I final submitted a short story to an online and print based magazine. It is a strange story that is a little sci-fi but not really and a little fantasy but not really. It moves away from character and focuses on implied mysticism. Safe to say that finding an appropriate magazine to submit it to was a challenge. The one I found focused on left field sci-fi. I suppose I really did not expect it to get in so when it was rejected I was not surprised, even when it got rejected for the reasons I thought it would. However, I thought I would be hurt when that happened but I am really not. Maybe it is because I know other people get rejected all the time or the fact that there are more magazines out there I can submit to. It could even be that I know I can independently release it through Smashwords or Kindle and it won’t cost me a penny (although it may also not get read). The thing that did frustrate me, though, is that many places that want short stories like ones that are about people and are a bit quirky. They call it contemporary but I call it things I don’t want to write about! That is why it is so hard to find a place for some of my writing. It is almost a little too mainstream whilst being not mainstream enough. So the search for my place in the market goes on.
I think another area that helps me is that I see myself as a hobbyist author. I have a full-time job and only write because I enjoy it, therefore if writing gets me nowhere it is no skin off my nose. As long as one person reads and likes my stories then I have an audience. Plus I will subject my children to my writing when they are older! So, being a pessimist has not always helped me but I do feel with writing it does. Robin McKinley said ‘Write what you want to read. The person you know best in this world is you.’ I write stories that I want to read so as long as I keep doing that I will be happy.
So what next for my short story? I will submit it to a few more magazines and if it goes nowhere expect it on Smashwords for free in the near future.
This blog may seem as if it is fading, my writing my be halting due to work pressures but when something big happens you need to stop and think. For only the second time this year I feel it right to put my work and family aside and write something down. I am talking about the death of one of my heroes. A few days ago author Terry Pratchett passed away. He was a hero to many, a man who stood slightly away from the literary world by choice and produced book after book of gorgeous prose and clever humour. I first heard about Pratchett when I was in Year 5 of Primary School. I tried to read The Carpet People and Truckers, failing miserably at both as my unprepared brain could not comprehend what was on the page. This was not Billy Blue Hat or Roger Red Hat. Some years later, now at secondary school and in Year 9, I decided that I wanted to become a proper reader, I wanted to understand more and tell people of the books I had enjoyed. I had read some Point Horror and moved on to Point Fantasy. These were mainly watered down books doing for children’s fantasy what Mills and Boons does for adult romance. I was a bored, slow reader. Myself and a friend decided we would start reading the Discworld novels and picked up our copies of The Colour of Magic. It was so different, so new. I don’t think I got a lot of the jokes but I laughed a lot. I was still slow but I really enjoyed it, I may have ended up a few books behind my friends but we could all laugh about Rincewind, The Luggage, Two Flower and the librarian that got turned in to a monke…..erm ape. I think the one character that held my interest most was Death, he wasn’t some scary horror character, he had a soul (well maybe not but it felt like he did). His struggle to understand humanity just brought about so many laughs as well as a kind of strange respect. I stopped reading Discworld when I left 6th Form and decided to move on to new authors and try new genres. I had managed sixteen books in those five years which was amazing for me. Even with work begin hectic I can manage to read eight books a year now, that means that Discworld started my improvement in reading ability. Even though I stopped for some time I yearned for the Discworld and two years ago decided to carry on with them, alternating between a Discworld book then a non-Discworld one. Every time I pick one up it feels like visiting an old friend. Yes some are better than others but all are enjoyable and they are so easy to read. Now, though, I see intricate nuances that I missed before.
What is more amazing is that I have only really wanted to write stories in the last five years, before that I was more of a consumer. However, I did dabble in the odd story when I was younger. One of the my first efforts, which never got finished, was a novel entitled Magical Men. It should have been called A Massive Discworld Ripoff as I am Such a Huge Fan. It was terrible but it made me happy and I really thought I was being funny, I wasn’t though. The only comedy I have released thus far is Super Lizard, when I look at the short stories I think about the slapstick and silliness of the Discworld and use that as my yard stick. It is something I aspire to.
I have many people in this world I love, many famous ones I wish to be more like but none have had such an impact as Pratchett. Yes I have waffled on about myself but I think that is the greatest honour I can bestow on the man. He made me want to read, got me turning pages so my vocabulary, speed and understanding increased. He made me want to write, put pen to paper to give other people joy. But more than this, when I write, particularly comedy, it is his work that is the gold standard I want to get to. I can say nothing more than the man has been an inspiration to me and I am incredibly sad to see him go.
With NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow, my attentions are moving away from The Wings of Aysh-Karal to a stand alone novel. In honour of this I worked through the night to complete chapter 6. Now I am on half-term I managed to edit it this morning and it is now live on Wattpad. You can get straight to chapter 6 here or go to the main story page here. I hope you enjoy it as I feel the story is really starting to get going now. Also, do not expect any TWOAK updates for a couple of months as I focus on The Journey Home. That is all. Thank you.
Sometimes ideas for stories just come to you. I am still trying to continue with my novel and complete my sci-fi short story but since joining Smashwords, getting Super Lizard Begins on multiple formats and placing Bella and Lola on Kindle I have wanted to get more writing live online. I have folders on my computer for each book/story I write and have started two new ones as the thrill of what has happened in the last few weeks have stirred my creative juices. I have started neither book, well I have written a brief introduction for one so that is a bit of a lie, but they are there ready for when I want to go to them. However, on Tuesday this week I was doing some teaching and suddenly some 6th Form students popped in and recited some Shakespeare then left without explanation. They had actually asked if they could do it and I obviously let them. One pupil asked why they had done this. I then explained that it was Shakespeare’s birthday. They then asked why we were focusing on Shakespeare but ignoring Saint George’s day. In truth I did not actually know it was Saint George’s day and this got me thinking about English identity. It is often said that us English, ok I am actually from Guernsey so not really English but I live here and feel as good as being an Englishman without actually being one, have lost our sense of identity. We have traditions and rituals but they are often pushed to the side in favour of accepting a multicultural society. Whilst I am one for multiculturalism and understanding others beliefs and systems I hold true that England has lost some of its history. We should accept others but be clear who we are and where we come from. I thought then that we know of Saint George and we know he fought a dragon but we do not really know what it supposed to have happened, well most of us anyway. This gave me the opportunity to write a short story and get it on Wattpad and Smashwords thus releasing the tension I had to write. I set about finding some brief synopses of different versions of the story (well I mainly looked at Wikipedia!) and decided what to write. I then spend the next few evenings getting the tale together. This fevered spell spawned Lasia’s Fate.
When I was editing it I started to worry that people would think I was trying to convert them to Christianity when I had entered the writing from a purely story telling point of view, although this was largely looking at George and the Princess and it could seem rather fanatical at times. I had only employed this for literary effect and it was not my belief system at all. Well I am a Christian but I am also Agnostic. I believe that we do not possess enough knowledge at this point to prove the existence of God or Gods. In fact, though I believe in God, if someone proved he did not exist I would say ‘ok’ and simply stop believing in him. Sometimes I think my faith is important to me and other times I feel it is just to fill a hole. In all I really enjoyed writing Lasia’s Fate and in parts feel it is the best writing I have done. It got me to think, to put in imagery and try to get into the mind of someone who is not at all like me. I hope people take it for what it is, a fantasy story based around a myth.
Anyhow, if you wish to take a peek then you can access it free on Wattpad here and Smashwords here. It is currently pending review for the Smashwords Premium Collection so may be on other e-readers soon, but I wont bore you will constant posts of Lasia’s Fate is on WH Smith, Lasia’s Fate is on iBooks etc etc. I think I have done enough of that with Super Lizard Begins!
For anyone who is reading the novel I am currently writing the good news is that Chapter 3 of The Wings of Aysh-Karal is now live on wattpad. Take a look and tell me what you think. There has been a lot of description and setting up the plot so far but hold out as it is starting to get going. The action really starts in Chapter 4 and for only the second time in the book so far it is from the point of view of someone other than Martin Paulson.
Anyhows, the page for the whole book is here.
To jump straight to Chapter 3 click here.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated, please make it constructive as general abuse is not really helpful.
Thanks to my friend and buddy author James Camp (check out his site or buy some of his work for kindle) I decided to embark on a rather self-indulgent fantasy I have had for a while…..to write a novel. Due to work commitments it has taken me ages to even write anything, however I have upload the prologue and first two full chapters to wattpad. I’m not after money for the book, just some critical comments and views. Maybe if it’s really really good I might pop it on kindle…..and then someone will buy it and make a movie of it and I’ll live off the royalties! Haha, I can dream!
Anyhows, as I said it’s just a little project to make me feel good about myself. I will be updating with new chapters as I am writing them but don’t expect anything too soon. Saying that I am a bit of a way through chapter 4 and I do know exactly what will happen, it’s not just me flying on the seat of my pants!
More importantly, if you want to read it so far click here.