Why a writer is never lonely #writer #amwriting #writing

Sometimes people ask me what I did over the weekend. When I say Oh, I did some writing, they always look at me a little funny, and wait for me to offer up something else.

The thing is, for me, a perfect weekend involves writing . . . and not a lot else.

Non-writers might think that sounds depressing. Or even a little lonely.

But a writer never feels lonely, because they are never really on their own. Their heads are full of characters and worlds, and their thoughts consumed by their quests and trials.

When you’re a writer you don’t have time to feel lonely, and you can’t imagine how it would feel to live any other way 🙂

Progress on Book 2 – Divided World Series #amwriting

It has been a busy few months since the release of book 1 in my Divided World Series. I have been busy editing book 2, which takes me an awful long time, and I went through many rounds before I felt ready to send it out to my beta readers.

I have received some excellent feedback so far (my beta readers are awesome btw), and I have made a few tweaks to address points they raised. Now, I am just waiting for the final batch of feedback, after which I will make any further necessary adjustments. Then it will be onto the last editing checks to make sure I have not stuffed anything up while I was tweaking! Which does happen 😉

While waiting on the beta feedback, I have got straight onto editing book 3, which I finished drafting in June last year…Feels like a long time ago now. Book 3 needed a little more detail on a particular story thread, so a couple more chapters have been added. Once I re-read it, I will get a feel as to whether this is sufficient. I may need to add one more chapter…will have to see. The 3rd book is already pretty chunky at 110k so I am hoping I can chop it back during editing.

Book 3 concludes all the major plot points, and provides a nice container for a significant section of the storyline. However, it will definitely carry on, and I have already started incorporating some new players for book 4 in book 3. So much fun!

One of the things I love about writing, is the delight of sitting on the humongous secrets that your book reveals along the way. I love leaving surprises along the way.

One of my other loves about writing is getting into my characters. I love how they unravel before my eyes and how the personality flaws and nuances emerge the more I think about them. I am really enjoying some of the new characters introduced in book 3 who will become the new players in book 4. I can see that they will nicely take up the slack left from those characters who will be exiting. 

In the background, I have been mulling over the idea of tackling the story of the planet’s inception. I drop hints and details along the way, but it would make a great story in itself. Also the prequel about how John Tanis and Bill Bremmer come to conflict, which I think would also make a great addition at some point…again I am deciding whether to let certain revelations out in book 3 or save it for the prequel book…ah the power you have when crafting a book! So many choices!

Wishing everyone happy reading and / or writing 🙂

About Book One – Divided Serenity

Serenity Divided, a science fiction novel, is set on a colonised planet, where a force-field wall separates the technologically advanced settlers from the planet’s native inhabitants. When an earthquake destroys the power to maintain their protective wall, a repair team will need to travel through native lands on the precipice of war, and their unlikely offer of aid will come from John Tanis—the sworn enemy of the colony leader—who was exiled ten years ago.

[Divided Serenity US]

[Divided Serenity UK]

For the latest news on Book Two, you can subscribe to my newsletter [HERE] or follow my author site G.L.Cromarty [www.GLCromarty.com]

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There are no rules on how to write #amwriting #writing

Sometimes when we write, the ideas tumble out in a dizzy onslaught that our fingers can barely keep pace with. Perhaps we are doing something unassuming, such as a task that does not require our mind’s involvement, and a scene unravels in such rapid and startling detail that we dash off to our computer, or failing that a trusty pen and pad.

At other times we have done some planning, and we know roughly what needs to transpire in a scene. We sit down at our keyboard with predetermined intent.

Sometimes the story chugs out like train carriages passing through a station. The ideas are orderly. They flow into one another without urgency, but always the next waits to fall into place just as you need it. You can see where you are, but only the next sentence is ever revealed. I often find this style yields the most surprises. Perhaps a character reveals a hidden detail about themselves, or a sudden insight into the wider plot makes itself known. These chapters need very little editing, and they leave you feeling satisfied.

Sometimes we sit down, and even knowing where the chapter must take us, find ourselves in a fight. The story resists at every single step. We try to coax it,  and then we try to push it, but neither option really works. We get to the end by shear force of will, and with a greater sense of relief than satisfaction. These drafts get the job done, but often need extensive editing to tune the quality, with whole paragraphs chopped back into a single succinct sentence. While writing these scenes may not provide much satisfaction—editing them always does.

