Literary+ is my project. This is where I’m putting my passion. You’re probably wondering what on Earth it is, well:
Literary+ is a writer based project brought together and lead by Shen Hart. It brings together passionate, quality self-published writers to help each other promote their work, bringing more readers to every member. It was sparked by the simple fact that there are many top quality self-published authors being over-looked because they do not have the time and resources to effieciently and effectively market and promote themselves. With ambition and passion, Literary+ will take it’s members to the heights they deserve through a tight-knit community of like-minded writers.
At the moment it’s based on Google+ but! I am very proud to say that we have gone into collaboration with 42wd Publishing LLC. With their help I am confident that Literary+ will help self-published authors under our banner achieve their full potential and dreams. I’m very excited about this project and am incredibly proud to lead and organise it.
Stop by and have a look at 42wd Publishing:
Or drop by and see me on Google+ Shen Hart G+
This relates back to something this awesome author posted about : J.R Nova.
We all wear masks, it’s just a part of life. A simple fact if you will. Is this such a bad thing? As J.R pointed out, a lot of people seem to construe this as something horrible, to wear a mask with someone else is to betray them. But, is it really?
I think this comes down to what we truly are, the concept and idea of what makes us, what is real within us. To my mind, we’re an amalgamation of many thousands of different threads and masks. What one person sees from me is a mix of their perceptions, masks, understanding and my own same things in reciprocation or presentation; depending on how you wish to view it. This also goes back to something another fantastic author Gabriel Fitzpatrick actually asked: What is it to feel and mean, the ‘real’ you.
His point was, as outlined above, if we’re nought more or less than an amalgamation of masks, threads, experiences etc then we are truly fluid and there is no ‘real’ us. We’re in a constant state of flux and evolution, thus what was us 5 minutes ago is no longer us right in this very second. Which, while I do agree with it, I also happen to believe that there is a core to us. That is the ‘real’ us. The foundations, bases which is a mixture of how we perceive ourselves and that which everything else is built upon and around.
So what does it actually mean when we say we don’t feel like ourselves? To me, this means we’re in a state where we feel we have lost touch with that very core and the concepts we have fixed within our mind that make us… us. (and breathe!). As with everything in life, it all comes down to perceptions. I’ll use myself as an example as it’s the easiest solution as I know myself the best. When I feel as though I’m not myself, the chances are I feel as though some part of me has been boxed away. This of course isn’t unusual, I cannot display every part of me at every moment, I would implode (and most likely take the world with me!). However! I believe it means that one of those boxes which I rather enjoy, has been pushed aside and buried in favour of another box which I don’t like quite as much. Thus changing the outline of the core, moving the boxes around to adjust the very basis of the primary mask. So basically – when I say I don’t feel like myself it means I’m wearing a mask which I don’t entirely approve of, it doesn’t fit my perceptions of what I feel I am, or how I want to display myself in those set situations.
I mentioned the idea of boxes. This is the best way I can think to word it. As I said above, we cannot display every part of ourselves at all points in time. So, we must segment ourselves, push some parts aside in favour of another. This then alters the masks, for example how I am with my manager is very different to how I am with a friend. The boxes which I present to him have to be different, as he is my superior, I (should) bring forth some sense of submission, respect, work ethic etc. Where as with a friend, I may push the submission to one side in favour of bluntness and a more dominant aspect. It’s all a constant balancing act, to fulfil the role which we find ourself in at that exact moment.
Somehow, this brings me back around to what J.R said. He was asking about people being fake, what it means to be real and is it so wrong to be ‘fake’? From my point of view – if I were to be ‘fake’ with someone, then I would intentionally display sides of myself which were contrary to those which I would normally put out or use in that particular situation. This would be done to gain me some sort of pleasure or advantage. However, as harsh as this may sound, I believe you should look at the bigger picture here. If you take away the personal pain at being hurt by the supposed betrayal, and look at this from a far more cold and abstract point of view – is it such a bad thing? Within each situation, there is a dynamic, a goal. Each person is a player or a cog attempting to achieve their goal. So when the person who is fake then achieves their goal, there’s a chance the other is actually hurt because they feel they have lost their chance to achieve their own goal. This means it’s all really far more selfish than we like to admit. We begin throwing around offended comments about the other person being fake, cold, uncaring and whatever. What we really mean is “damnit – I didn’t achieve what I wanted from that interaction and they did! I feel used because I aided them without meaning to! That was a waste of my energy and I feel betrayed because I didn’t see it for what it really was!”.
I think in those situations we have to look at the bigger picture. Everyone has a role to play, a lesson to learn, something to gain and something to lose. Next time you feel betrayed look at it from another point of view. Rather than focusing on the emotional, shallow pain of it all – look at what can be taken from it. Could it actually be a good lesson? Let’s take my abusive ass of an ex as a rather cold and harsh example. What did I learn from that series of interactions? That, at that point in time I was weak, broken and searching for any form of sanctuary and safe bolt-hole. What have I gained from it all? Strength. Understanding. I have spent the last 6 years re-building myself and am I far better person for it.
