My Writing

I’m not entirely sure what to say about it, but I am a writer (and an author now), so I should probably say SOMETHING about it. I started writing short stories long enough ago that I no longer remember my first. I think it had a hill in it. And perhaps a house on the hill. And the colour red stands out. Perhaps someone wearing red climbed a hill to visit a house?

Anyway, I’ve always loved creating. Whether or not I’m any good at it is for others to say, but I’ve always entertained myself with my creations. And that is the aim, after all. If others enjoy it too, then that is a very big bonus.

I think there was thunder and lightning over the hill, too.

I had completed two short stories of a slightly more serious nature (one based on a computer game preview I read in a magazine, and the other a complete rip off of Metal Gear Solid 2), and was halfway through my first proper novel by the time my grandmother asked my if I was going to try to get it published. I said no – that it was just for me and some family – but it planted the idea.

Not too long after, my computer crashed and lost the entire novel, and so I went on to something else. That something else eventually mutated into Shadow of the Wraith, and my first actual, proper, full novel was completed when I was about 18. I think. My memory is awful, so I could have been 16 for all I know. I did one brief edit, and then moved on to book two, finishing it within just a few months this time.

Thankfully, my granddad had printed out half of that original, lost novel, and so I haven’t lost it entirely; but so far, I have not thought about it since. I know one day, I will convert it to sci fi and make it a part of the NEXUS series, but for now, I have enough ideas popping into my head.

Eventually, I got serious about publishing Shadow of the Wraith, and after copious edits, began sending it to agents. Of course, I was too hasty, and sent it long before it was actually ready. No one asked for a full read. It was depressing.

Then I remembered Authonomy – the website for writers, on which I had tested out the beginnings of book two. I uploaded Shadow of the Wraith, and began reading other people’s books and critiquing them as best I could. This in turn brought in reads for my own book, and I began to get very very good reviews and critiques. I learned a huge amount by my own occasional, blundering idiocy, and from other writers.

I finally snapped into some kind of strange, realistic view of my book. I started an edit – a final edit. It was practically a rewrite, I changed so much, fixed so much. The book was improved ten-and-a-half-fold, I estimate. By the end of my book’s time on Authonomy, I had just over 100 comments; almost every one of them positive. I was ready.

By now, I had given up on the traditional publishing route. My excuse was (and still is) that my book just isn’t quite placeable. Is it sci fi or fantasy in space? Is it comedy or merely humorous? Is it YA, New Adult, or for anyone at all? It could be an excuse, but I think that is one of the main reasons I had no interest from agents (well, that’s not entirely true, but I’ve mentioned that in my first post).

So, with self-publishing now a far less bitter taste in my mind, I sought out the best place to get my book printed. I didn’t want vanity publishing – if I was going to do it myself, I certainly would at least not sink that low. Of course, self-publishing is not nearly as frowned upon as it once was, but I still don’t like the idea of vanity publishing. If anyone is going to buy my book, it shouldn’t be me! The answer, I found, was Lulu.com. I downloaded their templates, I created my pdf and my cover, and I published the book privately, ordering a proof copy so that I could have a more tangible idea of what I was aiming for.

It was very exciting when the book finally arrived – I nearly jumped up and down squealing. The same night, I went to bed with the book, to see if it was any different reading it purely from a reader’s perspective. Of course, just two pages in, I spotted an error. Then another. Then a sentence that ended halfway through! It was clear that my final edit had not been my final edit. I started making notes, and the next day started my final final edit, whereupon I would read through the book with my laptop open beside me, and correct everything I came across. Finally, I finished. NOW, I was ready.

Preparations began for publishing. The first step was to send it off to a professional editor who would assess the manuscript, tell me what I was doing right, what I was doing wrong, and how to improve everything. It was a lot of money (over £600!), but it would be worth it. unfortunately, it was not.

I’m not saying it was a waste of money, because I did get 16 helpful points out of it. But out of an assessment of 37 pages, that’s not a lot. The thing is, this editor was also a sci fi author. Sci fi authors are, as you may know, a precious bunch. They get enraged at the very idea of someone not doing sci fi ‘perfectly’.

He couldn’t grasp that my book was not hard science fiction. He told me that my alien character eating a sandwich was ‘patently ridiculous’. He told me that I wasn’t allowed to have a sarcastic drone (it’s actually an android) character, because I didn’t understand the ‘rules’ properly. He COULDN’T tell me how unlikely it was that any alien would be in any way like us.

In short, he missed the point. I managed to salvage some useful bits and pieces and translate some things he said, and didn’t say, into something helpful. I began my final final final edit.

Once this was done, I was ready.

Suffice to say, I am now published. I’ve posted more about that in my first blog so I won’t go into it here. This is about my actual writing, after all.

Now I sit here, just over a week after publishing the book, with 15 sales under my belt (maybe more, I haven’t looked since this morning), and I feel good. I have to do a lot of marketing and whatnot, but at least it is out there and people are buying it, promising to buy it soon, and reading it!

Don’t tell anyone, but book two is actually already written and has been through its final edit. All that remains then before I publish that too is its final final edit and its final final final edit…

Originally posted on Squidoo.

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