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Documenting my odyssey into the wonderful world of fantasy writing and beyond. Can't promise I will always be on topic as the world is vast and full of such wonderous, and sometimes terrible, distractions. Email me: cassandra.jade.author@gmail.com

30 April, 2009

Inspiration

I often wonder how difficult it must be to have no inspiration in this world. It seems like such an inaccurate thing to say. One look outside would fill the mind with images, smells and sounds. A single conversation could be deconstructed and reconstitute so many different ways it might well keep you busy for eternity. With the Internet and the marvellous sensory feast available with a few swift clicks, it is very odd for there to be nothing inspiring you.

The problem is that it is the wrong phrase. It isn't that one is not inspired. The problem is that though you have all of these images and ideas competing for your attention, none of them are coming together cohesively and the ability to translate the thought into words is currently failing you.

Many times it is a case of information overload and simply focusing on a single notion for a while may help. Cutting the distractions free from the mind and beginning to craft a plan from a single spark of interest.

Other times the problem comes from genuinely having a block with words. The idea is in your head, crystal clear, and ready to be explored, but the words fail. At times like these I tend to go for list writing. Simply jot, in the most ordinary fashion possible, the idea and then work on expanding each point out until I either decide the idea isn't worth pursuing, or until I suddenly latch onto a phrase or word that sends me into a typing frenzy.

The few times I am in search for extra inspiration, I have discovered that YouTube is completely addictive. Try Tomalsorans "Hive Mind Flight Patterns", silversobe's video clip to "Electric Feel" by MGMT, or RedStormProduction's "Haunted Forest". With that last one, is it just me or are the trees moving?

Finally, I leave you with this:

"Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long."
Leonard Bernstein
US composer & conductor (1918 - 1990)
Let me know what inspires you.

29 April, 2009

5 Books Fantasy Writers Should Read...

Well, writers should read lots of things, particularly outside of their genre, however, this list is about fantasy books. There are 5 in this list, but I'm quite sure there are more to come. Feel free to suggest others. I've linked them so you can read a brief outline if you are so inclined.

1. "Playing Beatie Bow" by Ruth Park

This book should be read for a number of reasons (though one of the standout reasons is that the film is "not great"). The reason this book heads my list is because it has fantastic characterisation, and the blend between reality and fantasy is pretty seamless. It is also one of the few time travel stories I have read that does not manage to tie itself into an incomprehensible knot. Very good read.

2. "The Redemption of Althalus" by David Eddings

Personally, I love pretty much everything by David Eddings, up until "The Redemption of Althalus", but I think in this book he has really mastered his style. Characters, plots and settings weave together beautifully in this book (which fortunately is a stand alone novel). The only down side of the story is that if you have read many of David Eddings' earlier works, there are many familiar overtones to this story.

3. "100 years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This is not necessarily a fantasy book. This one is described using the phrase 'magical realism' where imagination and reality are moulded together in such a way that it creates something truly moving and very amazing. With its whimsical use of time and fascinating characters, this book is truly a page turner.

4. "Sorcerer's Ward" by Barbara Hambly

I know straight away that fans of Barbara Hambly are going to insist that this is not the best example of her work, however I found that this book creates a magical world in so much detail that I really believed it, while I was reading. In the attention to detail of every outfit and conversation and building, there are no moments where you wonder if an event would really take place in the world. This book is here because it is a case of a truly masterful use of setting.

5. "A Modern Magician" by Robert Weinberg

Because all the other books in this list take themselves reasonably seriously, I included this example of more light hearted fare. A very entertaining tale, set in the modern world. Very action focused, the characters are not as well developed as in some of the other examples provided, but it is great fun to read.

I would love to know what you think of some of these books, and what you think should be on the next list. Have fun reading.

23 April, 2009

Nouns as Verbs

This is a post for the language nut hiding deep inside all of us.

Recently (and not so recently) it seems that every noun is up for grabs. You no longer hit people with a glass, you "glass" them. You don't search on the Internet using Google, you "Google" something. On and on the list goes of nouns that have been shoved (somewhat forcefully at times) into the position of a verb. You could wonder where this will end up. Will we be telling our kids to "tie their laces" in the future, or will we say "hurry up and lace". This might sound ridiculous but let's explore the idea of telling someone to "shoe" themselves. We already "shoe" horses, so why not.

This argument highlights the dynamic nature of the English language and its marvellous ability to be reinterpreted and re-imagined. The only problem is, it is being re-imagined inconsistently, and frequently by people who didn't understand the original rules to begin with.

