Here’s a long overdue update for my blog. I know I’ve been far too quiet for a while, but I’ve been busy. November was taken up by NaNoWriMo and October was full of my preparations for that and for the Omega writers conference.
Yes, I went to a writers conference. It was about a three hour drive away and I went all by myself. It was a great experience. We had sessions by Margie Lawson on literary techniques and using psychology and visceral feelings to pull readers in. I’m focusing more on the plot level with my writing at the moment, but it will be very useful when I get into editing.
There was also a workshop on writing for the YA and middle grade audiences by Alex Marestang who has written for Disney. We heard that he just emailed the conference organizers asking if he could do anything to help. The organizers had never heard of him and looked him up to make sure he was legit because offers from complete strangers are not common. He had never been to Australia before and I’m not sure how he heard about the conference. But it’s not the first time he’s just sent off a letter blind. It’s actually how he got his job at Disney. He just sent them a letter asking if there was anything he could do to help them.
So that was his first point. Sending letters offering help to random companies might be a good idea. Maybe. Actually I think statistics on the best selling YA and middle grade books was first, followed closely by the elements that make them work.
Alex Marestaing also spoke at the awards night for the CALEB prize. He talked about finding your voice. That was an inspirational talk. Your words are powerful when they have something behind them. An emotion, an experience, something you beleive in strongly. You must believe what you are saying before you speak out with it. Otherwise it will be half hearted.
The awards evening was good too. I won one round of a game we played in the middle of it and happened to be sitting next to the winner of best Picture Book, and the runner up overall. CALEB stands for Christian Authors Lifting Each-others Books and it’s an Australasian book award. They have a category for unpublished manuscripts which I aim to enter in the future.
I also made contact with a few other writers and some editors and publishers. I’m not at the stage to be looking for a professional editor or pusher, but these friendly contacts will be useful even if they are with editors who do not understand the fantasy genre. I still made friends even if they’e not directly useful friends. I do need to work on my networking skills a bit more.
I also bought a stack of books. One novel for myself, a writing book by Orson Scott Card, Narnia, Middle Earth and the Kingdom of God by Mark Worthing (which is a fascinating book about the history of fantasy in regards to Christianity, and the only book I’ve read so far). a book about Martin Luther also by Mark Worthing (That one was a present for a brother), Phantastes by George Macdonald updated with more modern language and style by, once again, Mark Worthing (present for another brother). Also another book I haven’t given to anyone yet and won’t mention.
There were also a bunch of books by various Realm Makers authors which I would have loved to have bought, (even though I had read some of them). I had a budget though, and decided to stick with Australian authors. (Except for Card.) The three by Mark Worthing were published by Stone Table Books (or the parent publisher Morning Star). Of all the publishers there, that was one I thought really might fit some of my books.
I also heard about one of Stone Table’s upcoming release. It’s a book called Playing God by Morton Benning a.k.a. Ben Morton who was representing them at the conference. It’s a kind of crazy sounding story answering the question: What if God was a self absorbed jerk named Jeff? Or something like that. It’s not quite my usual thing, but I’m putting it on my wish list. And go look at it along with other less crazy books here: stonetablebooks.com
Well I wrote 50,000 words. And I started using a useful tool called 4thewords.com It helps me make my word counts and has kept me writing something everyday even after November is over. Even though it’s usually quite late by the time I do it.
However I didn’t finish anything. A Brigand, No Longer still wasn’t very ready to be written. I have scenes, and I have extra outlining and I even have an explanation of what was wrong with some of the choices I made with what I did write. I had character problems. Aydel was being unreasonably stubborn. Sure, her head is stuffed hard with cotton, but there’s no reason for her to be quite so angry with God after the ending of the last book. And Joane came around far too quickly on that one issue and it clashed with everything else.
But all in all, that’s fixable. I still got some good words down, and I do have a much better idea of what’s going on. New side plots and character relationships are coming to life and complicating the whole thing beautifully. And I shot out a basic outline for the prequel. Writing that’s going to be fun someday. And difficult. Silly me thought it was a great idea to invent another language, and smart me recognizes that it wouldn’t make sense to not have another language. So I’m stuck using it now even though there’s only a few dozen words so far.
I’m going to be getting back into more regular posts. And I really mean it. I’m also going to work on editing more of Girl of the Rumours, and I’ll work on SubM when I need breaks.
That is that and good bye.