Tag Archives: #writingadvice

Advice on Publishing, Markets etc- Look Somewhere Else

There is nothing of value I, personally, have to offer on the practicalities. There are probably intelligent, dedicated and astute writers and bloggers out there in WP who despair of, who are irritated by or have given up on my approach, or lack of when it comes to:

Firstly- The very art and determination in ensuring that their work is as polished as they could humanly manage.

Secondly- The associated effort in spreading news of the forthcoming conclusion to a work they have embarked on; particularly in the correct and effective use of the opportunities afforded by Social Media

Thirdly – The professionalism required either to market by oneself or by contacting professional folk who can assist in this way.

I can evoke, lyrically I might add, the reasons why someone should write. I pride myself on being able to ignite a spark or breath life back in the fading embers of a lonely and uncertain soul wishing to write. I can, allegorically, stand on a podium and thunder with all the passion of a wrathful preacher; railing against badly strung critical reviews; professional critics; the snobbish sorts who look down their noses at self-publishing and anyone else who tries to stifle a new writer. I would sit on the edge of the nest of the nervous person about to start upon those excruciatingly difficult first words and gently ease them into spreading their wings to take flight amongst the breezes and breaths of Creativity. All those come rushing into my mind and my spirit, they are clarion summonings to bear aloft the banner emblazoned with those inviolable words ‘You Can Write’.

But I cannot give practical advice. I know not why, and sometimes do confess wretched sluggard that I am, not to caring to either. For me, the thrill is the creating, the crafting and the completion and then as some person caught up in the joy of a festival or event, once those final words, as chords in a musical event are done, away go I with fond memories. Ah, dear harmless fool; jester for the more focused, sensible and ultimately successful. You have your day amongst the words, the posts and the comments to posts, but the rest will always be vague stumblings……………………..

Errrrr, not too sure where all that introspection came from, but since I spent a good few minutes of my time crafting it, here it is and here it stays. Take it or leave it folks. Be warned. It could happen to you.


To the most important part of the post.

There are many energetic, inventive and determined folk in the WP Community who are kind enough to share their thoughts and suggestions on the matters of actually getting your words out there to the public. These come in all shapes and sizes, differing approaches, particular details, varying personalities; in fact across the myriad of the positive sort of Human Effort. They all have one thing in common though. They are taking very, very, seriously the business of getting their work known to the public. At times, it seems as if once the book is completed then their Hard Work begins. I salute them, I marvel at their adroitness in navigating all the pathways.

Thus, for all the new and uncertain writers there is a treasury of guidance and advice here in WP, without you buying a suspiciously self-aggrandising book by some ‘name’.

I cite you a few examples from posts on this subject which just had to be reblogged

So You Want To Be A Writer

3 Rejection Letters Indie Authors Receive

The Thing About Writer’s Block

When Your Writing Issue Is…

Newsletter BlitzNew Feature: Writer Rants (with host Dan Alatorre)

Useful Tips for Self-Editing a Manuscript

Let’s Talk: Grit as a Writer

Now some of these links might not actually cover a point in your journey as a writer, but they will guide you to folk who have a wealth of experience, talent and drive and are some of the people you should be reading. I apologise to those who I have left out, ragged that I am.

There we are folks, as the old saying goes

‘Get Weaving’

All the very best in your endeavours, now go and read someone else’s blog for pity’s sake.smile


A Sum of Wyrds on Motivations, Inspirations, and Justifications (and probably a bunch of other ‘tions’)

 So this time (sometime in early 2016) I said to myself: ‘OK, you are going to approach this project in a serious, mature and planned approach. You will consider plot, you will reduce the number of words in a sentence, you will make sure the paragraph makes sense, you will watch out for those spelling mistookes that are beyond the capacities of Word Spullchuck. You will learn just what is meant by syntax and do something about it and above all you will read the wise words of the WP bloggers who have books published and sold them.’

