“So, Tell Me. Your New Book. What’s It About?”

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Perhaps the most ridiculous question anyone can ever ask a writer who has just finished writing a book is – “What’s it about?”

“Let me see. I’ve just spent three years of my life trying to getting all my thoughts, inner hopes, fears and aspirations onto the page and you would like me to describe it in a sentence? ….’

There have been some interesting responses from writers to the laziest of lazy questions, ‘What’s it about?’

(These are all true responses)

“I’m writing a novel. It’s 27 volumes long. It’s about this little girl who finds a little kitten.”

“I’m not going to tell you what it’s about.”

“I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this question.”

‘That’s a big question. I don’t think I have a simple answer’.

I don’t think you should ask Mark Haddon what ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time’ is about

nor the writer of the film  -‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’

nor Dava Sobel – ‘Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time’

and definitely not the author of the book  entitled  – “A Handbook on Hanging, Being a short introduction to the fine art of Execution, and containing much useful information on Neck-breaking, Throttling, Strangling, Asphyxiation, Decapitation and Electrocution; as well as Data and Wrinkles for Hangmen, an account of the late Mr. Berry’s method of Killing and his working list of Drops; to which is added a Hangman’s Ready Reckoner and certain other items of interest, by Charles Duff, New edition enlarged diligently compared and revised in accordance with the most recent Developments. All Very Proper to be read and Kept in Every Family.”

I have just published my book. Please don’t ask me what it’s about.

‘It’s about A Murder, Cariad  is finally available now from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/About-Murder-Cariad-Byron-Kalies/dp/1514144999/ref=sr_1_2_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1440349420&sr=8-2&keywords=its+about+a+murder

Learn Welsh With Byron – Lesson 2

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Lesson 2 – Understanding swearing in Welsh

It’s not as straightforward as it seems. Some of the phrases are odd. Some are perplexing. A few are just downright weird.

Some, you can have a stab at  – so to speak. For example a vagina is known in Welsh  as a ‘llawes goch’  literally a ‘red sleeve’. I can see some sort of logic behind that one. Some are a little stranger. For instance if you were terrified of something, perhaps a red sleeve, then, in Welsh you could be said to be ‘cachu planciau’ – literally  translated as ‘shitting planks’. Why planks? Who knows.

If something was deigned to be worthless it would be designated  ‘dim gwerth rhech dafad’  – translated into English as something  ‘not  worth a sheep’s fart’.

The Welsh equivalent of ‘go forth and multiply ‘ or ‘F… off’ is ‘dos I chwarae efo dy nain ‘ – ‘go play with your granny’.

If you wanted to express to someone that they should, hurry up or do something quickly then there are number of options;

Option 1 ‘mewn dau gachiad’ –  translation – ‘in 2 shits’;

Option2 – ‘mewn cachiad chwanan’ – translation – ‘in a fleas’s shit’;

Or my favourite – Option 3 – ‘mewn cachiad nico’ – ‘in a goldfinches’ shit’ ! ? Don’t ask. I have no idea either.

A weak cup of tea can taste like, ‘piso dryw’ –  ‘wren’s piss’, and finally the female genitalia, or red sleeve, can alternatively be called a ‘pwdin blew’ – ‘a hairy pudding’.

Next time – Mutations ( You’ll enjoy that ).

(kindly provided by clwb malu cachu (www.clwbmalucachu.co.uk ) )

Blog For My New Book – Discussion With My Agent

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My agent asked me to describe my writing-

