Engagement and supporting indie authors

This week, I have had a week off work. Not that it has changed my surroundings much because in this old-new working from home world, I am still at home, just not at my ‘office’ desk.

It has been productive. My plan was to get some good editing of my work in progress novel done, and sitting here at just after 10.30am on a Sunday morning, I can say that I achieved that.

In particular, I tackled a really knotty plot issue that had been bothering me for a long time. I had the epiphany a short while ago and the wise part of past me (I do have one) wrote it all down in my notebook that I keep here on my writing desk, ready for the day when I would need to refer to it. I also tagged it with sticky notes on which I’d written

PLOT RESOLUTION

Future me patted past me on the back for not thinking ‘oh, I’ll remember that’ because you know what, future me never does!

Present me (OK, I’ll stop now) is feeling satisfied, but I know that I still have a lot of work to do. I’m about two thirds of the way through my editing, so the bulk of that stage (words wise) is done. The next hill or mountain that I’ve started to tackle is engagement. Engagement with the writing community on Twitter for a start. I’ve had an account on there for a few years but wasn’t really that clear on how to make it work. Over the past few days, because I’ve had the time, I’ve worked it out a little bit more and got involved in a few conversations and gained followers. I shall stick with it. Instagram is less of an issue because that is the one thing that I’ve stuck with over the past few months, as you know. I think it’s going to involve some hard work to gain a decent following in the Twitter-verse, but I shall stick with it.

The future of my book is at stake.

Well, the future of my book being read by lots of people, that is. It’s not a pandemic after all (or is it?).

Talking of books – I bought and have started reading a novel that was recently published by a fellow author I have met through Instagram, City of Immortal Shadows by T.J. Swackhammer.

It. Is. Really. Good.

Take a look at her website, get a feel for the world of Emaldin and if dark, foreboding and endlessly strange is up your dystopian alley, do buy a copy.

Well that’s me for the week. See you on Halloween!

A word that starts with ‘m’ – SoCS Oct 24/2020

Here’s this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, courtesy of the lovely Linda. Please do take part, it’s fun to write and also fun to read the contributions from everyone else.

This week the prompt is a word that starts with ‘m’. Here’s my contribution. And you’re welcome to a slice of the programme that is constantly running in the back of my mind as I get on with the more mundane parts of my day…

My word that starts with ‘m’ is ‘manipulated’. No, it’s not about me, not now, at any rate. I have been manipulated before, but I’m older, wiser and stronger because of it, so there is that. That ain’t happening again, no siree (I don’t talk like that, it just seemed appropriate).

Words such as ‘manipulated’ are the themes running through my work in progress novel, Anti-Virus’, which is, and isn’t, about a pandemic (it’s kind of a Schrödinger’s pandemic, if you will).

Dystopian fiction, like many other types of fiction, requires an antagonist or two, or three to balance your protagonist’s journey through the pages. In my novel’s case, this involves a particular person, an organ of state and an industry. It’s one thing to determine if a particular character would act a certain way, but quite another to ask myself if an organ of state or an industry would do so. Or is it?

The simple answer to whether a person or indeed a non-natural entity would do anything to get their way is actually a question –

ARE THE STAKES HIGH ENOUGH?

The answer to that question might not be so easy…!

Oh the joys of writing a novel. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Decay

As I mentioned last week, the editing process for my work in progress novel came to a halt round about the beginning of lockdown here in the UK. I know I’m not alone in suddenly feeling like I just couldn’t be creative, at least not in a literary way.

I felt like the words had been sucked out of me, also not uncommon in what is now known as ‘these unprecedented times’. However, peculiar to my novel was the oh so ironic title of…

ANTI-VIRUS

Now, whilst my novel is set in the UK and takes place in a pandemic-type setting, the central plot isn’t about the pandemic itself (not really), nor is it about finding a cure (well, maybe it is), nor is about the heroic survival of a selection of characters against the odds (although perhaps it is). There is jeopardy, there is intrigue, there are twists and turns and characters who turn out to be, well, wrong in the head, but

IT’S NOT ABOUT A PANDEMIC! (EVEN THOUGH IT IS, KIND OF)

Sorry for shouting. It’s just that I had to do this to myself (in my head, I don’t actually shout at myself) in order not to let my novel shrivel up and die and become a largely insignificant – in the grand scheme of things – casualty of 2020. As you can probably tell, it’s complicated. I just didn’t have the energy to explain it back in March, April, May when things were really bad here (although not Anti-Virus bad).

That, dear reader, saved my novel, or at least meant that I felt connected enough to return to my literary offspring before the end of the year. It also meant that my pandemic era, government-approved, one hour walks turned into treasure hunts – if you consider treasure to be sinister, ugly broken things that are menacing in monochrome. Luckily I do. Also luckily I live in a city where there are pockets of these places tucked away, if you look hard enough. I am nosey and curious, so I have found them. I also found a new source this morning, a full seven months later, which pleases me immensely.

I know that this post is somewhat a reiteration of last week’s, but it’s important to me. I look to my left and I can see that I have increased my word count in the editing process. That, in this case, is a good thing. I mostly wrote Anti-Virus on my commutes to and from work, so in hour long snippets. This meant the writing was quite spare and my chapters were more like scenes – in-fact it read a bit like a screenplay. The extra 10,000 words (so far) are contextual so that there is more description of the world in which my characters exist. Not so much that there’s no room for imagination, but enough so that it doesn’t read as if everything is happening in an empty space.

I’M EXCITED!

Next week I’ll move on from the ‘thank God I didn’t let my novel die’ phase. But I’ll still be hunting for more photographic treasure, you can be sure of that!