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Thursday, August 13, 2009
Shan's gone to WordPress!!!
After a number of happy years here at BlogDrive, I have decided to switch my blog over to WordPress
. Partly it's because it's a bit of a snazzier option. Mostly it's because I've been having problems with BlogDrive recently (the page doesn't always load for me), and the staff at BlogDrive never bothered to respond to my email asking for assaitance or reassurance that the block-outs would cease!! Anyway, I'll be leaving my old blog entries here for the time being, in case anyone is feeling nostalgic and wants to check out an old entry. But for new entries on WordPress
, please click on the following link:
You can set up an RSS feed on WordPress if you wish, or sign up to be sent an email alerting you every day that I post a new blog. Alternatively, I duplicate every blog on my MySpace
page, so if you prefer MySpace
to WordPress, click on the following link:
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Something smells fishy!!!
Bas and I were walking back from visiting my grandparents and parents
tonight. Goldie, my neighour's dog, came with us for the walk. On our
way, he ran into another dog and they started sniffing each other's
bum, as dogs worldwide are wont to do. Bas wrinkled her nose and said
that was disgusting, and she couldn't understand why dogs did that. I
explained that it's a social thing, their version of shaking hands. I
said it was like us having to bow when we went to Japan, in order to
fit in with local customs.
Then I started chuckling. What if
there was a country where, if you wanted to be polite, you had to sniff
a person's bum when you met them for the first time?!? Bas, of course,
snorted at my infantile sense of humour, but hey, it COULD happen!!!
People have all sorts of weird customs. In fact, who's to say there
isn't a country out there someplace where that already IS the norm?!?
I thought, if I did travel to such a place, would I engage with the
locals? The answer, I think, is a resounding yes!!! It's not that I
particularly LIKE the idea -- but I always try to adjust to the local
mentality when I travel. Indeed, one of the joys of travelling for me
is seeing how other people live and trying to get on with them by
adopting their ways, rather than expecting everyone everywhere to act
as I do. In Japan, it's impolite to pick your nose in public, but
polite to slurp when you're drinking soup, so when I'm there, I keep my
fingers away from my nose, and slurp loudly when dining -- it's the
polite thing to do! I wouldn't want to go around sniffing bums if I was
the only person doing it (and I doubt that I would be allowed to!!!),
but if everyone was doing it, I wouldn't want to be the stuffy,
xenophobic, odd one out!!!!
But THEN I started thinking -- what
sort of a state would people keep their bums in if that was the case?!?
Would everyone wash deeply and use perfume and deodorant, to keep their
posteriors smelling nice and fresh, to make a good impression?!? Or
would that be considered flashy behaviour?? Maybe a bit of a whiff
would be like a good, firm handshake. Maybe people wouldn't wipe too
hard after going to the toilet, in order to cultivate a dark, dank
smell!!!!! How would you find the balance between an interesting odour
and an offensive one?!? Could you be trained to get the smell JUST
right?!?!? Would you be expected to comment on the smell of another
person's bottom after you'd sniffed it???? Would one's stench be a
topic of smalltalk, the way that the weather is in most countries???????
Sometimes I think I think too much.....
Wrote 10 more pages of the new book yesterday. This one features a
lot of dialogue-heavy scenes, which are at the same time both
frutrating and intriguing to write. Frustrating because the plot moves
forward a bit slower than I like and I don't have a sense of advancing
at any great speed. Intriguing because you can learn so much just by
having characters chatting to each other. I never know much about my
characters when I start writing. They grow out of the story-telling
process, and I find out things about them as I proceed, by having them
chat to each other and behave however they please. As long-term fans
know, I prefer not to go overboard describing my characters, as I find,
when I'm reading a book, that the specifics of their looks don't really
stick in my mind. Obviously you need a few pointers in most cases (e.g.
with Mr Crepsley -- orange hair, a scar, red clothes), but I find that
their speech patterns and mood swings make far more of an impact.
There's no point spending half a page describing in great detail what a
character looks like, only to find that he or she has nothing
interesting to say once they open their mouth and start speaking!!!
