Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mainstream Books

Mic Check, One Two, Hullabaloo!

It goes without saying that these days if you pick up a book - usually YA - the main character is white and most definitely heterosexual. 
Do I care? 
I probably should care more but I don’t because I simply won't be joining that band. It’s an old age problem, one I’m too young to adhere to if ever I’m awesome enough to get published. My friend Terri realised it and all it takes is a step in another direction if you're so willing. No balloons. No party. No big deal. Just a step.

Because that’s another thing I don’t want to do: make a big deal about not being a part of that issue. I notice that whenever people get up on their Soapbox and bang on about us needing more gay or black characters in mainstream books and then bring out a book doing just that, they automatically make it so that their book is only known for having a black or gay MC. Either way, it’s as if they unintentionally pull it from the mainstream shelves. I understand that maybe, for whatever reason, these kind of MC’s just aren’t popular and because of this, it’s not a great way to make money in the writing business. Also, at the same time, sometimes you want books to be categorised so you can find them easier. Perhaps you want to read about people of colour or with a particular type of sexual orientation, so things need to be categorised. But it would be nice if the everyday reader could find it in the mainstream section also. Introduce them to something new, why not?

These days, the way I look at it is, unless a characters sexual orientation or race is used as a major plot tool, i.e racism or coming out/erotica, the book should not be stuffed away in a special corner somewhere. I consider this to be especially true if it’s sci-fi or fantasy and the setting is very different from our world, with different social hang-ups (unless the writer intends colour/sexuality to be one). But other than that, believe it or not, whether the MC is of colour of gay, neither should have an effect on how they cast magic or fly a battleship.

If I’m reading a story with such characters, it really shouldn’t be a big deal unless the writer wants it to be, and for that reason, I don’t think authors need to get up on their Soapbox and preach about how their stories have gay/black MC’s. People are of colour and are gay. We should be used to this by now. It’s not a big deal so it shouldn’t be a big deal about your book. If you make it so, you’re book by default will be known for having black or gay characters and not for the awesome characters you’ve created them to be.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Some Ingredients for Ideas

Dreams, Encyclopedias and T.V Tropes

I’ve mentioned before that I get most of my wacky story ideas from my dreams. The other day I dreamt I was my father but as a slave on an unnamed island using guerrilla tactics to fight against our slave owners. There was a blind chief who worked hard to lead us to freedom, predicting eight people would play the key role in releasing us; but if any less than eight returned from the mission, we were surely doomed. 

Initially, seven returned, and I was my dad, trudging through these bizarre mines we had built in order to lead the slave owners into a cat and mouse chase while blowing up the tunnels behind us. Me, being the last person out of the tunnel, knew I had get back alive as I was the eighth person. I was trying so hard to get out of those tunnels and I finally made it just as the blind chief was saying how we hadn’t won: “With only seven returned, we have lost.” 
Then I come up out of a hole in this hill, all out of breath, saying: “But there’s eight…” 
The chief smiles and says: “Yes, yes there is Joe.” 
And as my dad I’m still amazed he can tell who I am from my voice alone. 
True story…dream wise. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

What do you do when you write?

Writing Under the Influence

We all do our own little things when we write, right? I’m actually really curious to know what you guys do when you sit down to work. What do you use? 

A PC? A Laptop? A netbook? A pad?! Pen and paper? 

What do you snack on? 

I like tea and something sweet; biscuits, cupcakes or toast and jam. Did someone say donuts..?

Do you listen to music while you write?
This is one of the frequent things I do when writing, I practically live on SoundCloud
I used to be subscribed, well I still am subscribed to Mr Suicide Sheep and Majestic Casual on Youtube, and whenever I hear a bangin’ tune on their playlist I check the artist out on SoundCloud and add them. The thing I love about SoundCloud is that it’s much like Youtube…but minus the ads! For now anyway. And on there you’re always just a click away from buying an album if you so care to, and the artists offer a lot of free downloads too, so you don’t feel like you’re ripping anyone off. (You know what I’m talking all you Youtube to Mp3 converters!) 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

My Planning Snobbery

The Synopsis

I do not plan. I’m a panster…sort of. Well I was. I always thought I did just enough planning, heck, I even thought I was getting quicker at it. I wrote very vague outlines of concepts which spurred me on to write the first two or so chapters, then, if it went well, I would expand. This usually consisted of me creating a small encyclopedia of the world I was about to go into depth with. (I’m into fantasy and sci-fi, and a combination of both never hurts!)  

