Saturday, 30 January 2016

Getting some kind of focus

I've been serious about this writing lark for about ten months now. In that time I've written four novels and three novellas plus a few short stories. One of my friends, a published fantasy author, is jealous of this volume of output. She shouldn't be. I'm jealous of her. She has three published novels. I may have completed seven book length stories and revised them to 3rd draft (except for one of the novellas) but none have yet passed the crucial test. None have got that nod of acceptance from a publisher or agent.

Not that I'm downhearted about it. I've come close. I've had somke very complimentary things said about my writing. One agent said she thought my horror novel good enough to be published but that the UK publishing market wasn't in the mood for debut horror writers and she wouldn't be able to sell it.

She's the reason I've mostly stopped trying to write horror and have been focussing on science fiction and fantasy. See the titles was accurate - I am discussing focus.

Focus is something I have to work at. My brain has a tendency to want to do a hundred million things at once. I often find myself reading a dozen or more books at a time. In my work life it's been useful as it means I can juggle all the different parts of my job and not go too insane.

Writing though, and writing novels in particular needs focus. One project, two at most, is all I can afford to have as current if I want to finish anything. From the output mentioned above you know I'm succeeding at it but it takes effort.

You see after all these long years as a reader and all the hundreds/thousands of books and short stories I've read my brain keeps inventing new story ideas. I keep notebooks everywhere I go so I can sketch them out so I don't forget something that may turn out good. So far I have 46 of them. They're not all full so don't think I'm too insane. If a story starts to take hold I give it its own dedicated notebook - most of those ones are about a third full at most. Doing it this way I can, for the most part, put off wanting to write the new idea immediately.

But oddly enough this isn't the exact part of focus I was thinking of when I start this blog entry. I was thinking about genre focus. My four finished novels comprise one horror, one alternate history science fiction, one YA high fantasy, and one bawdy, hopefully comedic, space opera detective mashup. The three novellas bridge the gap between science fiction and weird.

I'm currently coming up on a third the way through a fourth weird novella only this time more paranoid and without much SF element. Once that's done the next is a secret society story with hints of science fiction and urban fantasy. So you might say I'm jumping around a bit.

The thing is these are the genres I've spent my life reading. I like them all. The ideas come to me and I pick the one that feels best to write at any given time.

I do wonder what this flitting around does to my chances of a sale. Hopefully it will give me more of a chance. I can have subs out there in all genres.

The one thing I'm fairly sure of is I don't think I could force a particular genre into focus if it's not one I like overly. You're not going to get a romance from me. But out of the areas listed above you could get anything.

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