There’s been a lot of discussion lately about when you get to call yourself a writer. It’s an issue I really sympathise with because for a long time I was one of those people.
You see, you decide to take your writing seriously. You may have been writing for pleasure or you may have even had something published in a newsletter or magazine but there are these… titans whose name you dream of being listed alongside. Calling yourself a writer somehow seems to disrespect that idea. No, a ‘writer’ is what you want to become. What you are now is something that comes before, something embryonic, something that aspires to be that thing.
I get it. I really, really do. I’d run a successful website, published countless magazine articles and even co-written a non-fiction book and still I did not feel like a ‘writer’. I’d keep asking myself when did I earn the right to get to call myself a ‘proper writer’? If this sounds like you, let me give you a little advice.
You’re asking the wrong question!
Over the last couple of days I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about career. There’s a saying in publishing that it’s one thing to be published, another to stay published. A year ago I was worried about ever getting published. Now, with the book out and deep into writing book two, I’m starting to look ahead and formulate a long term plan for my writing and where I want to be.
I am sure there are some high security inmates who have a better social life than myself right now, but I suspect that might be true of many writers.
So I was glad when I heard a good friend of 20+ years was in this part of the country on work and I, for once, wasn’t on out-of-hours call with the day job.
New Fantasy Faction Article: Attending Your First Convention
Over at Fantasy Faction I’ve recently had an article published regarding attending your first convention as an unpublished writer. If you have further ones, please be sure to add them to make this a really useful resource for unpublished writers.
The prospect can be a little scary the first time so hopefully there’s some good tips there for those of you who’ve yet to brave the con-o-sphere. There are also some great additional tips in the comments.
Be sure to check it out over at Fantasy-Faction
I’ve been a bit bad at updating the blog recently. The ironic thing is that at those times when I do have a lot to blog about, I’m too busy to do so. I’m currently behind on everything. The test results have come back from the leg and there’s a ridiculous number of activities now happening ranging from referals to the hospital, to high risk of a repeat, to building the walking up again. So here are a collection of points, most of which are blog posts in their own right.
New Fantasy Faction Article On Tropes
My latest article for Fantasy Faction has gone live today. This month I look at tropes, what they are, what’s bad about them, what’s good about them and the risk of using them. Personally, I’m quite pleased with how this one turned out, so I hope you’ll all agree.
Check it out HERE
I’ve been a little busy to give this series of articles the publicity they deserve but the last in a series of five articles by me on craft has gone live over at Fantasy Faction. The series spoke to four authors for their viewpoints about various subjects to do with breaking into the industry. I’m really please with how they turned out, and if you haven’t done so already, you should check them out. The latest and last, to do with criticism, went live today. Look for a new series of articles in the new year.
Last week, I managed to call in some favours to knock off the day job early in order to head up t the British Library to attend the Strange Chemistry imprint launch. Those who’ve ever read my writing might question why I would go to the launch of an imprint specialising in YA fiction. The answer to that goes back to long before the imprint was conceived.
It occurred to me whilst driving home the other night that we live in the first age without heroes. A combination of greater openness, social media and press intrusion means that we no longer hear a one-dimensional description of people portraying them as true heroes through and through in the classic sense of the word. That soldier who risked their life to save their comrades commits domestic abuse, that Olympic sports star has been found cheating on their partner. That nurse who went to some disaster ravaged country to help give aid has a conviction for drug abuse. Instead heroes have been replaced by heroic acts.
Not sure if something is wrong with me or if I’m coming down with something but I’m falling out of love with Epic Fantasy. For years, I would say my subgenre of choice was the Epic. I love the whole ‘bigness’ of it all – vast casts, vast worldbuilding and story with such massive consequence. I want it bigger with greater consequences. I want it to take my breath away.
But lately nearly every epic fantasy I’ve read, just fails to deliver for me. The only exception has been Steven Erikson’s Malazan books. I can’t put my finger on just one problem with the others but it’s as if the orchestra is too big for the conductor.
I’ve thought about books I’ve truly loved over the last few years, not just at the time but ones that have stayed with me and proved to be just as excellent during a second read through. And most of them have been swords and sorcery rather than straight up epic fantasy. Lies of Locke Lamorra is a true masterpiece and my favourite debut last year (and a book I just would not shut up about) was Douglas Hulick’s Among Thieves.
True, in this sub-genre blending world that’s not exactly a huge shift, but for me it’s a significant one. I don’t know what impact this will have on my own writing, but my current project that I’m plotting is definitely more a swords and sorcery story than an epic fantasy one. I doubt I’ll totally drop the epic elements as I continue to flesh out ideas so it’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.