To which I replied ‘By crimminy you are write! I will attend accordingly, honour the art, respect the words of other bloggers, and learn. I will place aside money for Editors and professional Covers. I will figure out how best to use Social Media and build up a potential reader base. And have more than one re-write and by sometime in 2017 the First Volume of The Patchwork Warriors will be launched as a sober and sensible venture!’


I meant it folks, I truly did. As Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie are my witnesses! The was going to be the start of a series of Serious (with an underlying sardonic humour) Fantasy Novels (Albeit with a lite touch). The target was to reach a THREE figure sales number on Volume One. This was to be a reversal of the previous venture which was Three Volumes with a total combined sales of One.      



Thus, so it; the work began. Some of you who have been reading this blog for a while will be familiar with announcements, sort of progress reports and extracts all from The Patchwork Warriors. Ah there was in truth, much effort and there were several starts ditched, lots of promising chapters & extracts consigned to Copy & Paste- In A Holding File for Possible Future Use (Useful tip there folks when editing always keep the bits- you never know)

But then, gentle reader, across the great ocean of The Writers’ Muse   came the siren songs of The Anarchical (“chaotic, without order or rule,” from Greek anarkhos “without head or chief”). For they did ride along on Brexit Winds and thus did tempt and so draw me to start upon A True History of The Isles (CurrentlyforsalesonAmazonKindle-termsandconditionsapply). 51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_

Actually this project by my standards was a roaring success, not only was it well received in blog posts so that folk knew about it, but I managed to get it into on book format and upload as a Kindle- now there it looked odd as the chapters did break up but ran into each other. But, BUT to date FOUR! Yes FOUR copies have been sold, and only that but a 5***** review from one Nancy3333!…..Yea team WBH!!!!(well sort of, because it was still sloppy with typos and a few long obtuse sentences).solilqy

Despite this I then forged ahead and by Jan 2017 (or was it Feb?) I had completed the first draft of TPW, and not pausing for breath or even breadth ploughed on with the re-write. In this case not only referring to notes made to ensure continuity but also writing up a diary of the passage of time passing within the narrative (and having to cheat a lot to make all events match up, but you can do that in a Fantasy novel). Yes this would be the big break through By Jove!

Yeah, about that…

The budget for Editing and Cover…without going into ‘family business’ in detail; it’s gone, and quite frankly I would do it all again and again and again without a second thought, just ‘Because’. Hey, Life eh?2nd Dec 15 Blog

But was that a stumbling block? Heavens T’Betsy no! The most important feature of the whole business was to put the story together and to get this out in some sort of form. Its fate would be left to the whims of fortune and circumstance, as usual, and of course now belong to the ages (in so far as the memories of the computers are to be trusted). Thus onwards and ever forwards to completion!!

One facet of this sort of mindset does lead me to a type of free-form which for better or for worse does save me having to worry too much about structure. Some folk will quite rightly make an argument against this approach, and I would not attempt to take issue with them, only to say this is the fate I have chosen for my work. Nor would I urge anyone to make a distinct choice for this option, only to say: ‘It is there’. Working with Fantasy does give me a certain leeway in this, particularly in a world where the conventional laws of physics as we know them are prone to elaborations which none of the characters if they are honest truly grasp. This may seem again like cheating to some, but when you have your time fixed on a multi-volume work there will be other opportunities to sort this out later down the line.


The question:

But why in the Name of Tolkien do you progress upon such an anarchical path with little hope of success, recognition or return?William Shakespeare

Is a perfectly valid one; if asked by a person who leads Word Press blogs as opposed to the insufferable professional who insists that all authors should idly crawl upon hands and knees on the path of being selected by the correct editors or agents and do as they are told.

The answer if my case is. Because I have created something which is mine; this world has been crafted by my hands; these characters have had live breathed into them, this plot has been fashioned by imagination. This is all my work. This is enough. I need no more.

The last three sentences are the only part which I actually commend as basic advice.

But if you are looking to make a certain level of income or career out of your writing, please dear reader find some other worthier blog

In the meantime, sometime in the possibly late summer will appear ‘The Patchwork Warriors’ as Volume I of ‘The…….. (errr I’ve not worked that bit out yet) or maybe ‘…………….’ as Volume I of ‘The Patchwork Warriors’- I’ll get back to you on that!b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

Meanwhile keep writing folks….make me proud!

