Monthly Archives: February 2012

Juggling act …

Being an emerging author, and one still learning the intricacies of using social networking as a marketing, promotional tool, it is a fine juggling act … (and I never was good at juggling!). I want to sell my books, but I don’t want to sound like a trader in a market, where people are trying to avoid you because you are leaping out and trying to gain their interest in your product. Of course, on the other hand, if you just sit there, then most will just pass you by.

Twitter is a bit like a marketplace … but it is a social sphere, so people are not there to get products thrown in front of their face. However, you can spruik on the microphone, say some interesting things about your writing, and about the craft of writing, and people will appreciate it. Other traders will also appreciate it if you help them … you help them and they help you. That’s where my list #TeamCatapult comes in.

The idea of the list is to find followers in Twitter that are willing to throw a good word your way, retweet your meagre voice in the massive noise of tweets everywhere, so that someone, somewhere will perhaps buy a copy of my fantasy work. If I help these kind souls more, they will help me more and we will all benefit. Most of this team I am still building, are authors of fantasy … or people with an interest in the genre, including publishers, groups and so on. We all help each other build a bigger following, and more potential readers of our books and stories.

I can see many such mutual-help groups on Twitter, so my list is not something new. It is a slow evolution and a learning process. If you are an author on Twitter, and want to be in my TeamCatapult, let me know. Remember, I RT you so you will RT me. I promote you so you will promote me.

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Intuitive writing or planned to the last detail

My writing retreat at Cape Hillsborough didn’t turn out as planned, but it wasn’t all a loss. I managed to get some words down and a good direction for my book 2 to track on. But on with what I really want to talk about. This is something that has been the cause for much debate at writers’ meetings, and only seemed to prove that different people attack their writing differently.

The question is do you, as a writer, approach your work in a methodical manner, meticulously planning a story or book to its final skeletal details, leaving nothing to chance. Or, do you let the story lead you into its wonderous fabric a step at a time, surprising and delighting you as it weaves its tale – a more intuitive approach?

I tend to be more intuitive in my writing but not entirely. I will sketch out a general framework, then I write along that framework. I love the story to surprise me, and open up its sweet petals to reveal its beauty and complexity. Every writing session is preceded with a reading of what I have put down leading up to that point. I will play my ‘muse’ music that puts me in the mood, and I have illustrations and sketches of characters and places to help me visualise the setting.

Book 2 has quite a different feel about it to the first book, although it is a continuation of the overall story that I had created the framework for so long ago. It is a different mission, which now no longer depends on the singular character to complete. Mirrortac has started the mission, and will finish it, but not alone. He is in a desperate situation that requires helpers, and who better than his own children (childfins) to come to his rescue. He has come into the hands of a hostile tribe on a violent planet, and what’s worse, he can’t remember what brought him there. While the tribe has hailed him as some kind of warrior ‘bear’ that can help them battle their enemies, he still has a mission to complete, and one that won’t make him popular with the tribe. Exciting times ahead!

My writing retreat

Provided there are no cyclones bothering the coast early next week, I will be heading off for three days to the nearby national park of Cape Hillsborough to sit and absorb the ambience and write away on my second book in the series. In between writing bouts, I will walk around the rainforest and nearby beach to snap photos of nature and get a little exercise in the best possible way – bushwalking. Cape Hillsborough is the ancient culdera of a volcano that was action millions of years ago. Now, all you can see are some forested cliffs and hills alongside a wide sweep of beach, which makes for a very pleasant backdrop for writing.

I will be spending my time at the low-key resort where I will be staying in a ‘Villa’ of modest design but adequate for my purpose. I’ll have my laptop with me, and all the other paraphernalia necessary to write, including my music on tap to put me in the mood and keep me on track.

When my trusty Dell laptop of many years decided it was time to give up the ghost just a week ago, I realised that I had not backed up about 3000 words of my new writing, and was sweating on the hope that the documents would be rescued and transferred to the new laptop.  It worked out fine in the end, with everything intact, but I quickly did a back-up to the external drive just in case.

The second in the series of the Nine Worlds of Mirrortac – The Three Stones of Destiny – is coming along well, with three of Mirrortac’s offspring coming to the rescue to find the erfin and continue his mission. There are more ‘humans’ in this book than the last, and indeed this will continue through the third and final book of the series. The setting of the story moves from the home planet of my star erfin to another planet that is less comfortable, as it is always being beset with earhquakes and volcanic activity, not to mention the hostile tribes that inhabit it. This is the planet Thenigmas, which has two suns and a whole lot of death and destruction. This is where my fantasy becomes more spec-fic as it crosses the boundaries of fantasy into science-fiction. There is even some space travel involved, but the magical elements are still there. I am hoping that readers will enjoy this new book when I finally finish it and polish it, and those who haven’t yet read The Wizard’s Sword, may go back to enjoy it and this story.

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