16 Dec 2015 - Sex
I've never understood why authors feel obliged to include sex scenes. "Written sex" is boring to me, has never really turned me on, and I feel like I am reading a sex manual! A photo has a lot more impact. Adding sex scenes with no significant bearing on the plot irritates me. There is nothing worse than having to sit through sex scenes in films that seem overly extended relative to other scenes, or possibly included at the expense of another more interesting storyline!
I am told a writer should cut out everything that is not vital to the plot....
For sex to be good in a book you have to get inside the mind of the participants, and see it from the characters differing perspectives. Writing sex scenes is pointless unless sex in a relationship is a key story in itself (eg the Fifty Shades series by E L James).
At the moment I have no descriptive sex scenes - I am hoping the sexual tension between characters will we rewarding enough for those of you who need it! The recent BBC TV series Dr Who's sexual tension between The Doctor and his assistant Clara was excellent.
Do I sound like a prude? I have been doing research, there is plenty of advice out there on the internet. If you think you can convince me of a particular way to portray sex when written, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may get a treat somewhere in the trilogy!
5 Dec 2015 - Fatigue can be physical and mental
I have no shortage of what I think are great ideas, imagination is not a problem. Some might say my imagination IS my problem!! But after writing for a long period (say over 2 hours) I feel mentally somewhat drained and a little tired. It's like part of your brain has been downloaded onto the computer! I think I put a lot into my work and don't realise because I enjoy it so much! It's best to try limit yourself, but when in full flow....
Physically you cannot write long sections on a laptop, scrolling the small screen drives you nuts and is bad for posture, eyesight and the risk of repetitive strain injury (RSI). You need a big, and preferably multiple screens - I plug my laptop into a monitor, and use a wireless keyboard and mouse. I also need space around me for bits of stuff, and scribbling - yes, paper still exists in the writers' world! I don't yet have a touch screen monitor, but am coming to the conclusion that it would be a good idea. At least I would get the exercise of lifting my hands above keyboard level occasionally.....except I tend to dip into a bowl of red hot chilli puff snacks when writing and wiping the screen regularly would be a pain!
29 Nov 2015 - The trouble with names!
What would you call your dog in Japanese? Choosing names and sexes are a challenge!
Characters (and pets) have to have a name, cultural background, personality, opinions, physical characteristics, age, employment status, sex and sexual orientation etc.
I find naming the characters particularly difficult, as any parent will know when it comes to naming your own children! You try avoid choosing names for characters that are similar to real people. For a lead character I used an anagram of a name. Really obscure you would think? Not the case! On searching the internet it was the actual name of a Spanish person who worked in the same profession!
Naming people born in different years and different countries/cultures is tough. Some names go out of fashion, or are modern and were not used at that time. So you have to search for names popular in that year, eg Dutch baby boy first names in 1970.
For non-English names you need to know the meaning of the translation, just in case it's inappropriate for the character! A Japanese girl called Makoto, which means "Sincerity" in English, may not be a good name for a murderess... depending on your sense of humor!
If you think human names are hard, choosing a dog's name in Japanese AND deciding which sex it should be took ages! Fortunately there are lists of popular Japanese female dog names... but I still haven't chosen the breed!
21 Nov 2015 - Writers Block?
Have I any problems with "writer's block"? Not at all, although it can happen to a writer at any time! At the moment I have the opposite problem, when ideas flow faster than I can write. I am a compulsive list writer. I get ideas all the time. I wake at 1am and get up and scribble things down, otherwise I can't get back to sleep. I keep a note book around 24/7 in case I get an inspiration - I noticed a woman behave in a particular way at Heathrow airport and HAD to write it down before I forgot it!
At the start of a writing session I transfer my latest notes to the laptop. That way I can edit/expand/cut & paste the idea into the novel. I find that helps get me "in the zone" and ready to write. I sometimes plan to write a particular scene I have been thinking about, but suddenly a burst of inspiration sends me off elsewhere! My most inspired work is when the flood gates open, fortunately there are spelling and grammar checkers for afterwards! Let's hope the flow continues!
14 Nov 2015 - How fast do I write?
How fast do I write? I tend to write 1000 words in a typical day with 2500 words maximum. Writing a book is not just about typing, there is research to do, and corrections, changing characters, timelines and sub-plots.... oh and dealing with the website, social media etc! And that's before we even get to marketing, agents, publishers, conferences etc! I average about 5000 words a week. So for 125,000 for a book = 25 weeks minimum. However, I am writing a trilogy, so some of my writing is for books 2 and 3. If you see my website www.galahadporter.com you will see I suggest that the draft of Part 1 should be ready by Q3 2016, and the other two in mid-2017.