The thoughts, stories and advice of Bill Riddell.


October 17th, 2011 Posted in writing | No Comments »

Diary entry Sunday 31st of October 2010:

Sometimes I think if I just sit here and hammer the keys enough ill be a writer. It isn’t quite so easy, but really in essence its not that much harder either.

Lots of people can sit at a computer and write trash all day long, without hassle. Others can occasionally write a good passage but are crippled by negative thoughts that prevent them from stringing those passages together day after day.

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Dark Charity

May 28th, 2011 Posted in writing | No Comments »

Sharing another short story is long overdue. This was my second effort written almost a year ago. I wanted to push my use of dialogue and introduce a bit more action. I hope you enjoy.

Dark Charity

A short story by Bill Riddell

Fat end over the thin from right to left and take it around the back. Fat over thin again, around, to the centre, over the top and through the middle then pull tight and straighten it out. I despise tying that half-Windsor knot in my tie, it’s like wearing an ornate noose. But we all have to play the part occasionally.

This evening I am to play the lead role with a gala dinner to be held in my honour – even though I only wanted a supporting credit. If only they knew that honour had no place amongst the reasons I performed my work.

I don’t know why I make the theatre allusions, I hate it. I’d rather watch the latest Jim Carey movie or Discovery Chanel. Unfortunately intermission is a great opportunity to shake down rich people for donations to help those not so well off.

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Giving Birth to a Premature Novel

October 30th, 2010 Posted in advice | 2 Comments »

In my last two posts I discussed effectively blackmailing myself to finish a draft novel I have been working on for some years now. If it was not completed by the end of last month I had promised to donate $1,000 to charity.

Fortunately I scraped by and saved my money. The draft is complete, I have effectively written a book of some 70,000 words.

However it’s not done, far from it in fact. I took some time off initially to have a break from it and return to it with fresh eyes.

I’m now working my way through on the second draft. Filling in placeholders, where I knew more needed to be written; but, at the time did not have the words to fill in the details about a characters appearance or a page of dialogue that just was not working.

I’ve already slashed a few scenes, added others and enlarged some more.

The book is a fictionalised version of a relationship with someone close to me over a few years, his and my characters and other are changed, so are settings and events – many of these elements seemed too close to their real inspirations so they have been changed.

There is a lot of general polishing going on – there, their, they’re etc. I get the words down as quick as possible and worry about spelling, grammar and every other thing later. Then sometimes I forget about it as readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar with.

After this second round of polishing, which after a break I hope to have finished before the end of the year, I’ll hand the novel over to a few trusted friends for some feedback and head back for some more revisions.

Keep an eye out for some fresh posts coming soon, including a new short story. My apologies for the absence.

Beyond the Horizon

August 18th, 2010 Posted in personal, travel, writing | 1 Comment »

It’s 5am and I cant sleep. I’ve been working on my first novel and dreaming of more travel.

I’ve discussed the thousand dollar penalty for not getting a draft finished this month, but I haven’t talked about the other side of the coin – the reward. It’s only fair to give a reward, escaping the penalty is great and getting a draft finished will no doubt be a rewarding experience but to complete the trinity of motivation there needs to be a tangible reward.

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1k a Day or 1k for Charity – Blackmail for Writers

August 1st, 2010 Posted in goals, writing | 1 Comment »

It shouldn’t have come down to this, there is motivation and there is blackmail. It certainly could seem as if I’ve now subjected myself to the final kind in order to ensure I complete my first draft of my first novel.

Quite simply it had been an idea on the back-burner for far to long. Something based in truth that is personal and with the potential to hurt those around me. But really that should only be an excuse not to try and publish it – even if it’s left in a drawer after its finished I want to write this as my first novel.

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Around SE Asia by Facebook

June 5th, 2010 Posted in advice | 4 Comments »

I had planned to write the travel diary of lifetime – accompanied by brilliant photography, a masterstroke of photo-journalism. Or something like that. I had pens, a laptop, two cameras, notepads, moleskins and every other device needed to document a month-plus lap around South East Asia.

I made a few early attempts, writing in the cramped cocoon of my sleeper cabin from KL, Malaysia to Hat Yai, Thailand. On arrival at our first destination, Koh Samui for New Years, I managed to write a bit on my laptop and on the ferry back to the mainland I scribbled away furiously on the rear deck in my moleskin.

However it did not last…

The only place that I consistently detailed the journey was Facebook.

Via patchy WiFi connections in hotels, backpackers, airports and coffee shops I updated friends and family every few days. Spurred on by encouraging replies and many thumbs-up for my micro-blogging style I present here my lightly edited updates and replies along with a few photos.

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Castles in the Air

March 9th, 2010 Posted in advice, personal | 1 Comment »

Confession time – I’m a dreamer. Always have been and probably always will be.

In my mind I have travelled the world, done great deeds, associated with the wonderful/talented/beautiful and amassed great wealth via many ingenious ideas.

Furthermore I have spent countless hours planning my dream life. Researching what car to buy, where to live, what to do with my endlessly idle time and which supermodel to date – once I’ve made it.

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Traveling Away From Yourself

February 26th, 2010 Posted in advice, goals, travel | No Comments »

I’ve recently returned home after spending the year so far (and the last few days of 2009) travelling South East Asia at a manic pace with a very good friend.

In that time we covered 4 countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam & Cambodia), explored 14 cities and encountered countless new people (tourists & locals) while coming to terms with the new cultures and centuries of history.

This time has opened my eyes to the power of travel to transform our lives, in part by leaving elements of our identity behind and absorbing new ones on the road.

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Doing and Doing Well – Writing, Driving & More

December 17th, 2009 Posted in advice, personal, writing | No Comments »

Skill sets and sub-skill sets, racing and driving, paddling and swimming, finger painting and creating a masterpiece. Technically they are all the same thing – but in reality worlds apart.

Lets examine some examples of doing and doing well…

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My Thoughts on Religon

December 4th, 2009 Posted in advice | No Comments »

I think religion is a bit like communism – in theory its is wonderful notion (a community of people sharing for the greater good). But anything can be corrupted or misinterpreted.

My belief is that religion served a vital purpose many years ago and that purpose has been eroded over the last few century’s.

That purpose is primarily to make people conform to and live by a set of standards. Today we have laws to abide by (otherwise we will be punished) and socially reinforced norms of behaviour (which will leave us as social outcasts if we do not follow) that for the most part take away the usefulness of religion.

“Major religions are examples of ‘noble lies’ aimed at uplifting human stature.” – Jack Miller

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