Posts Tagged ‘notebook’

Short manuscripts put publishers off.

40,000 words does not a novel make.

That’s a novella and publishers usually won’t touch them with a barge-pole.

Because reasons.

60,000 words is too short for a novel and too long for a novella.

Long manuscripts also put publishers off.

Even if it’s good.

Yelling at the Publisher: “Never mind the length, feel the width!” isn’t going to cut it.

Short manuscripts don’t look like a good value proposition to the publisher, or customer, which costs money.

Long manuscripts require serious editing, and more pages, which costs money.

70,000 to 100,000 words is the right length for a first novel.

Because reasons.

The right length differs from genre to genre.

If you’re happy to take the chance, or self-publish, then write whatever damned length book you want.

Because ebooks.

Five minutes of silence

Posted: October 16, 2015 in graffiti living
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“If only one line in the poem has energy, then cut the rest out and leave only that one line” — Allen Ginsberg

Five minutes of silence as you watch the world go by.

Five minutes of silence as you stop to wonder why.

Five minutes of silence and you know you’re going to die.

Five minutes of silence and all you can do is sigh.

Five minutes of silence because there is no reason why.

Five minutes—

Red light warning

Posted: October 15, 2015 in graffiti living
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Allow. Allow whatever is in the moment to be there. It is what it is. Once you begin observing and allowing, you’ll notice how often you resist the moment you are in. That resistance keeps you in your head and out of the present.

Angels shout and laugh in all my dreams.

They watch as I sleep and say things to wake me up at certain points.

Outside the sky is steel grey and the clouds are laden down with snow.

On top of a building a solitary red light glares out like a beacon in the mist.

I wonder who it is trying to warn.

Keep a notebook in bed with you — or at least close by.

Write down your dreams.

Read them out loud.

Narrate your own dreams when you wake.

Then try to write them, in detail, as stories later.

Brainstorm and cluster around your original ideas.

Your brain created your dreams — they’re yours to use.

I stumbled across a brilliant section in an otherwise unremarkable book on writing called ‘A Writer’s View’ where he mentioned a process very similar to what I do when writing fiction:

Allow a horrible and massive gibberish-draft full of nonsense (a la Anne Lamott’s shitty first drafts).

Explore all the contradictions, and all the different possibilities of character and plot (write both when they turn left and when they turn right).

Then you’re free of anxiety, have everything in front of you and can try it on for size.

Then you can write a proper first draft which does the opposite — ie. it gets the structure right, focuses on what-actually-happens level structure and plot and is written better and more coherently, but still don’t sweat about deathless prose.

Then, and only then, do you go back and attempt to make the language better.

This struck me as a sensible and efficient way to approach writing and editing.

I can’t for the life of me find this book anywhere, but I swear that I didn’t dream it.