I find my biggest problem with this, is that people insist on using 'hybrid' forms of 'new' English in formal documents and it doesn't belong. A formal report or essay has to be written in whatever the current standard is in order for it to meet the requirements for that genre, and to be understood by whomever the intended reader may be. Admittedly, many of these terms have already become a standard, in many ways, but the speed at which new language is introduced is at times overwhelming.

I opened the discussion on Twitter for those who had an opinion and admittedly responses were few and far between. The one's I did receive were as follows:




I guess, as with all language choices, writers need to consider the following:

  1. Who is your intended audience and what will the accept?
  2. What is your intended purpose and what language will help you achieve it?

22 April, 2009

Progression on top: Webook vote finished


Finally the Webook vote has finished and they have announced those projects that made it into the top ten percent. Obviously I was thrilled when I found out that Progression, my collection of fantasy flash fiction was in the top ten percent.

Having read through the comments again, most are of the "wow, this is great" variety, which isn't overly informative but nice. As a writer you don't get much immediate feedback, particularly of the positive kind. Usually you get form letters telling you your writing doesn't meet the present needs of the agent/publisher. So it felt really, really good to have a lot of very positive comments. I also had a couple of negative comments from people, which I will need to consider in the near future.

For those who haven't read the collection (you can click the link above) it is a collection of around forty very short, short stories. They are very short because they are designed for teens to read (most teens not wanting to read something if it goes for more than two pages). They are works of fantasy that are meant to get the reader thinking and wondering, not wrap things up with a nice little moral. The order of the works is quite deliberate, with some works making you smile, others making you heart-sick, and every emotion in between explored.

Ultimately, this is really great news. I made it into the top ten percent during the last vote, with my novel "Death's Daughter", which needed some work and wasn't selected for publication. I have made it into the top ten percent again. My work is getting out there and being read. Now I just need to get it polished enough to get published.

19 April, 2009

The Journey 2

Two weeks of the blog and I have had a wonderful time. I'm going to wrap up the main events of this week quite quickly.

1. Received three new rejection letters from various agents (at least they read my query).

2. Progression has been up for vote on webook all week and is still getting some very favourable responses. There are two days left on the vote and I am very interested to see where I come in the end.

3. I have continued to edit my draft of Lost in Ladulce, and have become very disenchanted with a couple of characters and am now planning a rewrite.

4. In case I end up self-publishing (a decision I haven't made yet) I have been formatting my collection of short stories into an appropriate format. I think it is looking very good.

5. Two ideas are currently competing in my head for next extended writing project. Both are teen lit dealing with the supernatural, but I am writing loose outlines for both. Only time will tell which way I go.

6. Finally, I have become completely addicted to twitter and am endlessly amazed at the amount of information available for writers, and the amount of support offered for new writers.

As always you can check out my work on webook, comment here, email me, or message me on twitter. I like to make things easy for people.

18 April, 2009

Suffering Writer's Fatigue?

Suffering from writer's fatigue?

You know the sensation. Your fingers are sore, your eyes are stinging, and your shoulders feel like they've been locked in place. You have just spent the last three hours sitting and typing, desperately trying to convert the ideas in your head into something coherent, and you know, given another hour or two, you might actually have something brilliant in front of you, but you can't make it. This is writer's fatigue. (It applies even if you hand write, only it is your neck that is going to be killing you.)

I used to hit this wall, a lot. It isn't that I don't have ideas, it is just that the physical act of trying to write is going to cause me pain. When I stand up, if I stand up, I will probably fall right into bed and have a terrible nights sleep and wake with a neck cramp. It wasn't until I set myself a strict deadline of a month to write the first draft of a novel that I really worked on getting through writer's fatigue.

Some simple solutions to increase your staying power with writing:

1. Stand up.

Obvious really. Every half and hour, or scene, or page, or whatever unit of time you set, stand up and pace around the room. I use the time to look out the window, refill my water, or chase the cat away from whatever she is tearing up. Doing this I can spend nearly all day writing and I determine when I take my breaks.

2. Before you write do some sort of gentle exercise.

I like yoga, because it stretches out all the cramps from the previous day and gets my circulation moving, while not causing me to sweat too much. Also I can do it at home. However any relaxing, physical activity, will get your body ready for the day, and work out any of the stress from the previous day.

