Self-Promotion for Horrible People by @SamSykesSwears

A brilliant post by fantasy author Sam Sykes about the difficulties with self-promotion. What he says rings true: authors are people riddled with self-doubt and pitiful isolation. Ask anyone who writes for serious and not just as a hobby. It doesn’t matter if it’s novels, short stories, poetry, lyrics – they’re going to be plagued with questions of how good their work is, if it’s worth it, if people will like it.

Yes, it is worth it, and yes, people will like it, but Sam can tell you that better than I can.

Also expect a review of his novel Tome of the Undergates at some point in the near future.

via Self-Promotion for Horrible People. < click it!

Sometimes, the most difficult part of being a writer is pushing past procrastination

And procrastination is a son of a bitch, let me tell you.

Maybe the problem is that I’m trying to do too much at once – rewrite Of the Arbour, write Abomination, edit Changeling and The Time Between, edit Purity, write When Gods Descend – or maybe it’s because the STEAM SUMMER SALE just started and I’m a sick human being.

In one day, I managed to buy everything on my wish list: Mass Effect 1 and 2, and the Sims 3 Seasons and University expansions. Mass Effect and the Sims have been dominating my life for the past week; I bought them last Saturday.

That being said, ME is a really good source of inspiration, if only for When Gods Descend (which, by the way, if I forgot to mention, is the working title of the sci-fi story I started).

Writers, though, generally speaking, are an anxious bunch riddled with self-doubt and pitiful isolation. We have a tendency to get caught up in our own worlds and this has a tendency to shut down our brains for a while. Hence, writer’s block. I don’t necessarily have that at the moment – I technically know where I want everything to go – but I’m so distracted by other things I’m having a hard time getting there.

I think my best option would be to cut myself some slack and only focus on one project at a time for a while. Picking one will be hard (probably Abomination, though) and just ignoring all else but that for the time being. Jumping around between so many is getting impossible.

Writer problems, amirite?

Does anybody else have this problem? It’s always so tempting to start something new, and so easy to bail partway through when life gets in the way.

Rewrites, and the complexities within

Not every author or every manuscript will need this, but many people have been subject to the horrors of rewrites, myself included – I’ve rewritten Purity three times including this most recent copy, and I might have to rewrite part of it again.

Rewrites are hard. They are beyond the realm of editing and in a world of their own – to take a finished manuscript and basically scrap it in favour of a more updated version is to cut up part of your soul and your logic, because who really in their right mind wants to do something like that.

Starting a rewrite is an exciting prospect. Later, once you’re elbow deep in your own guts and gore, is when you get exhausted with the whole procedure. But starting is exhilarating.

I just recently started the first and hopefully only rewrite of Of the Arbour. While I adored the characters and the story, I felt that the style could age up. I’ve grown plenty in maturity and style since originally writing it what was it, at least four years ago? How time flies so a rewrite was necessary.

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Writing workshop: Day 2

Reiteration:

Several weeks ago, I attended a weekend long writing workshop at the local college, presided over by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (The Cure For Death By Lightning). It was a neat experience, to be sure, listening to the opinions of one of Canada’s most well known literary authors. However, after the two days, it turned out I knew most of the things we discussed, and I’m already doing things right in terms of getting my name out there, but I’m going to quickly cover some of the things we discussed. Here, I’ll copy down the meagre notes I took and add on to the ones that I found particularly relevant. Hopefully one of you will find it as helpful as I did!

On day two of the writing workshop, we talked about YA and kid lit (though I didn’t attend that part) and promotion for publication of your novel (which I did attend because I have a brain). So now I’ll share my notes and thoughts about the promotion.  Continue reading

Writing workshop: Day 1

Several weeks ago, I attended a weekend long writing workshop at the local college, presided over by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (The Cure For Death By Lightning). It was a neat experience, to be sure, listening to the opinions of one of Canada’s most well known literary authors. However, after the two days, it turned out I knew most of the things we discussed, and I’m already doing things right in terms of getting my name out there, but I’m going to quickly cover some of the things we discussed. Here, I’ll copy down the meagre notes I took and add on to the ones that I found particularly relevant. Hopefully one of you will find it as helpful as I did! Continue reading

