You remember that I had decided to diversify a little bit?
Branch out as it were…
Have a new Pen Name?
No? Well this is the post about it… I’ll hang on while you go catch up…
Ah… there you are. Ready for the result now?
Going from the title, you might be fooled into thinking that I am going to regale you with a scholarly essay.
You’re in luck though…there’s a reason that I hated English A Level…
Actually, I just finished reading “Lies Sleeping” by Ben Aaronovitch.
It was one of my christmas presents and all the way through I enjoyed the experience. I always do. Mostly because it’s like Ben Aaronovitch seems to have read all the same books as me – I’m forever catching the literary version of what film buffs like to call Easter Eggs – and we appear to have the same sense of humour. Which probably explains all the Pratchett references…
However, this time round I finished the book and found myself thinking two things;
1) I wish I could write something that good.
2) I now see the reason that Sir Terry Pratchett and various other big authors have said “When you’re writing, you shouldn’t read in the genre you’re writing in.”
The first thought, is what I always think when I read one of my favourite authors. Doesn’t matter if it’s STP, King, Tolkien, Carriger, Howey, Eddings, Reichs, Slaughter… I always feel in awe of the story I’ve just read and the author whose imagination it came out of.
The second one requires a bit more explanation though.
Thinking about all the books I have read over the years, I’ve read a startling breadth of stories and authors. I started with Enid Blyton, Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis, passed through Tolkien, Eddings, Bradbury, Clarke, Herbert, Anthony, McCaffrey, Michener, Le Guin, Anthony… you get the idea.
I took in Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koontz and various other horror writers. I spent some time in Romance Land (yes, even Mills & Boon) and although I don’t remember any of the authors (other than the Grande Dame of that realm, Barbara Cartland) they all delighted me while I read them.
They’ve all had an effect on my writing, even if I don’t know it. I adore STP, but I can’t deliberately write Comedic Fantasy. I’ve been told that there’s a certain humour to my fantasy though, so something must have rubbed off on me.
The problem is, when you read exclusively in one genre, you don’t just pick up small touches of each author’s voice; you start sounding like them enough that it could be considered plagiarism. I had a brush with that when I was at Uni – I helped TOH with his written coursework for the course we were doing together, and I’d changed his personal “voice” enough that it sounded like he’d copied my work!
That time, he was accused of plagiarising me… and I really don’t want to have my work sound so much like my favourite authors that I get sued for plagiarism! Hence why I thought the second thought…
So what’s the fix? I have to read in my favourite genre to keep up with my favourite authors or any trends, but I don’t want to sound like them. Any ideas?
The Land Far Away is a series that is very close to my heart. It’s gentle, full of adventure and fun, but the stories always seem to have a meaning. However, the reasons that LFA is special to me are manifold…
Firstly is this character’s story –
Pika the Phluph and The Gribblebid Tough was the first children’s book that I ever wrote and it’s the one that brought Maria K and I together. I’d been messing around with nonsense rhymes and she started drawing some of the characters from the post they appeared on. I loved her drawing style, so asked her if she wanted to collaborate. The collaboration turned into a long distance friendship – she and I have a lot in common!
Then of course, Pika the Phluph herself was created by my oldest daughter when she had just started school – she was struggling with the whole “PH” is “FF” sound and I wrote part of the story to show her what it meant – I drew a sketch of the character to show her that Pika was “fluffy” and that it could also be spelt “Phluphy”. I just continued writing about Pika because she was so cute (like my daughter at the time) and I’d been bitten by the rhyming story bug.
The next few books followed rapidly. Rhyming stories can be very hard to get right, so it took a while to get them right. Maria would sketch up the stories as I did them (I owe her several boxes of colouring pencils at the very least) and then format and publish them (it’s easier if she does that end because she has the scans of the pictures in the right DPI) – that segued into producing e-books of them and finally finding Trista Shaye to voice them in the audio books.
And that pretty much brings me up to date with the latest Land Far Away news!!
Last christmas I bought a cute little (singing) reindeer that I named Rosie. I had intended her to be a part of my Satyulemas Decorations, but PW jumped on her and immediately wore out the singing part of her!
Once I’d rescued her from PW, I sat her in with the rest of my collection of Stuffies and thought about her… next thing I know, I’m writing another Land Far Away rhyming story. It had been a long while since I’d managed to start one and actually finish it, but Rosie’s story just flowed out of my mind onto the screen in front of me…
A quick edit and polish later and I passed it to Maria.
She just published it… YAY! It’s currently only available in Print format, but knowing Maria, the e-book and Audiobook formats won’t be all that far behind!
So here is the latest of the Land Far Away stories –
Another Christmas comes to Land Far Away, and with it – a new set of troubles and adventures.
Rosie is a cute little Reindeer Calf, doing what Reindeer Calves love to do; eating Lichen and playing in the snow.
Unfortunately, playing in the snow is what gets her in trouble and it’s up to Quinza the Linzer to find and rescue her from the snowy wastes of Linzerland…
Available now in Print from Amazon:
I didn’t mind that so much – having the first verse of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” play every thirty seconds was a bit annoying…
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