Your First Impression

I’ve been able to tie these in together, which is always lovely. Today’s daily prompt was: Impression

Over the last few months I’ve been considering how my blog looks and I decided it was time to make it more user friendly and easier to navigate and that most important – first impression of anyone brave enough to wander into my corner of the internet…
So you may have noticed a few little changes popping up on this site. I’ve been scouring the available wordpress formats for a while, for something a bit more user friendly. To have all of my blog posts in identifiable sections for ease of navigation, so you wouldn’t have to scroll through loads and loads of text to find the posts you’re interested in.

Here they are – Writing Advice & Stories

I think, with the addition of some pages that this has now been achieved! There will be more pages to follow  focused on writing competitions and the results from some of those and compiling all of my research into publishing options.

I’ve also updated my page on ‘Reading’ and hope to add a few more books to the list of recommendations.

Finally, I’ve create a snazzy new facebook page, please come and join me! at Fibi Jeeves!

Happy Reading!

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It’s potential – Leave it!

I’m a big believer in getting out what you put in. Unless of course it’s a bank balance, at which point I am a fan of Dylan Moran and the understanding that you always have less money than you think you do. And personal potential – ‘It’s potential- leave it!’

But there I digress from today’s Daily Prompt. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, do I agree? At which point I say yes. When I approach the day in a positive way I find that it goes better. That isn’t to say that the day is perfect and I can skip through it like Julie Andrews – but it is easier to face the little hurdles or the giant mountains that are thrown at you, because you start off in a better place. This also isn’t to say that being positive is easy. It can take a lot of energy – especially first thing in the morning before I’ve had some coffee!

There are definitely some days though when I feel that honestly, I can’t be bothered to be super happy. There lies the struggle, the forced effort to push myself into a better day. I can always feel my emotional feet dragging at that point and it’s tempting to just let the gloom pull me down, to wrap myself in that blanket of ‘bleurgh’. If I’m honest, sometimes I let it get the better of me and I might even go a few days of being in a foul mood which usually will lift on its own. Sometimes though, it takes a really good laugh with friends or Mr L to push it all away.

But the thing to remember, that I always hang onto is that everything changes. Tomorrow will always be different and unless you can predict the future or have a magic crystal ball – you don’t know how it’s going to be or what’s coming. It might be a train-wreck or it might be beautiful, we just don’t know. But either way everything is always changing.

In terms of beauty, I think you have to be in place to appreciate it. When there’s that inner glow you can see the world and the people in it and their myriad beauty. If you’re feeling like you want to wrap a duvet over your head and sleep for a month – you’re less inclined to notice things around. Beauty is in the eye of those able to search for it but everyone needs a little reminder sometimes that the world is enormous despite the globalization that the internet has bought us.

Edit out the habits: How to Improve Work

There are certainly a few recurring ‘snags’ as it were in the cloth of my carefully constructed words. By editing and work-shopping I’ve been lucky to identify the trends in my work that make it less accessible to the reader. If you have to work hard to read something, then you’re more inclined to give up part-way though. For my rambling thoughts on what puts me off reading a story, there is a post here: Scared of Reading – actually funny story. I started writing this blog post and it originally turned into that one. So I decided to split it into two complete and hopefully coherent articles! Fingers are crossed.

But here are the trends that I learnt to look out for in my work.

  1. Passive verbs passive verbs.

My characters had many limbs that did things for them, but instead I needed to just write, that the characters –did-the-thing- much simpler, much clearer. So for example: Her hand reached out toward the glowing embers. – Passive. What would be better is: She reached toward the glowing embers. – Active. It’s just easier to imagine what the protagonist is doing.

  1. Did uh…did that just happen?

A lot tends to happen to my heroine as she goes about her journey. But I was informed, and then realised that although she reacts physically to the things around her and says things, the reader was being cut out of her thoughts. This was causing a second problem in that my reader felt disconnected from her and therefore my storytelling was less effective. The manuscript I’m working on, was supposed to have a close-third person narration, but too often it was just narration and I wasn’t as close in the third-person as I thought I was. Cue thoughts and responses! It sounds very juvenile but I listed a number of responses such as:

‘She was surprised’, ‘shocked, Sarah turned,’ ‘torn between’, ‘relieved’ etc and then used them as a prompt sheet to include things more in my writing. The result has so far been successful and feedback very positive. Hooray!

  1. Too many wonderful, amazing, blue, sparkling adjectives.

Description is a beautiful thing. However, going through everything with a cut-happy pixie on my shoulder I realised something else that I’d been previously told. I have a tendency to repeat myself. With repetition and a build-up of adjectives, some of the writing was getting lost in itself. Cut, cut, cut! And the work made more impact. I kept the best phrases and descriptions or reworked the ones I really loved and couldn’t bring myself to part with.

  1. For a moment she was a little afraid.

In a final bid to avoid unnecessary repetition in the manuscript I did a ctrl-f word search for a few phrases such as ‘For a moment’ and ‘a little’. I’ll tell you something, I use those tags far too often! I think within 30,000 words I ended up deleting them over 50 times. They didn’t add anything to the story, the plot, the description. They were filler! All they did was water down the writing and stop the protagonist committing to any particular emotion. If she was ‘A little afraid’ why is she just not afraid? If ‘she paused for a moment,’ why doesn’t she just ‘pause.’ Cut!

