Tag Archives: inspiration

No Man’s Land: Sketches and Cover

I may be bouncing up and down slightly, and grinning like a daft thing. The absolutely amazing and ridiculously talented Karin Lanven has been coming up with concept sketches for the cover of No Man’s Land, and….

Sketches for Ghost

The above is some concept sketches for Ghost – I’m thinking that Karin’s style for this reminds me of Chris Riddell, and I love it! And below, she’s also been doing some roughs for cover layouts…

No Man's Land cover layout sketch

It’s all a work in progress, but I am ridiculously excited!

The Igor system: what goes around, comes around

I used the phrase “Igor system” to someone the other day and got a blank look…

Igor, servant to Dr Frankenstein

The phrase I use is from Terry Pratchett, who has a mostly-related family of characters who are the typical mad-scientist helper: they’re all called Igor (well, it’s not confusing to them), like green bubbly things, talk with a lithp, are pretty good at self-surgery, and swap body parts.

And it’s the body parts where the phrase comes from; you take care of your heart, because it was your dad’s, and someone else could use it after you. You accept the help from an Igor when you’ve had an accident and need a new arm, or a finger, or a liver – and then when it comes to it, you pay that on. You give what’s needed, “because what goes around, comes around.”

And I think it works really well for both the writing community, and for life.

I help a writer who’s just starting out because I was there, once – and so I’ll check over her submissions and help with copy-edits and grammar and how to put names in headers because it pays it forward. I’ll buy a chocolate bar for a friend because hey, it’s been that sort of day. I’ll do my best to listen and support and give that extra bit of help, even when it might be tedious or tiring or something I don’t have to do – because I was there, or I will be, or because it’s the right thing.

And I’m seeing it come back. I’m getting so much support from my colleagues within the writing industry, and I can’t pay that back in any conventional sense – and so I’ll pay it forward: when I’m there, at their stage, with their knowledge – I’ll pay it on to someone who needs it. I’ll recommend books I love and support authors I enjoy and do my best to put energy into things that need the support, because somehow, it’ll come back to me. It’s a version of karma, I guess, but I try to direct it; because I don’t always have the unspecified energy to spend doing randomly good deeds, I try to use that energy where I know I can help most.

So I do my best to live by the Igor system – and if you ever hear me use the phrase, that’s what it is!

No learning is ever wasted

I’ve had quite a few people over the past few months apologising for talking about something they love, or that I don’t know anything about, or that they think I’m not interested in.

And fair enough, if you talk AT me about football for more than about fifteen minutes, I will probably end up trying to keep the blank look off my face, and escape as soon as possible. But for anything else? Hell, no! I love it when someone’s passionate about something – you can see them just light up, and that’s just amazing. Listening to someone talk about something that they’re passionate about is a real pleasure. I’ve had discussions with my colleague about swordfighting, mythology, Frankenstein, bitcoin….I know a bit about some of those things, but it’s just such a nice feeling to talk to someone about something they’re interested – and knowledgeable – about.

And even if it’s something you think is silly, like Pokemon (the amount of people who have apologised for being interested in Pokemon…) or computer games or…just STOP. They’re all interesting! They’re all something you’re passionate about! Allow yourself to be interested! Ok, yes, sure, you need to read the conversation, and be aware when you’re boring someone – but then that’s the difference between talking TO someone and talking AT someone.

And – honestly – I love learning. As the title says, no learning is ever wasted – I’ve got so many random things squirrelled away in the back of my brain that will likely go into a book, or drop into a random conversation, or just make some odd connection that I can be interested in myself.

So don’t ever apologise for being interested in something and talking about it. Nothing’s ever wasted when you’re talking to a writer!