  • I said it consisted of a number of themes and genres.
  • Go on he said.
  • Its about crime, humour and mystery I said.
  • Good he said.
  • Golf, and elements of the supernatural – angels.
  • OK.
  • Massive themes encompassing God, fallen angels and mortality.
  • Very good.
  • The action is set in Wales.
  • Ah.
  • In the 1930s ish.
  • I see.
  • Other real characters that appear are Bobby Jones…
  • The golfer?
  • Walter Hagen…
  • The golfer?
  • And Amy Johnson.
  • ?
  • The airline pilot woman, (pause) and golfer.
  • I see.
  • (pause)
  • Other writers have a mix of genres I said.
  • They do.
  • Shakespeare wrote plays, sonnets, historical dramas, comedies, tragedies, regicide.
  • He did.
  • With books set in Italy, England, Turkey, the Czech Republic.
  • Correct.
  • With themes of madness, love, feminism, murder, the supernatural.
  • All true. He said. He didn’t put all of them in one book though did he?
  • Maybe not.
  • Are you deliberately trying to hurt me?
  • ?
  • How would I pitch this book? – a Welsh, crime, fantasy, sporting, mystery thriller, set in the era of hard boiled private eyes, concerning religion and humour.
  • Above all humour.
  • Above all humour. Can you see my problems?
  • ? I said.
  • Where would customers find it on the shelf of a bookshop For instance? Welsh writing? Humour? Crime? Fantasy? Sport?
  • Good point. They would find it next to Malcolm Pryce. I said. Ask his agent.
  • It’s hard. So hard.
  • Why are you crying?
  • Byron Kalies – ‘It’s About a Murder, Cariad.’ out soon (Fiction – general)

Literary Agent – Worst Job in the World?

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Worst Job than a Literary Agent?

I wouldn’t be a literary agent if my life depended on it. Could you image a more unpleasant job? Well, maybe a few (like the illustration above), but really. It must be like being a parent to a needy, whinny child who needs constant reassurance, love and patting on the head – without any of the good bits. Even before that stage you would have to wade through a torrent of needy, whinny or arrogant, presumptuous pitches. It’s this that must make it so, so, so bad. If you ever had any modicum of compassion to begin with you couldn’t possibly have any left at the end. Could you?  How can you retain any sense of humour? Any degree of patience? Any respect for humanity? You can’t. The evidence is below in a list of the ‘best’ elements of pitches kept by my friend and Welsh literary agent, Chrissy Bach  – enjoy.

(with massive acknowledgements to ‘Slushpile hell’).

‘This sublime submission will leave you in an uncontrolled and irreversible state of ‘wow’’.

‘My attached 2000 word novel will make you laugh, make you cry, make you stand up and cheer. It will help raise the bar in human literary prose.’

‘I happen to have pen-ed a witty, hilarious book.’

‘Attached is, quite possibly, the funniest book known to humanity. After reading it I am convinced you will call me up and offer me a contract. I await your call.’

‘I want you as my agent. The book is ready. The writing is final. I do not want a word changed. It is a very good, well-written book.’

‘I guess my love of writing started in the second grade when Miss Harris gave me a large red tick on my composition on ‘What I did in the holidays’. I can still remember that composition. I wrote about the two weeks I spent in Porthcawl…’

‘You’re my last hope. I have sent this to many, many other agents without a positive reply. I’m counting on you.’

‘A quick question before I send my pitch. How many words are there in a novel?’  

‘My 432,000 word novel may seem to start a little slowly, but after the first nine of so chapters the pace changes dramatically.’

‘My dream agent Andrew Wylie, is not taking on ‘new’ writers, so I’m querying you.’

‘Attached is my synopsis and first four chapters. If I don’t hear from you by the end of the day I will give you a call. I have your home number.’

The Difference Between Writing Fiction and Non-Fiction

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Non-fiction is as easy as falling off a piece of cake – excuse the mixed metaphor, compared to fiction………….in some ways. Particularly in one quite essential way………………. In terms of retaining your sanity.

I write golf books. Books about golf courses. I know. I know. How many ways are there to describe grass?. It’s a challenge. There is slightly more to it than that, but in terms of dramatic comedic effect let’s leave it at that. But once you’ve done the work it’s there. It’s pinned and nailed down. It doesn’t move.

However, writing a novel is like trying to nail water to a piece of glass.  Every time you get something sorted – you write a lovely little speech, describe something mystical or marvelous – something happens with the plot. A character needs to be in two places at once, or they disappear, or the location is wrong, or they’re in the wrong century. Look, I’m not trying to write ‘The Time Traveler’s wife’ here. It’s not complicated. Well, it’s not complicated in my head at least. I’ve got the characters on cards, on ‘Scrivener’ and in numerous, numerous notebooks.  I just wish these characters would just stay still instead of moving around all over the place. Whenever I want someone to just appear and say something pointed and plot-movingonly (it is a word), they are somewhere else. Sometimes they’re in Colorado having breakfast with a nun, or they may be dead or not yet born. All very, very inconvenient. So I change it and then the next crisis comes when the nun in Colarado turns up looking for someone to have breakfast with.

