Writing Your Book – The Environmental Issue.

Choosing your ground

 

If you are reading this, then there is quite a good chance you have an urge to or are already writing in one form or another.  You may be just starting out, you may have been writing for some time, or you be thinking about writing and are working through several blogs getting an idea as to the commitment involved.

This post and subsequent ones will be about some of the issues involved, the platform used will be my latest project ‘Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire,’ I will be trying to avoid:

Preaching for this to be the ‘true and only way’ to write

This being a marketing feature.

These posts are one writer’s experiences, you can take notes, compare or resolve to do the opposite. Whatever. As long as you are writing or starting to write.

Thus said;

A daunting aspect of writing is starting off. Most folk will go through an episode of staring at a blank paper or screen. All the words which were tumbling around in their head have either evaporated and lie condensed in the sub-conscious or are blocked up somewhere along the creative channel. The poor writer in a creative panic, thinking, whispering or muttering: ‘Where do I start?’

Nothing unusual there.

A writer might have a plot line but still can’t get the details onto ‘paper’. If you are on a laptop, by the way and are listening to music do not be tempted to go onto YouTube to watch the music ‘live’; more chapters, ideas and writing time are lost that way than through state censorship.

One way to ease in is to have your backdrop, environment and underlying themes set out as a motivation. Let me elaborate here using myself as a laboratory specimen.

As the years go on, I find myself becoming increasingly picky about subject matter. The moment the words ‘serial killer’ crop or ‘conspiracy at highest levels’ crop up, I am off and away. The former repel me, the latter I have had my fill of. There you go; my choice. Also, after reading so much political and military history there is a tendency for me to go for happy or at least equitable endings.

After reading a great deal a writer (or writer in situ) will have a sneaking whisper in their head ‘Yeh, fine, but I think I could do better’; nothing wrong with that just so long as you keep the feeling under control and don’t publicly savage all writers rather than write.

A writer may also feel they have a voice and just want it to be heard/read.

Putting those aspects all into my head and mixing them up this is the universe which began to form, the one most comfortable for me to write in. In this instance ‘comfortable’ does not mean cosy or easy, the usage refers to the most productive way the words come out.

In my case. Firstly being a Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes) type-dreamer I am hopeless at writing about the normal world. I am at my ease when writing fantasy for being incurably impatient researching science to create a credible SF background would just not work for me. Give me a place where laws of physics and chemistry are working which have not yet been uncovered or fully realised. But may I stick with some of continuity!

My familiarity geographically is with northern Europe, as this book is set in another time after monumental events this gives me some leeway to juggle about with peoples, places and locations. Thus, a great deal is given up to the readers imagination.

As stated above since everything is geared towards a certain type of ending it is easier to move along while creating ‘bumps’ in the road, in fact flooding out the road on occasions, or putting in a divert.

My own interests have always been in matters military, my work experience has been in the UK civil service thus I approach neither subject with a rigidity or clichés. The principal characters are also the ones at the bottom rungs, so they are focused or trying to carry or survive orders.

I like romance as a feature of a story. Setting this in a narrative is not a problem, avoiding the cliched predictable, highly unrealistic settings, interactions and terrible descriptions are! ( more about that later…later I said!)

Evil does not triumph in my books. Evil has one hell of a (‘hell of a’!..you gotta laugh folks, I got dozens like that!) time in my worlds, in fact my challenge is having the thing hang around enough to create a feasible contest. The main methods of destruction and unhappiness in my worlds are. (A) The well-meaning authoritarians who think they know best (B) The folks whose plans are not very good (C) The opportunists waiting for the ‘main’ chance (D) The thoughtless idiot (E) The unforeseen collision of plans.

I personally cannot write very long without some sort of humour creeping it. This may take the form of a satirical comment on today or some of the lazier troupes of Fantasy writing. It can be bawdy or downright slapstick. It may be knockabout verbal. Being a male as we never grow up it could be very, very juvenile. Since all these happen in Life anyhow, I have no problems with putting any of them into the narrative.

