With this trio around in your town, admit. Feeling Safer Already?

The Girls in Yermetz

Matt keeps on adding more depth. This is image of Karlyn, Trelli and Arketre represents them walking through the town of Yermetz, the scene of a battle (based on the events at Stalingrad in 1942).
The little bird was something Matt just felt was significant of part of Karlyn’s affinity with Nature, and is certainly worth a couple of extra sentences    

On Getting Your Work Noticed (Just an Observation)

The end of an edit / re-write beckons; approximately 11.5% of some 248,000+ words left to ‘listen’ to and ponder over. Word is not happy with the weight I have placed upon it, pretending to lose the Dictionary additions, altering margins and spacing at random intervals, changing the Spellcheck to another language, failure to comprehend any literary constructs apart from business speak; the usual protests against an unprofessional artistic use of its programmes. BUT my trusty memory stick is ever at my side reminiscent of a faithful hound, lest Word pulls its most evil of tricks and crashes the whole work (which it dallied with back in July).

Thus this will conclude a work in three parts which will in total tally up 600,000 + words and has taken somewhere around six years to complete. A time in which edits, proof-reading and re-writes were all done within my own bubble. Thanks to Amazon Kindle and the free-book promotions I guess about 30 folk have Volumes I & II downloaded and a big thanks to those kind folk who also purchased copies (probably about 10 sales). If Volume III bumps the totals up by 33% that might be in line with my expectations (based on the previous performances). Sometimes those figures were disheartening but were unlikely to be the sole cause of the low mood, more symptomatic of a general lassitude, my late father used to refer to this as ‘being at the bottom of the wheel’. Outside of the central character of a mid-twentieth century swashbuckling or ‘happy’ musical film, who does not experience these times?

At this stage a writer facing such results will have reached a crossroads of some sort of another. Their outlook will be dependant on amount of the effort they have previously put into their marketing, networking, assistance, outside editing and beta-reading to name but a few of the preparation and research strategies available to them.

For some despite their very best and diligent efforts in these areas, their work still fails to gain recognition and a despondency sets in. This is very understandable. They may well decide writing is not for them and seek other paths. Whether this was the right choice or another promising writer was lost to the caprice of the market, we will never truly know; this sort of judgement belongs as it were ‘to the ages’.

For others there can be an analytical response, they shrug (after a period of flushing out the disappointment) and ‘go back to the drawing board’. Maybe, they think, the work needs some tweaking, nay complete overhauling. Records of advice: friendly, editorial and beta will be consulted, the work re-read (a painful process at times) and the writer returns to the battle carrying out that very delicate balancing act between others input and how they, the writer, wishes the narrative to go.

Some will decide, they do so love writing, but maybe they chose the wrong genre or wrong style of narrative. They start again, maybe using the very bare bones of the first work. This happened to me, twice. First attempt was grim, bloody (and also unreadable). The second attempt, set in the world of my current books at an earlier time was comedic satire, the volumes are now a source of folklore and history in the current works. This third is a mix, one might say real as can be found in Fantasy. 

I stood at the crossroads and looked back over my shoulder. Had I utilised any of those aforementioned strategies and resources in my journey. Yes, but due to the vagaries of life met with three sources whose advice or commentaries were not to my liking, and hereabouts there are some strong opinions retained on their competencies and ability to use perception, but we shall move on. I was glad of the observations and reviews by Audrey Driscoll https://audreydriscoll.com/  Berthold Gambrel  https://ruinedchapel.com/  and Rachael Ritchey https://rachaelritchey.com/ Each gave support, advice incisive and constructive and was taken on board in future efforts. Those who indulge in throwaway criticism would do well to stay away from me, their comments get analysed, critically…yes one is not supposed to indulge so in kicking back at a bad review…. I have nothing to lose, there would be ramifications for the throwaway reviewer.  

