Tag Archives: scifi

The Need For Consistency In The Sourdough Bread Baking Community

My son started secondary school last week. His previous school was about a ten minute walk from our house and we used to walk up together and then walk back in the afternoon. Now he gets a taxi to his new school each day which picks him up outside the house. Whilst this does mean I don’t need to be ready and dressed when he has to go anymore it does mean I can go the whole day without leaving the house. This is not a good thing.

I had planned to do a bit of writing today. Firstly I had a few finishing touches to do to a games review for Orange Bison, a website I have occasional contributions to. Once that was done it would be more on the book. Sitting down to write at 8:30am though, once my son had left, would mean I’d be indoors all day again. I felt I needed a walk out first.

Anybody who thinks the last few entries in this blog have lacked photos is in for a treat right now.

I was on a mission for spelt flour. Hang with me here because I have my reasons. For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to homebake a decent sourdough loaf. I have my starter bubbling away in a jar underneath the stairs and it’s fed each evening (mostly). My first attempt at such a thing resulted using 100g of starter, 394g of white flour (I know, I was following an online recipe) and 8g of salt (yikes!) resulted in something which was flat but actually did taste like sourdough once you got past the salty after taste,

Upping the starter amount to 250g and the flour to 400g (because rounding up is good) yet reducing the salt to 5g meant it rose a certain amount but tasted really bland.

Various recipes online give wildly different instructions.

So I thought maybe adding spelt flour would give it something else at least, mixing it 50/50 with the white flour. The weather was good so I walked to the local shopping centre because there’s a health food shop there. I wasn’t sure if they’d have it but amongst the protein powders and energy bars but I did manage to strike gold.

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Today will mark the third attempt. These are the things I do when not writing.

Whilst I was at the shopping centre I decided to get a cup of coffee and a cake at 11am because I don’t often get the chance to do this without it being my lunch hour or something.

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With great foresight I managed to remember to bring a book along with me to read as well. I’m currently a good part of the way through Jim Smallman‘s ‘I’m Sorry, I Love You’ which is a history of professional wrestling. It’s a really good read, well researched yet still accessible. Wrestling fans will understand the title, anybody not in the know will think it’s a bit odd. There was a woman who was on the table opposite me who seemed to be trying to work out, from the picture of a bare chested man on the front, which Mills and Boon novel I was reading.

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Then I walked back home past the town shops up the road from my house. I bought a loaf of bread and some steak pie. I got home to realise that I forgot to buy breakfast cereal for tomorrow morning.

Also once I got back home this year’s version of Pro Evolution Soccer is waiting on the doormat. Every year I tell myself I should just not bother with spending money on the latest edition because it’s just a little bit of an improvement. Then they announced that the Scottish Premier League was officially in the 2019 version.

I’m such a sucker.

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All this took me up to noon when I got started with writing. I’m actually doing quite well with it so I’m glad I trooped out for a jaunt this morning. If I’d have stayed in then I would certainly have got underway earlier but it would have been a bit stop and start as I was trying to find the groove.

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The Absolute Certainty Of The End

This last part is a grind. I’ve always had two endings in mind for the story and have made the rather stupid choice of going for neither of them until I got to that part in the writing process and I could sort it out then. Now I’m at that bit I’m really, really regretting that.

One ending I came up with was boring but made sense, the other is the complete opposite. Now I’m actually at the ending I’m kind of trying to bodge together a halfway point between the two and it really isn’t working. I have too many characters in the one place so it all feels like they’re just queing up to say massive chunks of exposition before all trying to kill each other.

There’s a big part of me wanting to go and fix this RIGHT NOW but there’s another part that just wants to get to the end (or at least an ending of sorts) so I can go back to the start and solve everything from there. Considering some of the early chapters were written about eighteen months ago they’ll feel a completely different atmosphere to what I’m writing now.

There’s also the fact I’ll need to transfer all the text into Word from Open Office as this number of words seems to have broken the Open Office spell checker.

 

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Library Paste

Another few hundred words. It doesn’t sound like a lot but as of now I’m over the 50,000 words mark. When I think back to how long it took me to grind through the 30-40k part (about the entire of last winter it seems) then I’m really happy that I’ve gone through 40-50 in the last couple of months. I’m about 5000 words away from wrapping up a first draft.

The chapter I’m currently on is suffering a bit from being a written story that was once going to be a film. There’s quite a lot going on visually and I feel I’m maybe skimming over  character’s reactions and thought processes.

But this is what rewrites are for!

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A Dance Like Electrons

Being on holiday from my day job for the last ten days or so has meant I’ve assumed my natural sleeping pattern. This means that I’m finding myself staying up until around 1am and getting out of bed in the morning after 8am. It also means I’ve been starting writing session much later than usual. Usually, if it got beyond 10pm, I’d not really bother starting up my laptop and writing because it would be too late to late to get anything of significance done and I’d usually have work to get to early the next morning. Without that barrier I’m finding myself getting started at 11:30pm some night and still getting good chunks done. To be honest I think I might write better with moonlight.

1000 words done again tonight.

Getting closer.