I meant to do another full day of writing today, but things kept
getting in the way -- emails that had to be answered, meetings that had
to be kept. I got a little bit of editing of yesterday's pages done,
but ultimately I had to write the day off. A pity, especially as I have
other things that I have to do for the rest of this week, meaning this
was my last opportunity to do some new writing until I return from
Edinburgh and London. Oh well, I've made a good start, I'm happy with
the characters, and the pace picks up in the second half, so I've
plenty to look forward to when I come back!!!!
Regarding the shift to WordPress, the response so far has been
overwhelmingly in favour of it. I'll still be duplicating my blog on
MySpace, as I've been doing for a long time now, but I think I'm going
to stop my Blogdrive blog in a few days and switch over to Wordpress.
I'll still keep the Blogdrive pages active, at least in the near
future, so that fans can still check out old blogs. In the meantime,
you might want to bookmark the new page -- you can also use the links
on it to be updated by email every day that I post a new blog. There's
an RSS feature on it too, for those who know what that means!!! If you
have any advice or wishes where the new, Wordpress blog is concerned,
do please let me know. This is the link for it: http://therealdarrenshan.wordpress.com
Can you name the top 116?!?
Yesterday, Bas and I took my cousin, Tiernan, on a long 14 kilometre
trek, which took us to the peak of Keeper Hill. It was a very nice
walk, with some stunning views, but what really tickled my fancy was
the official blurb for the trail. If you haven't gone trekking before,
you might not be aware that there are lots of signposted walks all
around the place (certainly in Ireland and the UK, and I think in most
other countries too). They're highlighted, maintained and advertised by
different agencies, and they're absolutely fabulous. You can normally
found out about them online, or in brochures, which usually tell you a
bit about the trail, what you might find, anything noteworthy about the
area or what you're likely to encounter. In the blurb for this trail,
which you can find by CLICKING HERE
, it stated proudly that Keeper Hill was the 117th tallest mountain in Ireland
!!! That both cracked me up and filled me with admiration!!!!!
it cracked me up because (a) the idea that somebody counted all the way
from the highest mountain, down 117 places, is pretty ludicrous!! And
(b) who the hell would boast about being 117th about ANYTHING?!?!?
at the same time I admired the sheer in-yer-face-ness of the boast!! I
heard a line, many years ago, that I've often thought about in my
travels -- those with the least to boast about are proudest of what
they have. In my experience that's very true, and I think it's a
wonderful thing, one of the joys of travelling. I love meeting people
who don't have a huge amount to brag about, but who are filled with
pride by what little they DO have. It's very easy to be cynical if you
live in a quiet, unspectacular part of the world (as I do). I love the
people who knock that cynicism on the head. "Everst? Kilimanjaro? K2?
You can keep them!!! WE have the 117th tallest mountain in Ireland- so
I think there's a lesson in that blurb for all of
us -- we shouldn't spend our lives dreaming about glories that exist in
other parts of the world, but make the most of what we have close to
hand. Our society promotes a dream world -- holidays to exotic climes,
beautiful size zero models, luxury houses full of all the mod cons --
and tells us that we have to chase those dreams to be truly happy. But
maybe true happiness comes with being able to look at what you possess
and be absolutely content with it.
I've got to be honest -- I'm
doing more preaching than practising on this one. I DO chase dreams. I
DO yearn for more, in my work and in my play. I DO sometimes feel that
the great party of life is taking place somewhere else, and that I have
to go hunt it down if I want to take part. But reading that line about
Keeper Hill being the 117th highest mountain in Ireland... well, it
made me realise, as I often have realised before, that I should be
doing more to appreciate what I have, rather than hungering after what
It also made me want to go climb the other 116 tallest mountains in Ireland, but that's a moral for another time!!!!!
By the way, I'm thinking of moving this blog over to Wordpress, as I have been having problems with Blogdrive recently. I have set up a new page to trial it, at the following address: http://therealdarrenshan.wordpress.com/
Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated...
