Should you write all day?

Jenny Éclair on the Today programme this morning suggested that all Apple Macs and to that I would add all computers, laptops, tablets and notebooks of any sort, should have an icon which you press at the end of the day to generate the praise function. A delight at the words you have written, the number, the quality, the wonderfulness of your prose, a fitting tribute to your genius. There should then be a few minutes of adoring applause.

As writers work alone and often despair this would cheer us up and give us the incentive to start again the next day.

I agree that since we work in isolation it is easy to fall prey to the feeling that what we do is not good enough and never will be. There are some days I’d do anything for even a few encouraging words. At those times the praise function would be a life saver.

Electronic encouragement, may or may not be the next big thing. What got me thinking was the idea of writing solidly for a whole day. I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly couldn’t do it.

Not only would my neck and back give in after hours of hunching over a computer. I know I should take care of my posture and get up and move around every twenty minutes, but I’m only human and I forget. But I would get stale, or careless, or just exhausted by the whole creative process.

So, I write maybe for an hour or two, sometimes less, sometimes more. Then I do other things, lead the rest of my life, which can and often does generate more ideas for more writing.

I do however feel guilty about not using all the time I have and would love to know how other writers cope with this.


Is Young Adult the True Future of SF and Fantasy?

Edge lit 2PeterClear Gold Cover

Is young adult the true future of SF and Fantasy was one of the topics of discussion at Edge Lit yesterday and as a writer of YA, “Clear Gold”  this was a panel I had to attend.

Brilliantly chaired by Marcus Gipps, of Gollanz, the speakers were John Connolly, Sarah Pinborough and Samantha Shannon.

Like me, most of the speakers had grown up before the YA genre appeared and we read writers like John Wyndham, Daphne du Maurier and of course the Brontes. If we wanted something really racy there was Shirley Conran’s “Lace” with the infamous goldfish scene.

Now of course the publishing world has totally changed and there’s a plethora of books out there aimed at a somewhat vague age range. After all who is a young adult? A thirteen year old who might be reading Dickens, or an eighteen year old who last opened a book when they were doing their GCSEs?

This lack of definition can be a problem for a writer. How much sex, violence, drinking and swearing is appropriate for your readership? What kind of issues can they, or do they want to deal with? Is their a need for self censorship or does anything go?

In my opinion there is need for caution. Especially for the younger readers in this group books are often chose for them by adults and these adults want to know that the subject matter and language are appropriate.

Speaking personally, I wanted to get away from the romantic/hot sex slant that many of these books have because if all my main character is concerned with is whether she’s getting the guy or not, it limits her choices and her actions.

I wanted to write about a girl who was free, a girl who might be called Mouse but who had the spirit and courage to take on her world on her own terms.

PS And the guy with the great hat in the picture? Peter Colborn of the award winning Alchemy Press and Penkhull Press