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Genre, genre. Wherefore art though, genre?


Yes, I know that “translates” to “Why are you, genre?”, but I still claim it makes sense …

O, Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?
O, Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shut up (pouty look).

Seriously, though. How does one decide exactly what genre their story fits into? Do you just know? Do you know before you begin – making sure to include all the tropes of that genre? Do you do extensive market research, sharing your work with readers and asking their thoughts? Do you put it out there and see what label attracts the best reviews (on the notion that if you’re attracting the right readers, they’ll be more likely to like it)?

Yes, of course this come back to me … It’s all about me! (Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha … ah … ha!). Anyway.

Where was I? Right, yes, back to Healer’s Touch and the subsequent Weapons of War stories. I’ve been calling it a Steampunk story from the beginning. But I keep coming across people even more into the Steampunk genre (or sub-genre, if you like) than I, and I begin to feel like a bit of a fraud. Thing is, though, it is set in Victorian-like times (though on a Victorian New Zealand-like and Victorian US-like world). Wild West, if you like – I know I do (o:

Read more…Genre, genre. Wherefore art though, genre?

Cover Design: Play Time

A play-time cover design idea for Healer's Touch
Mock-up cover design for “Healer’s Touch”

I decided to try my hand at putting together a mock-up cover design of my own making. I’m no qualified graphic designer by any means, but I had fun, and I quite like the results. Of course, in a year or two I may look back and wonder what I was thinking … who knows.

It doesn’t quite achieve the mood I’m after (although, it’s close), and I still have to finish the sketch of the girl – but that is taking ages on account of me having limited writing/drawing time and trying to fit both in. I think there is an “airiness” I’m missing, or something … something a little spooky, and/or sexy … But, it’s close to the image that hijacked my brain when I first read the title.

Anyway, it’s an example of what can be achieved by following instructions from GIMP tutorials.

The girl needs a little more work to complete her – more shadows to bring out the facial features and the like, a little more work on the hair, some details added to the dress, and I’m flip-flopping on the lace under-layer … It’s pretty hard to get right, so it’s very tempting to remove. But, I also quite like it … Choices, choices …

Anyway, it’s a starting point.

Anyone got any opinions?

Coincidences = my friends (or, What’s In A Name?)

So, now that I have “finished” my first book and am working on books 2 and 3, I have been doing some researching (some might call it procrastination … but I’m sure it will all be useful in the end).

Xena – Warrior Princess (and a Kiwi, too! – yep, from Oamaru, just up the way …)

Anyway, along with working on these next two books, I am being bombarded by ideas on how to improve my first book – some scenes will need a re-write, some stakes will need to be ramped up … I wanted it to be finished, and I know I am close, but I can see some of the comments I’m likely to get from reviewers/editors already, and I want to fix them so they can be left to only say the really hurtful things.

I was checking out a website full of advice on novel-writing, and one of the things it pointed out is that nothing in a novel should be a coincidence. Sure, they happen in real life. Not in fiction. Well, according to a lady at Pixmar, bad stuff can happen at random. But not good stuff.

But my point from the first site mentioned isn’t about “bad” or “good” events. It’s about everything, even character names. Yes. Apparently, they have to mean something to the story. So I thought Uh oh, I’m gonna have to change some names here

Read more…Coincidences = my friends (or, What’s In A Name?)

Young Love: Spring is on its way

Garden ornament of an elderly couple cuddling on a garden bench
Love Springs Eternal

A completely un-writerly post from me. Just thought I’d lift the mood from the trials and tribulations of writing and genetics and multiplying and such, and take a moment to notice that the daffodils are making their bid for spring garden domination. See, there’s one in this photo (centre).

I noticed them the other day when I was driving home. The lovely people who keep Dunedin city’s large grassy areas trim leave the daffodils to grow at this time of year. It might not be all neat and tidy, but it’s lovely when those yellow flowers get going.

I’m looking forward to it.

Especially the smell of the jonquil variety … that’s my fave (just so as you know …)

Oh, and the toddler has Chicken Pox. Joy. (Ah well, it’s meant to be good to get it out of the way early, right?) He’s actually doing really well. I’d like a less broken sleep, though.

