Monday, 23 April 2012

MONDAY MAGIC - AB Gayle - Familiar with a Twist

Familiar with a Twist.
Many thanks to Maggie for inviting me to her blog.
A while ago, Nell Dixon, did a guest spot here entitled “Write What You Don’t Know” as a twist on the old adage “Write what you Know. Nell made some very good points about how, with adequate research, we can write about any subject. Because, let’s face it, as readers, we want to be taken out of our everyday humdrum world and vicariously meet those hunky alpha males who are so scarce in real life or be transported to another time and place. We want to experience the unfamiliar, and for a while walk in someone else’s shoes like Daniel’s in my novella “Caught” who has been known to don red stilettos when the occasion demanded it.

But today I’m going to talk about writing what you do know, the mundane and the familiar, and seeing how it can be incorporated into a story by giving it a twist.

My latest release “Isolation” is a sci-fi/futuristic romance set in 2050. It tells the story of what happens when Earth makes first contact with aliens who invite a contingent to return with them to their home planet, Saa’ar. For the Australian doctor, Dana Sinclair, and the disabled war veteran Ethan O’Reilly and the other representatives from nearly every country in the world, this will be a one way journey.
Sounds totally improbable, right? Far out of the reach of the familiar.
But let’s add in something more familiar – at least for those of us who have teenage or older children who spend most of their time in their bedrooms either with social networking or in my case playing computer games.
Sure, some parents put their foot down and forbid this sort of behaviour, seeing it as anti-social, but as someone who has played her fair share of RPGs (role playing games), I would be a hypocrite to do so.
I actually think it is preferable to them sitting in front of television being fed Virtual Valium. At least this way they are actually interacting with other human beings. Interestingly, my daughter met her current partner through “Guild Wars”.
These multiple player online games are set up so that no matter where you are in the world you can form teams and chat to each other while playing. She assumed this guy she got on well with lived in Canada or America as he had an accent. He certainly didn’t sound like an Aussie. After a while of meeting up and playing together, she discovered he was actually an Aussie who had spent a number of years in Canada but now lived in a nearby suburb. It was months before they plucked up enough courage to see if their online friendship would survive meeting in person, but it did and they are still together after four years.
At her encouragement, I also had a go and although I didn’t use the microphone for voice contact, I did “chat” via the text box with fellow players in different parts of the world and found the whole process fascinating. By the way, any exponents of the game will be amused to see that I achieved the “impossible”: getting to maximum level during the tutorial. Lol. 
Facebook and other online social networking provides similar benefits. What to some people may seem a very closeted existence can actually be the opposite. It also allows those who have formerly been housebound to get “out” and meet people. I’ve met a few people online who have some disability or other health condition that precludes them from  meeting people in real life.
One aspect that intrigued me was that conversations within the game environment are not easily monitored. So whereas there is always this “Big Brother is Watching You” fear with telephones and emails, for the most part this is a “secure” communication channel.
This aspect inspired a crucial plot element in “Isolation”. The twist.
In my stories, I’ve also used more mundane things that I’ve experienced. For example, becoming hopelessly entangled when a loose thread in my T-shirt wound itself around the screw of my glasses triggered a short scene in my upcoming release with Dreamspinner Press, the contemporary m/m romance “Red+Blue”.
What real life aspects have you as writers incorporated in your books or for the readers out there, what in your life would you use if you ever took the plunge to become a writer? Or maybe there are other RPG addicts who are happy to come out of the closet.
A copy of “Isolation” is up for grabs for one lucky respondent.
Or you’re welcome to buy it from the publishers Total Ebound:
Visit for more information about Alison and her books. 
Thanks so much for being my guest today AB! 
And folks...DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT for a chance to win a copy of ISOLATION by AB Gayle!


A.B.Gayle said...

Thanks for having me on your blog, Maggie. I'll be interested to hear what "familiar" aspects of their life writers have drawn on.

Hugs, Alison

Jennie Brumley said...

Hi Maggie and AB,

Interesting topic today, and while I don't play RPGs, I do tend to incorporate my own experiences into my books. For example, from Revenge and Redemption, the heroine's venom-spitting aunt came from an amalgamation of all the mean girls I went to school with.

I think adding little details from your own life here and there add realism to your writing and make it more believable for the reader...even when the story is set on another planet =)

Maggie Nash said...

No problem AB! I have to say, in my first book I wrote a scene about a club in Kings Cross, so I used my knowledge for the look and feel and the atmosphere, but the actual act I wrote about was total fiction. Funny thing is my editor's husband read it and asked if she could get the address from me so they could go and check it out! I guess my limited experience helped to make it sound very real, to him at least.

Hi Jennie! Thanks for stopping by!

Angela Verdenius said...

Hi AB, I really enjoyed reading your column. Very interesting!

A.B.Gayle said...

Glad you enjoyed the post, Angela. Now, fess up. Have you ever played any computer games?

A.B.Gayle said...

Thanks for dropping by, Jennie.

I gather school was not one of the best parts of your life. You've given me an idea though. I could use my English teacher, Miss Elliott, for inspiration. She would make a great villain!

A.B.Gayle said...

Well, Jennie. For being so prompt at commenting, I think you deserve a free copy of "Isolation".
Email me at with your details and I'll send it off in the "post" ASAP.

Thanks again to Maggie for having me.

Maggie Nash said...

Congratulations Jennie!

And you're welcome AB :-)