Wednesday 25 June 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 20: “New design, Camp, Zombies and a mention”

Hello everyone. Today you find me in a cheerful mood. Outside of the usual things like fatherhood, work, and pub quizzing I’ve had an eventful week.


The first thing you’ll notice without me having to mention it is the new look of the blog. I found that a couple of little things were irking me about the old version and I’d put off taking care of it for a couple of weeks now.

At this stage I’m following a nice selection of fellow bloggers and it’s impossible not to notice other peoples great design choices. On more than one occasion I’ve seen something and thought “cool, how do I get my blog to do that”?

First off, I didn’t like the fact that there were not clearly defined break between the columns so I found a template that does that. Now each gadget and blog post is clean and split from other content. I think it looks easier on the eye.

Also, now that I’ve started posting links to my stories I wanted them to be easily grouped together. That led me to include a third column. The plan for this new column on the right is to ‘list’ all my available work. To begin with it will just be links to my shorter, free work for people to check out and comment on but, eventually it will show my full novels for sale.

Finally I played around with the column widths. It was a little cramped after adding the extra column but I think it looks better and fills more width on the screen.

Obviously at this early stage of the blog it’s a good idea to keep working on the general layout and style. There’s still so much to learn and it was never going to be a case of picking one design and sticking with it for the entire run of the blog. As I grow so does it. Hopefully you will all follow me along the way (hints and tips welcome).

Camp NaNo is just around the corner so I have been busy planning my novella, TATTOO. I finally got my hands on the Camp NaNo trial version of Scrivener and I have to say, I’m impressed. Whilst I haven’t been able to write a single word of the story (though I want to, I really want to) I have been busy working on the characters and planning scenes. Scrivener is great for this with its corkboard style planning pages.

Something that some authors do is to ‘cast’ their story and so I’ve given this a go. In the below image you can see the five actors I’ve picked to play the main characters in my story.

It’s important to add that I chose not just the actors but those specific pictures for a reason. I made sure not to select a picture of the actor on the red carpet in an expensive dress or suit. These actors were portraying roles, even if this is just to make it quicker for me to get a feel for the characters. That is why the picture of Julie (actress Ellie Kendrick) has her looking a little thoughtful and sad. I couldn’t pick an image of the actress smiling and waving because the character of Julie doesn’t start the story in a happy place.

I’ve also been able to start planning the story through chapter cards. These are good for just briefly outlining the events of a scene or chapter and, as you can move the cards around the corkboard, it’s easy to change the order of the story without having to cut and paste or rewrite.

As I mentioned in the last post I will be posting every Wednesday throughout July with updates and insights into the novella as well as a running review of the Scrivener program.

If anyone out there is planning to take part then give us a shout, tell me what you’re doing and keep me up to date with your progress. Visit the website and send me a message (my user name is Briman79).


If you’ve been following me for the last couple of months you might remember that I entered a short story competition with my story CONDOLENCE

Well today I learnt that I did not win the SFX magazine ‘Writing Dead’ competition or make it as one of the four runners up. I locked myself away in a cupboard for a couple of hours this afternoon, cried, vowed I’d never write again, slapped myself and finally got over it. All better now.

On a serious note though, congratulations to James “JC” McFetridge on his winning story ‘BRAND NEW, IN BOX”. I’ve linked to the SFX article here but you’ll have to go out and buy a copy of the magazines 250th issue to read the winning entry. Also, big shout out to the four runners up too.

Obviously with the competition now over I can and have posted my entry up on Wattpad for all to read. Even though it didn’t win I am still really proud of it. Let me know what you think.


And finally I made a small but impressive step regarding my side line in Flash Fiction. I’ve only entered four times but last week’s story, ONE CROWN TO RULE THEM ALL was my first mention.

It was quite an exciting moment when I turned on my phone Monday morning to find a tweet saying that I’d had a special mention for ‘Interesting Title’. To be honest it was a last minute change but I do like it.

My next goal is a runner-up result and then that coveted winners’ position. Roll on this Friday; I’m hungry for more.

And with that I’m done. I hope you like the new look blog and I hope some of you join me for Camp. Counting down to July 1st.

See you in seven.

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