Everyone has different version of these phrases that they fall back on. My nemesis as I’ve started to refer to them. They’re things I don’t even remember writing! Maybe I don’t, maybe they just appear… That must be it. Those and spelling/grammar errors.

It may be worth going through any work under editing and seeing if you can find one or two and then doing a word search to find out just how many times they sneak in, pesky little things. I definitely go through additional phases of ‘word of the day’ that will sneak in over and again in a chapter if I took a shine to a certain sound when the chapter was in construction. Thank goodness for editing!

The best thing about recognising (the latest) failing of you work, is that when you go on to write new things, you are aware of them and so you make them less often. This does open up the path to making shiny new mistakes, but I like to believe that by slowly eliminating bad habits and trends I’m improving every time I do a thorough edit.

I’m sure there is even evidence to support this as whenever I write I feel it’s better than what I was able to write 6 months ago. I still need to edit the draft, but the process is less painful. I know what I’m looking for, what needs to be edited for clarity what is actually my style. Maybe I still use too many adjectives- but that is because I like long and rambling description. That is a choice, it’s not just the adjectives sneaking in a little.

What are the writing habits you have learnt to look out for? Let me know 🙂

Fibi xx

10 Day Blogger Challenge – Half Way There!


day5

I’m currently at a point where I’m determined to keep up to date with my blog, so please find the fifth installment of the 10 Day Blogger Challenge to follow. It does feel a little like a cheap trick, I get to do some nifty self-promotion, with very little added work for today. But if it means I can rattle off a post and you’ll all find some amusement, I’m willing to make a sacrifice.

So, my best posts so far…well, there isn’t a huge amount to choose from; not that my posts are rubbish- I hope, but because I don’t exactly have an exorbitant amount to pick between.  I also run the risk of forcing readers to read the same old thing. However, for my first ‘best post’ I’m going to select something I find humorous and I feel that if you’ve stumbled across my blog, but not read this – than you may enjoy it.

First things first – The Great Pie Incident, a short story based on tragically true events.

This very brief story combines humour and an inability to cook. Fun for all the family! My sister apparently fell of the sofa laughing when she realised what I’d posted onto my blog. My mother was less impressed; but I’m yet to show you the ‘prawn cocktail’ she made at Christmas, or discuss or a cake which was a roll or the…you get the general idea. Like No Pie…

Second Post –

Family Orientated again. I like my story about pie, but I had a look at the stats and saw what other posts have been successful and deserve another airing out the cupboard.  I was delighted to find out that my post of celebration, for a very special lady had scored among the highest! –Whooopee! More people will realise just how amazing my sister is.  Daughter, Wife, Sister, Mother, Friend, Business Lady, Smart-alec… The daily prompt post I feel is worth a read. Also, another food related one. I’m starting to see a theme… Cake

Third Post –

What do I need to learn? Moving forward I’d like to be a better writer, I’d love to have greater style,  clarity and grace.  This post was also a response to a Daily Prompt and I was pleased with how it turned out. I find, sorry guys, that my blogs tend to wander off on their own tangents. But I don’t got no Gramma’ worked. Well, I feel it did anyway. I felt as though I was able to hit the daily prompt, say what I want to say, say it well, tie it up and move on. Success all round.

Let me know what you think, are these my best?

 

10 Day Challenge: Day Two – 10 Confessions

10 Day Write Blog Challenge Daily2

Well this is frightening! My second installment of the Blogger Challenge at Hunters Writings, but here we go…

  1. I love to write when it’s raining outside.
  2. If I can find it, I wear a bandanna when I write, it keeps my hair out of my face so I can concentrate on the page.
  3. I never feel as though I’m making something up, more that I’m uncovering a story that’s already written. I put down the words, but it feels as though I’m actually just scraping back dust, on words that are already written.
  4. Need caffeine to write. To wake up, to function as a human in any kind of capacity. Preferred intake is coffee. One giant mug of milky coffee, with a couple of sugars, just to the right.
  5. Coffee goes on the right, so that as a left, I’m free to write with pen and paper whilst simultaneous drinking delicious beverage.
  6. I’m not very good at keeping up to writing deadlines, and writing all the words that I should in one day.
  7. I feel as though my vocabulary is leaking out of my brain, day on day, week on week. I fear I know less words now than I did last year!
  8. I enjoy making my reader cry – well, it’s a sign of emotive response isn’t it! It’s a horrible thing, but strangely gratifying that you have manipulated your readers emotions to that point.
  9. I don’t understand vowels. Why are they never in the correct order?
  10. Writing is the essay that you put off to the last minute, but there’s no deadline and so it can slip away like sea from the shore. But it never leaves. It’s a buzz in the back of my mind, a frustration of repeat failure, that I’ve NOT gone and written what I wanted, or put the time in that I needed to.  It’s the homework that I avoid every night. But, when I actually settle down, coffee in hand, pen in another – I love it.  I start to slip away from the world and drift in the land I’m writing. I can see it happening as I write it. It’s like trying to watch a movie and write down what’s happening at the same time, but I get to be the director too. I float through the words and I can’t see away from the page or screen. It’s a blissful, exhilarating experience, and then the coffee runs out, or I get a cramp in my neck and I’m back. I get up, and suddenly, it’s the homework I’m avoiding again.