Rest In Peace Tom Clancy

Today I am saddened by the news that Tom Clancy has passed away. Clancy is the man who got me hooked on reading. His book Rainbow Six blew my mind away and introduced me to an amazing world that Clancy let his characters loose in. John Patrick (Jack) Ryan is one of my all time favourite characters as is John Clarke (also known as John Kelly) these two characters struck a nerve with me as I was coming to the end of my teens and crawling into my twenties.

My first knowledge of Clancy was the movie adaptation The Hunt for Red October, based on the book of the same name and it was always a book that I had wanted to read but as I said it was Rainbow Six which first pulled me in. I had played the PC game and later the Xbox game of the same name and just loved the idea of it and when I read the book I feel in even more love with the idea but it was the way Tom Clancy wrote that caught my attention. He was not afraid of playing for the big steaks or putting characters through hell in his fiction. The things that he puts Jack Ryan through are almost unbelievable at times, and it means you pull for the characters even more.

The depth of detail Clancy put into his fiction was amazing as well, and aside from one segment he wrote in a way that made me understand what he was talking about.

 

I feel quite bad at the moment because I have over looked Clancy, and more importantly the influence he has had on me as a writer and as a person, for the last few years. I have even forgotten to put him in my Influenced BY page on my blog here (that will be rectified shortly). It was Tom Clancy who got me reading, I picked up Rainbow Six and then devoured the Jack Ryan. Although I love Jack Ryan my favourite two books by Clancy are Rainbow Six and Without Remorse, both of which have the amazing John Clarke as the main protagonist.

I was reading Clancy as I began my journey as a writer and that definitely had a large influence on how I write, it also drove me knowing that Clancy wrote The Hunt For Red October in his spare time.

 

From what I have heard of Tom Clancy as a person he was a gentleman, as a writer he is one of the great storytellers of our time and we have lost something that cannot be replaced with his passing.

My thoughts are with Mr Clancy’s family and friends and I hope they know that he gave many, many people a lot of pleasure by the words he wrote.

Thank you for those words Mr Clancy, may you Rest In Peace.

Exploring Genres

I’ve heard a lot of writers saying that its good to read and try writing in genres which are not your own. Now, I’m not to sure I’m ready to try writing in genres outside of what I do. I tend to write science-fiction and horror, I think if you read the end of Project Phoenix you may add thriller into that.
I’m not going to try writing anything different to what I am but I would like to expand what I am reading. The majority of books I have read have been written by Tom Clancy, Dan Abnett and Kathy Reichs. Three very different genres and three very different authors. The Dan Abnett books have been his Gaunt’s Ghosts books in the Warhammer 40k universe. In addition to Gaunt’s Ghosts Abnett has written other work in the Warhammer universes as well as Doctor Who and Torchwood and a tonne of other works including comics, audio and screen plays. Yes I NEED to read more by this juggernaut of a writer.

I’d like to take a huge jump and try some genres that I don’t know much off though. Steam Punk is one of them. There’s a couple of authors whose blogs I love who write Steam Punk, one of which I’ve brought some of his non Steam Punk works so I know I like his writing so I think that will be a good place to start.
Fantasy is something I think I should like reading, but I don’t think that I will be able to get through it, especially epic fantasy. I’m quite happy to watch fantasy (love A Game Of Thrones) but when I’ve tried to read it I just get slower the further I get into the story, it should be the other way around.
Romance and Erotica does not appeal so I don’t think I’ll venture into those realms. I’d like to read a little more war novels. Every time I see my grandad (a voracious reader) he gives me at least three books. More often then not they are by someone like Andy McNab or Chris Ryan which I think will be of interest to me. I’d like to read some comics too, just to see if I can find a passion for them.
I definitely need to read more horror and science-fiction which is what I am focussing on at the moment.

What would you like to read more of?

