The Writing Process Blog Hop

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Hops

Hops… ūüėÄ

A few days ago, a baton in the form of a rolled-up newspaper arrived at my (virtual) door.

“Delivery from Jon,” the courier declared impatiently, as if he was eager to be on his way.

“Which Jon?” I asked. I knew many people called –

“Jumping from cliffs Jon,” he snapped, glancing back down the (virtual) garden path where my (virtual) dog was eyeing him up.

“Oh, that Jon.” I signed something that might have been a delivery note, or a promise to dedicate my life to achieving Peace on Earth at any cost, and let the courier go on his way, closely followed by my (virtual) dog… who was by now baring his (virtual) teeth. I unrolled the newspaper, which was a few days old by now (aren’t they all out of date the moment they’re printed anyway?) and a small scrap of paper fluttered to the ground.

‘Writing Process Blog Hop,’ it read, once I’d rescued it from the slavering jaws of my virtual dog (whom I shall now call Charles Xavier).

‘Be there or¬†admit to¬†being a parallel quadrilateral,’¬†¬†it continued. I turned the scrap over, but could find no address. So I hopped onto Google, fell off, jumped back on and found a link to Jon’s Writing Process Blog Hop. My reputation as an irregular polygon was secure.

(It was at this point, I began to wonder if I’d accidentally absorbed some of¬†Jon’s slightly deranged, yet brilliant enthusiasm¬†from the virtual rolled-up newspaper. I decided to lie down for a little while… just in case.)

*A little while later, after a strong coffee and once the sun had cleared the yardarm…*

Despite a lack of information of Jon’s seventeen favourite carnivorous mammals, or¬†references to sock colour, I found¬†Jon’s post enlightening.¬†The format of this particular Blog Hop diverges from the¬†intriguing irrelevance of most Blog Hops insomuch as it seeks to uncover those reasons why we writers choose to endure the anguish of creativity – and what we create as result.

The questions posed are as follows (with my own answers forming the ham, cheese and perhaps a little mayo in the sandwich).

1) What are you working on?

My second novel and sequel to ‘A Construct of Angels.’ It’s a contemporary urban adventure / romance / mystery thriller,¬†one-third completed and waaay behind schedule because I’ve taken so much time honing (and re-honing) the first novel. My thinking was, if the first book wasn’t absolutely spot-on and free of errors, who’s going to bother reading the second one? Anyway, the second book back-tracks slightly and begins two days before the first one ended, meaning I can revisit the final scene and let the reader experience it from a different character’s POV. Although the first book concluded neatly, there were still a great many aspects that could be elaborated upon – and now expanded upon in the sequel, where there’s space to do such things.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

I’m hoping my WIP will be unique. It’s a romantic supernatural thriller, but with no vampires, werewolves or shapeshifters in sight. Nor are there any inexplicable teenage college crushes.¬†That’s right – no teens. Aside from one small person who is aged four, everyone is¬†between the ages of twenty and one thousand three hundred and thirty seven (no, really!). Also, my story is set in modern-day York (England), which is rare enough, and features many real-life locations which can be visited. Book Two will follow the same style and include new locations.

3) Why do you write what you write?

I¬†was writing apocalyptic sci-fi before I was a teenager – creating worlds where only a chosen few survived.¬†Subconsciously, I think it was my way of coping with¬†my harsh and unfair childhood. By removing most of the population, and keeping only those I trusted, I was probably trying to exercise a measure of control¬†over the world – a control that didn’t exist outside my writing. Later, I shifted towards High Fantasy, where I created¬†worlds from scratch¬†¬†and populated them with (mainly) trustworthy characters. Now? I’m hoping that my (genre-spanning) contemporary supernatural romance urban mystery thriller might help to get me noticed in the world of writing. If I can make my mark, I may be able to complete and (self) publish my earlier High Fantasy work, and perhaps even my first completed sci-fi series.

4) How does your writing process work?

I’m very lucky to be blessed with a constant flow of new ideas. Getting those ideas down in some form, however, can be a real challenge as my day job bounces me around the country on a regular basis. So I do most of my work on a Netbook, a miniature and highly-portable laptop.¬† I will create clusters of ideas, which will then grow into a linear story, rather like cells in a petri dish, spreading towards each other until all the clusters join together to form a seamless whole. That’s¬†the point at which I begin to work through it, expanding on ideas, conversations and characters, swelling the story in a linear way, rather ¬†like someone slowly blowing air into a long sausage balloon. Have you noticed that they always inflate from¬†the nozzle¬†end and gradually get bigger along their length, rather than expanding everywhere at once? That’s how my story expands.

