Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
I'm writing to a deadline. i want to write 6000 words per day. I've been doing it for a few days now. And goodness, is it difficult. It's so hard not to write the same expressions over and over. In the end I gave in - I can always vary them on the first read through. Six thousand words take me about eight hours to write and leave me completely exhausted. Still, it means I'll meet my deadline. And, since the book is near its end, it's entirely appropriate that the pace should quicken.
Oh, by the way, my guestbook is under attack by a serial sex-site spammer. It's already cost me half an hour today cleaning it up. The spam will be back tomorrow, I'm sure.
Don't all rush off to look. I'm watching you ...
Sorry for the lack of blogging, but I got sucked in to watching three entire seasons of the TV show 'Lost'. I'm a sucker for plot twists, interconnections and arcane mysteries. 'Lost' has been enormous fun, and I'm looking forward to season four.
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' awaits my pleasure. Alex, my younger lad, read it yesterday; Iain is reading it today. I'll get hold of it in an hour or so. Pity I have so many other things to do! More mysteries - yay.
Hope you're enjoying the English sun, Linda. Actually, best wishes to all in the UK suffering the effects of the terrible weather.
Where do authors get their ideas from?
This is the most often-asked question of authors at conventions. Author answers range from the helpful, as I am about to outline below, to the annoyed and frustrated: 'I have a Random Ideas Generator at home - all authors get issued with one. Didn't your publisher send you one?' is one of the better comments I've heard.
So where doI get my ideas from? My best ideas come from putting together two or more images or thoughts that have no business being put together.
So, for my latest novel, I have a culture which expresses itself most eloquently in herb drinking ceremonies. But not the elaborate Japanese tea ceremonies, more the earthy British pub kind of drinking, only with tea, not alcohol. After reading up on it, there's not much that herbs can't do: stimulants, relaxants, aphrodisiacs, curatives, you name it, herbs can do it. Hosts assess your character when you enter the Tea House and suit a drink to you, much the same way as is done with personal horoscopes. So the idea is Ceremonial Tea Drinking + British Pub + horoscopes = the famous Ikhnos Tea Chain (which is a chain of Tea Houses a pilgrim can travel around).
This culture will appear in Dark Heart, the novel I'm currently running behind schedule on.
I also find ideas in the oddest things. About 15 years ago I was terribly ill one night, and I spent the whole night in the small room staring at the linoleum ... which, I noticed, had a strange pattern. It looked almost like a robed, faceless fanatic raising his hands above his head. And so the character of the Hermit from the Fire of Heaven trilogy was born.
Free association, that's the thing. Put unlikely ideas and images together and you make up something all your own. It's all Lego, really. We all have the same bricks, but some people can make the coolest models.
Just finished writing a torture scene. I don't like writing such things, but I really couldn't avoid it - it seemed necessary to the story. Some writers seem to dash these things off without a second thought, but I felt unclean. Still do. I'm wondering whether to leave it in or take it out.
I felt a bit like I do when they give you too much information on the news. You know, the rapist did this and this and this to his victim. Why do we need to know?
How do you feel when you read that sort of stuff?