The end of another writing year…. obligatory review! Part 2 December 20, 2011Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
Tags: creative writing, Matt Farmer, Matthew Farmer, National Novel Writing Month, steam punk, writing
Wow. I was going to write just one post for my writing year in review. Seems this has been a bigger year than I thought and I need to split it into two! This is, of course, a very good thing.
So, my creative year. It began with me writing and finishing my epic sci-fi series, the final book – Crashing Wave. Without the madness of Nanowrimo, it was actually a struggle to complete this. Looking back I have come to realise that what happens in your every day life, your 9 – 5, can affect how you write creatively. I have learned that it is the first 5 minutes of writing which is the hardest to achieve. Once you break through that 5 minutes, then you have the momentum to continue. I have learned that once you hit 20 minutes you tend to lose that momentum, unless you get totally focused.
As such, it was a huge struggle for me to get the last bit of the series completed. Compared to Nanowrimo this year where I completed a 94k word novel in 30 days, it took me almost 5 months to write 15k words to complete the novel. However, I now know what drives me to write, what I need to do to make myself write, and I am quite sure that in the new year I will write more than 1 novel during the year. Especially if the popularity and sales motivate me. But more on that later.
To motivate me I had a friend create a book cover for the first novel in the series – Bow Shock. You can find the cover here – Scarlet Rugers. It is in the Book Covers section of the website. When it comes to cover art, for me, I like minimalist designs. I don’t like having characters on the cover, or would prefer not to have them. Rather than the reader imagine their own image for the characters it is telling them- this is what they look like. It ties up some of the imagination which could be better used in reading the story. You have to remember the book cover whenever those characters are in scene because the cover has told you what they look like.
When I was writing the books, on the Nanowrimo site, you were allowed to have banners in your profile advertising your books. Mine were incredibly simple, just a planet, a star field, and a line showing movement. I believe Scarlett has taken that simple idea and enhanced it in a very clean way. It was fun working with her as well, she would get excited, show me an idea and before I had said anything she would say- wait! What about this?! I like those people who are passionate about what they do.
During the middle of the year I stopped writing creatively. Work stress, life stress, and a want to concentrate on getting my copy writing business precedent. Sad, I know. I did have the seeds for a novel idea in my mind, don’t worry about that. a Magic Steampunk adventure! However I was waiting until November to write it. I know in myself that I need that surge of novelling energy to get me going.
And so, October rolled around, my month of plotting and planning. I started doing the 30 days of world building, but stopped. I already had a plot, and a direction. The exercises did help me out, I will admit. Thinking of weather as a driving force for plot was good. Trade winds would determine the best routes for sky ships to sail. And they would change with every season. The geography of the world would affect the winds as well, so I needed a map. And rather than just having mountains here and there, think about how they are made. The Himalayan mountains are created by continental plates colliding, so, when looking at my map, and mountain ranges, I imagined them to be the edges of plates, which helped sculpt the coast line etc. So these new ways of thinking about world building and how the land would interact with my plot was great. However, there were things left out, things I didn’t consider, due to not being relevant to my story.
I knew what the political situation would be- Royal Family. I have not yet decided on a religion for my world, however there re druids and people with certain elemental aspects in their system. So it may lean towards a pagan pantheon. But then, it might clash with the different schools of magic. It might clash with the idea of people from another realm. It was a very tricky decision, so in the end I chose not to have religion and spirituality that major in my story. And I don’t believe it has harmed the story at all.
So, November. Nanowrimo. Writing a novel, while also trying to be a professional copy writer. I had a GREAT day during November. I spent a day creating the first BNI newsletter AND I wrote 5000 + words of my novel. This day showed me that I can focus and be focussed. It showed that both of my writing loves can live side by side. I can write novels, and copy write, all at the same time. This bodes so incredibly well for my future.
During Nanowrimo I updated my Facebook paged daily with word counts and an exciting commentary on what my characters had been doing. This generated a LOT of response from people, a lot of excitement, and a lot of requests to read the story. So I came to a decisions. Currently I have 4 beta readers going through my work and should be giving me feedback by early January. T hen I will re-write and edit, and publish the book on Smashwords come Valentine’s Day. Once again Scarlett is creating the cover art for me, with some web icons to help with sales.
My first published novel. Wow. This is going to be exciting. I am opening myself up to people saying- wow! To people going- it’s just the same as…. Opening myself up to people to say- this is the worst thing I have ever written. Ah well –