What’s Your Style?


Have you ever thought about the way you write? We’re not talking about subject matter here. That’s another thing entirely. I’m talking about your writing style. Developing your own doesn’t happen over night, It takes years to perfect. At the beginning you may unconsciously write in a similar fashion to one or more of your literary heroes. But gradually you will find that the way you write has become unique to yourself.

I am reading the second in a science fiction trilogy by a friend, Nicholas C Rossis. Having read the first book I was struck by how much his writing style reminded me of the way Isaac Asimov, best known for his Foundation Series, wrote back in the day. I’m not insulting Nicholas, merely pointing out an example of how we are all influenced, consciously or otherwise, by the way others write.

The other day while perusing Facebook, I came across one of those idiotic “Who Are You Most Like” things. This particular one concerned well known writers. All you had to do was insert a passage from something you had written. I chose a paragraph from one of my blog posts instead of one of my books. Instantly it compared my writing style to the horror writer H.P. Lovecraft! I wasn’t sure whether to feel insulted or flattered. Thinking about it I’m plumping for the former. After all, I’ve never written anything that could be classed as horror. Although certain among the Internet Troll community may think otherwise.

I dread to think what the idiotic comparison thing would have said if I’d supplied it with a sample from my latest novella. One thing is certain, it wouldn’t have compared me to Hans Christian Anderson, or Dr Seuss.

The brothers Grimm, maybe…


PSDon’t forget that you can download a free Kindle copy of Cataclysm from your nearest Amazon outlet from today until Friday.


Progress Report 13


It might be here

Well folks, yet another progress report for you. I’ve been up since 4.30 am just to finish the revamped Chapter Eight, having axed the original after merging the two preceeding chapters into one, which gave me the opportunity to steer that part of the story in a more logical direction. The word count now stands at 21,858 and almost forty-two A4 pages.

I changed my mind, yet again, about the cover. I’m betting that despite what he said to me yesterday, the Story Reading Ape is quietly cursing me about it. Still, because of the troublesome new OS software on his Mac, at least he hadn’t got as far as beginning to work on what I had originally asked of him, or so he says.

Believe it or not, but I’ve been having fun developing Briggs’ love affair. Normally I steer well clear of the depths I have entered into with the subject, preferring to simply suggest any romantic involvements, leaving it up to the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. But, as this highly controversial love affair is an integral part of the plot it needs to be spelt out, but only by writing it as tastefully as is humanly possible.

Since doing the major edit of the first seven chapters, I became aware of something I’d normally not pick up on until the final edit – inconsistency. For instance, you can’t have a character enter stage left in one paragraph, only to say later in another that he entered stage right when reminding the reader about his entrance, now can you.

Well that’s about it for now, except that I’ve a feeling that it will end up as a novella by the way its going.

PS – still confused by the pictures I put up for each progress report? Good, that’s precisely my aim, to get you curious enough to want to buy yourselves a copy when I publish it. They may be relevent to the story, or they may just be nothing more than red herrings. You’ll have to wait and see won’t you.

I’m exhausted, so I’m taking tomorrow (Sunday) off. Chapter nine will begin on Monday morning.

More later.

😀 😀

Progress Report 8


It might even be located here…

Well, I’ve just finished outlining Chapter Six. Things are beginning to get complicated, or should that read –  the plot is taking on a life of its own dictating what will happen next? I’ve just inserted yet another Red Herring. I had no choice, the plot demanded it, so there! That’s the fifth one to date – I think. You’ll have to take my word for it for now. The word count now stands at 11,232.

I have to admit it, I’m really having fun. Thinking about it, I’m in totally new territory in that I have temporarily departed from the way I’ve written up to now. This book is completely different from my normal practice of writing books that I personally want to read. But then again, even though that is the case, it is intriguing enough to hold my interest. That may sound a bit screwy as I’m its author. But my fellow writers out there will understand (I hope).

Sticking with one writing formula doesn’t necessarily compute. There is a tendency for you’re writing to become stale. Let’s face it, as writers we’ve all felt like we were producing fomulaic stuff from time to time haven’t we? With six mostly successful books under my belt, it’s time to experiment. What have I got to lose with number seven? Nothing. Either it appeals, or it doesn’t. The point is, I’m thoroughly enjoying writing it.

I chatted with Chris, aka The Story Reading Ape yesterday. As you may know he is a dab hand at making book covers for a reasonable cost that won’t break my bank balance. I sent him an email spelling out what I was looking for this time. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

At the moment I have three, no make that four, chief characters. Besides the main character Dr Gilbert Briggs, who is English, two are New Zealanders like myself. In fact they’re based on two friends I worked alongside during my days at The University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. I use pure ‘kiwi’ when either of them speak. The fourth is a ‘god’, or is he? You’ll have to wait and see. I’m about to introduce two more characters in the next couple of chapters, not necessarily human.

In the past I’ve published ‘snippets’ of one or two of my books here on my blog. Sorry folks, with this one, the more you are curious about it, the better. How will it be received? Well, that’s in the lap of the gods, if you’ll pardon the pun. Earlier in a previous ‘Progress’ post I said that it has a certain science fiction element about it. While that’s true, think of various myths and legends from the past concerning gods. Some of them are involved. No, I’m not telling you which ones.