Music, and when it blows your mind

I’ve already discussed briefly how important music is to me when I’m writing. I have folders of about 500 songs on iTunes from an assortment of sources – movies, video games, tv shows – that suit me well when I’m writing particular scenes. They’re orchestral, for the most part, scores and soundtracks, and only a few have vocals. It’s the music that makes your hair stand on end while watching a tense scene in a movie, or the peaceful melody you hear while wandering the countryside in your favourite video game.

music

On the left, you can see how my folders are laid out, according to the mood of the scene I’m writing. I also have a folder for Purity alone, which is filled with darker industrial music, like the Queen of the Damned worst movie ever but amazing music soundtrack and Marilyn Manson. Things that suit vampire stories.

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Authors are a sick breed

Authors – and anyone who creates a character – are a twisted group. Why? Because they literally play god for these characters and can do to them whatever they please.

Of course, this does include the niceties. Happiness, wealth, romance – most characters get these at some point. But in order to make a story interesting, there must be some devastation. And that devastation usually happens to the main characters.

Authors like to watch their creations squirm.

It isn’t that we’re a terrible group of people – but life simply isn’t a long trail of ups. The downs have to happen as well. But when an author thinks of something bad to happen to a character, they can sometimes enjoy it.

We are perverse. Continue reading

Fiction and nonfiction: What is acceptable and what isn’t?

WARNING: This may or may not end up as a rant. We’ll see when we get there.

As you all should know by now, I am a novelist. I write fiction stories that are completely made up. A friend of mine, Glynn, writes nonfiction, as she is a certified journalist. This is something that concerns us both.

People know that I write stories, and they tell me that I should become a journalist, because then I could make writing my living. This, while a practical, cookie-cutter thing to say, is really not at all helpful. I am lousy at writing nonfiction, which, you know, is exactly what journalism is. Fiction is my forte, and just because I write doesn’t mean I can write everything.

Glynn, on the other hand, writes nonfiction as a journalist, and people frequently tell her that she should write a book. It’s the same situation as mine, but reversed: she might not be able to do it, because of her writing history.

Glynn and I have a good thing going. I’m constantly seeking out editors to help me comb through my stories to make sure they’re as good as they’re going to be. Glynn, due to the fact that she is a journalist, is more than happy to help me edit for grammar and the like, and not necessarily for the story itself. But here’s the thing: editing for fiction and editing for nonfiction are completely different. Continue reading

Why do I (and you) write?

What a loaded question. So I’ll start off simple and chip away from there.

I write to tell a story. I write to entertain people and to cement ideas that are whirling about in my head. I’m not here to make a point. I’m not here to put some subtle allusion to society, to politics or religion or war, into my novels. If that happens on its own, or someone sees it that way, so be it.

But I am here simply to tell a story.

Some people want to make a point, and I admire that. Deeper tales knitted into something light are necessary to get you thinking. I certainly have opinions on things, some quite passionate, but I’m not the type of person to shove them into my book just to get someone to notice it.

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A basic writer Q & A

Because they can be insightful, because I have nothing better to do that’s a lie, I should be developing the world of Changeling more, or writing more Abomination, or editing Purity, or starting on the rewrite of Of the Arbour, or–

And hey, maybe it’ll give everyone else more of an idea of just why I do what I do, and where this all comes from.

Taken from the deviantART page of Elisa Nuckle.
1. When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing stories for most of my life. I cleaned out my closet recently and discovered so many little half-baked stories that I’d come up with when I was younger than ten. I’ve known I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 13, but only recently have taken the major steps toward that goal, and actually written something worth publication.

2. When you were a beginning writer, what did your write primarily? What do you write now, primarily?  (i.e. romance, fan-fiction, poetry)

I wrote plenty of Star Wars fanfiction that will never see the light of day. From there, I began to write sci fi stories that were based closely on Star Wars. In grade seven, a friend and I wrote a novel about vampires called Tears of Blood, which was completely scrapped save for one character: Fane, the son of Dracula, who now resides in Purity. I now usually write fantasy, high and epic. Continue reading