Publication Day!

One of the few problems with publishing a new book is the need to update websites.
Today sees the day when my updated NaNoWriMo advice book goes live on Amazon in ebook and paperback. It’s been reorganised, rewritten, with new content and a fresh new cover.

Like the two previous versions, I have taken the experiences of 16 previous attempts (succeeding 15 times) and working with and alongside other NaNoWriMo authors, and I’ve created some guidelines, a timeline, tips and advice, and not a little inspiration, too.

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R.I.P. EVH

Tuesday, 6th October, 2020. The day Eddie Van Halen died from throat cancer.

Some of you may not know who Eddie Van Halen was – EVH for short. He was an American rock guitarist who, like Jimi Hendrix, changed how people played rock guitar. He was an inspiration to several generations of rock guitarists.

He had to deal with a lot of issues in his life, like injuries (from his high-octane stage act) and the almost inevitable drink and drugs. He eventually succumbed to throat cancer at the age of 65. He had smoked since he was 12.

Over his career, he sold 56 million records.

So what’s all this got to do with writing?

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Taboos

Do you have a writing taboo? Is there something you wouldn’t include in a piece of fiction? Do you have reading taboos? Is there something in a book you hate to read?

Firstly, a definition:

Taboo (noun)
a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.

Taboo (adjective)
prohibited or restricted by social custom.

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Too famous to edit?

I spend a little part of every day on Twitter. I probably spend too much time on Twitter, if I’m honest. Sometimes, it’s a bit … meh, and sometimes it’s red hot.

Yesterday, someone I followed posted this:

“You know when artists get so famous their work isn’t edited properly …”

and they went on to quote a few pieces of work.
Basically asking if the bigger the author gets, reputation- and following-wise, the more influence they have on the production side of their book. Specifically, editing.

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Themes

I want to tell you about themes. When I first started writing (short, literary fiction), I was forever being told about themes, and about how my writing needed more thematic writing in them. I really struggled to work out what a theme was, and how I could get it into my writing without making it look clunky and hokum.

After a couple of years of very minor success, I moved onto writing longer fiction. And, since I read commercial genre fiction (crime / thriller / horror / espionage), I naturally began to concentrate on those areas – writing the sort of books I’d like to read. If they were any good.

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Focus

What does focus mean to you? Something that happens automatically when you use your modern camera or smartphone? A type of Ford car?

I’m talking about personal focus. That moment of clarity, when the fug and fog around you disappears, what’s truly important comes into view.

The life of an independent author – one who doesn’t have a traditional deal with a large or medium-sized publisher – is one of wearing two hats, almost being a Janus figure – looking both ways. Janus, the God of beginnings and transitions. The beginning is the creative side, the writing of a novel; the transition is one of becoming a commercial author.

What are you talking about, Gerald?

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The great disease of 2020

No, I’m not talking about *that* disease. This is a disease which isn’t talked about, except amongst writers, artists and other creatives.

It’s a strange disease, to do with lockdown, to do with anxiety, to do with a general feeling of unease.

And it has meant that us creatives haven’t been very … well, creative. I know, Jemima learnt to play the Flügel horn, and Benedict has been sharpening up his ancient Greek proverbs, but for many of us, we’ve just been feeling a bit … meh.

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