A Life Of Fiction CLIV

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Fifty going on twenty: I am childish. I still play console games. I still read comics (although I can no longer afford to collect them). But I don’t feel that different than I was some thirty years ago. I have the same interests. I listen to a lot of the same music. I still listen to stuff like the Damned, Blondie and David Bowie.

Recently I reread all of my issues of the New Teen Titans, formerly DC’s best-selling comic. It was more than a decade since I had last read them – enough time for me to forget some of the details. They were every bit as good as I remembered, with great artwork by George Perez. The quality only really tailed off in the last issues which I owned, when some new artist came on whom simply, in my opinion, was not good enough.

I still read my old comics, although I can no longer afford to go to nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham to buy new ones. At one stage, twenty five years ago, I was spending around seventy pounds a week on comics – and that was seventy pounds twenty five years ago. I think that more than half of my wages went on the ruddy things.

I still buy the occasional trade paperback.

It is the writing which interests me about comics. There needs to be good artwork. But it is the imagination of the writer – his craft in telling the tale – which interests me. I suppose that is no surprise, as I am a writer myself.

One of my favourite comic writers used to be John Byrne. In his heyday he was the master of the shock ending, especially on such comics as Superman and Alpha Flight. Other writers who have been a joy to read include Peter David, Mark Gruenwald and Mark Waid.

I still play console games. I have a Playstation Two which I bought brand new last year. Yes, it was new, still in its box. I have got through a lot of consoles in the past. It is my second Playstation Two. I have killed off one Playstation (had two stolen), two Xboxes, a Saturn, a Playstation Two and an Xbox 360. All dead, all dead. I would have liked another Xbox but I couldn’t find a new one on sale.

At the moment I am working my way through Playstation Two games donated by kind friends. I’m in the business of writing my three thousand words for the day so that I can get back to playing Final Fantasy X. I don’t allow myself to play until I have done all of my work for the day.

I cannot lie and say that my writing hasn’t been influenced by some of the games which I play. They do influence you. Some of the themes of the Final Fantasy series are great ideas. You shouldn’t copy them and rip off the game designers. But you can take the original idea and take it in a different route. Which I will be attempting to do, in yet another novel which I have not written yet.

I still roleplay. One of my friends gave up RPGs a few years ago. But I’m going to keep going until the day I die. The games which I run are my own Gas-Lamp Fantasy RPG, Champions and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, although I have run many more than that in the past. I think that I own some fifty odd different RPG systems, although I have not yet had the opportunity to run them all.

I just wished that RPG material was not quite so expensive.

My interests influence me. I don’t think that it is possible not to be influenced by things which interest you. A song – or song title – might inspire me to write a sort story. The way in which a saga in comics is structured might influence the way in which I structure a story. Ideas from an RPG can lead me off in all manner of strange directions. And who would want it to be any other way?

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