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Right -- back to normal business!! I've been busy on the first draft of
the fourth book of my future series (i.e. the one that follows my
one-off fantasy book and the four-book series which follows that). I
spent Wednesday plotting the book in detail. If the movie trailer
hadn't broken that day, I was going to write a blog that night saying
how good it was to sometimes share your thoughts about the writing
process with others, or at least put them down clearly in print. As I
said in my Tuesday blog, I'd been frustrated by my failure to crack the
big secrets of this new series. When I sat down to write that blog, I
was feeling bitter about the day's work, not sure if I was going to be
able to make this series work. Then, as I set my thoughts in order and
wrote them down, I realized that I was bitching about nothing. I'd
plotted out TWO NEW BOOKS!!!! I had been looking so hard at the Big
Picture, that I'd failed to give myself credit for figuring out the
main kinks and twists in not just one new book, but two!!! That's no
small thing -- in fact, it's huge!!! By the end of writing that blog, I
was grinning broadly. I don't really discuss my work much with anyone
until I've done at least a first draft and shown it to my agent. And I
always tell young writers not to worry about showing their work until
they feel ready, not to crave the opinions of family and friends. But
sometimes you need to provide your thoughts with an outlet, to give
yourself a bit more of an objective view of your work. I think that's
where a blog or diary can come in useful. It's a chance to assess what
you've done, to note the good things that you've achieved, rather than
obsess inside your head about what you have fialed to do. That blog on
Tuesday gave me the shot of confidence which I needed to move forward
immediately and with purpose. So if you ever find yourself brooding
gloomily about your work -- or anything else, come to that matter --
try blowing off steam in a blog (or diary, if you don't want to share
it with other people). You'll probably find that things are nowhere
near as bleak as they seem.
Having plotted out the fourth book
in detail (that's generally how I work -- I'll write down a very rough
outline of the plot on one or two sheets of paper, then break it down
into rough chapters and plot it out in more detail), I started writing
on Thursday. I got down 11 pages that day, 8 on Friday, then 9 today.
Usually I aim for a 10 page per day average, over a five day working
week, but in recent years I'm a bit more flexible, given the amount of
travelling that I do. Sometimes, if I have a limited spell at home to
deal with, I'll work for more than five days in a row, and write more
than 10 pages per day. But I'm happiest when I'm working to the five
day, 10 page rule, so as long as I'm not too far off of that, all is
well with my world. The book has started well. It requires quite a lot
of explanations (it's one of those books where I have to explain some
of the things that have been going on in earlier books), but it seems
to be moving along at a fair enough speed. It won't have a lot of
action for most of the way, but as I always tend to do when I write a
book like that, I'll compensate by throwing in a truly nightmarish,
frenetic scene near the end!!!!! Happy days!!!!
I was saddened
on Saturday to learn that the film director, John Hughes, had died at
the relatively young age of 59. Even though he withdrew from Hollywood
in the 1990s and stopped working on films, I still considered him a key
director of my time, and was always hoping that he would return to
crank out another classic or two. In truth, he didn't make a whole load
of great films in his time, and his most successful, Home Alone,
was perversely probably one of lesser efforts. But those that struck
true struck brilliantly. Different people have their favourite John
Hughes films, for different reasons. For me, the three stand-outs are,
in ascending order, Planes Trains And Automobiles, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Planes is nice, goofy fun, with John candy in probably his best ever role. The Breakfast Club resonated strongly with me when I was a moody, lonely teen who felt out of place in a big, uncaring world. And Ferris...
well, that's just class!!! It makes me chuckle from start to finish,
while having some deeper points to make too. I saw it at the cinema in
Limerick with my best friend at the time, Larry, when it was first
released, and 23 years later, I love it every bit as much as I did back
then, and it always unleashes a flurry of happy memories when I watch
it. To honour the passing of its key creator, Bas and I watched it
again last night, and although I laughed as much as I always do, my
heart ached a little this time too as I thought, "No chance of there
ever being another film like this made by John Hughes."
Heh -- I
just had an image of John Hughes standing in line at the gates of
Heaven. St Peter steps forward, the keys to the Pearly Gates held
tightly in his hand. He looks at the long line of hopefuls and says:
"We're only going to let some of you through. Can you guess who those
lucky few are going to be?
"Anyone... ? Anyone...?"
Heh heh!! Judging by the responses to my last email, the neutrals are
far happier with the trailer than a lot of you guys are!!! But to be
honest, I can't really feel any sympathy for you!! And I don't mean
that to sound rude -- I'm just being pragmatic. From day one, nearly
ten years ago, the most asked question from fans (after where do my
ideas come from?) has been, "Is there going to be a movie?!?" Most of
you have asked for this, and longed for this, for a long time now. And,
well, I hate to throw a cliche your way, but you should be careful what
you wish for!!!!
