Wednesday, 7 December 2011

And I'm Off!

Everything is starting to fall into place now. I've been working like a maniac this past week, so apologies for not being as active as I could have been.

I've been busy getting various quotes on editing my short story that I'm currently working on. And I've found myself a cover designer. I'm really excited about this project. I'm happy with the quotes and I'm working with a very professional bunch.

It seems to have had a positive effect on my writing because now that the wheels are in motion my writing is the best that it's ever been.

I should probably tell everyone a little about my story now.

It's a supernatural horror story called "Natas". It's about a warden who is in charge of his final execution before retirement. The man condemned to die is an evil and sadistic serial killer. The warden is then possessed by the spirit of the convict after he is executed.

I'm really excited about it. It's going to be around 8,000 words long and will be for sale on various e-readers in the next couple of weeks.

I'll make the big annoucement when it goes live. Until then I will be working hard to make this a book that fans of horror can enjoy.

Thanks for reading, and as always all comments are welcome.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Free ebooks. Good or Bad?

A friend of mine advised me against offering any of my work for free. He warned me that anybody browsing the kindle store would see something offered for free as an inferior product, and arguing that "you get what you pay for".

But offering free short stories - as I intend to do - is a good way to get your name out there. It gives readers a risk free opportunity to try your work. If they enjoy it they will be likely to buy some longer works for a fair cost sometime in the future. 
It has an element of risk attached to it though. If they hate it they are unlikely to want to read anything you write in the future. Yes, you might have improved by then, but they are understandably going to be apprehensive to risk their money to find out.

I have no problems giving away short stories of around 2,000 -6,000 words for free. I think to a certain point the author should be pricing their stories relative to the time they've put in and the length of the story. Obviously I'm not saying that a story I've worked on for months and months and clocks in at a hefty amount of pages will automatically cost a substantial sum of money. But offering, for free, short stories that haven't taken nearly as much time as a full length novel should be considered as a promotional tool.

Readers don't like being over-charged. I have seen quite a few reviews on Amazon where readers have vented their anger at being kept in the dark, sometimes even misled over the length of the product they're buying. They are understandably irritated to find they've paid a paperback sum for a short story that has taken them a few minutes to read. And who can blame them?

I think we need to be asking ourselves this question: if I paid this price for this product would I feel ripped off?
And we need to be answering that question honestly.

The most important thing for me when I start selling my work will be keeping my readers happy. Not alienating them to make a buck. The writer that does that will find himself in trouble. Readers will vote with their purses and one star reviews.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1

Well, my day yesterday reinforced a lot of what I've already learnt about the art of writing a good story. Allow me to explain. Yesterday at the persuasion of my girlfriend I went to see Breaking Dawn Part 1. Most of you will be aware that Part 1 and 2 will be the final instalment of the hugely popular Twilight saga.

As someone who hasn't read the books and has seen only the first two films and didn't enjoy them very much I wasn't confident of enjoying this one. But nevertheless I went to see the film with an open mind but was left predictably disappointed.

I promise that this will not be an attack on the films or the people that love them. I understand that everyone has their opinions and views and this is merely mine.

But I just have never connected with any of the characters. I've watched them over the course of three films and still feel as though I know nothing about them. As a consequence when the film was telling me I must care about the fate of a character/s I found myself not caring one bit.

Some people may have hated this next movie that I'm about to mention, but at the end of One Day I found myself quite emotional. I felt like I knew the characters and the big event as the film reached its climax struck an emotional chord with me.

How do you get to know the characters? Well, read any book on writing and you'll be told that one of the key ways in which to engage your readers with your characters is dialogue. But for me the dialogue was never there in Breaking Dawn. Everyone had a cutting, sarcastic and witty remark to make, but it told us nothing. Pretty much all style and no substance.

Plot wise I found it to be slow. A key point of plotting a novel is to punctuate with scenes of tension/action then give the reader a while of respite and then punctuate again with tension/action. This ensures the reader is kept hooked by the twists and turns. A good analogy is likening it to a rollercoaster ride, breaks in the action when you're slowly climbing, excitement when you're hurtling downwards.

I found that Breaking Dawn didn't have that again. It felt as if I was climbing for roughly 90 minutes and only after that did the rollercoaster start hurtling downwards. The last 30 minutes or so were rather good. But a reader having to read 400 pages to get to the final 50 exciting ones is going to be bored and frustrated and very likely to give up way before they get to 400.

But with that all said Stephenie Meyer has introduced millions of people to reading and that can only be seen as a good thing. So for that she must be commended. And who knows, maybe it's true what I've been reading; maybe the books are better than the movies. Maybe I will have to go in with open mind and read them one day.

Who knows, I might find myself pleasantly surprised. I hope so.

What do you guys think?

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Hello there. Thanks for stopping by.

After years of voracious reading and a keen interesting in writing I've decided to take the plunge and start taking my writing seriously.
The inspiration was ignited when I recently read a marvelous book called "Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should" it's written by David Gaughran and it's a fascinating and informative read. I urge you to check it out here. It’s a must for those who are interested in self-publishing. I think digital self-publishing is the future for new authors with the advent of e-readers and Kindle Direct Publishing.
So, what do I like to read? I read anything I can lay my hands on, although my favourites are dystopian and horror novels. Lately I've started to develop an interest in crime novels; I think I can thank my time spent watching crime documentaries for that.
I'm currently really enjoying the latest Stephen King novel. I've been a big fan for years but was initially a little sceptical of how his latest one would turn out. The synopsis didn't exactly have me salivating. Please forgive me Mr. King, I was dead wrong. Brilliant read so far. When I've finished it I'll give a more in-depth review. You could be waiting a short while for that though I’m afraid; it's so good I'm reading it slowly to savour every page. So apologies in advance for that.
I’m excited to be starting this writing journey and making some friends while I do so. As I learn more about the craft and business of writing I will not hesitate to share my knowledge with you.  I’m a member of the Absolute Write forums. I’ve checked out a lot of writing forums and it is definitely one of the most informative and active communities I’ve come across.  There is a lot to learn there. If anyone wants to check out my posts there, I post under the username Sane Man. Yes, that is indeed a nod to the late, great stand-up comedian Bill Hicks.
Well that's all for now, if anyone has any comments or questions leave them below and I'll get back to you.
Thank you for reading everyone.