follow a rookie writing his first novel

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Frankenstein’s writer

No, I’m not talking about Mary Shelley; more about something her morally challenged creation might construct. Just imagine, what if you could take all the bits you admire in other writers and combine them in yourself.

For me, the content would read like a heady admixture of Paulo Coelho, Dion Fortune and Carlos Castaneda; although Dion would definitely not approve of Carlos – lots of inner conflict there, but hey, isn’t that supposed to be a good thing in a creative soul!

I think I would then need to add a bit of Tolkein for the sublime descriptions. Some Ford Maddox Ford for the characterisations. I’ll take a bit of Martin Amis crossed with Tom Sharpe for the acerbic wit. Then blend all this with Ian McEwan or possibly Aldous Huxley to add real class to the finished product. Anything else, hmm oh yeah, The prolific output of Enid Blyton. Yep, that’s about me done.

Now, I wonder how that would stack up? Unparalleled genius or hideous monster. Who would you include in your perfect author…


What do you like in a novel?

For some people it is the genre. A book just has to be crime/ romance/ fantasy or whatever before they get interested enough to read the blurb on the back cover. For others it is the storyline – it either has to be complex/ simple/ linear/ multiple strand or whatever before they reach for the wallet. For my friend I had this conversation with it has to have deep rich descriptions – well, each to their own I say.

For me, well, frankly its the language that matters most. A book just has to have those phrasings, often in metaphor, that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It can be pretty much any genre, it just has to have a plot (although I’ve read some really good writing that pretty much doesn’t) any plot will do, but without the clever turn of phrase it doesn’t really do it for me.

I know this is unfashionable at the moment, and the emphasis seems to be on short simple sentences. I don’t care. Last week, full of intent to write loads, I foolishly picked up a book by Ian McEwan – Enduring love. Its sort of about a person who is being stalked by someone with de Clerambault’s syndrome – maybe. Anyway, the writing is sublime and it ate up my week; ah well…

So, what does it for you. What is a ‘must have’ for your ideal novel?

The writer’s imagination

As writers, one of the most crucial tools of our trade is a well exercised imagination. Not just the imagination to fashion a story out of thin air but the imagination to see things differently; I suppose I mean the sort of imagination a child has before the world beats it out of them with denigrating comments such as ‘oh, that’s not real’ or ‘it’s only make believe’.

Well, I could go on about nothing being really real in the sense that comment intimates, but that’s a topic for a different blog such as http://talkingcurestraining.blogspot.com where I put my therapists head on.

With my writers head firmly screwed on for the moment, look at this picture I took in Sherwood forest earlier this year:

Old man of the forest

Old man of the forest

I see him as a huge tree spirit rampaging through the forest. Maybe we’ve disturbed his sleep, or unknowingly wandered onto sacred ground. Perhaps a sorcerer is using him as a guardian or for other nefarious purposes. The point is that until we write the story it may be just an old tree in the forest.

What does your writers imagination tell you…



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