Showing Tag: "writing" (Show all posts)

Writing through depression

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, July 3, 2017, In : Creativity and Life 

I want to say this right up front, I suffer from depression. It's something that a lot of people, not just writers, are dealing with, but it seems that mental illness  in one form or another is something that a lot of writers are facing. I’m a writer, and depression has influenced, and continues to influence, not just what I write and how I write, but my whole author career. 


Before we get into the meat of the topic, I’ve gotta cover my ass, so: I'm a writer and an ESL teacher, not a doc...


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The Ride

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, July 14, 2014, In : Update 

This is a bit of an update. I haven’t been posting a lot recently because I’ve been working my butt off getting words down. I’ve been putting in eighteen hour days for pretty much the last two months. Not all of that was writing, of course, I still have my day jobs, but every minute I wasn’t at those, my butt was in my chair and my fingers were dancing on the keyboard, or drumming beside it. [Grin] 

As long-time followers will know, I’ve been a part of the Magic Spreadsheet for abou...


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Are writers obsolete?

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, September 10, 2013, In : On The Web 

I read a comment on a university forum recently (sorry, locked forum, can’t provide a link) where one of the students commented: 

“The role of the writer in society is currently being questioned as a result of technology’s influence. The written word seems to be less important today than even twenty years ago…. Perhaps the oral storyteller became the writer and is now slowly turning back to its original form.” 


Now it’s true that vloging, podcasting, and audio books have really t...


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200 Days

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, August 11, 2013, In : Update 

I’ve mentioned the Magic Spreadsheet several times over the course of the last several months. If you want to know what I’m talking about, go and check out Homecoming, the first post where I explain it.


I’ve passed several milestones in my writing recently. This week I got my (metaphorical) coin for 200th consecutive day of writing more than 250 words a day. (My average is actually in the neighbourhood of 1800 words a day.) This week I also passed the 375,000 word mark which means that...


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Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 5, 2013, In : Writing 

So, everyone is doing their wrap-up posts for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m no exception. We all want to share our experiences and get other people interested in taking a shot at NaNoWriMo proper when it starts in November. First, a quick up-date and then the Three Keys to a Great NaNoWriMo Experience. 


I finished the month with a little over 55,000 words on my NaNo project and over 80,000 total for the month which is more words in one month than I think I’ve ever done before, especially as pr...


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Camp NaNoWriMo

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Saturday, July 20, 2013, In : Update 

Just to warn everyone, the first part of this rather long post is where I talk about the emotional roller coaster of the last couple of months and has very little to do with actual writing and a lot more to do with how life intrudes on the writer. The discussion about writing starts after the pretty red asterisks.


I’ve been silent for the last month or so, but I’ve a good excuse. I’ve actually written a couple of posts, I just haven’t gotten around to putting them up because I’ve b...


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Writing Advice, Rules, and Guidelines

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, June 10, 2013, In : Writing 

Any writer with any interest in the craft of writing eventually winds up with a veritable library of writing guides, style manuals, and how-to books along with a media-player full of podcasts and an RSS reader full of articles by writers. These sources offer advice on any and every aspect of writing; from story development to marketing and everything in between. We wind up with thousands of books, articles, and multimedia discussions on pretty much every topic related at all tangentially to t...


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Horns of a Dilemma

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, In : On The Web 

If you stop and think about it, as writers, there are really only two things we can do to improve our craft; practice, and study. Practice, is, of course, of great import, but I think it loses the paramount position to study because without knowing what you’re doing (which is the purpose of study) no amount of practice is going to make you any better. 


Now, that doesn’t mean that we should just buy all the books on writing and do all the exercises and prompts in them. For one thing, ther...


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Ideas & Imagination

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, May 23, 2013, In : Writing 

I was talking to a friend the other day and he made a comment about how (un)inspiring country life was and how, as a writer, he needed vibrant stimulation! I suggested that vibrant stimulation was great for the generation of ideas but that constant stimulation was hell on the actual writing process. He reminded me that, without the ideas, there is no writing, which is true enough, but not the whole story, just as the supposed tedium of country life and the supposed vibrancy of city life isn...


