The ‘SECRET’ to Writing Female Characters

I made a video over on my YouTube channel sharing some of my thoughts and ideas on how to write female characters in what many might consider an ‘appropriate’ way. In all honesty, I don’t like to prescribe viewpoints or impose any ideals or stuff, but this is just the way I feel about the matter as someone’s who’s consumed media from various places and seen these similar patterns. I’m just sharing my ideas of how to perhaps avoid some of the rubbish I too often see.

Link to the video:

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


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My First Manuscript Submission Experience

This is an old post. I was supposed to release it on the actual date, but apparently I’d left it in draft. The actual date was the 20th. It got to them perfectly fine, and now I eagerly await their response! Hopefully the next blog won’t be about ‘My First Rejection’, but ‘My First Accepted Submission’ or a similar title seems kinda unlikely.

In a word? Exciting. In another word? Maddening.

The submission was to the UK publisher Gollancz, which until recently I’d been completely pronouncing the wrong way. And yes, chances are you have been too, and certainly if that was your first time reading it.

So what was it about this experience that was so exciting and yet so maddening? Well let me tell you a story.

Around November last year, I heard about Gollancz opening up to unsolicited direct submissions (physical only), and I was immediately psyched about it. I’d finished my manuscript back in August and had been editing it since. I began a query, proposal one-page synopsis, and the first 50 pages of my novel, on the same day.

I won’t lie to you, I found the one-page synopsis to be an utter nightmare, and it still ended up rolling over onto a second page. Thankfully, Gollancz were being rather lenient with their submissions, which I appreciate.

So the official deadline was fast approaching, but my deadline had already come. By that, I mean I set myself a deadline earlier than the actual one, to compensate for my occasional unreliability. Because my internal editor sneaks up on me at the worst of times.

I had printed out several versions, only to read through them and obsessively underline and make notes around the page each time. I know that it may seem obvious to edit to pristine condition before printing anything, but I think self-doubt takes hold whenever I’m about to do something remotely out of my comfort zone, so every time I thought I was ready to send it, an anxious part of me wasn’t and resorted to editing.

By the time I was satisfied, there were only two days until the deadline. So I’d been right to give myself an earlier one. But even the postage was a bit of an issue.

I was in the post office and like any young aspirant, I was all wide-eyed and exhilarated, until it occurred to me that I still needed two things: an envelope and the postal address.

Both proved harder to get than you’d think. Oh and did I mention that I had only 5 minuets before the post office closed? Surely that’s enough time though right? It’s just an envelope and an address. Right? Right…

Not quite.

I’m in the post office, which very helpfully has a shop section with envelopes. But my query, not-one-page-synopsis, and the first 50 pages of my manuscript, were… rather thick. They had every single envelope except the one my manuscript could fit into. Or so I’d thought.

Only after desperately trying to squeeze the pages into the envelope about fifty times, did I realise it wasn’t the right fit. The envelope I needed just happened to be buried underneath a clutter of… I don’t actually remember what. But it was stuff that had no business standing between me and destiny. Regardless, I finally found the correct sized envelope, I could purchase it and be on my merry way.

The second thing was equally irksome. Within all the excitement, I had foolishly forgotten about the postal address. I knew it was on their website, so I tried to use my phone to pull up the info. BUT OH NO. The Internet wouldn’t connect, because why would it? Why would life be so simple? I can’t recall how many times I pressed the refresh button, but I’m sure I surpassed some kind of physical limitation.

There was literally only a minuet left when it finally worked. At which point I went over to the desk, got the package sorted out, and managed to leave without any issue.

Hopefully I wrote the address properly…

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


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Who Are The Next Generation of Writers?

Given that I call myself ‘NextGenNovelist’, I should think it would make a fair amount of sense to talk a bit about… well… the Next Generation of Novelists/writers. And since I’m an aspiring Fantasy author, most of the content in this post will reflect that.

First, let’s establish what is meant by the ‘Next Generation of Novelists/writers’. I mean, what kind of name is that? Why not just say: ‘new writers’? Or, ‘Writers of the Future’?

Well for starters, neither of them are specific enough. ‘New writers’ can be applied to anyone. My nan could be a ‘new writer’ just because she hasn’t actually penned a story of any sort for decades. My 11-year-old brother could be considered a ‘new writer’ just because he hasn’t written an actual story before.

And besides being equally as vague, ‘Writers of the Future’ is also pretty much taken.

‘Next Generation Writers/Novelists’ fits, because it’s specific. It refers to the next generation of writers. Not potential writers from all ages, a very specific age group: those within the youngest/upcoming generation. It’s as simple as that.

As one of these people, I find myself intrigued by the question: who are the next generation of writers?

Just to clarify: I’m aware of young writers. I’ve found the forums and the critic circles/groups. I know they’re active and out there. But my real curiosity is, of those few who take it seriously (learn the craft/business) how many of them will in fact be the next George RR Martin, J.K Rowling or Stephanie Meyer?

Though, it’s probably best to just acknowledge them as the first of themselves rather than try to compare them to others. But since people are going to do it anyway, I’ll just indulge in it a bit longer.

Also, chances are most of the aforementioned authors will still be around for a while, but that doesn’t stop me from asking the question: who will be the first big names of my generation? I mean, consider the fact that some of them could still be babies!

Now, there’s a reason why this topic has cropped up in my brain.

