Dreams – as mentioned yesterday – can be strange things. But for a writer they can be a rich source of inspiration as well as good entertainment.
*FREE on Kindle for the next five days!
In my dream my wife and I weren’t married and she didn’t even know me – but I knew we’d been married and was trying to convince her we should be together.
Like the other night’s dream about typing crocodiles – yes, really! – I’ve no idea what sparked the dream as my wife and I hadn’t even fallen out.
But it did get me thinking. In my dream, I knew something from an alternative reality (the fact that my wife and I should be married) and I started to wonder: if someone found themselves in a parallel existence what else might they know? Could they use that knowledge to change – or prevent – events in the parallel world.
Initially, I wrote a short story called Fractured Lives – which appears in my short story collection of the same name. To read the original, click Fractured Lives.
Later, when I thought more about the potential implications, I expanded the short story into Thin Ice – the story of young journalist Danny Harper and his bid to not only win back the girl he loves but also halt a serial killer stalking the city where he lives.
Thin Ice is free on Kindle over the Easter weekend. Click on the links below or keep reading for a more detailed synopsis:
Everything is going perfectly for young journalist Danny Harper: a new flat, a career on the up and the girl he loves about to marry him. Then he wakes in hospital to find none of it’s true.
Refusing to admit he’s imagined it all, Harper tries to regain his lost life. But, while his claims are initially dismissed as delusion, he knows secrets that can’t be easily explained.
Thin Ice is the story of what happens when two parallel universes collide – one world where Danny Harper’s life is a success, the other where it’s a mess.
Stuck in the ‘wrong’ life, Harper starts trying to deal with this new, alternative existence. But in the process he has to deal with something that casts a new perspective on his problem – a deranged killer with a fanatical obsession for the ‘sins of woman’.
In Danny Harper’s ‘real’ world, the killer has already been caught. But in this alternative world – due in part to a mistake by the ‘other’ Harper – the killings have so far gone undetected. And the latest victim is a complete innocent.
Sometimes I do worry what’s going on in my head. My dreams are often vivid and usually a bit surreal but last night’s was a corker.
I dreamt that I was at a place where crocodiles were being taught how to use typewriters. It all seemed quite logical at the time – one of the crocs was lying on a beach busy typing while some kids were running past.
But where on earth did that come from? I hadn’t consumed anything I shouldn’t have – not even any alcohol. I hadn’t watched any wildlife documentaries or read anything about any kind of dangerous animals. It does make me wonder what’s going on inside my brain!
The inspiration for my books does come from all sorts of places: Thin Ice is based on a particularly lucid dream I had – but more on that tomorrow when it goes on promotion.
Findo Gask was inspired by a road sign, The Vault started as a single line about a night-time kidnapping attempt and the idea behind Pagan’s Sphinx came from a TV documentary about the origins of the Great Sphinx at Giza.
But typewriting crocodiles? Not sure I’ll get a book out of that one!
We got home this afternoon after a five-hour journey back from Cornwall, down in the far south west of England.
We used to live in Cornwall and although good to catch up with some old friends it was otherwise a very sombre experience. An old colleague of Carolyn’s was having a retirement party – aged 57 – having been told about a month ago that he’s got terminal cancer and can only expect to live another few months.
It was a strange experience going to what was – in reality – a funeral wake in advance. Knowing what to say under the circumstances was hard, particularly as the person concerned is such a lovely, good-natured guy who will be sorely missed.
So, it was a bitter-sweet time back in Cornwall and – as you can see from the pictures – the weather was in suitably sombre mood.
There’s so much advice out there for writers. Do this, don’t do this – and sometimes it gets right up my nose!
I know, I know: lots of it makes sense. After all, rules are there to give us guidance. And the people telling us the rules are experts who’ve had hotshot careers in publishing (or so they tell us) or have spent years studying and teaching English literature/creative writing at the University of Wherever.
But how many of us really like being told how we should write? So, this particular technique works for John Grisham or Stephen King or… whoever. Do we care? Do we want to be the next whoever?
No, we don’t. Personally, I want to be the first ME! And if I can get away with telling my stories in the way that comes naturally to me then so much the better.
And one of the things that struck me very quickly is that it’s nearly all ‘tell’ not ‘show’. And it works!
This is one of the best-selling books in the UK at the moment and it’s had all sorts of glowing praise heaped on it.
So yah boo sucks to all those experts who are always nagging us ‘show don’t tell’ and hurrah for Jonas Jonasson not only having the courage to break the rules but demonstrating that you can also write an excellent book without following everyone else’s advice.
Being the sad obsessive that I am, just got out of bed and checked the figures for my current giveaway on Pagan’s Sphinx.
While I’ve been over here sleeping, thousands of wonderful readers in North America have been downloading the book and it’s currently at No 37 in the top 100 Free – and No 3 in the Action & Adventure chart on Amazon.com!
Keep going, keep going… it would be wonderful to get to No 1.
The book’s free all of today too. To download a copy go to:
Partly inspired by Maddie Cochere’s recent references to bacon on her blog, I’d like to sing the praises of one of civilisation’s other greatest inventions.
I could just stop there but being a writer it’s hard to stop me prattling on when inspiration strikes. So, first of all here’s my desk:
I sat down at my laptop an hour or so ago, not sure whether I was feeling inspired to write or not. Then I thought, hmm, I quite fancy something to drink.
In the cupboard I found the bottle of Boondoggle that I’d bought a couple of weeks ago. It’s a fruity, blonde beer that delivers a punchy citrus aroma and a well-balanced, moreish fruity taste. Well… that’s what it says on the label. More to the point it’s 5% alcohol and tastes damn fine to me.
I’m sure it’s also helped with the writing. I’ve just knocked out 750 words in less than an hour and almost got to the conclusion of the confrontation at the flower show between mad old Keziah Black and her snooty distant cousin Cynthia. (Coming soon in Church Of The White Rabbits.)
So. Beer – it’s good stuff. The big question now is which bottle’s next?
(Damn. Just realised – Carolyn now gets my blog posts. Now my wife’s going to know I’ve been sitting here drinking beer while she was out at her orchestra. Well… I did earn it, darling. I worked up quite a sweat shifting all those wheelbarrows of compost when I was gardening today!)