Saturday, 28 July 2012

You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off

Chapter eight is in the bag. 5016 words and, unlike some of the early chapters, I really enjoyed writing this one. Actually the last three or four chapters were good fun, with lots of death and blood and destruction. One of the casualties of chapter 6 was the plan. I'd written five or six bullet points describing what happens for each of the chapters 6 to 15. I don't know why I'm surprised but, just like in Echo, the story went its own way when I started wondering what the characters would do in this situation and the answer was not actually what I intended. Again This isn't always a bad thing. Having got themselves in a difficult situation I spent ages trying to figure out how to get them out of it. I needn't have bothered. By the end of chapter 6 York's crew are different starships and in mortal danger. Ok smartarses, what now. Fortunately they're a resourceful lot and they worked out a plan. York's crew like to have a plan. By the end of chapter 8 they're well on the way to sorting themselves out. Those of you that are writers will be nodding along to my comments. The rest of you will probably think I'm nuts To continue. That was too easy I thought. Actually it wasn't easy and lots of people died (don't worry, they're not real people) but I decided to intervene (interfere) so I've just created a cliffhanger for the end of chapter 8 that sees Echo trapped outside a spaceship with her oxygen supply leaking from her damaged suit and they're under attack. Will she survive? Of course she will, I've got another sixteen chapters to write. I'm making no promises that she'll survive to the end of the book though.

Monday, 9 July 2012

John McCain wouldn't approve

I love gadgets. Some people are surprised to find that I'm not an early adopter of techie stuff, but once I've got it, I usually embrace it. I've had my iPad for about a month - I waited until it was a 3rd generation before i took the plunge, but it's like it's nailed to my hand. One of the reasons I went for a iPad 3 was that it has a voice recognition function. It works well, although it does cope better with a Scots accent than it does with my flat vowels. It's a very cool thing, however it hasn't got the use that I expected it to. Partly it's that I tend to write in the evening whilst not really watching the telly. Mostly it's because I can type faster than I can dictate. That's not quite true. I obviously type slower than I can speak, but that slight delay allows me to think through what I want to put down in a few words time. I read about writers who still write longhand, or insist on using some vintage Olivetti. I can understand that now. Dictating leads to lots of pauses and umms as I try to keep up with myself and, most importantly, the result isn't as grammatically or dramatically satisfying. Sometimes speed isn't everything. I recently watched a Programme on Quest about the development of the submachinegun. Some ex special forces type tried out all the key SMGs developed over the last seventy years. Rather than the Thompson, which had a high rate of fire, he preferred the 'grease gun'. Cheaper and less elegant, but the reason for his choice was that it had a lower rate of fire. If you watch the Die Hard series, it's all about the quantity of lead, but the real soldier preferred the better control and accuracy that it achieved. The Bad Girls clearly favour spraying about large quantities of depleted uranium rounds but Echo's weapon of choice only has eight rounds in the chamber and she has to conserve them, preferring selective and accurate fire over the room broom approach. It's still a cool button though. I'll just have to find a better way to use it.