5,497 reputation
530
bio website leostableford.blogspot.com
location Nottingham, United Kingdom
age 39
visits member for 3 years, 4 months
seen Jan 2 at 13:03

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


Dec
20
comment How to write a novel if you only have five minutes here, ten minutes there to work on it?
Answer expanded. HTH.
Jul
10
comment Is there an alternative to the common genre-system for classifying books?
The Irony is that some volumes score Catch 22 no matter which version of the scale you use.
Jul
9
comment Is there an alternative to the common genre-system for classifying books?
Please rate this novel for philosophical wackiness on a scale from 1 to Atlas Shrugged.
Jun
28
comment Why can't I write something longer than a few pages?
Finishing is good. However, science recently told us that it is perfect practice that makes perfect. So the key to both getting better, going through it and finishing is to make sure you know your limits. Pain will make gain as long as you're not perpetuating bad habits and bad practice.
May
31
comment Time measures in fantasy worlds
The way I think it works, or I imagine it working is that the bells tell everyone to do something or to change "rhythm", so people hear a bell and if they're doing morning stuff they figure "that must be noon bell" and switch to post-noon stuff. If you're not sure which bell it was then I guess you would just ask someone nearby.
Dec
18
comment How long should it take to write 100k words?
Sort of. The reason I say "start something new" and not "forget about it for a bit" is twofold. 1. The creativity keeps on truckin' 2. Becoming obsessed with a new piece will distance you from your first draft much more quickly. Every piece of work makes you a slightly different writer. The new you will look back with less love than that required to write something fresh. If you were to down tools completely I would say it could take six months to a year to approach the same amount of distance as being completely wrapped up in project B. My answer is clearly, therefore, "value added" ;)
Nov
22
comment How many errors should I expect from a proofreader?
At the risk of seeming facetious surely the answer to this is: Below the number of errors judged to be leeway for human error specified in the Service Level Agreement clause of the contract you had with the proof reader.
Oct
29
comment How to continue someone else's story gracefully, with fan-fiction?
It should be fine as long as it's just for fun. Doctor Who, in particular, should provide a format that's fairly forgiving of you wishing to play with your own ideas. There are periods in the Doctor's history where he goes off a-wandering without his best known companions and all sorts of things could happen to him during those times.
Jul
2
comment Should my story's main obstacle be secret or common knowledge to the society?
What's the key bad thing about the drug? Scenario 1 will only really make sense if the drug has some insidious and drastic side effect. In scenario two a smaller side effect makes the revolution trickier to sympathise with.
Mar
26
comment What printing methods and quality can I expect of POD companies?
Just to add a small fyi to this the POD "shop front" on the site is often just that, a shop front. The actual POD work is farmed out to approved printers so quality of finished product may vary by territory. For example when I first had Lulu send stuff to me in the UK they used a Spanish Printer who were slow, and sometimes produced lower quality runs of books. For the last four years or so they have switched to a UK printer who is quicker and produces better goods than the original printer.
Mar
5
comment Preventing the symbolic conflict of “Hunger Games” from overshadowing widespread social plight
Do I take it you already have your own answer to this question?
Feb
3
comment Do most novels not get published?
Seems the author was tired of paying for hosting and moved to smashwords. See above. He is now charging for them when they used to be free which I would consider to be an error of judgement but they are, at least, not the digital equivalent of out of print. Maybe googling will turn up the free versions.
Jan
3
comment Quality examples of 'in medias res' starting sequences in SF literature
@standback You are correct in medias res just means start in action as opposed to ramping up into the action. The beginning of the story should still, conceptually, be "the beginning" starting literally in the middle and then flashing back to a seemingly far calmer opening sequence is something else. I think its overuse in television is to do with the enforced structure and perceived need for "beats" dictated by creative control in that medium. It's not necessary, or shouldn't be, in an actual novel, unless of course, it is, which is rarely.
Oct
16
comment Write multiple trilogies or make a saga?
@Shan: Yeah. I'm a pretty fast typist... ;)
Oct
8
comment How to cover different perspectives/levels of thinking in one story?
@Hauser: My advice, FWIW, study the hero's journey deeply, try to understand why it exists. What Campbell wrote about suffers from being true but having no obvious corollary or use that's apparent to his peers. Also there is this problem of sticking to the recipe not always doing the job. Sentiment is the biggest enemy of success. The Wachowski's included Neo/Trinity for mostly cynical reasons, Rowling was working for her child and for her love of children's fiction. Which one was really the winner?
Oct
7
comment Italicize part of a word in fiction?
I believe I have seen this done by gasp actual published authors. So yeah, use as applicable. As with anything, don't overuse, terms and conditions apply, may cause drowsiness and contents occasionally settle in transit. ;)
Oct
7
comment How do you make a character quintessential, but not cliched or cartoony?
Just to clarify, the Woody example is about the quintessential part, not the other part. :P
Oct
7
comment How to cover different perspectives/levels of thinking in one story?
I have never heard of a project that attempted to make novel writing more like writing for television etc. where there have been salaried writers and focus groups and all that stuff. Has anyone else heard of this? And if not, who says it wouldn't work? I'd be fascinated to read the autopsy of any failed experiments in this area. Also, yeah, writing for critics is stupid.
Oct
6
comment Can I write my sub stories separately?
Less complicated questions demand simpler answers.
Oct
3
comment Single character POV vs. two POVs - how to decide?
Complex questions require complex answers.