Thursday, 2 August 2018

That Final Chapter

This genre-hop has been an eye-opening experience for me. I've realised that romance runs through every single story I've ever written, whether it be fantasy, sci-fi or horror. I write romance into my narratives because I'm a romantic at heart, and also because so many of my characters are gay, and it's easiest to represent that with romantic subplots, so jumping from YA fantasy to adult romance wasn't half as hard to do as I anticipated.

However, I have fallen into a bit of a problem - the romance I'm writing was always planned to be 15-20k words long, just a short thing to get me into writing again. At the moment I'm 16,000 words in and the end is in sight...but it isn't. Not really. I've written two characters whom I love and for whom I want to write the perfect ending, but that ending just isn't forthcoming. I thought I knew exactly how this story would end, but it's all in abstract in my mind, so when it came down to writing their final conversations I just didn't know what to write. And I still don't.

The ending is exactly where I'm struggling most with romance in a way that I wouldn't have to worry in YA fantasy. The emotional payoff in all genres is of course important but especially so in romance - rather than write an ending around a big event, saving the world or fighting off monsters I have to write around two characters and the feelings they have for one another and somehow that's harder for me to do. End of the world - easy. Two characters dancing around their love for one another - now that's a tough one.

I'll get there though. With just another few hundred of the right words, Sam and Rhys will decide whether they want to give their love a go or not, and whether they do is entirely in my hands. I wish them the best of luck.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Genre Hopping

Since the start of my writing journey, I've always written for my age - when I was 10, I wrote the books I always wanted to read, i.e. fantasies based around ten year olds. As I grew, so did my protagonists. Until recently, that is.

I'm now 20 years old and I find myself at odds - I've been writing YA (young adult fiction) and not much else for the last few years. I write a lot of fantasy despite not reading a lot of new, original fantasy (the exception to this rule being Patrick Ness' books, well worth a read if you haven't). The other day I got a bit of an eye opener in the form of an anomaly.

The anomaly I discovered was a 1000 word short story I'd written and published on Kindle for 99p 4 years ago. It was sloppy and needed work, but a quick search on Goodreads told me people had actually read it. The story was a very domestic romance based around a 20 year old author meeting a 25 year old editor at Cardiff Central train station. If 16 year old me could write slightly more adult fiction that people actually like (it's currently got 3 ratings on Goodreads, averaging 3.67) then why can't 20 year old me do the same?

So I've decided it's time to challenge myself. The story has rarely sold at 99p, so I've decided to make it worth the money. I've unpublished it briefly and decided to expand the story to 15-20k words. There's so much more for these characters to do that I couldn't have written four years ago.

I've already changed their names (I was never happy with those), and increased their ages a little, but the core tenets of the story remain. Who knows, my next story might be a hop back to YA fantasy, but right now, my heart is with these two idiots who don't yet know they love each other.

Stay tuned for Coincidence, Revised Edition, coming in August.

When struggling writer Rhys Jones meets editor Sam Adams on a train station he discovers that both their destinations and destinies might be shockingly similar. If Rhys is to intertwine their stories, he'll have to let go of some deep-held insecurities, even as Sam tries to hide his own.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Back to the Drawing Board

Like the very best politicians and irresponsible drivers, I am very, very good at executing a U-turn. I wrote a blog post last week in which I explained how much I wanted to write two particular characters one day, and have come to the conclusion that the story I was writing them in was in fact a pile of crap.

I fully intend on revisiting Lewis and Kyle and their story - their story revolves around an ideal of British-ness, concentration camps and shit cars in a post-apocalyptic world. The story is just so alluring...but it's not there yet. I wrote last week of my full confidence that I had enough details worked out to create a story, and I was wrong. I have the details and enough plot points to create a compelling world, but not a halfway decent narrative.

The characters are great. The setting is even better. The initial plot is the strongest I've ever written, and yet - I can't pull the pieces together. The end of the novel eludes me, how do my characters (and their love interests) escape the wasteland and get back home? Why shouldn't they overthrow the tyranny of the alternate world? These questions are still troubling me months into writing the book, and I'd rather not start writing seriously without knowing the answers. Of course I could start and hope the ideas come to me, but is it really worth writing 50,000 words and then having the confirmation that I have a complete dud on my hands? No, I don't think so. So Kyle and Lewis can be locked up now, in a little vault I have of characters looking for an author, and one day I'll have a flash of inspiration - a brainwave that brings clarity to their story. That day I'll invite them back, and press those keys on the keyboard to bring them, and their story to life.

I eagerly await that day.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A Problem, And a Goal

It's March, spring has rolled around, and of the book I was planning on starting this year I've managed approximately 1500 words. My target was 500 words a day, give or take a couple of cheat days for Uni work, and I've managed to under-achieve to the tune of 28000 words.

