Tuesday, 27 July 2010

On Creativity and Imagination

Last week I listened to Grayson Perry (Turner Prize winner) on Radio 4 about creativity and imagination. (I’m not sure if the programme is still available online). With several guests, Perry discussed ‘what does it mean to be creative?’

Here are a few bullet points on some really great insights:
  • Perry has a concrete beam in his studio, engraved with ‘creativity is mistakes’
  • Being creative is about ‘feeding yourself’ – looking, looking, looking at the world around you; listening, listening, listening; a constant process – it is about storing away ideas.
  • Technology has helped ‘creatives’ escape the linear process of working – cut and paste, starting at the end, muddling up the structure.
  • Difficult for writers is ‘letting go’ – I agree with this one. I have only recently let a few people read the first chapter of my novel.
  • Creative types need reassurance from the outside.
  • Perry said ‘imagination is a curse’ as you’re constantly thinking of new situations. An idea comes into your head as a ‘golden glow’ impression (the romantic, perfect version) but then in reality it has spiky detail.
  • A fashion designer talked about what he looks for in students and I thought it also applies to writers too – an ability to investigate in a new, novel, structural way. You need to create an environment with discipline, styles, encouragement. ‘Love and boundaries.’
  • Autobiographical writing – take self forward and not to look back and write but to go forward and make new discoveries. Pretend to be someone else. Writing is a journey of exploration NOT the old saying of ‘write what you know.’
  • Prime quality – ‘be relaxed.’

Saturday, 24 July 2010

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

I finished Charle Yu's debut novel, 'How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.' And it is brilliant! So I have decided to write a review but with a twist. So, here goes.

A review recipe 
Place the following into a novel- creation blender:

A pint of Time Travel machine.
Add one time travel technician
Add one imaginary pet dog
Plus one operating system, TAMMY

Three dollops of time loop.

Add a shot of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Add a half shot of Back to the Future
A drizzle of Time Traveler's Wife
The comedy of Red Dwarf
Sprinkling of 1980s

Blend until a creamy, razor sharp plot starts to form. Add some a tea spoon of sugar to enhance the geeky fun.

This is not just a book for science fiction lovers but for anyone who likes literary fiction, likes comedy, likes novels within novels. Even Audrey 'Time Traveler's Wife'-fame Niffnegger agrees: "Tremendously clever...How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is marvellously written, sweetly geeky, good clean time-bending fun." 

Saturday, 17 July 2010

An Excuse, A Novel Update, A Book Recommendation and Writing Analyzer

So, July, mid July. Sorry little blog but I have excuses - really ones not 'faky' ones. I have had an injection in the back of my head for my headaches, I currently have a severe ear infection and there have been a lot of birthdays too. 


My novel can't get too angry with me as I have been doing a lot of paper edits and I am nearly half way through this edit. At the end of this will be a fourth draft. Wow. I can't I have come this far. I used to dream about novel drafts and how cool it would be to have a fifth draft. I know, my dreams are SAD but well, you know, it is actually cool. 


I am currently reading a proof copy of Charles Yu's 'How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.' This book is about a time machine technician who lives in the present-indefinite. He finds himself stuck in a rut, trying to avoid work and using the time to spy on different versions of himself. If you liked Steven Hall's Raw Shark Tales than you're going to love this.  I have only read 81 pages but I already recommending this to every one. It. Is. Great. 


Coding Robots have created a program to compare a sample piece of writing with their databanks and will then tell you what famous author you write like. I threw in my first chapter and it has come back with 'David Foster Wallace.' A writer who I have always wanted to read but never gotten around too. So that's my Amazon wish listed topped up for another day! Website here .