22 October 2010

Post-Apocalyptic Character Inversion

In the aftermath of natural disasters, the news is always filled with stories of human bravery. Of people coming together, helping each other. Being the best that they can be.

If you broke down the character of those who live today, some would be monsters. A few paragons. But most would be a mix of minor faults, self-interest, and general 'good' traits. In a crisis, some would quail, some would cower, and a solid portion would try to rise to the occasion.

Where, in post-apocalpytic shows (Survivors, Day of the Triffids), have all these people gone? Why do the pyschopaths, the would-be dictators, and the lunatics have such a superior survival rate?

Yes, yes, they serve the purpose of drama. But I find these post-apocalyptic stories _least_ interesting when it's all about people being horrible to people - that is already part of this world.

20 October 2010


Today my block of ISBNs arrived - making me not only an author, but a publisher. Still a month or two to go before I use them, but it's a rather special thing to have them in my name.

19 October 2010

More Than Pictures

While I wait (on tenterhooks) for the cover images to trickle in (and between a considerable amount of editing), I've been tackling the question of design.

What font? What title font? What chapter header font? How to separate scenes in chapters? Do I want Drop Caps? What font?

The font for the cover title is by far the hardest. It, just as the illustration, should convey something of the feel of the book - or at least not clash or detract.

I've found quite a few potentials, and must research more about licensing and usage, but am holding off on any attempts to put anything together until I have the main component - my much-looked for covers.

08 October 2010

Revising Medair

One nice thing about going back to a novel you wrote over ten years ago is the discovery that you've become a better writer.

I can see my misuse of semi-colons, for a start. And I am able to find tighter, more powerful ways to phrase particular sentences. I'm aiming to cut, particularly since the pricing of the books will be impacted by page number, and so it is a fortunate thing indeed that I seem to have become a more concise writer.

It's also nice to find that I wasn't that bad back then, that the story moves along less cluggily than I thought, that what I considered an info-dump in the second chapter is at least an interesting bit of information told in a way which entertained me.

It's good to meet these characters again, and like them.

Although going the publishing submission rounds for so many years was a draining and negative experience, it definitely benefited my writing to wait and grow.

Added to this is the excitement of receiving the first "thumbs" of one of my commissioned covers. It is amazing to have a scene which I've been picturing mentally for months now coming to life (with considerably more detail and compositional balance).

Fun times.

04 October 2010

An end and a beginning

Having hit my self-imposed deadline, I have finally closed off my long outstanding submission - at this stage this comes as nothing more than a relief.

And I get to embark on the task of cover commissions which - while a little seriousbusiness and nerve-wracking - is also very exciting, since one of the hugest advantages of deciding to just get my books done is that I get all the say on what goes on the front.

FFXIV has been a huge boon for me this last week, saving me from obsessing about this totally and having this deadline arrive while my mind was mostly on something else.

Three Skips

I started accruing my book collection in my late teens.  Not too many early on, since I moved house a lot.  A couple of shelves of books.  T...