Friday, 23 December 2011

Keep writing

Watched two really fabulous videos today. The first one is a hilarious account of cognitive illusion by Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics (Duke University). I love it when people explain complex processes through simple reference to every day situations, and then crack a few jokes along the way.

The second one is the "keep writing a lot" #1 tip from Amanda Hocking.

She is absolutely right and you cannot believe how much your writing improves through... well... more writing! I am used to academic writing but then again pulling together a novel is a completely different kettle of fish. It's more subtle, dynamic and experiential - a complete opposite to the boredom of the academic ink.

I just edited the first 150 pages, 100 to go so the progress is good and you know what, I actually like it. The hell with like, I love it, I love writing and editing my novel. I really love the story, I love my characters and I'm happy with the outcome. Ah, I look forward to my future writing adventures!

Friday, 16 December 2011 insanity!?

Have you ever heard of insanity? No? Yes? Well, where do I begin? I finished my novel or so I thought... This is just the beginning actually! I've got to edit it now and after reaching 60 pages (out of 250+) this seems like a mammoth task. Yes, I'm editing in my other life as an academic writer of research papers and yes, I edited my textbook but editing a novel is something else entirely.

I got in touch with what seems to be a really fabulous copy-editor and got this advice: "My advice is to not rush and submit when you are 100%, or so sick of the book you can't face reading another word, whichever is first." Thanks!? No, no, only joking, I know they are right but it is far tougher than I thought.

Christmas is around the corner and I am now spending nights editing. It's not such great fun as writing a novel but it's got to be done and the good news is that my gluten-free diet does wonders. Right, off to bed now.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Title or something of that sort

That's it, I've revealed the title to my wife... ooooough, I can't believe it! Yes, the mistake is irreversible and I've been banging my head... Wait, shut up Mike, what are you talking about for crying out loud!? No, no, let me begin again! I've spelled out the title to her and I am the most grateful person on the planet. Why? Because she criticized my subtitle to smithereens with these exact words: "You include this subtitle and your target readers are never going to pick up your book, no matter how good it is!" and she is right (my ego was twisting in pain).

And the title iiiiiis? Devotion & Deception

Yeah, it pretty much reflects the plot and the epic struggle of my main character. Of course, I'm not going to tell you what subtitle I managed to ink down on a paper because the more I think about it the more I recognize a political commentator jumping out of my mouth and fingers for that matter.

I also have to tell you that I am on a break right now... finishing off my academic journal papers, reviewing 200+ pages of my students' theses and writing 30+ page proposal(s). Yeah,... I know... but then again, I'll be rich soon and then who'll be laughing...

Oh, yes, one more thing! I was on a look out for a good writing tips blog today (well, like 10 minutes ago) and I found the most hilarious blogger writing about novel writing tips out there. I mean, just look at what he's got to say about writers suffering from writing maladies. A stand-up comedy style of advice extraordinaire! Hey, that's an idea for a new type of seminars, workshops and other advice-giving gatherings - make it like a stand-up comedy. Bloody hell, I might actually try this!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Anxiety kicks in

Here we go, the official period for editing and reviewing has begun and as soon as I finished the 80,000 word book demons of doubt have awaken from their long sleep (yeah, I think it was a pretty long sleep). Looking back at the text I immediately spotted mistakes, particularly in the final stage that is supposed to set the tone for its sequel. I'm not sure whether this is normal or not but I feel numb after spending more than two months writing almost every night and not going to bed before 3am, only to face the grueling schedule of lectures and my academic engagement afterwards (i.e. a glamorous life of the author in the making I guess...).

I loved writing my first novel and I think the story is gripping, with lots of utterly unexpected twists and turns but   the demons keep telling me all sorts of things that will need to be corrected. Again, is that normal? Does that happen to all writers? I'm not sure but whatever the case I shall leave it for a week now and then commence the editing. It will take a few rounds of editing before I can send it off to a copy editor, and I will also give the book to a few people to read but I'm doing it for the first time and I totally dread the prospect of severe criticism, no matter how valuable it is. I am not going to pretend, a man takes some time to get used to criticism and I'm not sure how much time I will need (go away ego...).

On a more positive side, have you ever noticed how listening a fabulous song over and over again takes away its shimmer? Why is that, I wonder? You first can't stop listening but after a while your mind and soul stop reacting. Is that the consequence of consumerism - i.e. we need a constant influx of new ever more exciting stimuli? Perhaps it's our human nature that is flourishing in consumerism though I don't feel ashamed - I got bored of one particular song recently (though I'm not going to tell you which one... cheeky!).