Genres: NA, YA, MM, PNR

Vampires, Crime and Angels...Eclectic Me

Genres can be anything from NA, YA, MM, PNR and history, historical, mystery. What does it all mean?

I recently saw a list of literary genres on a website here, trying to help a writer define their genre and find out which one they belonged to. (NO genre definitions are from this site. I don’t agree with any of them!) I also had a conversation with someone online about how authors shouldn’t step outside of their ‘known’ genre because it was confusing for the reader. I, however, don’t agree. My genre is ‘romance’, so as long as I can create a believable romantic story then I don’t care if it’s paranormal, MM, YA or Contemporary. I will write what comes to me and what I think people want to read. But, let’s have a run down of the genres and discuss the options:

YA: Young Adult

This means the…

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If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything!

Those words really entered the American lexicon when they were spoken by Chris Kraft, the first space flight controller in the manned space program called Project Mercury. An underling didn’t know what to do during the simulation of an early space flight, was intimidated/terrified of Kraft, did something hoping he was right, wasn’t, caused a gigantic error, and incurred the wrath of Kraft.

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(Kraft in Mercury Control in 1961 giving hell to someone)

And right now I don’t know what to do with “Blue Cottage”. I have five drafts, but it’s very hard to tell what’s missing.

I know…

Chapter 1 needs a lot of work. Description of most things is pretty pathetic. There is little to no description of the apartment or the hall. There is no physical description of either of the characters in chapter 1 and almost none on the police officer. I read what I had written then started wondering how to fix it.

I suspect that most of the pieces to this literary puzzle already exist in one of the five drafts. But it’s bloody frustrating knowing what has to be done, and not knowing how to do it. I’ve purchased books by Janice Hardy, Marcy Kennedy, Rayne Hall, and Natalie Goldberg to see if they could answer some questions. I’ve downloaded or printed out posts by Lorraine Ambers, Laurence MacNaughton and others and created a binder one inch thick of posts giving literary aid. I want to make it perfectly clear I am not blaming any of the above named authors for any of the short comings in my story “Blue Cottage”. But for all the reading I’ve done I’ve come to one conclusion: if you find ten author/coaches and ask them one simple question you’ll get ten very different answers.

Over thirty years ago I went through a medical event that almost killed me, and supremely messed up (and that’s being obscenely polite) my memory. Try to imagine there’s a brick wall in front of you. And each row of bricks represents a year of memories.  Now imagine there are over twenty rows of bricks in front of you. You’re now dealing with a lot of information. Now imagine a truck comes barrelling down the street, and smashes into that wall of bricks at high speed. Some of the bricks are totally destroyed – turned to dust, some are badly fragmented but can be used again, while others are so badly fractured only a fraction of them can ever be used again. Almost ten years of memories were totally destroyed –  completely erased , others were badly fragmented, and the remainder were just barely accessible. Everything I learned in elementary school with regard to the construction of a sentence was destroyed. I have no idea what a subject is, and for all I know a predicate could be related to a parakeet. A noun is nothing but a word to me, and the only thing I know about adverbs is that they should be avoided at all costs. I think adjectives are descriptive words but the frustrating aspect is I can look this information up in a dictionary, but I won’t remember what the blasted answer is.

A lot of information was destroyed to the point where I can just barely make use of it. If I were to meet Janice Hardy at a dinner party there is a good chance I would forget meeting her five minutes later. However, if I met Janice Hardy of Fiction University.Com there is a chance, a slim one, that I might remember her. Laurence MacNaughton might be remembered if he talked to me of his love for cars. I had to re-learn a great many things, and I have to constantly re-learn things I’ve already re-learned. Re-learning something by associating it with something sometimes helps, but not always.

I would dearly love to find is a comprehensive glossary of writing terms. A book that told me in very basic terms what a plot is, what POV is, what description is, etcetera. Just in case someone reads this and puts together a glossary like the one I just described do not use the word being defined in the answer. Apparently this sort of thing is a no-no.

I started writing Blue Cottage two years ago. Draft one appeared on this very blog. But if you were to compare draft one with draft 5 you would see very little resemblance.

Many writing coaches (legitimate and not so) suggest writing quickly. I can’t do that. My brain simply can’t handle the stress. I tried it once and ended up with a doozy of a headache. When I write my brain functions very quickly while my fingers are dead slow. Plus I have to watch my fingers actually press the key. The brain functions so quickly the fingers might not get the message to press a specific key.

