Kappa: Japanese Fiction Review

I’ve recently been keeping up with Meg Sorick’s series on drinking adventurously (trying the alcoholic offerings of far-flung lands and describing them for your pleasure). Drawing inspiration from her, I thought I’d bring you a taste of something different which you might not have encountered before. Not having the stomach for exotic spirits, however, I bring you a sample of the unique flavour that is Japanese literature.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Ryunosuke Akutagawa

We can begin with the author, Ryunosuke Akutagawa. He wrote Kappa in 1927 as a social commentary, making clear his negative view of corruption in Japanese society. One feature which made him stand out as an author was his willingness to blend western and Japanese influences in his fiction.

Akutagawa committed suicide by overdose in the same year Kappa was published, believing he had inherited a mental illness from his mother and fearing he would lose his mind. This casts a shadow over the tale which makes its meaning more powerful.

Continue reading “Kappa: Japanese Fiction Review”

The End Of The Road

End of road

The end of the road is in sight. There are now only about five chapters of Servants of Infamy (formerly White Rose) left to complete. Then there will be a process of updating the first three parts (as my writing has changed a lot since I started this novel), editing and trying to design a cover (before giving up and selecting a stock photo, most likely).

With all of that in mind, I will give a tentative release date of some time in February or the beginning of March. However, this could vary so keep an eye out for more updates!

What happens after self-publishing the novel? The picture above explains it quite well. While writing, you follow a road. It’s a set path from start to finish, if not always a straight one. Once you reach the end of the road, you’re out in the wilderness. There’s some marketing, promotion and feedback.

Continue reading “The End Of The Road”

Going It Alone #2: Precision Reading (makes you a better author)

Lone Wolf Alfred Kowalski
Lone Wolf by Alfred Kowalski

This is a narrative of my experiences starting out as a writer, but it isn’t a chronological account. I made this decision because the order in which I did things isn’t the order you should adopt. Due to going it alone, I unfortunately missed out some crucial steps.

In the last post we looked at coming up with an idea for your writing. Now that question has been answered, how do you get on with putting pen to paper? How do you go from 0 to author?

The answer lies in the pages of every work of fiction or non-fiction you have ever read, each TV series or film you watched, and every picture you looked at. You already know what a novel looks like from front to back. Stop there. Do you know it inside out?

Continue reading “Going It Alone #2: Precision Reading (makes you a better author)”

Going It Alone #1: “What Should I Write?”

Lone Wolf Alfred Kowalski
Lone Wolf by Alfred Kowalski

I’m beginning this series of posts in the Writing Tips category, but it differs in an important way from my other writing advice. This isn’t a series about how to write fiction or non-fiction. It’s a narrative of my experiences as a writer, with some helpful insights along the way.

When I started writing I made a crucial decision, motivated largely by stubbornness, to “go it alone”. I didn’t ask friends or family to buy my books and review them, or subscribe to my blog. I didn’t seek out editing help, professional or otherwise. I didn’t use my personal social media accounts to advertise my writing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My marketing strategy

Continue reading “Going It Alone #1: “What Should I Write?””

Writing Tips Index

Now those are useful tips!
Now those are useful tips!

45 writing tips have now made their way onto this blog. A wealth of information at your fingertips. Or are they? You might find it hard to define endless scrolling as being “at your fingertips”.

With that in mind, here is an index of every writing tip from the Useless Book Club, 1-45. If you know of a good way to work an index into the blog’s layout, please leave a comment!

  1. The Prologue
  2. The Process
  3. Writing Faux Pas – Debunked
  4. A Useful App For Writers
  5. Writing The Main Plot
  6. Endings
  7. Writing Historical Fiction And Fantasy
  8. Character Pitfalls
  9. Past Inspiration
  10. Barnstorming For Beginners
  11. How To Write A Story About Anything
  12. How To Get More Readers
  13. Write A Bad Story
  14. Gambling Tip For Writers
  15. Character Development In 3 Steps
  16. Writing Minor Plots
  17. Write Like Shakespeare
  18. Write For Money
  19. Keep Up With The Times
  20. Planning Your Novel In 3 Steps (for NaNoWriMo)
  21. Value Your Work
  22. All About Chapters
  23. Critiquing Your Novel
  24. Writing A Catastrophe
  25. Writing For The 21st Century
  26. Characters Who Do Bad Things
  27. No Good Deed
  28. Know Your Enemy
  29. Sourcing Images For Your Blog
  30. Characters In Conflict
  31. Blogging For Beginners
  32. Understanding The Misunderstood Author
  33. Writing The Opposite Gender
  34. How To Write Fiction (step-by-step)
  35. Writing Evil
  36. Fear And Courage In Fiction
  37. How To Choose A Name For Your Character
  38. How To Write In The First Person
  39. Writing A Realistic Narrative
  40. Hindsight and Self-improvement
  41. Creating Escapism By Genre
  42. And Then This Happened…
  43. “That”
  44. Criticism, Feedback And Commentary
  45. Making A Video Trailer