The hard, cold reality of life is that this is
what happens when books are turned into films. Changes are made. Plot
lines and characters are dropped. The logic of the book is turned on
its head. The film-makers slip in their own ideas and twist things
round to suit them. It all sounds horrible, I know, but the thing is,
that NEEDS to happen if a movie is to work on its own terms. A movie
doesn't have the same time or space that most books have to tell its
story. A book is intended to be read in several sitting, usually over
the space of at least a few days, with readers investing a lot of time
and thought in what's going on -- so a writer can afford to take their
time, to introduce a plethora of characters and plots. A movie is made
to be seen in a single sitting, and most viewers will be munching on
popcorn and slurping coke -- so stories have to be simplified and
presented in a way that a less involved viewer can appreciate. And
before anyone accuses me of being derogatory about movies -- I love
movies. LOVE them!!!! Simplifying is NOT the same as dumbing down. I
love movies that are complex and twisting and challenging. But even the
cleverest movie can't usually compete with its literary counterpart.
A good example (especially given that Brian Helgeland, writer of the original script for the film, wrote that one too) is L.A. Confidential.
It's a dark, labyrinthine, intelligent beast of a movie -- yet it was a
vastly simplified version of the story told in the book. The novel
wasn't dumbed down for the screen -- but it WAS drastically altered and
chopped up and reassembled, in order for it to work in a new, visual
medium, where the demands of the viewer are far less than then demands
that can be made of a reader.
There are basically four types of
movie adaptations (with an endless scale, from rubbish to brilliant,
applying to each). They are:
Good, faithful adaptations.
Bad, faithful adaptations.
Good, unfaithful adaptations.
Bad, unfaithful adaptations.
soon as it was announced that the movie was to be made from the first
three books of the series, the first two options went out the window.
No single movie could incorporate all of the characters and scenes from
three books, not without being 5 or 6 hours long!!! To drive that fact
home, I've stressed ever since I announced that the rights had been
sold, that the movie would NOT be faithful. To get upset about that at
this stage is to betray your innocence or ignorance or both -- so,
again, as I said above, I don't have any sympathy for those who moan
that Mr Crepsley doesn't speak the way he does in the books, or that
Cormac Limbs has become a woman, or... Those sorts of changes were
ALWAYS going to be made. And there will be many more changes which
aren't apparent from the video.
Would I have loved it if a movie
company had made a good, faithful film just based on the first book of
the series? Of course. I think any writer would be lying if they said
otherwise. But I'm also realistic enough to know that that could never
happen -- there has never been a linear, linked series of 12 movies
made by a Hollywood film studio. The Harry Potter films, I
think, are the most there's ever been, and that really only happened
because of the phenomenal success of the books -- it created a
situation where demand existed for so many movies. To tell the whole
story of the 12 books of my vampire series (which I'm sure we all hope
happens, even if it's in a shortened, very different version), major
cuts and changes HAD to be made. It was either let them do this, or not
let them make a film at all.
That leaves us with two
possibilities -- a good, unfaithful adaptation, or a bad, unfaithful
adaptation. I'm hoping for the former, and the quality of the trailer
makes me think that it might happen -- though I won't make up my mind
one way or the other until I see the finished, complete film. I
suspect, even if it IS good, that it might appeal more to people who
haven't read the books, since they won't be looking out for all of the
changes and cuts to the storyline -- they'll be prepared to accept the
film on its own terms. That might sound like the fans of the books are
getting a raw deal, but I don't see it that way. As I said in my last
post, for me the main reason in agreeing to let my books be filmed was
to hopefully attract a crowd of new fans to the books. Movies and books
are two completely different media, with different strengths and
drawbacks. I always think it's better to see a film first, then read
the book afterwards -- that way the film whets your appetite, while the
book takes you further into the world of the story. In a way, a movie
is like a very extended trailer for a book. If people like the movie of
Cirque Du Freak, they will then be able to come to the books are
discover far more characters and story-lines, and experience the story
again, but in its purest, most advanced form. If you go at the story
the other way young, i.e. read the book first and watch the movie
later, then you have to accept that you're going to be getting less for
you buck second time round -- in a way, you're going from swimming in
an Olympic size swimming pool, to swimming in a paddling pool, albeit a
paddling pool in which you can hopefully have a lot of fun!!!!