What I learned by publishing a book. #writing #books #publishing #amwriting

Letting go is hard. No matter how much time you spend revising, or how many rounds of editing, your book will never be good enough for your satisfaction. When you do publish, you will almost certainly receive new feedback that you wish you had known before. You will need to accept that your book can always be better, but that ultimately there needs to be a point where you do let it go. The struggle for perfection is what writing is all about.

You will receive support from unexpected places. The people who take the time to read the whole book and give you their feedback are little gems. The ones who tell you if they liked it, and even if they don’t. Surprisingly, you will learn most from the less than perfect reviews, will see how you can improve, and what to look for next time around. And the people who tell their friends they loved it, there is a special place in bookish heaven for them.

That first review on Amazon or Goodreads will change your world. The idea that anyone at all could think your book is worthy of reviewing is a bit of a revelation. That this person is a complete stranger who has taken the time to read your whole book will fill you with such motivation that you cannot wait to get back to your keyboard and write some more.

It’s different on the other side. Once you publish a book, you never feel quite the same. If you love writing, then publishing is the ultimate achievement. You can’t wait to publish some more, to write better, and to move onward. Not everyone will love your work, or even like it, and it’s certainly not going to be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, but those that do enjoy your story will make those thousands of hours you spent worthwhile.

Most people don’t get how much time you spend crafting your book. Many can guess that you spent a lot of time writing the book, but what they don’t realize is that writing a book is only the start. For every hour you spend writing, you spend ten more editing it through various iterations. And then you will edit it some more!

You’re never going to be rich. Your non-writer friends might have a strange notion that you will make some money when you publish a book. You won’t make any money, not even enough to cover your costs, not with the first one, or the second one, but you might start to turn the tide later down the track.

Beta readers make a book. Those amazing people who are prepared to tackle your novel in its less-than-perfect state will help you find that final 10%. They can spot plot holes, anomalies, and the little gremlins that sneak in. And they will also tell you if they enjoy parts, or even when something made them smile 🙂 There is no better motivation than a beta reader giving you the thumbs up!

How Michael Crichton Mined Classic Literature to Write Modern Science Fiction

The Black Cat Moan

Years after his death, Michael Crichton is still dominating American culture. Jurassic World  shattered records at the box office upon its release, demonstrating that Crichton’s dinosaurs-run-amok brainchild still holds wide appeal. HBO’s remake of Crichton’s early film Westworld  was met with great fanfare, both from critics and audiences. And in 2017, a newly-discovered Crichton manuscript will be making its way to bookshelves around the world.

In spite of his stunning success (he is the only writer to ever have the #1 book, movie and television show released at the same time–a feat he managed twice), Crichton has often been undervalued as a writer. Time and again, critics poo-pooed his prose style, attacked his character development, dismissed his plotting, and denied him a legitimate place in the Club for Great American Literary Writers.

Crichton’s prose certainly doesn’t dazzle the way, say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s does. Nor do his characters…

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Do writers really put themselves in their books? #writing #amwriting

If you read my last article Do Writer’s Really Put You In Their Books? You might be thinking this is a trick question.

You would, of course, be right.

Writers really do put themselves in their book to some extent or another, after all, the book is the product of their musings, and their musings are fundamentally them.

But do we use ourselves in an autobiographical way when we are writing what’s meant to be a fictional book?

That’s a trickier question, and one I will attempt to demonstrate with an example.

This is a recent Facebook update by yours truly.

My inability to perform tasks that require the most basic level of coordination will never cease to amaze me. Today, I was attempting to carry a coffee, bottle of water, and a glass to the office, something I have successfully completed many times before. But today I somehow got all the parts in the wrong hands and managed to throw my coffee over the stairs and me. Having wiped up the spill, I made a second attempt after reassessing which hand everything should be in…and threw my coffee over the stairs again! I’m still trying to figure out where I went wrong.

Yes, I really am that clumsy. Yes, I really did spill my coffee, twice, even after performing what safety experts might refer to as a Job Risk Assessment. People like me are the reason for safety policies! I would like to point out that this incident occurred in the home and I would never attempt something this complex in the work environment, with or without the JRA.

So, on to the point. My poor female protagonist got my clumsy side, and that’s about it from me. Still, I do manage to provide a bounty of realistic examples for my book whenever I want to squeeze a little clumsy in 🙂

So, it’s confession time, what aspect of yourself have you given to a fictional character?