Wow, there’s enough up there to fill a book!

Dead Author Dialogue

Tolstoy grave

An imaginary journey to a very real place.

An invented conversation with a legendary man.

I stumble through a landscape steeped in history, permeated by magic. An idyllic clearing named the place of the green wand in the Forest of the Old Order. Yasnaya Polyana, Bright Glade.

Tolstoy

My host has woken from a century-long sleep to greet me. Tolstoy occupies an old garden chair, settled in the clearing a few feet from his grave. A picture of the Old Russian gentleman. At ease, enjoying the simplicity of his natural surroundings. Fierce gaze filled with deep perception. Understanding.

Dobroye utro,’ I call, nervous, eager to demonstrate my limited knowledge of his father-tongue.

‘Good morning,’ he replies, his crisp tone shredding any notion that our conversation will be carried on in Russian. We have important matters to discuss and limited time. None to waste in butchered pronunciation. ‘Sit or stand, as you please.’

I stand. There is only one chair and dew lies heavy on the grass beneath my feet.

‘May I ask you some questions? Sorry, is there anything you’d like to ask me?’

‘Such as what?’ he asks, the question throwing me. ‘What knowledge which you possess would I need where I am going, where I have been going?’

Of course. What do the living have to teach the dead? He is irritable and I should hurry, but not rush.

‘May I ask how you did it?’

‘More specific,’ he says, staring in bored abandon up towards the light-speckled canopy.

‘How did you create such masterpieces? What do you think made you one of the great authors?’

He smiles at that, spreading his legs out and crossing them at the ankle.

‘Has no one written better since then?’ he asks.

‘Some would say so,’ I change tack as the corners of his mouth twitch in a momentary frown. ‘But I would disagree.’

Now his brow draws into a map of creased skin. Thoughtful, his gaze pierces mine.

‘Why is that, do you think?’

‘Perhaps,’ I say, thinking of an answer as I speak. ‘Authorship has improved. The creating of a story itself. Some writers become as great as you, or better. But none can turn the page itself into an adventure, forge words into experiences, quite how it was done in your day.’

‘Do you not read?’ he asks.

‘Of course!’

‘Well, writing is reading turned around. How many books did you read this week?’

‘This week,’ I begin a silent stammer. What answer can I give which will not lower his opinion of me? None. ‘I haven’t. I’m sure I could, but who has the time? Maybe one in the last month, or two.’

‘Two books?’

‘Two months.’

My voice has become an ashamed whisper, but there is nothing more sinister than soft curiosity in his eyes now.

‘What do you do, if not read?’ he asks.

‘Any number of things. Television, internet, work, films…’ I let my words trail off. A vacant expression has come over his face.

‘These things… They are written?’

‘Some of them, yes.’

Some,‘ he repeats. ‘Then some day you might write as well as I did.’

‘How often did you read?’ I ask.

He laughs and claps his hands together.

‘How often? Let me think.’ A long pause. ‘Do you know why I asked to be buried here?’

‘No, why?’

‘Because I wanted to be sure it was real. The place of the green wand. My brother named it that. But, do you know, I never could remember if it was a real place or somewhere we had read about. Does that seem strange to you?’

‘It does, a little.’

‘Well, do away with these distractions. Your television and such. Leave off it and spend your life in books. When you no longer remember where the stories end and reality begins, you may be ready to write your novel.’

We parted ways shortly after. I’m sure he was right. To this day, I do not doubt a single word he uttered. But how could I become like him? How could I sit in the shaded forest, a book planted between my hands, while the entire world and more lay at my fingertips?

He was free in his lifetime. They all were back then. Free to spend their days in idle thought, losing reality in the printed page. Free, but chained.