I hate it when people say that the characters ‘develop a life of their own’ as if that were a good thing. I’m on my 8th final draft at the moment and it’s driving me crazy. I want this done now. I want them to all stay where they should be whilst I finish the book. I can then go back to writing about grass, meadows, swards, pastures, weed, marijuana, green, mary jane, narcs and informants.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Nob

In a rare, I wish, diversion from writing, I started wondering what photo of myself I would put on the inside of my soon to be finished, yeah right, book cover.

This is vital to me now. I’m having a bit of a plot crisis. Without giving too much away, I’m stuck trying to get person A to tell person B something about event X without involving an element of time travel.  So naturally I need to put the book on hold and focus on the photograph I will select to put on the inside back cover.

I want to look intelligent, but not too academic. Funny with an air of gravitas at the same time. I want to exude a feeling of, ‘this is someone I would like to go for a drink with, or a game of golf.’ On the other hand I want to be a person you can identify with as someone who would be comfortable alone at times thinking really deep thoughts.

I just needed a photo of me that will do this. I looked. The photos I have of me make me look like, well – you tell me:

Exhibit A:

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I’m not sure what feeling I was trying to portray on this day. Probably an air of aloofness, casualness. The jacket and the jumper (really?) should suggest some kind of rebelliousness. Not quite James Dean but a bit ‘hey look at me – I’m cool and hip’ (what! people don’t say hip any more?, nor cool?).  Note hands in my pockets. I would have been told off for that when I was younger but look at me now – Living on the edge. Edgy as f***.

Note background – wall. It says I’m urban. I’m down with the yoofs, living off my wits, off the streets. It’s my old house in Formby, Lancashire. A quote from Wikipedia explains the town in 10 words;

“Formby is affluent with high owner-occupation and car ownership”

But that was then. This is now. I don’t live there anymore man. I’m keeping it real now – back to my roots. Back to Welsh valleys – yeah. Which is actually sort of true, as it happens. Not a purely conscious choice but hey… let’s stay in the now, man.

So this photo doesn’t really fit the bill.

Exhibit B, m’lud.

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In this one I think I was aiming for a little bit arty, a little bit edgy here as well. Black and white as well – rad eh?

Note the indistinct painting behind that should say ‘look at me I’m an artist’. In actual fact it was a drawing my young pre-school child did and, like the pretentious, nurturng , supportive parent I am – I put it in a frame and hung it on the wall.

That’s the image I think I’m going for here. Kind to children. Maybe I need a small animal to be rescuing, or a certificate of my support of the RSPCA somewhere, just on the edge of shot.

Also note my stern, unsmiling look. This is partly, mostly, based on being a serious artist. It’s also partly based on my arm getting tired holding the camera. This must have been the twentieth shot I had taken as it really is difficult to focus the camera at this angle. .

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, also note a radical change – indistinct clothing – proletariat clothing. No shirt and tie for me, man. I’m no slave to the system. You don’t catch me working for the man. Well, actually you do. I was working for the Civil Service office in Southport at the time.

Still, it looks a little better than exhibit A, even though it is 2,000% more pretentious. And it is probably one of the world’s first selfies. God I was so ahead of my time.

I shall continue my quest and get back to you ………………….

Learn Welsh With Byron – Lesson 1

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Lesson 1 – How to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in Welsh

It’s quite straightforward.

Just follow the table below (kindly provided by clwb malu cachu ( www.clwbmalucachu.co.uk ) ) – assuming of course you know whether you want to speak in existential present, past or future, imperfect, imperfect preterite, or inflected preterite or, of course, inflected future.

We’re simple folk.

Next time – How to swear in Welsh.

