Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Unposted Post

So, I wrote up my blog entry earlier than usual yesterday and while trying to get the internet to work through my phone, I saw that I had an email from the writing competition I had entered which started all this. 

I hadn't even been short-listed.

In a few days/weeks I'll receive a review as to why and I'm sure there will be good reasons, but of course it came as a bit of a let down. Now I know all writers great and small get rejected for ages and ages. However, like every other beginning writer, I also believed that I was the one exception. A competition, in such a specialised field as unpublished Christian Young Adult works in Australia, and I managed to finish my first story just in time to enter. How was that not a sign?
So I took the night off last night to think about it all, the time I'm giving up to the challenge, and the possibility that none of it will ever lead anywhere. Would I keep on doing it knowing that?
Well, I might not continue for the whole five years if the first 20 novels get absolutely nowhere I might rethink giving my every waking moment to it. But, overall am actually okay with it. Now that I've finished the other two stories in the series, there are a few things I'd like to go back and change and I can now do more work on it, etc.
It does mean, though, that I'm going to be starting the long, painful process of trying to find a publisher. I've thought about self-publishing, but for this one I think I'll see if I can find a traditional publisher first. If it doesn't come together, then I'll looking into flogging it myself.

As you can tell from the lack of entry for yesterday, got side tracked from posting my blog entry by trying to work out the implications for my writing of not even getting short-listed.
But for your reading entertainment, I present, Yesterday's Unpublished Blog Entry! (applause).

First news for the day: the whole concept of 'wordless time' seriously works. Took a few days to really kick in, possibly because I was more than usually worded out. But this morning, sat there staring at a computer screen for almost two hours (well, got 3,000 words written, but it was hard). Then, while walking to work suddenly I found I was following my main characters' dialogue in the next scene. Of course, the moment I fully realised this I broke the flow and I didn't have anywhere to write it down, but came back home after work (had to catch bus as was bucketing down, go Melbourne) and have just sat down for 45 minutes and I think I've got it all.

Am now stuck with a bit of a dilemma. Happened to just kill my bad guy halfway through the book. Knife to the throat, was an exceptionally good shot, but people can be exceptionally good shots in books, which is something I like. Writing 'they practised knife throwing every day until they were a master' is so much easier than actually spending every day practising knife throwing until becoming a master. It just glosses over all the days they had a bit of a flu, so didn't really feel like it, or their mum kept pestering them to do the washing up. Have often wished I could just write my life. Think there might have been a few movies based on this premise, a John Candy (?) movie, Delirious, comes to mind, showing my age. Though they never seem to do a very good job of it. As much as I love the Inkheart series (which I do, very much), I feel giving people the power to read things into creation could have so many more possibilities than they actually used it for. Like seriously people, you are being attacked by the bad guys, so instead of writing and then reading 'main bad guy fell off his horse and broke his neck and everyone else got spooked and left' you write a giant into existence quite a way off from you, that takes a while to get there, and then kidnaps a whole lot of them and kills good people as well as bad accidentally? That is the best solution you can come up with?

On the converse side, while writing my Sally Hunt series, I did have to fight the urge to make her just do everything perfectly all the time. What did she do after school? She sat down and studied. No she didn't! No average teenager comes home from school and starts studying right away. Writing in all the fluff that we do everyday: she made herself a cup of tea, noticed a catelogue sitting on the kitchen bench so flipped through deciding which bedspread she would buy if she were looking for one, then decided she might just brush out her hair, she then realised that she should put her uniform in the wash, and got distracted looking up video clips on YouTube, is actually a lot harder to write than the things which are harder to do like 'sit down and study'. Weird, huh?

Well, that's my bit of philosophy for the day, you can make of it what you will. Point of all that was to say: Wordless time works, but now I have to figure out how to continue a story with a dead bad guy, and no it's not the kind of story where I can just bring him back to life, which is totally cheating by the way. Dead is dead. Otherwise you just kill off all emotional attachment to death (okay, not great use of 'kill'). The two options I'm playing with right now: go back and expand out earlier part of book to make this the end - end, or then have my main characters come into contact with the agents the bad guy had been working for, and they become the new even worse bad guys.
But don't worry everyone, by the time any of these books actually get published, I will have changed them all so much that this won't be a spoiler alert.

Completely different note, was just reading some more Amanda Quick while eating my dinner (not recommended, 'she made it come out my nose!') and I think I have found why I'm not doing so well writing the romance part. Please read the following exert out aloud, in the most serious voice you can, it is from Amanda Quick's 'Lie By Moonlight' (I can't even say the title with a straight face!)

'Breathless from the reckless flight, Concordia looked back towards the fiery scene. The light of the moon bathed the landscape in an other-worldly glow... Concordia felt the stranger's hard body shift slightly behind her...[she] was intensely conscious of him crowded behind her in what could only be described as an extremely intimate manner.'

First of all, a main character called Concordia Glade? Seriously? Second, she's a school teacher for orphaned young ladies, and has just found out they are about to be … how shall I put it, taken to London to be more profitable, and decides she must save them all. While doing an excellent job of it, the mysterious dark stranger turns up to rescue them all, without any transport (or plan, apparently) so has to jump up on the back of her horse. As good rescue attempts go...
And I don't mean to be rude, but riding away from guys who plan to rape and sell you into the sex slave trade with a mysterious man AND four teenage girls, is that really a romantic setting? Have you been near a man with four teenage students? The giggling itself is enough to kill any possible mood.

But the main problem with my romance writing is that I'm writing my story from the man's point of view, which just happened by accident. So, I have 'wow, she's really, really beautiful, I want to save her' but it's interspersed with a lot of 'wow, look at that really cool gun, is there anything here I can blow up?' Oh well, when first draft is finished and I'm working on re-doing it, will get some test subjects to see what they think. If it doesn't make it as a guy's action book, will go back, take out the guns, add in more moonlight, and see how I go.



  1. Self-publish on Smashwords.

    1. Hey, do you have a link to your book, for any one interested in something new?
      Also, how is it working out for you? Obviously not too badly, as you are recommending it.

    2. Sure. The link to my free book is My other book (actually a play) has NOT sold well: I have made a total of US$34! But I really like Smashwords as a site and they distribute to a LOT of places automatically (including B&N, Sony and the iStore). For you, if you end up writing a lot of books, it could actually make money (since the percentage you as the author get from sales is a lot higher than going through a traditional publisher). Basically, you need to try and hook your readers. So price the first book in a series free, the second one at $0.99 and then subsequent books at $2.99. Then you need to self-promote your books something terrible (something I haven't really bothered to do) by setting up an author website, etc... Mark Coker, the man behind Smashwords, has a good (free) book about the whole process.

      I am planning on writing a cyber-punk thriller once I get back to Australia, the start of a trilogy, and I will almost certainly just put them straight on Smashwords. And when the publisher currently assessing The Ephesus Scroll passes, I will put it up there, too! Actually, I can't wait to get it out there so that people can read it...