The Fates

Many people believe in chance and luck, and equally many people do not.  A famous golfer, I believe, once said, “the more I practise, the luckier I get”.  That is undoubtedly true but there is still an element of chance in life, a chance that a random event could occur in somebody’s life and knock them off course sending them in an entirely different direction.

Thomas Hardy, of course, wrote about this in his stories.  For example, one of his characters was walking across a field when a young woman, as a joke, threw a piece of pig offal at him.  When it struck him it drew his attention to the young woman and he found an entirely different part of his life pursuing her and eventually marrying her and all the consequences which then followed which then flowed from that.


I am sure that everybody would be able to point to some similar occurrence in their life.  I, myself, met my first wife because I came home from the Alps where I had been climbing with a German friend a day early, having mistaken the day of the week.  Having arrived home a day early, I was able to go to a party which I would not have been able to attend had I returned home at the intended time.  At that party, I met my first wife.


Chance, in my view, plays a part in all our lives, although as I get older I wonder if in fact it isn’t fate because as you look back upon your life, you start to see patterns and the form that chance takes can also resolve itself into a pattern.  As you grow older and look at your life in retrospect, you too may be able to discern patterns in the way that events occur and then unfold.


It can seem almost as if there is a scheme or a pattern for an individual’s life, however insignificant we may be in terms of the cosmos or the rest of humanity, and this is one of the things which makes stories, story writing and story telling so fascinating because since the beginning of time it has been exactly the same.  We look with wonder at the lives of others as told in story form, held up as a kind of mirror to our own lives.


In my story, The Retainer, it is the chance meeting with a professional criminal and what flows from that which determines an entirely new life for the hero.  As a consequence of that meeting and what flowed from it, instead of leading a predictable and perhaps boring life as a provincial solicitor, suddenly he is plunged into a life of crime from which he is ultimately unable to escape, or is he?  You have to read the story and reach the end and then think about it.


Happy reading!


The Journey

I have recently been reading Ithaka, an epic poem written by a 19th century Greek poet called Cavafy. The first verse translated reads:-

Pray that your journey be long
That there may be many summer mornings
When with what joy, what delight
You will enter harbours you have not seen before.

the journey

The poem is about the journey that we all make through life. The journey has been used as an analogy for life by other authors too.

I have tried to use the idea of life as a journey in my story about the adventures of a young man entitled “The Sons of Death, Part I”. It is Part I because it is the first of a trilogy of stories that will follow this particular young man on his journey through life.

Why call it “The Sons of Death”? This is a reference to the name given to the Norse raiders from Norway in the 9th and 10th centuries due to their fiercesome reputation. The hero of my story I see as a modern Viking, a penniless young man on a collision course with the world who sets out for pretty much the same motives of adventure and gain. He is an opportunist and a gun for hire, his youth, physical strength and quickness of mind being the only assets that he has.

What happens to him along the way is something you will have to read about as he makes his journey which is both physical and spiritual as he gradually confronts and reflects on the meaning of this life and our journey through it.

I hope you enjoy the journey.

10 Ways That Twitter Can Help Writers

TwitterWhen I first heard about Twitter, I dismissed it as just another social networking site. I didn’t really take it seriously but as a self-confessed online beginner, I gave it a go, even though I was already overloaded with keeping up with the social networks I had already signed up for.

Why on earth would I want to read about what someone eats for breakfast or what they’re doing every minute of the day?

I admit now that I was completely wrong. I’m now @marlin_writes on Twitter, and here are some of the reasons I’m glad I joined.

1. Twitter forces you to exercise your writing and editing skills. With only 140 characters to work with, you have to choose your words carefully and be concise.

2. Stay informed about the publishing industry. With so many publishing house Tweeters, you can learn a bushel about what’s happening in the industry.

3. Make contacts in the publishing industry. One of the reasons I decided to take Twitter seriously was because I kept hearing about various editors and publishers who were Tweeting. And they weren’t just posting promo items; they were also reading posts by other Tweeters and sometimes replying to them! (Imagine that……one can only dream)

4. Meet and share ideas with other writers. Yes, you can do this through other social networks as well. I’m finding, though, that Twitter’s platform provides a unique experience not yet duplicated by other social networks .There is a HUGE network of writers on Twitter and chances are good that you’ll find other writers who are going through the same types of experiences in their careers as you. Said writers will almost certainly posts tips and blogs articles of mutual interest.

5. Promote and market your writing. As writers are expected to take on more and more of the responsibility of marketing their own work, it makes sense to use every possible venue to do so. You may already be promoting your book on Facebook, for example, but Twitter gives you access to more potential readers.

6. If you can’t get to the next ‘big’ writing event, the next best thing in my view if not better is by following the relevant event #. You will then see posts from anyone attending and keep up to date with all the latest news!

7. Increasing your blog readership. Post a summary or blurb about the great content on your blog on Twitter, with a link back to your blog post for those who want to read the full content. Increased blog traffic means increased exposure to your work, which could lead to other writing-related benefits.

8. Writing motivation. In addition to finding inspirational tips and information via Twitter, you can also exchange mutual encouragement and advice with others via mentions and hashtags. The #amwriting hashtag is a popular hashtag for those posting updates on what they’re working on, for example, and has expanded into its own Amwriting website.

9. Get ideas for your writing projects. Get inspired by following current hot “trending topics” as well as thought-provoking posts.

10. Find useful resources, articles and tips to help you in the craft and business of writing. Most of the people I follow with @marlin_writes are writers, editors, publishers or book publicists, and many of them post links to useful info for writers on a daily basis. I try to do the same.

I could go on, but I have to get back to writing now. Follow me on Twitter! I’m @marlin_writes.

Writing is deliberately taking over

tree-roots.jpg-smallWhat was once an occasional pursuit has slowly and deliberately crept its way into every aspect of my life like the roots of a determined perennial.

I now keep a table at my office especially for my creative endeavours, where from time to time when in need of a change of scene I go and sit down and write a little more of whatever story I am currently engaged with.

I normally write 1,000 – 2,000 words before stopping and then returning to do some of the “day job”. I am often amazed at my ability to jump in and out of a story with ease. However unexpected, I enjoy the balance between the two, the one providing a distraction and even relaxation from the other.

I do of course write at home as well when the opportunity presents itself but again would not normally write more than about 1,000 words at a time.

I often do not know what I am going to write next and in fact that is usually the case.  What I do is make sure I remember the last line that I have written and then think about something else and by the time I sit down to write again my subconscious imagination has had sufficient time to sort things out and the next part of the story comes out. It’s a bit like waiting for the birth of a baby.  It comes out at its own rate and won’t be hurried but if you are patient then it arrives naturally.

I don’t need to go and isolate myself in some silent room or library to be able to write.  I simply think about a story and write about it surrounded by people doing other things, just as you might read a book or listen to the radio under similar circumstances.

I wonder what will be next in my journey.