Interrogative Yes No
Existential present
is/are there? oes? oes nac oes
Existential imperfect (past)
was/were there? oedd? oedd nac oedd
Existential future
will there be? fydd? bydd na fydd
Present
am i? ydw i? wyt/ydych nac wyt/ydych
are you? (wyt) ti? ydw nac ydw
is he? ydy/yw e? ydy nac ydy/yw
is she? ydy/yw hi? ydy nac ydy/yw
are we? ydan ni?/(yd)yn ni? ydych/ydyn nac ydych/ydyn
are you? (y)dach chi?/
(yd)ych chi?
ydw/ydyn nac ydw/ydyn
are they? ydyn nhw? ydyn nac ydyn
Imperfect (written)
was i? oeddwn i? oeddet/ oeddech nac oeddet/ oeddech
were you? oeddet ti? oeddwn nac oeddwn
was he? oedd e? oedd nac oedd
was she? oedd hi? oedd nac oedd
were we? oedden ni? oedden nac oedden
were you? oeddech chi? oeddwn/oedden nac oeddwn/oedden
were they? oedden nhw? oedden nac oedden
Imperfect (spoken)
was i? o’n i? o’t/o’ch nac o’t/o’ch
were you? o’t ti? o’n nac o’n
was he? oedd e? oedd nac oedd
was she? oedd hi? oedd nac oedd
were we? o’n ni? o’n nac o’n
were you? o’ch chi? o’n nac o’n
were they? o’n nhw? o’n nac o’n
Future
will I (be)? fydda i? byddi/byddwch na fyddi/ fyddwch
will you (be)? fyddi di? bydda(f) na fydda(f)
will he (be)? fydd e? bydd na fydd
will she (be)? fydd hi? bydd na fydd
will we (be)? fyddwn ni? byddwn na fyddwn
will you (be)? fyddwch chi? bydda(f)/byddwn na fydda(f)/fyddwn
will they (be)? fyddan nhw? byddan na fyddan
Inflected preterite (simple past)
did i…? -es/-ais i? do naddo
did you…? -est ti? do naddo
did he…? -odd e? do naddo
did she…? -odd hi? do naddo
did we…? -on ni? do naddo
did you…? -och chi? do naddo
did they…? -on nhw? do naddo
Preterite of ‘bod’
have I been (to)? fues/fu^m* i? do naddo
have you been (to)? fuest ti? do naddo
has he been (to)? fu(odd) e? do naddo
has she been (to)? fu(odd) hi? do naddo
have we been (to)? fuon/fuom* ni? do naddo
have you been (to)? fuoch chi? do naddo
have they been (to)? fuon nhw?/fuont hwy* do naddo
*more formal
Inflected future
will I? -a i? do naddo
will you? -i di? do naddo
will he? -ith e/o? do naddo
will she? -ith hi? do naddo
will we? -wn ni? do naddo
will you? -wch chi? do naddo
will they? -an nhw? do naddo
Galla – can
can I? alla i? gelli/galli/gallwch na elli/alli/allwch
can you? alli/elli* di? galla na alla
can he? all e? gall na all
can she? all hi? gall na all
can we? allwn ni? gallwn na allwn
can you? allwch/ellwch chi? galla/gallwn na alla/allwn
can they? allan nhw? gallan na allan
*elli di is more common
Medra (north) – can
can I? fedra i? medri/medrwch na fedri/fedrwch
can you? fedri di? medra na fedra
can he? fedr* fo? medr na fedr
can she? fedr hi? medr na fedr
can we? fedrwn ni? medrwn na fedrwn
can you? fedrwch chi? medra/medrwn na fedra/fedrwn
can they? fedran nhw? medran na fedran
*often pronounced ‘fedar’
Gallwn – could
could I? allwn i? gallet/gallech na allet/allech
could you? allet ti? gallwn na allwn
could he? allai fe? gallai na allai
could she? allai hi? gallai na allai
could we? allen ni? gallen na allen
could you? allech chi? gallwn/gallen na allwn/allen
could they? allen nhw? gallen na allen
Medrwn – could
could I? fedrwn i? medret/ medrech na fedret/fedrech
could you? fedret ti? medrwn na fedrwn
could he? fedrai fo? medrai na fedrai
could she? fedrai hi? medrai na fedrai
could we? fedren ni? medren na fedren
could you? fedrech chi? medrwn/ medren na fedrwn/fedren
could they? fedren nhw? medren na fedren
Byddwn – would
would I? fyddwn i? byddet/byddech na fyddet/fyddech
would you? fyddet ti? byddwn na fyddwn
would he? fyddai fe? byddai na fyddai
would she? fyddai hi? byddai na fyddai
would we? fydden ni? bydden na fydden
would you? fyddech chi? byddwn/bydden na fyddwn/fydden
would they? fydden nhw? bydden na fydden
Baswn – would
would I? (fa)swn i? (ba)set/(ba)sech na (fa)set/(fa)sech
would you? (fa)set ti? (ba)swn na (fa)swn
would he? (fa)sai fo? (ba)sai na (fa)sai
would she? (fa)sai hi? (ba)sai na (fa)sai
would we? (fa)sen ni? (ba)sen na (fa)sen
would you? (fa)sech chi? (ba)swn/(ba)sen na (fa)swn/(fa)sen
would they? (fa)sen nhw? (ba)sen na (fa)sen
Dylwn – ought to/should
ought/should I? ddylwn i? dylet/dylech na ddylet/ddylech
ought/should you? ddylet ti? dylwn na ddylwn
ought/should he? ddylai fe/fo? dylai na ddylai
ought/should she? ddylai hi? dylai na ddylai
ought/should we? ddylen ni? dylen na ddylen
ought/should you? ddylech chi? dylwn/dylen na ddylwn/ddylen
ought/should they? ddylen nhw? dylen na ddylen
Dylswn – ought to/should
ought/should I? ddylswn i? dylset/dylsech na ddylset/ddylsech
ought/should you? ddylset ti? dylswn na ddylswn
ought/should he? ddylsai fe/fo? dylsai na ddylsai
ought/should she? ddylsai hi? dylsai na ddylsai
ought/should we? ddylsen ni? dylsen na ddylsen
ought/should you? ddylsech chi? dylswn/dylsen na ddylswn/dylsen
ought/should they? ddylsen nhw? dylsen na ddylsen
Hoffwn – would like
would I like? hoffwn i? hoffet/hoffech na hoffet/hoffech
would you like? hoffet ti? hoffwn na hoffwn
would he like? hoffai fe? hoffai na hoffai
would she like? hoffai hi? hoffai na hoffai
would we like? hoffen ni? hoffen na hoffen
would you like? hoffech chi? hoffwn/hoffen na hoffwn/hoffen
would they like? hoffen nhw? hoffen na hoffen
Leiciwn – would like
would I like? leiciwn i? leiciet/leiciech na leiciet/leiciech
would you like? leiciet ti? leiciwn na leiciwn
would he like? leiciai fe? leiciai na leiciai
would she like? leiciai he? leiciai na leiciai
would we like? leicien ni? leicien na leicien
would you like? leiciech chi? leiciwn/leicien na leiciwn/leicien
would they like? leicien nhw? leicien na leicien

