Thursday, August 9, 2012

Easier Said Than Done.

Introducing Ian Miller

I am older, semi-retired, self-employed, so that makes everything so much easier, right? I wish it were. When word gets around that you are semi-retiring, everybody thinks that perforce you will have more time on your hands, and for every spare hour that becomes available, about three hours of obligations come my way. But not to worry; there is still time to write.

The problems started when I finished and self-published. Oops, the hordes did not sweep down and buy. No, one has to do self-promotion, social networking, and, yes, there was this word "semi"; I still have to try to earn some dollars. Something has to give, so up comes the decision: either you want to write or you do not, and if you do, you have to make time for it. If I Iook a bit harder at the problem, the answer is reasonably simple: try not to waste time, and try not to put things off for later. If you have spent time thinking about something then put it aside, that time is wasted because when you come back to it you will redo that time later. So my recipe is, first, try to be more efficient, and if that doesn't work, drop something.

Yes, I know. It is like losing weight – easier said than done, but it can be done.

One trick I find useful is that through the day in moments when I am doing something fairly boring or routine I think about what I want to write. Call it controlled daydreaming. Small fragments of thought through the day mean that when I sit down to write, I have processed in my mind what I intend to write about. This is a lot easier to do if you write about what interests you, but why would you write about something that doesn't?

A common piece of advice is that the writer should listen to people talking, to help with writing conversations, etc. Even better, I sometimes like to look at a scene and ask myself, what would happen if . . .? This helps plot development, and I find that it is surprisingly easier to write quickly if I have a reasonably clear idea of what I want to write about. You might object and say that your books are too different. I don't think so. I write futuristic science in fiction thrillers, which are very different from simple modern life but that doesn't mean I can't get inspiration from my surroundings. Use the surroundings as a frame on which to hang your imaginings.

That makes it easy to keep a work/writing balance, right? Actually, no. Again, easier said than done, but again, it can be done. I have found that getting what I want takes a lot of effort, and a certain amount of putting aside what I don't want that much, but that is hardly a surprise. Is it worth it? Of course it is. I may not be a best seller (Hey, I am more like a worst seller) but at least I enjoy what I am doing, and what more could I want?
I was born on the 7th August, 1942 and studied chemistry at the University of Canterbury (BSc Hons 1, PhD) followed by post-docs at Calgary, Southampton and Armidale before returning to New Zealand carry out research at Chemistry Division, DSIR, on recycling, biofuels and seaweed utilization. In 1986 I set up my own research company to support the private half of a joint venture to make pyromellitates, the basis of high temperature resistant plastics, which, with an associated seaweed processing venture, collapsed during the late 1980s financial crisis. I have written about 100 peer reviewed scientific papers and about 35 other articles and I was on the Editorial Board of Botanica Marina between about 1998-2008. Early in this century I had a provisional agreement with a major publisher to write a book on how to form scientific theories. This took a lot longer than expected and the publisher lost interest, however the first ebook in the series entitled "Elements of Theory" was self-published in 2011. The second, "Planetary formation and Biogenesis" will be submitted to the Amazon KDP program on April 11.
During my first year at University, following an argument with some Arts students, I was challenged to write a fictional book. Following two rejections, I was discouraged (!) but having some television exposure while trying to promote the pyromellitates venture, Gemina was self-published. This was less than successful because as a condition of finance for the laboratory/pyromellitates venture, all publicity for it was forbidden. It was somewhat difficult to sell books without any promotion.
  I have returned to writing fiction, using my scientific and business experience to write "science in fiction" thrillers, a type of "future history". This series starts with Puppeteer, set in the near future when both oil and resources are in short supply, when government debts leads to the inability of governments to govern properly and when corruption is widespread. In Puppeteer, one man threatens to detonate three nuclear bombs to get revenge on corrupt officials who have ruined his life, while two others alone can stop him. Further details can be found at The second book, Troubles, is set 20 years later when the world is emerging from anarchy, the only law is based on user pays, life is cheap and sordid, and there is a general rush from those in any position to do so to acquire power at any cost to others. The story is about a young man and the girl he has a crush on. They take opposite and totally uncompromising positions as the system works over each of them.

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