Thursday, March 12, 2009

GUEST AUTHOR: Charlie Cochrane

Charlie’s laws of writing:

1. When you have an idea, you don’t have time to write. And vice versa. If you get a brilliant inspiration – at last you know how to sort out that wretched scene that’s been bugging you – you have to take the kids to the orthodontist, prepare for that key meeting and the dinner won’t cook itself. When you do have a whole afternoon for the computer, you just stare at the screen, unable to string a sentence together.

2. The muse flits by at the worst times. You’re driving down the motorway or struggling round the supermarket and suddenly you can hear in your head an absolutely brilliant scene. There is nothing at hand to record it, so you rely on memory. By the time you find pen and paper, the deathless prose and sparkling dialogue you created have dissipated into slushy twaddle.

3. Logic? It’s left the building. You slog away with a round of author chats, promos, competitions, etc. This has zero effect on your sales. Disheartened, you do no promo for a fortnight – your Amazon ratings soar.

4. Your muse suffers from ‘My Sweet Lord’ syndrome. If you have a brilliant plot idea/character name/book title, someone got there first.

5. The whole publishing business drives you nutty, but you still come back for more. ‘Nuff said.


Charlie Cochrane was dragged kicking and screaming into publishing, after years of saying ‘No!’ Now she thrives on editing, promoing and all the other things she never realised went on. She can be found eyeing up calls for submissions (something she wouldn’t have dreamed of a year ago) and has even stepped so far out of her comfort zone as to produce a story about gay werewolves. I have to add my werewolves are terribly well bred and behaved, as are most of my leading men.

Excerpt:

The chairman rapped the table with his gavel. “I bring this meeting of the South Kensington Lycanthropes to order.” Anyone observing the handsome, studious faces around the table would have felt there was no apparent disorder to deal with. The only indications that this wasn’t some dry, Oxbridge departmental meeting came from the occasional, anxious glances which the participants cast over to the windows, where a bank of cloud obscured the night sky. And the fact that their clothes were neatly piled behind their chairs, ready to be claimed the next day, should it prove necessary to go home without them.

“Gentlemen, we begin with a paper on the Red wolf, Canis lupus rufus. ”

Rory’s mind began to wander. He’d heard many a paper—scientific, historical, literary—over the years, as they’d waited for the leaden English skies to clear, and this one didn’t enthuse him. Not like the occasion when someone had presented a cogent (in their eyes) case that Esau had indeed been one of their brethren, which would explain the hairiness, a thesis countered by another member who’d sworn blind that Esau had been a Neanderthal. Harsh words and blows had ensued, turning to snarls and bites as the moon had broached the clouds, illuminating the room. Things rarely got that exciting.

Well, Carter reflected, casting a surreptitious glance around the room, we’re hardly an exciting bunch. Most of his associates worked in museums or universities, although one particularly enterprising lad had secured a job behind the meat counter at Harrod’s. That was one way of mixing business and pleasure. None of them were employed in the field where men who shared their other inclination—the non-lupine one—were often to be found. What was the point when, by accident of the lunar calendar, you might be taking the stage as Romeo and find yourself appearing more like Chewbacca?


Wolves of the West, from the Anthology Queer Wolf
http://www.queeredfiction.com/queerwolf.htm

23 comments:

Charlie Cochrane said...

J K

Thanks for letting me come an play. Great timing as it turned out, as the book was released yesterday!

*hugs*

Charlie

Erastes said...

Excellent rules and so very very true. I had a great scene come to me when I was half asleep last night and have forgotten 90 percent of it...

:)

Charlie Cochrane said...

Erastes

Girl after my own heart, except my idea come early morning. Had one this morning "it would be a really good idea to" - five minutes later had forgot the lot.

Charlie

J.K. Coi said...

Hi Charlie, welcome to the blog.
I love your avatar pic, makes me want to go on vacation.

Can you tell us a little bit about how you became involved in this anthology? Having never participated in an anthology, I'm always curious as to how it works. Were you invited to join in by a publisher, or were you asked to contribute by the group of authors? Was it your baby from start to finish?...

Charlie Cochrane said...

J K

That picture is Jersey (old not new) - a little piece of heaven on earth.