All of my¬†works to date have been never-ending stories (having no definite ending). The exception is my debut novel – whose ending formed before everything else in the story.¬†So this story was almost written backward, with all events leading to the climax. Weird – but it worked.¬†With the sequel, I also know how it’s going to conclude, so it will be written in the correct order, but with my eye firmly fixed upon that ending.

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Now, according to the convention, I am to tag four other writers who are worthy of note in the Blogsphere. I spent a little time tracing the lineage of this particular hop back through Jon, his nominator Vashti Q Vega, her nominator Amanda Staley and so on back through Karen at mytrainofthoughtson, Jessica P West, JDSFiction, ratiwrites

What? I like to be thorough. I didn’t want to nominate anyone who’d already been named. Plus I’m insatiably curious too. ūüėÄ

Have alook at some of these other blogs – I found a lot of interesting material there.

So without much ado (too late?), I nominate four bloggers who have been closest to me since the very beginning.

Ryan Casey¬† – Ryan’s blogs are always informative and he is often way ahead of the game when it comes to anticipating the future for eBooks and their numerous formats.¬†Ryan is a prolific writer and has long been blazing a self-publishing trail that inspired me to follow.

Candace Knoebel  has always been the inspiration I needed, when I needed it most. Her experiences in self-publishing have encouraged me to press on, despite the difficulties and pitfalls.

Sonya Loveday¬†– The other half of the Knoebel-Loveday team, Sonya’s blogs are always fun and informative. BTW, keep an eye out for the Knoebel-Loveday parties being announced. They’re always worth showing up for! Go there, or admit to¬†being a parallel quadrilateral.

Michelle Proulx РWhy? In a word: Badgers. When Michelle first showed me her Badgers, I was overjoyed. Her blogs are always packed with fun and irreverent silliness, and the comments often take on a life of their own. They may even be sentient. Plus, Michelle holds the Award for the  longest title for a novel in decades, perhaps even longer.

Jon has been alongside me for most of my blogging journey, but I can’t bounce this back to him. Heck, I’ve named him almost a dozen times on this page already! Kisa Whipkey is also a fun blogging buddy, but Jon’s (that’s another one!) already nominated her. ūüėÄ

But now, in the style of Michelle Proulx, an unrelated link for you to enjoy:

This is Lucifer, one of the many images from The Brick Testament.

Lego LuciferBehold+the+Metatron!

Theology aside, does anyone think he looks remarkably like Alan Rickman?

Enjoy the Blog Hop!

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One year on from my first post – and look what’s changed!

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100th post

A few days ago, WordPress sent me a reminder that I’d just published my 100th post – and I was taken aback.

I suddenly realised that it has been almost exactly one year since I first created my first ever post; The best rejection letter ever?

And what a lot has happened in those twelve months – just look at the stats;

Last July                                      This July

1 post                                            100+ posts

2 WP followers                             235+ WP followers (update?)

20 Facebook followers                 900+ Facebook followers

no Twitter account                        475+ Twitter followers

No eBook published                      eBook self-published

No paperback                                 Paperback very close to completion

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This is all part of spreading the word, of building an author platform – and it’s looking quite good, IMHO.

Along the way, I have met some very talented people. Some of them are constantly beating a path for the rest of us to follow, whilst others are still following their aspirations to publish. Many are very, very close to that first eBook or printed book.

Then there are the non-writer¬†bloggers who post recipes, amazing photographs or¬†offer philosophical insights that leave me thinking ‘wow…’

I have learned a great deal since last July. Back then I had just exhausted my 102-strong list of UK-based Literary Agencies and whilst I’d received some encouragement along the way (notably The best rejection letter ever?), I was no closer to being published.

At that time I was on a knife-edge, wondering if I ought to begin querying US-based agencies – but electronically. I could never have afforded the postage costs. I was already several hundreds of pounds down (I still am) and further investment would have crippled me financially.

And then I began hearing, via Facebook and WordPress, about self-publishing. I was (at first) curious – and then intrigued. I wanted to know more.

The seed was sown. As the rejection letters continued to trickle in, I decided to learn all I could about creating and publishing an eBook, just in case none of the agencies picked up my book. They didn’t – so I launched myself into the world of ePublishing. The rest, as they say, is history. Very recent history – and something I could not have done without help from fellow bloggers.

