An odd couple of days. Yesterday, I finished off the ‘final, sneaky edit’ I tried to fit in before the imposition of my three-month writing jag. It was a really enjoyable book, by an author named Matthew Hole, whose first cosy crime novel – equally enjoyable – I edited a year or so ago. So I know for a fact it wasn’t the book that affected me. All I can tell you is that by evening time, I hadn’t written anything for myself all day.
The cheesed-off writer.
d, my wife, took a picture of me at my laptop, just to show me what I looked like. I looked like this.
She called it my ‘cheesed-off writer’ face, which seems to say everything it needs to say.
It’s interesting to me, because I’m always saying that I simply don’t have time to write. But have I written anything like as much as I could have in August to this point? No, not really. There’s always a series of things ‘to just finish first’. Even as I sit typing this, I know I have two peer-reviewed journal papers to edit and a magazine to put together. Oh and I should do another couple of non-fiction pieces. And maybe write a short story for a competition I saw today. And…and…
Clearly, while there are things that do need doing, there’s also still the internal fear of being taken seriously, even by myself, as a writer – the first and foremost job of whom, surely, is to write. This is undoubtedly a fear issue and a discipline issue, and clearly it needs to be tackled or I’ll get to the end of three months and still be thinking ‘Y’know, I could do this if ever I really applied myself…’
Today, I applied myself. Went to Starbucks, did some day-job, and then just wrote. Powered my way through 50 pages. See? Application, discipline and simply writing. I felt my mouth do a different thing, and took what’s nowadays known as a ‘selfie’ while I was writing.
The Joy of Writing. Serial killer eyes optional.
This was it.
I showed it to d, and once she’d got over the shock of the moderately psychotic, cattle-prodded eyes, she said ‘That’s got to go on the website. It’s the joy of a writer simply writing.’
So here you go. Fear or joy – the choice is yours every day you could be writing. Here’s to more days like today. More joyful days.
The Autons on the rampage in Spearhead From Space.
It could so easily have ended.
There in 1969, when the second Doctor was put on trial, it could so easily have ended. Perhaps the show could not have been brought down with just six words, but six sentences perhaps, re-written, could have seen the Doctor’s adventures brought to a halt, could have seen him return home to Gallifrey to save the lives of his friends, and that could have been that.
Certainly, the mood at the time seems to have been that if Doctor Who was to survive into the 1970s, Things Had To Change.
Making a change from all the Series 8 hype, Tony Fyler took a trip back to 1970 to write a long appreciation of Jon Pertwee’s debut story in Doctor Who, Spearhead from Space, for WarpedFactor.
‘What do you mean, spoiler-free? What’s the point of that, ya little fat Munchkin?
When David Tennant regenerated into Matt Smith, it ushered in the ‘fairy tale’ era of Doctor Who. Wibbly-wobbliness went into overdrive, and the grownier-uppier section of Who fandom groaned, as the whipper-snapper in his grandad’s clothes gave us a bandy-legged, drunken giraffe of a Time Lord, with occasional snaps of old-man rage and frequent over-emoting.
Within the first five minutes of his screen time as the Time Lord, Peter Capaldi makes one thing abundantly, Tuckerishly clear: The fairy tale’s over. They didn’t all live happily ever after.
Tony Fyler used to write regularly for Who site Life, Doctor Who and Combom, but hasn’t done so for a few years now. So it was delightful to be able to interest the Combomers with a version of the Deep Breath spoiler-free review.
Progress continues on the writing of Wonderful, the first new comic fantasy by Tony Fyler in several years. While there’s still some tweaking and chopping and adding and general stitching to do, the first 30,000 words are looking like at least they have the basic shape intended. Some great gags have been added, some clunky dialogue replaced with a new scene, and so on.
Meanwhile, the staggeringly brilliant character artwork of PS Brooks continues to dazzle and amaze.
We’ve been keeping these images to ourselves for a week, just occasionally staring at them for a while, but now it’s only fair you get to see them. The character of Hark, the original Joyful Noise, the angel who first set The Word to the music of the spheres and got the universe moving, is absolutely central to Wonderful – she’s one of the three main characters. And we’re delighted to reveal her to you here first.
As you can see, Hark looks almost as though she’s stepped off America’s Next Top Model – absolutely not how she was originally written. But the visual interpretation has lent itself to a rewrite of her early scenes to take account of the new look. We promise – you’re going to love them. Ladies and gentlemen, Hark, the Joyful Noise.
Hark at a later stage in the book – things are kicking off!
Hark as she first appears – wonderful but incredibly naive.
Coleman, Capaldi and ‘the non-star, Steven Moffat, at the Cardiff Deep Breath Q&A.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but Peter’s got a great sulky face. So you could tell which series of outfits Peter didn’t like cos the face would be all sulky. And then you could tell which series of outfits he did like, because suddenly in the pictures, he’d be pulling Doctor poses, pointing at things.
While it’s true that this hardly qualifies as writing so much as dictation, Tony Fyler’s notes on the Q&A session from the Cardiff premiere of Deep Breath were also published on WarpedFactor.
A key scene from Deep Breath, which sees the Doctor come into his own.
Whenever the Doctor regenerates what we know is that his personality will change radically. What doesn’t always happen is that the whole tone of the show changes at the same time.
Certainly, that happened when Matt Smith took over the role, ushering in the ‘fairy tale’ era.
The fairy tale’s over. They didn’t all live happily ever after.
Deep Breath, the first episode of the eighth series of Doctor Who, got a world premiere in Cardiff on 7th August. Tony Fyler had been fifth in the queue for tickets the morning they went on sale. He wrote a spoiler-free review of the episode for WarpedFactor.com.
