Sometimes, I’ve been extremely fortunate in my writing journey. When I’ve needed them the most, I’ve met people who have shown me that ePublishing is not only possible, but in some ways it is preferable to traditional publishing.
During my year of querying agencies and receiving a whole basketful of raspberries, around the time I’d started to build my author platform, I quickly began to encounter other writers, some of whom were still querying, others who had decided to go it alone by self-publishing.
And as they proved to me that there is definitely hope after rejection, one author in particular steered me towards the tutorials that explained how I could complete the process myself. Thanks Ryan!
I’ve also become friends with several other authors who went on to recommended exactly the right cover artist.
Thank you everybody! You are my guardian angels. Or at the very least, he recommended you all.
Now I am entering a new phase in my writing. By sheer chance, and some very fortunate timing, I have become friends with Tara, an aspiring editor who began by examining my first chapter, but went on to review the entire MS. We are now working together on a complete and thorough edit of CoA.
When I wrote the post How to accept editing feedback I thought that accepting a professional critique would be much more daunting, but Tara has been fair as well as thorough with my MS.
She even likes my jokes…
As I write this, we have already made some major changes to the story and I now have several words to purge from the MS, on pain of nagging.
It seems that I use the words ‘just’, ‘like’ and ‘sigh’ a great deal (thanks, WordSmith!), to the point where it has begun to leap off the page at Tara. *Sighs* We are also discussing the intricacies of ‘forwards’ versus ‘forward’ and it looks as if I have sinned with ‘towards’ as well. Taking into account that I write in British English (BrE), we both understand that different rules apply on our respective sides of the Big Pond, but she may have me cornered in this instance.
However, Tara seems to enjoying the peculiarities of BrE and I’m slowly introducing her to some of our colloqualisms. I’ll soon have her speaking like a native of the UK and then we can be china plates for life!
It’s a milestone. Thank you to lindaghill, my 100th follower and to my 103 other friends in the blogsphere. You have made my (relatively short) journey a pleasure!
I say relatively short – I’ve been blogging since May 2010 but only sent out my first post in July 2012. I’m sure there are other writers, artists and photographers who have been here for considerably longer.
My early blogging was mainly a journal was was retrospectively filled in to cover my early work back to 1999 -when records began. :)
Before that, my writing was random and tended to drift from project to project. I’d often lose focus or interest before anything of worth emerged from the pages – with one exception. The germ of the idea that eventually evolved into Homeworld began during my senior school years (when they still used Roman numerals) and was always present in the back of my mind. One day, I WILL go back to those 43,000 words and complete them – now that I know how the story is going to conclude. Regular readers will know that’s always been an Achillean failing of mine – not being able to conclude a story – but I’m aiming to change that now that I’ve finally managed to (self) publish my first novel.
The title of this post may infer that I have doubts about following so many blogs.
Not at all. I may not have the time to read each and every post in the same, leisurely manner that I did when I was following fifty bloggers, but that doesn’t mean that opening my ‘Blogs I follow’ tab isn’t a thrill and a pleasure. It does mean that I sometimes have to skim a little more than I used to, but I’m soon pulled in by an intriguing headline or an amusing title and find simple joy in reading the wisdom of others – plus sharing what I’ve learned so far.
I follow in the footsteps of those who are wiser and more experienced than I am.
This week’s extract is from ‘A Construct of Angels’ and describes the impromptu angel Michael’s battle against the self-named Damocles, an Anakim, or demon’s offspring.
At this point, Michael is only just beginning to realise his powers and has very little to time to explore them before Damocles attacks him with deadly force.
White light exploded across Michael’s vision as a hurricane of force roared about him; the world spun away in a dizzying blur and the ground hurled itself aside to give way to a vast body of water. Something dark slammed into Michael’s chest, smashing the breath out of him.
Spinning wildly, he ripped across the sky, supersonic shockwaves exploding from his arms and legs, but Michael willed his hurtling body to stop and the shockwaves instantly vanished from his limbs – but even as he slowed, a dark blur rocketed straight towards him.
This time Michael’s reactions were faster – he spun around, avoiding the hurtling shape just as he had side-stepped the black sword and watched as Damocles exploded past him like a missile, already turning to strike again. Watching the black dot grow larger by the second, Michael’s determination resolved - he would no longer be pushed around by the approaching Anakim.
Damocles cannoned into him faster than a fighter jet.
In this interview, Darryl discusses the events of the first few chapters with my main character, Sara Finn and asks how her experiences affected her.
It was fun being in character for this interview and having Sara take a little time out from being chased by Spawn, Anakim and Nephilim. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that she deserves a bit of a break…
I’ve just completed the first part of an author interview with Draegon Grey. It surprised me how much fun something like this can be – almost like reliving the whole process of writing the novel over again. Happy memories, the small problems that seemed so insurmountable at the time and the joy of completing the work…they all came flooding back.
The second part, a character interview with Sara Finn, my protagonist, will follow soon.
In the meantime, you can read the ‘Author Moment’ interview here.
If you are a planner, I imagine that the answer to my next question will be obvious;
What inspires you to write that next post?
If you’re a planner, you’ve probably got a list of ideas to draw from, a sequence of posts that lead from one to the next to the next and so on. You may have a teaching plan that unfolds week by week to build into an exciting and informative series of articles.
But what if you hail from the Planet Pants?
