Author Interview: I’m a Guest of Marko Over at Hooked Gamers

What does a writer do to avoid going loco during editing? Find a friendly human face to talk to. Marko Susimetsä, an avid gamer and bearer of an awesome hat, invited me over to the Hooked Gamers’ website this week to answer a few questions. We talk Elite, ships, writing, problems, and the upcoming novel, Out of the Darkness. Thanks for having me, Marko and your round, pointy-handed friends. We’re at: Just click the piccy to come and join us. ‘Hooked Gamers’ name and logo don’t belong to you, so don’t steal them. (I’m not a lawyer, but I know you don’t want to meet one. Copyright is a tricky beastie—stay safe.)

Re-Imagining the Flashback: Letting Go and Trusting Your Creativity

I’m back from holiday and writing has started again. Was it a week wasted (from a writing point of view)? Not at all. Stephen King refers, in a famous quote, to his ‘boys in the basement’. His boys are his muses, that play amongst themselves in the darkness of his subconscious. Their games become his stories. What lurks in my subconscious, I have no idea, but I do know it is/they are a lot better at writing stories than I am. Before I left on holiday I was facing the prospect of writing one of those infamous scenes: the flashback.

The First Rule of Writing Speculative Fiction (SF): Be Internally Consistent

  Readers love to discover new things, and so speculative fiction (most commonly the genres of science fiction and fantasy) offers writers a great opportunity. Good SF will grip you by the ****** with the setting, while it punches you in the head with its plot and characters.

Legalism and Contracts: The Ties That Bind

When I received my written contract from Frontier on Friday last week, I was extremely excited. Signing something makes it feel so official, so real. Then I read the contract. Frontier, like all companies, have to protect their interests—especially when those interests are vested in intellectual property, trademarks, and copyrights for virtual created items. I’m sorry to break it to everyone, but the Elite: Universe doesn’t exist as a physical entity, but only as a virtual and legal one. To say that intellectual property law is complex would be an understatement. Who owns what, and who has the right to use it and under what circumstances becomes a convoluted maze of legalistic verbage that will twist even the most stable individual in on themselves until they are wibbling and drooling like a wet sponge. I have been floating, mired, in the sucking mental mud that is a legal contract since … Continue reading

The Art of Creativity, Systems, and Miracles

With a basic story premise approved, it was time for me to move on to the how and the what of story writing. This has been proving something of a challenge. There have been many attempts over the years to find and market the ‘perfect’ method of writing a book. A quick search will bring up several systems developed to standardise and so focus a writer’s approach. For some writers these aids can be very useful – providing a logical framework to hang their work from. For others, sad to say, it’s an ineffective way of compensating for lack of talent. I know in this politically correct age I’m not supposed to write stuff like this, but no amount of practicing the piano is going to make me Beethoven, and I’m never going to win Got to Dance, The Voice, or any other TV talent show. Hopefully, I do possess the basic … Continue reading