As an aspiring writer, I have discovered a plethora of resources on the web about the various aspects of writing. Also as an aspiring writer who has started learning about writing, I now read fiction with a new set of eyes. And reading is important for a writer, because it shows how other writers tackle the same writing problems.
Some of the writing I’ve re-discovered in my book collection is a short series of fantasy adventure fiction from 30 years ago: Red Sonja. (For those of you who don’t know, Red Sonja is a female warrior for hire in the same pre-medieval setting as Conan.) The authors, David C. Smith and Richard Tierney, had been involved in writing swords-and-sorcery fiction of the style of Conan for some time. These novels show writers experienced in their craft, able to create strong characters and exciting adventures. And bittersweet endings, too, as the setting is a place where death is very cheap. Especially considering the essentially violent nature of the protagonist’s career.
There is a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment around the way e-books are priced on retail websites. And this is more than readers complaining about prices that don’t make sense; it is about the US Department of Justice about to accuse several big publishers of pricing collusion.
Amazon and Apple and their business practices are at the centre of this. Both companies have the reputation and the ability to create a vision and then implement it. Both companies have the reputation, the ability and the desire to create closed “ecosystems”. Both companies sincerely want to be The Last Word and The Only Place for their technological niche. In Amazon’s case it is books, both on paper and electronic. For Apple, it is personal computing. Including electronic reading.
There is a lot of advice for those writing, trying to write or even just thinking of trying to write about avoiding tropes and clichés. You know the sort of thing. Do you need a ditzy blonde in your comedy? Does your fantasy hero need to be an orphaned boy? Do things need to come in threes?
But tropes and clichés have a place.
My current work has an entirely typical and tropish character: she’s a drow who isn’t behaving much like a drow.
I got some writing done yesterday. At least an hour’s worth, though I wasn’t rushing things. The oddest thing was where: it was in a little suburban café I never normally visit. It was in the middle of an industrial area and it was just after I had dropped off my car for some work. I had thought ahead and brought my tablet with me.
You are probably aware I can struggle to write in my own home. When I first got serious about writing, which means when I did NaNoWriMo for the first time a few years ago, I used to write sitting on my bed at night. (I was temporarily living with my parents at the time, due to a separation. It was quite a while before my finances could support renting a flat again.) The netbook I had bought especially for writing helped.
I’ve updated my computing platform. I now have an Android tablet that is for writing on. Okay, I use it for other things, too, but it was originally purchased for writing. And being Android means it does Instant On like no netbook could ever do. This does help, though. It made it so much easier to write in the above-mentioned café. I just wish it would help me write at home more.
Maybe I need to do more writing sitting on my bed.