5,862 reputation
530
bio website leostableford.blogspot.com
location Nottingham, United Kingdom
age 39
visits member for 3 years, 11 months
seen Oct 14 at 10:52

I started out writing when I was about ten and a teacher gave me an exercise book to direct my overactive imagination and hopefully tame my awful calligraphic skills. One out of two, I suppose, isn't bad. My imagination has been directed but my handwriting remains appalling to this day nearly three decades hence.

At first I wrote what people write, genre novels, trying to make something I would be proud of, a dark fantasy novel to capture the imagination filled with relatable characters and new ideas. After producing a heap of badly written generic tripe with wooden characters, appalling dialogue and wonky plotted garbage I finally fixed the dialogue in the first novel I wrote that doesn't make me blush with shame Hidden Predators, Dangerous Prey.

After that I noodled around trying to make something a publishing house might want to publish before realising my chances of a satisfying career as a writer were about as good as my chances of winning the lottery four weeks straight.

Thereafter I got involved in the murky world of self-publishing and it was a short leap from there to the design of RPGs and other such ephemera. I designed several RPGs and had a whale of a time before Amazon's Kindle brought e-readers to the masses.

Since 2005 I have tried to complete 50k in National Novel Writing Month and have only failed in 2007. In 2012 I have begun to rewrite, ressurrect, polish and produce some solid genre work that I have been proud to publish through KDP Select.

Check out my work (and the artistic stylings of my artist friend Justin on one of the RPGs) at my creative blog: leostableford.blogspot.com


Jan
20
answered How do you make a character quintessential, but not cliched or cartoony?
Jan
19
comment What is flash fiction?
A short story of exactly 100 words is referred to as a "drabble" and the practice of writing them a game. "Frankenstein" and "The Vampyre" both started as drabbles.
Jan
19
answered What is flash fiction?
Jan
19
comment Fan Fiction: a crutch or a good start?
I actually don't write in other people's universes because I don't feel up to the research task of keeping things canonical! At least if you are the one making it up as you go along you only have to watch out you don't paint yourself into a corner.
Jan
18
answered What are the benefits of being a slush reader?
Jan
10
comment original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?
@jae: All I know is that I learned a hell of a lot from deciding to do a simple A to B odyssey kids story the first time I did Nanowrimo that I wasn't expecting to learn. I expected sticking to a very generic plot to make writing the story easier and it kind of did but what was left when I finished was not a standard odyssey story like Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit. I didn't go looking for the lesson. I just stumbled across it. I would just advise that people don't knock it till they've tried it.
Jan
9
comment Do most novels not get published?
I think that's the UK/US difference. The UK doesn't really have any small houses, the market here is tiny compared to the US. Selling directly to the US has, historically, been a problem. Even now tax issues, matters of idiom, concerns about wider appeal etc create a barrier for a UK writer wanting to sell directly to the US. (At least that was the way it was about ten years ago, I'm not so sure what it's like today.)
Jan
9
comment original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?
@jae: As I noted elsewhere, anyone has the potential to rise above the need for humbly exploring the nuts and bolts of their craft. Some people do naturally have enough talent that they can do without learning from the past. I am just a human being and as such will take any help I can get to make myself better at what I love doing. Besides I find the "theory" parts of storytelling fascinating and awe inspiring. But that last part's probably just me.
Jan
9
comment How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?
@jae: your example describes a situation where the gun does go off, just in a different way and in a different time frame to the one originally scoped. A marketing nerd would say if people don't like book one complaining that several elements never paid off then book two may never get the chance to exist. Then it just looks like you can't write plant and pay off.
Jan
9
comment What are some examples of modern original plots?
@jae: If you're exactly as talented as Neil Gaiman, or indeed more than, then I look forward to hero worshipping you shortly. For mere humans like myself I'll take all the help I can get.
Jan
8
comment Do most novels not get published?
@JSBangs: I found it to be just about pessimistic enough but maybe that's just me. I think there is a difference between the US and UK markets. I think there are more authors trying to sell to fewer publishing houses over here. It is a nightmare.
Jan
8
comment original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?
@mootinator: Everyone thinks that when they begin a business such as creative writing. They fail to separate out the experience of being bored hearing the same story told the same way over and over from the practical business of being the one telling it. It may be unpleasant to a writer to consider that even though a story's been told and told and told in a simple five act structure they still should take the time to learn how to do something "classic". Until someone has done this they really have no business breaking rules they never followed.
Jan
8
answered Do most novels not get published?
Jan
7
comment Writing 19th century upperclass English dialog
@Christopher I always think of that quote from Harrison Ford about the dialogue in Star Wars "You can write this shit, George, but you sure can't say it."
Jan
7
comment How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?
@JSBangs: It's just a coincidence that it also applies to concepts as well as prose. If a concept is not in service of what you are trying to achieve in a story then it necessarily obfuscates your point and should be removed. Anything in service of your objective is necessary and must stay as with hairy hobbit feet referred to above.
Jan
7
comment How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?
@Ralph Rickenbach - JRR Tolkien is successful because that's the point of his work. You could reduce that argument to "is fiction necessary" to which the hard answer is "no". Tolkien's intention was to build what he saw as a "missing mythology" for the British people, in which point a reference that Hobbits have hairy feet is essential for completeness. The story of LOTR is like a byproduct of this project. The question presupposes that the author themselves considers the detail to be unnecessary in the business of telling the story. In which case the advice is "lose it".
Jan
7
answered How much should I describe things or persons, that are not important for the story?
Jan
7
comment Writing 19th century upperclass English dialog
@Christopher Mahan: That's why you need to actually feel the words in your mouth. I'm sure there's some neurological thing going off but I'm not a scientist. Anyhow if you have engaged in the speaking of dialogue then it becomes easier to write it. Also a good idea to read plays aloud and learn how the cadence works in an actual mouth.
Jan
6
comment original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?
Or if your plot is too complicated you could say: For example in Romeo & Juliet is the marriage of Romeo & Juliet the high-point? Or the balcony scene? Or their first meeting? Or their eventual dual suicide in the crypt? And if one of these is the high point then why? (If I have understood the general thrust of the question which I may not have).
Jan
6
comment original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?
I have to admit personally I don't really understand this question. In terms of plot what the climactic event is tends to be a matter of accepted structure i.e. it's a derivation of what you are trying to say in the story. This question sounds to me like: "I have this cat, and a mat. The cat is sitting and the mat is underneath it. I'm unsure, if I put all this information in one sentence what the subject of the sentence would be". I wouldn't feel confident answering this question without reference to a contextual example.