You know I read a shocking statistic recently, 82% of young people in the UK don’t read for pleasure. It made me kind of sad to think that television, movies, Nintendo Wii and the PS3 are converting our future generation into couch potatoes devoid of imagination and purpose.

I have travelled quite a long and varied path before I realized I wanted to be a writer, doing seemingly unrelated jobs which usually had an artistic or writing element but through it all I have always read for fun.

As much as I enjoy computer games television and cinema (and I do) they will never be able to match the potential imagery your imagination can produce.

I read mostly fiction because that’s where my interest lies. When I pick up a book by Stephen King, James Herbert or Dean Koontz I very quickly find myself lost in the world they have created. The beauty is that once I am in that world it is no longer theirs, it is mine. They will describe the essential parts I need to know to highlight a particular character or to drive the plot forward but will leave ample breathing room so my imagination can fill in the blanks. Let’s take this section from Velocity By Dean Koontz…

Although he had the head reminiscent of a squash ball and the heavy rounded shoulders of a sumo wrestler, Ned was an athletic man only if you thought barroom jabber and grudge-holding qualified as sports. In those events, he was an Olympian.

After reading this for the first time I had a perfect complete mental image of Ned, any film or pictorial depiction of him presented to me after that point was almost guaranteed to be a disappointment. I can also guarantee to within a certain degree of accuracy that your own depiction of Ned will be equally as brilliant and completely unique to you.

Reading is to my mind essential to any writer. How many times have you wanted to describe something but couldn’t find the right words? The more I read the less that happens.

The correct grammar, how much of a character or plot to give to the reader, and at which point the many ways of depicting an emotion is delivered are all generously donated to the aspiring writer by their literary heroes.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and my morning ramblings, all thoughts and comments as always very welcome x

Today I’d like to share what was a common business practice when I ran an advertising agency and is now an irreplaceable part of my writers toolkit.

Questions…

As I once wrote ‘Without questions there can never be any answers’, they open your mind and your field of creation, they force you to remove the blinkers and write with absolute confidence.

When I start writing I am always very aware that my first draft is for me and me alone, it not written with a great emphasis on target audience I simply want to get the story out, to display the diamond in the rough.

After the first draft is complete I become a fictitious member of my potential audience and ask questions…

Is the plot line clear enough? Is there enough empathetic or emotional attachment? What unnecessary text is there? (Something that doesn’t drive plot forward or further define character and character relationships).

Questions don’t have to wait till you have finished your first draft. During my work on ‘The Trouble With Time Travel’ I was myself troubled, every one of my characters was well rounded and created with absolute precision save one, and this one was a constant irritation to me; What was his motivation? Where in fact did he come from? What exactly does he want and what will he do to get it?

It was only when I stopped writing the main story and allowed myself to answer these questions could I continue without these self imposed road blocks.

As a writer I am well aware that every time I type or pick up a pen I am potentially creating an amazing environment full of living breathing people, animals, buildings, trees, ghosts and as yet undiscovered entities.

How well defined this environment is depends entirely on the questions I ask myself.

I hope you found this helpful, As always all comments welcome x

Writers block is awful, you sit down eager to continue with your short story, manuscript or novel and all your brain produces is the odd piece of tumble-weed within a vast deserted landscape, the building that once housed the creative life force behind your work exists only as a mirage.

My initial way of responding to writers block was to simply stop go into a Zen state and simply wait for the inspiration for me to continue with my project.

The fear being that if I continued without the inspiration, whatever words were added at that point would serve only to infect what was up to now equivalent to a work of divine creation.

Thing is, you could wait forever for the right inspiration to come along, days, weeks even months and lets face it a writer who doesn’t write, well isn’t a writer.

I came up with two solutions one was to write every day, and that starts with free form which has been covered in my earlier posts, then pick up the manuscript (you know the divine document) and write, even if its terrible drudge, just write, and keep to a word count start with 1000 words per day.

Humans are habitual creatures and you’ll find once you start doing this it will be easier to keep going.

This helped me to write every day but I found the inspiration was still a problem you see my brain is constantly ticking over and whilst one section of my creative self was interested in swimming in deep rivers of shock and horror my other half was simply wanting to make people laugh.

I came up with a project that was the counter balance to all things dark and devious.

This meant I had two projects on the go at the same time, but you can’t do that can you???

I didn’t think so, but it seems to work for me. I tend to find that every day I’m in the mood for one or the other project and I seem to find absence make the heart grow fonder, once I leave one project I can’t wait to get back to it which makes my daily word count rather large.

I’d be very interested to learn from other writers, find out what different methods work for different people so please feel free to leave a comment.

Till next time x

Today’s post can be a little disturbing so turn away if you’re easily shocked.

I like to study psychology, always been fascinated by how the human mind works and why we think, feel and act the way we do at any given moment, which leaves me constantly asking questions.

Now questions are great, for without them there can never be any answers. For me, the exploration and expression of those answers is what gives writing its power.

I once asked myself …….What makes a killer kill?

I read a few books on the subject then like the actor that I am tried to emotionally live the part a bit, I tried to dive inside the mind of a killer.

I began to like the idea of a novel being written from the point of view of the killer, a novel where the killer is the unwanted yet necessary protagonist whom people reluctantly follow whilst every moral fibre in their body tells them to leave.

Some free form writing followed which then inspired one of the novels I’m working on at the moment ‘Melek’.

In time I’ll share some of the novel with you; but for now, some of the free form that inspired the book, remember free form is basically to write the first thing that comes into your head ignoring all rules of grammar and expression, all you are doing is filling your pallet:

Free Form…

They say everyone has dark thoughts, you know, flashes and moments of sheer terror which they keep locked away behind the smiles, handshakes, kisses and cocktail parties.

I do.

I can be having a perfectly sensible pleasant conversation with a close friend then just for a moment as he reaches down to pick his half empty coffee cup from the table my mind wanders to that other place.

The coffee becomes a highly corrosive acid, one the likes of which have only been seen in the land of Herbert and King. I smile slowly as he takes a sip, my heart rate races in giddy excitement as he gulps another, then his eyes are shocked open at the very same moment he asks for help, at least that’s what I think is happening I wonder if I have time to grab my video camera.

His internal organs are melting which means he no longer has the power of speech…

…………….

I wrote quite a bit more that day all of which was unusable in its raw form but what it did provide was a seed of inspiration and purpose from which I produced my main character and what I hope will be a highly engaging story.

Hope you enjoyed, all comments welcome x