Not every idea comes to fruition. Sometimes it’s not the right time, sometimes it just doesn’t pan out the way that you want it to. Since they do nothing but sit unread on my hard drive, I have decided to share some of these abandoned opening chapters from projects that I’ve toyed with over the last year (easily 100k words worth). I figured that they may be of interest to other writers, and might prove a good point for discussion of how opening chapters can feel like they’re working.
Just a quick update to say that CROWFALL, the third book in The Raven’s Mark series, is finished and with my publishers. I expect that I’ll get it back the week before Christmas (it seems to be a tradition) to do the edits, but for now, I’m done writing about Galharrow and the gang.
The problem with ‘writing advice’ is that it’s like trying to advise someone on how to be funny in social situations. If you know funny people, when you compare them they’re funny in different ways. The methods that they use to arrive at their humour are different, and their jokes are different. When it comes to writing, if you try to think up even the most basic rule – “Write things!” then at times, even that falls down. So I can’t really give great writing advice, nor do I have any idea what it would be. What I can tell you are some things that have helped me to progress in the craft.
You’ve finished your manuscript.
You’ve edited, re-edited, edited until you know every line by heart.
It’s fine, it’s ready.
You send it out.
And then comes the first rejection slip.
Even though I make my living writing the thing that I love the most, I still feel embarrassed when I tell a new acquaintance about what I do, even though I love my job, and they live for the brief respite at the weekend. This blog talks about how negative cultural associations continue to affect the way I feel about my life.
You’ve written a book. An agent loved it. Publishers loved it. You got an advance. You can live on it! Your book comes out to rave reviews. You’re interviewed in SFX and Sci-fi Now. You have a blog tour. You tour book shops. You go to conventions. You meet all your heroes. You go to GRRM’s party. You meet people in publishing, and they’re the best people you’ve ever met. You meet authors, and finally you can talk to someone who knows what it’s like.
Oh, and did I mention how dreadful things might just feel?
Everyone knows that literary fiction is the best form of fiction and that popular books are written by mere hacks spouting garbage for the unwashed, illiterate masses who can barely understand a story, let alone a sentence that has taken 12 hours of deliberation. As such I am rewriting the whole of Blackwing into a more literary style. Here’s a taster.