3. Change what you are writing.

This is odd, but sometimes it isn't that you are writing, it is that you are writing the same thing that is the problem. When my brain starts feeling stressed and the tension in my shoulders increases, I send a message to a friend, or write a quick short story, or something else, and I can feel myself relaxing as I move away from something my brain is urging me to finish. After you feel relaxed again, return to what you were working on with fresh eyes.

4. Eat.

This is probably bad, but have food with you when you are writing. A lot of the time, the problem is you are burning through fuel because your brain is working really hard, but because there is limited physical movement you don't get the right signals to tell you to eat. Obviously healthy fruit or nuts are best, or a sandwich. Personally, I go for straight sugar, but eating is essential for getting away from writer's fatigue.

5. Have a friend drop in.

Usually we like to be left alone while writing, and it is essential that we can focus. Have someone who will drop in on you in a few hours, just to make sure you have taken a short break. They can talk with you, even if the talking is about the writing, and you can recap what you have done, all the while you are rejuvenating and getting ready to write some more.

6. When all else fails, set an alarm.

Set yourself a limit. Know that at this time you are going to... do whatever it is you do. Set an alarm and stick to only hitting the extend on that alarm once. That gives you a ten minute grace period to finish that all important sentence, save your work and leave.

From my own personal experience, I know that when writer's fatigue is coming on, everything I write needs to be rewritten the next day when I am feeling fresh. Dealing with writer's fatigue, taking breaks and eating, ensure that there are less errors, and the writing feels more energised.
Leave your own comments on how you deal with writer's fatigue.

16 April, 2009

5 Tips for Fantasy Writers

This is a simple list of five tips that can really help out fantasy writers.

1. Read outside of the fantasy genre.

Yes, you should definitely be reading fantasy if you intend to write it, however you need to broaden your horizons a little. This is because when a book is a fantasy, it really just warns the reader to expect strange places, magic, or any of the other fantasy conventions that the writer has chosen to employ. It doesn't really tell them what sort of story is being written. Many fantasies are really just romances with a bit of magic thrown in, or they are crime stories, or action, or a quest, or any of the dozens of generic plot structures floating out there. To write good fantasy, you need to have a wide knowledge of a lot of different genres.

2. Make the character names pronounceable.

Maybe it is cool to put an apostrophe of asterisk in the middle of a name, but unless your book comes with a pronunciation guide, all this does is perplex the reader and make it harder for them to really connect to your character. Even with the pronunciation guide, I find it quite frustrating to flip from the middle of a fight sequence, to the front, to figure out how to pronounce the name of a character who just rode into the fray. I'm not alone in this.

3. Add the character names to spell check.

Possibly this is an extension of point two, but it is very helpful. As a writer, I have overused the spell check to the point where the F7 on my keyboard has faded to non-existence and it is now a blank key. When writing a fantasy, there are any number of names, of both people and places, that are not exactly conventional. This means that every time you work on your story, the first spell check is going to stop on every single character and place, and even if you click ignore all, if you've added an apostrophe s to any character name, that will come up to. Keep a second dictionary, with all standard English words, and add the vocabulary specific to your story. It will save you a lot of time. Also, when it highlights a character name, you know that you have actually mistyped the name or changed the spelling, because your chosen spelling is now in the dictionary.

4. Description matters.

In fantasy, description is extraordinarily important. If you are setting your story in the real world you can sometimes take short cuts, not so with fantasy. You can't just say it is a small town or a suburban town, and expect the reader to fill the details in. The details are what make your story unique and are what suck your reader in. Get the description right and the reader will forgive you if it takes a little longer to get the story moving (I say a little, don't expect the reader to wade through five chapters of description before anything happens).

5. Find your own voice.

Maybe you love Tolkien, or you fell in love with Pratchett, or maybe Eddings was your introduction to the fantasy world. That's nice. Don't copy their style. They have unique voices that people are already familiar with, and trying to emulate them will just get you labelled a bad substitute. Admittedly, if you have read everything ever written by an author, your author voice will probably find some similarities, because that is a style you are familiar with. That's where reading widely comes in handy. It gives you a larger repertoire to draw from when creating your own style. Instead of having one or two influences, suddenly you can borrow little bits from many and roll it together in your own unique way.

Remember to have fun writing. If you have any tips for fantasy writers, let me know.

13 April, 2009

The journey this week...

Or this week-ish...

Since beginning this blog, I have become more caught up in writing than ever before. How someone can become more obsessive than obsessive is still a small mystery, but I know I am very focused on my goal right now of becoming a published writer.

To that end, I am doing a quick run down of my efforts in writing.

