A traditional story about heroes or supernatural beings, often attempting to explain the origins of natural phenomena or aspects of human behaviour
A story that has been passed down for generations, especially one that is presented as history but is unlikely to be true
So is my story of “The Zeppelin of Kinver Edge” a myth or a legend – or an approximation of the truth. We hear a lot these days about “Fake Stories” – but how much of what we read as history is in fact true?
Henry Ford once said “History is more or less bunk.” (Bunk or bunkum meaning nonsense). Isn’t it the case that history is written from the viewpoint of the writer which may well be biased in a certain direction? Is historical “truth” an objective that can never be realised? Is the Bible or the Koran “true”?
When I wrote “The Zeppelin of Kinver Edge”, I based it on a small historical snippet that I heard mentioned when I moved into the village about ten years ago.
“They say a zeppelin airship landed on Kinver Edge during the Great War – World War I.”
That morsel intrigued me. So I did a bit of research and discovered that the West Midlands of England suffered airship bombing raids in 1916 – and one airship hit engine trouble. Then I asked myself the mouth-watering question all writers should ask all the time when dreaming up a story.
That question led me to consider the plight of young Harry Foley and ask “What if, early one morning in 1916, he looked up towards Kinver Edge and there it was – a Zeppelin airship?” So Harry followed his curiosity and the rest – as they say – is history! Or legend? Or myth? Or bunkum?
Anyway – it’s a great little read – with pictures! .
Getting your writing done is some challenge. There is so much else to do – email, social media, (Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Reviewing, etc.), reading, television, sports, concerts, exercise, hobbies, community work, volunteering, films to see, etc, etc – oh, and then there’s that small thing called LIFE! You know, your Special One, family, friends, holidays, travel, and of course WORK. I’m in the fortunate situation now where my WRITING is my WORK but for many years I held down a full-time, demanding job and managed to write. I know it’s tough. Now this blog isn’t about writing per se, i.e. what or how to write; you can get loads of stuff on that. This is about how we best get our writing done?
I’ve always been an advocate of time management. It’s the one resource that’s finite. We all get the same twenty four hours per day; how we use the time we have determines how productive we are. Not everyone will have the same priorities or time available for writing but I’ve distilled my approach into three basic, daily cyclical tasks that I think apply to most of us.
Long and medium term plans are important. Do have specific writing goals that are timed and achievable – know what you want to write; by when and how (will you need money, support, facilities, tools?). Remember that the most important plan is what you are going to do today. Always have a written Daily Plan and be sure it’s doable – stretching, yes but doable so you don’t set yourself up to fail each day! Your Daily Plan is the foundation to achieving long term goals.
Decide what you are going to do today and when and for how long. This is more than a ‘To Do’ wish list – it’s a thought through commitment. There are plenty of tools to help here. A simple pocket diary at a minimum, better still an electronic diary/planner on your pc, tablet or phone. (Search the internet for planners, project managers, diaries or similar – you’ll find loads of apps). The important trick is to look ahead, enter recurring items and when to do them, how often (daily, weekly) and for how long. Then add today’s most important one-off jobs from your To-Do list. Put them in your schedule. Try to allocate a specific recurring period, ideally every weekday, for ‘Writing’. Similarly for Marketing – although I call that ‘Grow my Book Sales’, my bottom line. Any time on the Internet should have this goal . Anything else that leads to that end also gets done in this time slot (Giving talks, conferences, book reviews, etc.). I also have my ‘Admin’ time – half an hour a day for emails, desk housekeeping, planning and reviewing. As a writer I believe these three are critical – you may want to add others.
Right, you have a daily plan; you’ve scheduled your tasks, so…How’ve you done today? Checking (or as we in the UK say ‘ticking’) a ‘Done’ box feels good; are all tasks ticked (checked)? Yes? Then grab a coffee, smile and stare into space for a minute or so. Time Tracking apps are a great help as well, (I swear by them for reviewing; they don’t lie – as long as you don’t!). You can see how much time you’ve actually spent on your projects or tasks to compare with your scheduled time. Some have pie charts that are great for picturing the actual amount and percentage of your time spent on different activities to compare with your plan. Saves yet more time on a lot of arithmetic (math!). Learn from your reviews; make adjustments, reschedule if necessary, get more disciplined to adhering to ‘bum on seat’ targets. Now get out your ‘To Do’ list, prioritise and set tomorrow’s plan – today.
So that’s my brief take on writing productivity. ‘Get that book written’.
I plan to write a ‘how to’ giveaway book soon elaborating on these basic steps of Plan, Schedule and Review. Look in on my website/blog for more information.
Following the success of last year’s event, join us again for the launch of the festival bookshop here at the Almonry. Meet and hear extracts read by our bookshop authors and buy a copy of your favourites. Books will be on sale at the Almonry until 15th July. Free evening event.
‘NO WAY OUT’
The latest Birmingham cop DCI Matt Proctor crime thriller out soon. Hear Tom Bryson read from his new, fast-paced novel – the third in the Matt Proctor series.
