Monday, 30 September 2013

Don’t Get Boxed In

Write What You'd Want To Read

Nothing should dictate how you write but you. 
If something or someone else is in control, you’re probably not telling the story you want to tell. 
One thing that definitely shouldn’t dictate the way you write, though, is genre and categories.

The most unexpected piece of advice I got was from a Random House crit:

“The other point I wanted to make about the opening is that it very firmly establishes Captcha as a sci-fi novel. This may be exactly what you intended… But, I think there’s much in your novel to appeal to readers who wouldn’t normally class themselves as sci-fi fans and so you may not want to risk putting them off.”

Which came after this:

“I'll be honest - my heart sank when I saw I'd been allocated yet another science fiction - I dreaded wading through the porridge of unpronounceable words. Then I started reading, and for someone who doesn't 'do' SciFi I was hooked from the start.”

And this:
“Although this is not my genre you might be able to convert me.”  - *snort* I wish...

Now, I’m not sure what I attributed to my chapters that made these people consider it a more easily digestible piece of sci fi, but if I had to guess, I’m gonna say it’s because I was writing what I don’t know. I watch sci-fi but I don’t really read it. My reason for that is I just can’t handle all the long descriptions of how a phone in the year 3000 operates. I appreciate authors who are able to come up with some fascinating concepts, and to a point, I almost envy them for it. But when it comes to reading those same block description, I start to shut down.
Watching sci-fi is less taxing as I can witness this new piece of tech taking place rather than read about how the dual ulpertitianium core drive needs to power up the ultra mega jump boost. Usually I skip these parts, but they can sometimes become so common and overwhelming that it’s just easier to put the book down. Of course, not all sci fi novels are like that.
I assume sci fi like that would be regarded as…hard sci-fi? Deep space an' all…
And I’m definitely not writing a space opera. 

Though I wouldn’t even say I’m writing soft sci-fi seeing as, well, I don’t read sci fi at all. Which may be why those who weren’t sci fi fans enjoyed my kind of “sci fi”, because perhaps it’s not actually sci fi. But then…does that mean I have no business calling my story sci fi?  
It’s got cyborgs in it. Does that count?

I don’t know.

All I do know is that the sci fi I’m supposedly writing is the kind of sci fi that I would love to read. A sci fi that has some interesting science elements but without the jargon. And who knows? There could be many others out there who want to read “sci fi” like that. Either way, whether I fit into the sci fi box or not, I’m not going to let a genre of category dictate how I write the story I want to tell…

Getting Attached

Killing Characters
George R. R. Martin - Game of Thrones author

On writing my new WIP, I’ve realised something. These new characters? I don’t know them.

I mean, yeah, I know their backstory and their basic character traits but in terms of predicting their answers and actions to situations, I’d really have to spend a lot of time day dreaming about these guys. Then putting them on paper. Then daydreaming some more.

Eight years I spent with the characters from my last WIP. I toiled with them until they grew from these lame-ish two dimensional people to colourful individuals. It actually makes me excited to go in and write the second part, and it also makes me sad to have to kill them off. I know I don’t HAVE to, though, with the story I’m trying to tell, yeah… I kinda have to.

It’s like murdering a friend/s, all be it imaginary, but still a friend. Ok, maybe not a friend, but your fave computer game character. I don’t know. Is this all too creepy? Can you get too attached?

Yes. You can.

But I'm not going to let that affect how I want to tell my story. I’ve always wanted, from the beginning, to create characters that are off-key, likable and have flip-side attributes that can take them down either road. I’m attracted to the anti-hero/heroine, the person who does stuff to their best ability in their own messed up way born from a skewered perception of the world. (Is that not all of us?) 

I’ve also wanted to maintain a certain level of realism in my stories and for me that means people die. Not because I’m a sadist, but because when there’s a lot of dangerous stuff going on, Death just isn’t that impartial. He doesn’t care whether people are good or bad (whatever that means), young or old, happy or sad, he’s just there to do his job. And I'm trying to avoid the rosy ending cliché anyway. 

