PJ Shann's Blog (12)

ACHIEVING PERFECT PEACE

PERFECT PEACE is the second novel of my PERFECT WORLDS series, and it’s also my longest novel to date, logging in at around 156,000 words.  Not only that, it’s the single seed that the whole projected series grew from.

It began as a simple idea that kept surfacing in my mind, usually as I was dropping off to sleep at night.  I honestly don’t know where it came from – I like to think that it was a message from the ether, from the place where all true and good creative thoughts emerge. …

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Added by PJ Shann on July 8, 2014 at 6:50pm — No Comments

PERFECT DAY

As occasional readers of this blog or visitors to my website may know, I am currently involved in the on-going process of writing a series of full-length crime/mystery/suspense novels gathered together under the umbrella title of PERFECT WORLDS.  I have two titles already completed and e-published, a third underway, and a fourth still in the planning stage, but today I think I’d like to talk about the first in the series, PERFECT DAY.

The whole PERFECT WORLDS project began when I…

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Added by PJ Shann on July 8, 2014 at 6:49pm — No Comments

I MADE A MONSTER!

If you happen to have visited this blog before, you may be aware that I write three kinds of fiction – dark crime (Perfect Day and Perfect Peace and the Crime-Mystery-Suspense Short Story Collection), light crime (The Queen of Hearts), and horror (Comeback and the Horror Short Story Collection).  In my writer’s mind all these genres are one and the same.  To me it’s all the same world, only slightly different aspects of it and viewed from a slightly…

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Added by PJ Shann on April 6, 2014 at 6:59pm — No Comments

THE TROUBLE WITH SCRIBBLES

I know it’s hard to believe, but there are some people out there, writers among them, who don’t believe a condition like writer’s block really exists.  They think it’s a myth, a grandiose theory perpetuated by the lazy, the liars, and the plain bone-idle, and by those airy-fairy arty-farty types - the dilettante - who like the idea of writing and love the idea of being known as a writer, but in reality just don’t have the stomach for the genuinely hard work of conceiving, writing and…

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Added by PJ Shann on February 24, 2014 at 5:43am — No Comments

ONE SIDE OF EVERYTHING

One side of everything is what I like to call first-person singular.  So, not ‘Tom, Dick, or Harry did this, that, or the other,’ but ‘I did this, I did that, I did. Me.’  One side of everything is exactly what a writer shows to a reader when they write in the first-person, and while this approach may, at first glance, seem to offer a very narrow and limited range of creative options, in many circumstances what could be viewed as a handicap can actually be an…

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Added by PJ Shann on February 15, 2014 at 8:10pm — No Comments

ARE YOU SPEAKING THROUGH ME?

In theory, writing dialogue should be one of the easiest things in the world.  It should be like breathing, blinking, and breaking wind – real-world talents that every one of us shares (although some of us are far better at the latter than others).  After all, we mostly all talk a great deal, and we mostly all hear others talking (sometimes far more than we might want to), in our day to day lives, at work, and on TV, so we can’t really claim that it’s something of a major challenge to simply…

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Added by PJ Shann on February 7, 2014 at 8:18am — No Comments

THE PERFECT SETTING?

Okay, so the moment has arrived – it’s finally time to begin your incredible new project.  The idea for this masterwork, previously a tiny, dry seed sleeping in your mind, has suddenly begun to sprout.  Urgent stems have thrust their way into the sunlight and reached for the sky, buds have formed, leaves have unfurled, roots and tendrils have surged in all directions at once, and the whole thing is growing at a geometric rate.  New characters are introducing themselves to you on a regular…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 31, 2014 at 5:05am — 2 Comments

DON’T LOSE THE SUB-PLOT

There are a lot of people who view all sub-plots with the gravest suspicion, regarding them at best as a pointless distraction from the main business at hand, and, at worst, as a dangerously amateurish self-indulgence.  Kill your darlings, they screech like dogma-drilled harpies, kill, kill, kill them all!  Needless to say, I disagree.

In a general sense, I’m all in favour of sub-plots.  In fact, I delight in them.  They offer so many exciting possibilities to writers of…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 25, 2014 at 6:40pm — No Comments

NOMENCLATURE’S A BITCH AND THEN YOU DIE

One of the many smaller pleasures of writing fiction is the fun to be derived from choosing the names of your characters.  There’s a lot of joy in nailing down the perfect name for your maverick cop/cerebral private detective/vampire overlord/super-soldier from Planet Zap, and just as much amusement in bestowing the names of people you dislike upon the seedy/degenerate/evil characters currently paddling around in the shallow end of your WIP’s gene pool.  But the truth is that the more you…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 25, 2014 at 6:39pm — No Comments

BUILD A CHARACTER OR GROW ONE?

Apart from ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ (although in some cases, ‘Why do you get these ideas?’ might be the more appropriate inquiry), one of the more frequently questions writers get asked about their work involves the creation of character.  Both readers and writers alike are always interested to know which came first, the story or the character.  The answer is usually character.  Or story.  Or both.  Or neither...

The truth is there is no stock answer, it’s different…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 21, 2014 at 8:33am — No Comments

THE FILM OF THE BOOK OR THE BOOK OF THE FILM

Always a tricky one, isn’t it?  People who love books frequently love movies, but it doesn’t always work the other way around.  Filmmakers and studios know this, which is why movies of books so often disappoint their avid readers.  A novel is usually the work of an auteur, a tin-pot god whose every word is law.  Even in the hands of a cinematic auteur, film-making is a massively collaborative process, and very rarely is it the chief aim to painstakingly recreate the novel that only a tiny…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 21, 2014 at 8:32am — 1 Comment

FICTION IS NON-LINEAR

Of course, I've always known this.  It's a rare day when I write something that works perfectly first time.  More often than not, everyday stresses and concerns intrude on my writing time, meaning that my mind is never as focused as I would wish it to be.  The end result is that I not only write sentences back to front, I also write paragraphs inside out, and write them in the wrong order, too.  It's like my mind has all the information it needs to write the story, but because there's so…

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Added by PJ Shann on January 21, 2014 at 8:30am — No Comments

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