Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Amazing Writing Advice #18: Getting Ideas

Quite often I get asked by people, like chatroom bots and stuffed penguins, 'Where do you get your ideas?'

The answer to this is simple. I get my ideas by stealing them*.

 How do I steal ideas? Well I don't both going to writing groups and stealing ideas from them. They'll be no good. You need to steal ideas from published books. Wholesale. And this is how you do it without getting caught:

1) Pick a bestselling book, I'm going to use Game of Thrones. This is a badly written fantasy novel that did surprisingly well. People obviously have a taste for kinky incestuous sex and 13 year old girls with dragons.

2) Change the setting. Make it somewhere quite different, don't just move some of the letters in the name around. Everyone will guess where you got the idea for Hagworts from. So I'm going to set my book in an 7th floor call centre.

3) Change the characters names and other details, like what they do. Game of Thrones has lots of people with daft fantasy names like Daenerys Targaryen. What were her parents thinking? I'll change her to Dani Trout. Obviously an exiled princess would be out of place in an office so I'm going to make her a secretary. Her exile translates into her having to go out at lunch to buy everyone's sandwiches. She also has a bunch of dragons in Game of Thrones, these I'll turn into photocopiers.

4) Change the title, I've decided to go for, 'Game of Phones'. It's just different enough not to get you sued. Probably.

And there it is! A perfect new idea which will need the minimum of writing! But don't steal my ideas or I'll kneecap you.

Cheers,

Mark

*And drinking copious amounts of absinthe, which is what makes the stuffed penguins talk.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Just Finished...

...Monkeys with Type writers by Scarlett Thomas. The last line of it is 'Would you climb a mountain to get the only copy of your novel?'

Well it depends entirely on the mountain...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Amazing Writing Advice #17: Voice

Voice. Everyone talks about it. But why is voice so important to a writer? Surely the words do the talking? Well the words can but they really need your voice to help them along.

When some one talks about voice they are talking about how you promote our book. In the olden days this would involve shouting about it on the street. Beatrix Potter could deafen a crowd at fifty paces with her promotional voice. Other, more refined authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would higher a town crier called Magwitch Zine to announce his latest works on the Strand. Virginia Woolf used morris dancers which is why people thought she was mentally ill.

The product of madness
These are days of high technology, you must utilise this to spread your voice around the world. Here are some methods you might consider.
  1. Buy an auto-dialer to phone people up and play a prerecorded message promoting your book.
  2. Use the experimental Twitter program. This allows you to send messages about your book to millions of people. This is called spamming and is the future of marketing.
  3. Buy a loud hailer and shout at people.

With these simple steps you'll establish a voice that will have people talking all over the country.

Cheers,

Mark

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A Martian Tripod, Aristotle and Stephen King walk into a Blog Post...

After weeks of endless toil we've finally said good bye to the Woking Martian and hello to the Shropshire Lad, well quite a few of those actually. And now I face the horror of trying to remember how to blog. People used to say I was funny...

Nah, nothing coming, maybe I need to warm up with a few posts first. But what else can I write about...this is the worst blog post ever. I've done no writing for ages. I've got nothing.

Though I've read some interesting books recently. The lovely Julia Churchill recommended Story by Robert McKee and Save the Cat by Blake Synder while doing an #askagent on twitter. Story was really good, though I then spoke to a couple of people and read some blogs by people who argued quite well against some of Robert McKee's ideas. But it made me think a lot about conflict and structure and reversals and other stuff I should probably think about.
Julia Churchill (not the Woking Martian)

Save the Cat was interesting too, though I often found myself wanting to shove Blake Snyder's head down a toilet. Not a dirty toilet though, he isn't that annoying. But it left me with some good ideas about how to put some structure around how I write. Rather than just sitting down and going:

"SPACE GRAPES!"

"ROMAN EAGLES!"

"HAIRY TOED ANTS!"

etc...etc. 

Now I'm reading Monkeys with Typewriters by Scarlett Thomas. Mainly because I'm hoping she's plagarised this blog and I can sue her. Unfortunately it doesn't and is instead full of good advice. DAMN HER EYES!

Other than that I've read Aristotle's Poetics, at least two of these books mentions it (and I want to ponce around saying that I've read it). Then I should probably read Stephen King's book about writing. Everyone says I should. I think it's called Pet Cemetery...

There we go, I think I'm getting back into it.

Cheers,

Mark