Ah…..Those Re-writes….Right?

I can understand why some fellow writers dislike or dread the require re-reading or revision of The First Draft. funny-victorian-era-photos-silly-vintage-photography-9-575132ee985f9__700Yes, typos and minor grammatical errors are bound to be encountered. The true misery comes when what you originally remembered as an erudite speech by a principal character now reads like something you’d overhear at a bar late-night time, or you find out that another principal character far from being a reflective and incisive person, when placed in the context of whole book is a stultifying and repetitive boring pedant. And then worse of all; half way through the plot seems to have evaporated. It happens. I feel your pain, I have been there.William Shakespeare

Now personally, not truly being wholly respectful of Reality I tend to enjoy dip into the ones created in my books where everything is mine, mine all mine! Except of course when the characters take over and require me to chase after them and find out just where they have gone.Sprinter

So there was/is Patchwork Warriors First Draft completed and wasn’t that a cool way to end this volume. Well, I says let’s see what is what.

Naturally there was the usual battle with Microsoft Word and the justifiable expletives outrage1-620x350 at it over Reflexive Pronouns and other obscure rules of grammar which might be important in a business presentation but mean nothing in the world of literary endeavour. (I mean, be fair who interrupts your discourse with a cry of ‘You used a reflexive pronoun!’ and claps their hands over their child’ears?…..Really? I must come and stare at them).

The first problem was a usual one for me; I hate villains, blaming ‘successful authors’ for using Cliché Central to meet the deadline. So this really nasty guy had ended up like something out of pulp melodrama, longjohnsilverall that was needed was a moustache and lines like ‘ Har-har! In Me Power’, or one of those dire half-paragraph god-complex asides beloved of serial killers. Well as much as I hate the little toe-rag I had to put some back-bone and originality into him. This had its benefits, this caused me to delve more into the scientific/magic background of the world. So all good.

Next came an issue which sneaked up on the proverbial outside rail. A nick-name used by one character to another; it had seemed to lend a flippant air to their relationship, but after reading it over and over and over I had to admit it was unoriginal and not the sort of thing the one character would have used, anyway there might have been a copyright issue. So recourse to the one useful Word trick ‘Ctrl+F and select ‘Replace’…. Wow 75 replacements…who’d have thought it???happy-face-clipart-12

Then going back to the scientific/magic background, as I footled about, the part of me fascinated by Quantum Physics and Cosmology began to nag away with questions like ‘How do they do that?’ or ‘Yeh, but if that is so..well what about that?’. imagesC0U7V2EDThis started a dispute with my literary imagination which demanded if I was intent on writing an alternative scientific treatise or a fantasy novel, ‘cas if it was the former then the imagination was going to take a walk. So over a coffee and a dish-washing duty it occurred to me this was a fracture society still grasping with fragments of knowledge, so who would know everything….well no one of course. (Naw, one character with encyclopaedic knowledge of the world and massive controlling powers is no fun at all in a fantasy novel, ends up coping -put all over the place).

Then there was the dropping out of bits which were long asides and all fun slowed the pace down, or were now redundant with other changes…..Some were not bad, so Highlight; Ctrl+C, then over to a document I keep for bits I might use again and Ctrl+V and back to the novel and ‘delete’, so nothing really lost.b85885aa0fd01f0cbebaa2798639b472

The book is thus morphing, which is how it should be and it’s good fun, because I do like my central characters and one of the villains and it is nice to speak to them and exchange ideas…..yes you can do that, it’s perfectly alright; don’t worry about that ‘Reality’ thing.

If this sounds very familiar to you, congratulations you are on the Good Road. Rewards yourself as follows

Buy yourself a book, you can never have too many books and anyway it’s all part of the literary process.

Treat yourself to a cup or mug of tea or coffee of your choice.

Have a biscuit or snack of course choice.

(The above are important to maintain your energy levels)

Indulge with 5 mins of 8d8f41c1217d3007621ceda397c48ef6

At your favourite media target.