But if getting attached means I create convincing characters that readers relate to, then I’ll do it. If it means readers find it difficult deciding who to root for, then I’ll do it. And if it means readers feel as bad as I do when I stab my characters through the heart with my blue bic pen, then you better believe I’ll do it when the story asks for it.

Friday, 20 September 2013

This Is My Life

Not too long ago (Sunday gone), I turned 26. I hardly did much although the celebrating sort of started early. On Thursday, one my best mates, Nikisha, turned 26 too (she'll probably hate that I put this song up of hers because it's old and the backing isn't great, but her voice is spectacular). I went to her house and brought my netbook with me because I was also taking part in #Pitmad. We stayed up all night talking and eating and laughing, putting me at 24 hours with no sleep, but I felt fine.

Then, I had to celebrate MY birthday gathering. I chose to do it on a Friday rather than a Sunday and instead of a birthday cake I went for these:

Guys. Don’t judge me. This is my life.

By the time I went to sleep I’d been awake for some 42 hours and was delirious with tiredness. Then came my actual birthday and my partner’s first amateur K1 fight. I was really nervous but he took gold and I took that as my birthday present. THEN “Stinks” (
Nadine - she's very secretive about her music, I'm lucky to have even found this) my sister in crime and singer of wonderful songs played me one of her tunes, a version on Bob Marley's redemption, and it was so beautiful I cried with laughter.

THEN! I got a phone call saying that there was an available place for my daughter to start nursery!

It was such a good week. I felt like everyone was doing what they wanted, taking things up a notch and braving the big bad world. We’ll hit some hurdles, earn some bruises (literally) and have to pick ourselves up again but, you know… that’s life. So rejections? Here I come. I've got a folder ready for you and everythang

Why, I just got my second rejection as I typed this!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Come on...

Weirdest place you've read a book?

I attended an MMA event two weeks ago, and as interesting as it was, not knowing the people in the cage had me zoning out at times. So, during the interval and then for the rest of the event, I took out my Kindle and started reading. And it wasn’t impossible to concentrate either, considering it was dim and very, very loud.

In one of my stories, a character takes out a book and starts reading it in the middle of a bar/club, and it had me wondering, where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever read a book or Kindle?

Honestly, I’m curious…

Awesome Notebooks

Notebooks that are Awesome

That is all.

( or just look around Camden Market)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Are You Ready?

I’ve taken a sharp stop from writing CAPTCHA this week, meaning I won’t be reaching my second deadline as it’s only around the corner. But I did reach chapter twenty-three so excuse me while I pat my own back. (This hurts. Don’t do it. Eat chocolate instead.)

The reason I’ve stalled is because of PitMad, the sibling of PitchMadness. 
Quick explanation: PitMad and PitchMadness are crazy, fast paced chances to catch an agent or publishers eye with your story by condensing its plot into a 140 character query. Sound hard? It’s not. It’s f**king DIFFICULT. 
But at the same time satisfyingly challenging, although only when you’ve finally accomplished at least one good pitch. 

I didn’t get to enter PitchMadness last time, well the opportunity was there but my story wasn’t. I still wanted needed feedback on The Indigo City which I managed to get and now, with this imbued confidence, I’m ready to step forward. I don’t expect to get picked, I’m merely looking at this as practice, BUT just in case, I wrote up my synopsis and am still working hard on my Twitter pitches, and I’ve got mine ready! 

If you’d like to join in, the event takes place tomorrow at 8AM est (which is like midday or one o’ clock for us Brits). Ava Jae has set up a fantastic blog post where you can get a whole bunch of tips on how to write that pitch, and even more, everyone is critting one another’s pitch tweets in the comment section bellow, which is just awesome.

So I’ll be back on Friday to let you know how the whole thing went and if I got lucky. 
Until then? 


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