Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, end them?
We live in amazing times. To a fairly large extent we can thank science and technology for that. What do I mean by amazing? I mean that it is surprising where society is today, how we got here and the potential we have for the future. The key word in that last sentence was potential. Despite the progress made in quality of life, health, the ability to travel and communicate, to explore and ask big questions, something has gone, or is at least going, wrong. We could be doing so much better.
Seriously, people, WTF? It is like we have collectively decided that what we really need is another “dark ages”. We are still sending the faithful to foreign lands to kill to save lives. We are constantly terrified, or should that be terrorfied? The faceless terrorists and terrorism conveniently taking the place of the wonderfully effective cold war threats of communism.
Continue reading “To unplug, or not to unplug? That is the question.” →
After the last cathartic post on why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, not to mention the constant whining about not writing, I have actually been writing a lot.
I currently have three novels on the go, and as of last week another new story; so new it doesn’t even have a working title. I’m only at the beginning, 1000 words down and some planning, but it feels like it could be the start of a series, maybe shorts, not sure yet, it’s a bit of a new style for me… And that’s the thing. After not writing for a while, I’m having an absolutely wondrous time, experimenting. Experimenting with different formats and lengths, with stories spanning hard core space opera, dystopian earth-like civilisations, earth- and space-based, human- and alien-like characters, imagining technologies of the future, their evolution and impact on “humanity”. It is brilliant!
I started this month well, trying out a new time management idea – writing every morning; I had been getting too tired to write in the evenings. It worked well for a week or so, but the real world (work) interrupted, so I have reverted to writing wherever and whenever I can. I’d like to try this morning regime again if/when my day job calms down a little. It was an excellent way to start the day. Whilst I complain a bit (ok, maybe a lot) about the day job, I am writing a lot there and really trying to up the quality. I’ve written at least 10000 words this month, not counting emails… on some cool science and technology (I’m trying to avoid counting but it was a good month). I think that the fiction and non-fiction writing are helping one another – after all, it’s all writing.
Continue reading “Every Day I Write The BookS” →
I claim to write science facts to science fiction and beyond. I have been, for some time now, more focused on the facts than the fiction. This remains the case – this year I have published or submitted around 10 scientific papers, which is an incredibly good year no matter how you look at it. So if we look at the fiction side of things, I’m still taking baby steps, but this is a long game and this was always the plan.
This year the goal was to read and write as much as I could, without worrying too much about what it was. In a sense, it was a quest to find my style, and more importantly, improve how I write. The only way to do that is to write. I now have first or second drafts of a handful of flash fiction, two and half shorts as well as two novels – one about the third done and the other a bit less, but both are fully planned.
What have I been writing? I would say SciFi, but if you’re after space cruisers and alien battles, there is not much here for you yet. Trust me, this to will come. Currently, there is a heavy dystopian influence in a lot of the work – possibly too much, but it is what it is and it is more symptomatic of where I have been coming from lately and where I am heading.
Continue reading “Phase One Complete – Bring on 2015!” →
Recently, I realised that I was about a third of the way into the first draft of my first serious attempt at a novel. As one could imagine I wasn’t happy with it. There is some great stuff there, but stylistically I have a lot of work to do. I had thought this through, planned out everything and had very clear ideas about my characters and various key points in the plot, but … I realised that I was probably trying to run before I could walk.
Then out of the blue I see a tweet from Ksenia Anske on the danger of outlining. Indeed, why should I plan how I’m going to write a book, I never plan anything. And so it was that this fell just before I forced myself to take a break from my other full time job. How better to celebrate than to just dive in and say I’m going to write for two days. What a fantastic experience. I had no idea what was going to happen. I started –
First, the stars fell from the sky, now, it would appear it’s our turn.
Continue reading “Just write it!” →
I want to wander through a story thick and dripping with an almost claustrophobic atmosphere. I realised that, while my writing is going well at the moment – the story is opening up, the characters are developing – one of the most important elements still needs some serious development. Currently, the atmosphere is almost non-existent. It is there, and of course this needs time to develop, but if this is some dystopian society on the brink, where is the pain, the suffering, the need for change, revolt and revolution?
I want you to feel like you are living in a fish tank. I want you to see the camera watching your every move. I want you to know that they know exactly where you are. They even know what you’re going to do before you even think about it. I want you to feel that.
This is a theme that has been with me for some time. I think that it may have taken this form from some lyrics in a song from the 60s band Love – unfortunately, my vinyl is unsearchable at the moment, so I can’t check which song … or, maybe it is from something completely different. In any case, what I’d like to say is that not only do we need both the beauty AND the ugly, we also need to see, feel, hear, taste and be immersed in both and everything in between.
The idea is as old and simple as life and death, but it is what gives us perspective. It is the balance! Indeed, a death need not be a bad thing, whether that be a person or an idea, it can allow something new to grow. I don’t mean that we should kill all the old people to make fertiliser. Nor does something need to die to allow something else to grow. We learn something about life from witnessing death. We learn, or at least we should, about balance and the complexity of the world around us.
We see this in writing, in stories, all of the time. The protagonist is always faced with hardship as they search for something better, either in themselves or in their world. If you are writing a character and they are either good or bad, black or white, then your character will be flawed.
The same holds, if we consider society itself as a character. Can we really separate utopian and dystopian societies, or do we just see that one is just slowly turning into the other and back again? There are always elements of both present.
Nothing is black and white. We live in a world of grey, and that’s a good thing.