I don’t really set New Year Resolutions but 2014 seemed to be an ever increasingly good year both for my writing and for my guided tours business. I spent much of the holiday period on mapping things out for the future; adding new tours to my official and partnered websites and thinking of ways to progress my writing. I was a lot busier with tours than I expected, for some reason I didn’t imagine I would have any in December and as it happened I had 6 or 7 so I did get a little behind schedule. I totally forgive my tourists though, they were all lovely people and we had some great days out and it is my job after all!
Now we are into January and it is time to concentrate on writing for a few months. I’m always a firm believer that in order to improve my writing it is necessary to both write frequently and on different subjects. Back as a student in the halcyon days of the 1990’s I remember eagerly devouring all the writing and production books related to Star Trek. I read the old scripts, met the writers, took a writing class with some of the TNG and DS9 writers and basically by the end of it I could not only tell you what all of the flashing lights do on Scotty’s Engineering Console but tell you how many miles of wiring there was and how to write a good episode within budget.
I remember that whenever I was a little stuck with one of my essays for my Masters, I would write myself a Star Trek or X-Files screenplay in just a day or so to get me in the mood for writing academically. I ended up sending 3 of the resultant scripts to Paramount Studios. Two of them got to the final selection beating several thousand others of amateurs and professionals alike. I still have the returned scripts somewhere with crossed out lines, inserted notes and various other things that give the impression they were looking at them very seriously. I enjoy writing screenplays and hope to have good news to announce on one very soon.
I learned several things from all this, firstly I got very good at predicting entire episodes of Voyager from the teaser, that the pipes in Engineering labelled GNDN stand for ‘Goes Nowhere Does Nothing’ and that practice makes perfect. The creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, said that like any other art or skill that practice makes perfect. Captain Kirk himself said that “you cannot just get up one morning and say that today I will be brilliant” A footballer cannot suddenly become a star player, it takes thousands of hours of practice and training.
I always think that it is important to write about varied subjects which is why my blog pretty much covers everything in existence or as someone once said, like Wikipedia but more accurate and more entertaining. Partly it’s because I would get bored if I just wrote about one subject and I think readers would too. It’s also though because I want to get better at writing. That’s one of the reasons my books thus far are all so different from each other and having spent the last 6 months writing history books because I wanted a change from fiction, well now I found myself wanting to write a work of fiction before completing a half-written Star Trek related factual book which I put on hold last year to write my history book.
I can’t say what the next book will be about but I can say that during the Christmas break I wrote a short story entitled ‘The Silence Fell’. The idea emerged from the story treatment I penned for a possible TV short but writing for television and writing for novels are too entirely different beasts so in practice it has very little in common with its forebear.
It is a short story of just 3,100 words and it is a snowy wintry ghost story which involves a young paper-boy taking a short cut through a park in which resides a ghostly spectre that ensnares children forever to feed off their life-energy. It also has some of the scariest snowmen around which are in some way reminiscent of The Weeping Angels of Dr Who. It’s suitable for teenagers and adults who enjoy a ghostly, Twilight Zone style of story without any blood or gore.
Due to the relatively short word-length it is only available on electronic formats such as Kindle, iBooks and Kobo and at just 99 cents / 99 pence I hope it will be a great introduction to some of my other novels too. It has certainly got me all set up to write a full length novel this spring and work on a few other projects such as a mailing list and making my books available on many more websites than just the Amazon ones. You can take a look at The Silence Fell at http://goo.gl/17Rg0D for Amazon UK and http://goo.gl/F27DyC for Amazon USA and I will update its availability on other outlets on my book pages once I have it.