Welcome to the Dragon's Pen, the blog of an aspiring kiwi author ... chatting about reading, writing, querying and publishing

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Bittersweet Draft

Just a quick note before I go and fall into bed.

It is the final night of the holidays so no more lazy mornings for me. I have to be up bright and early (but not too early) to get the kids off to school in the morning. No doubt there will be a mad scramble to find uniforms, school shoes and school bags - all of which should have been organised tonight.

Once they are gone I'll hit the computer and finish off this fairytale. It is coming along really well. I managed to write 1800 words tonight so I'm fairly pleased with myself.

The story - as they often do - took on a mind of it's own and the result is a much more rounded tale than what I had foreseen. So I'm happy. Admittedly it still needs a bit of work, but it is a very rare story that doesn't need some careful fine tuning beyond the first draft phase.

And yes, a unicorn and a pegasus managed to work themselves into the threads of the story. I can't wait to see what stumbles, glides, leaps or slithers on to the page tomorrow. I've titled the tale Bittersweet.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Wake up Call. A Kick in the Pants. Call it what you Will.

Tonight while I was cruising the internet reading other people's blogs I had a bit of a wake up call.

This year my health has been something of a major challenge, an obstacle to my writing and life in general. However, after my operation at the end of March I felt so much better I decide I wanted to pursue an old dream - to become an ambulance officer. I threw myself into this with everything I had and was working towards the goals I needed to achieve in order to apply, but about a month ago I hit a brick wall - the brick wall of total exhaustion.

Now time is winding down fast, deadlines are rushing towards me and due to physical and financial challenges it doesn't look like this dream will come true for me, at least not this year. It is a hard thing to accept but sometimes you have to be realistic. I am what I am, my body is what it is and my health is a challenge I have to live with.

As with most dreams: when the door closes on one, the door to another opens a crack. Then comes the choice. Will you change direction and push open that other door to see where it takes you?

I'm standing on the threshold of that second door.

The sign of the door says AUTHOR.

Am I really brave enough to step through it?

So I have to ask myself how badly do I want this?

I've stood here before, somehow I wandered away ... over time we lose sight of dreams we were striving for. Discovering one has a life changing condition can do that. And that's okay. In the big picture of things putting dreams like a writing career on hold is understandable, even expected.

But I realised tonight that if I want this, if I want to be able to say "Yes, I'm an AUTHOR" then I need to take this side of my life seriously. I need to get disciplined again. I need to set goals for myself and WORK hard to meet them.

If I really want this I need to take my writing back out of the "hobby" basket and put it back into the "this is what I am" basket.

Last year I was very disciplined with my writing and was averaging 1000 words most days. I wrote a novel in six-seven months. I need to get back to that.

My head is alive with dreams and plans and ideas for my writing. I need to take hold of them with both hands and dive into those deep, shark infested waters. Let's be honest, it's scary out there. It's hard. It takes guts, sweat, tears and patience and perseverance ... and that's just the writing!

I have to be honest the whole publishing thing is frightening. I'm excited and terrified by turns!
One moment I'm trilled by my work, buzzing from the enthusiasm of others, ready to take on the world and the next I'm a quivering mess of self doubt!

It's true, there will be people out there who don't like my work, some may despise it even (though I hope not) and I have to be prepared for that. But there'll be people out there who like it too, they may even love it! (I hope so).

So do I want to step through this door and take on whatever I find on the other side?

I think so...

I know so...

Absolutely definitely!

I want to see my name on a book.

I want to hear about how my work captured my dear readers and dragged them deep into the world of my imagination.

I do WANT this!

Do you...?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tales with a Twist

The Dunedin Writer's Workshop has another competition coming up, the theme: Speculative Fiction. A broad theme to encompass Sci Fi, Fantasy, fairytales and folktales.

With this is mind, I'm working on a series of fairy tales. Some are takes on old tales that I've twisted and reworked in order to make them more original.

