The Fantasy of Writing

I happen to be very lucky. I earn my living by writing.

I haven’t always earned my living by writing. I use to take very small pieces of things (like small bits of people) and put them into different mixtures of chemicals. Then I’d infuse them with resin, bake the resin overnight, cut the resin very thin with a diamond knife and look at the very thin sections resulting under (which means in) an electron microscope.

tel-with-captive-effect
Portrait of the Writer as a Young Scientist

That’s very different from writing. Mind you, I use to write about it after looking at the ultrathin sections of resin- embedded tissue. If it got interesting.

Now, I just write, no cutting bits off anything. And I get to write lots of fabulous things, including films and musicals and plays and animation and books too. I have clients all around the world.

Of course, not everything is based on my own ideas – they are not all my babies. But to be honest these days so many things are collaborative in nature that it doesn’t seem to matter. And this week I started writing the first of a series of children’s books for a client. Lots of fun, I was really buoyed up. Until I watched a show on TV last night that featured several fantasy writers talking about their books and what inspired their writing. Oh dear.

Then the need to get on with my own stories became almost palpable; so many stories, so little time. So many stories…

Today I didn’t enjoy writing the children’s book so much. I mean, I think it’s going to be great – don’t get me wrong; but I can hear my own children calling! Continue reading The Fantasy of Writing

I’ve got a .gif and I’m going to use it!

Yes, it goes round in circles! Is there any reason for it?

book cover turning

Well, it does give me a feeling of great satisfaction. And you can see the back of the front cover – as it were! But apart from that, sorry no reason at all!

Pretty though, but after a while … Continue reading I’ve got a .gif and I’m going to use it!

Fun in Augmented Reality

Have you, or any of your friends or family, gone Pokémon Go crazy? Are you trekking the streets and countryside hoping for strange pastel-coloured figures to pop up on your Smartphone screens? It seems that the world has woken up to ‘augmented reality’ and is getting very excited.

I won’t be getting excited.

That’s because I have been excited by the possibilities for years now! The reason being that back in 2013 I worked with a company called Apeartome Ltd (now tomee.com) on a project that didn’t involve just augmented reality, but ultra-reality! This wasn’t just cartoon figures appearing on your Smartphone, but people! And they would talk to you!

soldier York

The figures in question were historic people (both actual and imagined) who would tell you something interesting about the City of York. A Roman soldier, a Victorian businessman, Guy Fawkes and Richard Plantagenet were just some of the characters that would pop up at various locations around the city to enhance the tourist experience for tourist. You could even have your photograph taken with them!

york fawkes

Writing the scripts for some of these was tremendous fun, I particularly enjoyed penning the home-sick legionnaire, but more exciting still was getting an insight into just how powerful the technology was and could be. As somebody who was involved in the early days of the ‘multi-media explosion’ it was fascinating to see some of the predictions coming into actuality. As a fantasy writer it’s a bit a little bit of fantasy come true!

Continue reading Fun in Augmented Reality

Nicely’s Appeal Explained

You can’t beat a good Venn diagram can you? Still love a good Venn diagram – and it’s the perfect method for explaining the appeal of ‘Detective Strongoak’ to readers of fantasy, comedy and detective fiction. So here we go:

The Appeal Of Detective Nicely Strongoak to Different Fiction Readers.
The Appeal Of Detective Nicely Strongoak to Different Fiction Readers.

So there we are! Very informative, I’m sure you’ll agree and clearly illustrating the target audience! Just about everybody who likes a good book! Continue reading Nicely’s Appeal Explained

For anybody considering writing for theatre: Things Theatre Writers Should Know

Theatre Advice 3The full advice, before you start writing for theatre:

  • Sadly directors are not there to get your ‘vision’ on stage in an unadulterated form – many have thoughts of their own. Live with it.
  • Actors are not wet-props. Some have thoughts and feelings like regular people do.
  • You will rarely get the credit, but some directors will always try to give you the blame (even if they rewrite your script).
  • Putting on a play is very much a group activity, but you’re not really in the group (most of the time).
  • Part of your job is to present your work in a properly formatted fashion with clear and precise stage directions. Your genius is more recognisable that way.
  • Do not expect to live on what you earn as a theatre writer, get yourself a proper job too.
  • It’s all right to say ‘I’ve got a new play on’, just not in the presence of anybody else involved in the production.
  • Writers are not meant to marry actors. It’s a matter/antimatter thing.
  • If you want to work with professionals, act like a professional – sorry, be a professional; never act at all. That’s not your job.
  • Theatre writers are not restricted to just writing plot and dialogue. If you really, really believe it is truly important that somebody should enter STAGE LEFT say so, but don’t be an arse about it.
  • You are not writing a radio play – think visually.
  • You are not writing a film script either – don’t think that visually.
  • If you require lavish sets marry well.
  • Never tell anybody with a manual occupation, or working in public services, how hard your job is.
  • Awards don’t matter until you get one.
  • Never trust anybody who says you can make money at the Edinburgh Fringe, unless they sell fast food.
  • Most critics are only human.
  • The show does not have to go on, get a sense of perspective – other people have lives too.
  • Producer is a job too.
  • Never be the last one to stop clapping at your own show. Continue reading For anybody considering writing for theatre: Things Theatre Writers Should Know

Meanwhile back in the Citadel…

The Dragonette ’57 convertible steamwagon was not facing any competition:

Keen Steamliner - cool!
Keen Steamliner – cool!

“I collected my wagon early the next day. It’s a racing-green Dragonette ’57 convertible; the last model with the little wings and the air-trimmed front end. Daddy’s pride and joy, with marble interior finish and leather ragtop. It did my heart good just to touch her. Sceech the grease goblin had done a good job on the shoes, and I took off in a reasonable frame of mind. I had slept pretty well and though I didn’t feel like a million crowns, well at least I didn’t look like buried treasure.”

Continue reading Meanwhile back in the Citadel…