And finally, tying in with the ‘evil’ thing as those who have read my posts know I have no tolerance level for cruelty, bigotry, and violence on the weak, so I work out a few ‘issues’ without being too obvious and straining the narrative.

The above are therefore my ways of giving myself a setting I can work with, to enable me to concentrate upon plot and characters. Some of the facets I have listed in fact encourage me to get on with the work, because I do so want to write about them; the problem being not to rush into these or keep repeating unless there might be good cause (a really valid ‘might’). Thus, there is my environment to work within.

If you take a ‘Living World’ analogy it can be seen there are many environments in which Life flourishes. Therefore, what is my favoured environment, might well be another’s arid desert, frozen tundra, crushing sea bottom depths or any other comparison you might care to make which will stifle your creativity. The important facet being you create your own in which your own flora and fauna of a book may flourish.

Keep on keeping.

The Return of The Wayward Writer

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Thoughts of a Raggedy Writer

Please note I have my special quirky hat today, well actually I usually do, but it is necessary to state the matter in case folk might think there is a tinge of self-pity here…Nope! Brexiteer

Truth be known this another of those posts in which I heroically show how not to do things.Handel_GF

One of my volumes is 51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_
this book contains a dedication to one of my grandson’s Jim. It is in memory to the long talks we used to have over history whenever he came to visit. The realisation dawned he did not know about this, so off went an oblique text and the said book was made ‘free’ for a few days so it wouldn’t ‘cost’ him. He was happy, I was happy he was happy and all well and good.

Then came an e-mail from Amazon about royalties which usually indicates in the last quarter someone has downloaded a kindle copy of one of the three volumes out there. Curiosity was piqued.

The Report page indicated on the 1st day of the above mentioned free period some 40ish copies had been downloaded, this was instructive as no mention had been made publicly and my grandson been a couple of downs before he downloaded.

So conclusion was made that folk must check for free books on Kindle. How do they do that?…..errr…..dunno. One of the many aspects of marketing etc which remains a mystery to me. One of the many which I have never bothered to check on.

Maybe there will be one review out of it. You have to be realistic. Folks sell thousands of books, but don’t get thousands of reviews; that would look odd, if you ask me.

Anyway, dear readers the moral of the post is as I and many others have mentioned:

If you want to have your work known to the public, if you hope to sell copies, you have to do some work in these areas, you have to have some sort of knowledge as to how ‘things’ work. Whereas producing a book is hard work, having the final product in the public arena is a whole different matter. There is more sweat, there are hard knocks if you have an editor, there are costs if you wish to have a professional cover, there is much to be done on social media, and there’ll be more except this raggedy writer doesn’t have much idea what the ‘more’ is, other than even after all that there could still well be disappointment; it is a fact of writing.

One day….One day, I keep telling myself, matters will be approached in a stern, mature and semi-professional way….. One day. After all I am retired. I worked in an office and was counted as reasonably good at organisation (and as a servant of H.M Queen Elizabeth II had to churn my way through UK Income Tax law). So what is the problem…. One day it shall be attended to and the world will be aware of my works.

By now you should have a notebook out with comments such as:

‘Must not be like that!’

‘Do the opposite of whatever he has done’

‘There’s hope for me yet!!’

‘Find serious blogs on being published,’

‘Find out how Kindle Works’

‘Find out how anything works’

‘A taxman/revenue agent- spawn of darkness- does not deserve to succeed in writing, there will be hidden apocalyptic messages bringing forth The Beast’Solution to Frivolity

And thus dear readers journey outwards, remembering if you wish to become published and recognised writing the book is only half the work. Th rest will be hard; there will be no easy paths. This cannot be sugar-coated

In the meantime, on reflection I may be content to be a raggedy writer, maybe I am not just cut out for that extra push, thus maybe my work will stay forever in small forgotten corners. Maybe that is good, maybe it is bad, maybe it is neither. After all there are more types of writers than are dreamt of in anyone’s philosophy.  William Shakespeare                                                               That sounds familiar.