1. Firstly, I have to say I have clocked a lot of time on the webook website checking in on the vote. With just over seven days left, the campaign is really taking off. Messages and project invites have been flying thick and fast. Admittedly, some members of the site will be glad when the vote is over, but for those of us putting our work up and seeing some of the comments it is receiving, the whole experience can be quite exhilarating, and nail biting. My collection of short stories, Progression, seem to be doing well with many positive comments so far. The most uplifting came today from Kamigawa who left a comment stating "Great fluent writing style combined with great plots and interesting twists". As far as positive feedback on my writing, I couldn't really ask for more. Even the couple of not so uplifting comments haven't been terrible. My fingers are crossed that my stories continue to be enjoyed.

2. Secondly, I have been reading and collecting articles and blogs like crazy on anything even remotely related to writing and publishing. I've been particularly interested in the argument of self-publishing vs traditional publishing, as I have been considering self-publication recently. Not that I have any intention of jumping into anything blindly. More research is needed on this issue.

3. Thirdly, I have been editing like crazy. I have put a hold on all new writing until I finish at least a second draft of the novel I am working on, and that has sent my brain into overdrive with hundreds of new story ideas. All of which, are currently being scribbled in a notebook and firmly put aside. I will not continue to dance around several projects without finalising anything. I am going to focus and I am going to succeed. If I say it often enough, I know I can make it happen.

4. Finally, two interesting articles on writing that caught my attention this week that I want to share. From Jennifer Roach, a discussion on how to make writing flow like a good album, and Nathan Bransford asking what your characters want.

That is this week, or there abouts. I re-read my first post in this blog today and realised I said I would probably only be posting about twice a week. That will be true, once the holiday is over and I am back at work. I'm actually glad that I've had some time to write.

The journey continues onward, always.

12 April, 2009

A rose by any other name

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately about writing and it seems that many are having trouble naming their characters. This is a phenomena that I don't think I've ever really encountered and so I decided to look into this.

For me, writing begins with a character. In my mind I see them, I know their likes and dislikes, their speech patterns, their dress sense, and I build a history around them. I ask, why do they like that, or why do they speak that way, and create a past. Somewhere in this process, they are named and I write and speak about them as though they actually were somebody I had just met. Finally they gain a future and a goal and so the story idea begins to form. Everything is focused on the initial character, even if later they become only a small part of the final produce because other events within the story take dominance.

My particular attachment to my characters became quite apparent just yesterday. While my BF and I were out and about, shopping and going to the movies, we were discussing the terrible food we had just eaten and I remember my BF said "It's a good thing Lucinda isn't here, I can only imagine what she would do".

Now, for those who haven't read the previous post, Lucinda is a character in my latest draft, one which my BF was kind enough to do a proof read on and help me untangle some of the story lines. As well as that, my BF is the one who listens while the character slowly forms and I rattle off ideas about how she would respond in this situation or that situation. This is a character who, for the moment at least, is so real that we are discussing her as though she's a friend who just isn't available to shop right now.

What makes this situation particularly vivid, is that I could instantly see Lucinda striding up to the food counter and laying her fingers on the edge of it and smiling, a dangerous glint in her eyes while asking, in a deceptively calm voice for a refund. I can also perfectly visualise her then sighing, as her request is refused, and in a single instant liquefying the counter into a puddle on the tiled floor. Obviously Lucinda should not be let loose in most shopping centres and should remain well and truly within her own world, wreaking havoc.

This isn't the first time my friend and I have done this. While I was working on my first novel, "Death's Daughter", we would regularly discuss Calandra Delaine and some of her short comings. Each character is unique and distinct and they stick in our minds as we go about our business.

As to naming them, the names are perfectly obvious from the start. Calandra wouldn't be who she is without the name, and nor would Lucinda. The names just resonate with who the characters ought to be. I must admit, I do sometimes have trouble naming bit characters, and then I draw on a first names dictionary to find something, but for the most part the name is simply an extension of the idea of who that character is.

One thing I run into trouble with, is finding names I have no actual association with. I try to avoid names if I know a person with that name - mostly to avoid offending said person, even though the character would not be based on them, though also because that name already has distinct connotations within my mind. I like to start fresh with my characters, without any connections or bias.

While I do not have any trouble naming character, I cannot name places. I am terrible at it. I'm endeavoring to find some help as far as creating names for cities, etc. For those who have trouble with character names, the following link might help: Creating Characters

Wishing all the writers out there the best of luck with their characters. Meanwhile I may need to get the bracelet made "What Would Lucinda Do?" (Substitute your own character name).