“Trapped in their own minds they must follow cult leader Gabriel Omoto – but to where and what? What “evil things” terrify young cult member Adele so much she won’t dare speak of them?
Cop Matt Proctor also has problems in his mind – he needs to get out of a rut and take on a big new challenge. Is he up to it? Or is the price too high?
Then there’s his spirited daughter Sarah to contend with – a young woman with a mind of her own, maybe too much a “chip off the old block”.
A fast-paced crime thriller with many twists and turns and a gripping climax.
The third novel in the DCI Matt Proctor series works as a stand-alone crime thriller.
In many parts of the UK cash-strapped local authorities have to make drastic cuts in services to save money. My own local library, Kinver, since the beginning of this year (2017) is staffed entirely by volunteers. We owe a debt of gratitude to them – by their efforts we continue to have a library that provides such an essential service to young and old (and those in-between!) and serves as a community hub.
To support the library, I have agreed to give a free session in the form of a talk/workshop on ‘Writing and Publishing your Book’. This may be followed by support sessions for those who want to pursue writing their book. Here’s my press release.
“Writing and Publishing know-how for budding authors”
What do you want to write?
Short stories anthology
Local Kinver crime and thriller writer, Tom Bryson, will explain how would-be authors can write and publish their own books at minimal cost. His talk at Kinver Community Library is on Thursday, 9th March at 7.30 pm.
He says, ‘Ever thought of writing your personal or family memoir – not an autobiography but a ‘slices of life’ story? Sometimes we leave it too late to ask our parents, grandparents about their lives and times. All too soon we’ve lost them and then regret missed opportunities to have known so much more. So how about writing your book for posterity – for your family and descendants. Without getting too pretentious, this could be your much-treasured legacy.
‘Or what about that novel you’ve had at the back of your mind for years – perhaps there’s a draft gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. Why not dig it out, rewrite it in the best way you can, find a good editor and see your book in print and as an e-book.
‘Perhaps you have an idea for a children’s book, or a collection of short stories or poems you want to produce in an anthology. All are possible.
‘Won’t all this cost a fortune? Not necessarily, given the advent of digital technology and print-on-demand publishing. The days are gone when you needed to buy a shedful of books to get an economic print run and then traipse the shops and streets to sell them. If you’re prepared to take the learning curve and get to grips with word processing and formatting for internet uploads, you can do it. (Or perhaps there’s a fourteen year old you can collar to help!). If you must incur costs, then a good editor is the most important investment to make.’
Local Kinver author Tom Bryson, who writes crime and thriller novels, will reveal all at the recently launched Kinver Community Library on Thursday, 9th March, 7.30pm, tickets from the library, £2. (All proceeds go the the Community library)
So – dream your dream – come along and hear what Tom has to say.
I’m pressing ahead with the final revision to my third DCI Matt Proctor novel that I hope to publish early next year (2017). I’ve written this novel experimenting using OneNote and I’ve found it to be a most useful tool. I’ll try my best to explain how this works – however if you are minded to give it a go I suggest you open Microsoft OneNote or if you haven’t got it already, then download it – it’s free!
I use the 2007 version – the later 2013 version is similar but as always with software and app developments, 2013 has a few extra tweaks.
If you have OneNote open you will see a series of tabs across the top. They are called sections. My approach for novel writing is to label the different tabs or sections as follows: Core idea, Outline, Scenes, Characters, Settings. I suggest as a minimum these five sections are all you need. However, I’ve added Synopsis and Research sections as well. The beauty is you can have as many or as few as you like – and here’s the real bonus – everything is in one place, one screen – it’s dead easy to flick between one section and another. You’re writing a scene – does young Zoe have a stud on her nose or her lip? Open your Characters’ section, go to Zoe’s page. Ah, on her nose. One click – back to Scenes and your current scene page. Now you carry on writing your scene describing Zoe’s nose piercing – and perhaps dad’s reaction on seeing it for the first time. Wait, dad – is he hot-tempered or generous and understanding? Back to the characters tab. Checked! Now since her parent’s divorce is Zoe’s dad living in Washington or Wolverhampton, New York or Newcastle. Check the Settings section, ‘dad’s house’ page. Got it, click back to Scenes. Now you’re up to speed and can finish writing your scene.
Now here’s a really great feature. You’re writing scene 44 and you think – hey, this needs to come much earlier, before scene 23. Down the side of your scene 44 text is a panel where the heading or first line of each scene appears. Hover over scene 44, slide it up before scene 23 and drop it there. Bingo! You’re sorting your story structure as you go along. But maybe you prefer to push ahead and get that all-important first draft completed and then worry about issues like sequence, pacing, character development, etc – okay, get all your scenes written first, then at the revision stage start moving those scenes up and down. Ah, but what about timelines, the dreaded timelines. Well, I’ve devised what I call an EASYVIEW SCENE PLANNER that goes at the head of each scene…
But I’m running ahead of myself here – what I want to do next year is pull my novel writing approach using OneNote together into a freebie that I can give away to my blog followers. So step up, folks, sign up and keep looking in.