Saturday, 10 August 2013

430 Kings Road- Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die

In May of 1977 a new band exploded onto the music scene, in all it’s spitting, swearing anarchic glory, The Sex Pistols released their single God Save the Queen. After their little boat ride down the Thames they became part of music’s rich historical tradition.
They were fresh, new, the kids loved them, the parents, and the establishment hated them. But wait, have we not seen this before, way back in the 50’s with Teddy Boy’s, Greasers etc. Elvis Presley with his hip swivelling antics, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Dean, the Rebel Without A Cause. Elvis, Elvis, let me be, keep that pelvis far from me.
The Specials in 1977 created their own record label Two Tone, and went on to become a big name in the industry. Then you had the Madchester years, the Hacienda, and Factory Records.
Now I hear you asking what has all this got to do with writing books, well all these had things in common, they bucked the trend of the day, rocked the establishment and made the men in suits worried. All were eventually accepted.
We who self-publish are walking in the footsteps of giants, fighting the aging stuffy machine of traditional publishing who for too long have dictated what books get out there on the shelves. Just like there are rubbish bands/singers out there, so it is with self published books but hey maybe there are people out there who want to read these books and the stories they convey, the reader should be allowed to decide. Yeah, I know the gatekeepers of trad publishing are there to keep out the dross, but where would we be if the gatekeepers had kept out Elvis and all the others who did not pass muster with the gatekeepers of the music world. We don’t live in a time of Fahrenheit 451 where there is resistance to conformity and control of individuals via technology and mass media, or are we?
The established order has to accept self-publishers are not going to go away, like Elvis, and The Sex Pistols we are going to be part of history, immortalised in bytes or on paper. The authors who put out poor quality works will eventually fall by the way-side or learn to colour between the lines. I feel privileged to be among this crowd that are bucking the trend of the day, we are the new Elvis’s, Sex Pistols, Specials, The New Romantic Punk Teddy Boys of the literary world, and we are all too fast to live too young to die. 
Just a short and sweet posting this time, until next time, peace, out.

Saturday, 3 August 2013


Dialogue is all about getting things said—usually important things: “I am your father.” 
“You can’t handle the truth!”
“To be or not to be, that is the question.”
“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

We spend a lot of time polishing our dialogue and learning how to make it sound as lifelike and powerful as possible. But amidst all this polishing, we can’t afford to miss one of the most important contrasts in fiction.

Sometimes the most important moments in dialogue are about what isn’t said.

Words aren’t always strong enough to convey the impact of certain emotions. At times, silence speaks louder than words. And, surprisingly often, silence (or its equivalent in the form of seemingly mundane dialogue that pulls double duty by communicating far more than the face value of the words themselves) offers blinding insight into characterization.

So how do you know when you’re better off telling your chatty characters to stuff a sock in it?

  • When strong emotions are at play. “I hate you” just doesn’t get the message across as strongly as an icy stare (and, yes, Revenge of the Sith I’m looking at you).
    • ·  When an action communicates more strongly or more succinctly. Whether that action is something as dynamic as an angry wife throwing a chicken at her husband’s head, or something subtler, such as her pretending to be so absorbed in cutting the chicken that she doesn’t have time to respond to his entreaties, it’s hard to argue with body language.

      • When dialogue adds nothing important. If small talk isn’t moving the plot forward, cut it. On the other hand, if that same small talk is offering insight into the situation at hand (such as, perhaps, the characters’ fear of discussing deeper subjects), the very “uselessness” of the dialogue becomes a sort of silence unto itself.

      • · When too much information damages the suspense. If your characters are spouting off everything they know, it’s probably time to clap a hand over their mouths. Characters with secrets are always more interesting. Just make sure you’re making the existence of those secrets clear to readers. A character who avoids answering a question or who chooses to change the subject skyrockets the value of what he doesn’t say.
      • When it best serves the character. Some characters just aren’t built to be motor-mouths. The strong silent type can be a challenge to write, but their taciturn natures give authors the opportunity to make sure every word counts. Never be afraid of the silence. Use it to your advantage (as do experienced interviewers) to make characters and readers alike perk up their ears and pay attention.
        Now, go on, away with you, go do some writing peace, out.