Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Short stories

Speaking of Ray Bradbury - in one of the many pieces written in celebration of his life and work - it may have been the one by Margaret Atwood in the Guardian - I read that Bradbury used to write a short story every week.  I intend to do the same.

I have recently returned to the short story form.  I am writing some Christmas Tales of Terror, and writing them to a slightly crazy deadline.  They are to be published as an ebook for this coming Christmas.

I am thoroughly enjoying writing them and returning to a form I suspect is my default setting.  That isn't to say I find novels unenjoyable, its just that ideas come to me in short stories rather than novels.  I have to work at novels.  Short stories seem to come naturally.

This may be considered a weakness in my writing ability.  Maybe it is.  But I think in any creative process it is better to embrace your strengths and not fight against them.  So I intend to write a lot more short stories, even if I am the only person who ever reads them.  One a week seems a good target.

It didn't seem to do Ray Bradbury any harm.

Monday, 30 July 2012

The day it rained forever

I was very sad to hear that Ray Bradbury passed away recently.  He is a writer I had a huge respect for - and a great affection for too.

I discovered this battered Penguin edition of The Day it Rained Forever in amongst all of our books when they came out of storage.  Just looking at the contents page sent a thrill through me.  It sent me straight back to my teens when I loved both science fiction (although Bradbury is not so easy to define) and the short story.

I still meet people - otherwise well read people - who have never read Bradbury and I am always a little surprised.  He certainly deserves to be read, and I think he still has a lot to offer today's teenagers.  Any teachers out there - try reading Fever Dream to your English class.  It is a gem.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bad blogger

I used to write a blog post every day.  Or pretty much, anyway.  Then I discovered Facebook and then Twitter and I seemed to run out of spare time.  My blog has been collecting dust for the last month or so.

Authors are expected to scatter themselves across the internet in this manner, whilst also finding time to do events and signings and interviews.  In amongst all of that, we are, of course, also expected to write our books.

Facebook and Twitter have become almost compulsory.  I joined Facebook when I was trying to organise something that required me getting in contact with as many fellow authors and illustrators as possible.  It was much later that I got round to creating an author page.

I am a recent convert to Twitter.  I found it utterly baffling at first - and still do sometimes - but it came into its own last night as I watched the opening ceremony of the London Olympics and felt a great wave of positivity move through Twitter.  Positivity is not really a British characteristic and it felt good.

Facebook and Twitter both have their place.  I like the contact I have with other authors and artists through Facebook.  I really enjoy the sense of contact I have through my Facebook author page, particularly with readers from other countries.  I certainly get a lot of pleasure from the wit and intelligence of those I follow on Twitter.

In some ways it feels as though blogging has become a slightly outmoded form, but I rather like it.  It provides something different from the one-liners that Twitter and Facebook encourages.  Blogging requires more thought, more time.  Blogging is writing.

I have been very resistant to anything that might be called a 'routine' in my time as a writer or as a visual artist, other than having fairly normal working hours.  The way those working hours are used, however has always been a bit free-form.  But if I am to keep this blog alive - and I'd like to - then I am going to have to start being a bit more structured.

It will be fairly easy to tell how successful I've been...