Filming with Aberdeenshire Film Productions
This last weekend I have been busy from early morning till late in the afternoon, filming with Aberdeenshire Film Productions. I’m writer, producer, and director, so I have been rather busy preparing for this shoot beforehand as well. As I’m not a spring chicken anymore, I was knackered in the evening and didn’t watch any TV. We also had a visitor (my father-in-law), who doesn’t speak English), so another reason not to watch any movies. So no movie review last Monday, sorry. I have been proofreading on Monday and Tuesday; Twisted50 Volume Two. It is a horror anthology that has one of my stories in it. It’s coming out late November, but more about this in another post.
It had been a while since our last shoot, but we finally got everyone together and started filming The Apparition. It’s a short story I wrote for the Meldrum Writers’ Club. It’s the story about a mother who sees her child standing on the lawn, knowing her child died a year ago in a car crash.
We did a shout out for an actress and got the lovely Catherine O’Donnell to play the mother. Originally, we had the child being a son, but as our sound technician went down with a cold, my son (whom I drafted to play the son) got that role, and my daughter played the child. She actually looked more like a relative of the mother than my son would have 😄.
The weather didn’t cooperate at all with us. It was cloudy in the morning, but after lunch the sun broke out and we decided to film the indoor scenes on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, the weather again didn’t cooperate as it was raining. We re-shot the scenes indoor (so we didn’t have a sunny outdoors showing through the window). Unfortunately, in the afternoon it was extremely sunny again. We couldn’t continue the shoot. Instead, we decided to move to a different location to shoot the husband’s dialogue.
We are very lucky to have a really dedicated crew. They gave up a day’s work to be able to shoot for a third day today. Unfortunately, this time the Aberdeenshire transport system is working against us and we’re still waiting for our actress to arrive. Part of the crew take the time to catch up on some sleep in the meantime 😄. Fingers crossed the weather is not so stubborn today!
6 Ways to get your story written. If you have problems getting your story down on paper, this article is for you.
You may know I run two writers’ clubs at the local library. One weekly one for adults and one monthly one for children. I had a great session with the kids again yesterday. They’re all girls, and some are born writers. I can’t believe how they absorb what I teach them like a sponge, and how prolific and creative their minds are.
The adults seem to have more problems putting pen to paper. Yes, they have more chores and responsibilities that take up their time. I don’t deny that. One lady, though, has a particular problem with writing stuff down (you know I’m talking about you, lovely lady X 🙂 ). I’ve tried all sorts to get her to write a full story, including the ending. This post is to share with you all the creative ways I’ve come up with to get a story written.
1. Set aside a specific writing time
As adults have less spare time than kids, it helps to set a specific time aside for your writing. The adult writers’ club runs every Wednesday afternoon, so I set every Wednesday morning aside for my short story writing.
I’m lucky not to have to go to work every day, but if you do, you may have to get more creative. Get up an hour earlier or work later into the night when you’re family is still/already asleep. Perhaps you can get your story down during your lunch break or while you’re commuting by bus/train/walking?
2. Just ‘write’
This is my way. Each week we pick a few keywords and write a story about them. As soon as I know the words, I usually already know the major direction my story will be going in. I don’t always know the ending. In fact, most of the time I don’t. I like to surprise myself.
It doesn’t matter how you write. It can be with pen on paper, or typed on your computer, laptop, or phone. Any which way will do. You could write it in the sand with the tide coming in. You could even record your voice. The thing is to not let the inspiration slip away from you.
It also doesn’t matter where you write. I sit at my desk, but I have a friend who stands at his desk. Desks are not a requisite, though. You could be sitting in public transport, or like I mentioned earlier, walking to work or walking your dog (obviously, you’d be recording your voice as writing while walking is rather difficult and, quite frankly, dangerous). Some people go on holiday to write and get inspiration. You could write your story on a mountain top!