And strive on writing! cropped-24th-nov-1

Advice (Sage) and Example (Tragic)- Only the Other Way ‘Round, On Account of It Working Out That Way.

And much to my delight I completed the first draft of The Patchwork Warriors, by the 31st January 2017, as scheduled. The whole writing process was fun; there were times when it was necessary to stop because of a ‘What In the Name of My Ragged Trainers is going to happen next?’ interlude; and thus would be the time on pondering until eventually came a ‘Ding’ moment and onwards would flow the narrative. Watching the characters develop not in the initial way intended was quite paternal; they certainly taught me quite a great deal. With such a diverse crew running about the story there were times, Dear Reader, when I felt quite tolerant to almost all of my fellow human beings; which is quite enriching. Now will come the bit I really have a good time with; the re-write. Some might find this a hard slog, not myself, reading the story again there are times when I do experience a ‘Jumping Jell-Beanz! That’s not half-bad’ moment, and thus carry on encouraged. Yep at some stage the novel will be there, all tided up with 99% of spelling mistaks and 98% of all true grammatical errors does get sorted right.


Ah Dear Reader

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”  (MacBeth).

‘Cuz this is the bit where the true import of the underlying theme of this blog comes into monstrous bloom, that does chill the blood of gentle souls, and yet should fire bright defiant inspiration into the hearts of those who are warriors willing to enter into the lists at the Muse’s clarion call.

In short at this stage

There will have been zero information about this work on Twitter, Facebook and other sites or platforms I am too lazy to read about.

I will have gone about my usual business of no contact realised or intended with anyone involved in the publishing process. So professional or very astute semi-professional input will be lacking.

No thought will have been given to a book cover, despite there being some very talented folk in the WP community who can produce such things

Aside from this blog and its 200+ followers, to whom I extend my thanks, and gratitude, no one knows ‘spiffle’ about this book.

Marketing is something other and more astute folk do.

Whereas I know all of which I should be doing, I have a feeling I shall simply seek out an Amazon Kindle format and do things the kina cheap ‘n cheerful way in the vague hope that I will gather a cult following who will do all the hard work for me.

Now understandably at this stage any far better organised, motivated, dedicated and serious writers who are reading this will wish they could find a cyber brick to throw at me in the hope of knocking some sense into my stupid head.

For those of you new to my blog I would repeat that one of the themes of this blog is for new readers to read it and do the opposite of whatever I am doing and thus be in with a chance of of doing reasonably well with their work. Hence the title of the blog. Hence the title I use.

And thus endeth the Example (Tragic) bit.

But why dear writer? You ask Why do you carry on thus?

Because Dear Reader I….LOVE….WRITING! It is the sole motivation. There will never be any large financial return. I write for the joy of seeing a creation move from the mind to the page. I soar on the growth of the characters and the twists and turns their journeys take. I create because I can, and because I want to. There is little I can do to change this world we live in, but within my writing in my own universe in which my beliefs, my intentions, my perceptions can grow. There will come a time when a project is completed and I will set this precious artefact out upon its own voyage into the literature and cyber-verses and thus will leave its fortunes to the various tides and courses of Natures. And I will be content. For the creation of thoughts into words is the most important aspect of response to the Muse. To sat down and worked, melding ideas, sculpting thoughts, crafting the words on pages over and over until they flow as a stream is sufficient for a writer. It may seem, the work is unknown, by the shallow standards of today the efforts have gone unnoticed. This is not so, a writer creates, a writer records that creation and thus becomes in a small way a part of the journey of Humanity; the work may in time be discovered by others and viewed interesting, a view of these times and thus maybe invaluable.

It is enough fellow writer that you worked and created.

And thus endeth the Advice (Sage).

I wish you all, all the very best in your endeavours. Belong to the Ages. You can achieve. No one can stop you. Just wave to me as you pass me by, still hacking away on my own furrow.

Thank you readers of Patchwork

One of the problems with being an heroically ‘bad’ writer is when things go right.