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Crude And Poetic Comedy

No software updates today and a notebook that actually plans the final parts of the story to hand. Therefore another 1000 words have gone down. It’s now at just over 47,000. A lot of it reads like trash but there are moments in which it hangs together. Small parts of it read fine which is fairly encouraging for future edits.

I’ve tried to press on with more writing beyond the 1000 word mark today but it suddenly got to be a bit of a grind. Perhaps I’m just better doing occasional bursts.

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Hello To Canada Too

At least my laptop didn’t decide to have a second night updating just about every aspect of software it possibly could. Tonight’s trouble was a far more glaring problem.

I’d reached the end of one chapter when I left it last, I had no idea how to proceed. Who would take over the story baton? What timescale was I going to (the entire story works on two threads, one in the present and one two years before)? How are these characters going to work towards the ending?

I reached for my notebook but then realised that I’ve been adding bits on and generally modifying as I go along for the vast majority of this so not a lot of the planning I was doing all that time ago makes sense now. I had to go back to the notes, work out where I was and join the dots to the ending.

This has resulted in five more chapters to go, a change to the ending and a twist which I’ll have to plant seeds for earlier on when I come back to do the rewrite.

So whilst nothing was done word count wise the way forward has now become significantly clearer.

The ending is right there within touching distance.

Keep moving.

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Fret For Your Hairpiece

Whilst I’m writing chunks of the final stretch of the book (46,000 words as of about five minutes ago so cheers for asking) I’ve had a thought to try and encourage some conversation down in the comments section right there.  Mainly because it’ll reduce that crushing, lonely feeling all too common with writers.

As I’ve said before I sat with a notebook and planned out every single character and progress of this story. I went as far as having two page question and answer sessions with each character individually. As I got underway I had the idea of sitting with my laptop on one side of the desk and this notebook by my side as a reference. The initial few chapters went past without the book though, as did the few after that. It was then that I found myself really just making it up as I went along, going off on some superb tangents. Some story ideas I’ve thought of on the spur and they’ve gone in as a trial. Characters have shifted roles because the flow of the story seemed to suit a change better. I’ll probably suffer a lot when I come to editing this thing but for now it feels great.

So my question to you all dear writers is this. Do you stick with your original plan or do you let the story go wild? What results do you get from doing it your way?  As all those YouTube kids are saying ‘Let me know down in the comments’.

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Fret For Your Figure

Something struck me today when I was adding to the word count. A whole lot of stuff that’s gone into this so far is sub par first draft stuff and it’s often been a bit of a slog getting through it all knowing that it’s pretty rubbish. Whilst there’s always the idea that I’m going to go back and sharpen up everything later there is still that whole quagmire to get through.

What struck me today though is that it’s like painting a picture but this part is just the pencil outline. Whilst it might have the feel of an image when this part is done it’ll still need shade and colour added to make it presentable.

I’m not sure why but it made me feel far better about the whole thing.

As of today I’m 45,000 words in so around 10,000 left to go. With the ending rapidly speeding into view I’ve had a lot to think about. This in turn has an effect on a lot of the early chapters that I was writing over a year ago. For now the story seems to be rounding off quite well.

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What You Need Is Someone Strong To Guide You

Another 1000 words today in about a three hour stretch which takes the total overall up to 43,000. With that 3000 in the last few days making it the best run at this book since before Christmas last year. Most of what I’ve written seems like horrible garbage when read back but that’s for the edit later. The best thing at the moment is that I think there’s momentum back to it which I haven’t had for a long while.

I’m finding myself a little bit restricted as far as story goes by the fact this was originally intended to be a 90 minute movie. With that fact in mind I cut down on locations and characters and kept everything as small scale as I could. If this had any kind of a chance of getting made then I was very much writing on the cheap. I spend eighteen months of my life writing a historically accurate account of witch burnings that would be massively expensive for anybody to make to a presentable degree so I was trying to get this one a little bit more on a leash.

But then I had to go and change it to a book. It’s not something I regret mainly because when I do finish it it’ll be in the final form rather than needing to go off and film it. It has meant that I’m very much stuck with a certain reality though. When I’m writing about distant planets, spacecraft and crashed aliens under the waters on Scotland then it feels quite good. Then I spend the next chapter writing about a Mother’s loss as her only child goes missing and I find it really hard to convey that emotion without it sounding horribly twee. The two halves of this also sometimes don’t seem compatible with each other either which causes another problem.

Some moments though, only some, I can see it hanging together like the Twilight Zone episode I hope it’s going to be.

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Toasted Parmesan

Well that was a bit of an effort.

Today has been bright and sunny and I managed to get a bit of a sleep in today. The main aim was to finally haul this book over the 40,000 word mark and I’m happy to report that as of five minutes ago this was achieved. It has felt like absolutely ages.

I remember celebrating the 10,000 word count last year but I have to recollection of doing anything special about the 20k or 30k. Guiding the story for the last ten thousand words has been a slow process. Through a combination of other stuff going on and my own laziness it’s been going on since Christmas. I’m really happy about entering what could well be the final third. I think once I get to 55,000 then I should be just about okay. That feels like a decent first book length to work with.

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