Weekly Writing Wrap-up: 25-1-2015

I want to start my post today by saying goodbye. This week a friend of mine passed away. Keith Milstead was an author at a publishing house I used to be involved with. Things did not end well between me and that agency, but Keith was always a friendly face. He and I had a great many conversations about writing, and autism, something we had in common in our lives. He proved to be a great help for me on that front. I was shocked by how long it was since we last spoke. Keith, sleep soft my friend. You will be missed by a great many.

A Good Start Scuppered by Injury

I started this week with all the intentions of pushing close to the 60,000 word mark for the month. However, Tuesday morning, while trying to be healthy and doing some yoga first thing in the morning, my back decided to revolt. The rest of the week was spent in agony and it is only today that I have been able to sit (since Wednesday) and write anything that qualifies as words.

I did manage to finish two new guest posts that are lined up for February, which I am really excited about.

It was annoying, but it will teach me. I’m getting old, as much as I don’t want to admit it, and after years and bad posture, and canning it in the gym, I need to start doing things properly and that includes beginner phases for things.

Enough with the excuses, what did you actually get done?

Well, my current word total for January, as of the time of this post is: 55,143.

I am unbelievably happy with this, and it means I am still averaging 2,205.72 words per day. If I can really keep this going, I will achieve some great things this year.

writing 6I am splitting most of my fiction writing time between two different novels. The second of which started as a short story last week. I want to write a new post next week about how this story just grew from nothing.

As I didn’t write anything Thursday or Friday, and only a few hundred words yesterday, I am not going to say anything over the lower total this week. I am just happy that the pain in my back is starting to fade and I can get back to real writing and working out (sensibly) again.

What are the plans for the week ahead?

Providing I don’t re-damage myself, this week is going to be focused on the two novels I am currently working on, but I have also got a plan in my head for another erotica short story. I kind of like writing the erotic stuff. It is a nice change of pace, and oddly enough seems to come quite naturally to me.

I really want to his the big milestones on both novels, which for me is the 20k mark. If I can hit twenty thousand words and still have enough story to tell, I know it will be a novel and not a drawn out short story.

Having two vastly different novels on the go at once is very nice because it means I can keep switching from one to the other whenever I find myself running short on words, or inspiration.

I have a little bit of freelance work in for the week also, and a couple of blog posts I need to write so that should also keep the words flowing.

What are your plans for the coming week? How did you do this week just gone?

Thanks for reading,

Do you fancy giving one of my books a try? Come on over to my author page on Amazon and take your pick. I have novels such as Highway to Hell and Blood of the Tainted, through my chapter book zombie series, Diaries of the Damned.

The majority of my books are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can read them for free!

Blood of the Tainted ebook coverDiaries of the Damned blog tour - Alex Laybourne

Who am I to Give you Advice on Writing?

Who am I to Give you Advice on Writing?

So many of the blogs I see coming through my inbox are talking about the craft of writing; the art of writing.

There are blogs talking about creating characters, and atmosphere. Adding tension and drama to the influential scenes in your book. I’ve read at least three blogs this month talking about story arc, and a plot points.

Each blog made valid points. They all approached the topic with a different voice, and from a slightly different angle.

Writing-AdviceI will not lie, each blog was filled with tips that could, in theory by useful and interesting. Many of the main pointers were the same, which quite frankly, was a relief. There is nothing worse than reading conflicting posts.

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with these post, or the abundance in which they seem to appear. After all, this craft of ours is so vast, that all of the point that can be classified as style pointers.

I (try to) read all of the blogs that come through into my emails, and the more of these instructional blogs I read, the more one thing becomes clear.

I am in no position to stand up and tell people who they should write.

Who am I to assume I have the ability to offer any guidance in this art. What have I done that means I can stand up in front of a crowd and say what is right or wrong?

I’ve not achieved anything that is overly noteworthy. Not in the grand scheme of things at least.

For me to stand here and preach the skills I have yet to master at even a basic level would make me a hypocrite to say the least.

Sure, I have my way of doing things, but that is not to even suggest that they would work for everybody, anybody.advice

In fact, I would go as far as to preach the opposite. The way I tend to approach things is from an act now, question later perspective, and while, somehow, it seems to work for me, there is a great risk involved.

So how could I possibly consider telling you that there are certain cardinal rules that must be adhered to when writing horror, or when creating a relationship between two characters? I can’t, and I won’t.