Two years of writing short stories has given me the experience to write a full story within one thousand words, but this may not be the case when you’ve just started writing. The 5-Finger Pitch may possibly help you.
3. 5-Finger Pitch
It can help to know more specific what you’re going to write, when you know the major characteristics of your story. We used the 5-finger method to do this, and these are the five points you need to know before you start writing:
I learned this system during an online creative writing course and have adjusted it a little. I changed the last ‘finger’ into the twist part. I love twists. Nearly all my stories have a twist at the end.
For some, knowing these five points is still not enough to get to the ending of your story. In this case, you may want to plot your whole story before actually writing it. There are a lot of authors out there that plot every little detail of their novel before writing one sentence. I did this for my third novel and didn’t like it. Like I said before, I like my characters to surprise me and take me into directions I haven’t thought of before.
Apart from the 5-Finger Pitch, you may also need to know the following points to get your story written:
- Setting and introduction
- Change of status quo (at about 25%, i.e. 250 words)
- Midpoint/Resistance (at about 50%, i.e. 500 words)
- Lowest point of MC (at about 75%, i.e. 750 words)
- Climax building
Knowing roughly where the major turning points in your story are help you stick to the one thousand words.
5. Snowflake method
The above method does require you to know the ending. If you can’t make up your mind on how to end your story, or keep changing it, maybe the snowflake method works better. With this method, you start with writing the whole story in one sentence. Then, you divide this one sentence into three, giving you the beginning, the middle, and the end of your story. Next, you divide these three sentences each into three, more detailed ones. And so one until you have a story of about one thousand words.
Yes, this forces you to know the ending beforehand as well, but also forces you to stick with it. Well, technically, you can change the ending as soon as you’ve split it up from the rest of the story, but you’re not supposed to!
6. Start at the end
When all of the above didn’t work for my writing buddy, I racked my brain on how to get her to write a full story. As endings are her problem, maybe starting with the ending was the way to go. So, for next week, we’re writing a story starting with the end. It doesn’t matter how detailed or how far ‘back’ you go as it’ll always have an ending (which actually is the whole point of this post).
Next week’s story is going to be a murder mystery, so it’s going to be interesting!
Now, I know these methods don’t address the character arcs or tension building, etc. But that were not the issue here. These are six ways for those who have a problem writing things down and getting a full story happening. You can work on the other stuff once you have words down on paper. Like they say; you can’t edit a blank page !
If you know of any other methods of getting your story written, please do let me know. I’d love to hear them, just in case No.6 also doesn’t work…
Meet the Author… P.M. Carron; a fantasy writer with four books under his name and many more to come in his epic, never before attempted story sequence.
I met P.M. (I know his first name, but it’s a secret between the two of us) on Twitter. I was intrigued by his ZZ Top-looking outfit (they’re one of my favorite bands) and entertained by his regular tweets. I had to find out more about him. Read on about this mysterious yet outgoing person.
A native Vermonter born in 1965, I was raised in Burlington, Vermont along the shores of Lake Champlain and surrounded by the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Some twenty years ago, I moved with my wife and daughter to Concord, New Hampshire, where I still reside. Over the last three decades, I owned and ran a hobby shop with my wife and partner, was an accountant, and eventually became an attorney. With four stories published on Amazon, my career as an indie author is well underway. I hope the readers of my flights of fantasy enjoy my stories as much as I basked in the delight of writing them.
Have you ever read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Yes. My mother gave me the 1967 version of the Thorndike Barnhardt Comprehensive Dictionary when I was five or six. I read that tome from cover to cover at least thrice after she gave it to me, and although it shows its age, I still have it in my collection of reference materials. I thought it more interesting reading than Dr. Seuss or other children’s authors I thought too childish. I liked adult things with adult themes like Gunsmoke and monster movies like Frankenstein. With the exception of Loony Tunes, I had no interest in cartoons and shows like Sesame Street. By giving me that dictionary, my mother gave me a golden ticket to the adult world. With that tome, I could figure the meaning of any word, which meant I could read any book and come away with a semblance of understanding.
