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Inside the mind of a writer...

My motto for 2012: Quality, not quantity

I am currently exploring the sensation of Sound...

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Day Two - How Matt Rowe creates his novels...

Which is more important to you - character or plot?
Character, definitely. I normally start a story with the idea of what the character will be like or some quality they will have. Perhaps there is some stereotype I want to break or question and then I will think of the situations they will have to be put in to bring out this quality in them. With each piece I write the character arcs are becoming more detailed. My next novel 'No Technobabble Please, We're Earthlings!' is a sci-fi comedy novel, inspired by the likes of Douglas Adams and Grant Naylor. In that, the main character, Jacob, goes through a serious change and the story is all about the results of that and where it takes him. There are many other elements to that story but the arc is much stronger. In my third novel, the character arc is the definite core and driving force of the story. It's the familiar tale of a hero who wants to change their destiny but with a massive twist in a world already turned upside down. I think fans will love it... you know, when I get some. 
How do you visualise the scenes as you write?
I see them like a movie. That sounds a bit cliched but it's true. I probably watch more movies than I read books so it's only natural I see stories that way, but in my head scenes have exact camera angles, motions and elements. I try to transcribe this onto paper, giving the appropriate focus to each element by thinking of what the camera sees first and what is most striking. The camera also helps set the mood and so that image in my head reminds my how to tone the scene. It's like a very simple, private language that helps me interpret many detailed and complicated elements. Of course, the problem with writing is that no matter how much effort you put into communicating something in a particular way, readers will always understand it based on their own experiences. Basically they will read it how they damn well want to. So remember that next time you think a book is crap. It's not crap, it's how you read it. You obviously wanted to read crap. So don't blame me or I'll set Ramses on your cat, and if you don't have a cat Ramses will visit you with a cat and then take it away from you. See how you like those apples! Sorry, what were we talking about?

Do you have a writing day/days?
I'm as unorganised as a snail that just crawled across a rubbish tip. Seriously, I downloaded 'Evernote' a famous computer program for organising things and I just have so little knowledge of organising that I just couldn't understand how to use it. At all. It just makes no sense to me. I've been slack recently and I'm pushing to find regular time, but I write when I can. Sometimes, I can do this at my job, but mostly it is late in the evenings. People should not model themselves after me in any way. Actually, if you check my blog, I made a new schedule recently and I think Tuesday evenings is my designated time to get some writing done. So don't talk to me then. If you do, I'll answer you because I'm too damn polite but inside I'll be wishing for onions to fall on your head.

When did you start writing stories?
Voluntarily, when I was very very young. I remember drawing my own comic strips when I was younger than the open packet of cheese in my fridge, and I started writing short stories not long after. One of the stories in my anthology, 'Not All Of Them About Zombies', I completed when I was 16 and it has won competitions. I used to always like writing activities at school. However, I didn't take it seriously until I was 21. I had always wanted to write, but I didn't know how to do it as a career, even after it was my number one career suggested by a career aptitude test. So, I left it, but my first choice of university course fell through. After three years of doing something I didn't really want to do I started thinking about what I did want to do. I realised that writing was the only career I would ever be happy with. So I set out to write my first novel. I completed it when I was 23.

What are your current writing projects?
I've already mentioned a few. 'No Technobabble....' is one step away from having the first draft complete. 'Kiss Me Undeadly', the sequel to 'Better Off Dead' is a third of the way through its first draft. I'm also working on a couple of new ideas. One is untitled but it's a comedy about an evil henchman trying to fit into everyday life. It starts where most stories end, with a climactic battle between good and evil, and then it follows the henchman while he waits for the forces of darkness to gain power again. In the meantime, some unlikely things happen. He finds himself the guardian of a small girl, for example, and this changes him a lot. It's less of an out and out comedy and is certainly darker, but anyone who has read my anthology will know the kind of tone to expect. A more recent idea is kind of a reverse of the usual superhero tales. I got tired of chosen heroes always wanting to be normal. Why don't they realise that having superpowers is cool? So this will be an antidote to that. I'm looking forward to writing that one because the main character is very strong and interesting. I like writing strong women! 

Away from novels, I am soon to be releasing the first of many short stories as an iOS app. It will include annotations, concept art, samples of my novel and other things. I plan to update them with news of any releases and such. If it is successful, I plan to do this with more stories. I think it's a bit more interesting than just a story on kindle. 

I'm also writing a web comic at my website. It's called 'Graveyard Shift' and it's about a young girl who inexplicably guards a portal to the spirit world. I like the four strip format and it's quite a challenge to write in that manner, but I'm struggling to find an artist who con contribute regularly, so posts are a little uneven at the moment.

What are you currently reading?
I am still reading 'Heaven's Net is Wide' by Lian Hearn. I really enjoyed the Tales of the Otori trilogy, being interested in Japan and a touch of the supernatural. I say "still" because I have had to sacrifice a lot of reading time lately and I am a slow reader anyway! I have a stack of books to read too but most of them are in my kindle so it's not towering and in danger of squishing my kitten or anything. Though Ramses would be happy if it did! I'm enjoying the book, but it's more focussed on politics so it's not as interesting as the adventures of the earlier books. I'm more excited about the next book, about the hero's daughter. I like a good heroine, more than a hero. What can I say? I'm a lady's man. Well, strong girls. Usually super-powered. Mmmmm....

Experience some of Matt Rowe's writing for yourself over the next two days, here on this blog...

If you can't wait and need to read more of his work and buy his book click on the links below: -
Matt's Website

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