Perhaps we have taken a step back. Being an author could grow more difficult with every screen, flashing light and whirring hard-drive which enters our lives. Distractions. But we can reach through them and touch every corner of our world. A world both real and imagined.

I feel sorry for him these days. Then again, I’m sure he pities me just as much.

Have An Infamous Christmas

Ragnarok

As an early Christmas gift to you, here is the latest chapter from my current work-in-progress, Servants of Infamy!

After stewing in their disease-ridden camp, the marshland their idle feet had made of the Kent Downs, John Mortimer’s rebels marched northwards. He rode along their scattered column and harangued his truculent followers, reminding them of how the king’s officers stole bread from the mouths of their children, how his court grew fat through the betrayal of Kent’s honest landowners and labourers.

His tongue whipped them into a fast march and the head of the column arrived outside the market town of Dartford at sunset on the second day. Their spirits set to soaring heights as the common men caught sight of the wide channel of the River Thames.

Mansford’s expression grew dark and webbed scars twitched at the corners of his eyes. It became real in that moment. Until then the men around him had been no more than a disorganised rabble, stumbling through a waking dream with their gaze fixed on the distant fantasy of marching into London.

But there the rebels were, close enough to throw a stone into the same river which fed Mansford’s home city. The thought of Kentish boots tramping over its sluggish channel and into his city brought another spasm tugging at his jaw.

Jack spared the Thames a brief glance and turned his gaze back to the road. The river had never held any significance for him. He had seen the bounty of the Scottish lochs, the raw power of the Irish Sea in storm and the terrifying size of the endless expanse of waves which lay beyond the Channel’s western mouth. They had only been glimpsed as his grandfather hurried him south to France, but they lay as glittering pools of a hundred shades of green and grey in his mind’s eye.

The men of Kent could drink the Thames dry and piss it back out for all he cared. It was half a sewer already. Moreover, it was a great wall of water standing between him and the chance of battle. English soldiers waited for them across that river of filth. With John Mortimer’s help, he would see them drown in it.

A shout went up from the front and the column halted its advance. Jack cursed Mansford’s slow gait for bringing them away from the foremost ranks. All around them men were dropping their packs and sitting on the grassy verge to strip away their mud-soaked wool hose. The sickly caseic odour of feet wedged into hard leather shoes and marched raw over broken roads for two days hung damp in the air.

“If half these men ain’t got the rot, I’ll be an archbishop.” Mansford said, clamping forefinger and thumb over his nose.

Jack wondered at the man who could spill blood without thought, but who flinched at the smell of stricken flesh. His mind groped for a clever rebuke to throw at Mansford. Before one came to mind, Jack heard a frantic rush of feet coming towards them.

A young lad raced past, sprinting between the discarded packs and wailing in terror as he bolted for the rear of the rebel column. His waving red hair was already some way into the distance before Jack could make sense of his cries, now being repeated in low mutters by the men around him.

“The king’s come! He’s come to hang us! The king’s come with an army!”

Jack once more cursed Mansford’s reluctance to be at the front and wished John Mortimer had taken the time to bring order to the men who followed him. The rebels were scattered back along the road for over a mile, with some still marching in ignorance of the halt. If it were not for the terrified lad’s warning, those in the middle and rear would never have known an army blocked their path.

Just in front of Jack there was a low hillock around which the road snaked. It cut of all sight of John Mortimer’s vanguard. For all they knew, the battle could have been fought and lost with them being none the wiser.

They would know either way soon enough, Jack thought, when the king’s knights rode down over the hillock and hacked them apart where they stood.

“What are you waiting for? Get up there and see if it’s true, Jock.” Mansford said. He had a tremble of panic in his voice and Jack saw the cutthroat’s hands were still, keeping well clear of his dagger. It would be of no use against armoured knights on horseback and Mansford was ready to run at the first hoofbeat he heard.

Jack jogged up to the crest of the mound. Every step felt like an ordeal, as if fear had taken hold of him by the midriff and was hauling him back towards the safety of the Kentish rebels.

His knees were weak and he was bone weary by the time the slope evened out. Jack settled into a crouch to stop his legs from shaking, and to make himself a smaller target. As he crept towards the summit, he cranked back the string of his crossbow.

Why not run? Jack knew he could survive if he made it back among the crowd lining the road. Many of them were still barefoot. They would be too slow to avoid a charging horseman, but he, on the other hand, might get away free if he could get down off the hillock.

