When I’m not visiting schools/libraries/bookshops for CBF2012, I’m working on some re-writes for Arthur Quinn 3. I’ve just completed a really big (and really fun) scene today. I won’t say much about it but I will say that the things that Arthur has to face in this book is unlike anything he’s done before.
Author Joe Hill posed an interesting question on his blog earlier. What 5 things have you never done as a writer that you would like to try? It got me thinking so here are my 5.
1.Write a graphic novel
This is an easy one. I’ve always loved comics and have a pretty decent collection. I also love art and have studied fine art, graphic design and film in college – all of which work nicely with the medium of graphic novels. It’s years since I made any art on paper properly and I’m sure I’ve lost whatever talent I may have had in that area so I wouldn’t be able to draw a comic but I would absolutely love to write one. If any comic artists or illustrators out there want to collaborate, give me a holla! Read the rest of this entry »
Publishers Scholastic asked the question if a 6 year old could write a fully formed story. And when they got the answer, they animated it (complete with original spelling).
As I mentioned previously, I’m writing again. This time it’s a Young Adult novel. It’s quite dark and grim at times with a seventeen year old narrator. Oh, and it’s all written in the present tense.
The more I write it, the more I’ve been thinking about the present tense. It seems to have become very fashionable these days. Half – (if not all) – the YA novels I read are written in this tense as are a huge amount of books that turn up on award shortlists. In fact, a couple of years ago, Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, wrote a piece in The Guardian bemoaning what he saw as overuse of the tense. It’s an interesting read and, as much as I admire him, I don’t fully agree with him here.
I’ve used the present tense throughout all the Arthur Quinn books – but sparingly. In each book, Arthur experiences strange dreams/visions of Asgard, the land of the gods. I wanted these visions to read differently. Switching from the past to present tense acts as a sort of lingual key for the reader; it takes them away from Arthur’s world and brings them to the world of the gods, a time where time itself acts differently. It’s jarring but it’s supposed to be. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m back writing! But what I’m writing is very, very different to the world of Arthur Quinn. It’s a YA novel and I don’t want to say too much about it but I will say that it’s quite grim at times.
As usual, I’ve created a writing soundtrack and I’ve included some tracks here so you can get an idea of the tone of the book.
Today I got the proofs of Arthur Quinn Book 2 in the post. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the continuing adventures of Arthur and it’s called ‘Arthur Quinn and the Fenris Wolf.’ I always knew it was a longer book than ‘World Serpent’ but I found out today how much longer; a whole 60 pages! So that’s 60 pages more where Loki can cause trouble…
Stephen King and Neil Gaiman are two of my favourite writers and probably the two biggest influence on my writing. So, understandably, I loved this piece in the Sunday Times this week where Gaiman interviewed King. You can read the whole thing below but I thought I’d draw attention to my favourite quote…
‘I never think of stories as made things; I think of them as found things’
And here’s the article in full…
The first time I met Stephen King was in Boston, in 1992. I sat in his hotel suite, met his wife, Tabitha, who is Tabby in conversation, and his then-teenage sons, Joe and Owen, and we talked about writing and about authors, about fans and about fame.
“If I had my life over again,” said King. “I’d have done everything the same. Even the bad bits. But I wouldn’t have done the American Express ‘Do You Know Me?’ TV ad. After that, everyone in America knew what I looked like.” He was tall and dark-haired, and Joe and Owen looked like younger clones of their father.
The next time I met Stephen King, in 2002, he pulled me up on stage to play kazoo with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a ramshackle assemblage of authors who can play instruments and sing and, in the case of author Amy Tan, impersonate a dominatrix while singing Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots are Made For Walkin’. Afterwards we talked in the tiny toilet in the back of the theatre, the only place King could smoke a furtive cigarette. He seemed frail, then, and grey, only recently recovered from a long stay in hospital after being hit by an idiot in a van, and the hospital infections that had followed it. He grumbled about the pain of walking downstairs. I worried about him, then. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s an extensive interview with me over at writing.ie where I talk about Children Save Dublin, my inspirations and why I chose to write for children.
A while back, a reader asked me to describe my desk. I thought the best thing to do would be to throw up a few pictures here.
Space is at a premium in my room, so this fold-up desk from Ikea was a perfect solution. It has just the right amount of space for my laptop and a few books without allowing me to clutter it. Read the rest of this entry »
From time to time I get asked to speak to creative writing groups or English classes. I always oblige. I love taking questions from enthusiastic students of writing and sharing what [modest] knowledge I have. There are five tips I always share with the groups; five tips that I believe have improved my writing.
So here they are. They may be helpful for some people.
1. Keep a journal (or in my case use post-its!)
Almost everything you will ever read on creative writing will suggest that you should keep a journal. You’re supposed to carry it around with you so that you can take note of every idea you have as you have it. Any of these ideas could eventually make a story.
I tried it for a while a few years ago and it just didn’t work for me. I found that my ideas became too jumbled and that I couldn’t focus on one. I’m an unusual case though. I find it much easier to work an idea through in my head for a few weeks before putting pen to paper. And I can juggle a few ideas at a time.
However, when I am sitting down at my laptop to write, I like to plot out that day’s chapter using post-its. I scrawl a plot point on a post-it each and stick it on the wall in front of me. Then, when I’ve written that plot point, I pull away the post-it and dump it. It’s hugely satisfying!
So, I don’t keep a journal. It might work for some people but it doesn’t work for me. That said, I do think that everyone should try it for a while. If it works for you, you will never want to be without your little notebook. Failing that, use post-its. I swear by them! Read the rest of this entry »