guys are my TRUE fans. We all know that. And you guys know, from the
amount of time that I spend blogging and working on the web site, that
I love each and every one of you, and appreciate the time and love that
you devote to the worlds which I have created. I'm always looking to
give more back to you guys, through competitions, news snippets, doing
lots of touring, signing as many books as you choose to bring to any of
my events, etc. But the thing is, the best thing I can give to you is
the thing I gave to you first -- the books. Everything after that --
the touring, the web site, the comps, the movie -- is a simple extra.
The books are what truly bind us together. The stories are the only
real reason why you're reading this long-winded blog in the first
place!!! You've been great to me over the years, and I like to think
that I've been great to you. I spend a lot of time trying to produce
the very best books that I can, to give you value for money and feed
your dreams. But, just like the vampire clan, I need to keep adding
fresh blood to the ranks!! The bigger a fan base I have, the more I can
stay in control of my destiny and write the books that I WANT to write.
We all live in the real world. We all have bills to pay, families to
raise, etc. Many writers are forced to write for cash, as a
straightforward job. I'm in the very lucky position of being able to
write for fun, but I never take that position for granted. The movie
will bring new fans on board, and hopefully some of them will become
true fans, like you guys, and that, for me, is the whole point and
purpose of the thing. It's a way of hooking in new readers and ensuring
that our freaky, fabulous journeys together can continue for many years
The movie might be good. The movie might be bad. That
is yet to be decided. The one thing that IS certain is that it will be
radically, drastically, necessarily different. Either don't go and see
it if you can't handle that simple, essential fact. Or, like me, learn
to live with it, and take it on its own terms, for what it is.
-- that's going to be my last word on the trailer and movie for the
time being. My next blog will be all about writing again -- hurrah!!!!!
Enjoy your weekend, folks!!
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Phew!!! The last couple of days have been pretty manic! The craziness
started yesterday morning, when I found out that the trailer was due to
hit the web later in the day. While I cautioned everyone to be patient,
in case the rumours weren't true, I have to admit that I kept checking
the web a couple of times an hour (sometimes a bit more!!) to see if it
had gone live yet. When it did, in the evening, I was kept busy
responding to it, sending out emails about it, and checking out the
feedback from fans and people in the movie industry. I was particularly
interested in what the neutrals had to say -- those of us involved with
the books can't be truly objective about the film. For me, the main
reason for agreeing to let my books be filmed was to try and lure new
readers into my world. Finding new fans is always the hardest job for
any writer -- our publishers don't have the same sort of widespread
connections or cash chests as their counterparts in the mega-bucks
movie industry!!! A very successful book might reach maybe a hundred
thousand people, where a moderately successful movie can reach millions
of people!! If even a small percentage of a movie's audience pick up
the books afterwards, that can result in a sharp influx of fans --
which, for me, is what it's all about. I write stories to be read -- I
want as many people as possible to be aware of my books, to have the
option of at least giving them a try. So, I'm very keen to see what
people who know nothing about my books think of the trailer, and later
The response, I'm pleased to admit, has been mostly
very positive. Movie sites can be VERY bitchy, and many movies get
completely trashed by reviewers who can't wait to sink their claws into
anything that doesn't take their fancy!!! But most seem to have taken
an admiring view of the trailer -- some have even said that while they
were ready to pounce on the movie prior to seeing the trailer, now
they're prepared to give it a fair go!! As I said yesterday, I really
think Universal did a top-notch job on the trailer. It does a good job
of giving people just enough information to intrigue them, without
giving TOO much away. I know some of you were a bit worried after
seeing it, since there was very little of Steve, Mr Tiny or Murlough in
the trailer -- but don't worry, they ARE all in the film, and feature
prominently!! Much has been changed, as I've said before, but not THAT
much!!!! And although Darren seems to glibly accept Mr Crepsley's offer
to become his assistant, that was just the way the trailer made it look
-- in the film, as in the book, it will be an agonising decision. A
good trailer is an artform in itself -- it has to tell a short story in
a couple of minutes. Many fail because the makers try to cram too many
details in. I think this one pitched itself just right, and by the
response of the neutral movie web site folk, others seem to think so
too. Of course, that doesn't stop SOME fans from moaning, but hey, you
can't please everyone!!!
