Czech Mate – early moves

 

Any creative writer who is honest will admit that it would be nice to make it big, but while we wait for a movie producer to call – we continue to work, honing our craft.

Blog posts made by our fraternity are wide-ranging. Depending on how things are going with the Work in Progress (WIP), it could be a post about how the previous book is selling (or not), ideas for the new one, a review on somebody’s book, or many other topics.

If it’s a promotion, it might be shouting about the latest idea, or trying to push it when the work is done, and it’s available. I thought it would make a change to talk about a new novel in those introductory stages of its life.

 

How did I come up with the idea for my latest?

This is the year I retire, and our son, Andrew, (who lives in Amsterdam), got in touch a few months ago and suggested that we had a father and son reunion to celebrate my special year. We’ve both seen a lot of Europe, although he’s seen more than me. I was delighted when he said Prague was our destination for a four-day stay. I decided I’d write a story using the Czech capital as a backdrop.

Within twenty-four hours (and an early morning cycle ride), I had considered romance or thriller and had a basic idea for my plot.

What came next?

It took less than two days before I had my working title, Czech Mate, and I began creating my main character, a Scottish artist called Bryce. As my morning cycle rides were conducted each day I considered locations, action sequences, other characters, and crucially who were the good guys and the bad guys.

I dedicate a notebook to each of my projects and this one was no different. When I went shopping with my wife, or we went somewhere for a day out, my Czech Mate notebook went too. I listed names, ages, nationalities, and a few personal details for each new character.

What about research?

Google is good, but, in mid-September I flew from the north of England to Prague in the Czech Republic, to meet Andrew, who had flown from Amsterdam.

Andrew is a keen photographer with an eye for detail, so when he was setting up his tripod, I had ample opportunity to take pictures, make notes, and gain a ‘feel’ for my surroundings.

To us, streets, restaurants, pubs, theatres, galleries, churches and regular tourist attractions are not simply places of interest, they are ‘subjects’, or ‘locations’. For four days we were both able to indulge in our chosen passions.

Prior to the trip, I spent hours reading up on the history of the Czech Republic and had several pages of notes on people, places, and political events.

How did I follow up my great trip?

Since my return, I’ve written four thousand words, invented a few action sequences, and worked out who is good, bad, or on the fence. A few locations will be in the UK which will help to balance the story.

What about character detail and development?

I’m presently filling out my characters’ details as I let the early part of the story rest. Each person will have a date of birth, a physical appearance, a profession, an allegiance, a background, and certain skills. No, not all detail will be brought into the story, but it’s important to create a rounded character in the author’s mind which helps to develop the character for their part.

When will the story be published?

I aim to have the basic storyline completed by end December 2017. Like all my projects, it will be printed and left aside for three weeks, or perhaps a month. During that time I’ll work on something else. There are three main projects in my stable at present which is healthy, because they will each be allowed at least three weeks between drafts.

At present, I’d like to see Czech Mate being published in the spring of 2018.

As always, thank you for taking an interest in my work and my words. All feedback is welcome.

***

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A Taste of Honey – an overview

atasteofhoney(1)Have you ever read a book and thought you had a good idea for a scene?

Perhaps you’re not a writer, but you would like to suggest an idea.

Please read on.

The plot.

On 14th June 2003, Kimberley Forest, a NYPD police officer is awakened by the buzz of her cell phone. She reaches out from bed and sees that the caller is her teenage sister.

When the off-duty officer listens to the call, she hears only a conversation between two men.

In less than an hour, Kimberley is armed and driving 700 miles to the family home in Greensburg, Indiana.

Her life has been changed, and she is intent on changing a few others.

 ***

The project.

My intention is to write a novel under the aforementioned title, but it might be a novel with a difference. I have already started working on the main character’s bio, so we are getting better acquainted with every day that passes.

Chapter 1 is posted on this blog and I’m working on the first draft of the next two chapters. The opening passage is posted on my author website on the Projects page. The ‘intro’ will remain there for one month.

I would like comments and if they feel the urge, visitors may offer suggestions for scenarios that the character might be involved in at some point in the story.

I will post chapters here and mention it on my author website. From day one, there will be an open invitation for readers of this blog, my creative writer and artist site, or my author website to get in touch with ideas.

You don’t have to be a writer to put forward an idea, and you don’t have to ‘write’ the passage – simply send me an outline. Should any good suggestions be forthcoming, I will not be trying to work them immediately, but I will make every effort to get them in. As and when an idea is used I will credit the author.

I’d like to produce a completed novel at the end of the project, so it might take many months. When the story is complete I will remove the chapters for editing and rewriting. At such time as the manuscript is complete, I will be accrediting all who have taken part with a brief explanation to the reader in the preface about what we have accomplished together.

If you have any early comments on my idea or the process, please leave a comment here on my blog, on my creative writer and artist site, or on my author website.

Up to the first five chapters will be available to read in their first draft on this blog.

Tom

Why is it good to attempt writing poetry? Part 2

Courage - Part 2Okay, so in my first post regarding this idea, I mentioned that a poem was effectively a descriptive piece of writing, or in other words a story.

I also suggested that a simple poem of no more than three stanzas (verses) would be enough to give us the beginning, middle and end for a short story idea.

Those first three stanzas took less than 10 minutes to write. They gave a simple beginning, middle and end.

Instead of using something so raw, I thought we’d investigate the idea of adding a bit more meat to the bones; a little more information, in rhyme. The original three stanzas will be in a darker colour to make them stand out. I will only add three more stanzas.

‘A Fighter Pilot’s Day’

Klaxon’s two-tone screams

pierced the morning air

Eager ground-crew teams

aircraft to prepare

                 .

Jack took off in his plane

a fighter in the air

He’d be shot at once again

at fear again he’d stare

                  .

A German ‘ace’ called Schmidt

espied the lead Spitfire

His weapons button hit

sent rapid streaming fire

                   .

The dog-fight was Jack’s worst

his craft was torn apart

Damaged by a burst

of bullets at the start

                   .

Jack’s plane dived towards the land

and o’er the coastal town

This end he hadn’t planned

as he glanced around

                 .

Landing would be hard

to miss the town he’d try

A field was Jack’s last card

he accepted he might die

I believe that’s the basis of our experimental short story. In the next two days I personally will be writing a short story and for now, retaining the working title used here. In my next post, I’ll make a short list of the ingredients I’ll consider, combined with the information supplied in the poem.

Please bear in mind that the poem has only taken about 20 minutes to put together. A lot of writers might spend much longer just toying with their first line of a story.

If anybody out there thinks they could produce a short story between 1000 – 1500 words based on this poem, please have a go, and we’ll give them an airing in a few days.

Thank you for reading, and as always, all comments are welcome and will be answered.