Of course we all need to vent, whine, complain, grumble and rant. It’s an emotional outlet and gods know I do it! But, think about those masks, the thousands of threads which make up yourself and those around you and the big picture. It’ll either fascinate you or blow your mind..
Oh and don’t forget to be good little girls and boys: Both of those awesome authors (woo for alliteration!) have novels up for sale at the moment. Pay them a visit, part with some money and enjoy the fantastic wordsmith’s creations.
I’m on a couple of writer based forums and online communities and these types of threads seem to come up quite often. So, I’m going to give my views on it.
There seems to be some thinking that if you don’t do things a particular way or feel a certain way you can’t possibly be a writer. What an absurd thought! The one which stuck in my mind recently was a rather sharp arguement about those of us who act as though our characters and poems are alive and real people. I’d like to point out that I am perfectly aware my characters aren’t real people. However, as I have no doubt many writers and poets will tell you, the characters and poems we create quite often dictate how they are put down onto paper. Which brings be round to the arguement -
The person who started this stated from the start that they are not like myself. They merely plan out their story and write it. They have no muse, no rogue characters, it just happens in a rather logical and orderly manner. Now, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that myself. They however were asking if that makes them less of a writer!? This was where the arguement kicked off. Another person who also doesn’t have a muse, rogue characters etc etc stated that those of us who do are merely displacing the fact that we’re poor writers onto imaginary vices! “Saying your muse has left you is merely a poor device for saying that you’re not a good enough writer to work through your writers block”. So it continued.
I honestly fail to see why people can’t accept that we are all individuals. There is this habit and idea that we must conform to a small list or box of thoughts and actions so that you may truly carry the label. So we come back round to the point here. Rather than looking to everyone else for little rules and boxes to dictate if you’re a writer just ask yourself!
Do you enjoy spending time writing? Do you write semi-regularly? Then what else is there to being a writer!? It’s just a label summing up the above. It’s merely stating that you are someone who enjoys writing and does so when you have the time and inclination. All the rest of it is down to you as an individual and has no bearing on whether you are or are not a writer.
So next time you wonder if you are truly a writer because you muse skipped off and married your lead character, or perhaps because you thoroughly enjoy editing and outlining – shrug it off and know that you are a writer. Add that to the fact writers are creative sorts and we enjoy pushing the boundaries and leaving the box behind, so stop trying to wrap that box back around yourself! Do what you enjoy doing and don’t let anyone stop you.
The title gives you a pretty good idea what this is about. Personally, I usually write very quickly (much to the frustration of some writer friends). It’s just something I can do, some of my best pieces have been written very quickly (masquerade tease). However, in the long run you’re better to take your time, slow down your pace and really ‘do things properly’. We’ve already established good quality work can be produced quickly but that’s not the point here.
I’ll use my horse as an opening example -
He came from a bad situation. The only contact he’d had with people was very abusive, he was terrified of all people. Now, if I had of pushed him and tried to rush through and get him to the point a ‘normal’ 18 month old colt would be at then I have no doubt he wouldn’t be where he is now. Instead, I backed off and took my time using baby steps. Thanks to that, I have a good bond with him and I’m really pleased with his progress. No, he isn’t as far as along as other youngsters his age but the base is very good for the future so I’m happy.
This same thinking applies to your writing, as was first drilled into me by O.T a few months back with my poetry. He challenged me (I very rarely turn down a challenge) to spend a bare minimum of 3 days working on a single poem. I have a lot of issues with my focus, I find it incredibly hard to focus on one small piece for any length of time (read more than an hour).
I’m not going to deny I found this really hard. At that point I usually wrote all my poems in under 2 hours. However, after much cursing, swearing, irritation, rants and frustration – I did it. Not only did I do it but I was really proud of myself because that was the step up in my poetry. Of course O.T did the usual rounds of ‘told you so’ as he spends about a week on each poem. The point is, the difference in my poetry was fantastic.
Of course the same can and should be applied to prose. You will produce a better piece if you take your time with it. I’m not saying don’t be a pantser, that method can produce some brilliant first drafts. However, if you do write your first draft very quickly (like nanowrimo) then take your time editing and polishing it. It’s all simple logic and applies to most things in life.
Slow down, take your time. When you rush you miss the finer details and it’s those which make the difference in quality. If you’re planning on getting published, it can be those details which make the difference between you getting picked up and rejected. I’ve learnt this lesson the hard way – I’ve been looking back at the work which I wrote very quickly and shredding them. I do find it very hard to slow myself down and do this but it’s going to be worth it in the long run.
Just remember as annoying as it may be, it’s those finer details and high shine which makes the difference.
As you’ve all heard I have Twisted Fates up for sale on lulu now.
However, TF is the first in a short series – short meaning there may only be one sequel. This brings me around to the title and idea behind this post. I now have to write “Fates Collide” the sequel to TF. There are as many different methods to planning out a novel as their are writers. They tend to be split into two groups though -
Pants of your seats people.
I’ve used both methods in the past. We’ll start by looking at the plotters first though.