10 April, 2009

Pieces of the Puzzle

The Easter holiday is finally upon us, and this morning I have been making the most of this long and empty day that is stretching out before me. In my efforts to focus on absolutely nothing of import, for at least the next two days, I spent an hour piecing together the border of a jigsaw puzzle. Possibly I should have chosen a puzzle that had some colour or discernible pattern, as the black and grey flecks on a background of white proved more troubling than I originally suspected, and the jigsaw border is still incomplete. It doesn't really matter.

What is interesting about this, is that while I was putting the pieces together I was reflecting on the current novel I am working on. The working title is possible "Lost in Ladulce: The Lady", but to be perfectly honest, I change my mind about that every other hour as I continue to hack apart the convoluted story line and try to construct something readable from the various notes and drafts and outlines that I've pieced together over the last couple of months. This morning I've been dealing with the characters and their increasingly tangled relationships.

As far as novels go, this one has a long way to go before it will become, in any sense, reader friendly. Yet I have become more and more involved in the story, and more attached to characters (whom in all honesty aren't that likable) and am bordering on obsessed. It is nearly an all consuming project, because when I'm not working on it, I am thinking about it. Today, I was thinking about where the project began.

In front of me, I have the original character web I scribbled, when a flash of inspiration struck me at work one day. It is the back of an old exercise book and I only had a red pen, and nothing to lean on. It began with a simple connection. Lucinda and Danielle, who were sisters. Later, I have gone back and added a surname, Bellerose. I don't recall why, but at the time I decided that Lucinda was a lady and Danielle was a guard, and later I clarified that by deciding Lucinda would be The Lady (and the central character of the story) and Danielle would be an officer, though not the highest ranking officer.

From there the web expands. I connect Lucinda and Danielle to Lord Escada Randall, who murdered their mother. Lucinda is connected to Lewyn (The Lord), and that gives Lucinda her title and explains why she is a lady and Danielle is not, though it became more complicated then that once I started actually expanding the story. Lucinda and Lewyn have a child. There are servants and other guards and other lords and ladies, and the entire web became reasonably incoherent as dotted lines and arrows and slashes filled the page.

But I kept it.

There was something about the characters, as sketchy as they were, that kept drawing me in.

I wrote back stories for each of the characters and created a motivation for each, a goal that they were trying to achieve. Filling in the details, the stories crossed and interlaced as they characters came into conflict again and again. At first it was almost as though the story had been sitting in the back of my mind just waiting to be let out. The pieces fit together with ease and made beautiful patterns on the page. The first draft rolled off my fingers and into the computer with ease. Then came the reading.

The difference between putting a puzzle together, and putting a story together, seems that for most puzzles there is one clear solution. As a writer, I put my puzzle together, and it fit together, and it was good. Then I flipped it over and looked at it from the readers view point. Suddenly, the picture was not so clear.

If I thought the project was doomed, I would have thrown the whole thing back in the box and maybe scavenged bits and pieces for other projects, however that is not the case. Instead, I am trying to perform careful surgery on the whole. Cutting this piece out here and rearranging that section there. The end result should hopefully be something that resembles the original vision, while at the same time is accessible to those who don't live inside my head.

The puzzle this morning did get me thinking because I have been stuck for a time, staring at pieces that fit together in my mind. I had nearly a whole edge of the border put together, then realised that it was too long. There were three pieces, that seemed to fit, looked like they fit, that just did not belong. They had to be removed. It didn't matter how many times I insisted that they should go there, they had to be removed.

This journey I have been on, from writing for myself, to writing for others, has taught me one thing very clearly. I have to be objective about my writing. Creativity and inspiration are wonderful things, in formulating ideas and plans and even getting the first draft together. But they don't help when trying to turn that draft into something that might make it, as a published book.

08 April, 2009

More Information on First Person

Having expressed my views, and some of the problems encountered when writing a novel in first person, I received some feedback in the form of emails and twitters. Most of this was from other writers who had experienced similar situations. This prompted me to dig a little further and to find out what others were saying.

Vickie Britton has written an article titled "Writing in First Person,
Point of View: Pros and Cons of Narrating in First Person" that I found comforting as many of the points covered expressed the advantages and disadvantages that I had encountered when writing in first person. However, the article then goes on to explore when the best time to use first person is and when it should be avoided, as well as providing examples of novels that have been written, successfully, using first person.

