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Something that made me chuckle (o:

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Ups and Downs Before I Publish my First Book… so far

publishing

So as some of you know I have my first book coming out soon. It’s really exciting and so much work has gone into it. Here though I thought I’d write a short post about the good and the bad as well as the in between of the journey so far.

 

The bad first )o:

It has to be getting your head around setting up a platform. Nearly a year ago today I set up a blog. I had no idea where it was going but knew I wanted to make some kind of contact with like minded people. Setting up the individual aspects of a platform isn’t very difficult but trying to keep all of it going is. Creating the blog, website and setting up an account on various social media sites is a simple thing to do, the hard part is using them effectively while juggling them all at the same time. I still haven’t done this and from what I can see everyone struggles with some aspect  of this process.

Next is the sheer work involved in the edit and rewrite process. With my previous short stories it was as simple as write, self edit, send. If it is picked up then the editors of the magazine will edit it for you and publish. Now this isn’t everyone’s experience but it has been mine and I got used to the routine. My editor Jennifer Collins did a great job and pushed me in the write direction in terms of story and writing ability but it took a lot of work to get there and I am nowhere near where I want to be… yet. As I have been finishing up the last few edits on my book I took a look at how different it is to the first draft. It’s like its cousin 12 times removed. Not quite chalk and cheese but near enough. It’s a lot better.

 

The good (o:

Working towards a greater goal. This goal for me is becoming a full time or near full time writer. Getting the first book finished and eventually out there is both full of anxiety as well as hope. I’m sure there will be a readers base out there somewhere but its still a frightening prospect. The goal is to have at least 4 titles out there by year end. Unless you nail that breakout title early on, writing seems to be a gradual process.

Next is making connections. I’ve spoken about the indie writing community before but in the last few months I’ve made connection with both indie and traditionally published writers. Everyone has been willing to offer advice, discuss strategy and help out in any way which has been great. I’ve never been a person to network very well but I’ve come to realize it is more about meeting like minded people and offering to help out in any way you can. Generally you’ll get a response and mutually benefit. It really is a great feeling.

 

The Inbetween /o:

I’ve found there is none. I either feel fantastic or completely down in the dumps. It’s peaks and troughs but I still love it. Writing is something I do in my spare time that may or may not lead onto something bigger and that’s exciting. Even if I never make much from my writing I still enjoy creating and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

 

Let me know what you’re experiences have been? I’d love to hear them.

 

Cheers,

 

David

 

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Snippet from my novel ‘The Vanishing’

OK, so here is the first 600 words from my novel ‘The Vanishing’. Hope you enjoy. It’s rough second re-write.

Chapter 1

He weaved his BMW in and out of traffic. Cars honked their horn at his lack of care. He knew he was driving dangerously. The speedometer bounced above what was considered legal in the streets of Sydney but he ignored his internal common sense. Lights aligning the roadside flashed by him as he sped. He hadn’t seen a cops so he reckoned lady luck was with him. ‘Just as well,’ he thought, his blood alcohol level would surely place him in the back seat of a patrol car.

His mind didn’t dwell on this predicament long, his thoughts turned towards the acuity of the trouble he was in. He had developed a habit lately of burning the candle at both ends as an taxation lawyer by day then letting off steam in the local bar at night. He wasn’t alone as he always had willing drinking buddies to join him but unlike his buddies he was always the last one to leave.

“And why shouldn’t I,” he declared to nobody but himself, while checking his image in the rear view mirror, seeing how disheveled looking one can appear after several hours of post work drinking.
“I’ve had a fucked up year too, God damn it!”

John Saunders was a man lost. He knew it, but dared not accept it. He knew the exact moment, the very second when he lost his way in life. He had become a drifter without purpose. Alcohol had become a sought after friend over the last year. It gave him a reason to continue his numb day to day existence, knowing that he could anesthetize himself eventually. John Saunders had fallen into the murky depths of a functional drunk but he cared little for what opinion anybody had of him, all except one.

“Okay, okay not looking too shabby,” John said checking himself in the mirror once more as he pulled into the driveway of his prestigious home in the affluent suburb of Double Bay, Sydney.