Mansford came up beside him, crawled ahead a few paces to peer over the top of the rise and stood upright.

There was a cold slackness in Jack’s gut, threatening to loosen his bowels, but he clamped his jaw shut and rose behind the cutthroat. A long breath hissed out between his clenched teeth.

Three hundred yards from where they stood, a stream cut a straight path across the bare meadow. The steep ditch through which it ran was spanned by a narrow bridge of dark, uneven stone.

Beyond the meadow, Jack could see a cluster of dwellings. There was Dartford. It seemed so near over the expanse of green that Jack almost overlooked the enemy.

Several hundred footmen stood in untidy ranks on the far side of the bridge, armed with billhooks and pikes wavering in the breeze. A solitary banner hung limp on its pole at the centre of their line. The thousand or more men of John Mortimer’s vanguard faced them across the meadow.

“Bloody Christ.” Mansford swore. He turned to call back to the men waiting behind them. “That ain’t the king. It’s the Sheriff of Kent and whatever bullyboys he could cobble together on short notice. They’re stamping their feet like frightened hens.”

Jack could see the sheriff’s men shifting in their ranks, irregular ripples of movement passing to and fro along their line. Ten trained men-at-arms might have held the bridge against an army, but even a fool could see the sheriff’s men lacked the stomach for what was to come.

“Aye, looks like the sheriff is even more of a coward than his men.” Jack said, pointing towards a shadow of movement in the distance.

His eyes followed a lone rider as he spurred his mount away from the sheriff’s levies. The king’s officer rode hard across the meadow, leaving the rebel army and the town he had sworn to protect behind in a trail of dust which scattered in the wake of his horse’s hooves. The host of hired footmen seemed to shudder as heads turned to watch his flight.

Mortimer trotted his own mount in front of his vanguard, five other landowners of Kent riding behind him. The traitor’s fat body wobbled as he stood in the saddle, his loud bellow carrying clear to Jack’s ears on the quiet breeze.

“That town you see yonder is Dartford.” he began, heaving his thick torso around to gesture over the stream. “It is a hallowed place for we men of Kent. Wat Tyler, a goodly man who led the honest people of our county in revolt not seventy years ago, was born in that place.” A furious cheer went up from men whose grandfathers had marched behind Wat Tyler and knew how the king’s officers had betrayed him. “Brave King Henry, whose son now wears the crown, walked this road on his way to Agincourt.” Another deafening cry met the name of the place where the Kentish men’s fathers had bent bows and sent death raining down on the flower of French nobility. “He, too, has been betrayed. Those men you see before us, barring our path, are loyal to the Sheriff of Kent.”

“And I’m the Duchess of York.” Mansford said in a soft, bitter murmur. “They’re loyal to the two silver groats the sheriff paid them.”

“The sheriff,” Mortimer continued, wheeling his horse to face the bridge. “Is abed with Queen Margaret who seeks to poison our king’s mind against his honest subjects. Those soldiers trample our livelihoods and rob our babes of food to keep them well through the winter. Let us show them justice, Kentish justice, and sharpened steel!”

Mortimer’s thick legs kicked back at his horse’s flanks and the animal plunged forwards onto the uneven stones of the bridge. His companions galloped after him, drawing their swords and thrusting the bright points into the air above their heads.

The vanguard gave a shout which seemed to shake the earth beneath Jack’s feet and they were flowing like a surging tide into the steep ditch.

Air whipped past his face and Jack was hurtling down the slope. His feet scarcely touched the grass as the meadow drew nearer. He lifted his gaze and saw the footmen close ranks at the head of the bridge. Their pikes stuck up towards the clouded sky like upright reeds on the edge of a river.

Had the Devil taken their senses from them? Their only chance of holding against horsemen was to lower pikes and stand their ground. Even as Jack sprinted the last hundred feet to where the rebels were struggling up the far side of the ditch, he saw the sheriff’s hired army take a faltering step back.

These were not knights or soldiers blooded in the wars with France. Mansford had been right. They were farmers and apprentices called to the sheriff’s banner and offered a silver groat or two to carry a hook or pike.

Mortimer’s horse hit the first rank like a hammer striking glass. Men reeled away and were kicked to the ground by thrashing hooves. Wickedly sharp steel sliced through the air at unguarded heads and necks.