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Magic Spreadsheet

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, In : Productivity Pro 

Ok, so it’s been a while, too long really, and, as always, I have some good excuses that I’m not going to share because, as my old man always said, ‘Excuses just aren’t good enough.’ I’d call them reasons, but, really, reasons are the same as excuses when you’re apologising.

What I’d like to talk about today is the Magic Spreadsheet!

This is a Google-doc created by Tony Pisculli (Travis Gramkowski Senzaki added the live leader board). It’s NOT a Wiki. It is, however, m...


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Talent vs Skill

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, In : Craft 

The Roundtable Podcast is amazing. It is interesting, insightful, and instructional, not to mention alliterative. They put out two shows a week. One is called “Twenty minutes with…” and is a discussion with the week’s guest host about writing, editing, and their careers. The ‘twenty minutes’ usually runs a bit longer than twenty minutes, but I’m still left wanting more. The second part of the show is the ‘Workshop Episode’ where a guest writer brings a work in progress to Da...


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Plotting and Outlining

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, March 4, 2013, In : Writing 

I had planned to write a post about plotting about a month ago and just talk about the different methods I’ve seen discussed and where you can find more information on them. I went through this thing last year where I was really into outlining and trying to learn as much as possible about it. I’d been trying to deal with the Wayfarer edits and was hopelessly stuck and hoped that by learning more about outlining I might be able to make one for Wayfarer that would show me the way forward. I...


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Homecoming

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, February 7, 2013, In : Update 

It has been a little over six months since my last post and this is just a quick update on what’s been happening with my writing.


In July I wrote over 60,000 words, almost double my largest count from earlier in the year. Then in August I wrote almost 104,000 words but almost two-thirds of that was research with only 39,000 being new story-text. In September my research total dropped to just over 3,000, from 63,000, but my new story-text total remained fairly steady at 35,000 words. I also...


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Apologies & Updates

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, July 19, 2012, In : Update 
I have been absent from this site for a couple of months, for which my sincerest apologies. By way of explanation, I herniated a disc in my lower back in April and was unable to do anything, let alone keep up my blog. 

At around the same time I discovered that my big plans for a site dedicated to listing the various genre markets was superfluous as there is already a site that does this better than I would be able to at present. (Duotrope) I was also getting incredibly discouraged about where ...

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What is New Wave Science Fiction

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, In : Guest Blog 

by Sarah A. Hoyt

This is a manifesto.  I’m not sure what we’re manifesting, but it’s probably destiny.  Or density.  When you’re dyslexic, it can get confusing.  But in any case we’re manifesting something and it’s a patent manifestation.

The proximate reason for this is my post – here.  Or in other words, it’s another fine mess my mouth got us into.  (Okay, my typing fingers.  If you’re going to be nitpicky, you’re right out of the club.)

The purpose of this is to create ...


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Genre & Dialect

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, In : Writing 

‘Write what you know’ is one of the most cited rules of writing. Most people take it to mean that you should only write about those things you have some experience of. That idea has been soundly refuted by a number of good authors. 

What it really means is, if you want to write about something, or, write within a particular genre, you need to find out as much about it as you can before starting the story.

You need to immerse yourself in the topic to such an extent that when you come to wr...


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An Interesting 'How To' Book for Writers

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, March 11, 2012, In : Book Review 

102 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes, Bob Mayer, 2012, Writer’s Digest Books (Kindle: $4.99)

I came across this book a couple of months ago when it was being offered as a free e-book to subscribers of Writer’s Digest. At that time it had the title 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes, but the free version only contained 33. Having read those 33 I went looking for a complete copy, as I’m sure was the intention. The current book is an updated version of the earlier work with the ex...


