Going Old School

Going Old School

A Practice In Reminiscing

I remember the Christmas that my parents bought me my first electronic word processor. I remember the excitement when I tore the wrapping paper away, and when I opened the box and switched it on, watching the screen whirring to life. It was a Canon StarWriter, and I loved that machine.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, pretty much from the first time that I realised that I didn’t have to just read books, but that I could actually create them, too. That Christmas, I started writing on that little word processor, and I loved it. The feeling of freedom that writing gives me is like nothing else on this earth. It is a joy like no other, and I am sad to say that I had lost it for quite a while.

The thing is that until the last year, I had been a carer for fifteen years, and if I’m honest, that took up most of my time and energy, leaving me very little left to give to my writing.

That changed in October 2017, in a heartbreaking way, when my sister, and best friend (whom I was caring for) passed away suddenly. It has taken me a long time to get to the point when I finally feel able to focus and dedicate the time to my writing once more.

The thing is that, having made that decision, I have struggled to write using my laptop. There are any number of distraction free apps on the market, but none of them prevent the constant notifications that are forever at our finger tips.

So, I started searching to see if there was something else that I could use, which is when the memory of writing on my little word processor as a child, came to me.

Now, obviously, we are in an age, where portability is essential, so, while I got out my StarWriter (yes, I still have it, and it still powers up flawlessly) to use at home, I began looking for something that would be a good, portable alternative.

This is when I stumbled upon this gem. The AlphaSmart Neo2. Looking at the writers forums, I saw that a number of novelists were working from this device rather than from more modern, and possibly high tech devices.

The thing is that the Neo2 does exactly what I need it to. It gives me a full sized keyboard, and a small screen, which I can see about six lines of text. There is no internet, and no pesky notifications to distract me, so I can simply write, write, write. The screen works in bright sunlight, and with a lamp, so I can literally take it anywhere with me, and the battery life is approximately 700 hours, on guess what?! Three AA Batteries!

I have had this device since Saturday, and I can honestly say that I have probably written more in these few days than I have in the last month or so.

This is the thing though… as humans, we have a tendency to over complicate things, with fancy apps, and cloud backup, when really, all we need is the ability to put the words in our head down in some way.

With my Neo, I simply write, and then when I want to transfer it to a document, I simply connect it to my laptop with a USB cable and “send” the document there. In fact, I’ve done that with this very post that you’re now reading.

I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but for me, it has given my writing a new lease of life, for which I’m so grateful for.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Descriptions

Descriptions

Adventures In Novelling

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

As a writer, descriptions are something that is fairly important to me. I am constantly trying to come up with new ways to talk about things.

There are so many words in the English language, and so many of them have been placed together in certain patterns in order to describe things, but really, what we need to do is to try and look for any possible different ways to illustrate the images that we’re trying to create in the minds of our readers.

Sometimes I find that these words are more forthcoming than at other times… and sometimes, trying to find that ‘right’ combination of words is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

The thing is, that there’s no telling when the good and bad days are going to come. All we can do as writers is to be constantly trying to expand our vocabulary, and to be ever vigilant to try and catch the words when they float by us.

Something that I am going to try and do is to keep a collection of phrases… snippets of words that come into my head, in the hopes that I will one day, be able to say that I have found the exact ordering of words for the description that I want to write.

The thing that I find with descriptions, and it’s something that I am as guilty of as anyone else; is that I only ever seem to utilise one or two of the senses, rather than looking at using all five of them.

As writers, we need to be overly careful to make sure that we use every one of the senses, because this is the way in which we experience the world, and so, it follows that it should also be the way that our characters experience the world; to not do so, is to render our characters almost as disabled in some way.

So, when writing our descriptions, we must try and make sure that we talk about what our characters can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. These little details are the sorts of things that will add flavour to our writing.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Words

Words

A Haiku

Photo by Lauren Peng on Unsplash

A writer without,
A terrible place to be,
Not a single word.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Valentines Day

Valentines Day

A Promise To My First Love

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

If you’re looking for an overly soppy, lovey dovey type of post, then I suggest that you look elsewhere, because that’s not what this is.

I don’t like Valentines day. As a (quite happily) single person, I don’t have a significant other to buy me cards, and flowers and chocolates. I don’t mind. I actually don’t need them.

The thing is, Valentines has been built up into this massive hype, over something which, in the grand scheme of things, is not important at all. I feel it has become something of a reminder to couples to do something that they should be doing throughout the year anyway. We shouldn’t need a special day to love on those who are important to us.

And don’t get me started on school kids (particularly in primary schools) and how they have to take valentines in for the whole class — I may sound like grumpy cat, but, JUST… NO! Let kids be kids! There’s plenty of time for Valentines when they’re a little bit older!

But, I digress.

I don’t do Valentines normally, and I read a blog post about self care this Valentine’s day, and it suggested sending one to yourself, and while I have no intention of doing that, it did give me an idea.

Rather than sending a Valentine to myself, I am going to start a year long project. This will be my version of a Valentine, and I am sending it, not to a person, but to my first love…

WRITING

I want to really dig down into my writing this year. I plan to carry a notebook with me at all times, and to record everything I think of in it… quotes, thoughts, ideas… every single little thing.