The rebels rose out of the ditch to find their enemies towering over them, but not one man in the meadow owned a shield to defend against a cut from below. Scythes, axes and clubs lashed out at the legs of the men above and the footmen dropped, shrieking in agony.

Jack could not see the sheriff’s banner any more. It was like watching a forest being hacked to kindling. Pikes trembled in the air before toppling down onto the heads of those nearby, dropped as the footmen sprinted away from the howling terrors clambering up the stream’s steep bank.

He was too late. Jack was panting and gasping for air as he watched the rebel vanguard set off towards Dartford in pursuit of the two groat army.

His foot lashed out and kicked the bloodstained stones of the bridge, sending a flash of white hot pain up his leg. Jack bent double and moaned in agony. Then he straightened his back and let the fire wash through him, burning away his frustration.

Only one thing mattered to him now. The road to London was clear. Its streets would soon run with fresh-spilled blood, or his name was not Jack Cade.

He turned and saw Mansford walking with a slow, measured tread towards him. His eyes were narrowed and his mouth was set in a grimace of unease. Scarred flesh bunched into deep grooves across his brow.

“By the Virgin, I never thought they’d get this far.” he said, his voice a hollow whisper.

More extracts:

Tip #42: And Then This Happened…

Angry

Mary Sue was walking through the park when she happened to meet Algobog. She was scared of him.

And then he said “Don’t be scared of me, I want to be your friend.”

And then they were friends, but Algobog had a secret. He did not really like Mary Sue because she lacked character depth.

And then he ate her.

“And then this happened”, etc. until the story finishes. This is an extreme example, but it illustrates a point.

This view may be personal to me, but there is no such thing as “good fiction” and “bad fiction”. Instead, all stories fall somewhere on a broad spectrum of “And then this happened.”

At its worst this is flat, sequential and predictable. At its best, well… it’s a great story.

One example which springs to mind is The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell. It’s a fun read and a TV series I would happily recommend. However, it does not grip me.

The Last Kingdom has very engaging characters and plot. The setting is excellent. But it suffers from mild “And then this happened.”

You may think this is another way of describing deus ex machina (where something is concocted to get your character out of an impossible situation). But it is really a way of explaining why some fiction is “better” or “worse”, of which deus ex machina is one part.

For example: Mary Sue is in an impossible situation, And then this happened, she lived happily ever after. The reader has an issue with neither an impossible situation nor happily ever after. It is the And then this happened which makes deus ex machina an irritating writing device.

It is plot minus motivation. Things just happen. Events and dialogue roll along regardless of what the characters are thinking or feeling. People say and do things, but the reader never falls into a state of suspended disbelief.

Ask yourself why they do and say X. Even the seemingly most random acts in our lives have a cause or purpose. Every tiny action you perform says something about who you are.

The same is true of fictional characters.

Mary Sue was walking through the park, searching for that special someone. She knew it was a fantasy. Outside of movies nobody found true love strolling through a park. But still… She hoped.

That was when she saw Algobog. It was not his green skin or huge canines which frightened her, but the thought that he just might be “the one”. 

“Don’t be scared,” Algobog said, hiding his glee at having found an unwitting victim. “I want to be your friend.”

She did not want to believe him, but how could she not? This was the moment she had been hoping, no, longing for. Sometimes, you just had to dive in and leave your misgivings behind.

Algobog ate her. Of course he did. He was hungry. But for a brief moment, a passing whisper in time that was their lives, Mary Sue found love. If she had lived, she would have re-played that meeting a thousand times in her mind.

Mary Sue

If you are concerned or afraid, don’t be. Algobog’s feeding frenzy is over and it is now safe for you to leave your homes.

My books:

Tip #41: Creating Escapism By Genre

Escapism

You know what fiction is all about. The purpose of a novel or short story is escapism. This is also true of television and cinema.

I have been watching Homeland, which got me thinking about escapism. It’s a spy drama and I would recommend it for one compelling reason. The show manages to recreate for you, the viewer, something of the spy mentality.

That is how escapism works, in TV or fiction. You are not just trying to create vivid imagery and realistic dialogue, but also using your writing to manipulate the reader’s thoughts. You want a small part of them to believe in the story.

How you achieve this will vary depending on genre.

Spy or thriller

Escapism in spy fiction is about making the reader think like a spy. What is a vital characteristic of fictional espionage? Trusting no one.