Today was quieter, more a return to
normal, although I was still kept busy catching up with reviews of the
trailer and responding to emails. It was a busy day for me, work-wise,
as was yesterday, but I'll talk about those in my next blog, once the
movie trailer whirlwind has died down a little more!!!!
say, I was far more excited by the release of the trailer than I
thought I would be!! As I've said all along, I deliberately distanced
myself from the movie-making process, as I prefer to focus my time and
energies on my books -- I'm a writer, not a movie-maker, and I think I
can best serve you guys by ensuring my books come out on time, and
honed to the finest possible edge by months and years of editing. I
thought I'd be very laidback about the trailer and movie, but when I
first saw it yesterday, I got a surprisingly big buzz!!! I really hope
the film fulfills the promise of the trailer. While I'm not going to
start taking credit for the film if it's good, there's no denying that
it's much nicer to be attached to something cool than to something that
stinks!!!!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!!!!!!
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
At last -- the moment so many of you have been waiting for!!! The movie trailer for Cirque Du Freak: The
Vampire's Assistant is now online, and I think it looks pretty
I have also added an image of the first movie poster for The Vampire's Assistant
to my site, and will be adding more
posters and any other movie-related images that are released over the
coming months in various countries -- so keep checking back!!! You can
find the Movies
page in the Covers part of the Vampires section of the web site, by CLICKING HERE.
In response to the big question -- YES, I do like the trailer!!! In fact I think it's top-notch!! As
I've been saying all along, the movie is going to be VERY different to
the books. For
instance, you can see, even from this short trailer, that it has more
humour in it than the books had. But at the same time it's recognisable
as the world
of the Cirque Du Freak which we all know from the books -- it has taken
many liberties with the story (more than are actually apparent in the
most of the main characters are there, the darkness is there, and the
freakiness is definitely there!!!
If you want to see a larger image of the poster, CLICK HERE. As you can see, in America the movie is rated
PG-13. Also, please note that this is what those in the industry call a TEASER poster, designed to whet people's
appetite. Another poster, with more images and info, should follow in due course.
I know the differences will come as a shock to a lot of fans --
they certainly came as a shock to ME when I first read the script!! --
but we have to live with
the fact that the movie is its own beast. It's not a true adaptation of
the books, but a re-imagining of them. You can moan about what the
haven't done, in which case you're doomed to go away miserable -- or
you can treat it as a whole new story and give it a chance to win you
over on its
own terms. And I don stress the word "chance" -- the movie will have to
win ME over too!!! I haven't seen it yet, and as the author of the
original books, I'm probably going to be harder to please than anyone
else in the world!!!! But I'm prepared to accept it on its own terms
and to give
it a chance. When I sit down to watch the film, I'll be leaving all of
my memories of the books at the door and putting them far from my mind
-- and I
suggest that everyone else who has read them should do the same thing!!
You can never tell from a trailer what the final version of a film
will be like, but I think there's grounds to be hopeful based on what
here -- it looks smart, it looks funny, it looks stylish, it looks
spooky, it looks freaky!! Roll on October!!!!!!
Thinking hard all day -- ouch!!! This is simultaneously the most
exciting and frustrating part about being an author -- the excitement
of venturing into the unknown and discovering an entire new world of
ideas, and the frustration of being at the mercy of those ideas until
they reveal themselves. You don't have any control over an idea until
you have it clear in your head. Once it's in place, you can play around
with it, extend it, add to it, cut it -- whatever the hell you like.
You are its master and it does what you tell it!!! But when you're not
entirely certain of where you want to go with an idea, or how to link
it in with other ideas, then it's almost like it's teasing you, mocking
you -- "I'm over here, just behind you, but you can't find me!!!!"
be honest, it was a very successful day on the thought front. I plotted
out most of the major parts of the next two books in the new series.
Most authors would be thrilled to plot out two books in a single day,
and rightly so -- it's an incredible achievement!!! But I always like
to ask more of myself, to challenge myself and push myself hard. I was
hoping to unlock the secrets of the later books today too, to outline
exactly where I wanted to go with the story, so that by close of
business today I would know precisely what I wanted to do, and how many
books it was going to be. I plotted out books 4 and 5 in the morning,
so when I returned after lunch I was feeling extraordinarily confident
-- this was going to be a doddle!!! But the afternoon turned out to be
a vague mishmash of conflicting ideas. I kept getting whiffs of the
series outline, but couldn't quite pin it down, and in the end I had to
admit temporary defeat and leave it where it was for the time being. My
brain obviously isn't quite ready to take the whole series forward at
But what it IS ready to do is tackle books 4 and 5,
so that's what I'm going to do, starting tomorrow. I always think it's
important to forge ahead whenever possible where writing is concerned
-- if, for instance, you have a very clear idea of what you want to do
with the first book of a trilogy, but you're not sure where you'll go
with the second and third books, don't sit around trying to figure out
the later books -- crack on and write book one. In my experience, you
pick up ideas as you go along, as characters develop and the story
throws surprises at you. If you sit thinking for too long, it can start
to seem like an impossibility, like spitting and hitting the moon. But
if you start to chip away at it and do what you can, you'll find the
next step much easier to take when you get there. The stubborn part of
me would love to sit down tomorrow and keep stabbing away at the later
books, to try and bend them to my will. The practical part of me knows
that they'll sort themselves out further down the line, and that my
time will be much better utilised by starting work on book 4 ASAP. So
that's what I'm going to do!!
I don't know if this is an old
proverb, or something I just made up, but this just popped into my head
-- if you try to swallow an apple whole, you'll choke -- you need to
devour it one small bite and swallow at a time.
At the verge of the unknown
Edited the first half of the third book of my new series on Friday. On
Saturday I put together the Shanville Monthly -- it took a bit longer
than usual, because I had to add my October tour dates to it. I'm
travelling all around England, Scotland and Ireland, from Brighton up
to Dundee!!! If you haven't checked it out yet, click here
for all the dates and times. It also has all the latest news, info
about an unbelievably cool new competition, and more!! After that, Bas
and I went to a birthday party for my cousin Ronan's little girl -- it
was her first. We spent a nice few hours there, then Kenny and I went
for a few drinks in Limerick, then we all met up a bit later to see a
band called Last Days Of Death Country -- I know the lead singer, Pa,
and wanted to check them out. They were pretty damn fine!!! If you're
interested, you can check out their MySpace page by CLICKING HERE
On Sunday, after a nice lie-in, Bas and I took a couple of my cousins
hiking in the hills around Killaloe, a nice spot in southwest Ireland.
The weather was crappy, and we got a bit lost (lesson learnt -- don't
try to map-read when you have a hangover!!!), but it was good to get
out and about rather than just sit around the house all day. Stopped at
my favourite Chinese restaurant, the Dragon I, in a village called
Patrickswell on the way home -- they never disappoint!!!
edited the second half of the third book of my new series (as I've said
here before, the books in this series are short!! I'm going for sharp
and punchy, with each book ending on a cliffhanger!). Which brings me
up to speed. I now have to plot out what happens next, and I'm still
far from 100% sure!!! I've been stringing together ideas over the past
few days, and I'm fairly confident that it will all click into place
when I sit down with my plans over the next few days -- or at least
enough of it to allow me to sketch out the next chunk of storyline.
That's usually how it works with me -- I'll spend a lot of time vaguely
playing around with ideas, bouncing them off of each other, idly
wondering where they lead. Then, when I feel ready to jump in, I sit
down and seriously apply myself, and things tend to coalesce nicely.
The brain's a bit like a computer -- you can have a lot of different
programmes running in the background at the same time. You might be
unaware of them while they're running, but that doesn't mean that your
brain isn't hard at work! While I don't know exactly where I'm going
next with this story, my brain has been chipping away at the ideas for
the last several months, so hopefully when I sit down and focus
tomorrow, the ideas will flow like water and plotlines will fall neatly
If they don't, I'm scuppered!!!!
But hey -- that's all part of the unpredictable excitement of being a writer!!!!!!