Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Writer's Blog

For a writer, it's pretty rare that I blog about writing. It seems there are already more writers on the net than there are readers - and most of those writers can be found writing blogs about their writing. So I tend to avoid it and instead write blogs about other random shhhh-stuff.

Still, when invited to join a blog tour by the very lovely and talented Hannah M Davis I couldn't refuse. For one thing, it allows me to point you in the direction of her blog, where - among other things - she talks about her writing process and features her excellent novel Voices Of Angels.

And in turn there's an opportunity here to share the work of three other writers. (See below for details.)

1) What am I working on?

Lots. Generally, I prefer to have a variety of projects on the go at any one time. Usually, that amounts to one primary project that's my main focus and others that I can dip into as the mood or inspiration takes me.

This year my magnetic opus - the work that draws me most - is a sci-fi novel that's close to my heart. It's actually a sequel, part of a series I've been developing for some years now. More than that, I can't reveal as yet. But meanwhile, I'm pressing ahead with another sequel - Volume 4 in my SF comedy series Evil UnLtd. I hadn't intended to follow up on Book 3 quite so soon, but the characters demanded it. And I have another side-project in the shape of a YA fantasy novel, also possibly the beginnings of a series but it's early days on that one so we'll have to see how that turns out.

Also, as an alternative to blogging about writing, I have been posting actual writing to another blog, in the form of serialised short fantasy tales in The Tortenschloss Chronicles. (You should definitely check out those stories as an alternative to reading about my writing process.)

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It's by me.

3) Why do I write what I do?

In order to answer that, I guess I could expand on my answer to the previous question.

I'm not interested in emulating anyone. I'd like my ideas to make the world a richer place in some small way. Not just add more of the same.

Obviously, I have my influences like everyone else and any of those might feed us ideas and inspire us to write, but it's always been important to me to be as original as possible. Now, it's often said there are no original stories, but the originality arises from telling stories with your own unique voice. Most of the time, for me, that means character voice. I'm not just viewing scenes through my eyes, it's generally through the eyes of the characters involved. So you (hopefully) have a fresh spin on any situation or story, by virtue of their being examined and experienced through the eyes of original creations.

And I suppose because they're my original creations I'm driven by a desire for their views to be heard, to be shared. Like any good parent. Hence, I write them.

Another way to look at it is that I'm frequently heavily pregnant with ideas and have to get them out of me. If you have a brainchild it'll keep kicking you until it's born.

4) How does your writing process work?

Most of the time it begins with the characters. And when it doesn't - when I'm struck by the germ of an idea (like in the case of Evil UnLtd where it was just a thought about too many sci-fi series focusing on do-gooders and heroes traveling the universe) - the ideas don't usually come alive until I have a clear portrait of the characters in my mind.

Again, using Evil UnLtd as an example, I felt the central premise - villains are the heroes - had bags of potential but it was the cast of characters who really brought that idea to life. Luckily, they all came to me pretty readily and fully-formed.

After you have your characters, then you can turn your attention to specific plots and situations and I find you only need your starting point, plug your characters in and watch them go. I know them, I know how they'll behave in pretty much any scenario. Obviously it follows there are times when I have to go back and revisit certain niggly plot points because the characters have gone and done their own thing and they may have led your story into a bit of a fix that, well, needs a spot of fixing.

With my Tortenschloss Chronicles I'm quite keen to keep to the age-old method of 'making it up as I go along' - and there's a tremendous freedom in that. But with other more complex tales - as in Evil, where you're juggling quite a few characters with ambitions that may be at odds with one another - it pays to plot events out in more detail. But any plans I prepare have to be flexible in order to allow for the characters being single-minded and doing their own thing.

If it all goes wrong and I get stuck, I can always blame them. But I know in my heart that it's all my fault for being too rigid or too attached to the original plan or perhaps for overlooking some small detail that makes it all click.

Beyond that, I don't tend to think of it as a process. Thinking of it as a process is like thinking of it as work. Which it is, sometimes hard work. But it's more fluid than that. And it always goes much better when it doesn't feel like work.

And there you have it.

So, if you're a writer and you've read this, the question is, are you interested in doing a blog tour?

Ordinarily, I would be supposed to have asked other writers in advance, but I tried that once and it was too much hard work with only two responses. So this time I'm doing it differently.

I have opportunities for three writers to carry forward. Authors, think of it as free adverstising space for your own writing blog. First three come, first three served.

The blog is simple. Acknowledge the person who invited you answer the 4 questions below, nominate three authors to follow and include a short bio for each on your blog and links for all.

Step one: Acknowledge the person & site that involved you in the blog tour: Me. Include a link to this blog and/or my website

Step two: Answer the 4 questions above about your writing process

Step Three: Say who is on next week (your own chosen three) – give a bio and
link to their website.

If you’re up for a spot of free promo please send me a short bio and your website/blog link, which I can incorporate into my blog. in the space below!

I look forward to hearing from you. Creativity is meant to be shared. And the slogan for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation applies just as well to us writers:

Share and enjoy!


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