Feature & Giveaway: Combust with Steve Worland!


Welcome Steve Worland!

Nearly twelve months ago, I  read Velocity by debut author, Steve Worland. In Velocity, fast paced action and intrigue is accompanied by humor and heart with a touch of romance (because the hero always gets his girl) as astronaut Judd Bell chases a stolen space shuttle (and said girl) from NASA  to the heart of the Australian outback.

This week Steve’s second novel, Combustion, is released by Penguin Australia and this time Judd Bell and his best mate, Aussie chopper pilot Corey Purchase,  is on a desperate mission to stop a madman armed with an airborne nanotech virus that targets combustion engines and detonates their fuel supply.

My review of this cinematic action thriller will appear later today but first Steve is sharing…

Seven Thoughts About Writing

1.) For me the high concept plot idea always comes first. For example, the short pitch line for my latest novel ‘Combustion’ is: What if there was a virus in the air that didn’t effect humans but destroyed combustion engines?

Of course having a high concept is not enough on its own. You must then create compelling characters who drive the story. They must be fresh but relatable and have a point of difference that makes them interesting. Also, there must be scope for conflict between every character, even the ones who love each other. Conflict is the life blood of satisfying fiction. There is nothing more boring than characters standing around, furiously agreeing with each other.combustion

2.) As far as action scenes are concerned they are easy to imagine but difficult to write because you must balance the need to keep them moving at a brisk pace while making sure the reader has enough information to know what’s going on. From a story perspective they must both advance the story and reveal character to earn their place in the book.

3.) When I’m writing a first draft I like to hit a minimum number of words a day, every day, no matter what. At the moment I’m writing my third book while prepping the release of my second so my time is split. I usually write late at night and won’t finish until I have reached my set world count. At the moment I’m writing a 1000 words a day. My books are usually a little over 80,000 words so a first draft will take about 3 months.

4.) I use everything I have experienced in life as often as I can. If you can draw on an emotion that is truthful, that you have experience with, it always reads well. If I ever have a feeling or thought that I think is interesting I jot it down so I can use it in my writing at a later date.

5.) You pay for the heart with the funny. This means if you want the readers to care about the characters at the end, when the stakes are at their highest, then the readers must love (or at least like) the characters, and the best way for that to happen is for them to make the readers laugh at the beginning. It doesn’t have to be laugh out loud funny, but the characters must endear themselves to the readers early on. It’s just like real life — we like to be around people who make us laugh.

6.) Before new writers send their manuscript to a publisher or an agent they should hire a reputable, experienced editor to go through it. It won’t cost that much but it will be money well spent. It will increase their chances of success ten fold. They should do this even if they’re going to self-publish. The book will be better for it and they will learn a great deal from the experience, which they will then use when writing their next book.

velocity7.) You must embrace feedback no matter how difficult it may be. There is always something constructive in there that will make the work better. But it is a balance. You need to hold on to your vision while being open to improvements. The thing to do is to keep an open mind and be polite. The people giving you the notes have their reasons for thinking something doesn’t work. You need to hear them out. Sometimes they may not be able to pinpoint what isn’t working exactly so your job is to find it. It’s not easy but always makes the work better, and that is the point of the exercise after all!

Steve Worland  has worked extensively in film and television in Australia and the U.S.A. He has written scripts for Working Title and Icon Productions, worked in script development for James Cameron’s Lightstorm and wrote Fox Searchlight’s ‘Bootmen’, which won five Australian Film Institute Awards.Steve also wrote the New Line action-comedy telemovie ‘Hard Knox’, the bible and episodes of the action television series ‘Big Sky’ and the Saturn award-winning ‘Farscape’. ‘Paper Planes’, a children’s adventure movie Steve co-wrote, begins production in late 2013 for a Christmas 2014 release. Robert Connolly (‘The Bank’, ‘Balibo’, Tim Winton’s ‘The Turning’) will direct.

Steve is the author of the action-adventure novels ‘Velocity’ and ‘Combustion’ and is currently writing his third book. Connect with Steve @ steveworland.com or twitter.com/StevenWorland or facebook.com/StevenWorland

Velocity and Combustion

are available to purchase from

PenguinAu I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko


1 signed print edition of

Combustion by Steve Worland

{Open to Australian residents only}


Closes August 4th 2013. Drawn via random.org

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Review & Giveaway: Combustion by Steve Worland | book'd out
  2. Mary Preston
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 21:32:02

    COMBUSTION sounds very exciting.



  3. Teddyree
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 17:30:57

    Sounds like a winning style, totally agree with writing from life experience, it just rings true. I love reading stories with a paramedic/medical/midwifery focus, but I’m also critical. It’s a field I’m familiar with so if something doesn’t add up, I’m on it lol.
    I haven’t read anything by Steve but I’d like to.



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