He smelled his clothes. A faint scent of cigar smoke clung to them but it cold be hidden with a spray of deodorant. Breathing into the palm of his hand gave him a tangy whiff of alcohol. He supposed she didn’t need to smell his breath to know he had been driving under the influence though. He reached over to the glove compartment, opened it and rummaged around searched for some breath mints. Anything to help his cause. He grabbed a packet of fisherman’s friends and his briefcase from the floor. He popped the mind into his mouth and rested his briefcase onto his lap. John rolled the mint around his mouth while placing both hands on the steering wheel. He wrapped his finger around the wheel tight, tightening them further until the whites of his knuckle could be seen in the dim light of the cars interior. John silently repeated the words in his head that he had thought of countless times before, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong.’

He received no appeasement from the words of a guilty conscience. With his attempt at placating his conscience over he got out of the car and made his way to his front door. The internal battle raged on inside him. One side sat his need for distraction while the other side wanted him to be the good family man he once was. One choice allowed him to cope while the other made him face his demons.

He turned the key and braced himself for whatever lay beyond.

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Writing: Creating a Convincing World

post apocalyse 2

Getting my second story moving is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I figure this is the first time I can make that cross from second draft of the first novel through to first draft of the second novel. Have both burning slowly so to speak. I’d like to think I will continue this and become amazingly prolific but life will throw up a few barriers as always. For now though I’m going to live in the fantasy world that I will and can do it.

So, back to the second story and more specifically my weird ideas of world building …

Now, I’ve always loved creating characters and I’ve spoken about that in the past here but now I want to focus on creating a vibrant world that feels alive, something convincing even. For this I could use a real city, somewhere I know and feel comfortable writing about but unfortunately for my second novel I’ve decided to move into a post apocalyptic adventure world with some references to the world of today but that’s about it. It’s shaping up to be a mutated version of the world we know today and a post war (invasion maybe) world that has had many issues rebuilding itself (disease, tribal skirmishes, new and dangerous inhabitants… possibly more). I want a world that people could read about and say to themselves, ‘That’s could happen if this was to occur or that was to occur etc.’ To create this world and do it well I figure I need to write a little history of the world itself. Background information of why circumstances came to pass, what they were specifically and how this shaped the world I’m about to place my story in now.

I’ve seen other writers do this in Sci FI and Fantasy and until now I had no idea why they’d put so much work into something with seemingly little value to the story. Lord of the rings has several books dedicated to it’s inhabited world. The Dark tower series has a couple and star wars, although not a book, has dozens of books based on the universe and myriad of others story’s from the same universe all helping in some way to explain the world works in the original. I didn’t care for the background of what came before, it was the story at hand that I was interested in. Now though I can see (and a little embarrassingly admit) the immense value in writing a background history and context to your current story.

Listening to the guys from the self publishing podcast regarding their project ‘Fiction Unboxed’ (which you should go to and take a look) has sparked this interest in me to write a history for the world I want to write about before I start the main story. The guys discuss their current book and the work they’ve put into building a world history and context to their current story setting. In order to better explain the nuances of the current world and current story, a little background knowledge will go a long way. Sci Fi and fantasy can push the boundary of what’s believable and what’s not, but with some prior knowledge of for instance, why such an object has come to be or why a particular section of society acts as they do, all adds weight to what you are trying to portray to the reader. It legitimised the possible fantastic claims made within your main story. To the writer it will make the story world more real and will hopefully translate to believability in the read words on each page or screen.

With my current project, I’ve thrown away my preconceived ideas of background information and history being just for hard-core fans and will attempt to write on before I start the story itself. Whether I will publish this background history, I’m not sure. What I write may no see the light of day (the background stuff that is) but it will hopefully allow me to write a world of more depth and vibrancy and legitimise it in my eyes so that I can portray it to the reader in a much more convincing way. I’ll let it guide me along the way keeping me within the boundaries of what’s possible and impossible in a fictional universe.

That’s enough of my strange world building rambling. Why now let me know what you do when it comes to world creation?

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To Blog or To Write, that is the question… or To Tweet

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When do you choose to Blog and when do you choose to Write.

