For a while I have been wanting to update the visual of the blog. Finally achieved that aim. This is the last of the packing boxes. I am moving… find me at my new place. Drop by, say hi!
Yes I know I’ve been awfully quiet, aside from Nine Worlds, and the Lincoln Steampunk Weekend at the Asylum, I’ve been writing away furiously. Honest. That and keeping the kids super happy during the holidays. Oh and a couple of other creative projects – all will be revealed. Maybe. One day.
Anyhow. I wanted to share this wee comic. I’ve met so many fabulous people over the summer. Authors, designers, makers and creators, not all of them totally obsessed with Steampunk, but a few were. (I’m not obsessed. Not completely. Much. )
One day soon I might get organised enough to add more links on steampunk but for the now If you like your steampunk check out this compy. Steampunk Bundle give away! Ok, thanks to some… | gdfalksen.com.
Said ‘Steampunk Novel’ – the one that I worked through the Write-a-thon (and I did raise funds for Clarion West thank you you lovely people.) Tweeked and tweeked more is still under second draft revision. I’m slowly gathering plot threads and tidying. Just incase you were curious.
Kate Elliott’s Spirit Walker series are a great read and I’d recommend them to anyone, male or female. In this post on Tor.com, Kate picks over the issues of women, writing, characters and the whole ‘strong female’ visibility thing.
So, you know that I’m working on a novel, working being the operative word. What you didn’t know was the fact that it could well be labeled “Steampunk.” I am sure you feel better for knowing that bit.
So here I am avoiding doing the hard stuff, the ‘getting flesh on the bones’ part.
I now know why the first book can take years. As Matt Haig pointed out everything is more appealing than finishing the book. Every-single -thing. Even doing the ironing and dealing with the kids. (I do love them. Honest.)
I do believe the phrase is procrastination.
Procrastination be damned, stalling on this project is not allowed. I needed to find a way to get this alternative history story moving more than 3 words a week.
Me telling myself “get on with it” doesn’t work. I can reply with “But the kids, the housework, the bills.” Even the ever doting and still miraculously sane husband lecturing me about it results in unfavourable answers to say the least.
Not good enough.
This book must be finished. So I had to do some soul searching. Something that would hold me to the cause.The dredded wagging finger of doom.
Lil ol’ me is goal orientated. I have to unlock all the achievements, I totally have to catch’em all (still working on that one.) I remembered Nano has a July camp. Nanowrimo is, for me, a crash course on “get it down and out of your head.” I didn’t treat it with the respect I wanted to last November. That wasn’t going to work.
Then, through a smog of tweets one lunch time I discovered Clarion West’s Write-a-Thon. You know what Clarion West is? A Science Fiction / Fantasy author training camp – or words to that effect. I’ve know about their workshop for some time. Too far away for me, but this Write-a-thon shadows the workshop. I can pretend I am basking in the shade of the immortals present this year, more importantly it’s a little more tailored toward my writing areas than the overall scope of Nano.
Bonus, I can set my own goals.
I signed up.
You know you could help me be a little more goal focused and sponsor me. Follow my progress I’ll update as often as I can. It’s a simple aim to get this second edit done, at least one hour every day writing before I do anything else.
If you sponsor me you get to shout at me if you see me mucking about in Digital Social World. I promise not to shout back. Much. Funds raised will go to help someone attend that workshop in the future and maintain the work they do there. It’s not a bad thing. Heck you could even sign up yourself and help volunteers work with other writers, guiding them toward their goals while getting yourself where you want to be – right?
Wandering about the twitterverse and this popped up. I love this idea! I see it as an amazing way to reach a market of readers.
I even have something I could share, if only I lived in Leeds/Manchester/ etc
For aspiring and emerging writers, in October 2013 Tiny Owl Workshop will be working with cafes in Brisbane (Australia), Toronto (Canada) and Leeds (England) to add a little something Halloweenish to coffee time. We’ll be publishing 30 flash fiction stories on paper napkins and getting them out through cafes who’d like to join us. We’ll choose 10 stories from Brisbane writers, 10 from Toronto writers and 10 fromLeeds writers. If you want to see what a napkin story looks like take a peek here.We’ve found some wonderful help via the Twitterverse and the lovely Anne E. Murray (@annemurray99) in Canada and Kate McDonald (@mcbookishness) in the UK will be helping to promote the project to aspiring and emerging writers as well as tracking down cafes who may like to be involved. Make sure you follow Anne and Kate on Twitter to keep up with…
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So much for “downing tools”. Even on holiday the winged writery annoyance that sits upon my left shoulder wouldn’t shut up, I have a notebook full of potential now… and toddler scribbles.
If you are ever in Newcastle and you have just the slightest affection for books, take your children, your nephew, hell borrow the neighbour’s second cousin if you have to! Go to Seven Stories.Talk about Tardis effect!
It’s not an amusement arcade, nor is it a theme park, food mall, face painting, balloon juggling emporium. It’s MORE than that.
Seven Stories is an imagination. You walk into a book, no – many books, pulled together from many eras. And like any book you get from it what you put into it.
So you could spend forever in the attic pretending to be a Gruffalo that ran away with the circus, or aiding your 8 year old to dress up to look something like a grunge fairy trying to bewitch a crocodile. Find a little more time to indulge in the magic of Enid Blyton, sip tea like a queen in their cafe. Refueled, you could spend three further hours sticking cotton wool to yoghurt pots, making Noddy’s forgotten steam powered sun roof car…while preventing your toddler from attempting to sellotape herself to the table top.
Or you can whizz through all seven floors in the space of half an hour. I wouldn’t recommend it though.
