Sunday, 25 September 2016

All in good time

The art of plot procrastination is something you have to master when you're writing. You can't burn through your plot too quickly, so how do you overcome the desire to throw in each staggering revelation in your story just to get them onto the page?

It's sometimes frustrating when it's done badly. The protagonist finally locates the one person who has the answer to all the questions, and when the critical question is asked of the character, the response is often, "I will tell you everything you need to know, all in good time, but first, you must be hungry!"

This sort of thing usually ends up with the character with all the information getting murdered before he can answer said question.

How did I get round it when I was writing Spireclaw? Well, without wanting to spoil the plot and revelations in that story (Spireclaw thrives on its twists and turns and blind alleys), there were a couple of techniques which I employed.  Use several angles at once. Keep several balls in the air so that the reader is never quite sure which one is going to drop. Is the twist going to be around This or That? Bring your revelations in from a perspective and angle that is unexpected. It enables you to build new perspectives on the issue at hand without having to play your trump card so quickly. I realise these are abstract concepts, but if you want to know what I mean, go and read Spireclaw on this very website, or get it from Amazon on your Kindle. Then come back and read this blog post again.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Sound of my summer

This is what was playing repeatedly in my ears while stretched out on a sunbed by the pool this summer. A blissful trance track to listen to while staring up at a pure blue sky through swaying palm trees. Very inspiring.

Oh, and did I happen to mention that my book "Schaefers Integrity" is free on the Kindle this weekend?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The new stuff or the old stuff?

On a Nerdist podcast I was listening to recently (I can't remember who was being interviewed, it might have been the awesome Michael Ironside), Chris Hardwick asked the question, sorry to paraphrase, " Do you keep looking out for new stuff to fill your head with, our do you keep going back to the old stuff you love, to reinforce those things in your mind?"

What a great question! Something I've considered several times since. When my better half asks me why I buy new music when I have so much music already (my HTC 1 M8 has a 128Gb MicroSD card full of pinned music from my Google Play repository), I struggle to answer.

But I suppose the real reason is that you can only discover a piece of music for the first time once. I have favourite albums from every year and every decade. And when I bought them I would listen to them on hard rotation for as long as a month, unable to bring myself to swap out the CD and listen to anything else because it would be some kind of betrayal. While I still love those albums, I'd never go back and listen to them again in the same way. But maybe I should. Why quest for new bands, new artists, new music, when all those amazing records still sit there waiting to be listened to again. There are some songs that are so beautiful that I could listen to them on repeat forever.

My favourite science fiction books, like the Isaac Asimov Foundation Series, Stephen King's The Dark Tower or the Arthur C Clarke Rama books, cannot be discovered again for the first time. I doubt I could feel the same sense of wonder again by reading them a second time. But then what about all the details I've forgotten? Surely that merits another dive into those worlds?

Part of it comes with age. You've exposed yourself to so many things, so much music, so many films and books, that suddenly it feels right to honour those things you loved from your younger years, because didn't they serve to form you into the person that you came to be?