if you don’t know the the origins of this week’s blog title, look it up! You won’t be disappointed.
Many times young writers ask me if it’s okay to write about something you have not experienced. I usually say yes, if you absolutely must, but there is no substitute for experience.
Landscape and Location
This is particularly true of places – landscape and location. In my first novel, The Ice Boat, a kind of odyssey of a young musician, I stuck to places I knew: London, Rio de Janeiro, Den Haag (The Hague in Holland), Amsterdam and Stockholm. The second volume is yet to be published because the manuscript was lost for years and I only just found it again. In it the main character visits Siberia and and even the top of the world (I was influenced my Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein here!). Ironically I hadn’t even been to Russia while writing it but later I actually married in Kyrgyzstan, in the far east of the old USSR. There the ethnicity is largely that of Mongols from the far north. Perhaps this was a case of life imitating nature. My second book The Man Who Recreated Himself was largely set in England and in places I knew. By the time I wrote Infinite Blue Heaven I had married in Kyrgyzstan and so it made sense to write about the landscapes and people I had experienced. I hope this comes through in the book.
For the Iron Series, which is Science Fiction, obviously I am unable to visit most of the locations in the books and I make no apologies for that; I would love to go to The Moon and Mars, but its unlikely. Part of the beauty of Science Fiction is that the imagination is not limited to what is possible now. However for the Ordo Lupus series of books, once again I was able to describe places I had seen: Hampstead Heath, Highgate and France. I made use of the genealogical research I had done into my family in and around the French towns of Nevers and Donzy in the Languedoc region of France. I have also been to Paris so I was able to write from first hand about it.
Of course I am not saying you have to be old or have experienced everything you write about. Life is a continual learning experience anyway but characters seem more authentic when they are based on real people. This is a trick I often use, particularly with minor characters where you have little time and space to develop them. Landric in Ordo Lupus: The Devil’s Own Dice is a good example of this.
There are no excerpts this week, mainly because I am very close to finishing Iron III: Worlds Like Dust, and fully focused on this. Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate has also received a very nice review from Amit Bobrov on Amazon and I have had some good feedback on Too Bright the Sun from a reader who downloaded a free copy. They keen-eyed among you will also have noticed that I have published a new comedy erotic short story with Lami Kamikaze called Angela Ate my Dodo! Beautifully illustrated with colour paintings by the artist Saraswati Kiran, it’s very funny and wacky, and reminds me a bit of A Fish Called Wanda or the Austin Powers films. There is also an outline screenplay available on Amazon because I am very interested in working with a producer or director on a film project of this book. My Flick Fiction offering received a very muted response which is a bit disappointing. Perhaps only a few could be bothered to translate the Chinese version back. If you read it in the previous post and like it, please share it among your friends.