Tuesday, 30 September 2014

MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR

I was lucky enough to be infected by the dear Sarah Foster with this Character Blog Tour. Whoop Whoop! Sarah was way more inventive with hers and wrote using the voice of her main character, Jordan. I'd do it too if it didn't make me look like a lame copy cat...

So here goes!




What is the name of your main character?

Lyken Heath


Is he a fictional or a historic person?


He’s a borg hunter and that makes him fake as hell.


When and where is the story set?


The story begins during a time of recovery from a nanite virus, and it's set on an island called Halsion. I have a thing for made up worlds because it allows me to do as I please without worrying about how it relates to our reality. I now know that doesn’t always have to be the case and that as long as your world is convincing enough, you don’t have to detail everything relevant to our world. Suzanne Collins didn’t go about explaining all the ins and outs of Panam and how it got like that…I don’t think. Going by the movies, I had no idea it was set in our world.

What should we know about Lyken?


He used to live a cushy, rich life until too many scrapes with the law saw him close to broke and living in a trailer. He also has some serious responsibility issues, something he grows out of when he’s made responsible whether he likes it or not.

What is the main conflict? 

i.e What messes up his life?


Early on in the story, Lyken is blamed for a virus outbreak in his home town, and the only way to prove his innocence is to go wading through some political shit while facing a few demons of his own. All hail character development!

What is Lyken's personal goal?


To prove his innocence and find out what the heck is going on. Also, to make up for those he really, REALLY let down.

Is there a working title for this novel?

Where can we read more about it?


It’s called CAPTCHA (for now) and you can check out the first chapter here.


When can we expect the book to be published?


When an agent thinks it’s great enough *twiddles thumbs*.


And now I pass on the blog tour to ...



Again, I give you Terri CerĂ©s, the escaped psychiatric patient from a parallel universe who has settled on our planet and now lives among us under the guise of a a writer, poet, student and human. Approach with caution on her Twitter. She updates her blog, Terri Writes , on Saturday's and every other Tuesday... Maybe.





Sunday, 28 September 2014

#Diversity

Is it trending?

Indeed, I took part in Pitchwars! And it got me some great feedback on my query. I don’t think I’ll enter again though, as tempting as it would be. For a lot of people the whole thing was one big emotional ride, much like one massive query pitching event – which is what it was – but with all the drama exposed. Not my thing…

Other than that, it was still a fun experience going through all the mentors and trying to pick the right ones. HOWEVER!

There was one thing that kinda irked me a lil, a thing that shouldn’t have, but did.

Firstly, I just wanna say I’m happy that everyone is down for diversity in publishing, but at times, I just feel like that stuff is trending. And we all know what happens with trends, don’t we? Yeah, they fade. Now, I don’t think the issue would fade, but much like the whole ice bucket challenge, everyone’s shouting about it, but do they really understand the issue at hand?

What am I talking about? Two things:

1. The Trendy Part

A lot of mentors were asking for diverse characters in pitchwars. But not just them, agents are also into diversity. But the powers that be could’ve always asked for diverse characters, but it wasn’t trending back then, and now that it is, everyone is asking for it. It could be that theyve always wanted to but there wasn’t enough market for it, and now that the internet has been "#heard", agents who’d always championed diversity can shout about it. But what about those who might be jumping on the bandwagon of #Diversity just to prove how inclusive they are?


2. What does "diverse" even mean to some people?

While looking to pitch my work, I kept seeing a lot of “no token POC’s please” or “we want authenticity from our diverse characters.” Usually this means they somehow want their characters of colour to "pop", somehow. They want the characters ethnicity to show how different they are. But is that really what makes a POC a POC?


***
I’m going to break down what I mean in a second, but first I’m just going to say I’m speaking from my point of view as a black person and what diversity means to me. I'm all down for stories and characters with culture intact. I just don't think that should be the only way represent people of colour. 
***

So, basically, when I kept seeing these phrases used by agents, I actually got to wondering: “Oh shit, what if my characters aren’t black enough?” And it was a weird question. Because soon after, I began asking what makes a character black. I mean, isn’t that what they were asking? For all that cultural ethnicity to POP out at the reader just to prove how non-white they were?

This made me sad. 

White characters never need to talk about their background. They never need to go on about their British or Finnish or Italian roots to explain how authentically white they are. Their characters just needed to pop. That was all. So why should my characters have to prove how how non-white they are?