It Must Be Good News Being An Introvert And A Writer? Mustn’t It?

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The discussion below is very general. I know. It is stereotyping. I know. It doesn’t apply to everyone. I know that. It definitely does not apply to everyone who reads this. I know. The person who reads this is a complicated and multi-faceted, elaborate creature made up of an infinite and indefinable sets of higher functions that could not possibly be quantified. I know. You are special. I know. You are unique. I know. Just like everyone else you are unique.

The classic classification for a writer using the Myers-Briggs type Indicator is an INFP – which translates as an Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perceiving person. In blunt terms a shy, caring, intuitive type who loves to spend time on their own. Very, very blunt terms.

Focusing on the Introvert / Extrovert aspect seems the most useful for this particular discussion. This aspect of Myers Briggs assessment (there are millions of articles out there if you need a fuller explanation) is concerned with how you get energy and recharge your batteries. Do you energise yourself internally (introvert) or externally (extroverts).  In practical terms – after a long, hard, draining week how would you ideally choose to recharge your batteries in an ideal world. This is a world without the constraints on kids, money, relationships. In a purely selfish scenario how would you choose – Would you ideally go out clubbing, dancing, discoing or whatever you youngsters do these days – raving, garaging? Or would have a have a quiet night in – relaxing, chillaxing? Unsurprising if you choose the relaxing aspect this indicates you have more of an introvert tendency. So, what are you?

As I mentioned before the majority of writers tend to fall into this introvert camp.  This sounds about right to me. Introvertion would be quite handy for the writing process. Being stuck in a room for hours on end would, I suspect, not really be the chosen pastime of most extroverts.

However, writers, certainly modern writers need more skills than just writing.

“Once the writing has finished the work begins.”

