Tag Archives: Writers Resources

The Darwin Murders

A short time ago, I was invited by a friend to write a short piece for an upcoming anthology, published online, called The Darwin Murders. Participants were asked to write a 250 word piece in which they could kill of a character of their choosing, provided the poor unfortunate didn’t/doesn’t exist in real life. (No killing Hitler or Stalin, okay?)

I choose the bane of modern-day small screen viewing, the horror that is the television licence inspector. The editors liked my story so much that I was one of two authors who had their pieces put aside for special mention.

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If you want to find out how and why I murdered a television licence inspector, pop over to Amazon and see for yourself. And don’t stop at me, either. Other writers in the anthology harbour secret desires to bump off their nemeses. At the end of the day, we each have our dark sides.

Don’t forget to look behind you – you could be next.

 

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100 Words, 100 Days: Day 42. On Frenzy.

The writer Dorothy Parker is famous for saying, “I hate writing, I love having written.” Last night I knew exactly how she felt. After scrubbing pretty much everything I wrote for Mandy Ward’s Welcome to Wherever website, I started a new story from scratch.

Working to a deadline is not my strong suit but at a frenzied pace, I wrote a 2,200 word short story in less than two hours. It was hard work, but damn if I didn’t feel an extraordinary sense of achievement once it was done. It may not be my best work (what is?) but it feels good.

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 41. On Expectations, Great or Otherwise.

The Great Mr Dickens

If I’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s to not expect anything from the people around me. I don’t mean this to sound callous. It’s a fact of life for me. Nothing in this world is guaranteed, except our inevitable death and some form of taxation.

As a writer I expect to write. I don’t expect others to read what I write, nor do I expect other writers to write what I want to read. I feel that if I can at least match my own expectations, then I’m on the right (write?) road.

Here’s another Great Expectations:

Write Here, Write Now: An Introduction of Sorts.

As a writer I’m about as prolific as film maker Terrence Malick. But this salient fact doesn’t take away from the urgency I feel whenever I let my sense of creativity lapse into the doldrums. Writing, quite simply, is something I must do; an activity that is as much part of my nature as the need for food, water, coffee, sleep, friendship and more coffee. If I lack in any of these essentials, I suffer. So it is when I don’t write in a way that’s meaningful. (Emails and texts don’t count. Blogs do – but only to a degree.)

In case you’re wondering (and I hope you are), this is not just another blog about writing. There are many to choose from on the Internet (among the very best is my friend Richard Scott’s Uphill Writing), so I don’t particularly want to add to an already growing list. Rather I want to write about my writing. By this I mean my reasons for wanting to be a writer, the highs my chosen life brings, the lows it hits me with, my dreams and nightmares.

I don’t really believe in writer’s block per se. I just know that I have an inherent laziness that needs to be conquered if I want to get anywhere near realising my dream of publication (by any media on offer, not just the traditional way). And so I’m beginning a new series of articles on this blog. I mean to dig deep into my heart and mind and offer to you the reader an insight of how I might shrug off my ennui and get stuff done. It is only by writing that stuff will get done.

I look forward to your company.

100 Days, 100 Words: Day 31. On Facebook Friends.

I love my Facebook friends. They understand me better, I think. As most of them are writers, bloggers, artists, and experts in their own fields, I get a sense of community that far outweighs the one I have at home. This in no way demeans the one-to-one relationships I cherish in the so-called real world; these are as vital to me as food and water. It’s just that the world of Facebook offers me a place where I can truly be myself, without recrimination. If you understand what I’m saying then it’s possible you feel the same way. Or not.

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 24. On Moving Ahead.

An email from a great and respected friend only confirmed what I already knew. The apparent success of these mini-blogs has inspired me to go one step further.

From next week, as well as continuing my 100 Words, 100 Days project, I shall begin a new series tentatively titled Adventures in Writing. I look forward to the challenge of putting down my own views on the creative process that has fascinated me from a very young age.

I have some set ideas to start off the series, but where it eventually leads to, I have no real clue. Let’s see, shall we?

WOOHOO!

NaNoWriMo 2010: Preparation Update

There are seven more days to go before the madness known as National Novel Writing Month begins. That means there is exactly one week to get that outline fine-tuned, those characters fleshed out and your plot in working order.

So, no pressure there.

As I mentioned previously, I didn’t fully commit to last year’s competition because of lack of preparation. I felt I could write on the fly and see what happened. Well, not getting further than 12,000 words is what happened. This year I have promised myself (and others) not to fail. I cannot allow this to happen. Barring natural disasters or circumstances completely beyond my control, I will write a minimum of 1,700 words a day, every day for the month of November.

This time I’m prepared. My story has been in my head for nearly a month and now my outline suggests I’m good to go. I have – unlike last year – a beginning, a middle and an end. I have my characters named and their motivations worked out.

The Main Players

Tim “Bucktooth” Fanning: 22, five nine, 160 pounds, round face with close-cut blonde hair. He likes wearing hooded tops and denim jeans, sports an earring in his left lobe, and has tattoos on each shoulder; one supporting Manchester United, the other Celtic FC. He has blue eyes, is state educated and is angry – a lot. His parents are Robert and Marie and he lives in an inner city Dublin housing estate. Single and unemployed, he likes soccer, GAA kick-boxing and WWF. His best friend in the world is Lester Drumm and together they go to rock concerts; though Bucktooth’s secret passion is the music of Leonard Cohen.

At the beginning of the story he’s looking for some work to pay for anger management therapy, and that’s where the plot kicks off. If I say anymore I’ll be in danger of spoiling how he progresses through the novel. Needless to say he changes – but not too much that it becomes ridiculous.

Valerie D’estang is a 20-year-old Parisienne and becomes Tim’s kind of love interest. She meets him while having her photograph taken at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. This will be my novel’s first major set-piece. It will involve her father, Nikolas, a journalist with AFP, who’s also in league with the major villains of Bucktooth, the clandestine organisation known as FILTH, controlled by the mysterious Mr. Sandross.

Tracking Tim’s every move, unwilling to help when he runs into trouble, is the equally shadowy MeerLin Corporation, a philanthropic organisation with headquarters in Dublin. Are they a force for good or evil, or are they somewhere in between?

Supporting Cast

Charles Formly: CEO, MeerLin Corporation.

Frank Lord: Chief of Ops, MeerLin Corporation.

Deandra Rimes, Security Chief, MeerLin Corporation.

Dicky Boyes, Press Officer, Meerlin Corporation.

Mr. Sandross, CEO, FILTH.

Dieter Hassberger, Security Chief, FILTH.

Frau Kessler, Mr. Sandross’ Personal Assistant.

Georges Matelot, UN Representative, Geneva.

Various goons, minions and henchmen.

The Locations

Dublin – Berlin – Athens – Geneva – Paris – London – Dublin (again)

The Plot

It involves a powerful historical artifact, a group of Neo-Nazis, some Chinese assassins, a little bit of sight-seeing, fights in airport lounges and a man who may or may not know who killed Pope John Paul I in 1978.

I have this and much more besides, ready to go for this day week.

How is your own preparation going?