words to live by

I have some favourite quotes, aka words to live by, and one of my all time favourite quotes is:

Never try to teach a pig to sing ~ It wastes your time, and annoys the pig.

Tonight I was looking for a particular writing quote by Robert Heinlein, and discovered he’d originally coined that phrase in one of his books, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long. I’ve not read that one, but now I really want to go and revisit his Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. That was one of the first books that made me realise I really liked science fiction 🙂

Writing resources

There are a lot of ways you can create a believable world without first hand experience. Yes, you can use Google, but it’s best only as a kick starter to more in-depth research. To build my underground cities, I started with basic mining techniques, and the architectural structures used to build underground houses at Coober Pedy. The underground church there gives an intriguing image of what can be achieved. From there I went on to read archaeological reports on ancient underground cities, like the one at Derinkuyu, which could house up to 20,000 people. Understanding what kept them ventilated – without drowning the cities when it rained. Where they got fresh water from, how they grew food underground, all of this knowledge went into creating the world of Abstrunde.

But you also need to understand the people who live in that world. How they function, what part genetics played as they traveled in generational space ships, how their society works. That Derinkuyu exists is a marvel, that someone in the long distant past made anatomical graffiti in the school room, brings the people in to focus. I created the character of Sari in 2000. Since then I’ve come to understand the type of warrior that she is has a lot in common with today’s MMA fighters. I am not a fighter, but to get the moves right I can watch youtube videos, and I can read works like Alan Baxter’s Write the Right Fight to make Sari’s sparring scenes interesting and believable.

Writing fight scenes can definitely be fun.

interview link part 3

The third, and final installment of the double interview, where Ashley and I talk about tropes, heroes, villains, and poetry, can be found here. I got one lot of editing off today, and have gotten four chapters of Seldi edited. Music of choice for editing over the last day or so? Radical Face’s Ghost album. I love the concept albums, and this is one of my favourite songs from that album.

interview link part 2

Cold, grey and miserable days make being inside, working at the computer, a much nicer place to be. So while I keep on with the editing processes, I’ll leave the link to the double interview between Ashley and I here. This time round we talk about attending genre conventions and genre writing tropes – and the importance of knowing why they came into being.

interview link

It’s been a lovely sunny day, I’ve been admiring it every time I took a break from the computer. A while ago I took part in a double interview with fellow Snapping Turtle author, Ashley Capes. Ashley is an old friend, and the author of City of Masks, which is a seriously good read (don’t take my word, check out this review) So when he came up with the idea of us interviewing each other, I agreed immediately. You can find Part 1 of our interview here, where we talk about music and writing

Today’s work

Today’s work has included editing five chapters of someone else’s work (and it was good enough to make me not want to stop.) I’ve learnt, however, that in order to maintain concentration on the editing process, and not get carried away by the story, I need to do it in five chapter bursts.

I love reading work that makes me want to read on, where I don’t notice typos, or feral commas. I’m a speed reader, always have been, so my mind constantly puts in what should be there in order to not break the reading. Editing means breaking my brain’s long established habit, and making it look at what’s actually there. I need softer music, more laid-back and flowing, when I’m editing. Today I was listening to some classic J.J. Cale.

And tonight? Tonight I get to make my brain do the same thing on my own work. I want to get both this manuscript, and the edits to Seldi of Legend, off on Monday so I can finish up the current episode.

Feeling accomplished

If I look to my left, I can now see a link to Season One of the Underground series – I believe it’s showing differently for other devices. I spent hours yesterday reading every how to display a page article I could find. This morning it occurred to me to check out youtube for tutorials. Of course there was something I had missed, I hadn’t set up the categories …

Now, coffee to hand, some music to write to, and edits open. Time to get to work