Off On Hols

29, December,2006

I’m heading for the beach.  Back in 2 weeks.  I’ll have some more crap for you then.



What’s your Geek Rating?

20, December,2006

I write Fantasy Humour and I have been looking at whether it is worth attending some of the Fantasy Sci-fi cons, but they seem a bit geeky.


My wife’s comment was along the lines of “so what’s stopping you?”


But I’m not a geek am I?

Ok, I have watched the original Star Trek and all of the spin offs, including Enterprise.  I am also watching Battlestar Galactica and Stargate.  I loved Babylon 5.

The landmark movie of my life is Star Wars Episode 4.

Why I think I am not a full geek.

  • I do not own any Star Trek jewellery.

  • I cannot name a single episode of any Sci-fi series.

  • I do not know any Klingon grammar. 

  • I don’t care if the original series of Star Trek is better than Next Generation.

  • I have no movie action figures (although I could be tempted by a Vegas years Elvis).

  • I have only read Lord of the Rings once.

  • I have never played Dungeons and Dragons or anything similar.

  • I have never played a networked computer game.

  • I have never thought of Laura Croft in that way.

  • I did not put my religion down as Jedi Knight in the last census (I nearly put down Pastfarian, but my wife stopped me).

My brother agrees with my wife.  He cited as evidence:

  • A 500MB MP3 player, a portable MP3 CD ROM and a 30GIG Iriver.

  • I own a PDA and my first PDA was the original US Robotics Palm Pilot.  

  • I have a Web cam, a Skype account, a Second Life avatar (a free one which I almost never use).

  • I subscribe to 21 podcasts, 20 blogs and 2 vlogs.

  • I paid cold hard cash to hire the videos, Buckaroo Bonsai, Battlefield Earth and Starship Troopers.

  • I am prepared to stay up until after midnight to watch all of the previously mentioned TV shows.

Ok, I will cop to being on the bottom end of the Geek spectrum (Rating 1 on a 7 point scale). 

Rating 1 – Geek-like tendencies that do not interfere with normal human interactions i.e. no outward physical manifestation, does not intrude into day to day conversation, does not make people move away when you sit next to them on the train.

What’s your rating?

Succor to the Plotless

12, December,2006

Succor to the Plotless How Not to Write a Novel Part II

I was starting to knock up, How Not to Write a Novel Part II, (something clever about not having a plot), then I heard a snippet from a Book Show podcast and it occurred to me that I might be doing it right after all.

Writers on writing: Kate Grenville, Geoffrey Atherden and Mark Tredinnick

Kate Grenville tells of 20 drafts and described the plotting of one of her novels as starting with a problem and muddling her way through – “writing by exploration rather than certainty.”

Then I also remembered something I read about Robert Rankin

“The point is when I write them, the only way I can write is literally not thinking about it. If you think about it, think about it, think about it you can’t work”.

“I mean every time I start a new book, I don’t know how to write. I just stare at a blank exercise book and think how do you do this? I don’t know how to do this. And suddenly you just do it. What always knocks me out is, I write something or other in the first chapter that doesn’t appear make sense, and then later on in the book you realise well of course this happened because that happened and its all as if its all preplanned out in your head but you knew it but its all coming out. And my Doctor says that if I keep on the tablets I’ll be fine.”

Of course I took this with a grain of salt.  Rankin is probably not someone you should go to for sound and sane advice.

So I checked out the godfather of chuckles,
Terry Pratchett.

“I never plot out the story-lines in the way you’re thinking about. You know, 150 little cards, each one with a little scene written out. I don’t do it like that.”

“I’ll start off with a couple of ideas and maybe a character and theme which I’ll think about for a while: how will that work, well, we’ll do this, we’ll do that, we might need another character too.”

“It’s ridiculous talking about drafts in any case when you’re working on a word processor, because I can go backwards and forwards. I’m writing the end of the next book now, very nearly the last scene. But I haven’t finished parts of the middle, although I know what they are going to be and I know what has got to happen there.”

Less reassuringly he also said, “but you can’t build a plot out of jokes” , which presents is a problem for me, because jokes are the back bone of everything I write.

So what does this tell us?  Well obviously, not plotting will make you write like Grenville, Pratchett and Rankin.  So in terms of writing methods, I guess I’m on a winner.