Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

I have had a tumultuous week.  I have been disappointed with myself.  Somehow in the past week I have mislaid my flair and inspiration.  I have not created anything worthwhile for many days and it is beginning to frustrate me, especially with open submissions looming.

Work has been full on busy and i worked an extra overnight shift which led to tiredness, also my twin boys have a sniffle and spent a great deal of the nights crying, only settling if rocked in my arms. 

I am so tired, worn out and it has been impossible to try to produce a thing. I started a horror story that I discussed.  I stalled at about 1600 words, I also started a medieval fantasy and again got to 3500 words and stopped.  I look at the screen and I am writing the equivalent of a monotone voice.  Flat, boring, droning on with no interest.

So, I went back to try some short stories again to kick-start the creative juices.  Yeah, that didn’t work!

In a way I am over thinking things, what could be, what will be, what should be.  and not one of these things leads to good writing.   I am in desperate need for a win, a success no matter how minor.  I have lost enthusiasm and despite wanting to write the loss is causing some doubt in my own ability and all told it is crippling my output.  I am questioning everything.  it is not working.  I can’t stop the desire, the need to create.  it’s just what is being created is crap.  The more it goes on the worse it gets. 

I can still think of ideas, but I just cannot get over the first hurdle.  ARRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

That is all!

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Writing update!

Posted: September 2, 2014 in Writing
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It is about time I updated my readers on how my writing is going! I started a couple of months ago that I would endeavour to write two stories, one a fantasy that actually has a great deal of fantasy In it, the other a hard Sci-Fi. Well, both projects are underway and I shall outline what they are and how there progressing below. But, before I do that I want to address some issues I have been having, for those that have read all my posts you will know I have had a bit of a rough time. This has dented my confidence and my productivity greatly. The depression affects me in strange ways, I get headaches when I try to think, this may have something to do with the fact that I wrote at work where I have no natural light and it is under fluorescent lights. Crushing heads don’t lend themselves well to writing. The depression makes me tired and when tired output goes down. However, this will all change, I am going to try to set aside an hour a day to write at home, I should have the time now I am cutting out 2 hours travel and an hour and a half less in a working day. My new job promises so much and I am very very excited, I start in 6 days!!! With all the changes in my life I feel very positive and looking forward greatly to cracking on.

That’s the problems here are the projects!

Untitled Space Story

This project has been underway for a month or so and I have planned the basic premise of the story, I have devised to approach this project with minimal planning, no chapter plans, no character maps just pure imagination! And so far it has worked well! I have written about 10,000 words (although half may be lost in editing), it is a story set in the distant future, humanity have scattered to this stars in search of a new home. At the distant edges of known space a cryptic message is received, a set if co-ordinates that might lead the vestiges of man to safety and the promise of a new world, a new home.

There path will not be easy, enemies, scavengers and mutants attack and pester them on their journey, their antiquated star craft is falling to pieces and the rigours of deep space travel takes it till. Will they make it? Will they survive?

Good questions and as yet I don’t even know the answer. I am very excited by this project. I can see the scenes play out in my mind, I am throwing in a great deal of scientific ideas from genetic manipulation to the great questions of mortality and morality.

Let’s hope it works!

Dungeon fantasy project

My second project is a pure fantasy, inspired by the fighting fantasy books, and board games like Heroquest, 5 tribes live in disharmony, bickering and fighting against each other, but a shadow of a demon plagues the land! Every 50 years the dungeon calls to this tribes to send a hero to battle the dungeon and defeat the demon, he who wins gains power absolute. Alone they will fail, together they will win, but can the differences of millennia of war be set aside?

This project is not as advanced as my space project, despite working on it for longer. This is because of the intricate web that binds it all together. It takes a great deal of preparation and planning. I am researching fantasy and mythical creatures, attempting to find seldom used ideas to flesh out the villains.

So there we have it, that’s the projects, what are your thoughts? As always I invite you to comment!

As a writer, as a fan of genre fiction it is fairly clear that I am going to like comic books and graphic novels. I have always liked them and been interested in them and as a result have been mocked and ridiculed, with phrases like, ‘grow up’ and ‘how childish’ and my personal favourite, ‘how old are you again?’ But, I am going to take a stand and, in defiance of popular appearance stand in defence of graphic novels!

Firstly, I shall address the misconception that comics are for kids. This is simply not true, often graphic novels are, well, graphic in nature and I offer exhibit A, Watchmen! Watchmen, is a great tale of alternative history, America won in Vietnam with the help of the super powered, and after the war, Un-prosecuted president Nixon decrees that superheroes are essentially outlawed. It is a tale of Cold War spiralling towards doomsday, it is a tale of redemption, betrayal and love, it is a tale that has very adult themes such as rape, murder, violence! Zack Snyder made the Alan Moore graphic novel into, actually, a very good faithful film. Many will disagree and say Watchmen was a bad film, I say that they have not read the source material!

Watchmen is anything but childish, the themes and postulations of what might have happened require a knowledge of history, a sense of humour, and a retrospective adult eye.

