Fiction with an edge

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Friends ...

One of the most important resources a writer can have is friends. Friends are there when self-doubt creeps in - and it does with creative minds. Friends are there to say where you're going wrong - where that story needs tweaking - why the character you just spent a week creating, and think is brilliant, - isn't working. Friends look at your manuscript and tell you why a scene, which you absolutely love, doesn't move the story forward. 

Friends are there when you can't write, because life has just erupted, the car's just failed its MOT and you need to ferry the kids to dancing / judo / fencing / extra maths lessons - or your washing machine / freezer / central heating system has just gone down and it's Saturday night and no tradesman is going to call on a Sunday unless you raise a mortgage for the call-out charge. 

Friends are there when the people around you don't understand why you want to curl up in a ball and cover yourself with a duvet, because an agent has just told you that your story is not what he / she or anyone else in the western hemisphere is looking for. 

Friends are there when you see a TV mini-series which has the same storyline as the book you've been working on for the last three years - and it gets bad reviews. 

Friends bolster, boost, encourage, cajole, listen, but, above all, friends are people who tell you the truth, because they want you to be the very best writer you can be.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Olympic torch visits Plymouth.

The Olympic torch made my wife, Jill, and I feel a wonderful part of this special and historic event.

The torch arrived on Plymouth Hoe at around 9.20 this evening. Overseen by statues of Sir Francis Drake and Queen Victoria, the atmosphere from the thousands present was tremendous and created a magnificent start to the rest of the torch journey.
70 days to go to the Olympics in London.  

Thursday, 10 May 2012

To preach or not to preach ...

In The Paradigm Culture, my main character, Tom (working name), has a hatred of injustice and believes the judicial system needs beefing up - a feeling close to my heart.

Now, as a writer, it would be very easy to get into preaching mode and, through Tom, bring out all my pet hates and frustrations with the justice system as if they were his. Of course, Tom can have feelings like mine, but they would need to be as a result of his upbringing - his insecurities - his need for stability and fair play - not mine. If I created a character purely as a vehicle to promulgate my own views then the reader would very quickly see through him and realise what was going on. 

A character's actions and thinking are motivated by many elements - fear, love, justice, money, etc. Tom's motivation centres on rules. He feels comfortable with rules - society needs rules - and those who break the rules have to be dealt with. For Tom, failure to deal with them brings chaos.

So imagine, when Tom is granted the power to bring to justice these people who think they are outside the law, what his reaction will be. What would yours be? What would you do if you had the power to invade minds?