Your characters are frequently betraying each other and undermining their plans, or at least appearing to or being suspected of doing so. If this happens, which character will your reader trust? No one. This gets them thinking like a spy character, pulling them into the story.

Thrillers operate in a similar way. They are stories about the changing psyche of a character. Their primary goal is excitement. Run the tap on hot and cold to create escapism. Rather than showing how depressed your character is (and I realise this is quite cruel), make the reader feel that depression. Give them something to feel down about.

Historical and fantasy (inc. sci-fi)

Now we can return to my niche. Your job may be harder if you write historical fiction or fantasy (or both!). There is no set preconception for how a historical or fantasy person thinks, unlike spies.

The first step is setting up the scenery. This is true of any genre, but especially these two where setting is of such importance. Now place characters in that scenery who are believable as real people. If they were alive today, would your reader still empathise with them?

You are also lucky in a way. Readers approach historical fiction and fantasy anticipating the need to jump from their world into another. So they already have their seatbelt fastened and baggage stowed in the overhead locker.

Give them a place and people which seem real and the reader will jump in on their own.

Crime

Again, the crime genre creates some problems when it comes to escapism. This is because the genre’s title is limited. Is your story about a criminal? A detective? A victim of crime? There are so many different approaches that one mindset does not fit all (again, unlike spies).

What you need to do is make the crime hit the reader. Something as simple as having your phone stolen or a brick thrown through your window may have a profound impact on your life. It can change the way you act, think and feel.

Draw the fictional crime unsettlingly close to reality. You could write “Bob shot Jess” and the reader will hardly blink. Create a vivid picture of Jess looking over her shoulder everywhere she goes after someone pickpockets her driver’s licence. This will leave the reader’s skin crawling.

Romance

Are you blushing? Romance is messy. There. I ruined it for you.

That is a good way to approach the genre. A romance can build slowly over time, steam-rolling each obstacle in its path. There is nothing wrong with that, but why not throw out some curve balls?

When the first roadblock springs up in the relationship and your characters run around it like headless chickens, your reader will sigh and say “such is life”. When it happens again a second time, “aaaargghhh”. Fourth, “are they stupid?”. Fifth, “JUST ACCEPT HE LOVES YOU!!!”.

And then the sixth, where the characters finally address their problems, allowing their romance to blossom (or they die tragically etc.). Now your reader is reaching for the tissues and reminding themselves “it’s not real” or “if only it was”.

So, if you aren’t already, start writing spy fiction. It seems a lot more straightforward. Does that help?

My books:

Tip #40: Hindsight And Self-improvement

Hindsight
“Of course my vision is 20/20, officer. I’m driving in hindsight!”

Today I went back and had a look at my first writing tip on this blog. Ouch! Re-reading something you wrote back then can be painful. This is true of both fiction and non-fiction. Could any of us read one of our old school essays without wincing?

What should you do with your dusty old writings? There are a number of tempting options: burn it, revise it, ignore it.

Binning your old work

50 torn

You may feel so embarrassed about your old work that you want to destroy it, hide it from prying eyes forever. This would be a loss to you and any fans you accumulate along the way.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to go back and have a look at J K Rowling’s first school essay for English Literature? It would probably look something like this: “To conclude, War and Peace is a naff book because WHERE ARE THE BLOODY WIZARDS??”

One day, somebody might want to read your first short story. They can get a sense of the journey which led to you becoming #1 best-selling author in the world, living in a solid gold mansion on top of Buckingham Palace.

It also lets you look back and see how far you have come.

Revamping the oldies

Another, less drastic option is to edit your past writing. You might want to re-submit it to a publisher or update it on your blog. This is a good option because you get a like-new story or novel, without all the time it takes to craft a truly new one.

The drawback is that editing previously completed work might still be a waste of time. What if you used that time to write something completely new? You would still benefit from greater experience and, rather than having one updated story, you would have two.

Letting old dogs lie

So you could just leave you old writing as it is. It might feel like you are wasting those words you wrote, but they serve a purpose. They have value in the sense of what you learnt while creating them.

The experience is already yours and it will reflect in your new writing. So ignore the actual written words. How good is the plot? How special are the characters? If the story deserves revisiting, do so. If not, let it lie.

What do you think about your past writing? How far do you feel you’ve come?

Similar writing tips:

My books: