Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Post tax submission euphoria

I've been feeling particularly high-spirited lately and I've just realised why. It's because I avoided that ₤100 fine for late submission of a tax bill.

Now that not sound a lot to you but there was a principle at stake here and I'd spent a lot of effort for the last two weeks of 2009 and the whole of January 2009 in avoiding that fine.

I managed to submit my return in the end and now I can get on with my other activities. Writing is one of them.

I can allow myself to be stimulated again, instead of shutting down my creativity because "I really must have to do this piece of admin instead".

One day, I'll have an office manager to do that for me. I find administration and business stuff really tedious so it's great to get it out of the way. I have to do now is (assumes exuberant Latin gestures) CREATE!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

More problems with reading

Where have all the good reads gone? More books are being published than ever before but it seems more difficult for me to find books I really like. It's old conundrum - I want something original but a bit like something else, an imitation of The Hobbitt or Terry Pratchett. (Yeah, I know Terry Pratchett's an imitator but in a good way with real jokes.) As a writer I am also a reader and at risk of sounding arrogant it was the lack of something worthy of my attention that often motivated to write my own stories.

Nowadays it's so rare to read something original that you discover by accident and then come to re-visit. It's hard enough to find something when your looking for it.

Occasionally, I've found something brilliant without really trying like The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, as translated brilliantly by Lucia Graves.

That's the problem with reading. How do we find something we like without searching for ages and ultimately giving up?

This book might be the solution. Amazon does a similar thing but it doesn't really answer the question - who else writes like....? I found this book in Liskeard library while looking for something else. All it does is list similar authors and types of books. It's very easy to use and I've found some new names to check out in my search for a gripping contemporary humorous sci-fi fantasy. Who Else Writes Like ...? A Readers' Guide to Fiction Authors doesn't have an engine punk section yet but future editions will have one day. In fact, it doesn't have anything about steam punk but that's the printed word for you - it's out of date as soon as it's printed.

Another ray of hope for me is this slim volume. There was a brief article about 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels on The Writing Centre website, a south west writer's resource, and it's certainly filling a few gaps in my own knowledge of the genre. I was interested to read an article by Stephen E Andrews on the site entitled "My Science Fiction hell". It seems he's not impressed with a lot of what he's read and refrains from writing himself as he does not believe it would be worthy of publishing. Also, he points out that many editors are spending their commissioning resources on fantasy.

But the most important thing of all, he says, is original ideas. "In a genre that is defined by its emphasis on ideas, novelty, imagination and originality, the novice writer had better make sure he or she can come up with something fresh that still fits into a current market niche."

I reckon he knows what he's talking about.

All I have to do now is get listed in similar tomes to these two.

Labels: , , ,