Welcome to my Writers Blog

Feel free to read, comment, argue or complain. I would prefer complaints to be amusing rather than trivial.
Ideally you would like to read more, buy my book, ask for help, maybe commission me to write (I can dream). Email me at norristeve@gmail.com - I would love to hear from you. Otherwise just click the social network tabs, so more people get to enjoy.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sitting on the Fence

I wonder whether I’ve sat on the fence too long. I have tried to write books with reasoned arguments, with characters displaying passionate arguments for their point of view then fighting it out to the death to see who’s right. Yes it wouldn’t take long for the reader to work out where the author’s sympathies lay even though every character gets a chance to offer a reasoned defence.

That’s all well and good, I guess the book is called A Hierarchy of Reason and what’s that title worth if it is not exploring reasoned arguments for the things we do. My question is more specific than that. I look at some of the bloggers and political activists that litter the news and wonder whether I’m actually being soft. Like supporting your football team. Are you a shirt wearing, no-holds barred, fan who is convinced beyond doubt that your team is the absolute best and every other team is not worthy to be who they are. Or, as I’ve always been, liked my team but rather enjoyed watching certain others, retaining any denegration purely for current rivals. For instance I always hated Arsenal when I thought they could get the Title off Man Utd, but now I know they are unlikely to in the near future, I can appreciate watching them.

So it has become clear that I’m not a heart of my sleeve type of person. I like exploring viewpoints but won’t nail my colours to the mast. So what am I scared off? To return to the football analogy it’s because I was scared of getting a bloody nose, especially living on the wrong side of the Pennines these days for my football origins. I also think I’ve been scared of upsetting people. That goes to right to the depths of it. In writing terms it would suggest maximising your audience, something for everyone kind of thing, but am I failing myself by doing this.

The great writers were known for their ability to write with passion about a subject. They had a sense of their own righteousness and flogged it to the rest of the world whether they wanted to hear it or not. By reasoning your theoretical enemies perhaps you give them more credit than they deserve. If you think something is wrong, it’s wrong! You can listen to mitigation but you don’t have to be an independent judge. You’re a writer, the only opinion in your story that counts is your own. Of course this is high risk. A proportion of your audience will not appreciate it, but maybe you will be more respected in the literary world for your passion and defiance in your writing. The worst example for me of this was a strong catholic enjoying A Very English Revolution, my first book. The truth is, it was meant to be uncomfortable reading for a Catholic, not to be enjoyed but endured (maybe there was a little Christian kindness/politeness being offered in her response). By allowing my Catholic bad guy a forum for his individuality and separating him from his brethren I had let the enemy of the hook.
So it really is time to get off the fence.
Passion requires a clarity of viewpoint… but then isn’t it good to listen and learn. Make your mind up….

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Writing and the Real World

The question begs from my recent blogging absence, am I a writer or someone who plays at it whilst doing a proper job? A proper job in this case meaning something that whilst having its moments of interest, largely features in the means-to-an-end category. I do it because I have to.
So what does that do to writing? In the last few months, pretty much killed it stone-dead. I have written a few words but hardly anything of consequence. It saddens me a little, but probably not as much as you might think. Yes I have these big macho targets that I will write this and I will write that and in a year’s time, I can give up work and sell a million copies…. And yes I am still dreaming.
Writers, like every other dreamer, do live in the real world, at least for the moments when they are not exploring their odd fantasies on the page. Full time writers, except those living in the sales stratosphere or sitting on some other privileged pot of money still have a job of work to do. Everyone has to pimp and negotiate their way round the next pay cheque, much of it at the bidding of publisher with massive sales target expectations.
We all need to earn money to eat, including publishing sales directors. How much largely depends on how expensive your tastes are or how many dependents with expensive tastes you’ve created along the way.
It’s probable I have expensive tastes and possibly there are others around me drawing on that fund in some way. Therefore I have to earn money to cover that cost. The fact of life! The most effective way to do that is the day job and consequently the balance of writing time is lowered in proportion to it. Sad though might seem that way, it really isn’t. This isn’t a plea for sympathy but an acceptance of the choices you make. I could be the full time writer and make a business of flogging my wares round every shop in the country eeking out a living from random sales. No more day job, I could be the frugal artist. But I choose not to be because this is my getting away with it balance. Writing therefore is my indulgence, my passion but not my job. I do it when I can and I hopefully enjoy that indulgence and get to walkaway whenever it gets too hard or other things are more fun.
So yes I would like to write more and to achieve things in the literary world, but only when the time is right.
For the moment I will enjoy my job, smile at the hassle as it batters me with each day, and then indulge in the continuation of expensive tastes. I can finish the book tomorrow.