Monday, 19 November 2012


You may know that I decided to write ROGUE because of my semester abroad in Germany. I wanted to write a novel set in an exotic* location, but be able to experience it first-hand.

So far the novel has taken place either in locations I can’t easily access (US embassy, Berlin, etc.) or in generic locations (hotel room, freeway, etc.). But I’m just a few chapters away from writing about an event which takes place in a real and accessible location.

Excursion time!

Last Sunday I had some free time, so I decided to head to Cologne to scout out the scene of an assassination. It was raining and miserable where I’m living, but my phone said it wasn’t too bad in Cologne.

Unfortunately, my phone’s a liar: it was pretty crappy in Cologne too.

The assassin's position is on the roof of the building, right next to the flag pole. (Also, look at the sky. Crappy weather. AND it was raining...)
I found my way to the (wow, this is awkward. I can’t remember the English word for it…*thinks*) Town Hall without too much trouble. In hindsight, I realise I took the long way there – it took me nearly ten minutes to get there from the train station, but only three to get back!

The target will stand outside the Rathaus (Town Hall). Ignore the construction site.
Because it was cold and rainy, I didn’t spend too much time at the Town Hall. That’s okay, because I’d already scoped the area via Google Maps. I snapped a few pictures and checked that everything was the same as I’d pictured it after having a bird’s-eye view of the area.

What about you? Have you ever done any hands-on research for your WIP? How did it go? Let me know in the comments section below!

* Technically every location is exotic for someone, but that’s a whole new topic.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fast Progress

I’ve had a busy few weeks. University in Germany is keeping me occupied (sometimes too much), but most of the time I’m able to make time to write each day. The last two weeks have been especially hectic – mid-semester exams, yay! – and there was a long period when I was too burnt out to write.

But for the most part, ROGUE is coming along really well. I’m racing through the story, and should be finished within a few months. I’ve noticed that I seem to be trying something new with my WIP: I’m going so fast.

With my previous projects, I usually plod along trying to make my rough draft as perfect as possible. However, with ROGUE I’m speeding through it, just trying to get the words down as quickly as possible.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m filled with NaNo spirit, or because I have a deadline to write the rough draft (mid February, when I finish my semester), or because I know that I’ll be rewriting the novel anyway, but I’m writing quickly and not caring if it isn’t perfect. Which I think is awesome. Because no one’s rough drafts are ever perfect. Most probably suck. So I can see now that I shouldn’t spend so much time working on a rough draft, but I should get it on paper quickly so that I can start work on making it better.

What about you? Do you write drafts quickly, or do you spend more time on them to make them better? If you’re doing NaNo, how are you going? Let me know in the comments section!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Late last week (three and a half days ago, to be precise) I had a wonderful seed of an idea appear in my head. It was awesome, and I decided it would be a pretty cool project to do for NaNoWriMo.

But… that seed didn’t grow. I wracked my brain, researched to see if I could find some fertiliser, even put my thoughts to paper… but nothing happened. No ideas formed, the seed didn’t sprout… and so, fourteen hours out from 1 November, I’ve got nothing.

It’s a bit of a shame, really. I was looking forward to doing my first NaNo ever, and being in the northern hemisphere I wasn’t going to be tied down with assignments and exams (I’ll still have a few, but nothing compared to Australia). Yesterday, I contemplated the idea of just writing, and seeing what happens, but I quickly decided against it. I don’t work too well without a plan, and I didn’t want to put my current WIP on hold for a month just to struggle with a half-formed idea that I would shelve come December.

So, yeah. My plans for NaNo are no more. I’ll still be cheering everybody on from the sidelines, and hopefully next year this seed will bloom. I think I might even try a Camp NaNo in… whenever it is. August? July?

My question for you: are you doing NaNo? If not, why not? And if you are, good luck!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Talking Sidekicks

I’ve recently discovered just how useful sidekicks are. Sure, they’re good for comic relief and getting your protag out of trouble, but I’ve also realised (maybe “realised” isn’t the right word. It’s become very obvious to me that) sidekicks are good for:


Having a sidekick present really helps with the story, because it gives the characters something to do. I find that there is more interaction between characters with a sidekick present.

For example, I’ve only recently introduced my sidekick. So before that, and particularly in the first action scene, everything was very do orientated. My character did this. My character did that. He did this. He did that. It was really difficult to come up with exciting things to do.

But since I’ve introduced my protagonist’s sidekick, things have started getting easier to write! There’s interaction! My protagonist has someone to talk to! We get to learn more about him!

What about you? Does your protagonist have a sidekick? If you’ve ever written a story without a sidekick, did you find it harder to write? I’m interested in your thoughts. Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 15 October 2012

When Bad Guys Aren't That Bad

Now that I’m past the first action scene, the words are beginning to come easier. (Except for today. Absolutely horrible.) I hit the 7K mark last week, and I’m smashing my way to 8K!

Lately I’ve been thinking about our bad guys, and how they don’t really have to be bad. You see, “antagonist” comes from a Greek word which means “opponent”. The antagonist simply opposes the protagonist. I think it’s also worth reminding that the antagonist should be the hero of their own story (except they normally lose).

I think the antagonists in ROGUE are good examples of that. While my antagonists are usually pretty bad, the antagonists (well, one group of them, anyway) are actually pretty good. They just oppose my protag.

It’s interesting to work with, and on one hand it’s actually easier than my previous antagonists – I don’t have to figure out their motivation like I did in EXCALIBUR and POSEIDON’S TRIDENT (“why does he want to overthrow the British Government?” “Why does he want to dry up the world’s water supply?”). But, on the other hand, they can’t really be as ruthless as my previous villains. Car chases kinda seem toned down when there isn’t any shooting… Fortunately, I’ll be having some gunfire in the coming chapters, and my bad baddies will be coming along soon!

What are your thoughts on “good” antagonists? Do you enjoy reading about them, or does it lower the stakes for you? What about your own antags? Are they “good” or “bad”? Let me know in the comments section! I’d love to hear from you!