The Continuing Journey Of A New Author, An Introduction
James C. Rocks
I am many things not all of them good but, amongst them, I am now a new author. Granted, I have only published one book and I'm lazy as hell but I have written the second book as well as being engaged in a second project. I suppose it goes without saying (though I will anyway) that my novels will one day be recognised as fabled worldwide best sellers that will not only release me from my dull and dreary nine to five but gain me the recognition and status that will, of course, lead to the equally fabled Hollywood blockbuster contract. Or maybe not! In all likelihood, I will sink into obscurity, a barely known failure in the vaunted world of writing. One can dream and after all, what point is there in aiming low? For many years I have written short stories, usually related to TV series, films or gaming concepts, fan fiction I suppose and I have been involved in a collaborative story-telling venture; a Babylon 5/Star Trek crossover but when one of our main contributors left it foundered. It was in the same vein that my story started; an online framework for the writing of stories that anyone could submit to and to which I would act as both contributor and editor. I know there is a degree of snobbish aversion to fan fiction but, if we're brutally honest, it is possible to write it well and the only real difference between fan fiction and original fiction is that the "original" author has taken one step more, building the background as well as a story. So it seemed natural for me to aim for a new collaborative venture but, as I got deeper into the background material, I found myself getting side-tracked by specifics and it became more difficult to maintain the overarching neutrality I felt was required to act in an editorial capacity. I found I was starting to care, care deeply, about the story and ideas for characters I envisaged within my framework. I found myself wanting to tell the story myself and wanting to do so all the time. There were other influences. With a long-standing friend I formed a mini-reading club because it gave us something else to talk about at the pub; Together, we ploughed through the first five books of "A Song of Ice and Fire" becoming disillusioned with them towards the end. We subsequently chose to read Harry Turtledove's "World War" quadrilogy and its "Colonisation" sequel, a brilliant alternate history idea that was so poorly executed I honestly felt anyone could do better (see my review here). Around the same time, that friend was also made redundant and decided that was the ideal time to attempt to break into writing as a career and, indeed, he has now finished his first one and is seeking a publisher. I'm proud to have been one of his reviewers (perhaps his main one) and, once he has published it, would encourage anyone sad enough to visit this site to read it ... it was enjoyable on the first (draft) read and better on the second more polished one. Though I was already playing with the idea of writing the final push was a writing competition hosted by WH Smith and TV celebrities, Richard and Judy. This became the focus for both of us and we both entered neither of us progressing to the next round although looking at the subject matter by the list of finalists it wasn't hard to see why both my science fiction and his detective novels weren't ever going to progress. Nevertheless, in the three months between submission and finding out that we weren't being progressed, we continued on. My friend finished the first full rewrite of his novel taking onboard some of the criticisms I had made after I had read his first draft and he, in turn, has acted as primary reviewer of my writing. Suffice to say, nine months since submitting to the competition, my book, the first of what's shaping up to be a duology, is now twenty-one chapters, eighteen chapters complete and the remaining four largely so, a grand total of one hundred and twenty-six thousand words. So now I'm an aspiring author which is nice and it is my hope that I will complete the first draft in the next month and a half. My intention with this blog is to promote my own work (well obviously) and to document my experience in the vague hope that someone else will benefit probably by not making the mistakes I have. I am also considering putting a discussion forum up and perhaps a wiki to document aspects of the universe I have created. Before I finish I suppose I should say a word or two about me, in case anyone reading this should decide to return for one of my irregular postings. My late father was a Scot, my mother from Sussex but, although I have lived both North and South, my life has been pretty much English. I also went to Polytechnic in London (such institutions existed before everyone and his dog declared they were a "university") where I gained a reasonably good degree in Applied Biology Degree; I used it initially in research and later in pharmaceutical IT support but eventually moved away from science and into the wider world of computing. Now I live in Kent with my gorgeous wife and youngest daughter, our oldest girl living in Sheffield.