I have a structure for this book - in fact, for the first time I know I have a whole book-worth of plot, subplot and character so that I won't run out of steam twenty-thousand words in.

And yet...that seems to be the thought that's holding me back. When I write it's usually with reckless abandon, throwing myself into the abyss of writing with no idea which characters are going to live, die, survive and thrive - whether each character is gay, straight, a transgender lizard from the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius. The thrill helps me write, even as I know that ten thousand words in I'm likely to suffer a colossal brain fart and throw the book down with no intention of ever writing them again.

The book I want to write has two protagonists - Lewis, the rich drifter whose ideas take him everywhere and anywhere, and his friend Kyle - tall, dark and willing to be dragged to the end of the universe by his best friend because he is just so supportive. If I was asked a question about how either of them would approach any given situation I could tell you - I've lived with these two germinating in my head for months, and they're as real to me as anyone stood in front of me, and yet the very familiarity I have with the two of them is enough to make me resent writing them.

I don't know if everyone else feels the same way about their characters (in fact, I'm sure I've made a previous post about another character who demands to be seen in my work), but I do know I have a duty to these two, to make them real and complete their story - otherwise they'll keep clogging up my brain and preventing me from having engagement with any other ideas. Writing this post has made me realise, actually - I can achieve the same thrill just by getting to know these guys more. They may not be new and shiny, they may not present a blank page of a challenge but they do represent two characters in search of an author and I'll be damned if I let them die without ever having found one.

My new pledge is to write these two down by the end of the year and complete their story - short and skinny Lewis with giant Kyle, driving a battered Nissan Micra through a nuclear wasteland, trying their very best to get home. It's time to free them from the confines of my mind and myself from the confines of two characters desperately banging at my skull to get out.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

My Wandering Mind

My mind has played hell with me so far this NaNoWriMo, and the month itself hasn't even started yet! As per my last blog post I had the intention of writing an old idea, all about a man who accidentally ends up in Hell.

Currently, my mind is running away with itself however. I really like the thought of a story about a man/boy who falls in love with a ghost, and both ideas are currently running around in my head shouting 'pick me, pick me'. I've got less than a week to decide which I think will be more of a story. I'll let you know when I know.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017

Oh, dear reader. If I could print out all the unfinished novels consigned to the dustbin over the last 10 years or so of my life, the pile of paper would surely make a nice additional ceiling support, with some pieces left over for coasters and papier-mâché supplies. Hence, whenever National Novel Writing Month draws near, I feel a mixture of anxious trepidation. That feeling in my gut which means I know I'm going to attempt it again, and I know that I'm going to fail. My writing brain is simply not built to type out in excess of 1600 words a day, I struggle to write 200...and yet, I'll probably give it a go. It can't hurt...can it?

In 2015, I managed 12,000 words or so. In 2016 I managed a tiny 4,000. The problem for me is once I start to fail, I no longer want to carry on. If I drop behind on word count it sours my day, week, month. If I can keep to a disciplined 1600 words a day then I will be a very happy writer. The second that starts to slip is when my writing starts to falter. Not only does that mean that this year's NaNoWriMo is likely to fail, but that the novel I attempt will spend years locked in development hell before I revisit it.

Which brings me to this year's plan. I'm going to reattempt 2015's novel. The novel that started (and soured) my NaNoWriMo journey is going to hopefully carry me through to this year's win. I'm going to plan properly this time, ensure that I have enough material for 50,000 words and then do my damnedest to see it through. I work in retail and I've got assignments for university to worry about but I think I can try my level best to really crack this year...then again, I say that every year.

Find me on NaNoWriMo under the username spaceauthor. I wish you all the best, in the hope that you'll do the same for me.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Still Struggling to Write

Recently for a university project I was asked to write a short story of 1000 words. I sat down, started to write and within an hour that world had flourished on the page in front of me. Finally, I thought, I've got my writing mojo back. Even a few of my writing friends commented that I really had seemed to get myself out of the rut I'd been languishing in.

Alas, it was not to be. I've sat down twice to write in the last two days and nothing has fallen onto the page in front of me. The worlds I have in my head, just sitting there and waiting to be written down are resolutely refusing to move from their place and on to the page. I guess I've just got to really dig deep and find out what they want. I'm a slave to my ideas, not the other way around. One day I'll be sitting in a lecture and they'll tell me how to write them down in a flash, but until that day I can sit and type here, where the words always seem to flow.

That Final Chapter

This genre-hop has been an eye-opening experience for me. I've realised that romance runs through every single story I've ever writt...