Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Splintered Door for #IndieApril

Just before I dive into another novel on my Indie April tour, I thought I'd mention this. It's a collection of short stories and not published by anybody, but I put them online free a while back.

They were written somewhere around 2012. I was going through quite a stint of block and finding it really hard to get inspired. Although grateful to the publishers who took on my work back then, I think I was just feeling a bit deflated. I wasn't sure whether my writing would improve or whether I should just give up on it. 

One day, I stumbled across the Random Title Generator. I'm not sure if the original is still up. It's just this website where you hit a button and it throws out some title suggestions.

I decided to stop taking myself so seriously and just hit the button. The program would throw up five title suggestions. I made myself pick one - no cheating by pressing it again - and then I had to write a story on that theme.

So, that's how Splintered Door came into being. Quite literally, not just the stories but the title of the book itself. There's seven stories, each quite different from each other, some very poetic, other's not so. A couple have a recurrent theme just for kicks, so I suppose if you read them in order it might be more interesting, but not compulsory. 

The first one was particularly interesting for me. I was going through a bit of a DBC Pierre fascination. What I was drawn to was that he's an Australian guy writing all American. I know he grew up in Mexico and lived in America later, but still, we're used to seeing British and Australian actors playing Americans in movies, but not so used to seeing them writing in an accent. I wanted to know if I could do it, so I had a go. I asked an American friend to check it over after, to see whether I'd got the lingo right.

The collection was just a bit of fun for me, but it was also liberating as it allowed me to play. I could try out styles and stories without really caring whether they were much good. 

Surprisingly, I'm still pretty happy with them. They came out better than I expected.

My lovely friend Jessica Clark provided the cover. I mentioned her in my TEDx talk. She runs Raven Feather Photography and used to do some really kooky stuff. I really liked the image so asked if I could use it. There are several of her pictures I would love to put on book covers - just need to write the stories.

Really Kooky Stuff
Raven Feather Photography

There isn't masses to say about this book, although people keep asking me if it's available in paperback because they also love the cover. I haven't done that and probably won't. It was just a bit of escapism.

I don't think you can ever underestimate how important it is for artists to play. Just mess about with whatever form of art you enjoy without expecting it to become anything. Just for the pleasure of it. I think writers, in particular, do this less and less as the years go by, simply because writing a book takes so long and often you don't know whether it'll be any good until the end. So, we constantly feel like there isn't enough time and that in itself is self-defeating, because it saps creativity. We start to feel like everything we write needs to be serious - needs to be something important. Our books are rarely that good, so if we haven't enjoyed the process either, that's a double downer. 

Still, as much as I enjoy them, I don't write short stories very often anymore. 

Mind you, I don't write novels very often either. 

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