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Productivity Pro Update

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, March 4, 2012, In : Productivity Pro 

As followers of this blog will be aware, three weeks ago I declared my intent to become more productive. In order to do that I was going to follow the recommendations given by Sage Cohen in her article, ‘10 Ways To Be A Productivity Pro.’

Over the last three weeks I have been reading and re-reading her article and working on putting some of her recommendations into effect. Over that time I have discovered two things: First, Sage’s advice works; and second, concentrating exclusively on p...


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Point Of View

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, February 20, 2012, In : Writing 

Point-of-view is one of the most important tools in any writer’s toolbox. Used well, POV provides an intimate connection with the main character. Used badly, it dilutes the impact of the story.

Take the time to study any best-selling novel and you’ll find that the writer has limited the POV as tightly as possible. This is because the fewer the POV characters, the more likely the reader is to make that emotional connection with your character that will keep them turning the page. 

The fewe...


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First efforts on the Productivity Path

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Friday, February 17, 2012, In : Productivity Pro 
I took Sage's advice to heart and began with Strategy 2: Live, Breathe, and Write Your Platform. 

First I had to define my platform. Not easy. I'm a writer, like a million other people out there. Eventually I narrowed it down a bit and the newly revamped website is the result. It only took me two days to redesign it all. And all the time I was doing that, and the reading I did today on how to blog effectively and how to market one's work and what are the 70 cardinal sins of writing; I was thin...

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Baby Steps

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Thursday, February 16, 2012, In : Productivity Pro 

The old saying, Today is the first day of the rest of your life, seems to have some added resonance for me today. Today is, despite the 25 years that have gone before, the first day of my writing life. At least, that's what I'm hoping.

 

I have been a writer for a long time. I've even been paid for my writing. I've got a complete draft of a novel that I am in the process (a rather long drawn out process) of editing and rewriting. But despite all that, and despite the uncomfortable feeling I g...


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The Writers' Ten Commandments?

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, In : From The Archives 

In September 2010, Writer’s Digest put out their ‘Big Ten’ issue. If you don’t already have a copy, I highly recommend getting yourself one as it is, to date, one of the most interesting they’ve ever published. 

In it, among many other interesting ‘Ten’ themed articles, there is an article, “10 Experts’ Take on the Writer’s Rulebook”*, by ten well-known writers** on the Ten Rules in the Writer’s Rulebook — the Writer’s Ten Commandments. In the article, Writer’s D...


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Painting With Words

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, In : Writing 

I was teaching a class the other day and had my students checking their definitions of the words on a vocabulary list by looking them up in the dictionary. One of the words was ‘debt’. I was surprised to find that the primary definition provided by the Webster’s American English Dictionary (New Edition) was ‘sin’, the secondary being ‘something owed’. 

I wondered if this particular take on debt was a particularly American understanding, or whether someone with extreme fundamenta...


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2012 Writer’s Market: Disappointments and Discoveries

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, In : Book Review 

Any of you who are regular readers should already be aware of this, but, in the name of full disclosure, I will state here that I am, for the most part, a genre writer. That is, my fiction usually falls into one of the genres commonly called Speculative – science fiction, fantasy, horror – or one of their sub-genres. Also, disclosure again, I live in Japan and my non-fiction is usually articles about Japan, its culture, history, or technological innovations; all written for the local expa...


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The Two-Point approach to Better Writing

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, December 11, 2011, In : Writing 
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of books out there talking about the craft of writing. They cover everything, from coming up with ideas to crafting the perfect cover letter, from structuring a plot to developing well-rounded characters. There are classes at every level taught by everything from professional writers to professors. There is so much information available that there is no excuse for unprofessional-looking manuscripts or badly drafted stories. Handing in such work shows disresp...
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Writing Seiji

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, In : Guest Blog 

by George Polley



 

Reading and Writing


I grew up surrounded by books. My parents were avid readers I’ve been an avid reader since childhood, especially adventure, humor and historical fiction. My mother had a whole shelf of historical novels by Louise Muhlbach (Born: Jan. 2, 1814 - Neubrandenburg, Germany, Died: Sep. 26, 1873 - Berlin) that I devoured. Grand novels about Frederick the Great of Prussia, Napoleon and Josephine, the Austrian Imperial Court, Henry VIII that I’ve never forgott...