Finding Insperation And What Influences Our Creativity

For my birthday my girlfriend got me a number of DVDs most of which are best described as gritty British Gangster/Football Hooligan films, so I have spent the week watching theses films and they have got me thinking about how I am writing my own fiction. I guess this comes under ‘How the world around us influences our work’ but this doesnt mean that I am going to write a story set in one of these worlds. I don’t have that deep knowledge of these worlds but it gave me some good little ideas about dialogue, character building and the look and feel of a story. These Films are Green Street, Snatch, Rise Of The Footsoldier and The Football Factory. Throw in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels then you have some half decent films that look at a world in which series people operate and although some of it is rather humorous at times these are very powerful films.
Movies generally give me plenty of places to find. Avatar gave me more ideas than I could share here and the beginning of the film 127 hours have me an idea involving a wind turbine. So it’s not just the sci-fi films that spark an idea. For me I think it’s a case of seeing something that triggers an image in my head that I can then write a story around, or a scene at least, around what has sparked the idea.

I’ve talked about how some of the music that I listened to in my younger days has had a lasting effect on me and my writing so I’ll spare you from repeating myself, but it’s mainly an effect of liking the things that may be hiding in the shadows, the unknown world which is created by our imagination.    Two songs that truly inspires me to write are Birthright by Celldweller and Written In The Stars by Tinie Temper.  Both these songs make me want to write every time I hear them.

Obviously books are quite a strong source of inspiration for me.  Scott Sigler is a very big influence as is Dan Abnett and Joe Haldeman, but the writer that really hooked me with their novels and got me reading was Tom Clancy,Rainbow SixandWithout Remorseare two of his books that I am especially fond of.  As someone in my late teens and early twenties who had never really read anything I was blown away by what Clancy wrote and I pretty much read just his work for a good three or four years.  I suppose this is why Project Phoenix is quite heavily military because that’s what I was reading at the time of starting the novel.  Going back to Sigler for a moment though I’d just like to say that he properly inspires me to because he had to work very hard to get where he is today and I think he is a great example to anyone that has a dream that they are chasing.

I try to take something from all the movies and books and music and television shows that I watch and also the odd video game that I play.  It’s hard for me to pin down just how all these different mediums influence and inspire my writing but I think that each and every one of these does in different ways.

What inspires you?  How does the world around you influence how you write?

How Reading Infuences What I Write

I have heard lots of writers say that they don’t read books when they’re writing because their work could be contaminated by what they are reading.  I never really paid much attention to that idea and I have always read books while I’ve been writing, but it did affect what I was writing.  I first got into reading in my late teens after I brought Tom Clancy’s  Rainbow Six, this is still one of my all time favourite books and I really want to read it again but I have a big back log of books to read so it’ll have to wait.  As there was a ‘2 for £10’ I brought The Bear And The Dragon as well, also a great book.  I started writing a few years later and  had been reading Clancy’s books which are international espionage,  technology,  heavy fiction and so forth and I found that was the sort of thing that I was trying to write.  The first thing I ever wrote is military based and it holds a lot of technology aspects (We’ll hopefully be re-writing that in the next couple of years)  I then started reading The Da Vinci and Dan Brown’s other novels and I found that I was trying to put little puzzles in the story for my characters to try to solve, it didn’t go well!  But it was still writing, it was still getting the words out of my head so I think that in the long-term I have benefitted from that.

I’ve been writing for about seven years now and as I’ve said in previous posts I have only really gotten serious in the last eighteen months but I don’t seem to be as affected by what I am reading anymore, although since reading Scott Sigler’s books and listening to his podcasts I have noticed that what I write has a little more horror in it.  As a general rule though what I am reading does not seep its way into my writing, I think lol.

What I think that I take from what I’m reading now is more the craft of writing and some inspiration in what I write.  Obviously I’m not going to copy, plagiarise any of what I read but ideas are sparked from what we discover.  It’s the same with films.  I was watching the film 127 Hours and a tiny bit from the beginning gave me a great little idea for part of one of my stories, I’m not sure if I can use it but the idea is there and if I cannot use it I’ll recycle it and put it somewhere else.

Someone I used to work for would say about rival companies that it does not matter what they are doing, what matters is what we’re doing.  Because if we’re doing our job right then we don’t have to worry about anyone else.

When he said that to me it really sunk in and i think that no matter what anyone else is doing, or what the market place may be doing if what we are doing is great, then it will win through.