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The process of writing has one characteristic that most writers will know; it evolves over time and can be frustratingly unpredictable in how that evolution plays out.
Sometimes there is the dreaded block as a contrast to the good times when the flow is easy and satisfying. There is the tooth pulling one sentence at a time grind. There is the inspired spark that brings a smile that strengthens the will to write.
This process of change over time can bring fear and worry as we struggle with real or imagined deadlines or try to maintain our daily word count. There is much advice both free and purchased to help us cope but the truth is there is no need for fear or worry. Just accept the changes. Accept the inevitability and indeed the benefits of this evolutionary process.
If one writes formulaic cliche ridden pulp fiction, one can expect to face fewer such changes. Just churn away and try not to hear the whispers of creative guilt nagging in the background.
If one strives and constantly reaches for ever better prose and ever richer depth and imagery, then the evolution will be jerky and at times painful. Fret not, this is as it should be.
Relax and let it happen. Be patient and kind to yourself. Accept the dry days when the words won’t be found and the plot escapes. Don’t panic and cherish the overall desire to keep writing. The flow will come back when it’s good and ready and the imaginative juices that bubble away in the background have done their cooking. Then we will get the smile again.
So keep calm and let evolution work it’s magic.
We have three classes of adventure: Mini-venture, Maxi-venture and Midi-venture. A mini is confined to one day. Midis are up to one week and Maxi any more than that. Maxis tend to involve long plane trips and hire cars such as our recent three-week trip to Virginia and New York.
This most recent Midi was the first trip in our new toy: A Peugeot 306 Cabriolet that has acquired the name: Prim-pretty-pug. A convertible or soft-top car is the supreme gawping tool here in Ireland – when it’s dry. Too hot and the hood must go up to protect the fair skinned but fortunately too hot isn’t something we do here often.
We booked three nights in an Airbnb cottage on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland. It proved to be a perfect retreat; comfortable, beautifully located and close to some stunning scenery best viewed from a slow driven Prim-Pug. The weather was mostly kind-we had only one day when the top had to be up.
Those are the facts: here are the impressions. Continue reading
I’ve been in social media hibernation for almost six months. But I’ve emerged from my chrysalis: The Butterfly Effect Trilogy is reborn with a whole new plot line and new energy. This will be my ‘East of Eden’. My big book, my last big push to get all that’s in me, and all I have learned into a big book. (Well, three books but in my mind it’s one 400,000 word body.)
I intend to use my familiar characters Bonny, Lauren and Daniel to scream my indignation at the world. The themes will be huge and will include all the dangers and threats of East v West. Fundamentalism v Rationalism. Individual v State and above all, the tricks and political veil used to blind us will be lifted for any who cares to see. This will not be a political rant – but rather a subtext in an exciting espionage/ romantic/thriller, literary fiction trilogy.
My hibernation was a deliberate decision and enabled me to recover. It was not a health issue but rather one of creative energy .
In February this year I posted about the crisis I suffered and the drastic solution: http://wp.me/p18yK8-rG. I called it ‘Creative Infanticide’; a rather dramatic title admittedly but it was a dramatic moment in my writing life. I threw away an almost complete novel and stopped the ongoing processes for the two that were to follow in the Butterfly Effect Trilogy. Continue reading
The body of this post was first put up more than a year ago. That trip inspired me to write a new novella based on a question that I had then: What makes a man choose to go live on a rock on the sea? Out of that rose Skellig Testament, my latest work. It was designed to be sold in the Skellig Experience Visitors Centre on Valencia Island.
Yesterday Brigitte and I had a wonderful drive round the ring of Kerry in beautiful sunshine to deliver the first books to the centre.
John O’Sullivan the manager there, made us most welcome and will be offering the book exclusively in his bookshop.
The centre is well worth a visit if you are ever on the ring of Kerry or are planning the sea trip out to the island of Skellig Michael. The ancient monastic settlement is a world heritage site and is jaw-droppingly deserving of the distinction.
The original post:
It was a steamy tropical land south of the equator; swamps, mountains, high rainfall, a primal jungle teaming with the land-pioneers – insects. Amphibians came ashore to harvest the vegetation and insects and some evolved to stay on land. They were the very first vertebrates to colonise the land; lizard-like Tetrapods crawling and slithering through the mud. The high rain fall brought floods of silt from the mountains, quickly filling and burying the tracks of the Tetrapod.
Over the millennia those tracks became encased in sedimentary rocks and those rocks moved. The great planetary upheavals that saw tectonic plates pull the land apart causing it to drift across the mantle north and east and west until the earth-shapes we know now, were created. Erosion and more upheaval revealed the place where the Tetrapod roamed. His tracks exposed to the curious eye of one of his distant evolutionary off -spring. Another vertebrate, very recently evolved upon the earth, stood and gazed in wonder at the track in the rock and saw that this was special. Experts descended and applied their science and with awe they proclaimed: These are the oldest known in-situ footprints on this earth.
Now on the most westerly tip of the old-world, the edge of Europe, Valencia Island, County Kerry, Ireland – I stand and gaze at these tracks and am awestruck by their significance and puzzled by the fact that on a busy holiday weekend in August, in glorious sunshine, B and I are alone. There is no line of people waiting to see this wonder. There are no others here to see the marks of our ancestor and wonder at the passage of such a vast amount of time – 385 million years! We are always alone when we come here.
The island crawls with visitors and tourists but they are here to see much more recent marvels; the monastic building on the remote Skellig isles; the site where Saint Brendan the navigator baptised islanders; the place where the Great Eastern set sail to lay the second attempt at a transatlantic telegraph cable; the radio and metrological site where Marconi’s work bore fruit.
Valencia and the Skellig coast are truly beautiful and full of history. We come here to recharge out batteries every few years. It’s an easy two and half hour drive from home but we usually stay over in some friendly B&B.
This time it was the Calafont with it’s wonderful views over the sound from Portmagee to Valencia.
As we wandered in the old church yard, where so many who served the British Empire on the remote Valencia radio and cable station worked and died, I was struck by the thought that this island should be world famous for the awesome Tetrapod tracks. The evidence in rock of the miracle of evolution that lead to the birth of creatures that could span the earth with first their cables, then radio and now the instant medium carrying these words – is that not truly awe inspiring? Where are the queues of keen young minds wanting to see the wonder of their distant ancestor’s tracks? They are instead marvelling at the work of monks who built a doomed edifice on a sharp rock in a hostile sea to escape earthly things and there to worship myths and legends that violently divided people then and still do. Those monks didn’t look far enough back in time to find the majesty and awe inspiring works of creation in this place. They couldn’t see. We can, so why do we not see? Why do we stand on the edge of the old world and gaze with wonder at the great ocean and the new world beyond and prefer myths and legends, man-made from ignorance, to the wonder and majesty of life here at our feet?