I’ve been a bit bad at updating the blog recently. The ironic thing is that at those times when I do have a lot to blog about, I’m too busy to do so. I’m currently behind on everything. The test results have come back from the leg and there’s a ridiculous number of activities now happening ranging from referals to the hospital, to high risk of a repeat, to building the walking up again. So here are a collection of points, most of which are blog posts in their own right.
I think it’s sometimes difficult to relate to JK Rowling’s success, so I found this early video of her from around the time between the first and second book’s launch really interesting. She talks excitedly about selling 30,000 books and getting published in 8 countries. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a massive achievement for any author and she has every right to be proud, but you just can;t help watching this video and thinking, “You have absolutely no idea what’s about to happen.”
A lesson, if you like, in how one shouldn’t try and predict their writing career
So as you may remember, last month an infection caused a 6” hole to be blown in my leg. I acted quickly so whilst I had a plaster the size of an iPad and industrial strength antibiotics, I was relatively OK. It has stopped me working or doing things I normally enjoy other than geocaching (and even then I managed two drive-by caches in Bradford).
So I’m not fun to be around, I’m a bit distant (and a bit grumpy). I have no social life to speak of, and coupled with working from home for the day job, I’m having to make a conscious effort to leave the house. Yes, this can only mean one thing… I am up to my neck in writing the next book.
I listen to a lot of music when I write, the vast majority of it instrumental. Over the years of writing The Four Realms I have several go-to tracks if I need to envoke character. This track from Dr Who has made me think of Maureen since I first heard it, and I still play it before working on a Maureen chapter as prep for getting inside her head. What do you think? If you had to choose a piece of music for Maureen’s theme, what would you choose?
I’ve always been a worrier, I suppose a writer’s natural urge to ask “what if” means that it’s almost inevitable the two are linked. But I’m finding, as the taboos on mental health are slowly coming down, that my family has a history of anxiety.
The big trouble with anxiety attacks (at least for me. I can only speak for myself, I don’t claim to be an expert) is that unlike a full blown panic attack that stops you doing anything, anxiety attacks rumble away in the background. I can write with an attack, but I’m not as productive. The big problem is sleep. I can’t sleep when I’ve got an anxiety attack and as a result, last night I never got to bed until 3am.
Given how much writers struggle with putting together the synopsis of a novel, I’m starting to wonder, following this brilliant summary of the setup of The Four Realms, whether authors should employ reviewers to write them. I jest, of course, but this review does a really good job of getting ‘inside’ the setup of the novel.
They liked it and rated it a “Buy It” as well. This, as you can imagine, makes me happy.
“Drop that stack of romantic books about reluctant vampires and grab this harsh story of a vampire who would love to kill you—and the lovely old lady who will find a way to stop him.”
So yesterday Gareth L Powell, author of Ack Ack Macaque, did this brilliant video giving four essential tips for writers. He also talked about the book beard, the idea that you stop shaving whilst writing a book.
Seeing as I am in the early stages of the next big block of writing on the new novel, and that I was overdue a shave anyway (the result of a lot of working from home on the day job due to the leg), I thought this could be a thing. However, given that the first book took me 13 years, and the real challenge of this book is me learning how to speed up my process without compromising quality, there are moments when I wonder if the beard will be long and grey before I finish.
My latest article for Fantasy Faction is now live. In Exploring Rural Landscape I advocate writers getting out into the countryside to make their rural scenes be that more believable. Be sure to check it out!
It wasn’t that I expected Bradford to be a bad Eastercon, I just had really low expectations. For that reason, my entire focus leading up to the event was on my panels and trying to ensure they were as entertaining as possible. But it turned out to be a truly exceptional con.