That anthology came about through another one, if that makes sense. I met James, the editor on Queerwolf, through working on Alex Beecroft's 'I Do' - the book of stories on behalf of Lambda legal. James and I started this mad e-mail convo about his new project and how, if I wrote werewolves, they'd be terribly well bred and behaved.

All at once I 'saw' them - where they lived, worked, are, the works. So he nudged me into writing the tale.

The book was out yesterday and has had its first - favourable - review!

Charlie

Lee Rowan said...

Congratulations on the anthology! I imagine it sitting next to the DVD case of "Bad Wolf..."

You should ask Alex to do a nice graphic of your rules and set 'em up at cafepress. The worst part of the 'no writing implements' is that even if you call your own home phone and leave a message, it doesn't translate. I try to carry a notebook at all times. Wrote a scene for the WIP standing in line to see the "Marias" taping in Toronto... got it all down, hurray for tiny notebooks!!

Lost the tiny notebook.

You and Erastes are insidious, y'know? She got me to read (and enjoy) a vamp story and now you're doing werewolves.

Will it be coming out in print?

Alex Beecroft said...

These are very true for me too :) I've tried the notebook solution but can never figure out a way of having a pen in my pocket at all times.

Plus it would probably never be a good time to start writing in a notebook either ;)

Erastes said...

i have a little recording thing. perfect for the car and perfect for the bed side table in the middle of the night.

Shelley Munro said...

I had to laugh at your laws, nodding my head as I read each one.
Congratulations on your new release.

Charlie Cochrane said...

Lee

You just need a Good Wolf and a Straight Wolf for the set!

I have a notepad in my handbag, but I always get good ideas when driving. Perhaps I need a dictaphone.

###You and Erastes are insidious, y'know? She got me to read (and enjoy) a vamp story and now you're doing werewolves.###

*Sings* If we can help somebody, as we pass along...

And it will be in print. More news when I have it.

Charlie

Charlie Cochrane said...

Lee

BTW - dumb question. What is cafepress?

C

Charlie Cochrane said...

Alex

I was facilitating training (being Jeeves) yesterday and had my notebook. Did the Persian Boy book review and wrote down some ideas - and I bet they thought I was taking notes.

Charlie

Charlie Cochrane said...

Erastes

where did you get the invention of wonder?

C

Charlie Cochrane said...

Shelley

Thank you.

Those laws are just too close to reality for comfort.

Charlie

J.K. Coi said...

My ideas come to me at night too, and I'm usually too tired to get up and go write them down, knowing that if I do that I'll be awake for hours as I begin to flesh it out and try to take it places. Annoying when you have to work the next morning :)

Ava March said...

Great list, Charlie!

I have one of those little notebooks. It's full of hastily scribbled notes - just random lines to jar my memory for when I can get back to the computer.

i have a little recording thing.
I tried one of those, Erastes, and it didn't work at all. Odd that I can write sex scene after sex scene, but I got all self-conscious talking out a scene (a plain old, the men-are-just-having-a-chat scene). And it was just me, alone, in the car. It wasn't like there was anyone around to listen to me babble.

Congrats on the anthology, Charlie!!

Ava

Carolan Ivey said...

[[slushy twaddle]] ROFL! Perfect description! :)

Charlie Cochrane said...

Ava

Thank you.

I have a wonderful vision of you getting all embrassed. Perhaps you thought you might pull up at traffic lights next to someone who could lip read?

Charlie

Charlie Cochrane said...

Carolan

Slushy twaddle is what I seem to find when I go back over a piece of work I once thought was wonderful...

Charlie

Cheryel Hutton said...

I feel so not-alone anymore, LOL.

How very, very true all of the "laws" are. It's almost as if the universe wants to make our writing lives as difficult as possible...because it isn't hard enough. AHHHHH!

Seriously, great post.

Charlie Cochrane said...

Cheryel

I don't know who makes these laws work - the universe or some sort of anti-muse, but I wish they'd stop it!

Charlie

K.A. Mitchell said...

A big "Amen" from the choir loft, Charlie. Ideas are slippery suckers. Sometimes I want to stab them with a fork just to see them writhe on the tines, but I usually end up coddling them.

Charlie Cochrane said...

K A

I now have visions of ideas like butterflies in an old fashioned museum, pinned to a board for display purposes.

:)

Charlie