Martius Tiro

Salvete.  My name’s Tiro.  I’ve long been one of those people who is a ‘writer’ in every sense apart from the one where you actually get your finger out and use a pen, or maybe a keyboard, to put some words together in a line, and keep doing that until you have a larger collection of words called a ‘story’.  Although I have been doing a little better of late.

When I was nae but a wee bairn, I used to write stories quite often.  At school, at home; because I enjoyed it, I never really noticed the difference between ‘work’ and ‘leisure’, and as a result the tasks I was given in school tended to drift off in whatever direction my brain wanted to go: usually science fiction or magic and monsters.  They weren’t great stories: mostly they were predictable author-as-hero nonsense built on the “what I did on my holidays” model: they’d present a lengthy build up of complexity and awkwardness and, once I’d written myself completely into a corner and couldn’t be bothered to work my way out, they’d end with the inevitable “and then I woke up and it was all a dream.”

And then, sometime around the time that I left school I discovered the wonders of Usenet – an internet discussion and debating forum covering absolutely every conceivable subject under the Sun.  It wasn’t good for me; although it was strangely addictive, and although I was involved in discussion of subjects of great interest to me, the environment in Usenet is deeply toxic: most discussions degenerating into flame wars and then – worse still – continuing far beyond any constructive value they might have once had.  While in Usenet I developed a writing style that might charitably be called ‘neutral’, ‘matter-of-fact’, or even ‘journalistic’.  Or, more realistically, you  might call it stuffy and pretentious.  I don’t like my writing style; it doesn’t feel like me.  I’d like to get back to writing fiction pieces.  I have a number of ideas in my head, about people, places and situations – but the challenge is disciplining myself enough to put aside the everyday tendency to write comments and criticisms and indulge those characters a little.

Here I have to thank Amalasuntha, because she’s largely the reasons why a) I’ve made any contributions at all to a fiction-writing blog that we keep together; and b) I’ve looked for and joined this writing group.  The blog I keep myself is still somewhat journalistic (including as it does words like ‘somewhat’), but just knowing that our fiction blog is there means that I have something to come back to every now and then; something to keep reminding myself what it is I’m avoiding doing, and nudge myself back in the proper direction.

I have no idea why someone would avoid doing something they want to do.  I guess it’s what Nanny Ogg would call persykolololgy.  Ah. Now. Speaking of Nanny Ogg, this might be a good time to mention some of the writers I admire and why.  As you’ve probably guessed, Sir Pterry of Discworld is probably at the top of my list  He’s done what I’d dearly love to do (or, more accurately, to have done already); created a consistent, persistent world, given it an internal logic and a set of laws to run by, and populated it with people, cultures, history, mythology and religion; all so detailed that the reader can be completely immersed.  Not only that, bu the injects each story with such perception – even wisdom – that I believe that throughout his excellent stories he has woven some of the most philosophical writing of the modern-day.  By far an away his best work in my eyes would be Hogfather, a ‘Christmas’ tale that perfectly expresses the true value and purpose of myth and belief; something many people seem to have trouble with these days.

Another philosophical writer whose work I admire is Marcus Aurelius Antonius, emperor of Rome from AD161-180, whose work ‘Meditations’ represented his observations on life and what it was to be Roman.  His book consists of short statements composed and assembled throughout his military campaigns in Gallia, and expresses a wonderfully Stoic philosophy that I could only dream of living up to.

I’m also a fan of Douglas Adams, he of Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame, and, less well known but equally fascinating to my mind, his Dirk Gently books – Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

Stephen Hawking is one of my favourite non-fiction writers: in his two books A Brief History of Time and its sequel Universe in a Nutshell, he takes some incredibly complex ideas, including concepts that go completely against the rules of everyday experience, and expresses them…  I was going to say ‘so that I can understand them’; but that’d be codswallop.  Maybe, “so that I almost feel like I understand them”.

I got a ‘C’ in Maths at GCSE.  Just thought I’d mention it.

Finally, something I probably shouldn’t admit, but I’m going to anyway: I’m a big admirer of the dialogue and story-writing in several TV programmes.  In particular, I’d mention Firefly (and its movie conclusion, Serenity); Babylon 5; the new remake of Battlestar Galactica; the resurrected Doctor Who; and HBO’s excellent Rome (although for me that could’ve been gibberish as long as it had Romans in it).

Hopefully that gives you a rough idea of the sort of thing that influences me.  Some of my favourite pieces are listed below; and should you want to read any more, you can find more of my work at the blog I share with Amalasuntha: Clicky



The Dealer

Rubber Kitten

The Watcher in the Peak


Balance of Power & Ship of the Line

White Van

Sacred Lucre


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