Daniel Williams

Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Not Much Of A Blog/Notes About John Green

In American, Essay, Literature, Writing on 24/03/2013 at 20:52

Not Much Of A Blog

I’m aware that I’m not very good at updating this blog regularly, even at the best of times it can be weeks before I post something new,  so if you have been waiting I’m sorry for the wait. But I have excuses. The biggest one is, perhaps, that I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say. I’ve been taking baby steps to get back into writing, but my development as a writer never seems to go forwards, just sideways. In an overly priced creative writing handbook I bought there was one piece of advice that struck me and that was that you shouldn’t write only about yourself and your experiences. Again, I’m aware I’m failing at this advice, but only recently has my life opened up again and I’ve been able to think about things that aren’t myself. I’m hoping not thinking about myself too much will get the writing forward.

Instead of a full blog post I thought I’d try and make it up with two short posts. This is the first one. The second is about an author I’ve gotten into. His name is John Green.

Notes About John Green

Last December I picked up John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars (2012) after reading somebody likening it to The Great Gatsby (1925). I don’t take comparisons with Gatsby lightly so I decided to read it and see. The Fault In Our Stars completely knocked me out. It’s a brilliant, funny and tragic look at the relationship between two cancer survivors. The tone is a perfect blend of tragedy, love, comedy and poetry. I loved it. I loved it so much that I spent January working my way through his three other novels- Looking For Alaska (2005), An Abundance of Katherines (2006) and Paper Towns (2008).

My favourite of his works, or at least, the one that affected me most personally, was Paper Towns. Quentin (referred to as Q) is in love with the girl next door, Margo. One night she breaks him out to join her for a night of pranks. The next morning she goes missing and Q is determined to find her. John Green keeps the audience on their toes about where this part-quest part-detective story is going until the sad, beautiful ending which brings together everything the novel has been subtlety pointing towards. To say anymore would risk spoilers. Q’s journey is one worth joining with as little foreknowledge as possible.

My theory of why an author can become one of somebody’s favourite authors is that they write about things you want to read about in a style that you want to read. John Green is that for me. These wonderful books moved me and made me laugh and inspired me and made me curse that he put into words so effortlessly what I have wanted to say.

The elephant in the room with John Green is that his novels are Young Adult novels. This really put me off them at first. I admit I looked down at YA because a mature young man such as myself should not been seen reading teenage books. But it is wrong to say that John Green writes about teenagers. Yes, his characters are teenagers, but what Green writes about is being human. The characters are relatable as they deal with the same things we all must- sex and love and death, and he writes about this with humour and poetry.

Much has been said about John Green so I don’t have much more to add other than I believe in 50 years people will still be reading The Fault In Our Stars. It is not just a modern classic but a straight up classic.

So take yourselves off to the YA section of your local bookstore and do not be ashamed- these books are not just for teenagers, they speak to a much wider audience that than.

4 Classic Films That Are More Fun Than They Sound

In Essay, Writing on 19/09/2012 at 11:47

My article ‘4 Classic Films That Are More Fun Than They Sound‘ has been published on the What Culture! website. I’ll probably be posting more articles on that site, so please check it out.

In other news, I’m now on Twitter, so follow me @DRWilliams14

A Year of ‘Tea, A Tie, and A Red Pen’

In Miscellaneous on 03/09/2012 at 17:24

This blog had been going for a year. This is longest I’ve managed to keep a blog. I think the sporadic nature of the posts make it easier for me, writing posts when I want to rather than feeling I have to every week, or something. I don’t know if this is good for the reader, but it keeps me happy.

Anyway, for the first year anniversary of the blog (which, admittedly, I missed by a couple of weeks), I’d link back to the 5 most popular (by view) posts on here.

5- Summer Reading Challenge

4- Two Poems

3- Valentine’s Haiku

2- ‘The Energy of Slaves’ (1972)- Leonard Cohen

1- ‘Men Without Women’ (1927)- Ernest Hemingway

Despite the nostalgic tone, I’m not one for looking back. I’ve got to look forward. That’s the kind of person I am. I’m hoping I can keep this going for another year. Hopefully with more success in terms of writing. If I get something published between now and August 2013, I’d be pretty damn happy.

Like all creative folk, especially those in my generation, I am constantly torn between creative work, and having to act like a real person and get a job and make money and try to look happy doing it. All the worrying about important things like money, jobs, relationships really doesn’t matter to me as longing as I’m writing. And all I hope is that I never run out of stories to tell.


Short Story- ‘A People House’

In Short Stories, Writing on 01/08/2012 at 17:46

A story of mine has been published on the website www.burrst.com . The story is a piece of flash fiction called ‘A People House’


Music and Writing

In Essay, Miscellaneous, Writing on 07/06/2012 at 17:20

I always listen to music when I’m writing. Sometimes I can spend hours putting together a playlist before I even write a word of what I’m working on. The music I pick allows me to really think about what I want my work to feel like, and music helps shut off pesky outside thoughts.