Since starting my blog I’ve enjoyed it immensely. It’s a fantastic was to publish your thoughts, help others using your own experiences and make contact with some great people but I seem to be struggling with choosing Blogging or Writing (by writing I mean working on my novel and short stories). I enjoy both activities equally… and now with Twitter slowly becoming another favourite… what to do, what to do?

My strategy has been to dedicate one hour to my blog at the start of my writing session and one hour at the end, hopefully with two hours of working on my novel and short stories in the middle. It’s working, mostly but still in the experimental stages!

So, to my question, How do others out there slice up their time between Writing, Blogging and social media?

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10 Great Quotations from Writers about Work

This page seemed to inspire me to write today, I’ve a pretty horrible cold… alright its man flu but I’m sure its a real disease (o;

Interesting Literature

Work, work, work: we all have to do it at some point. Oh well. Here are ten fantastic quotes about work, that dreaded but rewarding beast, courtesy of some of the greatest writers who have ever lived. We hope you enjoy these quotes.

‘Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.’ – Oscar Wilde

‘I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early.’ – Charles Lamb

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett

‘Work is more fun than fun.’ – Noel Coward

‘The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working the moment you get up and does not stop until you get into the office.’ – Robert Frost

stephenking

‘I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.’ – Jerome K. Jerome

‘Anyone can do…

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Super Charging My Daily Word Count Using Flow

flow
Camp Nanowrimo has just started. I’m a first timer. I’ve never challenged myself like this before, 50,000 in a month. Consistently write 1,666 a day. For some writer this is a piece of cake, for me, it’s sweet like cake but I can never finish it all. I’ve been a 500 to 1000 words a day since I started writing 13 months ago. It’s certainly not prolific but I’ve enjoyed it and my dream of getting paid a decent enough wage, to give up the day job, get a big antique desk and write all day every day has gained sharp momentum since then.

What I wanted to write about here though is something I came across while reading ‘Write.Publish.Repeat’ bu Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt and David Wright (I will certainly write a review when I’ve finished the book, it great so far, and Hugh Howey gave it the thumbs up which is a win-win in my books).

The book’s author’s speak about something called flow. I remember reading about it briefly while going through undergrad psychology but like most undergrad anything I forgot about it with scary immediacy. Now as a novice writer I’ve come across it again but this time it’s piqued my interest. Flow they say is total immersion in the activity at hand. It’s complete concentration in what you’re doing there and then. To fall so deeply into whatever you are doing is to be much more focused, much more attuned with the activity you’re completing and for me it’ll hopefully produce a far better product, for writers, that being a story.

So it brings me back to camp nanowrimo. I thought I’d sign up, flail about, maybe get 15,000 words finished, and let that be that. In two days I’ve gotten 10,000 words down and reviewed twice. This number has amazed me. The amount of work has amazed me. My wife commented on how I had my head in the computer non-stop the last two days, hoping I’d come up for air and regular toilet breaks. I told her I think I had. She also said I was more focused, more passionate about the story I was writing and far more dedicated then I had been on anything else I’d written in a long time. This caused me to think and ask myself why? Why had I suddenly began working harder on something I loved doing. Why wasn’t I like this all the time. Here’s a list of what I am writing at the moment, everyone loves lists:-

I’ve began writing a new story. I felt nanowrimo needed a new story so I pulled out the faux leather notebook and picked one I’ve wanted to sink my teeth into.
The simple fact that nanowrimo has given me targets, it is third party and is actually enjoyable helps.
I’m pretty sure I’m in a state of flow with my writing.

The last point I think is the most important. I’m in a state of flow with my writing. New story + camp nanowrimo = flow. Who knew.

I know using a month long writing challenge is not a sustainable way of pushing my word count into the stratosphere but it’s given me food for thought. In order for me to push my daily word count higher, in order to become a more productive writer I need to find a way to enter a state of flow when I write. This is going to be the challenge, finding that sweet spot where I fall into flow.

If you want more information on flow, wikipedia has a good page detailing flow.

When the month of April is up I’ll let you know how camp nanowrimo went and if I gave myself arthritis in the process (o;

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