Fame or fear, that is the question.

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'Shame' courtesy of  Katherine Evans at Stock Xchng

Many of us who are writing have probably dreamed about suddenly being catapulted to fame – the sort of fame now enjoyed (endured?) by Joanne Rowling.

But would such a thing be a triumph, or a terror?

For me, I would hate the idea; love the income, fear the price that comes with it.

As an introvert, I would far rather hide in the background and pay an accomplished actor to be ‘me,’ to press the flesh and face the flashes as a blizzard of questions are launched.

I’m happy to think, imagine, dream and type out my thoughts on my current keyboard, from wherever I happen to be in the world.

I have been to exactly two book signings in my life. One was for my fellow writer and Darlington-dweller, Jenna Burtenshaw, the other was for Robin Hobb, one of my favourite fantasy authors.

Although the attendance at Jenna’s signing was a little smaller than Robin’s, I still wondered what it would feel like to be on the opposite side of the table.  It didn’t appeal. Although it would have been nice (I imagined) to speak to people who’d enjoyed my work, the idea of being placed in front of the public sent a cold shiver down my back. I would much rather communicate with an audience on-line than in real life.

Am I alone in this?

Do other writers fear the repercussions of their work achieving a measure of fame?

It’s a question raised by Ben Myers in The Guardian. In the twenty-first century, do writers now have a duty to the public?

If you ask me, I’d rather simply…

acern270ginger write on

The quiet writer

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'KP15' courtesy of Ryan Ar�stegui at Stock Xchng

Continuing the theme of shy and introverted authors, I happened upon this article ThisDayLive.

It seems, and this is unlikely to surprise anyone, that introverted thinkers can often go on to become accomplished, or even great writers. The article’s author describes herself as ‘…an introvert. That is what I am wired to be, and to write..’

Can you relate to the issues described here? I certainly can!

The Huffington Post goes on to list sixteen famous faces who were (and still are) considered to be introverts. Some of them might surprise you.

In the meantime, shyness notwithstanding, I intend to:

acern270ginger write on

 

Does a second book imply greater determination?

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image courtesy of Miklav at Stock Xchng

The first week my debut novel was listed on Amazon, back in 2012, I was buzzing with excitement – and personal pride. However, that feeling settled after a wee while and I began thinking about the sequel, which has now been over a year in the making. As the First, and then the Second Drafts dragged on, a mild sense of panic began to rise within me.

What if I can’t do this again?

What if the first book was all I had inside me?

And so, a renewed determination to finish the sequel arose. I would NOT be a one-book wonder. I wouldn’t end my days thinking ‘What a shame I only ever wrote the one…’ *croaks*

Sure, I’ve written many, many stories in my time. A lot of them have even begun paying me back for the time I spent on them. But a novel is something else, isn’t it? It’s the obelisk of the publishing world, the menhir of our career, the monolith…

Well, you know what I’m getting at. To me, the magazine articles I’ve written are fine, if a little thin, like single sheets of paper in a breezy doorway. My short stories (especially electronically-published ones) can feel like leaves in the wind, but in comparison, the novel is a bit of a cast-iron doorstep.  To have published one feels like a serious achievement; to publish a second means it wasn’t a one-off event and I really, really can do it.

And then, of course, there’s the pressure to sustain the output until the end of days. Once that begins, there’s no getting off the roundabout.

Can anyone else relate to this feeling?

.

acern270ginger write on 

 

Thank you everybody!!

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Today, I received this notification from WordPress:

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Thank You

Thank you everyone, for your support, comments, likes and encouragement!

I look forward to following your wit, wisdom, tips and pics in the future.

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acern270ginger write on

The tribble with Technology (*trouble*)

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ttwt

image source: therussianrevolver.tumblr.com

The last week has seen the end of my trusty Acer Netbook… :'(

Technology comes and technology goes, but when so much time has been spent with a single device, the experience can be pretty disarming for a writer.

You may recognise this as the unit I used to create my ‘Keep Calm and Write On’ logo (see bottom of the page).

I have no real way of calculating this for sure, but I must have written close to a million words on this faithful (wipes away a small tear) little device.

Fortunately, almost everything on the little hard drive had been backed up and is in no danger of being lost. However, the times spend pounding the pint-sized keyboard will always remain with me, a considerable number of years in the 1999 to 2014 span of my ‘real’ writing.

Acer  N270 in Blue

The Netbook wasn’t my first writing device.

It followed the clunky Acer Notebook (Laptop) which was heavy and sucked the life from its battery in under sixty minutes.

Acer Travelmate

Then there was the quirky, palm-sized HP Jordana. Tiny (like peering through a letterbox at a billboard) but with almost infinite battery capacity.

HP Jornada

Sure, I could let the poor thing slip quietly away to Silicon Heaven (where all the pocket calculators go), but I’m strangely reluctant to put this significant episode of my fledgling writing career behind me.

mccoy_hockey_stick_its_dead_jim

I know, but technology can be revived, right? I mean, it’s had a new screen, two new batteries, some extra memory and a replacement modem. What’s a little more TLC?

mouse

image credit funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Am I alone in not wanting to move on? Has anyone else found themselves stymied when their favourite piece of technology has shuffled off its coil? Have you successfully divested yourself of it, or does it still languish in a cupboard somewhere, a reminder of happy times?

Or am I just being over semi-mental?

.

And so, for possibly the last time,

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Write On…

So long and thanks for all the memory,

(all 2048Mb of it)

krtyen

 

Writers – lets pool our resources… the revisit.

