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Novel Cover Art released! January 27, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Uncategorized.
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I had an exciting week this week. I am finding the re-write to be less and less challenging, and I received the cover art for my novel!

Re-writing the novel is a grind, I will not say otherwise. The bliss of first draft creation is replaced with going over the same creative path as before, and honestly, it is not as much fun. But then again, I am writing with much more awareness of what I am trying to achieve. I’ve re-written novels of mine before, but not with as much focus as this. I am aware of the language foibles of my male lead, I am shifting the motivations of my female lead; the Prince is more mysterious and does not waltz into the apartment to share dinner with them. It feels like a more mature novel, to me. One of my beta-readers said to me- it feels like a Nanowrimo novel. Now, to me, it is feeling more like a real novel, rather than a Nanowrimo novel. I never really knew the difference until now.

The Sci-fi novel I had assessed and deconstructed started to feel that way, but there was very little major reconstruction. I had managed to hit all the good points solidly enough on the first pass through that I was just rearranging and polishing. This, my current work, feels like I have taken a good story in a comfy tracksuit, and changed it into a good story in trousers shirt and waist coat. Top hat and goggles optional.

I am currently most of the way through chapter 4 on my re-write. Chapter 5 looms as the big challenge. It is the end of Act 1 and a lot happens. I am shifting locations, so the party is no longer at the Royal Palace it is now at my male lead’s work, which is the den of all that is evil in the world. I may have embellished that slightly. It just put a lot more pressure on the action, a lot more danger on the characters, a lot more opportunities on me as a writer to fkshtup. I should have it done by next week. That gives me a week to get a quite read through and line editing and then change it into Smashwords and up for the world to see! Now, that is going to be scary.

Another thing I have noticed this week is my itch to be writing when I am going somewhere. I had to go out a few times, and each time I did I was thinking to myself- no, I have to be writing. I am onto a good thing, I have to get my characters to this point. My whole weekend this weekend is taken from me by a basketball tournament. If I am not too tired by Sunday night I will try to get some writing done then. But I am little flustered to think- I wont be writing this weekend?

This is a good thing. To know that I am craving the need to write, for me, is a good thing. I want to feed this craving. It is a feeling I need to have for the rest of my life.

And now on to pretty things. I have employed the fantastic services of Scarlett Rugers Design for my novel covers. Now I was attracted to her thanks to her 15 covers for $15 promotion, but I have seen her work and was eager to use her anyway. She presented me with the cover :

And she has given me some online banner ads for Facebook and forums :

These have excited me and I am now under pressure to produce a novel worthy of these covers!


The Chinese Year of the ‘my writing totem’ January 21, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
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Monday is the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Dragon, the Water Dragon no less. You can read about it here and here and loads of other places on the internet. What interests me about this is that for me, the dragon is my personal writing totem. I even have a little dragon sitting on a mirror as a writing altar, my focus for my writing. Apologies for the quality of the shot, it seems the lens of my phone camera is scratched and can only take romantic soft-focus shots.


This little guy was given to me as a present many years ago by a dear friend. She told me that since I enjoy reading and writing fantasy, and dragons are so strongly linked to this genre, she would buy me a baby dragon to remind me that I enjoy fantasy, and to focus on this little guy when I write. And it is a baby dragon because, at the time, my writing was in its infancy. So the dragon is going to grow up to be a big, powerful creature of legend, just like my writing. I do like people’s faith in me.

So there he is, and here we are, in the Year of the Water Dragon. I very much like the synchronicity of this. I cracked my bottle of Moet on New Years Eve, declaring this to be my year of writing. I have already had a writing job this year, with the promise of more to come. I have declared this year to be when I first publish myself. Admittedly the plan has changed from a frantic February 14th release, to a staggered release, bu this is due to the feedback of some well qualified beta readers telling me- this book deserves a GOOD re-write. It is publishable, it is a good story, it just needs this and this. So I am listening to them. I want my first release to blow people’s minds!

You have read here before, and quite recently, my interpretations of my dreams and such. I am a man who enjoys symbology. Not signs and portends so much, but the language of symbols and their meaning to a person, such as dreams, such as Water Dragons and their relationship to me and me being a writer.

Water is a symbol of emotion. It is the source of all life, of sustenance, of health, embodies the unconscious. It can change state, it can move, it can flow. It can be smooth and tranquil or it can be fast flowing and turbulent. All of these things are representative of what it is like to be a writer. Everyone goes through these things, certainly, but personally, as a writer, I go through all these a lot. Producing copy for a client and handing it over, it is something I create, so I am always anxious that they will like it, and they’re not just paying me because they have to. It’s not a case of they must pay me because they hired me, but they actually do like my work, think it is awesome and feel the money they are paying me is totally worth it. And of course the same is true for my creative writing efforts. I know that when I release the novel I will be a mess hoping that people genuinely like it, and are not just saying it to make me feel better.

