Archive | August 2013

Continuity leads to epic fantasy and sci-fi

I am finding a very interesting phenomena when writing fantasy books. Unlike some short stories or fiction set in this world, no matter the time frame, fantasy and sci-fi novels require an element of world building. This is to say that you need to not only create characters with detailed and realistic emotions, motivations and back stories but you also need to create worlds, land masses, folk law, rules of magic and technology, histories of nations and even languages. If you were to write something set in Russia in World War 2, present day London or the French Revolution you have a wealth of real world information to draw upon. A little research will show you maps, timelines, period costumes, flags and banners of different factions as well as a general idea of why different sections of society did different things. This is not the case in a fantasy or sci-fi novel as the author needs to create all these elements themselves and these elements need to be believable before a reader will immerse themselves in the story. In writing The Wings of Aysh-Karal, I am starting to think that this notion of world building is what creates epics. But where does this world building start, it is in my belief that it comes from making sure there is continuity. If someone mentions a place, a crest or a period of history this needs to be consistent throughout the novel. In my writing I find that I have living documents that give detail of character biographies, historical points and maps of different locations. In The Wings of Aysh-Karal this was simply so I did not need to re-read chapters multiple times to make sure I was being consistent. However, as I write more I am noticing that I need more history, more back stories to help explain why certain characters do things and why cities are in different places or have risen or fallen. I have some ruins but what happened to the city to make it so desolate? If I do not know that I cannot really use it as I may mention one history at one point then contradict it later. The documents I created then developed to show consistency of dress that explains what each type of soldier for different factions wears. I then moved from city maps to the surrounding areas and then the whole continent. This has meant I have needed to add more cities and to think about how these are connected. Some of this is vital for this book, some is incase I need to use the information in the future and some simply for the joy of world building. I have most recently started work on a historical timeline of the continent, some of which will not be used in this novel. What I am now noticing is that what I saw as one book has moved to four and now I have ideas for more that are set in the past. This has not come from a preplanned world but from adding elements as I write. Someone once said to me that a writer needs to build the world first and have a plan of what will happen. I, however, feel that an author can have the bare bones of a story, a start and end with key points along the way. As the story builds, keeping meticulous notes will allow continuity but will also slowly build a world which can, in turn lead to more stories and develop an epic storyline set over many generations.

If you wish to read The Wings of Aysh-Karal you can do so on wattpad. It is slowly being updated, so let me know what you think so far.

Finally the Super Lizard has returned (again!)

My attempt at drawing Super Lizard and Tanooki

My attempt at drawing Super Lizard and Tanooki

MA finished, summer holidays and child born means I have a little bit of free time and that means writing! I have so many ideas for new books but felt it silly to start on them when I had old projects going. Probably the quickest to finish is Super Lizard Returns so I thought I would tackle that for a bit. Managed to put the structure down for the remaining three short stories and finish writing one. I have once again placed it on wattpad. The plan is to let people have a look and comment before I do a final edit and place the collection on Smashwords. This post is therefore basically saying that the second of the four stories is now available on wattpad and entitled ‘A Rough in the Diamond‘. I hope you enjoy it and I would love some critical feedback, I am not sure it is as good as Super Lizard Begins but I much prefer it to ‘Sequins and Spandex‘ as there are more comedy (in particular slapstick) moments. Like the previous story it is building up to what I hope are the best two short stories in the series so far. All that remains is to ask you to click here and take a look.

Free ebooks because I am a daddy!

Bella-and-Lola-Offer

There are some amazing milestones in life, things that make you grow up and look back on what you have achieved. I got anxiety disorder and overcoming the features to move from my island home of Guernsey to England to complete a degree in teaching was one. Moving permanently with my then girlfriend was another, her becoming my fiance then my wife has made me realise how lucky I am. Now the most amazing thing has happened, my first child has been born (my wife thinks that will be it after experiencing labour but I am hoping for more). To celebrate the birth of my son I thought I would make Bella and Lola available for free download once again as Up the Wrong Tree was written for him. As I am a generally nice chap, A Sting in the Tail will also be free. So whilst I get sleepless nights you can have a ‘great’ read, well if you are around 5-8 years old that is. Anyway, you can get them from here for free on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th August…

Up the Wrong Tree

Amazon UK

Amazon US

A Sting in the Tail

Amazon UK

Amazon US

I hope that if you download them you enjoy them. One final plea, if you do read them can you write a review or at least give a star rating no matter how good or bad it is. Right I am off to change dirty nappies, get sicked on and have no sleep whatsoever. I do get cuddles so it is all good!

A bear of very little brain

Anyone who has read my blog may have seen me allude to the fact I am having a child. Said child is, at the time of writing, over a week overdue. As an author and avid reader, one thing I want to do is get my child into reading and thinking creatively. It was, therefore, that some time ago I thought I would like to read to my little one whilst they were still in the womb. I thought I would get to read some of the children’s books I had seen at school as I did actually wanted to read them but they were low on my priority due to having many a book on my reading list. I had been eyeing up Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson but my wife had other ideas. She felt it was too grown up, or rather she loved Winnie-the-Pooh when she was younger, had a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner and really wanted it to be read to her too. I was a little concerned, largely due to my only knowledge being the slightly sickly Disney version. Ok, so I didn’t dislike the Disney version it was just a little too feminine and message orientated. I had taken the time to watch The Tigger Movie and Pooh’s Heffalum Movie and they were quite enjoyable, but stomaching a whole book, nay two books in one, and feeding my unborn child with this drivel made me a little uneasy. However, as it was her favourite and she did state that baby would hear it when they were born I went with it. To my surprise, what I found was, interesting, well written and humourous tales that did not have a feeling of happy dancing flowers and pastel shades. Christopher Robin was not a dreary weakling who came in and solved all the problems at the end but someone who was well-rounded and could admit when someone else had the right idea. Pooh, whilst enjoyable in the Disney version, really came to life. One of those characters that accepts they are stupid but actually is one of the most intelligent in the room. I could not stand the scared Disney incarnation of Piglet but it turns out that is a caricature of the real character. Further to this, even both of my favourite characters, Tigger and Eeyore, were much better. Tigger is so much more bouncy and cheerily annoying and Eeyore is so much more glum. It really does feel like a band of misfits. In the classic version Owl isn’t that clever they just think he is and Rabbit is not grumpy just the astute organised one. Disney took their characteristics and multiplied them tenfold to make entertainment that is clearly for children. The original A.A. Milne characters are much more subtle and it really does feel like a group of friends. Yes there are a few dull stories, but the books are filled with witty one liners and clever ideas that only parents will really understand. They are also written in a clever childish way with repetition and lots of lists and simple words (well the odd big word is thrown in). Whilst Winnie-the-Pooh was nowhere near my favourite book (although I did include a quote in Bella and Lola: A Sting in the Tail) I can at least now see why it is such a classic and safe to say I will be reading it to my child when they are born.