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riesp books

About six months ago I suggested the pooling of writers’ knowledge in an attempt to create a sort of go-to page for any writers who were struggling with details of a particular concept. True, Google and Wikipedia can provide facts, but I still believe there’s little substitute for direct experience. Alternatively, some writers may have thoroughly researched a theoretical subject (who has direct experience of star drives, or ancient Greek rituals for instance?) and added their own spin. They may be worth consulting.

I’ve added the names of willing volunteers to my page ‘Writers who have offered their knowledge,’ my own included.  If you feel that you are able to assist other writers in their endeavours, please step forward. As stated below, we’re not trying to rival Wikipedia… just offer some helpful advice to other writers.

Here is the original post from mid-2013;

Some time ago I posted Jack versus Einstein- a post that discussed whether it was better for a writer to be an expert, or a Jack of all trades.

Whilst I’m quite happy to be the latter, it occured to me that many of us will still have some knowledge of a subject that others may find difficult to research. If I was to include a scene in my next book where a character baked… for example… cupcakes, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start looking. Alright, sure… Google would probably be my first port of call, but there’s only so much you can learn from trawling websites. Some scenes need the personal touch that only an experienced friend can provide.

This idea popped up whilst I was leaving a comment for Setsu (Hello and thanks for the follow!), an expert in martial arts. I wish I’d known Setsu when I was crafting my scene in ‘A Construct of Angels’ that involved a swordfight between Michael, the constructed angel and his Anakim foe, the self-styled Damocles. Instead, I had to trawl the interweb for sword-fighting techniques, finally chancing upon a gentleman who had written a book on sword-fighting and who was able to give me a few pointers.

Later, when I was writing a couple of triage scenes for the same book, I was lucky enough to be able to send the relevant passages to a paramedic I’d met in York. I’d done most of the research about the (serious) injuries on-line. He returned them with complimentary notes, but suggested some useful improvements – most likely stuff that I wouldn’t have found on-line.

So, what do you all think about this; listing what you consider yourself to be fairly good at?

Perhaps you’re not expert, but we’re not writing reference books here. We just need enough to craft a scene that is reasonably accurate and fairly thorough. I would be the last person to consider myself ‘expert’ in anything. I’m sure that I share that feeling with many of you (aren’t most writers self-doubting introverts, after all?). But I have amassed a fair bit of knowledge of a few disparate subjects in my twenty-five fifty years on Earth (who changed that line?).

So why not put that knowledge to good use?

For instance, I may be in a position to advise writers who are struggling to craft a scene that requires knowledge of *takes deep breath* quantum physics, or starship design – both subjects I love (yeah, I know. I’m a Geek. I admit it). I also love geology, cosmology, and a few other ‘ologies’ that I won’t bore you with here.

This is my proposal; Could you help a writer who was stuck for some details? Would you be willing to answer questions from other writers? Could you spare some time to read through some extracts and help them on their way? Could you at least point them in the right direction?

We could all benefit from this – and write better and stronger stories as a result. Think of this as a long-term project. It may not be something that would benefit your current WIP, but can you be sure that it might not come in useful for the next one?

So, to kick off, I’ll list what I can offer to other writers. If I can’t answer questions on these subjects immediately, I have a good stock of reference books to hand.

Here goes…

I have a good knowledge of;

Cosmology (star formation, beginning and end of the universe).

Quantum Physics (atoms, particles, energy and radiation).

Starship theory (drives, environments, construction).

Theory of time travel, plus cause and effect.

(Dare I say this?) Rocket Science.

Planetary behaviour including some aspects of geology and geography.

Some World War 2 history, mainly European Theatre.

And on a more day-to-day basis;

Mechanical engineering.

Vehicle mechanics, some military strategies, aircraft behaviour.

Chemistry, physics, engineering.

Movie-making (scene construction to post-production).

Factory production-line techniques.

.

Perhaps you could add to the list and we might build a healthy database of subjects that would give our writing that ‘expert’ touch.

It doesn’t matter if your knowledge overlaps with that of another writer – we all know different facts about similar subjects. List what you know, and a writer who is stuck can always throw out a question to more than one ‘expert’…someone is bound to know the answer.

If this is successful, ‘experts’ might be able to advise on single scenes (like my sword-fighting scene) and tidy up the facts a little.

I read recently how many film-makers are simply ignoring physical laws for the sake of drama (don’t get me started on ‘Independence Day’ – although I still love it, or ‘Armageddon’ – which drives me craaaazy).

Let’s be better than that.

Let’s get it right. :D

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Revisiting the scary world of creation

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terror

After having spent so darn long living with my debut novel, revising, re-revising, then working through Tara Shaner‘s edits, I find myself (finally) back in familiar territory – something that all writers may recognise.

I’d almost forgotten the simultaneous fear and thrill of creating new adventures for my characters, of developing their personalities from the ones I’d grown so accustomed to in the first book, whilst remaining faithful to their original outline.

Just to throw a spanner (wrench) in my own works (something I do very often), I’ve switched First Person POVs for the sequel, describing the new adventures through the eyes (and other senses) of a different main character. For me, it provides a fresh perspective on the character’s mileu.

I just hope the reader will agree. By comparrison, Philip Pullman did something similar between ‘The Northern Lights’ and ‘The Subtle Knife’.

Another spanner/wrench is the two-day overlap that occurs between the first and second books… a sort of half-reboot, if you like. Think of how ‘Back to the Future II’ meshed with the first film – except I’ve used days instead of years. No DeLorean, though. Shame.

By introducing this half-rebooted overlapping First Person POV switch (still with me on this?), I may have limited my timeline to some extent as the confluence of events must fit snugly against the original adventure. On the plus side, the alternative POV enables me to expand on the details of the overlapping scenes.

Win-win? We shall see. Ask me in a year’s time. :D

.

CoA

Coming soon! Dun, dun-dundun-duuuun.

Write on!

.

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