So, to have the Water Dragon, this emotional, mythical creature, my totem, as the year I where I take my writing career to the next level of awesome, just feels so natural and right to me. It clicks, it fits, it synchronizes. And to prove that point, last week while writing my blog update, at the very point I was describing my frustration at the people in the office not moving, and how that related to me wanting to work and to move forward and how frustrated I was at the lack of movement around me. At that very point I received a phone call and a request to do some work.

I will not go into the details of the job, but it was a pressing matter which required a very quick turn around. I received the phone call on Wednesday, I had the client interview on Thursday morning and had created and edited the document by Thursday night. Review and follow-up on Friday and paid Friday night. Crazy 2 days that. Nothing since, which I am okay with since a lot of businesses are on holidays, but it was so good to get a hit out of the blue, that I want more. I enjoyed the chance to work, so I want to work more.

The novel? The re-write is into Chapter 3. I have received feedback from some Beta Readers, later than I had asked. So, they have given advice about parts of the book I have already rewritten. And I have noticed that I am aware of things which need fixing and have rewritten them as suggested. I think I am better at picking up wasted words, silly sayings and am better able to focus on the important parts of the text. This bodes well for the future!

So, happy new year, may the power of the Water Dragon fill you with mythical energy and creativity.

Zombies, Beta Readers and an unfortunately good change of plans January 11, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in Copy writing, writing.
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A long while ago I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts about Zombies being a writing totem, or a dream symbol of my writing for me. Well, I had another dream last night about zombies, and it is writing related. Related to my copy writing, actually. I wont relate the entire dream, although there were some very cool fight scenes in there, but just the two scenes which were the most important to me.

* Stuck up at the top of a very tall building, watching the zombie apocalypse out the window. I keep suggesting ways to escape, bu the people here are just sitting doing nothing. Most are scared, whimpering, and I know that if they do not do anything, something, then the zombies will come up here and kill them

* Have chosen to escape, with another survivor, female. On the way down the building there is a science lab with zombies in it, and I Hear an old man speaking a girl’s name. We go in there and I see an old man, blind, calling out for a girl. The calling out is what attracted the zombies. I put my hand over the old man’s mouth, he is startled to feel me, and we kill the zombies. We find the girl cowered in a little ball, shivering and sobbing. I explain to the old man about how his calls drew the attention of the zombies, and how we would now lead them both out, but he had to be quiet.

Down in the car park we have gathered another survivor, a guy who is mute, cannot speak. As we make our way to the car zombies come running (I hate the fast zombies, totally hate them). I tell the girl to go open all the car door. I start slapping the old man on the shoulder blades, left right left right, imitating running. He nods and starts running to the car. The girl has opened all the doors and is in the back seat. The mute ‘catches’ the running blind man and throws him in the car and jumps in after. I get in the driver’s seat and the other female survivor jumps in. Just as we leave I splat a zombie with my car door and I get splattered with Zombie goo (that last part isn’t writing symbology, but I had to add it in there because… well just because.)

** So, when I woke up, I connected with the scene at the top of the building immediately. I am trying to get action, get movement, do something. But the others just have given up? Are apathetic? This is me currently. I am having feelings of frustration at not getting any work. I want to work, I want to write copy for people, but it is frustrating me that each time I make some sort of movement, or offer, none is returned. I get that now, over Christmas and New Year there isn’t much work. I understand that not everyone needs it, or can afford it, or is working right now. But it is just me. I want to work. I want to write for people and show them I can do this. An idle mind…

So, the rest of this dream? When speaking with my wife about the dream, I mentioned how in my way earlier post I deduced zombies were a writing symbol for me. She then deduced for me that here I was, rescuing someone who could not see, someone who could not speak. So, is this me removing or saving the- no one can see me, or no one is talking about me, and taking control of them? She said it far more eloquently than I did. But it was truly awesome. Here is my subconscious processing my frustrations, that I want to move, to take actin, but no one can see me, no one is talking about me. So, my next question is- how to get people talking about me, and seeing what i am capable of.

And now on to my novel. I recruited 5 Beta Readers just before Christmas. I did put the pressure on them- get some feedback to me by the first week of January. Sadly I have only heard from 2 of them. Well, I heard from one of the other Beta Readers, and she had some uber-drama in her life, s.. okay. But… again, I understand, it was over Christmas and New Year, however I did ask- can you do this? So, I am a little saddened by the lack of return. But this is excited selfish writer me. They offered, voluntarily, and life can happen. So I will work with what I got.