What if you happen to be an impetious and spontaneous fly-by-luck scatterbrain like me?
I can often go for weeks without any idea about what I will post next – aside from my regularly irregular and often-late Six Sentence Sundays.
And then, without warning, an idea will strike, coming out of nowhere like a thunderbolt on a clear summer’s day.
Quickly, ere I forget the subject matter, I will fashion a post from old wood and used pieces of string - and as I write, I often realise that I am trying to cover several subjects, several concepts within the same post. Rather than (as they said in Top Gun) push a bad position, the disparate subjects will split into enough material to suggest several vaguely-related posts; In other words, the fledgling post will create spin-off ideas; it will have babies.
A half-dozen little pink and hairless posts will suddenly begin to mewl and squeak and demand to be considered as posts in their own right.
So the fresh flurry of fledgling posts will be nurtured. They will be a bit like my family - very loosely related and perhaps a little edgy. There may be very little to connect them to previous or future posts aside from a single word or a faint, shining thread of thought.
That is why, dear reader, you may see groups of related topics appearing from me – sometimes two or three in one week.
Despite my endeavours to hold them back and release them into the wild one at a time, they will often break free. When that happens, I am forced to watch helplessly as they circle the internet, scaring young women and inspiring modern Hitchcocks into making new movies a la noir.
But I’m interested to know; How does inspiration strike you? Your system cannot be as haphazard as mine…surely?
Do you have a rolling plan of posts that stretch towards a vanishing point on the distant horizon? Or is inspiration fired by a song on the radio, a news article or even another blog post?
This week’s SSS is an extract from the later part of ‘A Construct of Angels’.
Michael, our reluctant angel, has just given battle to a demonic swordsman, driving him from the streets of York. Michael holds one of a pair of black swords in his hand; the other is jammed into the tarmac nearby – the result of a clever defence move by Michael. However, the swordsman has left behind a dangerous mob, which Michael is holding at bay with the captured sword – although events are about to conspire against him.
Sara takes up the story;
Before my astonished eyes, the black blade began to disintegrate, dropping to the ground like crumbling ashes.
Michael hurled the hilt aside and stared at his hand in horror – a cold chill had raised goosebumps along the entire length of his arm.
The mob chuckled; many of them raised their bottles and makeshift clubs.
A knife flashed, my nerve broke and I leapt forward, racing across the slick street towards Michael.
My hands reached out towards the second sword that had now toppled, the satin blade having softened the tarmac to leave a puckered crater in the black surface of the road.
Michael shook himself out of his daze, his darkening fingers reaching for my arm as my fingers closed around the hilt…but he was too late – I was already beyond his reach.
Today’s SSS is an extract from ‘A Vengeance of Angels’. Again, it contains a mild spoiler if you haven’t read the first story; A Construct of Angels.’ So if you don’t want to know how the first book ends, please look away now.
Michael, now an ex-angel and mortal being, is being addressed by an elderly hospice patient – one who has a reputation as a seer…
Agatha Carpenter waved a bony finger at me and I felt the chill of one whose fate is irrevocably sealed. I’d felt it before – as a doomed gladiator, as a convicted witch, as a Jew amongst the Nazis…
“The black swordsman is falling to Earth!” she wailed in a voice edged with hysteria. “He seeks the one who shines most brightly – and all around him shall perish!”
I knew a moment of panic.
She could only be referring to one person; one Anakim…and he was coming for me.
Well, my confidence has taken a knock. I’m not afraid to admit it, although I do feel slightly foolish at having to retract my former statement.
The high wave that I had been sailing upon, fresh from the joy of having finally achieved a lifetime’s ambition of publishing a book, has now flattened and I feared that I was facing a spell in the doldrums, bereft of the guiding wind that was my Muse.
As the tale within ‘Construct’ drew to a close, I had a clear and certain idea of where the sequel was heading and I’d even planned the ending – something which had been of tremendous help when I’d initially drafted ‘Construct’.
But now that idea is wavering. I still know how the sequel (A Vengeance of Angels) is going to conclude, but as I passed 25,000 words, I lost focus, the thread and my sense of timing.
I can’t tell you much, but ‘Vengeance’ doesn’t follow directly on from the end of ‘Construct’. Rather, it meshes with it, beginning two days before ‘Construct’ ended. That, dear reader, is how I painted myself into a very tight corner. I still have several events that need to transpire before the ending of ‘Construct’ is briefly revisited and the story continues from that already-published conclusion.
So, rather than despair, I reached deep into the archives and dug out my old day-by-day spreadsheet.
click to read spreadsheet
(The above is a sample I put together to illustrate its uses. If this inspires you in any form, feel free to create a story from it.)
This is one of the very few ‘planner’ tools I used in ‘Construct’ (I AM a confirmed ‘pantser’ after all), but it was invaluable to me.
Armed with this, I intend to review what I’ve already written, then forge ahead and plan out exactly how my self-imposed spiders web of a narrative will unfold.
What was that, you say? Why can’t I ever do anything the easy way? For the answer to that, you’ll have to ask my Muse.
"Proctor, respected and even feared in Salem, has come to regard himself as a kind of fraud. But no hint of this has yet appeared on the surface, and as he enters from the crowded parlour below it is a man in his prime we see, with a quiet confidence and an unexpressed, hidden force." - Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible'