Author at Work

Greetings visitor (and possibly friend),

I am currently in the throes of writing the first Trilogy. Exciting times.

WIP1 is out on submission. Wish it luck, please. WIP2 is under construction and about half written (30,000+ words for the first draft). WIP3 is lurking at the back of my mind but is most eager to leap onto the pages.

Otherwise I am discussing the marketing side with those that know to engage in this better.

Thanks for all your patience. I will resume posting soon…

What’s coming?

A series of articles on Left Brain : Right Brain thinking which links in with my earlier articles on where do ideas come from.

More short stories to entertain.

 

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Where do ideas come from?

It’s a question that has had me wondering for years. As an author I know ideas are what lies behind the Art. They are the core of my stories. When one of my characters does something it’s because of the cause and effect of ideas. It’s interesting in itself, but more than that, as I continue to search and improve myself in my art, this question becomes more important. If I can figure out the secret to where ideas comes from I will open a treasure chest of possibilities which will provide me with unlimited resources. Can you image that? It’s a tempting idea in itself. Exciting even.

So where do ideas come from and what are they? To start with I want to consider what I know.

We all have ideas and we all act on them, even if we end up taking no active action except to think or to ignore them. As human beings one of the differences between us and other animals is our ability to, not only have these innovative ideas, but also the passion to act on them. For example who was it that first thought about the possibilities of fire, or of the wheel? Did the first person actually take any action or just ponder the possibilities? Maybe they even communicated those ideas to another before they became a means for humanity to warm themselves, to cook, to build and to travel. Notice all the verbs? Our actions are born from ideas. They are important to understand. Ok that sounds about right, but still doesn’t address the issue – where do our ideas come from?

What else do I know? Some ideas are stronger than others. What determines whether an idea is motivational? What makes an idea take root and grow? The call to action depends on the depths to which our ideas inspire us. Inspiration is born from need, whether it’s a want to cure cancer because it personal, or whether it’s how can I help my team win its next game in sport? It’s subjective, it’s inspirational and it’s down to circumstance, the environment in which we live. That’s something helpful. There are external forces involved, it’s not all about inside us. Or should I say the perception of our external world set’s the environment for how fertile the ground on which the seeds of our ideas fall will be. If the first person to think about fire was warm, well fed and without fear what would they have made of its potential?

Intriguing. Hmmm. Ideas are subjective it seems. Limited by our perceptions, circumstance and abilities to see. Maybe you’ve heard of Aristotle’s cave. When one man leaves his world behind (the cave) explores new boundaries and when he returns no one can understand him as they have no frame of reference for his new insights, they have not travelled those paths and cannot see beyond their cave. Hmmm. It may be intriguing but I’m not sure I’m getting to the heart of this. I’ve only been able to say how ideas affect us, there’s still no clue about where they come from.

Let’s consider the mind, it’s taken that our thoughts come from our brains. So do these ideas come solely from inside ourselves? Are our ideas just random electrical impulses in our brains that form into something we can then see? What about divine inspiration or eureka moments? Are they just instances when certain things fall in the right slots inside our minds that we see particular circumstances in a different light? Is it all just us making sense out of the chaos of existence? That sounds like what I’ve always been told about creativity, but is it the full story? Is there more? There must be.

The mind works in two halves, apparently, the one side dealing with conscious thought and the other the subconscious. The subconscious works considerably faster than the conscious and each side influences the other in ways that are complex and are not always predictable. Is there a clue in this link between the conscious and the subconscious? Or are they just two methods of looking at the same thing? I’m not sure anyone knows enough about that to give the needed insights about ideas and where they come from.

So what else is there to know? As a species we can exchange ideas between ourselves by a whole number of different methods of communication, but what if an idea comes from beyond our own species thoughts? Is that even possible? Personally I believe anything is possible if we can only imagine how. So where does that leave me?

Stumped. I don’t know any answers.  But this idea has now taken a hold of me and I cannot let it go. So what’s next? Action. I am doing some research to find out if anyone else has discovered anything which will shed light on the question. And next month I will explore beyond my own cave and see what I can discover… At least it’s an idea for understanding what I need to know and more importantly – this is fun.

Once Upon a Page

Firstly I would like to apologise for missing my deadline last month. I would like to say it was because I was away on a much needed family holiday, or that my right arm has been out of commission due to repetitive strain from writing too much in awkward positions, or that writing my latest story for the Everlasting Fantastical Adventures took most of my time and inspiration up, but no excuse is ample or totally correct. Let’s just say I had a sabbatical and am now back.
This month’s piece has turned into the start of a bigger story with part one below …
ONCE UPON A PAGE there were three animals who went on an urgent quest into a deep dark cave. Each one determined to find something they had lost that was very dear to them.

First was Henry, a snow white goose who had had his honk stolen during a flight through a winter storm by a mischievous wind spirit. He had chased the spirit but lost it in the thickest part of the blizzard. A goose without a honk is a sad thing, every time he tried to warn his flock when a stranger approached he looked silly and ended up in a flap. Since then the other geese laughed at him and, what was worse, he couldn’t honk back.

The second was Nicholas, a jovial orang-utan who had misplaced his laugh when eating his way through a field of peanuts. He had searched and searched, opening as many shells as he could, but his laughter was gone. Now when he told a joke all he could raise was a smile and he felt his world was dull without his belly laugh that could shake the trees.

Last was Hugo, a big black-haired rat who went to sleep on New Year’s Eve and woke up the next morning incomplete. It had been dark in the sewer that night and there had been a troop of young rats from the local University prowling around. It was true Hugo had eaten a stash of overripe plums he had found which made him woozy, but he had felt nothing else that night. He had woken up without his tail, a limb no self-respecting rat could do without. His balance, coordination and his dignity were beyond repair.

The three had met in a market place in the town of Everhope on the outskirts of Wishful County. The market was the home of a famous Sage. Each had come to ask about their dilemmas. The Sage had listened to all three animals. She had told them they must go to the mountain of Faith nestled on the edge of the world to find their answers and that all three must undertake this journey together.

Half way up the mountain was a cave. A deep and lonely place in which was hidden a magical chest. If they could unlock the chest then their wishes would be granted. Without any arguments they decided to follow the Sage’s instructions and set out that same afternoon. Three days and three nights they toiled through torturous weather across the wilds. Each finding out something about the others during the hard journey. Now they had arrived and were standing on the brink.

“So this is the place.” Hugo peered into the gloom. “Looks spooky to me …” he said doubtfully, “and I like damp dark places.”

“-”, honked Henry, or rather didn’t. He buffeted his wings and shook his neck from side to side.

“Hugo, I think the goose wants to tell us something.” Nicholas scratched his chin. They hadn’t found out Henry’s name as his honk was gone and he couldn’t write.

“No doubt.” Hugo shrugged. “ What is it, Goose?”

“-”. Henry said silently. His white face and beak beginning to turn red with anger. The Orang-utan and the Rat exchanged blank looks.

“Maybe we should play charades?” Nicholas suggested.

“We tried that already, remember?” Hugo shook his head too quickly and almost fell over. He really missed his tail.

“When we were crossing that stream and the goose tried to tell us something. It didn’t work, so he lost his temper and took off in a flap. Landed on the other side without a care. He was so upset he wouldn’t help either of us across. We got all wet and cold just because I laughed at his antics.”

“Well, you shouldn’t have.” Nicholas grimaced, his eyes flat and his wrinkly face looked all lopsided and wrong. “I’m sure he was only trying to help us.”

“We’ll never know.” Hugo sniggered, “unless we find that Chest of Wishes.” He liked to snigger. It was a very ratty thing to do and he found himself sniggering a lot more now than he did before he lost his tail. With a quick glance at the other two to make sure they would follow, Hugo stepped into the cave.

“Come on, Goose. You know Hugo doesn’t mean any harm. He’s just like any other rat.” Nicholas held one long arm out to the bird.

“No I’m not!” Hugo snapped over his shoulder, but he didn’t stop to argue. He did not dare to turn in case he fell over. Henry flapped once and then gentle pressed his wingtip into the offered hand of Nicholas. Together they followed the rat into the gloom.
To be continued…

A Journey’s End

Everything felt bone dry. The sand under my feet, the scorching air around me and, most especially, the skull watching me from the top of the dune. This was why I was here. It had taken too many arid days to locate. Now it was almost within my reach… yet still a world away. I was tired, so very tired, I wasn’t sure I had the strength, or the heart left to finish this.

The sun flamed on, red-hot, merciless. The sand became a sea of glass beneath my worn out shoes. My long years hung on my frame like shackles, each step harder, more painful. I felt ancient, every joint aching deep into my shrinking marrow.

I had always been a curious soul, questing from place to place. Thinking back, it was my curiosity which had caused me all this trouble. If I hadn’t wanted to cross the desert, I wouldn’t have had my world ripped apart.

They said no one crossed the desert, it couldn’t be done. No…worse, it shouldn’t be done. Folk like us, just don’t do that sort of thing. It’s too dangerous and our bones don’t travel well. I didn’t argue, just up and walked out one night, without telling a soul.

I had been fine under my hat, until the vulture. Its brim had shielded me from the worst of the sun during the festering days. But the scavenger had swooped and now it was gone. Without my hat I knew I’d turn to dust in this remorseless oven. Maybe they had been right, maybe I should never have crossed the desert.

Stumbling, I persisted. Finally reaching the beach. Now my curiosity came down to this one last thing. The answer to my ultimate question which I hoped would make me complete.