Of course, my own musical tastes play a large part in what I listen to, which would not necessarily be what you would pick. The musicians I really like tend to be storytellers, like Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. I really love albums that are tied together with a theme. A few years ago, every time I wrote a short story I would listen to Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. All the songs are about relationships, ups and a lot of downs, which is what I wanted to write about. It helped that some of his lyrics could serve as openings for stories: ‘Early one morning the sun was shining,/I was lying in bed,/Wondering if she’d changed at all/If her hair was still red.’ (Nerd bonus- Dylan has hinted this album was inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekhov, another great influence of mine.)

Lately, I’ve found then when I’m editing work, I listen to completely different music. I’ve been listening to the first two albums of She & Him. I find their music quite easy-going. That and my crush on Zooey Deschanel plays a part.

I imagine I’m not the only one who needs music to help write. If you write and have to have music, what do you listen to?

(In case you were wondering, the playlist I listened to while writing this is one of my short story playlists. The albums in it are: The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds, Bob Dylan- Blood On The Tracks, Frank Sinatra- In The Wee Small Hours and No One Cares, and She & Him- Volume One and Volume Two.)


Lyrics to ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ by Bob Dylan: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/home#us/songs/tangled-blue

Video of Dylan performing ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ live: http://youtu.be/YwSZvHqf9qM

Two Poems

In Poetry, Writing on 04/06/2012 at 00:24

Two poems, one written about three years ago, the other written a couple of months ago.

We’re standing…
We’re standing
on a doorstep
before the road
leading to…

-take my hand.

to the heart,
wrong turn

In Miscellaneous on 23/04/2012 at 09:34

Reblogging a request from Dagda Publishing for sumissions. I’d like to submit something, but I haven’t touched poetry for a while now. Anybody with more poetical output than me should take a look.

Dagda Publishing

Hello all.

We would like to invite writers and poets to contribute to our next anthology of poetry, which is a follow up to our recently published anthology “Concrete Jungles” – available through Amazon, Smashwords on ebook and Lulu.com for paperback copies.

Our plan for the next anthology shall be a very traditional, along the theme of the metaphysical. We hope to feature works dealing with the more esoteric, romantic side of the human experience, in the vein of the classic metaphysical poets. So think life, death, nature, romance and classic philosophical themes. A real chance to showcase your talents as a writer.

We are looking for both formal poetry structures, and more contemporary styles, and even free verse. So in other words, knock yourselves out with this one. We’d like to see what you can do.

Please send submissions (maximum of 4/5 a time so we can give our…

View original post 78 more words

100 Word Plays

In Plays, Theatre on 01/04/2012 at 19:45

For the young writer’s festival at the Royal Court Theatre, they’ve been asking for plays of 100 words that they stick up around the theatre and also on a tumblr. Two of my submissions have ended up on the blog:


‘Ugg, The Cave Girl’

EDIT (2/4/12)

Another one of my submissions has been put on the website:

‘Hardly Seems Worth It

EDIT (3/4/12)

Guess the Royal Court must be trying to get every submission up.

‘Starry Night’

‘Same Difference’

EDIT (5/4/12)

Dear Father Christmas’

Valentine’s Haiku

In Haiku, Poetry, Writing on 14/02/2012 at 17:26

I was challenged to write a haiku for Valentine’s Day. I wrote three, which is a bit of a failure. If were a really good haiku poet I’d be able to put my mixed feelings into one.

1. Valentine’s Day
bane of all singles
do not be bitter, instead
get drunk, watch batman

2. Old Valentine’s Card
lost somewhere in dust,
all that’s still true is that your
handwriting is nice

when I’m around you
the butterflies in my stomach
become elephants

Online Publishing?

In Miscellaneous on 30/01/2012 at 17:00

I have a new batch of short stories and, naturally, I’d like to see them published. I looked at submitting some off to magazines. Most magazines say they don’t print stories that have been previously published online. I can understand that. My thinking is- do the stories I choose to publish online have to be ones I consider not my best? I’d like to put some new stories this blog. People follow it and I’d like you to read my latest work. Surely the biggest chance of readership is publishing something on the internet?

I’m musing on this because, despite how fun writing itself is, I need readers. I don’t mind admitting I crave approval for my work. Otherwise I have to rely on myself and I’m my own worst critic. But that’s another matter. With online publishing there is a huge amount of potential readers. This is an extremely appealing prospect.

I’ve been thinking about publishing e-books on Amazon. This is a bit hypocritical of me, because I have been quite disparaging of the Kindle (or Kobo). E-readers have never really appealed to me. I like books. Not just what’s in them but the book itself. I like that there’s a books all over the house I live in. But of course, I was willing to throw this all aside when I read about the 70% royalties you can get via Kindle publishing.

In no way do imagine I’d become a major success publishing e-books. I imagine I could make a very small profit out of it. I think I know a few friends with Kindles who would buy an e-book by me. I don’t see myself making a major success, but just knowing I’ve got work waiting to be sold would make me feel pretty good. All the ‘publicity’ would be down to me, but even if I only sell ten copies, that would still feel pretty damn good.

So, watch this space. E-book publishing may be the next thing for me.

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