Sunday, 24 November 2013

In a pickle…

At last, after what feels like months and months of revising, editing and tweaking, I’m finally at a point with NG where I’m writing again.
The process is so different that I’ve had to revisit all my old little tricks to get the words flowing – red wine, walking in the rain, loud music. When I’m in full flow, I can write on the back of a bus ticket, but getting the momentum going after so long editing, and editing other people’s work, has been a tad challenging.
But it’s working and the word count is racking up again as the action finally moves forward with everyone, hopefully, all where they need to be, doing what they should be doing.
I’m back at the point where I can have dialogue going on in my head whatever else is going on around me, little sparks of back story popping up out of nowhere and connections clicking nicely into place that tie in with stuff written into books one and two. 
That’s when writing is fun.
So NG is up to his ears in a pickle that looks as dire as anything I’ve written before. And what’s cool is that LC and Hil are behaving too, albeit in as much of a pickle, and I’m learning a lot about all of them. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


How geeky is it to know the MBTi types of your main characters?
If you’re not familiar with Myers-Briggs, the basic theory is that you have preferences ([I]ntroverted or [E]xtraverted, [S]ensing or i[N]tuitive, [T]hinking or [F]eeling, [J]udging or [P]erceiving) and there are sixteen personality types. As I understand it, in situations where you are in control, you act within your type with assurance and confidence. Where you are out of your comfort zone and stressed, you may be forced to act as the opposite that you’re not so well practiced at and that’s not great.
 quick, alert and outspoken. ENTPs are strong in initiative, resourceful, ingenious and stimulated by difficulties. They hate routine. They tend to be independent and charming.
Hilyer is ESTJ: practical, realistic and decisive. ESTJs take care of routine details and base plans on established fact. They are self-confident, aggressive and like to have fun. They have a clear set of standards to live by.
When writing them both, it was cool to throw them into situations where they couldn’t rely on their natural preference and see how badly they coped. Cruel, I know, but as I’ve said before, I worked through a lot of anger when writing those books.
NG is so down the middle, it’s intimidating. He can be introverted or extroverted with equal ease. He wheels and deals in facts as easily as he relies on his own intuition. He is incredibly logical but is a natural empath. He can be judging and orderly equally as well as he can be perceptive and spontaneous. He can deal with anything. So to test him, the pickles I’m throwing him into are having to be worse, tougher and downright dizzying. For us both.

Briggs Myers, Isabel. 1980. Gifts Differing. Davies-Black Publishing, CA.

Focus or go for scattergun?

I’m finding it tough to concentrate at the moment. As well as working on book three of the Thieves’ Guild, I’m also writing a non-fiction book and working through some other ideas. I have two books out there already that I’m supposed to be marketing and selling. Add in my day job of working on other people’s books and the six weeks summer holiday entertaining two toddlers, and chaos ensues.
An article I read recently argued the importance of only working on one project at a time to focus. It made me feel bad. I’ve never been able to do just one thing at a time. I’m fickle.
A lot more people say to just write. Write and enjoy it. Whatever it is. Be prolific.
It would be wonderful to have the luxury of concentrating on one thing at a time, but that’s not me anyway.
The non-fiction book and other ideas I’m working on are a lot less fun than sci-fi. They’re serious. They don’t have big guns, merciless bounty hunters, back-stabbing traitors and poison-wielding assassins.
I’m enjoying writing NG, especially when Hilyer and LC are involved too, so that’s what I’ll stick to at the moment… in between play-doh disco, checking the Kindle sales and waiting for the football season to start.

ps. buy my books at Amazon (does that count as today’s marketing efforts?)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

No stupid bad guys...

I’ve always had it drummed into me that my bad guys should not be stupid. In my tracking back, there was one bit that had always bothered me but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on why. It dawned on me at last that my bad guys were being stupid. They just wouldn’t do what I had them doing if they were as good as they should have been.
Something else one of my mentors always says is that there are no bad guys, it just depends which side of the fence you’re on (this is the guy who, at the age of nine, was the only child in the cinema to cheer Darth Vader when he first appeared on that big screen). When I started writing, my bad guys were always stereotypical nasty wrongdoers. I went through a phase of writing in people I didn’t like and making them my bad guys. Since then, by the time I started to write the Thieves’ Guild series, I’ve become very aware that people just look out for themselves. So my bad guys now are simply people with their own motivations. Maybe I’ve grown up a bit.
Back to the scene I wasn’t happy with, I’ve had to leave NG, jump to the other side of that fence and run a load of discussions through my head about what exactly they were trying to do and what plan would work. It’s made it tougher for NG but isn’t that the point?

Changing realities...

How cool would it be to have a delete/undo button in real life? You know when you’re in a mess of a situation and you can track back exactly to the moment in time where you made a mistake.
That’s why I love writing fiction. If something doesn’t feel right somewhere along the line, you can ditch back, change what your little guy does or says or where he goes and yea, they’re off in a new direction. Usually heading into more of a pickle but then that’s what they’re for.
Continuing the saga of how awkward NG is being, I’ve been stuck for a while getting all his ducks in a row, getting everyone where they need to be and in the right place before I can move on. I was nudging 90,000 words, heading for the final scene, and hmmm, something didn’t feel right. Again. This happened with LC. I was writing the end of Blatant Disregard, decided it wasn’t right and dropped 20,000 words to go back, changed one thing and bam, the end of the book just flowed from there.
In Harsh Realities, it’s not only NG that’s being difficult; I also have LC and Hil to contend with. It’s really cool to have all three of them together but, boy, are they hard work. I’m just in the process of tracking back to see who shouldn’t have done what, when, so I can fix it and we can get on. Oh, to be able to do that in real life.