My folders have folders in them called: Places, People, things and Misc. Some of my pages look like this: 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

My New Love

So this latest series of TMNT started in 2012 and I only just discovered it in 2013. My partner watched the first series – not sure if it was for his entertainment or our daughters but after a few episodes, we were both addicted.

Again you’ve got the oldies who disagree with the changes because the turtles don’t say “Cowabunga” anymore and instead say “Booyakasha” which apparently means Death to all Whites (it doesn’t, just so you know. There is no set definition. Booyakasha is also said triumphantly after smacking someone down.)

Watching TMNT I did have to wonder, personally, how in the hell they got it so wrong in the past. Speaking to my brother about it I asked if he could ever tell the turtles apart when he was younger. He said he could though stalled at the difference between Donatello and Leonardo. I could never tell the difference between the four, I thought they were all the same goofy, surfer-dude-type turtles.

I wasn’t exactly wrong either.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Cut the Smut?

Sex Scenes

There was a time when I used to do everything I could to avoid sex scenes and wash it away with a sentence or two. If it were a movie you would see the camera pan out from the bedroom window to focus on the moon as the MC and their significant other fell onto a bed of sheets. 
These days I just write the damned things, because sex, I now know, can have all the other elements of a good story. It can be tense, it can be funny, it can be awkward and sometimes it can just be downright crap which all makes for an interesting read!

Here’s one I wrote a long while ago:

Saturday, 4 May 2013

My Mission

BETA Reading

As of June 2013 (next month) I’m going to do my best to support writers, because I learnt something about myself when setting up this blog. 

It was suggested by my good friends that I get myself out there on all the best social networking platforms and to a degree I have - except Google+, just not that keen on it yet. And while networking I realised I didn’t want to be one of those people who just went around collecting “Likes” and “Followers” without reason.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Since my last post about being in the charts over at YouWriteOn, I've bounced up and down like a yo-yo. I fell from the No.1 spot to No.17 in a day, then I had to delete a review (a good review but low in comparison to the others) just to climb the charts again. I hit No.4 the next day. Then I went down to number No.7 before finally receiving two reviews that gave me five stars on every category. 
So, as of yesterday evening where I was sitting at No.2 , my scores looked like this: 

And then, I added a reading credit. This is something you have to do every 7 days in order to stay in the top ten and  hadn't added one for 5 days. I didn’t expect anyone to pick up the reading credit or even return a review as there is a four day window to do so. But in the space of a few hours someone did. And they gave me another full set of five stars! My score board didn’t change and, quite frankly, I didn’t mind being at No.2 - I was in the top five, that was enough. I just hoped I wasn’t pushed out by other stories getting all 5’s. Then, the clock struck twelve, the charts were organised by the Magical Chart Organising fairy and…it read “we’ll be back at 11am!”. 
I went to bed.

When I woke this morning, the little note at the bottom of My Page said I hadn’t dropped out of the top five. Phew. Though it did say I'd taken the No.1 spot on the best sellers list! It was the icing on the cake!
I have my reviewers to thank because they gave CAPTCHA some awesome edits. In fact, looking at those two chapters on my blog, all I can see are mistakes floating around. So I’m going to replace it with the newer, shinier version soon and later this week do a post showing the edits because that, my friends, is how we learn: through our mistakes. 

For now though, I’ll be waiting for those professional critiques and I’ll make sure to post them up be they good or bad, and in the meantime, I’ll be treating myself.

Sorry? What did you say? Donuts? If you insist…

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