As a writer, I’m constantly searching for moments in the day to actually write. It’s not easy; I’ve got a full-time job, I’m organising a wedding, I’ve got this bloody blog thing to write – there’s not enough time to go round!
For instance, I realised just this morning that since completing my plot outline, I’ve written one measly chapter. One! In a week! I have 88 to complete, which means at this glacial pace, the second draft won’t be complete until APRIL 2017.
This is clearly not good enough.
But wait, watch what happens when you cram more work in:
Two chapters a week – Finished by June 2016
Three chapters a week – Finished by February 2016
One a day – Finished by November 2015
One AN HOUR – Finished by THIS SATURDAY.
You see? At that rate I could be a bestseller by this time next week!
Continue reading Finding time to write – a new train of thought
Have you seen the film Magnolia? If you haven’t, BEWARE: this post will have spoilers.
If you have, to jog your memory, it’s the one where Tom Cruise plays an arrogant, misogynistic prick. Oh… hang on, that’s Top Gun; Rain Man; Cocktail; and All Tom Cruise Films…
Let me see. It’s the one where Julianne Moore plays a promiscuous drug-addled trophy wife. Oh, sorry, that doesn’t help either…
It’s the one where William H Macy plays a vulnerable middle-aged man who fumbles a criminal scam with mild-mannered incompetence…
Alright, alright! It’s the one where it rains frogs. There, that’s what everyone remembers isn’t it? The frogs!
Continue reading Magnolia – ingenious or just tedious?
Brushing the sexist terminology aside for a moment, I want to talk about the everyman.
If you’re writing a science fiction or fantasy novel, your protagonist might be an ordinary person who finds themselves in an extraordinary world.
We make these characters to articulate the oddity of the situation, to show how peculiar it is through the eyes of the bewildered.
The problem is, characterisation and agency tend to fall to the wayside. Take for instance Alice or Dorothy, of Wonderland and Oz fame. Tell me some of their character traits… What kind of personality do they have?
It’s tough, right?
Continue reading Every man has agency, except the everyman
Editing that first draft is an act of mutilation – it’s messy, emotional and unforgiving.
But that’s because I write like a maniac – without forethought or planning. I just do a mind-puke over the page like I’ve been on some boozy ideas binge.
Now I have to sift through this literary vomit and pick out the chunks that might still contain some nutritional value. It’s horrid.
Continue reading Having a domestic with the first draft – editing is a bitch
I experienced an Oculus Rift the other day. It was sensational – in a sense.
I’d never worn a virtual reality headset. I lowered myself into a bolted-together driving seat, complete with plastic steering wheel with gear paddles, a wobbly shift stick and a full complement of pedals at my feet. The room I was in was a small, dimly lit box-room office, and my friends stood behind me as I lowered the headset over my eyes.
Suddenly, I was sat in a Ferrari in the pit lane at Silverstone. Hands that were slightly too small to be mine gripped a pixelated steering wheel in front of me with a functioning dashboard behind it. I looked to my right and saw my rear view mirror, my friends ominously absent in its reflection, despite the sound of their merriment at my apparent open-mouthed glee.
Continue reading A world-building Rift
It took me the best part of a decade to write the first draft of my book. That’s a long, freaking time.
In 10 years, a lot has changed, not least me. I’m a very different person to the borderline-alcoholic, early-20s buffoon that started scribbling down a scene on the tube. Now I’m a moderately sensible 30-something borderline-alcoholic, with a new-found love of reading.
As I’ve changed, my characters have changed, my plot has been twisted and my world has been turned upside down. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end – but their relation to each other is warped, as though light refracts through each Act.
Continue reading Focus – the nemesis of the Chaos Draft