Videos – Update

Some months ago I warned all and sundry that I was going to be putting up some videos about my books. Back in those far-off days 15 weeks ago, all I intended was, to document all the titles in the Templar series with a view to giving people a bit of an insight into the characters, the scenes, the locations and the period. Not a lot. Rather too much for five minute snatches, but there you go. I only discovered that later!

I started out nervous. Well, it’s odd to have a camera fixed on your face, but infinitely more alarming to have your own daughter behind the camera and in charge of the edits!

Dangerous man: an author with a sword!

Dangerous man: an author with a sword! Who’d want to see this guy in a film?

The trouble is, having started, I discovered that the project had a flaw or two. Hard to believe I could have any flaws, I know, but there you go.

First, I realised that the project really needed more on things like how I write, where I write and so on. That was interesting because the mere location hadn’t occurred to me as being of any interest to anyone! So instead of  the concept of one book per week covered with a youtube video, which was challenging enough, for goodness sake: that mean reviewing books I wrote 20 years ago, and would almost take a year; I was gearing up to write a review every other week, and meantime insert little items on my writing. Which was fun.

However, as soon as I began to ask people what things they’d like to see in the videos, it began to grow again. One guy asked, for example, how I use whiteboards and the computer. What sort of software do I use? That led to a little video on Scrivener, which has quickly become my most viewed film to date. And now the book reviews, which were going to take 34 weeks to film, will now be overtaken by videos about writing.

Is that a problem? No (well, not once I’ve finished this draft of book two in the Hundred Years War trilogy). But it does mean that I’ll need to concentrate a little more on the type of filming I do.

It’s interesting, because generally I’d say there’s only so much information I can give about writing. The most obvious advice is, sit down and write. If you want to write, then actually trying to do the job really helps. You have an imaginative brain, but without exercise, it’s going to fail, like any muscle in the body. To reach peak ability, it has to be used. Ideally, the use will train it too. You gain experience and practice as you work, and that all helps your writing. From memory, I wrote the beginnings to about nine books before I hit the themes I enjoyed enough to want to complete the books. That was a long time and I was already in my early 30s by then, but it paid off. The practice and experience of sitting down and composing myself before trying to compose (neat, huh?) was invaluable for the day when I decided I had a story to tell.

So, for those who were expecting a review of each of my books every week, the good news is, we’ll be trying to achieve that. However, we’re also going to be using the Thursday video uploads for hints and tips on writing more regularly too. For the summer, these will cover such matters as planning, plotting, inventing scenes and characters, and all the other little details of how to write; from the end of the summer through into the autumn academic term, there will be more on writing essays, how to develop an argument, how to plan, how to edit, and how to complete an essay, dissertation, thesis or other piece of writing on time without grief.  All of this is based on the work I was doing at the Royal Literary Fund for the last couple of years at Exeter University , teaching individuals.

So, hopefully this will be of interest to the highest number of people. I do hope so. In the meantime, if you have points you want to look at, or questions to ask of a professional writer, do please email me or leave a comment on my blog. I will pick them all up.

If you haven’t yet checked out my YouTube channel, please see the latest film here. There are many more films to watch, but this is as good a place to start as any, if you are interested in writing.

Keep those comments coming!


2 Responses to “Videos – Update”
  1. Old Trooper says:

    The second photo should have the caption, “Like to have your tin (can) opened?”


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