Category Archives: Writerly Musings

The Future

The future of this blog is uncertain. I haven’t blogged since November, and I simply don’t feel like blogging on it anymore. I don’t want to talk about my private life because I know there are creepy people stalking me out there who will use it against me, and let’s face it, I don’t find myself that interesting, anyway.

And I don’t want to talk about my writing, because after Storm of Blood comes out later this year and maybe gets a sequel, I won’t ever publish under this name again.

Why?

1) I hate that I’ve been naive enough to publish using my real name. I had no idea how hostile my little corner of the Internet would become.

2) There is always the possibility, as has happened in the past, that I will be ‘punished’ through my book’s ratings, for whatever reason (still trying to work that one out TBH).

3) I am going to take some time off to write several books I’ve been dying to get done. I may self-publish them, or I might seek an agent for traditional publishing, seeing as how my handful of queries in 2011 got me several requests for a previous manuscript.

4) Writing takes time and effort, and I don’t want to suddenly go, ‘How long has it been since I last blogged? What interesting crap can I come up with this time?’ I don’t want to be forced to blog just to keep an audience.

5) That previous story won’t ever be published, not even under a different name. It’s too easily identified and I’ve queried it in public contests. No, that series will stay just for me and my friends (and my craft).

 

Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie: why reviews are subjective, and subjective reviews are good.

Last week I saw Frankenweenie, Tim Burton’s new animated flick about the lengths a boy will go to to keep his pet dog.

It wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but it was entertaining. I, however, had a massive emotional response. See, the story is vaguely based on Frankenstein. If you haven’t seen it, it’s not spoiling to say that Victor brings his dog Sparky back to life after he’s hit by a car.

In other news, my twenty year old cat is currently dying of a kidney disease, and I’m very sensitive about it. The vet suggested to me that she might need to be put down. I can’t really cope with the idea of losing my cat that I’ve had since I was six years old. Watching a film about a boy who refuses to let go of his pet really upset me. It made me think about my cat and how I’d do anything to keep her alive and how I’d bring her back to life if it were possible. It made me think about how in the worst case scenario, she’s only got a few more months to live. It made me think about how torn up I know I’m going to be when she does die.

So when Sparky got hit by the car, I cried. When Victor grieved, I grieved. When Sparky risked his second life to save Victor, I bawled. I full-on ugly cried in a cinema filled with children, trying my hardest to keep silent because unless you knew that my cat was dying you’d think I was some weirdo at the cinema who couldn’t control herself.

The huge emotional response I had is entirely subjective. If I’d never had a pet, maybe I wouldn’t have even batted an eye. Maybe I wouldn’t care about some stop-animated dog and his devoted best friend. Maybe I would have left the film going ‘Meh’ instead of agreeing that it was an awesome film.

This is subjectivism. I will tell anyone who wants to listen about the response I had, why I had it, and how the film made me feel. If I was to look at the film objectively, I’d have to ignore the fact that my companion I’ve had for 20 years is dying and this obviously helped me frame the film.

Subjectivity is awesome. This is why the subjective reviews of books are so great. When I read reviews (not of my own work – I don’t do that) I want to know the opinion of the person as an individual. I value their opinion as an individual with a completely different background to me and different tastes in books or films and everything they bring to the book or film. I want the piece of their soul they put into their review when they feel passionately about the work.

If I want objectivity, I will read a review in some boring broadsheet. Those guys are paid to be boring and non-offensive.

UPDATE:

I wrote this post on Friday while I was at work. Today it’s Saturday, and my cat is dead. The end.

 

Guest Post at The Book Lantern

Today (or yesterday depending on where you live) I am/was hosted by the lovely ladies at The Book Lantern doing a guest post on my thoughts on and experience of self-publishing. Check it out!

It’s Quiet… Too Quiet…

I’ve been buried in edits since June’s Camp NaNoWriMo finished.

Wanna sneak-peek?

 

Yeah, I colour coordinate my writing to help find my own weaknesses (passive writing, adjectives). I’m a geek, right?

Storm Front Free for Five Days Only

Hi guys!

Things have been a little quiet on the blogosphere lately, and I can’t even blame writing a new book. I got to 26K words on The King’s Phoenix and decided I needed to take a break because of my day job, which is all kinds of crazy intense at the moment. I value my down time only a lot and instead of stressing myself out over writing deadlines, I am now trying my best to relax in my leisure time just so I can cope with the demands of my day-to-day life.

At this point I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing TKP for all of August and saving Aura for the real NaNoWriMo. The words are flowing just fine – the story’s not a problem. The problem is my extremely limited time and the fact that making my self-imposed writing deadline was stressing me out.

See, I used to read other writing blogs. And they are all about peddling as much new material as possible. Put out one book, get writing, put out another book, ad infinum. Fill every spare moment with writing. If you produce less than 10K words a day you’re a loser. If you can’t produce a brand new book every three months you’re not doing right. These advice givers also tend to have huge backlists, whereas I’m producing entirely new material. The fact that they were at some point traditionally published doesn’t hurt.

So I’ve stopped reading advice. My writing was becoming too much like work and at this point in time that’s not something I can handle. I’m taking my own time. The book will come when it comes.

Also! Storm Front is free on Amazon.com for five days. Go get it!  Especially because the new Tina Storm book is coming out later this year.

