Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here's a thought - do compelling characters HAVE to be human?

Right then, here's an interesting thought. I was pootling about the other day, doing lots of ever so important and useful things (er, okay, I was on Facebook), and I happened to see that someone had left me a new review for The Non-Random Dog. It was a five star review, so I was pretty damn chuffed, but the really nice part was what the reviewer actually wrote about the book. Specifically, the part that made me really happy was where they said about the characters being the key thing in the book.

I was really rather happy to see that highlighted, 'cos that's kind of the point of what I'm doing. Y'see, the thing is, I loved sci-fi all my life, and while I love big technology and stars blowing up as much as the next nerd, the thing that's always hooked me in is the characters. From Deckard, to Ripley, to Optimus Prime, to Han Solo, to Lt. Cmdr. Susan Ivanova, to... well, you get the point. But here's a question for you guys and gals out there: do compelling characters absolutely have to be human?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"What? You have souls in your books? But you're an atheist! TRAITOR!"

So, I was pootling about online a few days ago, and ended up chatting to someone who'd read Messiah's Shard, the first book in the Cynos Union series. It turned out to be an interesting conversation, not least because I think said person was a bit annoyed with me. Y'see, that person was a little bit baffled why I decided to make souls a thing that explicitly exist in my story universe, when I don't even marginally believe in them in the real world. They expressed that bafflement by calling me a traitor to the cause.

Naturally, this confused me somewhat, 'cos I didn't realise I even had a cause. Well... other than spinning the odd whimsy here and there, and trying to get people to read my books, of course, but being a writer, that's kinda my job description. Oh, and the word 'apologist' might have happened, as well...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Verisimilitude (or, Building a convincing universe on the cheap)

Verisimilitude. That's a big word, ain't it? According to The Almighty Google, the exact meaning is 'the appearance of being true or real' (as in 'Piers Morgan tries for human, but lacks verisimilitude'), and when people talk about realism in books, or movies, or whatever, what they usually mean is verisimilitude. Take Jimmy McGovern's work, for instance; people often talk about his gritty realism, where 'gritty' basically means 'all life is misery and pain', but that has verisimilitude 'cos, in many ways, life is misery and pain.

But how do you achieve that same effect in science fiction, where you may very well be writing about people who aren't human? They might even be sentient five-limbed vampire squids, and when one has no frame of reference for what a sentient five-limbed vampire squid is like in the real world (because none of them return my calls, or even send me a postcard), how does one give them 'the appearance of being true or real'? Well, this is where the 'science' and the 'fiction' get down and dirty with each other...

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The joys of storing an entire universe in my brain...

Ye gods, it's been a busy week, and no mistake! Not only did I have to tot up all the downloads from the freebie sale (and a massive, massive thank you to everyone who took part, and supported the Cynos Union), but I've only gone and published a new book (yep, The Abominable Moon is available to buy now), I've worked with the web designer to get the official site updated, and I've had random inspiration sleeting through my brain. Oh, and the cat was wanting some fuss (on his timescale, naturally, since he's a cat).

Anyway, that bit about random inspiration got me thinking about the mechanics of writing a big ol' saga like the Cynos Union. It's a bit of an odd sensation, storing an entire universe in my brain, but I tell you what; it's kinda fun, too...