Word Values

Learning to write… hopefully.

Word Values… is back!

Good evening one and all – I’m back! Well, back home at least. Still suffering pretty heavily from jet lag but otherwise in pretty good condition and have plenty of things to write! No idea if other people will like them but I’m going to list them out for my own sake as much as yours:

  1. Article on Netflix shows – approved by website subject to extension.
  2. Article on Pixar films – completely new article idea to be submitted to Cracked once complete.
  3. Article on AirBnB – completed during travels and needs typing up and pitching.
  4. Dialogue-only short story competition – entered.
  5. Flash Fiction Bridport Prize – entered.
  6. Doctor Who script – typing up first draft.
  7. Other scripts – mapping out Choose Your Own Adventure story and Wacky Races meets medieval knights programmes.
  8. Non-TV scripts – play idea set at a table at a wedding being considered but quite low down the priority list as I have even less of an idea of theatre as I do TV.
  9. Fiction – still re-reading old novel. Feel the potential of it is still very much there.
  10. Short Stories – plenty of ideas and am considering some sort of anthology. Alternatively they could be submitted to websites/magazines that publish short stories or sent as competition entries.
  11. Copywriting – not tried much yet to be honest. I know, shame on me.
  12. Sorry About The MIDI – hey, the YouTube pitch was worth a shot but seems to have not caught any traction. Will dwell on how to improve this.
  13. This blog – need to keep updated more regularly and not just turn into a “me, me, me” area. I shall endeavour to write upon other subjects than my own work!

That lot should keep me going!


Word Values… abroad

Travelling means many great things in both life and writing. It expands your horizons, exposed you to hitherto unseen cultures and allows you to experience the pain of 20hrs of flight with a toddler. Thankfully my little one coped admirably.

One thing it is not always conducive too – particularly on a travel heavy holiday – is blog writing. Given my lack of time my only real writing progression has been feedback on my firsts; “we want more!” Nice to be told but means further research when I get home. Yay/boo and all that.

Signing off…


A warning: I’m off for a bit! I’ll try and keep this updated as much as possible but, without a laptop or much access to a computer, it’s going to be shorter and sweeter. Who knows, focusing down on fewer words may help my writing! Especially writing the word “focusing” which, for some reason, I often seem to type an extra letter “s”…

So what am I writing before I go? Two short stories to submit, one article and re-writing that Doctor Who episode… that plus last two days of full work mean I will be pretty flat out as is but will try and update this too. I’d be very interested to hear anyone else’s views on the value of words and how they are best used during my time away – whether that’s in the comments or directing me towards other blogs. I’ve not really explored the WordPress world too much yet.

One piece of advice though. You know, from an unpublished, practically virgin writer. USE YOUR CONTACTS. I attended a course with a professional screenwriter one day last year, and periodically get in touch to check in. It may amount to nothing, but it really cannot hurt.

I hope.

Sorry About The Tangent

Back to writing then! I’ve finished my first draft entries for the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction, a micro-entry for the Gotham Writer’s magazine (alas, no Batman) and The Writing Magazine’s February competition – a dialogue only short story – as well as re-reading the 50,000 words of my incomplete novel and finishing up typing up my Doctor Who script. All present very different challenges.

Flash Fiction – for anyone unsure, “Flash Fiction” refers to very short stories. Normally “short stories” tend to be a few thousand words; flash fiction is usually in the low hundreds of words ranging from 100 to 500 words. Beyond that descriptions blur a bit. The competition that I’ve entered allows for 250 words and my first entry uses the whole allowance. I’ve gone for a two-hander; a couple of people sitting across from each other in a room. The view point flicks back and forth and covers both what they’re saying out loud and what they’re thinking. Each time it changes view they’re thinking/saying something very similar (identical at times) to their counterpart. It’s not something I’ve ever tried before and I have a feeling it’s a bit too trite but, if nothing else, it’s exposed me to a new type of writing.