There you were hacking away in several types of obscurity; content to mutter about the injustice of a world which does not spend time seeking you out and being ecstatic to have found you. In place all those carefully crafted ploys to scathingly deal with rejection (or being ignored). Even relying on the conceit  that later generations will discover your work and say what fools your contemporaries were to have ignored you.

Then one day you are introduced to Reality; it’s a tenuous relationship as Reality seems inclined to make for too much of itself, intruding into your Life, nit-picking at details and bothering you with its servile friend Practicalities. But having been influenced by the friendly, helpful and creative folk on the WordPress writing community you decide you’ll be civil with Reality and you try the novel approach of learning how other people are approaching writing.

This is interesting and….. you find refreshing. Suddenly you observe people are not only reading your work but actually liking it and taking the time to say why. This is a little bit unnerving, and you have trouble with your sense of balance, but you resolve to carry on. You also start to pay attention to detail, plot construction, character development and all those previously ignored mechanisms which intruded upon your alleged lyrical flow.

And you start to take risks such as letting people read your novel as it progresses. The next thing you know…. it appears to be going well. This is not something you were prepared for. You are suddenly aware of how important Character Continuity, Consequences of Actions, Physical Limitations, Explanations, Logical Dialogue, Rationale (and Rational), Personal Interactions, Morale (and Morals) and other things to do with Reality matter. Who is the quickest to react, as opposed to those who think things through. Let’s not have the Stalwart Character who is Alpha in all circumstances. And also…let’s have villains who have believable plans and have to react when those plans go awry. You are suddenly having to take things seriously. (But you do consider yourself fortunate to be writing Fantasy and so can take some liberties with the passage of and people’s perceptions of time and distances).

So I raise my mug of coffee (sorry purists it has milk and sugar in it…yes I know Hersey!) in thanks and a toast (not spread and sticky UK marmalade) to those who have stopped by to read or make comments, ask questions and give general feedback. Every word and like is invaluable to the writing and the development as a serious project.This has now become your book as much as it is mine.

So we forge on…..

Yea Team WP!!

The Patchwork Warriors Reader’s Guide.

(PS: For those who have been following the monumental and probably THE definitive work on the History of The Isles, this has not been abandoned, it’s simply that the Patchwork Characters have hijacked my creative processes and insist on being heard. But my academic side is demanding I get back to this serious study at some stage- this being 1066 week…. I’ll do what I can)Sprinter

Reflections from Arcadia…Says You!!

Warning: This is an idiosyncratic rant. You may encounter paradox(es), contradictions, blinkered opinions and downright perversity (for its own sake). In my own defence I will say….. Hurrrrrrummmmmph!!  I’m jus’ being ornery… yosemite-sam-vector

“Think for yourself and question authority”; the first time I heard these words was curtesy of a tape made for me by son. For the record they turned up on the opening of ‘Third Eye’ by the US band ‘Tool’. They were unfamiliar to me, but apparently they were uttered by Timothy Leary (y’know 1960’s LSD, Flower Power etc etc). No wonder they weren’t familiar to me; big guru switch off.

(forewarning ‘we’ is sometimes used in its ironic way-up to you to decide). Now we all sort of subscribe to the conventional unconventional. We mostly at some time reckon we know that our politicians are corrupt, incompetent and untrustworthy; groups of us will subscribe to the notion that education and religion are forms of conditioning, and a bunch of us will feel super-cool and very astute if we wrap ourselves in an armour of what we called cynicism and opt out of any constructive opinions.

Thing is, folk that if you are not careful that can be so very ultra-conventional and an excuse for lazy-thinking; if any thinking at all. Sure by all means liken some of the antics in our governmental structures as akin to The Minions; but don’t forget there are other forms of authority you should be questioning too.

Now as writers we all know how important the message is and the method of the medium we use. So pause and think about that. THE MESSAGE/THE MEDIUM. Consider where we contact these every day? This would be THE MEDIA? Correct? I would suggest The Media is a constant source of messaging; and messaging be a form of influencing; so those who would be seeking to influence would see themselves in a position of an authority.