I am a good writer, I know this. I am a good ‘teacher’ or ‘trainer’. I know this also, but I know I am not suited to training people on how to write.

For a start, there are too many rules. Too many things that everybody says should be adhered to. In my world, rules are made to be broken, and that is exactly what I do. I rebel, I push back against the rules placed against me. It is in my nature, and that is a large part of what makes my process work. It is why it will not work for many other people.

Maybe that would be the advice I would give. Not writing advice, but life advice. Break the rules, push the limits and don’t let anything cage you.

“Don’t just teach your children to read… Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything.” – George Carlin

Do you fancing giving one of my books a try? Come on over to my author page on Amazon and take your pick. I have novels such as Highway to Hell and Blood of the Tainted, through my chapterbook zombie series, Diaries of the Damned.

The majority of my books are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program, so if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can read them for free!

Alex’s Must Read Horror Authors for 2015.

Reading Goals for the Coming Year

The New Year is now well and truly underway. So much so that this will certainly be the last post in which I refer to 2015 in such a way.

I have been meaning to post this for a little while, but every time I failed to write it. I have no idea why.

When it comes to horror, I have read a fair bit of King, and some Clive Barker, and a fair bit written by my horror loving friends and fellow indie writers, but there is a heck of a lot out there I have not read, and a lot of authors whose work should be devoured by any horror lover. I know, I should feel guilty admitting it, but most of my reading material in recent years (since moving to Holland) has been inherited books from family, and they just don’t read horror.

Now I don’t mind, because reading is reading, and a range of genres and literature types is important, but I have decided to make 2015 the year Alex expands his horror horizons.

There are a lot of books out there that I want to read, and it can be hard to determine a good starting point.

Which Writers Made the 2015 ‘Must Read’ List?

I have narrowed it down to the authors whose work I want to read and a few individual titles also. So here goes.

Clive Barker I have read a bit of his work, but nowhere near enough. Arabat, and Imajica are the top two names on the list for me to get my hands on this year. Of course, the Scarlet Gospels is required reading in 2015!

Neil Gaiman. Granted, not everything Neil Gaiman writes is horror, but I have heard so much about him, but never read a word of what he has written. I am thinking American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane would be a good place to start.

Richard Laymon Once again, it is close to a crime that I have never read anything by Richard Laymon. That will definitely change this year. The man has a pretty prolific set of works behind his name, and I need to start reading some of it. I would be remiss If I said I knew a lot about him, so I am interested to explore his fiction.

Peter Straub: Aside from having exchanged a few words with Peter Straub on Facebook, I have not yet read any of his fiction. Ghost Story is undoubtedly the first book that I want to focus my attention on, and then maybe the collaborations with Stephen King.

James Herbert: I read some Herbert when I was younger, and I really enjoyed it. It came immediately after reading IT and I think my 9 year old brain was already expanded beyond the normal realms. I think I will start with Fog and The Rats.

Dean Koontz: Last year I read my first Dean Koontz novel ‘Watchers’ it was a book I found on a plane. I was boarding, ready to fly to Sydney for work and there in the baggage locker was this book. So I adopted it. The next ones on the list for me as far as Dean Koontz is concerned would be: Strangers, Demon Seed and the Frankenstein series.

Joe Hill: I have heard a great many things about Joe Hill, and given who his father is, and not forgetting that his mother is also an author, it is fair enough that there are big things expected from him. Having read reviews of his work, Horns and NOS4A2 are the two main books on the list for Joe.

In recent years my reading speed has been decreased due to my often hectic life, but this year I intend to make sure I read every day, and until not have managed to stick to this promise.

The biggest issue for me is finding the damned books for a price I can justify.

What are your reading goals for 2015? Any new authors you are keen to try?

What was the best book you read last year? Tell us, come on in and share, we bite, but you will like it.

**SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT**

If you don’t currently have anything loaded onto your reading devices, or have just close the pages on your most recent paperback acquistion, then may I recommend the work of a very talented horror author…

Blood of the Tainted: “Don’t be afraid my dears, you fear will taint the meat”

Diaries of the Damned: The dead should stay dead, and secrets should stay buried.

Blood of the Tainted ebook cover  Diaries of the Damned blog tour - Alex Laybourne

Thanks for reading.