Sunday, May 15, 2011

Authors and books

I’ve never professed to be the best writer in the world but I enjoy making stuff up. Of course I hope other people like it too (the stuff I make up that is), because if you’re spending money on what I’ve written, I don’t want you, the reader to be disappointed. But you’re never going to please everyone, and people will find fault somewhere, whether it’s the prose, punctuation, grammar, spelling, characters, dialogue etc, but I try to write engaging fiction that I hope makes people keep turning the pages. It’s even more important to please people with a digital book as when you have a paperback, you can at least sell it on or use it to wipe your arse or stick it under a wobbly table leg, but in the digital age you can’t even say it’s worth the paper it’s written on. That’s why I appreciate it when anyone takes a chance on me and purchases something I’ve written. With so much choice out there it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff and as a reader myself, I know what it’s like to take a chance and buy something from an author you’ve never read before, so in alphabetical order I’m going to give a shout out to some of the perhaps less well known authors I’ve recently read whose work I've enjoyed in the hope you find something you might like too:

Kealan Patrick Burke
Garry Charles
Rick Chesler
JG Faherty
Guido Henkel
Dave Jeffery
Gary McMahon
Scott Nicholson
Rod Rees
Simon Royle
Daniel I Russell
Jeff Strand
Lee Thompson
Vicki Tyley
Zoe Winters

Monday, May 02, 2011

The many masks we wear

I’ve been thinking about masks. The masks we all wear to be precise. You see, we all wear different masks around different people. Take for example a character I shall call Derek Macmillan.

Derek is married with two children. He works in a factory.

His parents call him Derek, using the name often when addressing him. Derek never swears around his parents and even though he is in his late thirties, he would probably get a clip around the ear if he did so.

His wife on the other hand rarely calls him by any name as she has no need of such appellations, although she sometimes calls him Del when needing to speak to him directly (when she’s angry she calls him by his full name). Derek only swears in front of his wife when he is really, really pissed off, which gives the profanity more significance.

Derek’s son calls him Dad. Before he turned eight, he called him Daddy. His daughter calls him Dad too. Derek has never sworn within earshot of his children as he doesn’t want to set a bad example.

At work, they call him Del. He swears like a trooper at work, mainly using the cussing in the form of light hearted banter. He also says things at work that he would never tell his wife.

Derek also has a close circle of friends that he grew up with. To them he is known as Mac, an abbreviation of his surname. He has no problem swearing while around his closest friends, but he doesn’t overdo it.

To those who address him formally, he is called Mr. Macmillan. He never swears around people he doesn’t know very well as he doesn’t want them to judge him by his use of bad language. He also adopts certain airs and graces with people he doesn’t know, trying to make himself sound more eloquent.

So here we have one man with five masks in the forms of Derek, Dad, Del, Mac and Mr. Macmillan. Each name gives Derek a different personality, although at heart he is one and the same.

I guess this is why authors should explore every facet of their fictional characters, and take into account what mannerism they adopt when wearing each mask.