My Virtual Reality Trip


The Lovely Room by Emma Burkeitt & Saffron Bolduc-Chiong


As I write, the oppressive heat and humidity of July in this city situated by a big lake has lifted momentarily – but a few days earlier as I tried to work on an outline for my novel – it was scorching. Inside my head, I was feverish – wrestling with choices for the direction my story was going to take. First I had to figure out my main character’s origins. If only it was so easy!  I had a small reprieve from struggle when I visited my osteopath. He’s a gentle man who twists and bends my body like a pretzel and luckily has an office with air conditioning.

fire man

The Trans­fig­u­ra­tion by Universal Everything

Like so many people who use a computer for a living, I’ve developed RSI aka Repetitive Strain Injury that gradually leaves my body as stiff and unyielding as a cement block. My shoulders and arms ache and tingle and the muscles in my back seize up. If I had the ability to unsnap certain parts of my body and replace them with spares – like a Lego model, it would be a relief. But unfortunately, I’m no cyborg or plastic brick so that’s just not going to happen.

Instead I lie on a massage table and endure being bent and pulled one way and the other.   But that day, rather than concentrating on my body’s sensations, I decided to use that time to work out my writing problem. It was a little like astral projection. I rose out of my sore body and dropped into the futuristic world of my character and tried a few ideas out.


TIFF LightBox POP 02

As I left my osteopath’s office, a blast of heat and humidity slapped me in the face the moment I was street level, but I was nonetheless feeling lighter in body and a bit lighter in spirit. I had managed to make a decision about my character’s origins and that was going to help where I take the story. Or where it takes me… Continue reading


Fun with First Lines: Serial Love

We’ve talked so much about the reader, but you can’t forget that the opening line is important to the writer, too. To the person who’s actually boots-on-the-ground. Because it’s not just the reader’s way in, it’s the writer’s way in also, and you’ve got to find a doorway that fits us both. I think that’s why my books tend to begin as first sentences — I’ll write that opening sentence first, and when I get it right I’ll start to think I really have something.

Stephen King

Something popular genre fiction does very well is series. Essentially it’s a number of books featuring a cast of regular characters. It’s for those characters that we keeping coming back for more and more and more…

My second installation of “Fun with First Lines” is all about “Serial Love”


Nancy Drew

One of my first bouts of “serial sickness” was with Nancy Drew books when I was about 8. They were terribly written really, but they were completely addictive. Maybe it was something about the familiar and the new all wrapped into one. It’s comforting and challenging at the same time…

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