Micro-Fiction – this descriptions makes flash fiction look like Lord of the Rings in length; usually only taking in a dozen or so words, maxing out around the 50 word mark. In this case it’s describing your 2016 in 16 words, and the prize is a writing course from Gotham Writers. Hopefully it’s an online one as it seems their offices are in New York…

Dialogue only story – I’ve gone with an idea that I’ve mentioned before; of a place where language is quite literally a weapon/illness (Cliche Cancer etc.). I showed part of it to a friend who said it reminded him of Douglas Adams. Very high praise indeed. I mean, he could just be being nice…

Novel – re-reading old work is odd. This novel has been sat untouched in several years. You might think it was abandoned for not being good enough but, looking through it again, that’s not the case. You don’t get 50,000 words into something if you think it’s pants. Well, I don’t! So why did it get left behind? Life! Studies, work and starting a family tend to jar things. But it’s got potential. It’s in the conspiracy thriller territory so is an entirely different prospect to dialogue only short stories and micro fiction! All words must count in fiction but you can afford more space for description and other characters than in micro-fiction. In this novel I can have a paintball-assassination attempt and car accidents alongside cryptic conversations and house infiltrations, trips to the future and the past with a smidge of science fiction thrown in. Still, keeps me stretched…

The “commissioned” article is all but done too, as well as my pitch to a travel magazine for an article based on an upcoming trip.

As for copywriting, scripts and the Golden Age mystery competition? Well, I’m only human…



So, we’re three days down the line from my “Mission Log” post… where have I got to? Honest answer? Not far at all. I’ve taken the slightly procrastinating option of re-reading the novel I started. The plot’s solid and I know where everything ends up (all could change in a heartbeat of course) but I’m struggling to make my central character interesting. He’s more of an avatar at the moment for the reader but doesn’t quite feel right yet. My villain isn’t quite subtle enough yet either; it needs to be more of a rug pull later on in the plot.

Of the things at the top of the previous list only the already-approved article has made any headway. It involves watching a fair portion of kids TV which is sometimes enjoyable but the stuff aimed at really young children is beginning to make my head hurt. I understand the role of such programmes of course, but that doesn’t make them fun for a grown up!

I’m going to try and work on the dialogue-only story tonight. There’s an aspect of it I’ve seeded (namely that there is some fiction famous person to appear soon) but am not quite sure how to bring them in to play yet. Best thing to do in a situation like this is probably to let the characters talk their way towards it!

The big news for me (writing-wise) is that Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who. He’s been amazing both inside and outside the show and will be missed. Surprisingly it doesn’t affect my script too much as I knew he’d never be the Doctor by the time my script got even close to success. As such my story’s Doctor has been a bit of everything but mostly Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. For anyone reading who has no real care for Doctor Who all I’ll say is that his mind and actions can take sharp turns from light to dark with moments of inspiration popping up almost out of nowhere. This could make him seem a bit TOO clever if not handled well, so handle it well I must…

I’ve also been thinking greatly about the Golden Age mystery competition – mainly because I’ve been listening to a Poirot audio book in the car. He’s marvellous and I’m a big fan. Anyone else who’s a fan should look into James Anderson’s crime novels; very traditional! Think it’d be a lot of fun so am planning on brainstorming that one tomorrow night. Personally I’d love a bit of fourth wall breaking  (I loved Deadpool, so sue me!) but don’t think it’d quite sit right for this competition. I intend to pursue it down the line though as think there’s real potential there. We’ll see.

Still have NO IDEA how to begin copywriting work though. Very worrying!

Mission Log

Oh yes, I really did just use that title. It is for a very simple reason: I’m about to write out all my writing options. Yikes. Some of it will make sense. Some of it won’t. I’m hoping that by writing it down and having it out in the open will spur me on to keep on top of it. So, without further ado…

Netflix article for Den of Geek (agreed with site and now in progress)
Read up on the Screen Rant and What Culture websites and list potential articles for submission
Complete old Doctor Who article for Cracked. If unsuccessful, re-appropriate for Screen Rant

Finish typing up Doctor Who script (first draft has been written on paper)
Begin second draft of Doctor Who script
Research authors for potential second Doctor Who story
Re-read script for the interactive fiction story and consider potential endings
Re-read notes on Chivrivalry characters

Re-read 50,000 word half of novel on “Creative Industries” as well as character plans. If it generates excitement reading it then pick it up and continue writing or draw out a proper character/plot map
Research thriller publishers/agents for above novel
Re-read “Control” notes to see if worth pursuing or perhaps transforming into a script.

