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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Want A Book To Take Me Somewhere

by Margo Fuke

“Too right.” I nodded vigorously when I saw that slogan in the library window. I thought of all the great books in my life. If reading is the mother of writing, perhaps if I analyse what they have given me, I'll be able to cure that blank computer page and WRITE.

I enjoy my life but I want, need, demand a thousand more. Why else would I have read a million books since I joined the library at the advanced age of three?

So where and who have I been?

“Hang about,” I hear you say. “A really good author can transform any everyday event into something amazing.” Agreed. Ray Bradbury takes a boy changing from his heavy winter shoes to his summer sneakers (trainers) and his whole world, and his place in it, is transformed as he runs, on featherlight feet into the newborn spring, bursting with life and wonder. And we are right there with him. But Bradbury also whisked me away to Mars – the start of a lifetime’s love affair with the unknown and exotic. I’ll never lose the thrill of seeing his majestic sand yachts sweeping across the vast red Martian deserts. Of course, I’ve got a season ticket to Mars. My first time was with Captain John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia, creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame, and sadly best known today for truly awful films. How I envied the Incomparable Dejah Thoris! Around the same time C S Lewis – without his wardrobe – abducted me from Much Nadderby; while on yet another trip I saved the world with Dan Dare, Doc and Lemmy. Great stuff.

I got my lifelong passion for magical creatures, and elves in particular, - and alternative Earths – straight from Tolkien. Later, I realised that his elves and hobbits, wearing different bodies, are much closer to our own values than many humans. Mordor can be anywhere – scary!

Michael Moorcock’s fierce elf-type, Elric, was the natural follow on. My first discovery that a ‘hero’ can be unburdened by fine ideals or love.

Time to move on and get my imagination pulling MY wagon.

I’ve travelled round the Earth (another story) and the Universe just to get back where I started – Mars. Fact not fiction and waiting to be written. The aptly named probe, Curiosity – I could tell it a tale or two – has boldly gone Out There to seek Truths, new and ancient.  Ice crystals and microbial life may not be as beautiful as sand yachts but who says they are not clues, more fascinating than The Da Vinci Code, waiting to blow away the really important questions – where we came from; where do we go next?

It's a real challenge.  You, gentle lady readers, currently earth-bound and besotted by a 100 year old immortal, no longer have to pretend to be men to get published. Will you be the ones to pick up Tolkien’s Torch?

Or perhaps it'll be me.

Next step? Quit reminiscing; pocket Hitch-hikers’ Guide and take off for A Year on Alpha Proxima. That should be long enough for a bestseller. Watch me fly!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Characterisation

by Beverly Townsend

Characterisation is the essential part of writing fiction. Building believable characters is one of the most skilful roles of an author. Whether they are from your past or present, friends or enemies they are the blocks that build a story.

“Without character there is no story. Characters are often the reason we read. As well as what the story is about, we want to know who the story is about....A good character always has some kind of internal conflict.” Julia Bell

·         Show them in action – showing them doing things (or not doing them!)

·         Give their exact words (direct speech), or their thoughts.

·         Show them in relationships with other people. How do they react to others? How do others react to them?

·         Describe physical appearance. You can’t put in every detail – choose details which are significant, and show individuality e.g. she was wearing a faded ten year old woolly jumper or he wore a Rolex watch. How much detail you give depends on the character and the pace of the story, and how much you want to leave to the imagination of the reader. Trust your readers to make assumptions.

·         Try to convey character through ‘pictures’, through things happening, rather than by explaining events ‘Show don’t tell.’

·         Remember conflict is quite basic to keeping your reader interested in your story – your characters have to be faced with problems that they find difficult to resolve.

Remember, the power to create and develop character is at the heart of all fictional writing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Heart Search: Lost by Carlie M. A. Cullen

by Maria V A Johnson

The one advantage to having a group blog is the ability to share our achievements. With that in mind, I would love to shout from the rooftops the launch of Carlie’s first novel today; Heart Search: Lost.
 
This is an amazing book, a YA novel in the Paranormal Romance genre, and it has something for everyone. Her alpha reader doesn’t like vampire stories, but chose to read it twice; one of the male reviewers on her Blog Tour has never read a Paranormal Romance before, and he’s loving it. This book doesn’t just appeal to a small group of people (teenage girls), but to a wide range that normally wouldn’t touch this genre with a barge-pole.
 
I know you will all join with me in congratulating her on the publication of her first novel.




One bite starts it all . . .

When Joshua Grant vanishes days before his wedding his fiancée Remy is left with only bruises, scratch marks and a hastily written note. Heartbroken, she sets off alone to find him and begins a long journey where strange things begin to happen.

As Joshua descends into his new immortal life he indulges his thirst for blood and explores his superhuman strength and amazing new talents while becoming embroiled in coven politics which threaten to destroy him. But Remy discovers a strength of her own on her quest to bring Joshua home.

Fate toys with mortals and immortals alike, as two hearts torn apart by darkness face ordeals which test them to their limits.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Murdering People

by Carol Thomas

The novel I am working on at the moment is a thriller and I am at the editing stage. It didn’t start life as a thriller; it started out as a romance. I had an idea that I would have my hero and heroine meeting at a graveyard! They would both be mourning the loss of their partners who had died 6 months previously and would become friends. The story was meant to be about other people’s prejudices.

The story was buzzing round in my head for several weeks without a word being written. Then we went to visit my in-laws. I was in the conservatory with my story going round when it happened! My hero didn`t take to kindly to the heroine trying to stop seeing him. Then I realised he actually wanted to be a psychopathic stalker. These things happen sometimes!

So now I had this new version going round and I was really excited. I realised for him to murder people he might need help. Then a new character came along who is hidden and the reader doesn`t get to actually meet him. Then something insane happened and I realised this could be the main character for my sequel! I hadn`t even started writing the first one and my mind was trying to start working on the sequel.

I wrote the first draft frantically, and then put it away to rest while I worked on a different genre. I did take a long time to get back to editing the piece, which was good because I had loads of new ideas for it, so it has turned into more of a re-write than an edit.

The sequel I will hopefully work on for NaNoWriMo this year. I had better get planning!