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Emotional Support and Writing

Everyone needs emotional support from time to time. We’re human, no-one is an island. And even if you ARE an island you’d probably still enjoy company.

It’s something I’ve taken for granted for quite a while: having someone close who supports your creative pursuits makes such a massive difference. My partner has always been supportive, whether its reading my stories for me, making me tea whilst I write, or just having blind faith that it’ll all lead somewhere.

I can’t stress enough how much blind faith is needed when it comes to creative things.

I guess what I’m saying is – if you have someone who supports you then make sure they know you appreciate them.

And if you don’t have someone like that don’t despair! If you have that creativity within you then it’ll find its way out. It better to be alone but believe in yourself than it is to be with someone who puts you down/gets between you and your dream.

– Sebastyan

The Martian: Book Review (No Spoilers!)

The Martian is a 2011 science fiction novel written by Andy Weir. A film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, was released in October 2015. I haven’t seen the film yet, so my review will be about the book only.

I started with a great deal of misgivings. I love Science Fiction, but my passion is more with the distant future. Perhaps a childhood of watching Star Wards means my concept of fantasy and science fiction are forever jumbled, but the read-up for this seemed awfully dry by comparison. This is believable science fiction, set in the near future – booooo.

Even so I dived in. One thing the Weir does perfectly is making the main character likable. If he had failed there the whole story would have ground to a halt. Mark Watney, a botanist and engineer, is stranded on Mars for reasons that I won’t go into.

He’s on his own. Everyone thinks he’s dead, there’s no-one coming, and there’s no way the base on Mars will last long enough for the next group to visit Mars. Food is running low and it’s a hopeless situation. Except it’s not, because Mark doesn’t lose hope. If there’s a theme running through The Martian it’s hope, that and human ingenuity.

If The Martian taught me anything it’s that I am most certainly not astronaut material. Things go wrong nearly as much as they go right but Mark doesn’t give up. It avoids the danger of Macgyver levels of contrivances: he doesn’t get out of things using blu-tack and paperclips. The problems that arise are combated with believable science and good old human grit. It’s real edge-of-the-seat stuff and I’ll admit I got the ‘Oh thank god!’ tingles more than once.

I struggled with some of the details. Credit where credit is due Weir has learnt his stuff. All the tech which is talked about is thoroughly researched, utterly believable, and wonderfully fragile, as realistic space travel should be. All the same there’s a lot to get through.

Don’t feel guilty about glazing over when it comes to some of the explanations. Mark is a trained professional, after all, and though his science talk might seem a lot to wade through his human side keeps things ticking along. It avoids the loneliness of a one person narrative by jumping back to NASA, away from Mark’s one man journal entries, and manages to keep things intense right up to the end.

I also appreciated that this isn’t a ‘One American Male against the World’ story. Nationalities from all over are part of the narrative- both men and women.

Does Mark make it off Mars? I won’t tell you. Is it a good book? It is! I thoroughly recommend it.

So, yes. The Martian gets the thumbs up from me and if I learnt only one thing it’s this:

Always take potatoes into space.

– Sebastyan

Celebrate Prime Day with Me!

Death Echo: Vol.1 eBook download free – 10th-12th of July

What is Prime Day? No-one really knows. Our most learned scholars say it has something to do with Televisions. Whatever the case may be I’d like to invite you to enjoy Death Echo for free! I’ll be making Death Echo: Vol.1 free from Monday, July 10th until Wednesday, July 12th. That means you can download the full book, illustrations n’all for no charge on your Kindle/whatever!

Volume 2 is well underway and there will be little trails between the books for the dedicated readers so keep your peepers pealed.

Buh bye now.

–      Sebastyan

50th blog post!

Wow, where has that time gone? I started this blog as a means to promote and discuss Death Echo: Vol.1 along with having a point of contact as a self published author. In both respects it has performed pretty well. I’m not built for social media – it’s like a game that I struggle to play. All the same it feels good to rabbit on to whoever will listen!

A big thank you to all those still here!

Here’s a breakdown of my timescale for future projects. They might not mean must to you but this seems as good a place as any to put it all down:

August 31st – Proper Magic rewrite draft complete – editing begins

November 1st – Death Echo: Vol.2 complete and up for pre-order

December 1st – Death Echo: Vol.2 releases

January 1st – Begin looking for an agent for Proper Magic

January onward – SWEET SWEET PROFIT

January onward – begin work on Death Echo: Vole.3

And now for the important part, the gifs.

– Sebastyan

Discworld

To those of you who don’t know:

Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett, set on the fictional Discworld, a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.

Isn’t it perfect? How many fantasy books are out there with their own worlds? How many weird, made up names have authors created? Yet none are so memorable as the Discworld. None match its creative simplicity. Why is this? I think there are three reasons:

  • The absurdity of it – (see above description)
  • It plays on the silly idea of a flat earth – (Any flat earthers in the house??)

and perhaps most crucially:

  • The word makes sense!

This last one I find the most interesting. Go up to someone and say ‘Discworld’. They may well tell you to fuck off, but at the same time they’ll get an image in their head, perhaps not of the turtle and the elephants, but of a disc shaped world. It marries two words that people understand: ‘disc’ and ‘world’ and builds something amazing around it.

How can a writer match that?

In my current novel: ‘Proper Magic’, I have a fantasy world. I have a concept that I hope will set it apart from its peers, but it still needs a name and I can guarantee it’ll be no Discworld…

Ah well, aim for the stars. Who knows: you may hit an elephant.

– Sebastyan

Write More than One Thing at a Time

Perhaps you’ve read that title and gone:

‘Well, duh! I’m writing a hundred things!’

or

‘But all my effort is going into this one project!’

Neither response is wrong and we all have our own systems, but if your answer was the latter then might I suggest having two projects on the go?

Back when I focused on one thing at a time I got mired in the effort. This is partly due to forcing my storytelling into one particular type of story, even when my mood was elsewhere because ‘I have to focus on this to get it done.’

I don’t suggest writing loads at once. Having a dozen novels on the go leads nowhere and you end up drowning. But have two stories, or like in my case I have the Death Echo series in the background while working on my novel, Proper Magic.

It helps clear out the creative cobwebs which turn up after too long spent cleaning the living-room but ignoring the attic!

When you hit a block in one project dive into the other. The less wasted time the better, and the more you’ll learn about your writing.

– Sebastyan

You’re a Writer!

You’re a writer! You must be really good at spelling!

You’re a writer! You must get really annoyed when some has the wrong grammar!

You’re a writer! That’s so intellectual! I could never write a book!

Well… uh…

I’m pretty bad at spelling, I have a real concern that I might not understand commas and I mostly write about wizards with silly names (and death, a lot about death).

I’m making it up as I go along. So is every writer. Don’t worry.

– Sebastyan

TL;DR – Don’t overthink it, just do it! Overthinking is for the editing phase.