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Showing posts from June, 2015

When did you last Johari?

Some of the most welcome feedback I've had on Abendau's Heir is that people like how much detail I go into about my characters. That was really good to hear because it was something I worried about when I was writing Abendau - that my minutiae of the people I wrote about wouldn't be as engaging to others as me.

Having had that feedback, I thought I'd share one of the tools I find really useful for character writing and, particularly, character interactions.

It's called the Johari window, and it sounds all mystical and new age-y. It's actually not - it's named after the two designers of the model and is pragmatic and easy to apply. It's used a lot in coaching, counselling and anywhere empathy of another person is needed.

The model shows four key windows of interaction and concerns itself about own and shared knowledge of the person:

Arena - known to self and others
Blind spot - not known to self but is to others
Facade - known to self, but not to oth…

Ow, that hurts! But only if I let it.

My current wip has had several beta readers of the very good variety. It's had a professional edit by an experienced SFF editor, and an agent with an editorial approach who put it through its paces again. Recent feedback from further editors has been good. In short, here's a book I'm confident about - so much so it's gone out to a few people for a pre-copy-edit review.

One hated everything about the book. The critique was thoughtful, with clear identification of what the critter didn't like and why. There are some things I may strengthen on the back of it. But it's not a critique I'll be applying in full, and here's why:

Critiques aren't to be considered in a vacuum. A reader may not be a good match for your work. They may like a different style of writing, or a different sort of plot. I write dark stuff - fluffy bunny lovers aren't always the critters for me.

So here's my Top 5 things you should consider when you receive a critique.


An alien invasion of Belfast. Why on Earth?

Post-alien invasion Belfast, and humanity has been defeated. Pity no one told the locals.

I'm starting to get Inish Carraig close to release. Covers are being worked on and copyediting is underway. Now, I'm thinking it might be a good time to chat about it.

Inish Carraig is my quiet project. It's been out there, in various guises, for a long time, but I didn't talk about it. It was, at one point, agented and, generally, agents prefer it if there isn't a lot of chit-chat and what not online. So, I kept quiet and only referred to it obliquely. It's been a crossover book, a Young adult book, and now is back to that murky line of crossover territory.

I have the project back with me, and I'm delighted because, finally, I can bring it out and let the world see my vision of Belfast after an alien invasion. (The concensus from the locals seems to be that we won't notice much difference.)

As ever, the characters came to me. There was no deliberate decision t…

The hard yards

Occasionally, I put up depressing, and sometimes not depressing, reports on what it's like trying to become an author, the hurdles and the straight, long sections. This one - I'm not sure which it is.

On the non-depressing note. I am absolutely not complaining here. I am aware how many writing friends I have who would love to be in my position. I was that writing friend a year or so ago. I am lucky - my book is out, I have another two coming out this year (one self published after a long saga regarding agents and markets and wanting it to come out however it does it). I am getting good reviews (and waiting nervously for the first to say they hated, hated, hated my book), my sales are pretty good for a debut, I've had all sorts of online exposure. I'm lucky, lucky, lucky.

But! The downside. I'm also busy, busy, busy. Whether I make it as a writer or not remains to be seen: regardless, I have enough writing work on to keep a full time writer busy. I have, over the …