Seeing as it’s most of the way through February, I figure it’s about time to post an update here. Try to keep things somewhat regular in terms of posting on here.
At the start of the year I was mulling things over regarding writing, particularly with a view to doing posts for here or Irish Comic News. My main focus was to try and find things to read to try and improve the writing, be it websites, magazines or books.
As luck would have it a non-fiction book featuring such names as Warren Ellis and Alan Moore appeared on my radar (cover pictured below). It was an instant purchase for me, both as a fan of some of the writers involved and as a possible source for learning more about writing non-fiction.
The book was a wonderful read. It will definitely be one of those books I frequently re-read. It has a great variety of voices and styles. There are twelve pieces in total examining the ‘spirit of places’.
What quickly became apparent (from a learning point of view) was what each writer discussed, as well as the details they focussed on in their respective contribution. It emphasised the idea of the writer bringing something to a topic that only they can bring to it. Something to make it unique from a piece that another writer would have written.
Another thing was the almost conversational language used in the various pieices. It generally felt as if I was sat at a table listening to the writer tell their story. Which is close to what I’d like to get to with the reviews and blog posts. Definitely would like to avoid dry and stuffy writing which would just put people off. I want to try have the writing read much like what it is to listen to me chat about comics. That’s ethusiastic, interested and probably a bit giddy for those that I’ve not chatted to!
It’s an excellent book that I really recommend to people if you want to read some good non-fiction.
I’ve a couple of other non-fiction books in the pile but I’ll fill you in on them once I get a proper read of them.
On the art side of things, I managed to get back into the swing of doing some drawings during the week. I’ve included the most recent drawings I did below. That’s all for now.
I’m cutting it a bit close this month but I’ve managed to get the blog post in before the end of the month.
The first piece of news is that I have finished my latest module. I passed the four assignments and just need to get a pass in the exam to get a passing grade. It was the first time in almost ten years that I had to go to an exam centre. Thankfully the exam itself seem to go well enough. I was writing up answers right up to the end of the allotted time. Hopefully that’ll be a good omen for the result of the exam.
With this being the first month without study obligations to fulfill, I managed to get a nice amount of reading done over the month. The study can tire a person out at times. This means that I wouldn’t have much energy for reading some evenings. That was not to be the case this month. And because I had so much more free time, I was able to vary the reading material. I picked up some books that would be introductary reading on philosophy, ethics and logic. Some of it was tough at times but it was worthwhile. It’s an area that I have been wanting to read more about and I finally managed to make a start on it this month.
The extra free time in the evenings also means more time has been used to write. It has been generally been going well. With the increased frequency in writing, it has also become more obvious where the problems are with my writing. The biggest being that I seem to lack focus. I start writing a story and it goes well for maybe a thousand words. Then it just fizzles out. I have managed to be talked into taking part in NaNoWriMo next month (July). If last November is anything to go by, this will be a great excercise to train myself to focus. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge!
I’ll leave you with a video of a song by Venna. I discovered them during the month when I was going through my new music purchases. The album is outside the type of music I would buy regularly but it has been a welcome change. The video is of them performing “Quitting Contest”. That is the song that jumped out at me on the first listen. It has managed to infiltrate the back of my mind and set up a bed there. I hope you enjoy it also.
The blog is still going, although it’s not a frequent as I’d like. But I’ll use the “quality over quantity” excuse for now.
The year has started well regarding my goals for trying to achieve tasks that will help me improve with the writing. I have managed to dramatically cut down on my TV watching and use the free time to devour as many books as I can.
The books have been a mixture of philosophy, fiction and writing help-books. The writing books were particularly interesting when applied to whatever fiction I was also reading at the time. I still enjoyed the fiction but I could now appreciate the work that had gone into book also. I can see the development of the characters, the foreshadowing etc. And I’m sure that appreciation will only grow as I get more books into me.
In addition to the increased reading, I’ve assigned myself a weekly task to write a piece with a minimum of 1,000 words. That has been more of a challenge compared to the reading, probably as it requires me to produce the piece. The pieces I’ve produced so far have been somewhat lacking in beauty.
The pieces are generally a self contained scene. Some of the pieces have interesting ideas under the surface but the language and structure of the piece wouldn’t entice a reader to stick with it. I’d be hard pressed to do so myself to be perfectly honest. But I imagine it’ll be much like my experience with learning to play soccer. I couldn’t do much on the pitch at the start but as time progressed I began to realise where my strengths lay. Here’s hoping that the writing will be much the same. At least then I will have a few things that I know that I can do well. I guess time will tell in that regard.