my own story has nothing to do with scientific theory, or is in no way aligned with Hugh Everett's thinking, two events from his life brought me to that theme. The first was his death of a heart attach at just 51. Stemming from that was his request for his ashes to be thrown out with the trash. Maybe they were two days he would have liked to erase, but then again perhaps not.

Everett believed in a many worlds theory where absolutely everything was possible, good or bad. Since science can't argue with him, even to this day, it is a wonderful thought when you think of the good. It was something I kept in mind when i wrote It's What You leave Behind and I felt it worked well. I hope the theme provides interesting angles for all the writers involved in this, be they good or bad.

Theme And The Me.

I suffer from a bad case of second guessing. A large part of my writing life is always questioning my ability, my product, my work ethic. Am I wrong in doubting myself? Probably. but having completed a first draft and working now on a second - or first rewrite if you prefer - I keep coming back to the theme. I'll not give the game away just yet, as I've noticed no-one has advertised the theme of the anthology yet, but ...

When I was first informed of the theme for the book I had just finished watching a recently released movie with my older son and thought WOW! This guys psychic. That's just the same as the movie I just watched. Since then, I've sent my first draft to my favourite editor and her first comment referred me to another movie - totally different - that worked along the lines of my story. There's a love story that's mixed in that, and it's a seriously hard movie to watch, but thematically it's the same. Then (there's always a then) I'm asked by one of my readers if I was comfortable ripping off one of my favourite writers, Philip K Dick.

So now, out come all those petty insecurities that just wait to explode out of my mind. Have a committed the crime of ripping off a great writer with my own poor efforts? Will people think back to a hard to watch movie and go gee, he certainly liked THAT idea. Is my writing fresh enough, individual enough, GOOD enough?

On second read-thru, following exhaustive soul-searching (didn't find one) and fighting the misgivings of taking food from the mouths of writers I admire (yes' he's gone on to that next great adventure, but you know what I mean) I have decided that yes, I write very goodly, I am fresh and innovative and I will give the theme a new voice through my work.

I think.

More as it comes to hand. Blog.


Intercontinental Ink. The only ink I use now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Chillaxationary Position

It's OK, you're safe. I'm not starting columns on new sexual positions. It's Sunday, I'm lying on my bed with the laptop on my folded leg, and watching a spot of golf. I think, this week anyway, I've earned it. I finished to the best of my capabilities, It's What You Leave Behind this morning. Three weeks shy of a year.
It finished up at 90,353 words, which is a long way short of the original first draft, which went over 200,000. I did enjoy that re-writing process and all the edits in between. Someone once said that writing was re-writing. Up to now I didn't listen to that. This time I did.
You only ever get to write one first book and when I made the commitment to write it, I promised myself I'd test myself to the best of my ability. Over the course of the past two weeks the book went through a major and intense copy-edit, work that was slow and tedious. The final two proofreads after that, were the slowest I have ever read in my life.
From a personal prospective there is little more I can do it. If I ever do get an invite to read the entire manuscript, then I can honestly say I'm handing over the best I got inside me at the present time. I'm drawing the line under it now and although continuing submissions will be still sent out over the coming 4 weeks, if an offer to read the entire manuscript does not materialise, I'll stick with the numbers game and use that particular hit count to make an informed decision that maybe the invite will not come. It's a tough marketplace, no doubt about it.
I'm going to start the first draft of my short story contribution to the International Ink writing group by mid-week. My body aches somewhat after the past fortnight. I'm very lucky to have a very understanding partner who just leaves me to it. A tired writer can't be an easy thing to look at. It's important to have that support, especially when you consider it a job, but it brings in no money as yet. The economic times suck, but without it I may be still be one of those dreamers still waiting on the right time to do it.
I'm pretty sure many, many novels have started over the centuries and many were not completed. This was my third effort over the years. Third time lucky.
I feel like doing a little celebrating, but I doubt that is going to amount to much more than some decent sleep over the coming days and nights. A big dirty cigar and a bottle of vodka.... if only.
It's been worth the effort, if for no other reason than to maybe show the kids someday that if they put to their mind to doing something, it can be done. If for no other reason than just proving you can do it for yourself. That may sound like a cheap cop-out to failure for some, to me it's the one thing that carried this project through many long days and nights.
Of course one can't rest on laurels. Looking forward to drafting the short this week. Then it's on to researching and preparing for my second book. It will be something completely different, a dark portrait of a certain character. It will be a much different test. Will require a lot more from the writer within. It will be dealing with wayward psychology of the mind and in the crime genre. Fiction again.
Once I flesh it out and prepare properly, then it will only take about eight weeks to do a first draft. So fingers crossed early next year the countdown will be on to book 2.
Today though, it's the chillaxationary position. Here's to staying the course. For once. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Gerry Tully Takes Ages To Do It !


