A Whole New World

I am creating the setting of my fantasy story, every day, when I sit down to write my drafts. To be honest, one of the things I like about writing fantasy is not having to do any research. I knew that, for my first story or two, I wanted to write my own rules.  
I did think that I would spend a lot of time writing out the setting first before writing the story. But you know what? I found that’s the worst way to do it. Well, not the worst way for everyone, but it is for me. And the biggest motivation for me was talking to authors who were doing it this way. 

Another reason to not write. 

Almost anyone who spends their time following any creative pursuit will tell you that it isn’t the doing that’s the hard part. It’s the showing up. Writing isn’t hard. Sitting down to write is. 
I’ve spoken to a few people now who, after learning that I’m writing a fantasy story, say something like “oh yeah, I have a fantasy story that I want to write. I’m just working on the setting, getting that right, before I write the story.”
“Really?” I ask. “What do you mean.?”
“Oh, you know,” comes the answer. “I need to get the world right before I can start writing the story.”
No, you really don’t.
Continue reading “A Whole New World”

A Slight Change in the Process.

Since speaking to most of my beta readers, I’ve realised that I need to change how I’m going to produce this fantasy series.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m releasing the story in serialised form. The term ‘episode’ referrs to a single book. The term ‘season’ refers to the five books together (yes, it’s five books now instead of six. More on that later).

One of the main benefits of Beta readers is they give you feedback on plot and characters. The most frustrating thing about this process has been not being able to answer some of the questions that the readers have had. Most of the information gets revealed later on in the story. I can’t wait to hear what people think about the entire storyline, but I can’t find that out until they’ve read the entire series.

The plan was to get Episode one out as soon as possible, releasing the first one while I’m still  Continue reading “A Slight Change in the Process.”

Book 2 – Draft complete!

And I do mean complete this time: what I handed to Ellie was more polished than the draft I gave her of episode one.

So I thought that I’d make first Process article about the beginning of my process – how I use my notebook.

All my initial story ideas get written by hand in a notebook. Character ideas, plot points, the way the story will end. I have to be careful with my hand writing because if I write too fast I can’t understand what I’ve written. Writing in a notebook forces me to slow down and make sure my writing is legible. This is the part where I need to listen to what my mind has to say, and so this Continue reading “Book 2 – Draft complete!”

On time spent poorly.

Hi! My name is Anthony, and I’m a writer! I spend my time writing fiction and, when I need a break from that, I take photos. I guess what’s important to me is that I’m always spending my time creating. Since leaving full time work I’ve spent the all time I’ve had creating either fiction or photos.

When a person decides to become a writer they’re able to dedicate their time to writing, five days a week, as if it was their full time job. This isn’t a hard thing to do. To be a writer (or photographer, or painter, or YouTube content creator, or whatever) you have to have passion. That passion will drive you and keep you motivated. That passion stops you from wasting time with anything other than being creative. Like binge watching The West Wing because you remember how good the dialogue was so it counts as research anyway. Or playing Skyrim. Having that passions stops those thoughts from ever entering your head.

Furthermore, if this level of passion is not present, then you will not succeed at your chosen area of artistic endeavor. Everyone who has succeeded in a creative endeavor never feels tempted by anything other than working on their current project. They live in a state of creative zen on top of a mountain. They constantly churn out work and never feel like watching just one more episode of House of Cards.

All that is absolute crap. Well, except for me being a writer.

The problem isn’t the falling off the wagon. It’s when you decide it’s too hard to get back on. Or a waste of time, because you’re just going to fall off again.

Production hasn’t stopped. I’m almost through all the beta readers from book one. I’m still editing the draft of episode two. I have planned and plotted episodes three, four and, to a lesser extent, five.

But something snapped a week or so ago. I stopped thinking of the time I had wasted, or the time I might waste in the future. I started focusing on today – what I was going to achieve, what I wasn’t going to let distract me, and then sitting down and doing the work.

Exactly what changes I’ve made I’ll cover in more detail later. And by later, I mean really soon.

Meanwhile, procrastination has ever gripped you, I strongly urge you to check out The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (click here to check it out on Amazon). No, it’s not a silver bullet that ended my streak of procrastination – I read it at least six months ago and managed to still lose my way. But without it, I wouldn’t be here today, writing books, blogs and taking photos.

Stay tuned – more to come….

Fantasy Story Episode 1 – Ready for Beta Readers!

Hello!

I know it’s been a long time. That’s technically bad – as far as blogs go I think one entry a week is considered a minimum. But in this case I have a pretty good excuse: I’ve been spending all my time writing. Well, maybe not all my time. I’ve managed to consume the entire season of True Detective. I’ve been reading books from the Sterling and Stone back catalogue. Not to mention about three weeks ago I thought to myself: “what is all this fuss about Minecraft? I should just Continue reading “Fantasy Story Episode 1 – Ready for Beta Readers!”

Progress!

Three weeks ago, I wrote the draft to an excellent blog post all about how clever I am working out a proper schedule, putting word count targets into a spreadsheet and rostering my time throughout the week, including the hours at my casual job.

My calendar was full. Really full. And I use a Mac too, so it was all colorful as well! The plan was to punch out 30,000 words of draft and edit 30,000 words of draft every week. At 2,000 words an hour, that equated to 15 hours drafting and 15 hours editing (note that I’d just pulled that editing number out of nowhere – I had no idea how long it takes to hammer 2,000 words of train-of-thought drivel into something I’d ever let someone else read). So that was 30 hours, on top of the 25 hours or so from my casual job. That’s how it’s meant to be right? This is a job now, not a hobby! Time to actually get stuck in and do the work.

I had lasted two days, burning out halfway through a five hour drafting block.

Continue reading “Progress!”