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Monthly Archives: August 2013

‘Chasing Humanity’ (fiction): Character profile: Tobias

The world is different, human beings have changed and in a last ditch effort to hold on to what was once ‘normal’ human civilisation, an exodus of like-minded people has occurred. In the beginning only the wealthy few made the trek but eventually the new colonies were substantial enough to enable thousands more to leave their home countries and head to the only landmass on Earth still untouched by human hands: Antarctica.

Our story begins with Tobias, a young man who has spent the past few years of his life (and all of his savings) gaining invaluable skills for tending the habitat that keeps the elements at bay and allows the people of the domed city of Loam to live something approaching a normal life.

The Antarctic winter has set in and the lighting employed to battle the endless dark is limited to just a few hours a day. UV lamps pour out just enough to keep plants alive and the dome’s environmental controls are straining just to keep the temperature inside above freezing.

Icy winds of -50°C howl through the endless night outside the dome, and yet at times Tobius would rather take his chances outside if it meant he could get away from his dad’s relentless lecturing.

Cabin fever is setting in but the only way to get out the house is to go to ‘Mike’s Place’; an entertainment center near Tobias’s home, and that costs credits that Tobias just doesn’t have. Blagging his way through free coffees one repair job at a time Tobias longs for something different, a break from the monotony.

His wish is about to be granted in a way he never would have expected, Tobias’s time in Loam is running to an end and he has no idea. For now he’ll settle for a cup of coffee with the girl who makes his days worthwhile: Anyanka.

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Let me know what you think in the comments below, as promised there is much more to come (though I’ll do all I can to keep spoilers to a minimum). ‘Chasing Humanity’ should be ready sometime after Christmas, but if I get a bit of extra free time who knows it could be sooner. Please subscribe to find out more about this book or to see my hints and tips about writing.

Today’s tip: don’t take the easy route now, you’ll just give yourself more work later. Before running on to the next chapter of writing, review what you just wrote, make sure it’s formatted correctly, reads easily, and is as free from grammatical errors and spelling mistakes as you can manage. Also if you intend to publish on kindle don’t bother about page run over, in fact save your writing in html format and when writing view as ‘web page’ that way you remove the temptation to move paragraphs to a new page etc.

Thanks for reading, I welcome any comments and I’ll have some more content from ‘Chasing Humanity’ to share very soon. Cheers, John

 
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Posted by on 27 August, 2013 in Chasing Humanity

 

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‘Chasing humanity’ (fiction) sample

As promised here’s a sample of the book I’m writing right now. It’s still slow going but I’m setting aside time each week now to ‘work’ and I feel as though I’m finally making progress again.

” This is more like it; as I walk into ‘Mike’s place’ the mature scents of roast coffee mix with the hot buttered popcorn at the cinema stand and the faintest hint of chlorine from the pool downstairs. It makes me feel like I’m ten years old again whilst standing as a reminder that I’m not. Tempting as a matinee and swim would be about now I really can’t afford it, I’ll just have to settle for a couple of coffees and, hopefully, some good company.”

The story is set in the not too distant future, where human society is very different yet where human relationships still follow very familiar patterns. I’ll pop more samples up once I’ve figured out how much I can share without leaving ‘spoilers’.

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Writing Tip: For anyone who is interested, I’ve set aside 2 or 3 2 hour blocks of writing each week and it’s already paying off. More importantly it feels maintainable. At this rate I could be finished the full novel sometime after Christmas.

Any comments, hints, or tips are more than welcome, thanks for reading, cheers, John

 
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Posted by on 23 August, 2013 in Chasing Humanity

 

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Finally completed something

Eudaimonia and disability Aristotle and human capacitiesOK it’s not what I expected to be popping up for my first kindle publication but here it is ‘How to Live The Good Life in a Modern World’. I’m not even sure if I can count a non-fiction book as the same sort of thing as what I’ve been talking about so far on this blog. As you may or may not know my background is in Philosophy so I went for the old adage and ‘wrote what I know’. I have to say even though it’s a completely different kind of animal than what I thought of when I started this blog completing it has definitely spurred me on to write more. Last year I completes my MPhil thesis and I thought that my writing habits would instantly translate into time spent writing fiction but I was wrong.

With the deadlines gone and the ‘honest’ reason for time spent away from other things it wasn’t as easy to set aside the needed hours each weak to get my work done. That’s probably the key word that changed things and got my book written: ‘work’. Until I started writing this one I didn’t think of writing as ‘work’, I thought of it as ‘writing’, it currently doesn’t pay and it does feel like a hobby so I kind of treated it like that. Things changed when I decided to write this book up and I started to set time aside for ‘work’. Loads of people do unpaid work every day from volunteers to interns so i decided to class this as a writing ‘internship’ where I’m my own boss and it seems to have worked. Now that this book is done I’ve even started delving back into writing fiction again. (Excerpts from chapters are to follow).

OK so for those of you who might be interested here’s a brief description of what my book is about. First off, it isn’t a mammoth read, I tried to keep things as neat and concise as I could. It would work as either an introduction to philosophy (it looks at both ancient and very modern positions in philosophy, providing people with a breadth of philosophical history) or as a more specific guide to the idea of what counts as a ‘good life’.

It doesn’t address every important philosophical question ever posed, but it does cover one or two of the ‘big questions’ as it takes the reader through it’s main topic. The book is about what it is to have a good life, and what kind of activities we might have to participate in in order to achieve this. When I started writing this book I wanted to make sure that the vast array of human capacities and capabilities are at least acknowledged, if not addressed head on. Because of this topics including the nature of mental disability and how it impacts on notions of merit and blame grew to become a steady thread throughout the book.

I like to think that it addresses these issues in the lightest possible manner whilst taking them seriously but I’ll leave it up to readers to decide. It’s available (in English only) in the UK, the USA, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada and Brazil. If you choose to get yourself a copy (or even just read a sample) I hope you enjoy it and I hope you take the time to tell me what you think.

So my final little bit of advice about getting a book written is to stop ‘writing’ and start ‘working’. Hope that helps you, thanks for reading, Cheers, John

 
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Posted by on 22 August, 2013 in Philosophy

 

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