Today I have a Guest Post for The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott
Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.
Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.
Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.
Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils. Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.
Social Media Links –
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Website – www.tomtrott.com
Tom’s Guest Post today is about suffering from Writers’ Block
All authors have suffered from writer’s block. It’s a thing. It happens. Don’t be ashamed, and don’t worry, here are some practical solutions to writer’s block. And not the “get up and go for a walk” kind (which are useful), but the kind that have to do with writing. Let’s start with…
You’re stuck for a detail. Go back to the book/poem/song/film/article/incident that inspired you to write this book.
Can’t think of a title?
Use a line from said book, etc. If your book is inspired by Casablanca call it Three Little People or A Hill of Beans. Too famous? Twist it a bit: Three Little Murderers or A Hill of Bullets. For my novella The Benevolent Dictator I used lines from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias as chapter titles.
Can’t think of a character name?
Again, if it’s Casablanca, call them Isla, Rick, or Louis. Isla Faust in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is clearly named for Isla in Casablanca and Faust from Faust. And you’ll never be disappointed with that name because it has meaning. For The Benevolent Dictator I used character names from Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam.
Can’t think of a place name?
Again, borrow something. Inspired by Casablanca but you want the name for a small French town? Call it Renault. And you can always use a character name as a place name (and a place name as a character name, for that matter). I also used the name of the city in Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam as the name of the country in The Benevolent Dictator.
You’re having a crisis of confidence. You think your book is rubbish and can’t tell the difference between up and down anymore.
Can’t decide where to start?
Think of an image. What is the first image the reader should see in their mind. Go for that. If it helps, think of it as a film: what is the opening shot? If that doesn’t work, borrow from a good book. How does it start? Don’t worry, it won’t end up the same, once you have a framework you’ll naturally find ways to bend and shape it. And don’t worry if it is not the first thing chronologically, you can go backwards later; and it’ll probably be better for it.
Can’t decide what should happen next?
Raymond Chandler said “have a man come through a door with a gun, things will happen.” Chandler is my favourite author, but this advice is corny and not helpful. I have received much more practical advice from Julie Cohen: take some post-it notes and write down something that could happen, keep going until you have ten different ideas. It really works. (And you’ll often find the best idea is the fourth or fifth.)
Can’t decide where to end?
Again, think of an image. What is the final image that sums up your book, the image you want burned into readers minds, that they’ll still picture an hour after they finished the book? That’s your end. And don’t worry if this image is not the last thing chronologically, you can revisit something (I did it in my first book, You Can’t Make Old Friends; it is possible).
I hope you find these tips useful, and if you have others, please let me know on Twitter @tjtrott, Facebook @tomtrottbooks, or through my website tomtrott.com
Please do go along to the other fantastic blogs that are a part of this Blog Tour