Others are original stories written in the style of traditional folk and fairytales. One is about a banished faerie and another about a dragon tattoo.

This is really exciting for me. I've always loved fairytales. As a child I spent hours reading (over and over) Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rose White and Rose Red, the Nutcracker, the Princess and the Frog, Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel, among others.

As an adult I've collected books of old tales, Scottish, Scandinavian, Irish, Greek and Roman, and take as much pleasure in them as I did as a child.

Reading them with adult eyes is a very different experience, you see the underlying lesson with much more clarity, a lesson which is often overlooked by youthful readers. For them the magic is in the tale of love, in the vanquishing of the monsters, in the "other world" experience of the tale itself.

For myself that magic still has power over my imagination and shows in the shape of the tales I write. Many fairytales, especially the traditional ones, have unhappy endings. Grimm's fairytales are classic for this. These stories always made me feel sad and being a child of vivid imagination those feelings often lingered with me for a long time. As a result my stories always seem to have a happy ending, even if it's somewhat tempered by difficult circumstances.

In other exciting news: I have an audio book - what I'm referring to as eAudio - coming out in a few months. The story is an original fairytale about a courageous maid and three fierce dragons. I'll tell you more about it closer to the release date.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tickling the Keys

I'm back writing Mercy Me and I have to say, it feels FABULOUS.

I didn't realise how much I missed it; the clattering on the keys as my fingers dance across the keyboard; the colourful flow of ideas as they rush through my head, through my fingers and on to the page; the satifaction of seeing my story come to life on the screen.

Ahh, it's magic!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Over Active Muse!

I said a few days ago that Muse was busy playing with the plots of Mercy Me and Tremorgan's story.

Well, this morning he got a little over excited and dropped another story in my lap. One that is screaming to be written.

Maybe he's been at the coffee again. Sigh. It looks like the drought is well and truly over for the moment!

So what's the new story you ask?

Well this blog isn't called TheDragon'sPen for nothing. I love dragons, there is something about the mystical magnificence, the power, grace and wisdom married to the beast-nature that makes it such a fabulous creature of myth.

The story is fantasy (surprise, surprise) and has to do with dragons and magic and ... stuff.

I don't want to give away to much yet, but it's going to be awesome.
Most likely it'll be another YA novel.

I will be finishing Mercy Me first. Then, and only then, I'll begin this dragon novel and work on restructuring Tremorgan's Gift.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Inspiration of Two

First off, I would like to say a big thanks to those readers who have emailed me recently saying how much you liked the blog (though it has been quiet here lately). It has been really encouraging and, as you can see, has succeeded in getting me back in the bloggers seat. So THANKS!

My health has been up and down over the last few months which has markedly slowed the progress of Mercy Me. I am making progress though. I have now mapped the last half of the novel giving me a definite direction or plotted path to follow which should help things move ahead fairly quickly once I get back into it.

I'm so loving writing Mercy Me and I can't wait to get back into it, but assignments and health issues are seriously cramping my style. It's hugely frustrating.

So far feed back on the Steampunk novel is really encouraging. While I haven't actually been writing the novel my Muse has been busy at work, shaping the plot and build scenes in my head. I've mapped out the final half of the novel and I'm excited to announce that I just have to write the thing now. But of course, that's the hard part!

My Muse has also been dabbling with issues in my YA fantasy novel. I'm seriously contemplating breaking down the planned plots of the first two books and putting them together in one brilliant stand alone novel. It looks wonderful in my head, hopefully it'll be just as great on paper.

I'm making notes of my ideas and the strongest short scenes I have so I can free up some creative room in my head. After my initial attack on the Tremorgan's story (the YA fantasy I wrote last year), I'm determined not to touch until I've finished Mercy's (steampunk novel), but at the way things are going resisting the temptation to dabble may take more self control than I possess!

So that is where I'm at. My head is buzzing with ideas and story lines. Now I just need to find the time to write!! Anyone have a gadget to slow time???