But, exhibit A does not in itself stand up and scream an accepted literary medium, yes it’s content is adult, the themes will wash over many, but, it does not justify the genre.

What is a comic book or graphic novel? Well it is a story told by the use of pictures and dialogue, taken out is the un-necessary imagery and use of simile and metaphor to describe a dark and stormy night for you can see in the panels, gone is the endless descriptive narrative of clothing, appearance, location and emotion. For one can see in the panels. It is a medium that is dismissed as literature, overlooked and I firmly believe that this is an erroneous misconception. Not only must the author detail every single aspect for the artists to create, not only it’s every nuance be laid before the reader, but a graphic novel takes so much planning, cross referencing, the story must be perfect before a pencil touches the paper as an artist can I’ll afford the time to go back and re-draw panels. The graphic novel writer is fully aware that his medium is unforgiving, it is tortuous when writing to have done 5,000 odd panels of work to realise that the ending does not fit and the story must change. Perfection must be attained.

Aside from the arduous journey of a graphic novel, I offer my third point in defence and that is the scale of a story. A 200 page graphic novel, like Watchmen, or lengthy sagas such as the Walking Dead, or the Judge Dredd stories from 2000AD just could not be achieved as a novel, the scale is just too vast, the stories themselves complex, but ultimately to get the same sort of sense of atmosphere and location and future imperfect setting the author would be writing ‘War and Peace’ for every story. The imagination runs riot within graphic novels and worlds are created.

My final point in this defence I offer Exhibit B, movies/television adaptations. I shall set aside Marvel’s films and series a they are well known and much adored, even if they are redone every 10 years, the same holds for DC. But instead I will focus on two adaptations, (I am personally biased as they are two of my favourites). Firstly Dredd, and then the Walking Dead. Dredd, is based on the character from 2000AD, his stories have been running weekly since 1977, and are in no way showing a climax, since it’s creation it has created a major fan base which are loyal. I started reading 2000AD about 25 years ago, and have dipped in and out since. The theme of post apocalyptic law in Mega-City One has interested me and kept my interest, the future is a grim place and law and order is solely in the hands of judges, the stories have evolved over time, reflecting current events. Now, in 1995, a rather camp yet enjoyable version of Judge Dredd hit the big screen, it flopped, even Sylvester Stallone could not redeem it. Put that aside as Karl Urban would don the helmet and take charge of law in Mega-City One, now we are talking. What appeared was an ultra-violent, dark tale. The city high rise of Peachtrees is ruled by the drug barons, Dredd, investigating a murder with psychic, Anderson must battle the criminals to reach the boss on the 200th floor to affect the arrest. It’s simple, but effective.

In itself I would say it was a good sci-fi, post-apocalyptic tale but, it is from a graphic novel, and this is where I come to the point. No? I think I shall discuss the walking dead first.

Not seen it? Afraid of zombies? Well you are missing a treat! The Walking Dead series should not work, but it does because it focuses on people, their relationships, their fears, their loves, it has a strong message of family. The protagonist Rick risks going into a major city to find his family, he risks it all to reunite with his wife and son. The themes speak to us all, betrayal, survival at any length.

Definitely not for the feint hearted, and definitely not for children. So what is my point? What is a graphic novel? Well it is a series of pictures with dialogue to create a story! What is a movie, not just an adaptation but any movie? It is a series of images with sound to make a story! There is very little difference! When a movie is made, after the script has been approved and the director first looks at the film, he does not just go off and shoot the film according to the script, no first he/she/they will storyboard, which is acting out each scene drawn As a sequence of panels. I should imagine every film does this, whether it is a comedy or horror, sci-fi or romance, each detail of the page is drawn out in panels. So even if you think that graphic novels and comics are childish remember that whatever you are watching on tele, if you’re watching Eastenders, chances are it has been turned into a graphic novel first!!!!

Us geeks are so protective of comics, it is a major release of our inner nerd, often the stories are imaginative, expansive, sometimes unbelievable. If you are a writer, I give you this challenge, go out and buy a comic, any comic will do. Then sit and transcribe the story, go on try it, remember to add all the atmosphere, describe every panel, once you have done that ask yourself, why do I think this is not legitimate, why do I think this is childish, I bet you will give up by the first page? It is a wonderful medium and one we should not dismiss!

As always, feel free to share, comment, tweet, post etc!

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I have been thinking hard over the past week of new ideas for several stories. Trying to write something I would want to read. And a thought struck me! What happened to the hard Sci-Fi and Fantasy fiction I used to love? And I think the answer is, it died! I remember reading a lot of books that took me far far away, distant galaxies, alien wars, new planets or taking me to fantasy realms where anything at all was possible. We have sadly lost the great Hard-Fi writers. People like Iain M Banks, James Herbert (I know it’s horror, but wrote some fantastic works), Arthur C Clarke these are just a few imagineers who now gone have not been succeeded. In my mind, and it might jut be in my mind? The publishing houses, writers today are taking a safer road, maybe not safer but more profitable, and it is in their best interests to do so! What are we left with? Well, we have TV and movie tie ins, several Dr Who novels, Star Wars books that detail what happened after ( I wonder if JJ Abrams will take any of the canon on board), we have seen the rise of Urban Fantasy, JK Rowling having kick started that genre. Science Fiction seems to be less of disappearing into something new but rather it is contemporary fiction with a science edge. To wit everything is based here and now and the science element develops it into a futuristic or historical bent. What do I mean historical? Well, someone discovers time travel and visits the major events of the past. I am not knocking this type of fiction at all, it’s good and some of it is beyond good! (Ben Arronovitch’s DC Peter Grant series has been one of my personal discoveries this year and am ordering the next book as soon as I finish the last). But, I miss the true other world fiction. I miss reading about The battle for Arrakis, I miss reading about Middle Earth, I miss completely new ideas!