06 April, 2009

The Problem With First Person

As I stated in the previous post, I finished drafting my first novel last year and am in the process of getting it published, or at least getting it ready to be published. Mostly I am in the process of becoming immune to rejection while continuing to make the work the best that it can be.

The novel is a fantasy novel entitled "Death's Daughter" and centres around the feisty Calandra Delaine, who at seventeen believes she has her whole life figured out. Because I started writing this story quite a long time ago, and because I wanted to really get inside of Calandra's head, I made the decision to write this story in first person, and have since fallen out of love with the concept.

Admittedly, it is the easiest way to convey thoughts and emotions directly from a single character to the audience. It also allows the reader greater insight into the decisions that are being made. At the end of the day, if the goal is reader connection and reader empathy, then first person is a fantastic choice, because it achieves all of these goals quite admirably.

Unfortunately, there is a trade off. For all the advantages of first person I ran into several major problems because of my chosen writing voice.

The first problem is simply one of connection. Calandra is an interesting character, or I think she is, but as soon as someone tries to read the story who has no interest in the inner thoughts or voice a seventeen year old girl trying to find her own identity as the world falls apart around her, you lose the reader quite quickly. The problem here is making sure that there is enough information given so that people can decide whether this is something they want to read.

The second problem was more difficult to deal with. Because Calandra was telling the audience the story, as soon as Calandra didn't know something, the reader couldn't. Given I was creating an entire fantasy world, the only information the reader could gain about it was what Calandra chose to share. While it might be nice for Calandra to assume the role of tourist guide, it wouldn't have fit with her character to ramble on about mundane details and descriptions of things she had no interest in, and so the reader is denied access.

Larger problems erupted when trying to resolve the story. There are some things that Calandra just never learns (because, let's face it, we aren't often sat down and told everything, some things are just never revealed), and yet that leaves the ending somewhat unsatisfying. The challenge became how to inform the reader and yet leave Calandra groping around in the dark. It took a while to get the balance right and ensure that there were enough clues and signs to point the reader toward the resolution, without revealing too much, too soon. Calandra may remain somewhat confused, but the reader should be satisfied with the conclusion.

What I desperately wanted to avoid was the "sit-down" resolution. I didn't want somebody sitting down with Calandra, after the final conflict, and explaining everything to her (and the reader) just what had happened. If the ending needed that much explanation after the fact, then it probably wasn't a particularly well told story to begin with.

I would like to say I had learned my lesson and was going to avoid writing in first person from now on, given the limitations I encountered. The truth is, I like my characters too much. I want them to tell us their stories from their perspectives. I just need to get better at it, and ensuring I can control the story sufficiently that the reader is given enough information. That said, my second completed novel draft is written in third person. I wasn't willing to dive straight into another round of first person mayhem.

04 April, 2009

The Beginning

Well, every journey needs a beginning, and I guess this is mine. I'm Cassandra, aka Darkened_Jade, and I am on a quest to become the best fantasy writer that I can be. Somewhere in the future, there is a plan that I might become a published writer, and I work toward that end, however in the meantime, I'm learning everything I can about writing and creating the best work that I can. I'm also getting very good at pretending I don't care about rejection, which might just be a handy life skill, somewhere down the line.

When I say this is my journey's beginning I am, strictly speaking, talking about the documentation of the journey. This is the blogs beginning. I began writing, seriously, nearly ten years ago, way back in high school. It feels incredible that such a short time has past as it seems everything has changed for me, and yet everything is still the same. One of those situations where I'm sitting still and yet being propelled forward faster than I can ever possibly believe.

At the moment I am acutely aware of my writing journey. I have a collection of short stories, the best of the many, posted on webook (see: http://www.webook.com/project/Progression ) and up for vote come Monday, that really demonstrate the change in my writing. Last year I finally completed work on my first novel, and after some rejection, reopened work on it but am still hopeful. I've also completed the first draft on my second novel and have solid plans to keep on writing. Ideas are plentiful, time is not.

As stated, I am a fantasy writer (with a little bit of science fiction thrown in for fun). I deal strongly with characters who are a little askew from the normal and trying to make sense of impossible situations. I am also very much into creating a diverse range of female characters as I feel women have been dealt with quite unfavourably within the fantasy genre, with a few exceptions.

I'll be blogging twice a week, and documenting the journey that I am on, and hopefully, some of you will come with me and offer your advice and encouragement.

Words shape thoughts and send them forth unto the world. Let them be received with open minds and open hearts.

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