When I was growing up in the seventies, mail-order book clubs were the thing. My mother was a member of one of them book clubs. She had what seemed like a ton of books all neatly stacked on homemade bookshelves that decorated the walls of our apartment. I got to reading some of those books when I was seven or eight. That was my first brush with fiction that was not childish and meant for children. I entered into the fictional worlds of Agatha Christie, Katherine Anne Porter, and Charles Dickens. Those authors became my point of entry into adult fiction, and I was enamored with their fictional worlds.
When I was eight or nine, I noticed a new book on my mother’s wonderful shelves. It was a Reader’s Digest condensed version of excerpts from the works of a bunch of famous philosophers. I didn’t know what to make of it, but pulled it from the shelf and trundled back to my bed. I opened the book and Plato’s Allegory of The Cave caught my attention. It just blew my little mind. Over the next few days, I read that excerpt ten or twelve times. Each time, I understood a little more, and had to look fewer words up in my dictionary. Plato changed how I viewed fact and fiction. It caused my imagination to fire in multiple directions. I’ve been reading philosophy ever since. Take any idea from any philosopher and add a fantasy gloss to it and oh boy, what you have is something from across The Cosmos!
What do you love most about the writing process?
That first thrill of getting a series of ideas from my head onto the page and watching it grow with each word. I love the act of putting pen to paper and not knowing where it will take me. I guess the real answer is: PURE CREATIVITY. No other profession has this quality, which is why writing was what I was meant to do. It just took me fifty years to figure that out.
What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?
I wake up an hour or two before dusk. Dusk to dawn is my preferred span of time to be awake. Sunlight saps my energy and makes me less creative. Most days, my preference for the shadows is obtainable, but there are those days when life’s obligations get in the way of the way it oughta be. In any event, once awake, I do whatever task I need to accomplish for my day job, greet my wife when she gets home from work (she is unlucky enough to have to go to the proverbial salt mines, and I love her for doing that so I can have the flexibility needed for my writing career), have supper, hang with my wife, and when she goes to bed somewhere around 10 P.M., I get to my main purpose for living, down to the business of writing.
I sit on my porch, click on one of my music mixes that are saved on my cellphone, open a bottle of soda, light a cigar, take a few puffs, and then I’m in the zone and ready to write until dawn. I try to write three or four hours every day. If I’m lucky, I clock in seven or eight hours. The first light of day, brings me back to reality. Most nights, as I’m heading to bed, my wife is going off to work.
What are your books about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must read?
I write dark, fantasy stories that intertwine around one another. My plan is to write one hundred-fifty stories, centered on ten trilogies. This project is more epic than any attempted before by any author. Each story is written from the first person point of view and have elements of high fantasy, science fiction, and horror. At root, my tales are adventures.
Literally, thousands of thoughts and concepts thunder across my mind every minute of every day, whether I’m awake or fast asleep. I call them my Thought Trains, and they take me for rides to fascinating and fantastical places. My stories are my attempt to bring those ideas to anyone who wants to experience fantasy from a fresh perspective without the traditional definitions and limitations of genres put into place before any of us were born or reading, creating and writing. I pay homage to the great writers without becoming a slave to their process. For me, art is about being fresh and novel, and I do view my work as an art form.
My most recent book is The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III. It is the first book of the first of ten trilogies, and will be published sometime between the end of August and the middle of September. The book is in the final stages of formatting and will be sold on Amazon as an E-Book like my other four stories.
The Shade’s Tale is written from the point of view of a shade named Count Darkly Vandercoot. The story tracks Darkly’s rise in power as a mortal born of shadow. The reader has an intimate, front row seat to Darkly taking his place as the leader of The Cause, the rebellion against the tyranny of The Gods. The story begins with Darkly telling his tale from a prison cell. Nothing about this tale is ordinary or predictable, but it is the beginning of something really epic. My first four stories lit the fuse. Now, The Shade’s Tale is the explosion that no reader of fantasy will want to miss.