I used to do this all the time, but as I got older, the worries about what people might think of me crept in, but the thing I’ve realised is that people will think what they’re going to think, and they’re going to do that whether I’m ‘acting normal’ or not. The fact of the matter is that I am a freak. I have known this from a very young age, and I am NOT ashamed of that fact, so for this next year, I will let my ‘freak’ flag fly, and I will have a notebook with me at all times, and you know what? If I think of something, or hear something interesting, I am going to record it in that notebook. I am going to hide my life within its pages, and I am not going to worry about people thinking that I’m strange, because in reality, they already do anyway.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Plotting

Plotting

Adventures In Noveling

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

While I am already working on my current novel, an idea for another series came to me. It has been calling me away from writing my current work, but as an abstract idea, this is not very helpful.

I want to focus on my The Girl In The Mirror (Current novel), but as the story gets into the middle of act two, it is getting increasingly dark, and sometimes I am finding that there are days when I need a little ‘light relief’ when it comes to writing.

So, rather than force this idea into the box that it keeps popping out of, I have decided to plot it out, alongside working on my novel. I know it doesn’t technically count as writing, but in a way it does, because hopefully, when I finish my CN, I’ll be able to dive straight into this one, with a clear idea of what is supposed to happen in it.

I’m hoping that this will also prevent me from being worried about finishing a writing project, because of the “What next?” anxieties. I’m going to see how it goes, but for now, I’m enjoying it, and feeling very inspired.

The method of plotting that I am trialling is called the Snowflake method, which was designed by Randy Ingermanson. I’m going to review this method fully once I’ve completed my plan, so I won’t go into full details here, but if you want to check it out, all you need to do is google ‘snowflake method’ and you should find a number of articles about it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block

A Haiku

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

When I cannot write,
Every single word’s a fight,
As I stare at white.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Anxiety

Anxiety

A Haiku

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

It’s easy to say,
That there’s no room for it here,
When you don’t feel it…


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Characters Who Have A Mind Of Their Own

Characters Who Have A Mind Of Their Own

Adventures In Novelling

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know all about the struggle of dealing with characters that simply won’t do what you want them to do. I have dealt with this so many times in my own writing, where, for some reason, the characters just don’t want to play ball.

Sometimes they won’t say what we want them to. Sometimes they turn around and tell us that really, they wouldn’t do what we’re about to write them doing. And it is so frustrating. I find myself staring at the screen, thinking ‘I created you, and now you’re telling me that you know better

The only thing I can say is that there is a fine line here. Sometimes I have forged on ahead and ignored that character’s voice telling me that this “simply wouldn’t happen”, and more often than not, I have been proved wrong.

On the very rare occasion that I have been right to put those words in the character’s mouth, or that situation into the character’s life, I often realise afterwards that the opposition wasn’t that strong and that the character merely wanted a small tweak to the plot.

The thing is, I’m not saying that my characters are actually alive, but inside my head, they are. They have to be, because if they aren’t then I’m just writing empty words on a page.

Your characters must come alive because if they don’t then, you really know that you have a problem with your story. I have done this so many times, and the stories that have run into the most problems have always been those where the characters aren’t fully fleshed out and where they are all just a little wooden.

So, I guess, the best advice I can give is to simply trust your character’s gut when it comes down to it. Listen to them and argue with them (yes, I know I sound crazy, but sometimes I get more sense out of them than I do out of most people).

Have any of you had arguments with your characters? How did you deal with it?


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Plotter or Pantser

Plotter or Pantser

Adventures In Novelling 2

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

As a writer, you quickly become aware that there are generally two different schools of thought regarding the process of beginning a novel. I’m talking about that annoying little segment in between getting your brilliant idea, and actually writing said idea.

The thing is, there are some people. A friend of mine calls them ‘the blessed’. These people don’t plan. They just sit down and write, and the story flows. These people find it easy to skip the step of actually planning.

And then, there’s the rest of us. The planners. The people that need some kind of road map to their novel before they commit to putting those words down.

I have found, through the years, that I am a bit of a mixture of both. I can just sit down and write, and at first, that’s fine. However, I then find that I must go back and try to organise the thoughts about the story that are flying around in my head.

I used to see that as some kind of failure on my part, but what I’ve learned is that it’s okay to plan. It’s okay to break the mould, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good enough writer just because you like to have a plan; a map; a backup. It doesn’t mean that the story you have to tell is any less worthwhile. It simply means that this is your writer’s process, and that is perfectly okay.

That horrible doubt that creeps up on us, can cripple us. Making us feel that we aren’t good enough. The thing is that what we have to do is tell that doubt to shut up. We can end up thinking that we aren’t good enough to tell that story, but in reality, you are the only one who can tell your story. It is yours, and no one else can tell it like you can.

So, what’s your process? Drop a note in the comments, and let’s get a discussion going!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Adventures In Novelling 2

Adventures In Novelling

The Beginning

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know already that I’m a writer, and that I’ve been working on a novel for almost a year now.

I thought, as we’re at the start of a new year, and I am still working my way through Act Two of my novel, that it might be fun to document my adventures in the world of writing this book.

Call it a (sort of) reflective log, where I will share my struggles, and my successes, completely openly and honestly with you, because, at the end of the day, this is how we all learn. I know it’s how I’ve learned in the past, and I guess, part of me is hoping that I will also learn something in the process of this project.

I don’t know exactly what sort of form this will take, but I think maybe that’ll be part of the fun of it, so I ask you, do you want to come on the magical mystery tour that is my adventures in novelling?

Please feel free to leave a comment, and let’s get a discussion going….

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.