While discussing the subject with my bro, he asked: 
“So how would you like it, personally? Would you prefer it if some characters were just of a different colour?” And I said yes, I don’t care about their background as much. It doesn’t have to be relevant. If I want to put a black guy in a sci-fi, does he have to always refer back to his African home? Or have an African name? Or eat Jollof space-rice? 

Fortunately, whether we like it or not, regardless of colour, sometimes we’re not that different from one another. There is nothing predominantly black about me other than my skin colour.

I eat chinese food on Fridays. A roast on Sundays. In the week I’ll cook anything from spaghetti bolognaise to chana masala. I have a Buddha on my cabinet, my name in Arabic framed on my wall, an ornamental boat from India, a small club from Kenya and a St.Vincent flag from carnival. I watch French movies, Japanese movies, British movies, American movies, Chinese movies and all kinds of cartoons.

Could you tell where I came from? Or am I not black enough? Would I be considered a token POC? Am I not authentic enough?

The thing is, you can still have a POC in your story without having to relate to any of his or her roots. No one went around whacking Morpheus with an ethnic measuring stick, checking how much rice and peas he ate or how his skin colour related to any of the other characters in the Matrix. The same goes for all the other diverse characters in Zion, and Zion was diverse heaven!!

And Mopheus was still cool!
He was still a hero!
His character still popped!
He was just black. 

And why not? For years, most characters were just white…



Monday, 15 September 2014

Happy Birthday

My Life at 27



Today is my birthday and I feel as though I have reached optimum satisfaction this year. Like...every time I wake up I am in a state of ohmygodican'tbelievemyliferightnow.

So many great things have happened to me and it's as though it's all happened at the speed of light meaning I've hardly having time to sit down and think about one great thing before another awesome thing has happened.

I'm going to say it started with LonCon. It was amazing, not so much the event itself, but the people. Like Terri. Terri, I love you, you are also of teh awesomeness. Terry is my writing buddy, I've mentioned her to you before but she's just this great person who encourages me all the time. She says things flippantly that I don't even know if she means them but they are fantastic ideas/words/things!

(Also, she showed me a sex scene she wrote at sixteen (she's 20) and I showed her mine - excuse the pun - from when I was sixteen and hers was so much better. This doesn't explain her awesomeness but it shows she's full of greatness.)

Anywho, she came with me to LonCon and although we didn't get as much out of it as we'd hoped, it was a progressive moment for me. A moment that made me realise I want to share my writing journey with Terri. 

So anyway, enough gushing about Terri because Terri is also prone to random head explosions if you say too many nice things. I've not witnessed this but I'm sure it's a huge risk factor not worth testing.

I also met Tex. Tex lives in....that's right! You guessed it. And she came down from her neck of the woods to LonCon and invited me to dinner. This was the most amazing dinner I've ever had regardless of whether I ate or not. I met some other writers and you know what? It made me realise again how lonely writing is. I think at first you start off really enjoying this gig and, to be fair, that feeling never truly goes. But when you see this road ahead of you with a journey that, for the most part, only you can travel, it can get real lonely. So it's nice when someone standing on the hard shoulder hands you some water. Those people are other writers and although they can't write your book for you, if they are traveling down a similar road, they can teach you a lot. And not just about writing, but about their lives and how they fit writing in it. Tex, Dan and Kim - I'm still in awe of our convo's. They may not have seemed so amazing to you guys but to me? Man, I'm still tripping from the shit I learnt, okay? 

StILl TRiPpiNg!!!

So thank you Tex for inviting me to dinner, and for those interested in what I learnt, the posts will be coming soon.

Another thing I want to say is that I've realised I am not a procrastinator. I've learnt now that the only thing that really gets in the way of my writing is stress. And not so much of my writing, but of my ability to spend time day dreaming. Because before I write, I'm daydreaming and daydreaming a lot. If people are asking me to do stuff, or my timetable is a mess, or I have to simply do some shit that I don't want to do, I can't daydream, and if I can't daydream how can I build on my MC? How can I get out of that weird plot problem? How can I work out what that landscape looks like if I can't THINK FOR FIVE MINUTES UNDISTURBED???

And last but not least, what's probably made me super happy on the writing scale is that I have heard enough stories about publishing to know that I can and should be enjoying all my free time as an unpublished author while I'm still unpublished.. 



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