For you curious folk: Photo taken on a Samsung Galaxy Ace (no, not Pro), running Android 2.3.5 and editted in GIMP manually (adding layers, editting colours, adding a frame and the like …).

The before and after versions
After and Before – ’cause I’m backwards like that

Perfection is Overrated …

… but not in a first draft. I would have loved for my first draft to be perfect. Then I’d be published already.

But in characters, we all know that perfection is not something to strive for. Not if you want them to be identifiable to the readers, anyway.

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I’ve just thought of a way to make my leading man less perfect in my eyes … although, according to the romance trope, it might make him more appealing. Girls like their men to be experienced, right? (Although, personally, I see a difference between a man who has become experienced by learning a bunch of stuff with one or two women, compared to the man who uses the same move on dozens, or hundreds. Am I wrong?)

Still, regarding the previous post about genetics and such, I got to thinking. Here I was thinking that my main bloke’s mentor/father-figure would want him to hook up with the “right woman” and make beautiful babies together … But, where is the real “saving the species” drive in that?

Read more…Perfection is Overrated …

A Gift For You …


This image shows the coding region in a segmen...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No, really …  Well, all right, you might not be interested, in which case, toddle off once I reveal what I’m about to share with you. But if you are curious, stick around, because I am about to share my thought processes regarding the genetics of my two major magical people in my little fantasy world

Yeah. That’s right. It’s geek-speak time!

So, I’ve written a whole book without really investigating this so far. Sure, I’ve thought about it. But I haven’t really delved. But as I set down to work on my future books and think about the implications of some of my previous work (one of which can be seen in my supporting “prequel” short story Toes Across The Floor*) I find that I really do need to know this. No, it’s not going to be explained in the books (we’re talking equivalent to 1860s, here, people. Mendel himself was only just figuring out the basics).

Read more…A Gift For You …

Another go at opening . . .

I just can’t seem to leave it alone. It’s like a pimple, or something.

And I know . . . I was meant to be finished. I was meant to be happy with the state of things. But then I looked at it again. And two people have questioned whether my story should start a little sooner (I know! Usually it’s the other way, right?). So, for the sake of an exercise, I wrote a new opening. Not to replace what’s there, but to go before it. So here goes . . .

*NB: My characters swear more than I do . . . if it’s not your thing, skip it.

Hands deep in pockets, Llew didn’t break stride to kick the empty glass bottle aside. It was a common hazard of walking Cheer’s streets at night. The town’s men hunted gold by day, oblivion and pussy by night.

Llew walked with her head down. In sepia trousers and off-white linen shirt, she blended in with the evening’s wildlife. But with hair in dire need of a trim, there was always a risk that the guise wouldn’t hold. It only had to hold until she got home. She would cut the offending locks in the morning.

A commotion broke out up ahead at Camille’s Cathouse. Some potential john lacking the financial means to sate his desires by the looks and sounds. Perhaps he should have thought about that before buying such a large bottle of whisky.

Read more…Another go at opening . . .

A Helping Hand …

Here you go. Your chance to help a fellow writer get their book into the world.

Cover of "Ghost Hand" by Ripley Patton (cover by Kura Carpenter)
“Ghost Hand” by Ripley Patton (cover by Kura Carpenter)

Yes, Ripley has started a Kickstarter project to help get her book published at a standard she can be proud of (including professional editing and cover design – done by my fellow Dunedin Writers’ Workshopper Kura Carpenter). It’s the sort of thing I will likely have to do, too, although I think there is a New Zealand alternative (for tax purposes it’s simpler, I assume).

Read more…A Helping Hand …

[Music] Breakage – Fighting Fire (feat. Jess Mills)

Here’s a song I learned the existence of earlier this year as part of my “The Countdown” experience. It was submitted by the UK. This sort of sound isn’t usually my thing., as you may have guessed. I like dancing, but I like dancing to “real” music more than the “dance hall” type stuff. That being said, I really like the sultry vocals of this one. And the lyrics are perfect for my male-female protagonist team, especially leading into Book 2. So, there you go …


He said, “Hold tight (Hold tight)

And I’ll hold on to you.

Read more…[Music] Breakage – Fighting Fire (feat. Jess Mills)