Thus Ladies and Gentlemen, take the opening statement one step further. Just because someone in a position of an influence says and writes it does it mean it’s to be acceptable at face value? Do we knee-jerk agree with them because they dress in a veneer of unconventional or outspoken? Should we let them be our guides?

Let’s take a look at a few levels:

The TV Recognisable Individual. I suppose it is the same around a lot of the world. In the UK we have these programmes where folk who have a notion, a talent or a skill have put themselves forward to be scrutinised by a clutch of people who TV companies have decided are gifted. If the programme goes really according to plan the poor volunteers knock themselves out for the privilege of being sneered at, denigrated, or severely criticised by the lofty folk. Lo, if the ratings speaketh well, then the whole circus bounces on year after year. Some of the Lofty Folk become well-known then their stern disapproving features peer out of magazines, TV papers and their own self-serving books the inference being we should pay attention to them. Why? Are they free of foibles? Have them demonstrated an intellectual capacity which would hold the great philosophers of bygone again in awe? Quite frankly their rise is no different than one of those politicians we espouse to despise. They worked a system, they imposed their views. They are transitory folk. You may agree or empathise with them, but is their every word to be held onto? Will the ages remember them? Are they truly worth your time and money? Think on that.

The Pundit. A renowned person in their field, we know that because they are on the media circuit and the media have told us. Even better they are controversial and are not afraid of making statements which are offensive to minorities or folk of a conventional outlook. Ohh they must be right? Right? If they are upsetting folk, then there must be something about them? Really? Why? By acts of self-publicity and an astute network, there they are, writing their stuff and speaking their words, and if they can lull you into not having to think for yourselves…wellllll…WOW!! Mission accomplished. Just because they are putting out something which may agree with something you feel might be so, does not make them the True and Only Way. Pause; think outside of the box they are created for you. Think beyond their view. Are you buying into all of this? Or are you being conditioned to think just one narrow view. Think about it. Question it.

The Nationwide Renowned Critic (professional): In the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide universe there is a race known as the Golgafrinchans who they tricked the most useless third (the middlemen) of their population to get on a spaceship and leave the planet….Now everyone is a critic and everyone has views on films, books & tv shows (Art & theater are left out because they are relatively specialised); this is fair enough. The objection I make is by what flawed process of humanity’s cultural evolution were these folk elevated into positions where they could damage an effort because it does not fit their narrow herd-view, and why in the name of Happy Hopping Harry do folk listen to them? It was this breed which trashed such classics are Bringing Up Baby. And woebetide you if you should dare to say you do not like anything which The Renowned Critic hath deemed wonderful; you will incur the wrath of their accolytes. (I know, out of sheer mischief I tried this last year….one poor guy was reduced in insensibility in his anger at me, was babbling on about ‘Well an asteroid might hit us next year!’…..err yeh). Basically do think for yourself. If the professionals don’t like it, check up out what is being written by those who saw it about the same time as the critic. Think for yourself ( (Heck you can probably see enough purloined excerpts for yourself on ‘The Net’ to make a judgement).

The Professional Maverick: Writers, pundits (again), actors, musicians, and so forth. When analysed, there can often be discerned a certain degree of conformity in their words. They don’t vote. They don’t believe. They don’t think much of folk who don’t agree with them. And they certainly look down their noses at you and me tootling along in our apparent conformity. You have a sincere belief? It’s up for mockery. You belong to a social organisation?- hey good material for savaging! You like, vote????? Thing is you will notice they seem to have cars, and houses. They don’t appear to go through the hoops the folk of the WordPress community have to get their stuff out there. Well, it’s nice work if you can get it pushing all the buttons of those on the opposite side of a cultural war, which raises your profile, and convince folk that Yours is the True and Only Way. Ask yourself this. Are you their cash-fodder? Think about it.

In short don’t limit your rebellion or your questioning. And for goodness sake stop quoting these folk- think for yourself!!

I shall stop now, because it occurs to me, at this stage that I have constructed a solid reason for no one bothering to take on board one word of this post. Thus I do vanish into my own private dimension.