And there came the decision. If my work was currently not surfacing into public attention amongst the many thousands of efforts by unknown writers and my approach to all the strategies and resources was idiosyncratic, nay even shambolic and I was using the massively populated medium of Amazon Kindle, then what was there to lose in going my very own way? The books could be recorded for the public to find, there would be some gratification there, and at the same time all creativity, imagination and experimentation could be utilised just for their own collective sakes. Thus I gave vent to all manner of writing about varied circumstances, maybe some had no business being in a book seriously put together with sales in mind as a benefit; some might send editors and beta-readers into much head-shaking or saying ‘WHAT???’ Let it be so. I have enjoyed this veering off at tangents, exploring issues narrative, and it is all mine.

At this juncture let me say this is not an attempt to mask vanity with an air of assumed artistic superiority or the self-indulgent woeful stance of someone ‘suffering’ for their art. No this is just me, writing as I write, for a particular  purpose, and because the whole project will not let me be until it is concluded this way. To put it another way for those starting out or those having doubts:

Writing about my approach as one you should follow is not the reason. It would, quite frankly be irresponsible for me to contend this is worthwhile way of ‘doing things’. Not so, the above words are tailored to illustrate my position and current view of my own work. For advice on the matter of publishing, please, please seek out others. Going Complete Rogue is generally a bad idea. 

As long as the writing does not mask an agenda promoting Hate, Intolerance or questionable politics I wish everyone well with their writing. Published conventional or self-published, the writer’s efforts are to be celebrated, another record in the great endeavour writing, another statement ‘I was here’.

That you strive at your work with the conviction you have as much right as any to do is enough for me.

Meanwhile, nearly a year after the original narrative of Daughters of Circumstance. Arbiters of Consequences was completed, still working on the final ‘publicationable’ document? But of course.  

And Thus Is Completed The Narrative

Another Launch (Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, But It’s Satisfying)

Musings on Writing (Another series). Important Reactions to Use on Suitable Occasions

Getting to know Characters- Trelli (& Trelli with Arketre ‘walking shotgun’)

Matt continues to let his imagination and artistry work wonders with the characters out of my work.

Here is Trelli, moving up in a modest way leaving behind her housemaid’s drabs and travel robes. Now wearing sedate clothing when assisting others with diplomatic ventures.

Trelli by volume III in Colour Matt 

Of course separation from her friends does not last long and here she is striding out with Arketre, about to get her hands, boots, blouse and skirt dirty.

Trelli with Arketre

Getting to know Characters- Arketre

As Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences,  Volume III of my trilogy The Precipice Dominions draws closer to its final edit Matt, the artist who carried out the evocative cover of Volume II Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire has started work on the latest volume for me. Here is Arketre, even with just a few simple lines of a sketch he has brought her character.

Arketre by Matt Continue reading

On Deciding Which Place To Be

I suppose it may have been the Summer again. Or to be more objective my attitude to the summer season. The heat, the bright sunlight, long daylight, activity even muted by Covid; these do not suit me. Of course at 70 one should not wish life away, years, months even days should not be squandered and yet winter draws me ever on.

Summer brings out the worst in me, particularly this one had me in a very combative mood and willing to engage in arguments on social media, on all manner of topics, just because. All very undignified and not the least bit profitable  There was an effort not to smear this mood all over WP and keep it where it belonged – FaceBook. Hence my general absence from WP

Happily there was a smidge of constructive dignity still working within. This, of course being attention to my own writing project. If you have followed my blog you will know about my ragged progress and less than serious approach to marketing 

Another Launch (Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, But It’s Satisfying)

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The British Approach

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

Although the last volume of the trilogy was in theory completed one year ago, the re-write process beckoned. This, personally is an enjoyable stage, aside from the obvious corrections, tinkerings and checking continuity in all its manifold ways, there is the joy of realising the overall intentions were surviving the necessities of a narrative. On this particular jaunt there was an urge within to re-visit the previous two volumes and work through them one last time to ensure they led in a sort of cohesive manner unto the third. Thus 2021 has been a year in which three large (If you are doing epic fantasy ‘large/long’ is something of a requirement) volumes were aligned. Yet another series of re-writes, I like to muse over the situation that should these books ever achieve noticeable sales status how early purchasers could brag they have ‘first editions’ and argue the case for the writing or narrative of those. A writer whose history does not contain even the words ‘some modest success’ should always keep an element of whimsey in their head (either that or take marketing and allied disciplines seriously)