What gives you inspiration for your books? How did you come up with the idea for Lady Luck Has Left The Building?
Fifty-three years of living life to the fullest gives me the inspiration I need to write my books. Wherever I go, I pay attention to the smallest of details as those bits reveal themselves to me and unfold around me. I wake up every single day and expect it to be the best day of my life. I don’t just wish for happiness, I expect and demand it. Most days are far from perfect, but more often than not, something happens that makes the day special. Those remarkable occurrences are the seeds from which my stories grow.
Lady Luck Has Left The Building began with a conversation I had with my sister about fear. She told me her greatest fear was to be locked in the trunk of a car. I thought long and hard about my sister’s strange idea of terror and Lady Luck sprang to life. Beginning a story with a gambler zip-tied in the trunk of a hovercraft on his way to a shallow grave seemed like an interesting way to begin a science fiction story that transforms into a tale of horror.
How long does it on average take you to write a book?
It depends would be the obvious and honest answer. On average, I’d say six to nine weeks. My first story, A Rude Awakening, was finished in a week. It just came together. I breathed life into my fourth tale, Lady Luck Has Left The Building, in six writing sessions over two and a half weeks. Another quickie. My newest book, The Shade’s Tale, Parts I – III, took over a year to come to fruition. Since The Shade’s Tale is a trilogy, I had to write all three of the books as a unit. Yea, six to nine weeks seems like a good, overall average.
How many unpublished and unfinished books do you have? Have you written any other books that are not published?
Well, let me think about that for a minute. I have four published works, four stories are finished but as of yet unpublished, and six tales are in various states of completion.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’m always adjusting my process to make it easier for myself and my team of three editors. My first story, A Rude Awakening, made me aware of the annoyance of formatting for publication. After thinking about how to mitigate that hassle, I changed the format I use for my first drafts to make the backend more efficient.
What do you find to be the best way to market your books?
I’m always looking for the better mousetrap that is more fun for me, my fans, and ultimately, for my readers. With that in mind, I use Twitter as a platform to feed or direct my fans and readers to my website, my Amazon Author Page, and my Patreon Creator Page. Through the years, I’ve found focusing works best and is more fun.
The internet is a big place and authors need to decide where their people are and focus their energy there. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, and artists must conserve and direct their energy and enthusiasm for the long haul. Patience and persistence are two qualities I feel are integral to the creation process as a whole, and particularly useful when it comes to marketing. Unlike some of my fellow authors, I look for the fun in marketing my art, rather than the drudgery of it. A positive attitude gets you further than a negative anything.
What motivated you to become an indie/published author?
At heart, I am an entrepreneur. That means I make for a terrible employee, and am not good at taking direction, following, and carrying out someone else’s vision. Since the age of twelve, I have been starting and running businesses. My writing business, Cosmik Winds Publishing, is just another in a long line of my startups. I have worked for myself for more years of my life than those spent working for somebody else.
I have my own vision and know where I want to take it. As an artist, I encourage and look forward to criticism of my work. That’s the only way to improve. As an entrepreneur, selling my works of art, I know my vision is breaking new ground. That’s the exhilarating part!
I just don’t have the patience for business naysayers who look in rearview mirrors when they should be gazing into the darkness of the future to see the possibilities. I have no interest in being the last buggy whip maker. I want to make something nobody has brought into this world. For all of those reasons, indie publishing made sense to me. I write because I must, and I am an indie author for the same reason.
Here’s where you can find me online.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today, P.M.! I am even more curious and want to find out more about your writing, and for the price of $0.99 for each of the first three short stories, there is no excuse. Grab yourselves a copy of each, folks!
Woohoo! Remember I said my short story won entry to the Twisted50 Volume 2 horror anthology? Well, the book is at the printer as we speak and the Create50 team has made a trailer for it.
Watch it on YouTube.