As the name would suggest these are the writers who plot and plan their book before getting down to the act of actually writing it. It depends upon the person as to quite how much planning they put in place. Some people will go as far as having an outline almost as long as the finished novel, where as others may just have a rough framework to look back on. This method can be of great use if you write in something such as the epic fantasy sub-genre where you may be constructing an entire new world, with a variety of societies and cultures there.
Just how much you choose to put down into that outline is entirely individual. Personally, I got down a rough guide to the appearance and personality of my characters before putting a single sentence down for each chapter. Other people could go as far as giving an entire back-history on all the characters and putting down every little detail. When you find yourself hit with writers block it could be useful to look back at your outline and give yourself the break of where to go next. Other people however find it boring, as they already know what’s going to happen to it’s taken the fun out it. This brings us down onto the other side -
Writing by the seat of your pants -
These get a lot of criticism from the avid plotters, this is however how I wrote my first novel. Some people take it to the extreme and have a vague idea in their head before watching where their characters lead them. Others like to form a bit of a plot, something more concrete before seeing what happens. The basis it that you just see where it goes. It’s interesting trying this method however you do have a higher risk of falling into holes such as writers block, it could also be argued you run the risk of looser plots and character development as well.
I’ve mentioned things such as allowing the characters to lead the show and take you down their story above. Yes, this sounds really quite insane but it brings us through to another arguement around writing circles. I should make it clear at this point that writers understand their characters aren’t real people. That doesn’t stop us argueing with them. The same can be said for poems as well – although, poems are usually more sneaky and savage.
Some people however state that holding this concept and allowing the character to define and tell the story is quite absurd. However, those of us who maintain this view argue that by seeing our characters, stories and poems this way we’re putting more life into them, thus making them more realistic and all over better quality. It means that we know our characters inside out and we’re far less likely to go against their personality thus keeping it all better on track.
On the other side, they argue that as the writer we should be focusing upon producing a technically correct piece of work suitable for publication. We should be thinking in a more logical, cool and business like manner. Each to their own. I still firmly believe that putting the passion and realism into the work by treating it all like this produces a better quality piece over all. Yes, even in poetry. If you can feel the character of your poem, you can find the proper images, wording and turns of phrase to complete it in a manner true to said poem.
Treat your work with care, respect and love and you’ll find it works far better for you in return.
Oh and don’t forget – writers are a bizarre sub-species of humans. Therefore we don’t necessarily have to think within the usual logical parameters of non-writers. =D (Really, it’s our quirky, illogical thought processes which non-writers love about us).
As you’ve all been hearing I decided to self publish Twisted Fates through lulu. I held the physical copy in my hands yesterday! It was very surreal. I have to add at this point how pleased I was with the print quality from lulu. That copy only stayed with me about an hour though before I sent it off to O.T (after signing it).
What now? I’ve written a couple of poems which I’m pleased with and I think form a nice little pause before I continue on and write the next novel. This is where I’m a little unsure. I’ve started on Red Spiral and that’s a project I’m really excited about. I’m also taking my time with it as it’s got a very different feel to my two written novels. I do however have a sequel for Twisted Fates to be writing as well. I suppose we can’t forget that I still have my first written novel to edit and get out as well. So there’s plenty to be doing!
On a more personal note – things are going brilliantly with Ziggy. My baby’s turning 2 next month. I’ve started building up the groundwork some more now with hopes to be lying across his back in August. I’m taking things very slowly and carefully, given his start in life I want to be sure that the bond is built up properly.
Realistically the next move is to look more seriously into traditional publishing again and decide whether to hold back Red Spiral and go that route, or, push it out on lulu.
I know I should have confidence within my writing and I personally like Twisted Fates. I’m just nervous about getting feedback from my sales. I think this is quite a normal thing for creative folk, if we don’t have the little niggles of doubt surely we should be more worried?
For those of you who want a copy of Twisted Fates – (click pic)
If you’d rather have a look at my new poems -
Twisted Fates is now up for sale on lulu!! (Click pic)
Thankyou so much to everyone who’s helped me with this! So many people have been fantastically helpful and supportive! Thankyou very kindly!!
I’m really proud to have my book up for sale on lulu. It’s the first book in a contemporary fantasy series. Check out the lulu page for more details!
So, a bunch of people decided to bug me about self publishing one of my written novels. After some thought I decided that it’s not such a bad idea. Really. I’m going to put Twisted Fates, my nano novel from last year up on lulu. The goal for release is 25th June.
This is the blurb for TF –
Unknown to the humans there’s a war raging right under their noses. They’re unaware of the other planes of existance around their own. Yet, the angels Israfil and Ezekial are working behind their gods’ backs to bring them crashing down onto the human’s doorstep. They believe humans are mere parasites and it’s time to rid the Earth of them. Together with Aliah, the trickster god they intend on plunging the Earth into chaos and taking the plane as their own. But this is only the beginning..
I’m quite excited about this. I’m re-editing TF at the moment and I’ve done up the front cover for it -