Tag Archives: Dr Who

Please Release Me

My blog this week is in support of the hugely talented Rhoda Baxter, whose new novel, Please Release Me, is on sale RIGHT NOW!

Please Release Me features characters who are all ‘stuck’ in some way, so I’m taking that as my theme for today.

Cover of Rhoda Baxter's Please Release Me

What I’m stuck on right now is the dreaded edits for my second novel, The Last Dreamseer. Although they’re not really dreaded. My brilliant substantive editor (the uber-talented Rachel Daven Skinner) has done her usual wonderful job pointing out the plot holes large enough to lose a character into, and while I am in the middle of a big job of work I’m looking forward to how much better the novel will be once I sort out all the kinks in the plot so it will carry my readers effortlessly through the story.

If I could be stuck anywhere I liked … Well, I’m a big Dr Who fan and I loved the library episodes (Silence in the Library and Forests of the Dead) because I can’t think of a better idea for the afterlife than for it to be the most enormous library in the universe. However, my problem with the afterlife is that eternity trumps anything finite, so sooner or later I’d end up having read all the books ever written and having nothing left to read (at which point a heavenly afterlife would become hell). So I’d better ask to be stuck there with a load of writer friends so we could spend the afterlife writing and keep each other supplied with new books for the rest of eternity.

My favourite stickers Once you’re an adult you don’t really get given stickers much (boo), but if you become a writer you do get the opportunity to play with Post-It notes. Oh, the lovely bright colours, the space to scribble ideas on … and that lovely strip of stickiness that means I can put it where I like on my planning board and move it to fit the ebb and flow of the story as it grows. Love ’em!

Rhoda’s last novel, Dr January, was a stunner, and I can’t wait to get stuck in (see what I did there?!) to Please Release Me. Now, where’s my Kindle got to..?

Cover of Rhoda Baxter's Please Release Me

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?

Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …

Buy it now: myBook.to/PleaseReleaseMe

Some of my bookcases

Lie to me!

I write (and read) fantasy, which is perhaps the most obviously “made-up” of fiction genres, and suspension of disbelief is key to spinning a successful fantasy tale.

Suspension of disbelief can perhaps be summed up as ‘don’t allow a little reality to get in the way of a good story’, but it’s more subtle than that. From my experience, fiction contains big lies and little lies and strangely enough, it’s the little lies that trip up a reader (well, if that reader’s me, it does) and cause disbelief to come crashing back and destroy the writer’s hard work.

A couple of examples: in the first episode of the BBC’s Merlin (set in some kind of medieval-ish Arthurian Britain), our young wizard spends time in the stocks being pelted with rotting veg. He also spends a while hearing the disembodied voice of a dragon and then speaking to said dragon in the flesh.  The BBC received far more complaints about anachronistic tomatoes being used in the stocks scene than it did over the existence of a TALKING DRAGON.

Or take the current series of Doctor Who (please, take it away and bring it back when you have some credible storylines which ENTERTAIN). Space travel, time travel, monsters and aliens are all fine by me. What I can’t accept is that Clara gets left in modern Britain for two weeks and becomes a teacher with a permanent job.  Criminal records check, anyone?  Even if she had a stack of psychic paper there’s still a recruitment process to go through.  We might be short of teachers in some areas, but I don’t think we’re yet so desperate that people can walk in off the street and be allowed responsibility for our children.

And the thing is, it’s sloppy.  Whatever fiction you write, you need to check your facts.  So check your facts, and if they’re wrong, change them.  The good thing about little lies is that they usually aren’t integral to the story (Merlin could be pelted with squashy apples; Clara could have become a waitress at a corner cafe) so they’re easy to adjust.

Big lies are part of the contract of fantasy. They’re the dragons and aliens and paradoxical time machines which are needed to capture your reader’s imagination and sweep them into your fictional world. Little lies, on the other hand, are little traps for unwary writers which can catapult your readers back to reality.

Do you agree?  Do you struggle with big or little lies in the books you read or write, or can you suspend disbelief to Olympic level?