We need to sell. This is typical a job for an extrovert, not an introvert. However, it’s a necessity unless you have the skill of J D Salinger. You have to do it –it’s your job. Okay nowadays we can hide behind a laptop and tweet and write and pretend that we are extrovert. That’s quite nice isn’t it? But can we fake being an extrovert in real life? Tough.

I have found some tips for us –

  1. Let it out.  I’m not too sure what you should let out but do it. Let it out. Let your shy personality – honed and fine–tuned by years and years of repression and disappointment – out.
  2. Walk on the wild side. Go crazy. Get into a bar-room fight. Dance on the tables.
  3. Be impulsive. If a wild day for you is one in which you change your tea towel then this is what you need. Be rash. Quit your job. Book a flight to Istanbul and just go.
  4. Join a club. Not too sure about this one. There are so many diverse, dodgy clubs out there. In my local newspaper there are invites for book reading clubs, friends of the theatre clubs, photography clubs. It seems a little dodgy to me. I’m pretty sure they are all covers for wife-swapping clubs. But, hey that should increase your extraversion score.

So, you need to do all of these activities and become a (pretend) activist – don’t forget you’ve still got to write. It’s only a job and the job requires different skills, like building walls or driving a bus. Learn these new skills. Who knows you may even like it.

You can read the opening chapter of ‘Mynydd Eimon: Private Hell’ here, or you can get the book on Amazon and Kindle here

 

How Would You Like To Be Remembered?

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For many of us writing is not a full time job – yet. We can dream. Until the day we are ‘discovered’ w e have to pay the Government, feed the kids and help pay many, many, many other peoples’ mortgages.  I suspect you find, like me, there is never enough time to write. Life is taken up with all those ‘things that get in the way’. Writing is shoved in between  cleaning the bathroom and mending the brakes on the car. You wonder where the time went as you look back on most days and realise that you’ve achieved nothing. Maybe it’s time to see if  you can manage your time a little more effectively. I know. I know. Time management is usually so boring with activity logs, time sheets time logs, Time Tac, Toggl and Time Tiger. This is different – it’s free. It’s about you and determining what is important to you.

Try this exercise. Imagine it’s ten years in the future. You find yourself in a church at your own funeral. One by one people you know get up and talk about you and your contribution to the world. What are they going to say ? What will your partner, your kids, your colleagues say ? I can bet all the money in my pocket they won’t be like Mr Burns  when he thought he was dying announcing, “I just wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

Ask yourself this question – “How would I like to be remembered ?” What would you like those who care about you, and you care about, to say ? What would you want to leave behind you? You need time to think about this. Once you’ve really got this big picture sorted you can move on.

The next step is an exercise from Stephen Covey. It’s known as ‘Stephen Covey’s Big Rocks’-

Imagine a bucket. Put three or four big rocks in.

“Is the bucket full ? ” I ask.

“No” you reply.

“Of course not” I say and put some smaller rocks in it to fill in the gaps.

“Full now ? ”

“No”. I put in some sand. Then I add some water. It’s full.

So, what’s the learning here ? It’s to do with the order. What would happen if I’d reversed the order ? What if I’d put the water in first, then the sand, then the small rocks. There would be no room for the big rocks. These big rocks are the important things in your life. You need to schedule them first, not try to squeeze them in after arranging the water ( writing pointless reports ), sand ( unnecessary travel ) or small rocks ( staff meetings where no-one listens and everyone looks at the clock ).

What are the big rocks in your life ? For many it’s things like family, time to watch the children grow up, time to finish that novel, time for themselves, time to make a difference. You decide. You identify 3 or 4 things you believe are important. The 3 or 4 things that will make a difference at your funeral.

When you’ve decided what they are then schedule them. Schedule time for yourself, time to take that creative writing class, time to spend a week with the children at half term. Once these times are scheduled, fit the rest of your work around them.

It’s not big and it’s not clever to work more than forty hours a week. I repeat, it’s not big and it’s not clever. So stop it. Stop that ‘poor me, look how many hours I work’ nonsense. Work as little as you can. Do as much as you can in the time agreed, but once you’ve done – run away – go home. The surprise will be how little people miss you. It may be hard at first to realise the world of work can carry on without you but give it time. This feeling will be replaced by one of immense joy. “I’m dispensable !” This will give you enormous freedom.

