Ian Ingram is a firm believer in the age old advice that you should write about what you know. He has used his extensive knowledge and experience working in antiques to write a gripping novel. Many of the staff here at Publishing Push have been reading the book and we can’t put it down! Ian talks about his inspiration for writing Old Secrets.
Tag Archives: Writing
Selso Xisto is one of my favourite authors of the year, in no small part because his debut novel Particle Horizon totally wowed me with it’s exploration of some traditional science-fiction themes as androids and identity, the future of the human race, galactic civilisations, destinies, and so on. When I asked him about contributing to our self-published author spotlight here on The Founding Fields, he readily agree and this is what he had to say about his experiences with the process. This is part three of our spotlight. Previous guest posts by Dan Johnson and John C. Scott can be found here and here.
John C. Scott returns for another guest post as he talks some more about his experiences with self-publishing and what the future is like for his various projects. You can find his previous guest post here. This is part two of our continuing self-published author spotlight for July and August. Part one, with Dan Johnson, can be found here.
Our new series “From the Vault” will showcase select articles from my supremely popular “Writer’s Circle” discussions. The goal is to help educate you on some things to help make your writing better. After the select articles are done, i’ll be doing some more Writer’s Circle discussions to bolster the already large library of articles. please enjoy!
So begins the first session of Writer’s Circle! This first weeks discussion will be on a topic that I’m sure has effected many of you in the past, and may even be bothering you right now! Its “writer’s block.”
I was browsing the pages of this months “The Writer” magazine and I stumbled upon this little letter to the editor. It pertains to the existence (or in this guys opinion, lack thereof) of the condition “writer’s block.” Here is what the letter says:
Originally Posted by Andrew Davis in “the Writer” July 2009 issue
With all due respect to Lois Duncan [“5 ways to break writer’s block,” April], There’s no such thing as writer’s block, and writers need to stop using this misleading, warn-out phrase.
If you are unable to write, it’s either because your characters have nothing to say, do or think, or you simply don’t have a workable idea in the drawer.
Check your plot for action that demands your characters’ attention. Check your characters for a lack of motivation to act. And if you don’t have an idea, so what? Ideas worth writing about simply happen, and they will.
Stop claiming to have this mythical, exclusive “writer’s block” disease. The problem is in your story. And if you’re between projects, take your foot off the throttle. Where is it written that you must have an idea every day of the week? Writer’s block? I don’t think so.
And this is where I would like to open the discussion. What is your stance on the theory of writers block?
Personally, I don’t really think that it exists either. Don’t get me wrong, I do have bouts of time where I am seemingly unable to get anything accomplished, however, I do always manage to get something accomplished.
What are some possible ways of combating what could be known as writer’s block? Like the man wrote in the above letter, there is always the option of checking
|…your plot for action that demands your characters’ attention.|
you can also,
|Check your character for a lack of motivation to act.|
This is a great idea, if you are in the middle of a story you are working on!
But what if you aren’t currently working on a piece of fiction right now? What if you are between ‘publications’ yet you feel compelled to get something accomplished?
Here are a few things that I like to do if I am between stories and cant think of anything specific to write about.
1.I go over my existing characters. It seems to me that there is always something that needs elaboration or clarification. Whether it be their own personal background, or just some features about them like their height, weight, personality. There is usually something that I can do to make things more complete when it comes to my characters. Not only does it sometimes turn up possible avenues for my character to travel down, it helps me get a better handle on what my character is and isn’t capable of.
2.I check over my past stories for possible continuance. If there is one thing that helps me break the ‘writer’s block’ it’s this. Reviewing my past stories almost always helps me come up with something to write about. Take my first short story I did for example. When you read At the End of All Things, you will notice that Brother-Captain Vicarus wakes up after something significant has happened. What was it that happened? Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t that interested in writing a background piece for that short story originally. I had initially intended it to just be some sort of amnesiac occurrence and then leave it at that. There was to be no background stories at all. But what do you know, I was struck with what could be called ‘writer’s block’ one day and decided to have a look over the story once again. There were a couple of things that stood out when I read it again, and coming to my senses, I decided to start writing a background for Brother Vicarus. Of course, I did continue on with the story after At the End of All Things. I’ve written and posted the Prologue and Chapter One of my new novel, The Ghost of Iron here on Heresy-Online since then. You can find them under the link in my signature called “the Lair of the FAN FICTION KING!” So you can see, checking over your pasts stories can be a great way to find things to write about.
