Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Humble Musings post-World Fantasy Con

I know it's been around 3 weeks since I went to World Fantasy Con in Brighton, but I'm still benefiting from its effects.
I'm not going to give you a run down of the Con itself, not the sessions I attended; my friend Selina has done an amazing job chronicling most of our adventures already.
I also won't comment here about the organisation of the event; this was my first big convention and so it's a shame to read reports about all the negative aspects of the event.
What I will share with you is what I learned from attending the event, one of the main inspirations to my sudden burst of writing drive.

1. Most people are lovely.

I think I can truthfully say that every person I spoke to was wonderfully welcoming and friendly to me. I went with the preconception that it might be a bit cliquey, especially as I'm new, but people were happy to engage in conversation, and even the famous authors I met were really generous with their time. I know this experience was not shared by all who attended the Con, and so I count myself lucky that I was surrounded by amazing people and didn't encounter and of the dross.

2.  No one knows shit about upcoming literary "trends"

This is something Neil Gaiman talked explicitly about at the World Fantasy Awards ceremony, but the theme was visible throughout the event. With medias changing and the "word of mouth" phenomenon growing (aided by the internet), no one can really predict what's going to take off in the next few years or even in what format or media it will appear. This hit home for me as I was reminded of about 4 years ago when I was told by an agent quite bluntly that girls don't read dystopian fiction and that no one would buy my book because there was no market for it, so why not try my hand at Steampunk instead?  Fast forward, post-The Hunger Games, and "dystopian SF" is the latest, hottest genre in the YA category. Don't get me wrong, in no way am I saying my novel would have been the next Hunger Games, but it did make me think: actually, people can be wrong, and that leads me into my next point...

3. Write what you love and write it well

This is advice I'd read or heard before, but after realisation number 2 above, it became much more apparent to me that now there is more of a free market, you should spend your time writing those stories that you love and with all the new publishing options out there, if it's good enough it will find its market. Be the trailblazer! Buck the trend! Create good art! That is the only way to combine creativity and personal happiness. Do what you love, and hopefully it should resonate with others who will love it too.

I was surprised by how happy I was at the convention - hungover, tired, yes, but happy - and rejoining the real world was a jolt. Attending the convention has strengthened my resolve from "wannabe" to "will be". I will finish Banshee and seek publication. It will be accepted and published and read. I will write a sequel, and a standalone, and another, and I will go to more conventions where I hope they will continue to inspire me and thousands of other "will be"s, way past the point where we become "I am"s.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Status Update

So regular readers will know that I've been working on my Banshee novel for a little while now.
I'm starting to pull together my pitch and marketing ideas now, and for those of you who don't know, the premise of the story is that Caoimhe is a "normal" maths student, living with her best friend in London, until she is involved in a mugging that goes horribly wrong and she transforms into a banshee, keening a soul into the afterlife. You see, banshees in my mythology are actually more similar to grim reapers than flyer ghostly hags, and when they sing, it opens a portal to the otherworld. Hearing a banshee's song can kill a human or drive them insane, hence the bad press I suppose. Anyway, so now Caoimhe isn't who she thinks she is and has to work out why she is a banshee in exile, as well as deal with the new threat posed from this undercover community (someone's not too happy with her transformation), and to add complexity to the situation, she also has to try to save her best friend's arrogant boyfriend from becoming her next "victim".

As for the novel itself, I am about four chapters away from finishing this current draft, and have had to make a few changes. One of my characters was supposed to die at the end, but after the death of my grandmother in May, I just couldn't do it. Before you start telling me to "kill my babies" and all of that, actually this decision has led on to a healthy sub-plot for the sequel, so it's rather enhanced my story than diminished it.
After this draft is finished, I owe the manuscript another edit for language, consistency and grammar, and then I hope it'll be in a fit state to show the world. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And so...

After all of your kind feedback and support, I sat down and wrote for an hour on Sunday. I timed it on my phone and set an alarm and everything.

Going back to my novel, I found it was actually in pretty good shape. I mean, don't get me wrong, it still needs work, but the skeleton is practically there. Now all it needs is a few large meals and it'll be sorted.

Now I just need to find a way to keep writing. My motivation is back at any rate, and I suppose that's half of the battle.

Friday, June 14, 2013

How to get writing again?

Work has become crazy busy recently, now that I am in charge of organising events full time. I am trying to finish the second draft of Banshee, my WIP, but scheduling time to write is really difficult, especially when my "day job" creeps into evenings and weekends too.

So I've been thinking about ways that I can still work on my project, but without obviously slacking off during the day and getting into trouble at work.

Here are some ideas I've had to get started again:

* Writing for 30 mins - 1 hour before breakfast.
* Pretend conversations in my head between characters, and then scribbling it down or recording it on my phone.
* Staying late after staying late to write a little bit (this is how this blog post has come about!).

What are your suggestions? Do you have a good way of staying focused when life tries to get in the way of your writing?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Banshee - Editing Update

Happy Almost the End of January! Officially it's the saddest month, simply because it's been sooo long since pay day and the weather is simply awful.
I'm in the midst of editing and revising Banshee (book 1) and it's going pretty well so far. After the first draft, the two main issues to fix for draft 2 are:
1) The character of Tom is very passive, one-dimensional, which = boring.
2) The first three chapters don't work!
So, I've been fixing 2) first, as in doing so, I've been able to make Tom much more exciting and not so much of a wuss. Huzzah!
I have to say, I'm really loving working on Banshee right now. I think the thing that makes it interesting to me is here is a story about a girl who had everything, who was powerful and successful in practically every way, and she gave it all up for the love of her life - who turned out to be a dick. It's not one of those stories where a girl bends over backwards (!) to conform to her lover's ideal. She's already done that before the story started, and so is completely lost at the beginning but doesn't even realise it. Sigh.
Thanks to a link from Zoe Marriott's blog to, I've even been able to create a cartoon version of what my banshee, Caiomhe, looks like. Ta-da:

Now, even procrastination can count as work!
I hope to have at least the beginning of Banshee in some sort of shape where I can post a little bit on here over the next month or two, so would love to hear what you guys think.
Here's hoping February is productive.