And what I got so far is some good feedback from a reader, and some good feedback from an editor (who is trying NOT to line edit, ah ha.) I have been made aware of how the book reads, and also how there needs to be some more defined motivations and conflicts between characters.

What this has lead to is a realisation that, due to a lack of feedback, and some awesome re-write material, I wont have the full book ready for Valentine’s Day. This disappoints me, since I DECLARED a date, and as such nailed myself a time line. But, I am compromising. I don’t want to release a book and people go- yeah nice. I want a STRONG book which people will go- woah. So. I am going to release Act 1, as a free download. If I cannot deliver on my original declaration, then I will apologise and offer a free gift. And then get the rest of the book, in whole, up at a later date. I am thinking April 1st. I like funny dates.

Happy New Writing Year! January 5, 2012

Posted by mattfarmer in books and reading, writing.
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Hello and welcome to 2012. The Mayans think the world is going to end this year. I don’t believe it, however we’re going to have one hell of a party on that night.

So, New Year means resolutions, right? Well, I personally do not make NYR’s. Back in my more emo-poetic days I would say that I didn’t want to make promises to myself that I would only break. Now it is more like, I would rather set goals for myself, achieve them or excel them, but not feel guilty about not making them.

So, my goals for the new year? Get my Steam Punk book- A Girl From Out of Town out there and published on Smashwords. I have announced the date as Valentines Day, and I do intend to stick to that date. I am waiting to hear from 5 Beta Readers who told me they could read the book and give me feedback by the end of the first week in January. I know 2 of them have read or are reading the book. The other 3, I don’t know. Waiting on them to get back to me with independent feedback bugs me a little. But I will talk on that later. No, actually I will talk on that now.

Another goal I am implementing this year is to create more action MYSELF, rather than relying on others. While I cannot do everything myself, and I do like to support and use my networks, last year there was a lot of waiting for someone else to get stuff done, often weeks later than it should have taken, before I could take a step forward. While I can understand and accept that in some cases the people were very busy, one friend in particular, it was still aggravating not being able to promote me, because I had to rely on others.

So, this year I am going to try and do a lot myself. I have DL flyers promoting me. So now I am going to go around the neighbourhood, introduce myself as a copy writer, offer them the $100 deal, and ask that they have my flyers on their counter in case someone rocks up and might need me. I am going to get the cover for my novel, in electronic colourful wonderful format and promote theout of myself. I will see what I need for a banner ad on forums. I will bribe friends with chocolate, tweet and retweet and again, offer chocolate. I will suggest more ways people can use me as a copy writer, and how it is a good idea.

I opened the bottle of Moet which my friends from my last job gave me on New Years Eve at midnight. They said to open it when I got a new job. I figure 2012 is going to be my new job. It is going to be the year that my freelance career becomes viable. That my novel is published and makes some money. That I find some good part-time or temp work to pay the bills and relieve some of that stress. I am going to work, at what I want this year.

I will keep this updated to chart the path of my writing journey. I will keep my twitter feed going and my Facebook page updated. All part of the joy of an online platform.

Also, I will try and share resources, web pages, and other things, relevant to writing, and relevant to me. In that vein, may I present- 8 Secrets Which Writers Wont Tell You.

These are truths. Absolute writing truths. Sometimes I wish I could share these with clients, but you need to put that confident face on, that you know what you are doing, and that you are happy with your work on. Even if you’re not. Even if you’re worried that they might think- this is crap, who is this guy? I could have written this, why am I paying him so much for this pile of turd? I will put the poker face on when my novel is up for sale. While friends and hopefully people I don’t know, say- awesome book! Bring on the next one! I will sit there and go- that could have been better, oh crap I left that in. Its really not my best work….

Writing is such a personal thing. It comes from within the creator, from within me. Be it the creative romps of novel-writing, or the ordered copy writing for a client, it is all something created by me, by the writer. For me, there is always that higher level for potential of failure. It’s not like a regular job of A + B = product at $X, thank you come again. So each time I produce copy for a client and hand it over, it is me, in that piece. It is a part of me that could be rejected as- this is not what we were looking for. And for me, to continually put myself under the spot light, to repeatedly put my writing core on the chopping block, is a scary scary thing. I dont think even the most experienced writer is ever fully immune to the fear. But this is another thing this year I am going to, not conquer, but to recognise and face and accept.

Every time I write, every time I give someone a piece of my work, I am afraid and scared of their reaction. But that is okay. Face my fears and do it anyway.

2012 is going to be huge, massive, and awesome. And then its going to end with a huge party.