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12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

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glempy

Why I Write

Day 003 - Shame
J'accuse! © Marc-Andre Lariviere

A shocking guest post from The Rogue Verbumancer, who some of you may know as @Glempy from the twitter.

I shall endeavour to make a point.

I shall invariably fail.

Are we all sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.

Before I go any further I’ve a confession to make: I am a horrible, horrible fraud. I offered to do a guest post here at 12 books and was ready to dive headlong into all manner of topics. But alas, I cannot. The guilt is just too much. You see, I’m not actually a writer.

Continue reading “Why I Write”

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The Sphere (November’s Pictonaut Challenge)

We are now into the third month of Glempy’s Pictonaut Challenge, and what a month it is.  I don’t know what this is a picture of, and I don’t darn well even care, but I wrote a short story about it anyway.  I look forward to reading your one.

Continue reading “The Sphere (November’s Pictonaut Challenge)”

The Writing on the Wall

Thought I’d get in early this month with my entry for Glempy’s Pictonaut Challenge, and remind you there are ten whole days to come up with a 1000-ish word story based on this lovely picture.  I wrote mine across two, so I don’t want to hear any excuses!

Continue reading “The Writing on the Wall”

Glempy’s Pictonaut Challenge: Grenade in the Rain

Not so very long ago I brought a thing to your attention, namely the intentions of writer, scientician and internet user The Rogue Verbumancer to begin a monthly writing challenge via his blog.  Every month he will post a picture, and every month The People of The Internet are invited to do a piece of writing around it, 1000 words or so in length.  My one for September will follow momentarily; but you should read the other entries too.  Only today Lord Verbumancer has linked to them all on his page.

Also before I post this, a disclaimer: I am so out of practice with short stories after all the novelling I’ve sort of forgotten how to do them – they generally read like a chapter from a book now.  I don’t think this one does, but I’ve been wrong before.  Captain Tact is the only other human to read it so far, and he pronounced it ‘weird’.  I’m not sure whether that is good, bad or indifferent.  If anyone has any further feedback, you know where the comments box is. 

Anyway, here is my take on Grenade in the Rain. Continue reading “Glempy’s Pictonaut Challenge: Grenade in the Rain”

An Age Old Question, Answered

Another question from @Glempy, aka The Rogue Verbumancer.

I think I’ve probably saved the biggest and most important question until last. It’s a divisive question that splits the opinions of many. I’ve seen it cause full on brawls; I’ve seen it ruin friendships and shake empires. There is without doubt no single question that carries such great weight, especially in the arena of writing. So:

Tea?

Or Coffee?

What is your chosen fuel when it comes to writing?

Ah, the age old question.

I have to come down on the side of tea, although I do have a coffee first thing.  And I try to drink loads of water when I’m working as well, mainly just due to a vague notion that it’s probably a good thing to do.  But plain old breakfast tea with a bit of milk is very much the beverage of choice for me.

I came across an article a while ago which I linked to in a previous post, about the different rituals of various authors.  It claims that Balzac drank between 50 and 300 cups of coffee a day, which seems incredible.  Maybe I’ll try following his example when I write my shockingly realistic book about the French Revolution…

image from http://anicecupof.com/

Life Changing Reads

Roll up, roll up… it’s time for another question courtesy of The Rogue Verbumancer, aka @Glempy.

Is there one book or writer who has influenced your style more than any other? For me it was Gormenghast. A book which after reading utterly transformed the way I wanted to write, burning away years of childish whimsy and leaving me with a decidedly darker and wordier style. Has a book ever had a similar effect on you or has your style evolved independently?

There are definitely a couple of writers who have influenced earlier short stories I’ve written, the main ones being Spike Milligan and Roald Dahl…  The Milligan influence comes in where I’ve created characters with ridiculous names like Ivan Itch, and with Dahl there’s the kind of Tales of the Unexpected sadness that creeps in sometimes alongside the silliness.  That’s a style I am trying to return to with my children’s books.  More recently I’ve fallen in love with the style of Andy Stanton, author of the Mr Gum books – his stories genuinely make me laugh out loud – so I suspect there will be elements of his silliness influencing me too.

Having said that, writing this much in such a short length of time has meant I haven’t had a lot of time to read over the past few months, so I think that my voice has probably evolved relatively independently in 2011.  There are tons of authors who I’ve read and come away thinking yes, that was amazing and profound, I want to do something like that – but it never quite turns out that way.  I would love to write like Margaret Atwood, for example, but I just don’t have the themes or deal with ideas in the same way as she does.  I’m incorrigibly frivolous.

I also think that much more than being influenced by other people’s stuff, the thing that has impacted on my writing during 12 books in 12 months is personal experience.  By that I don’t mean that I’ve solved a murder or fought a dragon, I just mean that random pieces of conversations I have overheard, or interesting looking people I’ve seen when I’m out and about, have turned up unexpectedly.  And the books for grown ups are all really Scottish, which was never my intention, but I guess that’s happened because that’s where I’ve always lived.

Still, this might all change when I’ve had the opportunity to research my genres more thoroughly.  Ask me again when I’ve read Gormenghast!

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