Its been a while again. But that’s ok, things take a while don’t they?
I have been reading loads, from magazines like New Scientist and National Geographic, to newspapers like the Times and Independent, reading good stories like No Country For Old Men and The Road, and buying many books on creative writing. I’ve also been expanding my mind with philosophical reads and conversations with my girlfriend. All this is hopefully making me a better author. Which reminds me! I wrote my second novel ‘The King of Bohicon’ in November 08. I’m so pleased about that, let me explain a little:
The first novel I wrote ‘The Stowaway’ was a mess, sure the story was good, but my writing wasn’t and it was the kind of book, where I threw everything I had at it, in order to complete. My plan to write a second novel a year later, was a much bigger challenge. Completing it was a milestone, because I knew I’d used all my best material on the first. The second was clearly going to be much harder with all new material, therefore the completion sealed my confidence that I really could be a writer if I worked at it.
Sooo… back to the reading material.
I have read a lot of books about writing: the practice of writing, the art of writing, the writers behind the writing, the structure, the grammer, the hints and tips and much more. Its been a joy and an effort, and one that I’m sure many ‘trainee writers’ possibly wouldn’t bother with. The reason why I’ve read so many of these is because I want to break the rules, and in order to do that I need to know the rules, so I can break them with knowledge, rather than just bumbling through a draft and assuming I’m doing everything right.
And there’s the word: right.
Many authors will argue that there is no right way to write. And now I’ve read a little more I’d agree. But for those that haven’t read any more of this blog, I haven’t read much either. Infact I’m very very new to reading fiction. I simply didn’t even know that there weren’t any rules to writing. I had to read that to discover it. This is how dumb I am about writing, even tho I know it is an art, I simply couldn’t consider that it was totally ruleless.
I’m also aware of the best way I learn is by 1) writing (which I’ve done by 2 completed novels) and by 2) learning from people that write. Now 2 could have been achieved by talking to my writing friends in real life or online, or by hanging out in writing groups. However I have no access to of any of those. Hence reading about writers really helped boost my confidence.
Now I’m building up momentum to write again, though this time I’m determined to do things differently. After the first 2 novels I’ve indentified my weaknesses and will write again, with better research, more plot freedom, and to try and remove my nemisis: showing not telling.
This last point makes me cringe at reading my previous work – its the text of newbies, amateurs and reading works by other authors that know how to ‘show’, makes me drool with jealously. I simply have to learn to write that way.
Hence the previous efforts of writing within 30days, needs to be extended. I hope to write another book in the middle of the year, but will spend much much longer on it. Possibly 3-4 months. I need to see how I cope and what I can write like if I spend as much time as I need on a story. I still like having a tight timeframe because that will force me to be disciplined and have a deadline -I know how people expand to fill their void:
“give a man an unlimited timeframe and they will take forever, give the same man a week and it shall be done in that” – Quote by me
So, wish me luck. I’m not sure when I’ll be back to write again in this blog, but I shall return – hopefully with another novel under my belt.
Mark Mapstone is a skateboarder, a writer, and author of the Ethan Wares Skateboard Series books.
Follow Mark on Instagram: @7plywood
Sign up to the Skate Fiction Mailing list: https://skatefiction.co.uk