The truism that people are busier when they’ve retired than they were when doing a ‘regular’ job seems to hold true in the sense of creative endeavour too. Yesterday I spent the majority of the day preparing for the accountant. Today, I’ve spent most of the day talking to the accountant (for the business, incidentally – I’m just as much of a starving artist as any of you!). The result is that at close to 9 pm, I have yet to write anything creative today.
This is not the sort of thing that needs to happen. I have the urge to write, and the ideas to write, and even technically now the time to write, but still, as yet, today has seen me write nothing.
There have been positive developments though – the notification that I’d earned a professional critique, with which news we launched this site, has today materialised into the request for a two-page synopsis, within three days. This will go along with my opening chapters (yes, the opening chapters I’ve now added to and changed significantly) and within 4-6 weeks, the pro crit will come back.
I’ve also had a stunning image through of a character in Wonderful, and as predicted, it’s both inspired me, and got me thinking about ways in which to re-write the character for more funny dialogue.
Tomorrow, there will be nothing written until at least the evening, as I’m going to Cardiff for the world premiere of the new series of Doctor Who.
So tonight, after dinner, I’m going to come back to my office and just write. Not Facebook, not Twitter, not even jump on this website. Just…write.
This seems like such a stupidly simple thing to say, but if one thing has come home to me over the last few days, it’s how easy it is to squander your writing time. The procession of gnats that make up daily life, besides a home life, a family, and the other commitments of daily life, can make you wonder where the days have gone. So tonight, in the grand tradition of students the night before an exam, I’m going to be pulling a late one – just me, one angel, one demon, one suicidal human and the shenanigans in which they get involved. Tonight, I will be a teenager again, drinking coffee and in all probability laughing at my own jokes, late into the night and on into morning.
Peter Capaldi, the oldest actor to play the Doctor since William Hartnell.
You have to love Doctor Who fandom. When Matt Smith was cast in the role, vast swathes of it were up in arms, crying ‘Moffatt’s gone mad! This whipper-snapper’s too young to be the Doctor!’
When Peter Capaldi was cast to follow him, entirely different but these days no less vast swathes of it were up in arms, crying ‘Moffatt’s gone mad! This codger’s too old to be the Doctor!’
While Moffatt may very well be mad, each of these cries misses a fundamental point.
Just weeks before the oldest Doctor since the original takes to the Tardis to win the hearts of the world, Tony Fyler explained the different kinds of stories that could be told better with an older actor in the role, on the WarpedFactor website.
The man was tall and thin and dressed in black. Black boots, black jeans, black shirt, black hair, black leather jacket. Black sunglasses. If the man had ever heard that some other colour was the new black, he clearly hadn’t been convinced. He grinned, bright and white and mutinous against all the black. Clint was probably, he thought, the least violent man that he himself knew, but looking at that grin, he couldn’t escape a twitching urge to punch its owner in the face. It was that sort of a grin.
That’s how, in the most recent version of the manuscript to float through my brain, I introduce the reader to the character of Tubal Cain – the worst fairy in the world. Seven lines, and they probably could and probably eventually will, be better.
Welcome Tubal Cain, in his tweaked and evolved version, as rendered, as ever, by PS Brooks.
Tubal Cain, proving that there are also 50 Shades of Black.
The trademark scowl he wears in the Fairy Kingdom at the general flutteriness of things.
Tubal Cain…grinning, having just arrived in the human world, where all the best toys are.
It’s a continuing revelation to me how people can take what you write, and breathe the life of their own imagination into it. I’m finding it inspiring, seeing these characters coming to life – Peony for instance, developed through the visual process and will now undergo a fruitful re-write when I come to focus on Happily Ever After.
This of course is the delicious irony of the thing. I had character profiles for the Happily Ever After characters available for Patrick before I had any to give him for Wonderful, despite it being Wonderful that I’m starting with. So there’s a thrumming itch of fairy-based inspiration at the back of my brain right now. But I’m starting to understand how this works. In the next few days, Hark, one of my Wonderful characters, will be visually arriving, and the thrum will rev into the work that I’m doing now.
And how’s that going? Well, I have 15,000 words that I’m sort of happy with. They’ll need a buffing towards the end, but I’ve solved a fairly major plotting issue early in the book (at least to my own satisfaction). Oh and to prologue or not to prologue? As it turns out, not to prologue – felt like I was unnecessarily slowing my opening, which d (did I mention my wife likes to be known only as d?) actually hates because if anything it’s too fast, and a bit multi-scenic, but which I think lends itself to the perfect “pre-credits” sequence. I’ve added the new prologue in as a flashback a little later. I’ve been wanting to write all day, but have instead been focusing on preparing for tomorrow – annual accounts day. Positively shudderworthy. I know from the feel in my head that the urge to write is still there, but am perfectly aware that what I write now will need rewriting tomorrow. Still, the point surely of a draft is to instil the discpline and do it, for all you have to re-do it when you’re more properly conscious. So here goes.
Wendy Jones has the perfect prescription to sweep you off your feet.
What happens when a medic writes romantic fiction?
In the case of my mate Wendy Jones (whose work I first encountered when she submitted a book for editing), you get beauty, conflict and a realistic, heartbreaking, heart-mending story, as in her two novels for HarperImpulse, The Songbird and the Soldier and By My Side.
This morning, Wendy posted a positively delicious semi-medical breakdown of The Anatomy of a Romantic Hero. Well worth a read, for both its steamy tone and the ready reckoner of what exactly is where!