Monday, November 24, 2014

Already looking forward to 2015

There is still a month left of 2014 and I'm not wishing away time because there is still loads I need to do before the year consigns itself to the history books; But I aint 'arf looking forward to 2015!

I received the first pass edit of INVICTUS Part 1 back from Judi (Proofread NZ) at the weekend, and I was disappointed: Not in Judi, oh no, I was disappointed in myself. I thought I'd worked super hard to make sure she would have little to do but when I opened the file and saw all the RED throughout I was somewhat deflated. Fortunately a pre-planned evening with football friends served to shake off the hovering depression, and then I was into it with renewed vigour. I've still got a bit to do but I want INVICTUS Part 1 to be submitted for the 2014 Wishing Shelf  Independent Awards so the clock is ticking. This is self inflicted pressure, but I like to have targets, I tend to thrive in that environment.

The revised 'Fated Encounters' also sits with Judi, I have the same aspirations for this story with regards to the Wishing Shelf Awards, and that should round off the year nicely.

'Elementals' is very much alive in it's rawest format, my plan with that is to roll it out to half a dozen Beta's as Christmas reading and pick it up in the new year - definitely one for 2015.

There is also an INVICTUS Part 2 to be completed and launched next year, as well as Russian Redemption II. So, all in all that's at least three publications planned - and lets not forget the ones that aren't planned. That's the problem with this writing lark, the stories just seem to arrive in my head and are very insistent on making it to paper.

BUT, in the last few days of November I can honestly say that I feel I have accomplished a great deal in 2014, if my aspirations come to fruition I would have achieved far more than I could of dreamed of when the year started. As a 'hobby writer' the 'buzz' I get from finishing every segment of a script, or introduction, or even something as simple as a post here is hugely rewarding. The fact that over 5,000 people have read my posts is just incomprehensible to me - I'd never considered myself particularly interesting!

So, to all new or struggling Indie Authors I can only offer one real piece of advice, write for the love of writing!  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Elementals Lives! 

It's been a busy weekend of writing, which is always great fun! Full of ideas, emotions, writes and re-writes, an over active story board fed by an over active imagination - that's the beauty of writing a YA fantasy, anything can happen! And it's been just brilliant.

So, 'Elementals' at this moment 'lives' to the extent of 56,600 words which is obviously short of a full novel but remember this is just the basic story line.

It has presented a few challenges for me which I think is important, every book I've written so far has presented a unique set of challenges: that's the real fun part of writing though, surely!? Well, it is for me. I don't profess to be a 'successful' Author in so much as no one is banging down my door offering huge amounts of cash for writing deals or movie rights. But, I do consider myself successful by the fact that I have two published books, another on the verge of publication and now this one approaching the third quarter of completion. I don't make money as an Author but I swear it is so rewarding in other ways that making money really isn't important to me.

Anyway, one of the challenges in this story was to kill off one of the big characters. Without giving anything away, I don't think that it is possible for all of the major contributors to live happily ever after, so basically someone has to die. 

To kill off said character in a manner that enhances the story and maintains the integrity of the plot is brilliantly challenging, it really works the grey matter. Do it right and it can be as emotional to write as it is to read - well at least that's what I think.

Despite the fact that I had the story boards and the mind map, I still didn't know how this one would end until I actually got there, even right at the very last few paragraphs there were so many options open to me that it could of gone any one of five different ways. It was really exciting to write, it has been heart stopping throughout it's creation, and the sense of achievement is, well, pretty damn rewarding.

Now the task of putting meat on the skeleton starts, building it from a great story to great book - more fun!

I wonder what I would do for fun if I ever ended up writing for a living?! That scares me.

'ELEMENTALS' is next years project to complete; I have to scrape the money together to invest in it's editing, cover etc but really, if it can't happen next year then it will be the year after. When it does get published it will be to the very highest standard, I owe that to anyone that decides to buy it, and I owe it to myself.

Just gotta keep writing!

Friday, November 7, 2014

E- Covers - a dilemma!

Having 'polished' the story line of Fated Encounters I decided to give the cover a make over as well. I contacted my designer with the usual brief "I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it." and over the course of a few day's we traveled many paths unsuccessfully. Ultimately she felt it landed on my shoulders to decide which aspects of the book I wanted to portray as the writer, and I felt that she, as a reader, was better qualified to decide on the more appropriate cover. This has become the usual course of events for us.

We did the whole 'Single rose, two champagne flutes, and all that spotlight stuff, but we both agreed that it was far too cliche - I would class Fated Encounters as being a Romance/Tragedy with a host of other things chucked in the mix - young love, happiness, emotion, betrayal, hurt, and devastation to name but a few.

We both took the thought process out of the 'norm' and the Infinity symbol came into play. In order to express the story line a bit more I wanted a knife or a pair of scissors to symbolize the betrayal close friends, and Vanessa came up with this as a first pass:

OK - not great but conceptually it was in the right direction. I wanted to get my developing vision across to Vanessa to make sure we were 'together' on this so I took a trip to the nearest shopping mall and invested less that NZ$10 in purchasing props. That night I went home, cut up an old black sports shirt to act as the backdrop, started to arrange the red ribbon on a cardboard box and then stuck a knife through it. To be fair, a lot of years ago I was quite into photography and did a lot of wedding shoots and stuff like that so I had an idea of what I was doing. Using my iPhone 5S (remembering this was only a mock up for Vanessa to work towards) I started to take some picture. I used sheets to defuse the light and direct the shine off the ribbon, had the iPhone set on manual, no flash and spent the next twenty minutes clicking away. What I didn't expect was the effectiveness of the results:

I sent these off to Vanessa to give her the direction and within the space of a few hours this came back:

Now, I love this, absolutely love it - it says all I want it to say about the story inside. With a huge sense of achievement I sent this off to Judi to tie up with the polished script ready for upload. 

Nope - didn't happen, Judi pointed out something that I hadn't thought of - thumbnail! Obviously an e-book is initially viewed in thumbnail and the title kind of disappeared. And to be truthful she wasn't too keen on the pictorial representation either. So I went back to Vanessa, this was the result of that exchange:

I still like it, I like it a lot - but I just don't 'love it'. I'd hoped that maybe this could be the 'thumbnail' but the first option could actually be the cover - Having checked with Judi I now know this is not possible - we're slaves to our digital masters!

I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on this. As for the cover - the debate continues, I'll update you as soon as the final final version is ready for upload. The reason that there are no links to this book embedded here is that I want people to wait until the polished version is uploaded first.

AJ Wilson.