I’ve read some of the other stories, and I can tell you, these authors have frickin’ weird minds. Some stories are wicked, some are horrific, and some will make you want to keep the light on at night. Macaroni will never be the same…
My story is called ‘Rumour has it…’ and it’s about a girl standing trial for five most gruesome murders. Is she guilty or not? You’ll have to buy the book to find out! It’s out soon.
Check out this story I wrote with the Meldrum Writers’ Club about a mother who sees things that can’t be. Wooo… spooky!
We didn’t have a meeting yesterday due to adverse weather conditions. There was a real blizzard blowing here, with the snow nearly going horizontal. There’s hardly anything left of it today, the ground not being cold enough for the snow to stay. But, as a result, I didn’t write anything. Not to worry, I found a piece I wrote last year that, for some obscure reason, I never posted. It’s called The Apparition and this should give you a hint on what’s happening in the story. Check it out here.
Learn some different forms of rhetoric and find them in my short story Ushanka.
Yesterday we wrote a story including a rhetorical question. The idea was to put one form of a rhetorical question in there.
Forms of Rhetorical Questions:
Erothesis – the question that isn’t a question at all; the speaker doesn’t wait for an answer.
Epiplexis – a lament or an insult is asked as a question.
Anacoenosis – the question where a particular audience will answer in a particular way.
Hypophora – a rhetorical question immediately answered aloud, usually by the person asking the question.
Anthypophora – asking questions while knowing the answers.
Aporia – asking a question you really don’t know the answer to.
I have tried to put all of these in my new short story, Ushanka. Can you find them all?
Read this fun piece I wrote for Meldrum Writers’ Club in which we had to use alliteration using the key words macaroni, spaghetti, salmon, plate, and hunger.
I’ll be trying to focus our Writers’ Club writing exercises on grammatical issues for the foreseeing future and this week we focussed on alliteration. I thought alliteration was the repetition of the first letter of a word as the first letter of the next word. You know, Peter Parker, I saw a see-saw sitting on a see-saw, dead as a door-nail. That kind of thing. How wrong was I? (This last sentence is an Australian form of rhetoric and isn’t a question at all. But more on rhetorics next week).
It appears, according to my oh so trusted Wikipedia, that an alliteration is a special form of consonance, in which a consonant sound is repeated in another word. This consonant can be anywhere in the word. Alliteration is a special kind of consonance, in which the consonant is in the stressed syllable. So, it doesn’t have to be the first letter at all. Learned something again. Not that I used this knowledge when I wrote my short story…
It’s a fact that alliteration makes a text more pleasant to read and easier to remember. You can do it too much though, and this is called a paroemion. My short story (look; another alliteration 🙂 ), Darlene’s Delectable Dishes, certainly is a paroemion. Check it out!
Another Short Story by me. This time we had to use sentences with strong verbs instead of putting emphasis on nouns. And it’s about mermaids.
This week’s story didn’t have any keywords. During our meeting last week, we discussed how we can improve our sentences. We used the article titled ‘How to write better sentences’ by Daniel David Wallace. You can’t find the article online, though. I’m afraid you’ll have to sign up to get it here. I can assure you it’s worth it as it has very interesting information. Check it out and see how it can help improve your sentence structure.
Anyway, one of the topics in the article is about verb sentences vs. noun sentences. It stresses to use strong verbs to improve action in your sentences. So we set our homework to write a story about mermaids using verb sentences. It’s called ‘Rescue‘ and can be found in the short story section of the menu. It’s a typical mermaid story, nothing special, no unexpected twists or anything, but has a lot of verbs in it. Enjoy!
Another short story of mine
This week I had asked my daughter for some keywords. She didn’t make it easy. They were:
- Mount Everest
I postponed writing the story again and again until there was no time left. The story that appeared in my head is now titled ‘Contempt.’ You can find it in the Short Stories section of the menu. As always, it has a little twist at the end. Let me know what you think of it.