Fellow writers and everyone looking in from all parts of the world. I thought I'd spend a couple of minutes on this wonderful site that I'm delighted to be part of to set the ball rolling for myself. To give you some insight into my foolish thinking regarding the written word. After years of neglect from me thankfully, I came to the realization that I can't put this bit of my life off untill another time, or until an afternoon when there wasn't much to do. Along with the very real thougth that death would stop me eventually anyway did it become clear that writing is real, real work, it's a skill, and a talent that needs to be honed. My hat's off to all those who take on such a challenge.

I spent many years trying to write for selfish reasons I suppose. When I was about eighteen I was determent to make a mark in the world so I was immediately drawn to writing as a passive aggressive way of lashing out at the world. I bought a "Brother" type writer, even though there was a computer in the house at the time, but the computer was well beyond my capabilities then, as it is today. I soothe myself with thoughts that the type writer had a romance about it, it was an honorable way to put out short stories and in my mind it grounded me in the world of creating and polishing an idea to a bright sheen before submitting it, via post to whatever publication would have it. Not too many wanted it, and I'd almost worn out my typewriter and my fingers and had worn away the thin veneer of resilience I'd built up against the machine that was publishing.

It was too hard to get the job done without having to actually do some work. I mean, I'd have to sit down and start. I'd have to do rewrites and let people see my bared soul with all it's problems and short comings. I'd need to confess to y poor ability to spell. I didn't think real writers did that kind of thing, that kind of thing was for hopeless people who had nothing better to do but try. Besides I wanted the story finished, and all the adulation NOW! This was to be one of the driving forces in my down fall. Applying this kind of "magical thinking" to normal work ethic is a recipe for failure. Fail I did, I stopped writing to find the real way to get published so that I wouldn't be caught out by that whole sitting at a desk lark.

After thirteen years I found the real answer to the mystery of getting words on paper, or screen. It was staring me in the face all along!

There it was, between the lines on my page and right on the tip of my pen!

That recipe again; 1 PEN, 1 PAGE 1 BRAIN (in gear) and keep going!

Looking forward to reading all that's on offer among us.

Heads down to the finish!!


10,000 Word Odyssey

10,227 words for a first draft. Not too shabby. But now I wonder if I should have gone with option 2. Dunno. I like the idea of this first story. It shares a bond with one of my favourite writers, Phillip K, Dick, the man Hollywood goes to when they run out of ideas of their own.
It's a difficult one to make work though, the science is kind of loose and there are a few holes, but the Master has given me time to fix some of those holes and tighten them up, and make the science a little more believable.

See me in a week. Will either have it heading in the right direction or will be on to option 2.

More as it comes to hand.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Philip Deane

Phillip Deane was born in Liverpool on the 4th of June, 1978. After spending many years living in England, Phillip took the opportunity to move to Ireland in year 2000 were his life started to take a dramatic turn for the better.

After years as a Health and Fitness Instructor, he found himself being driven towards the industry of performing Arts. Already a keen writer of poems and his love of music, Phillip eventually found himself performing on various stages across Ireland with the very successful Kildare based Drama Group, The Silken Thomas Players.

He started meeting more people who shared the same interests as himself. Phillip went on to appear in TV dramas such as The Tudors, Father and Son and the feature film, Leap year. He also appeared in many short films and commercials.

Currently Phillip is rehearsing The Sun The Moon and The Apply, by Ted Hughes, which will tour also across Ireland. His main interests include Cossack riding, singing , playing guitar and writing poems.

Gerry Tully

Gerry Tully is from Trim, Co, Meath, Ireland. He discovered his love of writing and the written word some 20 years ago.

He began writing short-stories, poetry and songs. In those day his stories featured in local anthologies and on one occasion one of his short stories featured in a national Woman's magazine.

