Incoming, appearances, etc

Coming up: next week I'm one of several Tor writers taking part in the SFX Weekender down near Brighton way; it'll be my first full-on media type con (excepting Sci-Fi London last year, which I was only at for the day). Apart from myself, there'll be the likes of Peter F. Hamilton, China Mieville and others.

Later in the month on Saturday February 26th*,  I'll be at the excellent Plan B Books in Glasgow (5 Osborne Street, just across from 13th Note) for a live chat and Q&A along with Hal Duncan and Richard Morgan. See you there!

*Yes, I know the Plan B site says 19th February, but to my knowledge the date has been switched to the 26th.


My Stupid Idea of the Day

It occurs to me I have lots and lots of ideas for things, not just stories, but most of them really, really stupid. Black-and-white-footage-of-some-bloke-smoking-a-pipe-and-cycling-off-the-end-of-a-pier-on-a-bicycle-equipped-with-hilariously-flapping-wings-stupid. Then I realised I had a blog, where I could post all my stupid ideas if I wanted! Brilliant! Maybe I'll make it a regular feature (or more likely get bored with it and never write another 'stupid idea of the day' post).

My stupid idea of the day ('stupid' because there's probably a plethora of rights-related issues that would make it impossible): can't finish a story? Upload it to a website filled with other, unfinished stories, then browse everyone else's still-borns and see if you can think of a really cool ending for them. The website - let's call it 'finishmystory.com' - would have tiers of membership, including a restricted-access area especially for writers with a proven professional track record of publication. Because even pro writers have lots of stories they never finish, because they can't think of an ending!

Let's say you upload your unfinished story to the site. Somebody trips along, checks out the one-paragraph summary, maybe even recognizes your name, then suddenly sees how to finish the story. It's got them all fired up. So they contact you, you agree to collaborate (if you like their idea), they write the ending, and if the story sells, you split the payment. Simple!

Except, of course, it isn't. The legal ramifications are probably horrifying and complicated. Where I could see it maybe working is in the context of an invitation-only forum you can't join unless you're specifically invited, run by and for pro authors with unfinished short stories languishing on their hard drives.

But, it's an idea, just one in an endless list of stupid ideas I have all the time. And -- hey! There's another really stupid idea! A website where people can post up all the really stupid ideas they've had. We could call it...


What I want most in the New Year is...

...a magic button on the back of my neck that, when flicked, makes me suddenly enormously enthusiastic about writing in the morning. Because it would solve a lot of problems, really it would.

I have always been at my best, writing-wise, in the late evening, and very early morning - between midnight and two a.m. But the way my life is arranged these days, my life would be an awful lot easier, vastly more productive and leave me more time to get various things done if I wrote in the morning instead; between, say, eight in the morning and midday.

But I just can't do it. I've tried, but only managed it on rare occasions. The fact is that no matter how awake I am in the morning, I just can't contemplate writing fiction until much later. My brain refuses in most cases to do it. Even if I get up early after a really good night's sleep, some part of my brain remains completely futzed until at least two or three in the afternoon. The creative side of me just won't become fully functional until after sundown.

There are night people and morning people, and I most definitely am not a morning person; nor have I ever been. I've done a little online research to find ways to boost my morning productivity, but it doesn't look hopeful. You can tell me all about changing habits, getting to bed earlier, etc, but it doesn't work. Before two in the afternoon at the very earliest, I stare at the manuscript I'm working on and it's like all the lights in my head are off. There's no enthusiasm. Even after two in the afternoon and before (say) eight in the evening, forcing myself to write, as I usually have to, turns into an awful, grinding process, like trying to start a half-frozen car in the depths of winter with all its windows iced up.

And yet many other writers do manage it. I really wish I knew how they do it. If there are any miracle cures, I'd love to hear about them.