Short stories/competitions
Complete dialogue-only short story (using lexicon warfare subject described in a previous entry) for The Writing Magazine and submit
Keep working on Golden Age Mystery for CWA (map out story and characters)
Map out “The Time Maze” story – may be worth expanding for a TV script.
Consider options for “The White Review”

Research copywriting opportunities.

As you can see I’ve no shortage of potential stuff to work on! Now I have to decide where my priorities lie. I think the articles, copywriting and dialogue-only story probably need to be completed first due to time pressures, whilst typing up the Doctor Who episode in between moments where inspiration is lacking. Also need to re-read the instructions for “The White Review” as it is quite a well paid prize, although I don’t know what would fit here so would probably need to start a story from scratch. Maybe look at pilfering something from my fan fiction work…

After that I think re-reading my novel, the Golden Age mystery competition and 2nd draft of Doctor Who script will follow while undertaking any copywriting work I have succeeded in attaining.

THEN I think the Doctor Who article for Cracked, the interactive fiction story (trust me, it’s a good ‘un), a third draft of Doctor Who episode and maintaining any copywriting/article work that I’ve managed to get going.

All this alongside general housework, family stuff and any steadier temping work (like at a shop) that I take on, as well as investigating all potential agents and contacts to get the more speculative work off the ground. A handful of people have started reading this; if they know of any way to get feet in the door at these various industries I’d be delighted to hear them.

Oh, and I gather it’s better to have your own website than a free wordpress one. So if I get any money in for that…

AHHHHHHHH – is this how all writers get started? No wonder I’ve not updated the stock photos.

First commission!

Well, I’m going to call it a commission. I pitched an article to a website (Den of Geek – a movies/TV/games type site I’m very fond of), they came back with a suggested alternative that they’d like me to have a go at. It’s for very little money (£25 – I’m rich!) but it’ll be the start of a portfolio. Plus my article will be read by hundreds, if not thousands of people. And if that’s not good for my confidence, nothing will be.

Now, how am I going to earn the next £9,975 that I need to keep things steady this year…

Think I’ll have a stab at writing for Cracked. Just need to think of something that they’ll like now! I pitched an epilepsy article years ago and was told it was too specific. Imagine my surprise when a year or so ago an epilepsy article appeared on the site… It wasn’t copied or anything and was a good article; just a shame I wasn’t the one who wrote it!

End Credits

I’m going to keep this short – I was delighted to finally write down the words “End Credits” on my first draft of my Doctor Who episode! Very exciting. Need to type it up in case my notebook gets eaten by the dog but all good otherwise.

So, need to re-draft. And re-draft. And then try and meet someone important to tell me if MY words are of value – or get another job writing something else…

Level Zero

So, where to start?

Seriously, that’s my question. I am absolutely brand new to this. I may be shooting myself in the foot by announcing that, I know, but to hell with it. I WANT TO WRITE A GODDAMN DOCTOR WHO EPISODE.

I guess the first place to start is to start getting a steady income from writing. A friend’s friend is kindly giving me a bit of direction but it’s very much early days so cannot really quantify what will and won’t help. This blog will be a bit of that – how am I doing? For all I know these could be the first posts of someone who’ll end up running Doctor Who. Or someone who operates a till (no shame in that by the way). Or somewhere in between. Anyone reading these could be witnessing the genesis or someone destined for Hollywood or for someone destined for writing solely for pleasure.

That’s the great part though. Even if I earn diddly-squit from writing I’ll still be able to find something I enjoy.

The problem I’m currently facing is the same as starting in basically any other industry; the vicious closed loop of experience. How can you get experience when all the other jobs demand it as a pre-requisite? Well, I’m going to register on the below websites and see how I do. I’ll update as things go of any work that comes in…

It looks like a few people have started reading this blog (howdy, trail blazers!); if anyone has an idea that they think would help please stick it in the comments. It’d mean more to my narcissism than you’d think.

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Word Values

Learning to write... hopefully.


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