I’ve finally decided who the audience for Blue Cottage is. Me. I’m writing it because I enjoy it. When I wrote draft one I felt somewhat “under the gun”, pressured, to produce 1500 words each week. But I kept going. The word count was the last thing I was paying attention to. Eventually I had 86,655 words by the end of draft one. Rayne Hall advocates that anybody finishing a first draft should scour it for words that simply aren’t needed. Her words of wisdom may be correct, but I found draft 2 getting fatter instead of slimmer. Draft 3 and 4 almost suffered from obesity. I stopped re-writing/re-vising shortly after I began draft 5. After reading all five drafts I decided to take a break from “Blue Cottage” and return to another story I abandoned a few years ago. “Second Chances”  is a story I started in 2006. It’s a Star Trek story. I saw the film “Generations” where the character of Captain Kirk is killed off. And I remember coming away from the film feeling somewhat cheated. I thought and felt the character could still be explored. Only this time James Tiberius Kirk would be retired, and the U.S.S. Enterprise would be gutted and mothballed. I didn’t want to deal with a large cast of characters so I thought about what I wanted to write. It started James T. Kirk, Tonia Barrows and Dr. Leonard McCoy and grew from there.

So I’ll distance myself from “Blue Cottage”, give it a rest, and work on “Second Chances”. Maybe I’ll return to “Blue Cottage” in the spring. Maybe later. But I’m not going to totally abandon it. I’ve too much time invested in it. Besides, I get a kick out of working on it.

Today’s Pictures: 21 Nov 20

More wonderful photos from photographer/writer Stuart Aken

Stuart Aken

An old lane in the Forest of Dean

Thanks for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those imprisoned by the Covid crisis at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and, hopefully, remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

The clear waters of a lake on the Greek island of Crete, with a mountain background. Taken July 2011.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

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Today’s Pictures: 19 Nov 20

Stuart Aken

November mist among the trees of the Forest of Dean.

Thanks for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those imprisoned by the Covid crisis at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and, hopefully, remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

Walking in the Mountains of the Greek island of Samos. Taken September 2016

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

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Today’s Pictures: 17 Nov 20

Stuart Aken

A collapsed tree along a favourite footpath.

Thanks for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those imprisoned by the Covid crisis at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and, hopefully, remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

Bright autumn leaves carpet the forest floor.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

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Today’s Pictures: 15 Nov 20

More from the man with the lens….Mr. Stuart Aken!

Stuart Aken

Into the forest.

Thank you for visiting this blog. Please be generous to those who can’t escape their own four walls at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and hopefully remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thanks.

A different forest, on the Greek island of Rhodes. Taken October 2017.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

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Today’s Pictures: 14 Nov 20

And more from the lens of Stuart Aken

Stuart Aken

Autumn colours of the silver birch contrast against the blue of the sky.

Thanks for visiting this blog; please be generous to those who can’t escape their own four walls at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and hopefully remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

A dry, rocky track through the mountains of the Greek island of Samos. Taken September 2016.

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

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A #Romantic Short Story for You.

Ten love stories from Stuart Aken

Stuart Aken

In hope of giving you some entertainment in these peculiar times, here’s a short story. It’s a gentle romance, with a touch of humour, from a collection of such stories I published some time ago.

A Perfect Solution

Under the heat of a Mediterranean sun it seemed ludicrous to care about his worries back home. The girls almost in their bikinis, the ever-ready bar by the pool of inviting water, the tang of Greek cooking on the warm wind, all combined to feed the mind with more interesting images. Problems of the sort he’d left behind were too distant to be considered here. They were only words, after all.

The sunbed next to him creaked a little as the girl turned to face the sun, adjusting straps so she wouldn’t be striped at the end of the day’s worship. He studied her without her knowledge; designer shades covering his wandering…

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Today’s Pictures: 10 Nov 20

Stuart Aken

November sun in the Forest of Dean.

If you’re visiting this blog, please be generous to those who can’t escape their own four walls at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and hopefully remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.

From a walk on the Greek island of Samos. Taken September 2016

If you enjoy my pictures, you may be interested in my gallery, which you can find here or through the ‘Gallery’ tab at the top of the page.

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Today’s Pictures: 3 Nov 20

And here’s another post, an exceptional one in my mind, from
Stuart Aken.

Stuart Aken

7 kilometres walked this morning (about 4 and a half miles) and we met just one other couple and saw 3 others at a distance. From Thursday of this week, the forest will be open only to local people, as England goes into a month-long lockdown. So our walks will remain local and we’ll meet even fewer people.

Today, we revisited the first path we ever walked here. That was on a day during the break we took to find a house to move to. At the time, we never realised, as we trod that path, that we would eventually move into a house only a mile and a half from that very track. It was lovely to revisit it and revive old memories. I hope the pictures bring you some joy.

If you’re visiting this blog, please be generous to those who can’t escape their own four walls at…

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