3.Pick up the nearest Codex! Heaven knows, if you are looking for story ideas pertaining to the 40k universe, your nearest Codex will have plenty of them. And if you’ve done any 40k gaming in the past, you’ll have a copy. Doesn’t matter which edition really. If you’re looking for something to write about, most have the same races involved. Some of the older ones have different looks about them, but generally from a fictional standpoint they are the same (basically). Check through the different race sections, especially in the rulebooks. There are plenty of special character sections that talk about how characters act, their history, some background fluff, and even some notable campaigns. Lets take a look at the newest 5th edition rulebook for an example. Page 126-129 will find you with a time-line describing ‘The Time of Ending.’ There are quips about events happening all throughout the time frame, from 744.M41 all the way to 995999.M41, each bearing a little text about what happened on those notable dates. Look here for example.
Tau fleet units strike at the shrine world of Ghola’s Hope.
Lets look at this for a second… All this thing talks about is the Tau attacking the planet…WOW! Obviously there is much more that we can do with this.
For example, what Sept has attacked Ghola’s Hope? Who was there to defend it? Were the Imperial Guard involved? What type of planet (what it looks like) is it? Were Space Marines involved? Was the attack repelled? Did the planet fall? What was the battle like? Was it just a space fleet battle? Imperial Navy? A Battle-Barge? WHAT!? As you can see, there are many things that are left unsaid with this passage. Use this to your advantage! It can be a really good idea starter. The basics are already laid out in front of you by those who wrote the codex, now all you need to do is write the story behind it! Which brings me to my next tip…
4.Create some new characters! Now that I’m in the mood to start a new story, the characters have to come next. I went to local library (of which I am an employee) and borrowed a copy of ‘The Writer’s Digest’ Character Naming Sourcebook second edition, by: Sherrilyn Kenyon. You should check it out sometime and possibly buy it. It is a fantastic book with 486 pages of names from many different cultures. I never have a hard time picking out names to use as characters. Each name puts a different picture in my head right away. I jot down the name, signifying whether or not it is a male or female character, and then move on to find more. This really gives me a good running list of characters to work with whenever I am in need when writing a story. And it also helps if you refer back to my first tip #1, “Review your existing characters.”
Hopefully this post has been of some help to you all. It has been a blast putting this together for everyone! Please let me know what you think about it.
hey there folks, have you been itching to try your hand at writing an Audio Drama, like the ones produced by Black Library? Well, here’s a prime opportunity! Our friends over at emperorsfadinglight.blogspot.com have put the call out for writers. they need you! why not give it a shot? just follow the link below to find out more information.
November marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, worldwide! I’ll be participating this year with a target goal of 90,000 words. That breaks down to 3000 words a day needing to be written. Have a look, i’ve got some information on what NaNoWriMo month is all about and how you can get involved.
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2009, we had over 165,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
So, to recap:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.
Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.
And that’s pretty much it! Head on over to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up for an account. Mine is user: “david.ploss” if you care to follow my progress. I will do periodic updates here for you all to read regarding my word count and issues i’ve run into.
To find out more about NaNoWriMo Month and to see how you can get involved, head on over to www.nanowrimo.org and poke around.
For the third and last piece in our Featured Fiction “Triple Feature!”, i’ve selected a piece of 40k fiction that i wrote two years ago for Heresy-Online’s first ever fanfic competition. This piece subsequently won me the title of the Heresy-Online Fan Fiction King. I was humbled to say the least. enjoy!
At the End of All Things
Waking from the daemon-grip of death’s hands is never a welcome instance. Being the only one to do so, is even less.
Gazing through the cracked lenses of his helmet, brother Vicarus viewed the world as a grey haze. A faint rasp emitted from his augmetic voice box as he realized he had just tried to chuckle. Viewing the sky above him from the bottom of an impact crater all too ironically displayed the gravity of the situation. The air was acrid with the smell of burning promethium and the stench of boiled flesh, and his auditory sensors picked up the faint crackle of a fire not fifty meters off. Upon waking just moments before, his brain had been flooded with strong signals from pain receptors all throughout his body. He laid still, eyes closed, as his bodies advanced chemistry coped with the initial rush. He felt not the usual instinct to move, just the overwhelming feeling that this probably was not the best place to be. Not only was it quite uncomfortable, but he needed to rejoin the fight.