On the whole the process has been yet another enjoyable and enlightening process. AS WE all know Word has many failings. Yet Read Aloud along with the ability to shift entire chapters around like chess pieces do carry their own particular appeals, also a sense of The Unexpected. In the case of the former this would be the sudden lurch into another gender’s voice, like some intrusive boor blundering into a conversation you are having with a friend, while Word throws up a frantic yellow bar warning in a woefully inadequate attempt to deny all culpability. When it comes to the latter shifting portions of the narrative might look fine at a particular juncture, but they could have a tectonic effect in The Continuity much further on down; by then the original revision is so embedded into the narrative it is necessary to give way to the impetus set in place back at at Chapter Fifteen and amend with much vigour to the events laid out in the first (or second) draft at Chapter Fifty-One. These are something of a melding of the Artistic, Imaginative and above all Inventive in the business. Some folk enjoy crosswords, siduko, chess or card game puzzles. for me the challenge of the re-write is the thing.   

The Third Volume nears final (only three re-writes) completion, the artist who did such stunning work on Volume Two’s cover is on the case.  Skirmishers  So maybe the final work will see the light of Kindle by the end of the year.

Ah me, this is where I should have been spending more time than was spent. Three volumes completed, a joy in itself. But soft, I have tarried long enough. Time to break camp and set forth on the final clime up the last 35,000 words.

Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences.   (Being Volume 3 of The Precipice Dominions)

I do love this happy burden.

And Thus Is Completed The Narrative

One novel. Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences. (Being Vol III of the Precipice Dominions ) 234,927 words.

(And so follows a discourse with someone who might mean well. They are actually possessed of existence only in my head, because I suspect my answers and the way I would deliver them would drive a normal person to exasperation and the temptation to throw objects at me.)

Person:234,927 Really? Were so many words necessary?

Me: Yes. It’s the last part of a Fantasy Epic Heroic Trilogy. And those sorts of books have to have lotsa words in them. Complain to George R R Martin, not me…By the way there’ll be more if I put titles at the start of each chapter…all 84 of them…there’s a foreword, a prologue and an epilogue too.

Person: Yes, even so should you not have thought it wise to employ a strict editorial regime?

Me: Nope. There are the induvial stories of the three main characters, their interactions as a trio, the love story between two of them, the geo-political world-building you always get in a fantasy/SF work, sly digs at some parts of the genre and the less flexible of the readership, war, romance, rom-com, comedy, satire, politics and more world-building. Ya don’t fit that into 100,000 words without leaving a reader scratching their head at some stage. (And you’ve gotta give the supporting characters their space too, so folk realise they are people)

Person: Be that as it may, dear writer, if you were insisting on embarking on a work of such length should you not have sought out someone to help you with that? Proof reading, alpha-, beta- and editorial reading folk.

Me: No.

Person: That is a rather arrogant response, even foolhardy.

Me: What would be foolhardy would be trying to convince me to change even a sentence. I am fearfully territorial and a self-publishing indie-writer. I would only make the poor soul(s) who took up the task miserable. Reading my books is not compulsory, so I’ll take the hit.

Person: I am afraid I don’t understand.

Me: That’s OK. You shouldn’t be expected to, until you’ve tried writing for years. And then you’ll get it….although you still will reserve the right to say behind my back…… Weirdo…..

Person: But you spent….like how long on this work?

Me: That’s a bit of a toughie…..I guess two, it tends to get tangled up with the two previous volumes. I think the whole effort has taken five years, or so.

Person: Won’t you be…well…disappointed…if they do not sell in substantial numbers?

Me: They’re wrote an’t they? Two are Kindled and the last one will be. They will be out there. I’ll do another editorial stint on the first two and maybe make a bit of a fuss on some media corner about their existence. I can do no more.

Person: If you don’t mind me saying so, you have approached the subject like one of ‘follys’ rich English folk had constructed back in the 18th & 19th centuries.

Me: I repeat. They’re wrote an’t they? People can come and read them if they want to.

Person:……………………………………………………………

Me: I guess they must have gone. Oh well. Back to putting numbers on the chapters and experimenting with titles for said chapters while I await a cover.

Oh my! But I do love writing!!