• April 2012 update

    It has been a long time since I lasted posted anything of substance in this blog (though don’t worry, The Tube will return one day, I promise!), so I thought I would write a little update on my life, focusing on the events of the last month or so. April 2012 has indeed been unbelievably busy and productive. Here’s what’s been happening.

  • My Oz Comic-Con experience

    OzComicConI am sitting at a very smelly LAN cafe typing this on a computer that runs Windows XP and has a mouse with a tracking ball. Plus side, it’s right next door to my hotel and the sticky keyboard keys encourage me to check all my spelling.

    I have just finished a two-day stint in the Artist Alley at Oz Comic-Con. I am exhausted, and I’ve had almost nothing to eat for two days, and not a single moment off, but I have come pretty much straight in here to write down my experiences, for fear that time will dull them.

  • What’s the story?

    writing-multiplesourcesA recent article regarding spoilers in comic books has reawakened my interest in the role of plot in a story. This article cited research which produced the surprising finding that people enjoyed suspenseful stories more if the crucial plot twists were spoiled for them in advance.

    This counterintuitive relevation has made me consider the way I produce my stories, and has helped me to articulate my long-held beliefs into a coherent form. I have come to realise that the true mission statement of The Lesser Evil and its sequels is fundamentally tied to the idea that plot events are secondary, even incidental, to the enjoyment of a story.

    Said articulation follows.

  • What To Do After Signing a Publication Agreement

    writing-multiplesourcesEvery morning when I wake up, and every evening before I go to bed, I check my emails for any updates, and try to imagine the work that other people are doing to The Lesser Evil… cover designs, copy edits, marketing, reviews, whatever… Ever since I signed my publishing agreement for The Lesser Evil with Zeta Comics, I’ve been bouncing off the walls a bit. Excited, sure; happy, sure; impatient, well, yes that too. But mostly, there’s this anxiety I can’t really describe, a sort of nervous energy that comes from the knowledge that it’s pretty much all in someone else’s hands now.

    There is a veritable cornucopia of books and websites out there that offer advice on how to write and/or draw, how to land a publishing contract, and how to read a publishing contract (for this latter, I strongly recommend the excellent Stroppy Author’s Guide to Reading a Publishing Contract)… but nothing (that I could find) about what you should do when you’re waiting for your book to get published.

    Time to correct this oversight. Now.

  • Video Games Can Kill Your Writing

    writing-multiplesourcesIn my daily lunchtime-wasting internet crawl today, I stumbled across an interview with Robin Hobb, bestselling author of (among other series) the Assassin’s Apprentice Trilogy, which I own, signed by her, and of which I have read the first volume.

    Although interviews asking writers how they find the time to write are a-dime-a-dozen, I haven’t really read one since it became a real issue for me. Since starting full-time work, and getting married and starting a family, basically. And it really hit home this time. With my life destined only to get even more full of non-writing activity, I’ve begun to realise that it would be all too easy to just stop writing, and never pick it back up again.

  • Sanitising the World: The ‘N-Word’

    internetAs the New Year broke, I found a news article that offered some insight into what this decade would have to offer. And guess what: it was more of the same. The latest example of misdirected political correctness is the republication of Joseph Conrad’s 1897 novel The Nigger of the Narcissus as The N-word of the Narcissus.

    I’m not kidding. This is true. There’s a news article about it and everything.

  • What I write and why #2: Reviews

    writing-multiplesourcesUntil very recently, it never crossed my mind that the purpose of writing was not necessarily to be published. Although every book on writing I had ever read stated that you must enjoy the process, they all (naturally) continued on to offer advice on getting published, so I guess I developed the assumption that the two processes go hand-in-hand.

    For me, getting published was not about making money… or at least, not as much about that as it was about other things.

  • What I write and why #1: Science-fiction

    writing-multiplesourcesA work in progress: a short dissertation on the personal appeal that science fiction and comic books have to me, and why they currently represent the best mode for my stories. Expect references to Worlds Apart: The Narratology of Science Fiction, the academic journal TEXT (in which I have been published), and Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, among others.

    The following thoughts have been collected by me over many years, and they have helped me to become a better reader and writer. I hope they have the same positive impact upon you … and I also hope that you choose not to view this page as the desperate self-serving defence of my own work that it clearly is.

  • Writers who write about their writing

    writing-multiplesourcesHere are some thoughts that suggest that writers are not, as people tend to believe, the best people to talk about their work.

    In fact, after reading this, you might come to believe that they are the worst possible choice.