Fantasy and Brownies, Two Things Close To My Heart by Anne-Mhairi Simpson
I will admit, I’m stuck. I don’t know what to write. I was going to write about Horror for a last Blurring the Lines post, but I don’t read horror. I don’t even watch it, if I can possibly help it. I hate horror. I have enough weird psychological goings-on in my everyday life without looking for it elsewhere too.
In case you’re interested, I’ve come to the conclusion that happy, comfortable people like to be scared because it makes them feel more alive. And maybe the psychologically unstable like to be scared because they can look at the film or book that’s scaring them and think, I’m not the only one who likes this.
I’m probably wrong on both counts, and it’s that thought that prevented me from completing the planned Horror in Fantasy article that I started last week and simply couldn’t finish. Because I don’t even like thinking about horror, which makes it rather hard to write about.
So what to write about today. Like I said, I’m stuck.
I just started reading this book by Scott Nicholson called Write Good or Die and the foreword alone was very entertaining. It mentioned something which strangely enough I’ve been discussing with friends the last few days, the fact that, as a writer, I could do exactly what another writer has done and where it has made them into a multi-millionaire international bestseller, it could possibly make me a multi-nationally rejected writer.
“Each writer only knows one set of truths, and those things are true only for that particular writer.” (Scott Nicholson, Write Good or Die, 2010)
You may wonder why I’m spouting about writing and the truth is, that’s what I’ve been talking about all this time, isn’t it? I haven’t been giving writing advice but I’ve been talking about writing. What goes into this genre, what adds to that genre, as if I had any clue!
Because I have to tell you, I’m a fraud. Oh no, I am a writer, and I do write fantasy, but I really don’t know that much about it. I’m not even particularly well-read. I haven’t read Peter V Brett or Joe Abercrombie or China Mieville. I hadn’t even heard of Joe Abercrombie until he commented on a friend’s blog and the friend did the girliest squeeeeeee about it on Twitter. I haven’t read…
Oh I can’t continue with the list, it’s too depressing. Suffice to say that when I went to FantasyCon a few weeks ago, the only writer on any of the panels that I had actually heard of was Suzanne McLeod. But I didn’t know she was doing a panel until my friend caught up with me and I mentioned her and she said, oh yes, she was on that panel I just went to.
It occurs to me that we are all perfectly capable of giving opinions on things we know nothing about. As you can see on this site, I do it all the time. And a lot of us have to. We all make decisions every day, which are often based on incomplete information. It’s how we live our lives and usually it works out okay, although there are points where people turn around and say, no, you’re wrong! Which is fine, if you can handle knowing you’re wrong. My problem is that, while I’m perfectly happy to offer half-baked opinions on things I know nothing about in private, I feel I shouldn’t do that in public. That in public I should be perfectly professional and only talk about things that fall within my realm of expertise. Unfortunately, if I stuck to that noble intention, I would only ever talk about Tesco’s gluten-free chocolate chip brownies.
Do these things mean I’m not a proper writer? I don’t think so. I have read a lot of fantasy in my time, but I tend to find (or trip over – same difference) authors I love and then stick with them like my life depends on it. Which is why I own every single one of Terry Pratchett’s books, and Anne McCaffrey’s, and Jim Butcher’s. Sir Pratchett is the only author whose books I buy in hardback. I also own all of Kelley Armstrong’s books, excepting her new YA series, which isn’t because I don’t want the new series, just that I can’t afford to buy them at the moment.
Needless to say, I don’t care about that when it comes to Terry Pratchett. In fact, I must go to the bookshop TODAY and buy Snuff.
This post isn’t informative in the slightest, is it? No. That’s because I feel like I’m not in a position to be giving out information. I don’t even have an English degree! All I can give you here are my opinions, and I suppose this is a disclaimer to the effect that my opinions aren’t terribly well-informed. They’re just me, with a brownie on the side and a keyboard in front.
Never forget the brownie. It’s tremendously important. In fact, it’s so important, I might just write an article on it one day.
Real life is just too real, which is why Anne-Mhairi writes fantasy, preferably for teenagers because they’re closer to her mental age. This can, and often does, involve griffins, unicorns, werewolves and/or vampires. And because she likes a laugh, there are also pink mice and gods with faulty moral compasses. But whatever she’s writing, there’ll be a lot of blood and a LOT of magic, because that’s what makes her worlds go round.
She’s been to six schools (seven if you include university) and lived in five countries on two continents. She speaks three languages and bits and pieces of three more. She once galloped a horse into a cow (by accident) while at work and she’s been to Machu Picchu three times. Apart from writing, she likes pretty shoes, making jewellery, films, dancing, reading and chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate.
Her first book, For The Love Of Gods, will be available on 27th October 2011.