That being said, fashion in fiction is a circular door and I am sure that we will see the likes again. In fact, I am going to make it my mission to create a fantasy adventure the likes we have not seen for many a year! I want to create something like the great Ian Livingstone’s Deathtrap Dungeon, which although a role playing game created a belter of a story! I am quite fed up with what passes as fantasy today, and by that I am talking about Game of Thrones! George RR Martin has created a wonderful set of books that are neither this way or that. They are rooted between medieval England and fantasy, this cross breading has led to not enough fantasy for my liking, but too much for me to enjoy the dark age it represents. That being said, it is well written, the TV series is interesting people and encouraging them to read. So, I can’t complain, if reading becomes popular more books will be published and a resurgence in the written word will be upon us!

So, this is what I will do, I will write two stories, I shall delve into the dark recesses of my mind and forge one science fiction tale that does not have a single resemblance to our world. I will also write a fantasy adventure, a dungeon inspired quest, that hopefully will capture and excite the imagination. I will write stories that I want to read, and hopefully some of you might as well!

Back to my original statement, Hard sci-fi is not dead, I think that it has temporarily lost it’s voice! Too many people bought into Twilight forcing the market in that direction. Fair play to Stephanie Meyer, she made a lot of money and it again interested people to read. Great! Thank you for preparing people to enter the world of fantasy fiction! You have set them up, now who will knock them down?? Who will be the next Arthur C Clarke or Isaac Asimov or Frank Herbert? Who will be the next JRR Tolkein or CS Lewis. Will it be me? Possibly, let’s hope that it is someone!

One last thing, do feel free to share, comment or offer rebuttal. I like healthy discussion, I am open to new ideas. I am a Geek and we are a community, the sly nod if you see someone wearing a logo from a TV programme that no one else gets, the gentle appreciation as we stand in Waterstones and head straight for that one section. Let me hear your voice!

Be More Geek!

Posted: June 11, 2014 in Geek
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Today’s blog is about something that was said to me yesterday. I was sat in the evening watching television, sadly watching Holby City. There is a character on this programme called Dr Digby, and he is exactly as you would expect, bespectacled and a bit geeky. My partner turned around and said he was ‘adorkable’. For those who haven’t seen the news, this is a new entry this year into the Collins English Dictionary. So I said, ‘ Am I Adorkable?’ And I was genuinely surprised by the result. I was told that I am only Adorkable when I am being geeky, but I repress my geek side. And I do! I repress my nerdy side and this was because I was bullied at school. When I was at school If you were not into rave music, smoking dope, or hanging around on street corners causing trouble, then you were frowned upon, no not frowned upon but chased down and beaten!

What was worse was I was a Sci Fi and Fantasy geek. More socially acceptable now, but I loved to get the VHS tapes of Dr Who, watch the weekly 6 o’clock offering of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Farscape or the repeats of Buck Rogers. I would read lots, escape to Middle Earth, root for the bad guy on the rooftops of Gormenghast, or run away with Rincewind. Yet I was punished for the love of escapism.

Let’s look at what geeks have achieved through the love of Science Fiction, well I guess all those bullies that beat me for liking Star Trek enjoy the use of a tablet computer, a tablet computer you say? Didn’t they have those on the Enterprise? Hmmm yes, I distinctly remember Picard using one. Interesting inspiration from Apple. Cars are now looking like they were imagined to look like in 50’s comics, sleek, streamlined, electric! How about this, 2000ad perennial serial, Judge Dredd has a fingerprint and DNA scanner weapon that only he can use, I saw one touted on the news the other week. A breakthrough, an innovation, will drop gun crime, but it is not original!

Science Fiction offers is the ideas we all want and it takes a fan to realise that is what we need and invent it, but the inspiration comes from the imagination of geeks, not scientists! I repressed my geekdom so I could survive in the modern world. But, I don’t like it! I am Geek and I want to be proud!!! Society is expanding we are less racist, homophobic and sexist, so does geekism exist? Is there a discrimination based on what fiction one enjoys? I think there was, maybe it still exists? What are your thoughts? Are you a closet geek? Hiding the alien invasion b-movies behind the DVD’s of Oscar winners? Hiding the fantasy fiction behind the Dickens and the Hilary Mantels? This is a call to arms (metaphorically speaking) we had gay and proud protests les have Geek and proud! My name is Peter, I like Sci-Fi! I am a geek!