Games, Journalism, Other, and Books

Games, Journalism, Other, and Books

That's all of life's bases covered, right?

Books

All of the posts under the "Books" category.

Ian Fleming was lazy – and I want to be just like him

Fleming

Whenever I sit down to write a blog post about fiction writing, I question what I even have a right to say. I’d love to give advice on how to write, or share what I’m working on and how I do it, but the truth is I’m just like everyone else in the group: still learning.

So instead, I’ve turned to one of the masters, the creator of one of my favourite series, so I can shamefully steal his knowledge and share it with you.

The author in question is, of course, Ian Fleming – the father of James Bond. In May 1963, just a year before he died, Fleming wrote an essay for the Books and Bookmen periodical published by Hansom Books in which he discussed how he came to write the acclaimed 007 saga.

After paragraphs referencing the well-known factoid that he based some of Bond’s adventures on his own experiences, he comes to the actual process of writing. And here’s some of his thoughts that I found particularly useful and inspiring:

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James February 5, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

About the author

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While taking a brief and mildly egotistical browse through Amazon, I noticed that my name under the listing for my writing group’s anthology linked to some other James Batchelor that writes books.

Now obviously my name’s not unique enough for me to expect to be the only James Batchelor with published fiction – particularly not in a world where absolutely anyone can release an e-book. But I’ll be damned if I’m letting this other Batchelor take credit for my work (to be fair, he may not want a children’s anthology associated with his adult historical fiction series).

So, I’ve just set up my own Amazon author page. It’s dead easy – suspiciously easy, in fact. Couldn’t help but wonder if I could just take credit for anyone’s books just by claiming I have the same name. I’ve now correctly attributed the anthology to me, added a brief biography and a photo, and now I have a place to showcase all my published fiction to my adoring fans. Whenever I acquire them, of course.

It may seem a trivial, almost presumptuous step to do, but if I’m going to get books published, I should ensure there’s no one waiting in the wings to take credit. At the very least, there will be two more Writebulb anthologies on my page by this time next year and, who knows, maybe an e-book of my own.

Obviously, I’ll need to come up with a better headshot, write a more professional biography and, y’know, publish some work, but it’s hopefully laying a foundation.

It’s also a source of motivation. As with writing, if you’ve got a blank page, it’s impossible to resist filling it.

James January 31, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

100k in 100 Days: Day 17

SnowWhite4

Well, if I’ve failed to write my fiction every day, I’m hardly going to manage daily blog updates.

Following my utter failure to write a novel in 50,000 days, I’m attempting an easier challenge: 100k in 100 days. As any maths genius will point out, that means I only have to write 1,000 words a day rather than the slightly trickier 1,666. 666 words doesn’t sound like it makes much of a difference, but when you miss a day, it’s a lot harder to make up 1,666 than 1,000. And I miss a lot of days.

Case in point, it is the seventeenth day and I have only written on six of them. Shameful. And I could make the excuses of work, Scouts, social commitments and all the usual spiel (as I probably did in my last post), but there’s no point: I’m just shit.

I’m trying. Any time I have a full lunch break, I spent it sitting in my car, typing away. I’ve even managed to get two thirds of a new short story, looking at the Snow White fairy tale from a different angle, written in less than a week – a level of productivity that’s usually far beyond me.

The joy of the 100-day deadline is I still have plenty of time to catch up. If I write that little bit extra every day, and maybe have a couple of writing binges at weekends, and hopefully I’ll manage 100,000 by April.

Why am I so fussed about these writing challenges? I’ve been writing fiction on and off since my early teens, but now I really want to get my writing career back on track. Which is to say, I want to get it vaguely near the track.

I have half a fantasy trilogy that needs some serious work before I’m happy with it, a light-hearted sci-fi novel about killing Hitler to finish, and plans for a twist on fairy tales that inspired my Snow White short story – plus a ton of other ideas.

Every week I listen to hours of author podcasts and hear people talking about how you have to really dedicate yourself to writing if you want to get published, either traditionally or via self-publishing. It’s as much a business as it is a hobby, and I really should start thinking about it like that.

Starting tomorrow…

James January 17, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

Curse you, November!

I have once again failed to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I realise that to some people that’s the equivalent of failing to scale Ben Nevis on one leg, but it’s a goal I am determined to achieve some day.

For those who don’t know, I am referring to NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – a collective writing challenge in which writers attempt to craft an entire book in just one month.

Annoyingly that month is always November, when I have plenty of excuses to not write. It’s the busiest time of year for both gamers and games journalists due to the number of launches and other events. There’s Christmas shopping and other preparatory stuff to worry about (which admittedly is a load of rubbish, as I haven’t started either of these yet). And there’s inevitably a bunch of social commitments as people try to arrange pre-Christmas meet-ups.

And I recognise these are all lame excuses: it only takes an hour a day to write the 1,667 words required to hit 50,000 by Day 30 – and given that I hit 3,500 on my first day, I can’t really justify that I haven’t finished.

NaNoWriMo runs similar events in April and August, and you would have thought those would be easier months, but I end up getting just as distracted from my feeble writing regime.

The only advantage is that I’ve discovered an effective way to get something written every day: hide in my car.

Now that I’m back on a monthly, I have more time for lunchbreaks, so I’ve managed to get into the habit of sitting in my car for my lunch hour, during which I cram food down my cullet so that I have 45 minutes or so to add to my current novel – a project that actually started with last year’s NaNoWriMo. And granted, I’ve broken that habit for the past week (deadlines, y’know) but it should be easy enough to slip back into, right?

James November 28, 2013 Leave A Comment Permalink

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