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Progress

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Friday, November 25, 2011, In : Novel 
As I've been working on Wayfarer recently, I've noticed that I'm actually progressing backwards, both through the linear time of the novel itself, and through my own personal time. I have been editing and rewriting drafts of progressively earlier stories because they now, in the redefined context of my characters' lives, seem to be the missing puzzle-pieces. It is possible that much of the work I am doing now will never make it into the finished book, but by filling in all these blanks I am g...
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Latest update

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, October 23, 2011, In : Novel 
First, an apology. Having asked for comments on my previous post, I was surprised to find that the current version of this blog software does not support them. I apologise to all of you who tried to comment and couldn't, and thank all of you who emailed me your comments.


Things have been progressing slowly but steadily over the last week. The new outline and notes that link the disparate sections of Wayfarer have been, if not totally completed, at least progressed to the point where I'm now ba...
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Doubts and Progress

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, October 2, 2011, In : Writing 
I hit a wall early last week. I sat down at my computer to start work on Wayfarer and couldn't remember why I was bothering. I wasn't sure where I was going with it, or why I was where I was, or what the point of it all was. 

At least some of that was due to external factors, but another part was the fact that I had never sat down and worked out an outline of the new section, nor really thought about where it fitted within the larger context of the novel. I'd had an idea that seemed perfect fo...
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Importance of a schedule

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Sunday, September 25, 2011, In : Writing 
Last week I set myself a writing schedule rather than doing it all off the cuff as I had been. It worked quite well. The current section of Wayfarer is now at almost 15,000 words and Yukihime, the short story I've been working on, has undergone a complete rewrite and is almost finished. It is about 2500 words long at present though a further 2000 words await editing. 

The schedule has been hard to maintain at times, especially in the face of work and study demands, and a few sacrifices have ha...
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Research

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 29, 2011, In : Novel 

[This is a re-post from my last Blog.]

I spent most of Saturday organising the research I’ve managed to get typed up. There is way too much of it, of course, and not enough. [grin] So I’ve managed to sort it out into some general categories, and split up the notes I wrote about different topics from the stuff I got from other sources. 

Talk about time consuming. Admittedly, it was almost fifteen years worth of research and notes, or, rather, research and notes that had survived several com...


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Background

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 29, 2011, In : Novel 

I’ve been submerging myself into Wayfarer, which should be a good thing, and following some of Orson Scott Card’s advice on writing fantasy [from his book, 'How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy', from Writer's Digest Books]. I’ve been going back over the system of occult science I developed for my milieu, collating the various notes to make one comprehensive document; an “Introduction to the Occult Sciences”, written as by an historical figure from my milieu. That has been provi...


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Juiced

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 29, 2011, In : Novel 

I spent most of the last several days putting my notes in order. It took that long because there were ten-year's worth of them—amounting to a little over a million words. Not surprisingly, sorting them has helped me to sort myself. This last week has seen the resumption of the flow of creative juices. Not all of them directed, thank god, at Wayfarer (my novel). That had been one of the problems I was facing before, that every idea I came up with tended to get sucked into the Wayfarer cosmos...


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Return

Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 29, 2011, In : Welcome 
Welcome to the new blog. Hopefully all the technical problems have been sorted and I'll be able to keep this one going longer than the last one.

 This blog is intended to be a record of my efforts towards getting my novel finished. Along with discussions about writing in general, I'll also be looking at books and other things that I've found useful, or not, for writing. 

 
I write genre fiction, for the most part, but I also write articles for publication in local magazines and newspapers. I wro...
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Meet the scribbler


I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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