2 Days to go

One of the nice things about having a blog is that, like a diary, you can have a good moan now and again. It really does anger me when people you are supposed to trust and believe in, lie to your face, lie by omission and lie to hide deceit. I have been lied to a lot recently and it has to stop. I find it worse when the lies are told with such conviction that the liars actually believe what they are saying. As a writer I have been observing people closely for a long time now for character studies and nearly everyone has a tell, something their body does unconsciously that gives the game away when they are not being honest. And yet despite this they carry on lying with the complete arrogance and belief that they are safe in their lies and nobody can see through them.

Everybody has a truth, their own truth. Many hide this with lies, pretending to be something they are not, covering their inadequacies or hiding their imperfections. very few celebrate what and who they really are, full of human frailties a combination of good and bad. There is nothing wrong with hiding what you are ashamed of but why lie about it. It's up to you if you choose to acknowledge weaknesses but don't hide them with a lie. Just don't talk about it. 

It's interesting that when you compare the amount of lies with stories and novels, it's surprising how much we embrace the use of them. The plots of most novels depend on having a character that is hiding behind a bed of lies only to be caught out at the end of the story. We make this character seemingly innocent, devoid of fault and above suspicion in order to fool the readers before we drop the bombshell in the climax of the story. 

Similarities between real people and novel characters are not surprising, since this is all we have to model them on. But in real life lies hurt and destroy trust that might have taken years to grow and develop. 

Happy reading

Steve

3 Days to go

I guess the last few day has been all about starting the new book. It's a good time for me because the start of them is my favourite part, the building of a character, the setting of a scene. I've started this one a little differently though. A sports commentary, a challenge of a different sort to say the least. I think it works and I quite like the fact that it's different. So this book is going to be very different to what I normally write. A survival story with one of my characters searching to become self aware after a life-changing injury. His struggle to come to terms with moving forward and the extreme action he takes to sort it out, leads him on an adventure that is far more than he ever expects it to be.

A second character, there in his new place and not from choice either is as awkward as anybody could possibly be. Impetuous, feisty, strong-willed and as stubborn as hell this person gives my hero a very rough time from the offset and when he tries to get her back to civilisation so that he can move on with what he needs to do nature intervenes and makes that impossible. Two unlikely characters are forced to winter in the middle of nowhere, hounded by wolves and bears that should have hibernated but haven't. Emotions run high as the characters continually clash, fight and despair of each other.

Why am I writing a book like this? Well it's simple, I was dared and I like to try what I have been dared to do. It is a challenge, and I will be seeking advice from the people in my writing circle who have been with me for the past two years or so. I trust their views, comments and advice. I'm not joking when I say that I have the best support team in my camp that I could possibly have and I don't take what they do for me lightly.

Writing might be a mainly solitary pursuit but in the production of a book you need a team and a good one. I'm blessed

Happy reading

Steve

4 Days to go

Apart from writing there's little I enjoy in my working life more than going into schools and conducting workshops. The ability to tell stories has always been a skill of mine and I really enjoy having a captive audience of children. They are with out doubt the most appreciative audience to have and my harshest critics. Today I was at Lunsford school in Maidstone and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. Working with KS2 i have a variety of topics to teach them and always give a writing challenge that hopefully inspire some excellent writing. I have to say that today was special with a number of boys taking up the challenge of writing a rap and one individual a song. I get them occasionally but four in one day is exceptional. Not only did they write them, they performed them too. Well done guys, super effort and completely inline with the brief I set them.

I like to conduct workshops with an editing focus too but never tell the children this until they have had a good time doing the tasks I set. They are always amazed when I explain that they have been editing without realising it. I quite often refer to editing as sentence manipulation and they seem to like this alternative title. It's good to know that editing can be fun and that the technical side of writing doesn't have to bore the children to death.

I'm now looking for a couple of schools to help me launch Walking with the Smuggler which is set in Kent and Sussex. perhaps an opportunity to promote your school as a leader in the promotion of good literature and get yourselves in the press. If any school out there is interested in this let me know by dropping me a line through my website.

Happy Reading

Steve

5 days to go

It’s been a mixed day today, some work some pleasure and more ammunition of life to be stored away to be used in some later piece of writing. I had my normal start to the day with a good swim, it’s taken a while but I’m up to swimming a mile each time I go now and it seems to balance the right amount of time I can spare for it with the right amount of exercise. My stamina has increased dramatically since I started this and it’s not as brutal on the body as the gym can be.

Then it’s straight into the writing, or something writing related, while I’m still buzzing from the exercise for a couple of hours. Writing several books at a time is a real help to keep the productivity going and vary what I’m writing about. I’ve never experienced writer’s block because if I’m not in the mood to write I don’t. There’s always editing, or sentence manipulation as I prefer to think of it, which can be done as an alternative.

After that I visited a TA I used to work with at Brenzett Primary. It was lovely to catch up and share a few of the many memories I have from my time there. Such a visit is also good for news of others I have worked with too and I was pleased to hear that they are all doing well.

A few hours off to spend some quality time walking, with the proverbial tea and cake following, and then it’s back to work again. But the afternoon off was refreshing enough to give another boost to the power of creativity. It’s become the norm for me, when I’m not in schools, to seek a good break in the afternoons and it works to help inspire me for the evening session.

Now as I come to the end of another long day, it’s just a matter of sorting out the blog and the social media before calling it a night. A typical non touring day, perhaps not too interesting to many, but everything I do, see and experience is usable in my world of creativity and therefore relevant to it. For now my life is what it needs to be.

Happy reading

Steve

6 Days to go

I started the new adult novel last night. After writing 50 or more children’s books it’s good to take on the challenge of the adult market. It’s great to be able to draw on the experiences of adulthood too, instead of those I have as a child. Let’s face it, I have spent two-thirds of my life as an adult already. Even with the dialogue it’s a relief to be able to use the way I talk instead of how a teenager or youngster speaks for a change. I love increasing the detail and description too, playing with the language. Manipulating the sentences is my alternative title for editing. Sounds much more fun. Yeah, I’m liking this new challenge at the moment.

As usual I haven’t planned the book at all and with the exception of a few very basic ideas it will evolve on paper from my head in the usual way. I never have a clue what is going to happen or in which direction the story might go. It is part of what I do that’s very exciting. David Almond, who wrote Skellig said the story wrote itself and I know exactly what he meant by that.

As usual I am looking around to find characteristics of friends and acquaintances to add to the characters I create. Working in McDonalds, as I sometimes do when I’m on the road, is a great place to pick up on little quirks or mannerisms in the customers and I can feed some of these into the characters too.

There is always a lot to think about when starting a new book like making the opening as engaging as possible. I’ve tried something different with this one. Of course it is a first draft so it might well be edited out by the time the book is finished, but I like the idea of what I’ve done.

If you’ve got any ideas of how to start a new novel that you’d like to share, drop me a line on the contact section of my website.

Happy reading

Steve

C.S. Clifford

Author writing for all ages
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