Now, I never was a fan of Enid Blyton, not once, but their current exhibition captured the magic of an imagination that ran on and on, and this in turn inspired plenty of play and curiosity from my children. We then headed into Viking territory a floor or two above. Cressida Cowell’s Guide to Training a Dragon did not tame either of my dragonesses…far from it. This map like floor brought more of their sword fighting, dragon roaring selves out to play. It took me ages to get my kids out of the Viking boat – and to stop them trying to hack my husband in half with pretend (not supplied on site) swords. The axes however were supplied. Let’s not talk about how my husband took to impersonating a Viking..at all.
Me, I was torn between reading the stories behind the stories and engaging in the infectious fun that oozes out of the very walls of the place. Apparently I make a very good Viking but I’ve never made much of the glitter princess themes.
So if you do go. Keep in mind you have to let the inner child out to play and that you’ll only get what you put into Seven Stories. Books need you to read them to make the characters come alive. Seven Stories needs you to explore it to make it become a living breathing mind blowing day out that the kids still talk about two weeks later.
And one that will reconnect you to your writery dreams too…maybe.
This week has been, well, manic with life things.
Virtually Everything is finally ‘out there.’ If you want to have a read you can find it on Alfiedog.com http://alfiedog.com/products-page/beverley-argent/virtually-everything-beverley-argent-2700-words-science-fiction/
Woot! Awesome… Horray!
On making that step from unpublished to published author, life didn’t stop, there wasn’t a great to-do in the town, and I’m glad to say I haven’t been accosted in the streets. Consider yourself warned.
It has however highlighted a few things about what ‘joe the public’ knows about publishing stories, self publishing and how much work goes into the manufacturing of a story.
First there’s the endless days of writing, the many hours of hating the first draft because it doesn’t do what you want it to. Forget the sleepless nights while characters plot their own story regardless of your mighty planning, you know those, that’s part one of the great machine at work.
According to the voice on the street the second hurdle is publication, the mark of a professional piece of writing is an editor. If your work is self published, that’s one thing. (After all everyone can do that… can’t they just?) But it is so much more impressive if you have had to get past an editor for part two – or some other form of gatekeeper. If you haven’t done that, then you’re just playing at writing.
Now, we, the informed production team know the case isn’t as simply clear cut as that, but just think, you indie-writers, doesn’t your sales pitch sound so much better when you add “I wouldn’t want to let my work out on the world unless it has had the stamp of approval from my editor.”
It makes you sound that bit more professional.
You’ll note that I don’t label myself as an indie/agented author, yet, so do think careful about listening to my opinion. It is only that. One accepted short story doesn’t make me an oracle, nor does a first draft-completed novel for that matter. I can’t even recommend an editor. Yet. I’m not done making that first draft read like I want it to. (You know, that bit where you turn a drivel of ideas into lovely laced together narrative.)
The week ahead is a ‘down tools’ week before I descending on the Newcastle Writing Conference. After the mess of busy-ness I have had, I am looking forward to reading for a change. (I’ll ‘responsibly’ ignore the fact that there is a deadline looming in the very near future.) So Stephen Hunt’s Court of The Air and the genre defining Difference Engine have finally moved up from the “to read” shelf to “reading.” Along with Kate Elliot’s Shadow Gate.
What can I say, I read fast. I might not get through all three, but at least I have some to be getting on with!
Yes, there much more than the usual fuss and happiness in our house. My first acceptance happened about a month ago. It didn’t cause as much hyperactive celebrating as I had thought it might in those day dreams of “I’ve got an acceptance.”
It’s only now as the big ‘Go Live Day’ approaches that the marketing and awareness is making it impossible to focus on the Great Novel Process.
Yes Virtually Everything is only a short story, it’s not as if it’s a book deal, but it’s one of those great big steps along the way.
Alfiedog.com has an amazing collection of stories, novels, and even some anthologies for every genre you can imagine. It’s well worth a browse. The editor is selective in what appears, and the prices aren’t going to scare anyone away. Both of those things are important in a world where there’s not enough time or money to go round.
May is looking to be a busy month too, but thats another blog for another day! Breakfast waits, must run!
So. Three days ago I proudly announced to my husband that I had finished my first draft. Yay me, it’s a first in itself.
Go back three years and I would be telling all and sundry I’d written a book. Not now.
Right now, no one is allowed to set eyes on the thing until it’s of a readable quality. You see. It needs perfecting, while the bare bones of the story that was itching to find it’s way into the world was there, it was a long way of from right. I’d worked with one focus – the number of words I was producing. All well and good, as they say, find they way that works for you. Right?
I’m sorry to shoot down all those people at the same stage as me – and I know there are a lot of you – but thousands of words do not constitute a story. Now a book might well be a collection of words, granted, but those words are strung together in some form of sense. There’s a technique to it. Where’s the story in this mass of words. Just because it makes sense in MY head doesn’t mean Joe-Bored-Britches will have a clue.
(My University course is clearly paying its dues here.)
Then there’s the vortex causing snails. You might have plot bunnies. I don’t. I have great trans-dimensional black holes – caused by snails. Space Snails. Space Snails are the distant relations to our common garden variety. The ones that have just decimated the pretty little collection of flowers we planted out last week. You know that morning the sun came out for two hours? Yes, then.
Like their cousins, Space Snails move slow and deliberately, munching away at plots and scripts without preference. In doing so they transport characters to the wrong side of the world, distort time, and devour perfectly good sense. They are sneaky buggers, too as they don’t just eat at characters, they like steeling your plot devices too. These things are far more dangerous than the cute little plot bunnies, and far more satisfying when you hear them yelp and squelch under the mighty pressure of the re-edit boot.