Since that time Gerry has moved into songwriting and performing on a full-time basis, but time and intrigue have played their part in his return to the alter that first held his attention. His objective is to offer writing from his own experience and self discovery with a little humour thrown in too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mairtin de Barra

Mairtin has been writing all his life, both for pleasure and for gain. Mainly for pleasure though!

He has had two short stories published in magazines, but he's neglected the medium for the last number of years, working on filmed drama instead.

He's made a number of short films, written a number of long films and won a few awards along the way. He's just at the point right now where he feels he needs to make something happen, and perhaps was getting too focused on the screen - so he's delighted to put his fiction blanket back on.

Marce Liptak Wise

Marce is a resident of Fresno, California, USA. Although she has been writing her whole life ~ in her career as a paralegal and for personal pleasure ~ this is her first foray into writing for publication.

She was born a coal miner’s daughter (and granddaughter) in southwest Pennsylvania of Polish, Hungarian and Czechoslovakian decent. When she was very young, she moved with her mother and grandmother to the Los Angeles area of California.

She has lived in various cities around the state from Sacramento to Mission Viejo, with Santa Barbara being the longest and most favorite of her residences. Marce has one daughter and one granddaughter, age two, who fortunatly live next door. She is retired from the law business and spends most of her time with her granddaughter, reading, writing, listening to music and playing on the internet.

Her story for this book is very near and dear to her heart for many reasons, and she hopes everyone enjoys it as much as they enjoy the other stories in this anthology.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Barry Simiana

Barry Simiana writes spec fiction, usually in the vein of "what if..." and his first major publication was in an anthology titled, Next Stop Hollywood, 15 short stories bound for the screen.

Other publications include a short werewolf story published many years ago called, How High The Moon, (recently redone and updated) and a short story, The Monster published in a local parenting magazine.

Coming soon is a collection of short stories called, Touch of Evil (due Aug 2010) and that is also being developed into a TV series, an Australian take on Halloween (due October 2010). Also on the cards is a film adaptation of Gone to Mum's and a follow-up to Touch of Evil due in March 2011.

Barry lives on the North Coast of New South Wales Australia with his wife and two sons.

Friday, July 9, 2010


All the Intercontinental Ink writers were asked to write a short story loosely based around the theme 'If there was one day from life you could erase'.

In mid-July all writers were asked to submit a short synopsis of the story they wanted to explore and a genre in which they wanted to write in.

The writers then embarked on writing their first drafts within a word count that was not to exceed 10,000 words.

The writers have set themselves a goal of finishing the completed anthology by the middle of November and intend to explore self publishing routes available on the Internet, though we will listen to all fantastical publishing offers by those in the mainstream of that world.


Noel Farrell

Noel Farrell is a writer and director who lives in Trim, Co Meath in Ireland. He has been writing for many years but has only been taking it seriously for the past four.

Noel has written many short stories and poems in the years he was exploring all that the wild side of life had to offer. When he decided that writing was something he wanted to explore on a professional level he took the steps necessary to educate himself in the art of screenwriting. He has since authored a number of short and feature film scripts and try as he may homes are hard to find for them. In the past couple of years Noel has been learning all that is involved in the area of film production and has produced and directed a number of projects. He writes about his film making work here.

After the breakdown of a film production he had been working on Noel questioned whether he wanted to continue in the harsh environment of screenwriting and film-making. Following a chat with fellow Intercontinental Writer Gerry Tully, Noel began a blog writing under the fictional character Don Booker and through that Noel wrote the book It's What You Leave Behind which is now complete and in the process of seeking a publisher/agent.
Noel continues to write about life in recessionary Ireland as seen through the eyes of Don Booker and the blog can be found here.

Noel put out a call in late May 2010 to fellow writers and from that the group Intercontinental Ink was formed with the intention of producing an anthology of short stories before the end of 2010.

When Noel is not writing he enjoys spending time with his family. He is an avid supporter of Arsenal F.C and has an interest in social issues and politics which he uses the Don Booker Blog to explore.
He recently set up Wannabe TV, a community group which endeavors to promote and develop a culture of creativity in the visual medium in the town of Trim.
Trim is the home of Oscar winning epic, Braveheart and cult classic, Fatal Deviation. Noel hopes to move away from comedy in his directorial pursuits over the coming months and enter the realm of drama when he produces the short film, The Man Who Held His Own Hand which he also wrote.