I paused, wiping my ribs. I had long since stopped sweating, there was no moisture left, not for years. It was as if I had shed most of my skin. My chest hair was brittle, like withered grass. A gentle zephyr crackled my hair. The tang of the sea taunting me. All that water out there and yet I knew I couldn’t drink a drop. My eternal thirst would never be quenched by seawater.

The skull’s eyes were deep shadows, impassive, without compassion. There was no emotion inside, only logic. Cool and calculating.

I stretched my fingers up, grasping the skull. It felt light and airy.

I raised it high above me.

With a sigh I lowered the skull.

A shudder rattled my bones as life raced through me again. With a laugh of delight I moved my head from side to the side testing my neck. It was a perfect fit. I was whole again.

Now all I had to do was find my hat …

And for next month’s piece we have

                Characters = Hairy and Fit,

                Traits = Kind and Greedy,

               Conflict = Love,

               Location = Ocean,

              Objects = Ruby and Vehicle,

I wonder what will come to me?           Anyone else want a shot?

Image

Who am I and what am I writing?

Hi
I’m Sean and this is my new author’s info site (hence the name). In it you can find out what I am and my myriad characters are up to.

My Photo

You can also find out about other authors and their work. I hope you enjoy visiting. 

 

My Bio: Born in Scarborough and fortunate to grow up in different parts of Europe, finally finishing school in the Kingdom of Fife. The Author first went to St Andrews University, but preferred adventure so spent the next 20+ years as a Salty-Seadog sailing the Oceans and being fascinated by its wonders.

Finally he ‘swallowed-the-anchor’ and came ashore as a Management Consultant.
Married to Liz with two kids. They live in Scotland and look forward to entertaining youngsters of all ages in the years ahead.

 

1. What am I working on? Currently I am writing a series of books with the working title of the Everlasting Fantastical Adventures. The books are about an adventurous place where two children go to escape from the rules and restrictions of their parents and other interfering adults. The tales take them deep into this other reality which is filled with a variety of characters such as a talking Badger called Rodger Meles who knows where the best fun to be had is; a Twelve Toed Ugly Troll who doesn’t yet have a name and is totally troublesome; and a Great Wizard called Grumphspawn who likes fireworks, but is otherwise quite a grumpybum. The stories are for middle grade readers, though I am lucky to have quite a few adult fans around the world from earlier versions of the tales.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre? All writers live in a world created from their own experiences and learning. Each will be different. It’s the ability to fully reveal those inner thoughts and visions in a way best accessible to the readers that set the great writers apart. There are two main characters in my stories, a brother and sister, who venture into a different reality. A place with many characters and an abundance of magic, all in the background of danger as the influence of the alien race of Grimlees disturbs the peace and harmony in this Land of Dreams.

3. Why do I write what I do? For fun, adventure and the characters I have in my head won’t let me write anything else until they have had their day, especially Grumphspawn the Great Wizard and Shehalogon the Grimlee.

I started writing just to make a better connection with my own kids as I do travel a lot, even now. The stories always bring us closer together and they often ask to read the latest episodes I’ve written. It’s a wonderful feeling to see the look on your own kids’ faces as they enjoy the stories.

4. How does my writing process work? I am an unconventional writer. I had no literary background, being a seafarer and adventurer by nature. I even won an award for the Worst Writing in primary 7, in front of the whole school. A strange day I’ll never forget, but I didn’t let that stop me. I have done a lot of work and research, particularly with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in the last three years.

Now before I write I always visualise, like I am running through a movie set in my mind. I believe that writing is a link between the conscious and the subconscious, a mixture between the science and the art of it if you will. This is something that each writer does in a way which is unique to them.

I have always been a dreamer and my first quote (in a school magazine from Malta) was “I enjoy school, because I get to take trolls in my pocket”. Nothing more needs to be said about that.

Often when I write the world just fades into the background, once I remember sitting down to type when I was in Alexandria, Egypt. I wrote for what I thought was a couple of hours, but when I checked my watch, ten hours had flown by. This was quite a shock to my stomach and it protested loudly, as you can imagine. This ability to shut out what is around me means I can write almost anywhere, I just have to remember to set an alarm if there’s an appointment I need to attend.

I am about to start work on what I hope is the ultimate version of the stories, probably a twelve book series.

Wish me luck please!

 

 

For other author’s blogs please follow these links.

http://www.christinabanach.com

I’m Christina Banach, author of Minty and other young adult fiction. I’m in a state of excitement right now because it’s only a few weeks until Minty is published. Here is what Helen Bryant of Three Hares has to say about the book:

Minty is one of the most moving books for YA I’ve read in a long time. It’s a real weepy from start to finish but with heart and warmth at the core. It’s a cross between The Lovely Bones (without the grim murder) and Ghost and it stays with you long after you’ve finished the book.