Ah. Sex.

My wife has a blog of her own (http://tracyloveshistory.wordpress.com/). Instead of dealing with the broad sweeps of history, like the world wars, or colonialism, she tends to focus on little details that bring history alive, like what underwear the Victorians wore, or what a filthy old pervert Samuel Pepys was.

Lock up your daughters. Seriously.

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Writer’s block, or gardening as an extreme sport.

I have reached the point I always reach when trying to write. I have my plot, I have my characters, the family are all asleep and I’m feeling good. There’s a problem, though. I haven’t even finished the first chapter, and all I want to do is go outside and do some gardening.

I’m sure that when you hear the word “gardening”, the picture that immediately springs to mind is of a cheerful little old lady in a large sunhat, lovingly tending her rosebushes with a dinky little pair of clippers while she waits for her tea to cool down. That’s not how we do it. For me, proper gardening should break your heart and leave you crippled, at least for a day or two.

You see, I learnt my love of gardening from my father and, while in all other areas of his life he may be one of the sanest, most rational, sensible people I know, when it comes to his garden he is not all there. Continue reading

The problem with dialogue.

The whole point of this blog is that I am using it as an aid to writing a book. It’s going swimmingly. I have a plot laid out, and am slowly but surely creating a whole new world for it to take place in. I am getting to know what my main characters will be like, and how they will drive the plot forward. But that leads me straight into my first (and biggest) stumbling block. They are, at some point, going to have to talk to each other. Continue reading

Every story needs an antagonist.

Since my first post, I have written precisely two paragraphs of plot development for the book. So far I know it’s going to be about thorns. I’ve never seen a work of fiction about thorns before, so I know it’s going to be original at least. This will, in light of what I said about the book trade and their fear of taking chances on new ideas, ensure that, even if it turns out to be good, it will never be published. Maybe I should throw in a sparkly vampire or two.

I have discovered a rich source of inspiration for the villain of the piece. It turns out that my three year old daughter may well be a budding psychopath. She hasn’t murdered anyone (she hasn’t discovered the drawer where we keep the knives yet), but she is developing a rather startling talent for deception. Continue reading

A commitment

I work as a bookseller. It’s the sort of job that will always have some random stranger expressing jealousy at dinner parties. The idea of spending your days surrounded by words is a very appealing one to a certain type of person. Luckily for me, those are just the sort of people I like ending up talking to. Give me a couple of glasses of wine to take the edge off and I’d much rather hear you talk about your passion for regency romances or Star Trek novelisations than listen to you talk about the epic run you had last weekend, or how much your car costs. Just don’t talk to me about self-help books. Not that self-help books are bad, in themselves. My wife sells them for a living. But there is something about going on about a self-help book that you love that reveals more about you than strangers at a dinner party need to know. Continue reading