Capture

Sharing – it’s the best part of blogging! It makes the lonely business of writing¬†feel a lot less…well, lonely. We all get to read about other people’s experiences on a daily basis, both the good and the bad. Most notable is Ryan Casey’s runaway success with his short stories and novels¬†and Michelle Proulx’s difficult journey with the publisher iUniverse. Both authors have flourished, but their¬†experiences contrast greatly. But even bad experiences can teach us all something. Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

What’s most encouraging is the great feedback that I’ve received. Every comment¬†makes me want to post again…and again. I love seeing that little orange¬†star at the top of my dashboard. It’s encouraging to know that someone had read and ‘liked’ my words. But even more heart-warming¬†is that little orange speech bubble. Whatever I was about to do, whatever words I had in mind…they get sidelined as I click on the bubble to see the message that has been left.

A blogger once remarked that comments are addictive. They were right. I love them! They have delivered support and encouragement in so many different ways. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave me feedback.

I wonder if my second year of blogging will be as fascinating and thrilling a ride as the first?

See you all in July 2014!

Keep blogging (especially Shay Starcaller)!

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Post Script;

What I hadn’t expected – and this came right out of the blue as I was preparing to post, was this;

Capture

I really had NO IDEA that I’d been with WordPress for so long.¬† It’s true that I’ve chronicled my writing endeavours as far back as 1999 (see The Homeworld Saga), but that was all retro-written just to document where my modern writing began to coalesce properly.

But four years?

Wow…

Time does fly when you’re having fun doing what you love the most!

Brand New Award

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My blogging history has been quite short, unlike my desire to publish a novel, which stretches back to my schooldays in the 1970’s.

I’ve been blogging since 2010, but only produced my first post in June of this year, thereby announcing to the blogsphere that I had finally screwed up enough courage to let others read my random ramblings.

Since then, I have been blessed with an avalanche of hints, tips and encouragement, without which¬†my WIP¬†would not have been catapulted forward to the very doorstep of eBook publishing possibility.¬† Yes, it’s imminent!

So I say, to all those bloggers who lowered down the golden hair of assistance from the towering heights of publication, a big, heartfelt THANK YOU.

In recognition of those who have helped me most directly, I have created this;

I hope it goes some way to illustrating my gratitude towards aspiring authors those who pause in their headlong race long enough to help us Рthe stragglers.

They didn’t have to…they could have simply concentrated on their own compelling journey.¬† But they didn’t – they reached out and shared their experiences; their knowledge.

Ryan Casey said to me; In this age of eBooking, writers are no longer in competition with each other – there’s enough room out there for us all.

And these helpful souls illustrated just what can be achieved if we all work together.

Now,¬†I’m aware that every single post, every¬†tiny nugget of information that a blogger¬†publishes in a post¬†can¬†accumulate to contribute to the whole and this invaluable advice is reason enough to send thanks out to those who share.

But I can’t simply nominate everyone that I follow, even though I am already developing a guilt complex for not¬†doing so.¬† *sigh.

So, I will nominate a small number of Most Helpful bloggers, those who have most directly inspired me and ask that you spread the nominations in turn to those who have offered you a helping hand along the way.

I’d also suggest that you might want to mention how they helped you and perhaps what kind of a difference their advice has made to your WIP.

Besides the above suggestions, there are no hard and fast rules to this award.¬† Let it evolve…feel free to improve upon it as it goes.

It will be interesting to see how it develops.

So, without further ado, I hereby nominate the following bloggers for their help, advice and encouragement;

Ryan Casey – for all his eBooking assistance and for pointing me¬†towards Guido Henkel’s invaluable ‘Take Pride’ tutorial.

Sonya Loveday – for her love, encouragement and going ‘above and beyond’ (ie without sleep) to provide critique.

Pat Wood – for her constant encouragement and witty repartee.¬† Thank you, Ms. Arborea! ¬†ūüôā

Candace Knoebel Рfor blazing a Ravven-coloured trail that showed what could be achieved with hard work and dedication.

CA Hustead – for providing constructive comments when they were needed most.

Michelle Proulx – for inspiring me with her blow-by-blow descriptions of her ePublishing adventures.

Jon Simmonds of Jumpingfromcliffs – for his wise, thought-provoking comments and words of wisdom.

M D Kenning Рfor his guidance, hints, tips and experiences with eBooking and social media.

I also extend an open-armed and warm-hearted thank you to everyone else who has inspired me –¬†even indirectly¬†– and ask that you continue to share your wisdom and experiences so that we may all benefit and flourish as writers.

Write on!

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