PS  – I’m taking a well deserved rest until Monday morning. Meanwhile I’ll continue cogitating over whether it will be an eBook, or a Paperback, or both…

A Writer’s Secret Desire


As writers we all write for the love of words and telling tales. We all say that we don’t really care if no one else likes what we write.


Yes I love writing with a passion. Yes, writing is everything to me. Yes, I enjoy the feedback I get from those of you who have read any of my books, whether it is good, bad or indifferent. At least the vast majority of you took the time to see what makes me tick as a writer.

Like most writers I know, I do not include any of the following in that last statement – Trolls, Pedants and Armchair Critics. Each of those groups are nothing more than self-important fools who believe that they know more about words than the average writer does. A lot of what they say when they attack any writer, in particular Indies, is down to professional jealousy, and envy of your modest measure of success, when you consider that in some cases, they are writers themselves.

As writers, be honest. Wouldn’t you just love to have at least one book that made people sit up and take notice of your endeavours? I know I would. With each book I write (at the time of writing this, I’m busy with my seventh), I like to kid myself that this one will become a best seller. I thought that when I wrote my fantasy anthology back in 2012.

Despite critical acclaim it wasn’t.

So with this latest one well and truly on the way (the word count now stands at nine thousand and I’ve almost finished outlining Chapter Five – almost), here’s hoping that it finally breaks through the invisible barrier that all books struggle to navigate their way through. I’m not asking for much. Just to be able to say that one book of mine was a best seller.

Is that asking too much? I honestly don’t know.

One thing I do know, the book I’m currently writing will create controversy, maybe even anger towards me among certain elements within society. Do I care? Do I hell as like. If I make you think when you read it, then I have done my job.


Progress Report 6


The story might be located here

Well, chapter one is done and dusted until I reach the end and begin the inevitable rewrite. I started writing chapter two a couple of days back. Trying to tell you the reader a story without giving too much away isn’t easy. I’m applying the ‘Red Herring’ approach a lot this time. After all, we can’t have you thinking “I’ve cracked it!” within the first few chapters now can we.

What I will say is that at the moment, the story involves Dr Gilbert Briggs and a geologist travelling back in time to several key locations, in his quest to discover if the subject of endless debate down the centuries actually existed. So what is it I hear you cry? That’s for me to know and for you through Gilbert’s eyes, to find out. As for its location, that’s if you think you might know…

One other thing I can tell you is that the story quite possibly involves ‘ancient gods’, race memory and ancient cataclysms across the world. I’ve changed the working title once more. This time just one word –  Cataclysm. For now it suites my thinking.

This time round I’m only writing a couple of hundred words each day before going back through them to ensure you don’t become convinced you know what’s going to happen next. As for character conversations, first of all I just write what I want them to say before changing the words so that even when they are having a conversation, your still left guessing. Then I stop for a few hours to think things through, usually by playing my favourite video game Mass Effect 3. Doing something completely different to take my mind of things helps enormously.

More later.

PS Even writing this post, I’ve had to rewrite it several times for the reasons stated above. Devious or what?


Progress Report 2


For my faithful followers and any curious newcomers to my blog, here is the second progress report on my new historical adventure eBook.

While I’ve fought hard over the last couple of days to stop yawning and stay awake while reading the Roman historian Tacitus’ long winded, often matter of fact and dismissive account of Boudica’s revolt (the subject of the fifth chapter in my novel) during the time period 60 – 61AD, which he wrote thirty years after the event; among other things I have narrowed down the choice to one of three momentous events Briggs’ field observer will travel back to. Which one it will be is for me to know and for you to wonder about until the eBook is published. So don’t ask me – OK? After all we writers have to have some secrets you know.  😉

As for Tacitus, he would fit in well with a lot of today’s equally long winded, biased historians. Thank god for encyclopedias and online sources like Wikipedia. At least they just offer facts and not personal opinions. Bearing in mind that what is claimed as fact in Wikipedia is often doubtful, never the less it is still a useful general source for dates, names and places.

I have also decided that Briggs needs to send a female this time, as his existing observers are all male. With each of my characters I like to get to know them first, before they enter the story. Some will live. Some will die. It all depends on the circumstances of the scenario they are involved in. In this particular case I chose a very capable woman – Sienna Baxter.

Here are her characteristics: She is tall, fair skinned with red hair and a fiery temper. Her voice is harsh, loud, almost grating – hardly soft and feminine. She is powerfully built and utterly fearless given the fact that she played at the position of lock in a women’s rugby scrum while at university. She is fluent in ancient Celtic, and wrote a dissertation on the Trinovantes’ involvement in Boudica’s revolt against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.

One thing is certain, she is not the archetypal twenty-first century ideal of a slender, gentle, feminine woman the advertising world promotes. Far from it in fact. This is a woman not to be messed with! She should fit nicely into the ranks of Boudica’s immediate bodyguard.

More later, but only if your patient…