My girls write their own “better” rhyme

Posted May 9th, 2012 by daydreemer with 1 Comment

Carrying on from the previous post about “The trouble with having more than one notebook, and writing a story in bits and pieces over time”.

I read the story, as rough as it is, to my 2 girls, aged 9 and 11, and explained that it may be the start of a good story, and wanted to know what they thought. Especially their thoughts on whether I should spend the time to re-work it into a finished rhyming children’s book.

They both did say it sounded “good”, and then, instead of giving more feedback on the story, or any other encouraging words in regards to the quality of my work, or the awesomeness of my writing talent, they started to rhyme their own story about wanting to fly.

Here is what they ended up with:

I want to fly you see I said.
I want to fly with my friend Fred.
Instead of fly, we fell instead.
Crashed to the ground and then we bled.
A passing doctor stopped and said,
Clean up this mess and get to bed.

There you go, a nice compact little story. It has a beginning, a middle and an ending…. all in just 6 lines. I especially like the Tim Burton-ish feel the story conveys.

Now there’s awesome writing talent for you. I just wish they didn’t make it look so easy.


Rhyming Trouble

Posted May 8th, 2012 by daydreemer with 4 Comments

This post could also be called: “The trouble with having more than one notebook, and writing a story in bits and pieces over time”.

Quite a while ago, I wrote down a paragraph of a potential story, as I always do, into my notebook one day. My notepads are full of single words, phrases, story ideas, rhymes and even badly drawn sketches. I find most of the time that ideas normally pop-in while I’m writing something completely different, and I have absolutely no idea where they come from, or why. Sometimes these are the best idea’s, and sometimes they’re not, but I try to always write them down. You never know when one of them decides to grow into a something bigger and better.

Ideas are mysterious things, and where they come from is a popular question that writers get asked. As far as I know, no-one has a realistic answer, but the best one I have heard is from the muppet Gonzo, in an episode of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. He once said “All good ideas come from my nose. Though now and then I get a pretty good one from my elbow”. That’s as good an answer as any, and probably better than most.

So, this is the paragraph that I wrote down that day:

I want to fly, I told my mum, I want to do bird things.
That’s fine she said, go out and fly, but first you need some wings.

It seemed like an interesting start to some kind of a story. But not interesting enough for me to try and build on at the time.

Then one day while waiting for something, maybe a doctors appointment, I remembered the start of that “flying” story that I started, not word for word, but the basic idea of it, and wrote some more, but this time in a different note pad:

My mum knows stuff because she’s old.
I should go out do what I’m told.
But where to start, what should I do.
I can’t just fly, must think this through.

Just like mum said, its wings I need.
I need a book, it’s time to read.
On how big things, that weigh a lot*,
get off the ground and stay aloft*.

That sounds too hard, and I’m quite smart,
don’t need to read, just need to start

* “a lot” and “aloft” are “near rhymes”, which should be avoided if possible.

Now I know that I should never share a first draft of any story, these are just rough ideas coming into my head, completely un-edited, and easy to criticize. However I think this is coming out Ok, for something that I’m only doing to kill some time.

The problem that now is becoming obvious it that the beat (meter) of the rhyme isn’t matching in the 2 writing sessions.

Now on a different day again, and in a different notebook, I ended up writing some more:

How hard can it be to make,
a pair of wings that will not break
When I jump off a building tall,
I hope to soar, and not to fall.

Another day, another beat.

I still have no idea how this story will end, if I ever decide to finish writing it. Though reading through the words so far, their are a few obvious conclusions. The boy will either end up hurting himself and ending up in hospital, or just chickening out, or…. who knows.

The one thing I do like about the journey with this story, is that it reflects what Stephen King tells about how his stories evolve. When he starts he only has a basic idea of the story, and its characters. He doesn’t know how the story will end, until the story unwinds and dictates its own ending.

Good writing is hard, and writing in rhyme can be quite painful, however every now and again a few words come out that sound like real words written by a real writer, and that’s the motivation that takes you a little bit further.

I’m not sure if I will ever finish writing this particular story, as I have more interest in 2 others, “Bat-bot Boy” and “The Zombie Troubadour”, that are both almost there. I’m not even sure if I’m a good writer, or why my stories come out of my head in rhyme. The one thing I do know is that I have stories to tell, and I’m going to tell them as best I can.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.


P.S. There is more to understanding writing in rhyme than you may think. In this post I have touched on “meter / beat” and “near rhymes” but haven’t gone anywhere near terms like “stressed syllables” or “anapaestic tetrameter” (which is what Dr Seuss liked to use). If you are interested in an easy to read book that explains the basics quite well, you should check out Jackie Hosking’s eBook “How to Write in Rhyme like the Experts“.

Office workers who take half a donut – “The Halvers”

Posted April 3rd, 2012 by daydreemer with 1 Comment

Strange subject I know, but the title is in regards to a twitter post that was started by author Ben Wallace, a few months ago (sometime in November I think).

The reason I’m mentioning it now is that I am reading his latest book: “Giving the Bird: The indie author’s guide to Twitter”, and in one chapter it mentions some of the funny / silly / crazy gimmicks he uses, that his followers truly enjoy getting involved in, including me!

Here is a short sample from that chapter:

“… I go off and complain about something. It’s a flat out rant. BUT, it is all done in fun and I never attack anyone personally. For example, past #5minh8s have focused on cats, the new speed of guilt, office workers who take half a donut, running and other mundane everyday things that bother everybody. They are designed to be funny, not actual whining. And everybody likes to play.”

The reason I mention this actual passage is because not only did I get involved in the Twitter conversation, I actually started writing a rhyme (back then) about “The Halvers”. I forgot all about it till now. It was never finished, and I’m sure I started writing this only to avoid whatever work I was supposed to be doing at the time.

Here is how “The Halvers” started:

There is a group of people that should really be ashamed.
A group that makes all other people cringe and then complain.
“This isn’t how you do it.. it’s not normal what you do!”
Society can’t handle them, these selfish thoughtless few.

They think of no-one but themselves, and then just take a bite
of something big and tasty, and pretend that its alright

There you go. An example of how quickly the imagination can work when its trying to get out of actual work.

Maybe Ben ( @BenMWallace ) or one of his followers can finish this off one day. Hint hint.

Also, definately get his book “Giving the Bird: The indie author’s guide to Twitter”, if you want a simple to understand, no nonsense way of improving your twittering. (now I have to go and change my Twitter profile, because his book explained why I should)

Click here to go to the book on Amazon.

Common Sense Quotes on Getting Started

Posted February 17th, 2011 by daydreemer with No Comments

Here are few quotes from well known writers that all pretty much say the same thing. If you want to write… just start writing.

“Its better to write a bad first draft, than to write no first draft at all.
Will Shetterly

“You have to be brave to take out that white sheet of paper and put on it words that could be evidence of your stupidity.
Sol Saks

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
Stephen King

“I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”
James Michener

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
Louis L’Amour

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.
Isaac Bashevis Singer

So what are you waiting for… start writing!

Writing Procrastination

Posted February 17th, 2011 by daydreemer with No Comments

Just read a list of 10 points on Sarah Ockler’s site titled:

How to Not Be a Thing: 10 Anti-Insanity Tips for Writers

Point 9 is the one I always try to remember… not always very successfully I might add.

9. Write. Period. Talking about writing, reading blogs about writing, thinking about writing, dreaming about writing… all of this may be important and intellectually stimulating, but it’s not actual writing. To be a person who writes, you have to be—wait for it—a person who writes.

Click here to read the whole post.

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