Sitting up would have to be the first step. Using his arms, he attempted to hoist himself up into a sitting position, but noticed quite frustratingly that he could not gain any purchase. With blurred vision he looked down, noting the stump that used to be his right hand. Even though it had already healed to the point of what looked like an Ork’s anus, he realized that any similar injury could turn this little crater into his final resting place. Wearily he glanced at all his other major limbs and allowed himself a chuckle at the fact that only his right hand, the ‘Right hand of Angarius,’ the most feared hand in all his home world—second only to that of their primarch— ‘the hand that smote one thousand Orks,’ was gone. Gone and never to be seen again. Sure, an augmetic replacement would be fitted the moment he returned, but only to serve as an artificial reminder of its former glory, and the shame he carried with it’s loss. Just considering what his battle brothers would say was enough to start him laughing maniacally. That was if any of them were still alive.
There was no use reminiscing. Right now he needed to get to the surface and reestablish contact with the rest of his unit and if need be, rejoin his battle brothers without his right hand. Or his sidearm for that matter. A quick glance to either side showed that his holy plasma weapon was nowhere to be seen. He took great pride in his weapon, as so many of his brethren did. And to see that it was gone, just as simply as his hand, infuriated him. He would die for the Emperor at the wave of a hand, but without his weapons his life felt meaningless. Brother Vicarus reminded himself that if he was not removed from his tranquil little hole, his now meaningless life would be all that much shorter. That did not sit well at all. He swore that he would see out his remaining days in service to the Emperor.
With his remaining helmet lens, brother Vicarus queued his com-link. The signal strength read zero. He hoped it was due in part to his subterranean nature, that the com-link in his helmet was not receiving a signal from the main vox towers. However, as close to the surface as he was… The growing sense of dread welling inside, told him he knew otherwise. He sat back to catch his breath before continuing and only now smelled the metallic tang of iron wafting from the fluid surrounding his body. He knew right away that the liquid was not just fluid from his powered armor systems but something much more important.
With the threat of an unfulfilling death clear in his mind, he mustered up all the strength in his remaining three limbs and began his climb to the surface. Climbing in the soil, and Emperor knows what else, is difficult with only one arm to steady yourself. And having vital signs flirting on and around the verge of death made it even more difficult. It took all of twelve minutes for him to make it to the rim of his crater. To brother Vicarus it seemed as if hours had passed. He paused before breaking the surface to take a moment and steady himself against the onrush of sensory perception that he would receive upon gazing at the surrounding battlefield. Down in the hole, Emperor be praised, there was nothing more than dirt, green Ork flesh and small metal fragments. But across the vastness of the surface battlefield there were many more things to see. He braced himself for what the silence told him would not be a welcome sight.
With a sigh, brother Vicarus stepped out of his crater – and into hell.
The scene that greeted his already weary eyes destroyed him. He fell to his knees and wept. All around lay the remnants of a world destroyed by war. Mangled corpses, charred metal, and the smoldering wrecks of war machines lay broken forever in all directions. Friend and foe alike lay as if battles were still raging wherever their spirits had ascended. With cracked lips and through streaming tears, brother Vicarus let out a roar so seething with rage and desperation, it would have made Emperor himself cower in fear. Removing his helmet, he stood. As if in defiance to his survival, the wind howled and the rain began to fall as if to wash away the death that consumed its planet. At this he laughed, and then said with a sigh, almost inaudible against the rain and wind, “It seems i have been left behind, and my brothers march without me.” With rain mixing with the tears down his cheeks, brother Vicarus somehow knew he was the last of his chapter. The Iron Diamond Space Marines would be no more. Their name would be forgotten, and their history untold.
Whistling an old Imperial hymn, and accompanied by only the wind and pelting rain, he felt minuscule and insignificant. The work had been done. Lives had been payed in full. Oaths had been fulfilled and creeds had been upheld. But for what? “For the Emperor,” he said to himself, hoping beyond hope that that was justification enough.
Turning around, he spotted his crater. As if in thanks, he bowed to it, and said, “You have saved me. By the Emperor, you have saved me. Please refrain from doing it again.”
And with that, brother Vicarus turned away. And with a deep breath, he began to walk. There at the end of all things. He walked for a lost cause, across a forgotten field, on a nameless world. For none would know, save the Emperor himself, how he longed for peace.
I hope you enjoyed the piece. This story was a bit of Iron Diamond Space Marine short fiction. Just a little something to introduce an important character in my work with the Iron Diamonds. Lucian Vicarus features in other works dedicated to the Iron Diamond SM’s. Here’s a link to the original posting of the story at Heresy: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9995