But never forget the big picture. Why save 30 minutes by delegating some work when ‘re only going to spend it playing online poker. (Well, that’s the theory, but maybe becoming an online poker millionaire is one of your big rocks?).

Remember you can’t save time – you’ve only got so much. You know that. So, what do you want to be remembered for ?

 You can read the opening chapter of ‘Mynydd Eimon: Private Hell’ here, or you can get the book on Amazon and Kindle here

 You can get the ‘Essential Management Skills’ Kindle book here    

How to Write a Successful Novel

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Words Remembered, Not Said

Distractions of the week

…. Wednesday – release of kindle day-job book ‘Essential Management Skills’ – New update of Scrivener software – Golf competition at Cradoc Golf Club – excellent day, but no cigar – Coronation Street -Eisteddfod at Bala – ‘Fargo’ – Online poker – New books : ‘Child of God’, ‘Frank’ – Cat waking up at 4 a.m. – Su Doku – Twitter – Thinking of idea for golf article for Culture Cymru  -Still managed to write a chapter – result – reading an article on using writing style to predict the success of novels …………………….

I researched the research at …..

http://aclweb.org/anthology/D/D13/D13-1181.pdf

entitled Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels

researched by Vikas Ganjigunte Ashok, Song Feng, Yejin Choi

Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4400

They have uncovered the secret of success. Their research concerned the analysis  of writing styles to predict if a novel will be successful or not. As part of the study there are a number of words analysed and determined as being successful or unsuccessful in novels.

Consider the following 2 paragraphs:

“Not really,” I said. “Words can say much about me, my unicorn and my turtle. Which to choose, that is the question? After the decision I ponder the questions – Where? What? Whom? Whenever I remembered my life, after my birth, I recognized the struggle within. So I must go up, out, into the void within.”

and

“Never take the risk. And worse never hit slaves hard. If a person is murdered, or even bruised on the arm or body the assailant will face a heavy prison sentence.  As I sat in my room on the bay near the beach, watching my boat outside the door, I wanted to promise that I would cry, shout, but never go down that avenue. As I resisted the urge, I became very breathless until I reached a state where I became almost sacred where the slightest thought would make me absolutely perfect. “

Apparently the first one will be the most successful. According to the study (Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels ) there is a way to predict success.

The most successful words to include in novels are – not, said, words, says, I, me, my, and, which, though, that, as, after, but, where, what, as, after, but, where, what, whom, since, whenever, up, into, out, after, in, within, recognized, remembered.

The less successful words are – never, risk, worse, slaves, hard, murdered, bruised, heavy, prison, face, arm, body, skins, room, beach, bay, hills, avenue, boat, door, want, went, took, promise cry shout, jump, glare, urge, never, very, breathless, sacred, slightest, absolutely, perfect

I suspect this would apply doubly to book titles. I guess the more good words you can combine, the better. I did a little research –

My list of ‘should be’ successful novels  –

‘Me and My Brothers’. Technically not a novel but it was co-written by Charlie Kray so it’s technically anything it wants to be.

Who, What, Where, When, Die – Amanda M Lee.

Whenever They Call Me a Dreamer – Marsha L Sisk

Out – Natsuo Kirino

After Me, the Delude – David Forrest

Not I – Samuel Beckett. Again not exactly a novel but included because the list of successful words reads like Billy Whitelaw in a scene from a Beckett play.

List of ‘should not be successful’ novels –

Breathless – at least 10 different authors

Whenever Whenever – Richard Bradley

Beach, Bach, Boat, Barbecue  – Penny Oliver and Ian Bachelor

74 Seaside Avenue – Debbie Macomber – will be about boats, beaches, Bach and barbecues, I suspect

“Don’t Cry for Me Aberystwyth” Malcolm Pryce ( a legend) with one of the best titles ever being a complex mix of good and bad

So, what have I learnt?  – not much. Yes, you’re right – even with all the distractions I have got too much time on my hands. However my next book is going to be –

“Words Remembered, Not Said” – a romantic novel

***

 You can read the opening chapter of ‘Mynydd Eimon: Private Hell’ here, or you can get the book on Amazon and Kindle here

 You can get the ‘Essential Management Skills’ Kindle book here