Guest Post: The Sad State of YA

Today is a very special day. It’s actually the wood anniversary of the day my fiancé and I started dating. That’s five years, in case you’re scratching your head. We’ve had some rough ups and downs, involving a three year long-distance relationship, two years living together in England, and now we’re settled in Australia.

Because of today’s relevance, I’ve invited my fiancé to write a guest post about the state of YA books. So without further ado, I will let him take over.

Well hi there, I’m a frequent commenter here.

You may have noticed me around. I’m Archer, the Viking.

I’ve been asked to write a guest post, about anything that I want. And I want to share my feelings on one thing and one thing alone.

What is it with the amount of Bad Young Adult Literature out there? I mean why are there some authors putting out books that are of a seriously sub-par quality? Do they think that writing young adult is an anathema to quality?

I have noticed this of late. I’ve branched out and read quite a bit of YA recently. And don’t get me wrong there are some absolute gems in the pile, books like Cinder, Seraphina and The Immortal Rules. These are all extremely good examples of the writing that can be done in the young adult genre.

Cinder takes a classic idea and completely reworks it in a way that, whilst being predictable because it is a Cinderella story, is immensely entertaining and awesomely written by Marissa Meyer. The world building and pacing are well done and the characters crafted well. Seraphina is a very, VERY intelligent read. Even compared to a lot of Adult Literature that I have read it is an intelligent read. Rachel Hartman has crafted a brilliant fantasy world and the intrigue is second to none. And The Immortal Rules? That starts to repair the damage done to vampires by Stephenie Meyer. Julie Kagawa has made nosferatu the hunters that they should be in a blood soaked post apocalyptic world.

Now when you take those 3 examples, yes they were the first 3 that popped to mind, and take the works of an author like Cassandra Clare (copy and pasted her own fan fiction!), Becca Fitzpatrick (the author spear heading the “Be Nice” instead of being honest movement against reviewers and glorifies rape culture, where a woman says no but apparently really says “take me I’m yours” in her work) and Alexandra Adornetto (an angel falls in love with a controlling prick in a nice middle class suburb rather than actually going somewhere where her help is needed), then there really are some differences in the way that these six authors treat their readers. Marissa Meyer, Rachel Hartman and Julie Kagawa all seem to write as if they were writing for any audience, but just happen to have written YA novels. Clare, Fitzpatrick and Adornetto, by and large, seem to have cobbled together works that are contrived, flawed, condescending and at best are totally unoriginal and badly put together or at worst… well at worst they romanticise the possibility of domestic abuse.

Now is it just me, or is there something wrong with that?  When did it become acceptable for authors, who despite what a lot seem to think are read by huge numbers of young people the world over, to write novels that not only glorify, but reinforce in the minds of impressionable young people, that abuse is OK? When did it become OK for a writer to work to a sub-par standard just because they’re writing to the target demographic of teenaged, primarily, readers?

I grew up reading authors like Melvin Burgess (of Junk fame) for god’s sake. His work was hard hitting, gritty, scary, moving, thought provoking, true to life, intelligent and most importantly well written. He and other authors of the 90’s, Garth Nix and Philip Pullman jump to mind, have had tremendous success with their works. They have been well received by more than just their target audiences. And whilst yes, they are far from perfect, they are at least well thought out, well structured pieces of writing that actually challenge the reader. That actually, even on some base level, cause the reader to think about more than the importance of being in a relationship.

I am saddened that authors like these, like Hartman, Meyer and Kagawa, seem to have fallen largely by the wayside. And that authors who promote, however unintentionally, and normalise ideas of success through modifying the ideas of others and domestic abuse and many other things that are wrong with the world are on the gravy train. It just makes me think, you know? It makes me ask myself why? Why have the authors who put out pieces of work that are profound and moving been pushed aside? And why are works that could ultimately end up in, and this is a worst case scenario, the death of a young woman/man who doesn’t know any better because of the relationships in these books, being pushed and publicised so hard? In my opinion it’s not right and it shows quite a bit about what is wrong with the way society thinks. But who knows. Maybe I’m just cynical and have missed something.

Anyway, that’s my two cents on the matter. I hope it raises some good discussion. I’ll see you in the comments in the future.

Archer, Out!

Wattpad

Wattpad is an awesome website where you can upload your own content for free reading. It’s the home of fanfiction and indie writers. It’s aimed at mobile users – people with smart phones, etc – but anyone can join and read free books and works in progress (WIP). I joined a few weeks ago and yesterday I posted my first story.

The Archive of Lost Dreams is available on Wattpad. I’ll be slowly uploading all of my content on to Wattpad: that means all the Storm Front stories and a serialised version of The Edge of Darkness.

I’m toying with the idea of keeping a WIP on there as well, and updating it as I write it, but I don’t write linearly (as much as I try to) and as much as writing is a hobby for me, I am trying to treat it like a job. I’m going back and filling in empty places in The Oncoming Storm (working title) and I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting a first draft up on the website, anyway.

It might be an idea for the future, though, especially as I am going to attempt to use Camp NanoWriMo as extra motivation to get some more novels done this year.

I’d like to know your opinion: would you like to read a work in progress, or would you prefer I serialise a completed, edited and polished novel? Would you like to see how I work, or would you rather wait for the final product?

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