I love to watch author interviews/panels (mainly fantasy authors, of course). I enjoy seeing them interact with their fans and talk about life/writing like human beings… though given the insanity of the world of writing, how ‘human’ any author is, is questionable. However, a commonality I’ve noticed is the understandings between many of them regarding non-writing matters. Geeky things specifically.

I’ve noticed a good number of them talk about things like D&D (Dungeons and Dragons, for the uninitiated), and I have absolutely no idea what they’re on about half the time.

Table-top games? Pen and paper RPGs? What madness. The moment someone says ‘RPGs’ to me-missile launchers aside-I’m thinking of Final Fantasy and Dragon Age. That being said, we do in fact have our own versions of those. I recall playing ‘Top Trumps’ when I was in primary school. I also know of many others (not including myself) who would play ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ and loved collecting trading cards for various franchises. So, it won’t be all that different.

I can’t wait to see what the next generation of authors reminisce over. Will we sit there and talk about the everlasting console war? Will we share a fondness for the same games too? When we’re asked: “what book got you into the genre?” how many of us will we respond with: “The Hunger Games”? and “Harry Potter”, rather than “Lord of the Rings” or “Earthsea”? How many of us will share a hatred for the cursed love triangle? How many of us won’t? What will commonly be beheld as ‘classics’ in fiction? How many stories will be shared about the turmoil caused by searching out rare collectable cards?

What will define us?

And naturally, the next aspect which intrigues me is writing. Just what the heck are we going to be writing about? Right now, a lot of us are in the years where many older authors truly began. It’s also the time when most of them wrote their worst work. How many of us will write something salvageable right now, and how many of us are just in training for that future book that will hit all the right nails on the head?

What kinds of trends will be created? What issues will the genre face? Currently, there’s complaints about diversity in cast and setting (particularly in Fantasy). Will that be a thing of the past? Will fiction be so varied, that (like YA) it will be almost pointless to pigeon-hole it?

Will traditional publishing remain a viable route (I don’t see why it wouldn’t but… I’m hardly an expert)?

And then, the fans! Of course, where would any published writer be without their fans? They too will share in the glory. What will readers want and expect of their fiction? How will the standards shift?

The best thing about all of this is, I have no answers for any of it! I just think it’s an interesting point to ponder. And of course, this is all under the assumption that the world doesn’t end first! 😀

Anywaaaay, I think I’m going to end this now, before I end up rambling for a gazillion pages.

So, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


Snapchat: Novelicity


Hi, I’m Alexander Thomas, and I Derail Blog Posts!

The first thing you should probably know about me, is that I’m not actually Alexander Thomas. Well… I am, but I’m not actually called that by people I know. My first name is Reece, but one of my middle names is Alexander. I’m an aspiring novelist, primarily of the fantasy genre, and I don’t exactly feel as though ‘Reece Thomas’ sounds as good as ‘Alexander Thomas’. But at least I’m still using one of my legal names, instead of calling myself… oh, I don’t know, Robert Galbraith.

Currently, I am 18 years of age and ageing… or so I’ve been told. Personally I don’t feel 18, nor do I feel like I’m getting older. My inner child takes the steering wheel more times than I care to count. As of right now, I’m in a gap year, which means that I’m taking a year away from studying and doing other things. Like writing… and working (sad face). I’ve actually already finished the first draft of a manuscript, and I’m editing it to no end as of right now.

Buuuuuut that’s stuff to talk about another time.

I am from the UK which (if you didn’t know) essentially means it’s near impossible to find a sci-fi/fantasy convention. I’m not joking. I’ve seen a few, but they’re nowhere near as consistent as how they have it in North America. If you’re from there (which chances are you are), I’m telling ya, you’re more fortunate than you realise.

Don’t believe me?
Three words: World Science-Fiction Convention.
Three dates: 1957, 1965, and 2014.
Those are the dates of Loncon, which is when the World Science-Fiction Convention decides it’s convenient to actually bother coming to London! I mean, I understand there’s a higher readership of those genres in the US, but to jump from 1965 to 2014? THAT’S NEARLY 50 YEARS! That’s half a century!

Can you imagine what the fans that attended Loncon in 1957 must have thought?
“This is great! I am so glad Loncon is a thing! Gee, wouldn’t it be great if they could come back in another year or so?”
“Ya know, Bob, I think they just might!”
Yeah, well, sorry, Bob. You’ll be waiting another eight years. But hey! It’s better than nothing, right?


“Wow! I’m 8 years older, more jaded and cynical than when I was last here, but at least there’s something like this to comfort me. But oh, I am truly a jaded old man. Gee, wouldn’t it be just great if they could come back a little faster this time? I’m sure it was all down to various factors beyond my understanding as to why they took so long, but at least I know it won’t be that far off. If anything, I’ll be seeing them again in 10 years! Ahahaha!”

Ahahahaha. I’d make the joke that I had the last laugh, but that would probably sound bad. But chances are… I did. Know why? Because chances are Bob’s dead. He probably died even more older, jaded and cynical because he was never afforded a final chance to experience Loncon.

49 years… pfft.

If you’re from the US, this might seem a little ridiculous to you. Now, granted, we live in the 21st century, and things such as plane tickets exist. If I had the money, I’d be going to these. But even then, I can still only realistically make it out to maybe one convention a year. If you’re an aspiring author trying to network, or at least just be around professionals and other aspirants, you’d want to attend conventions a bit more frequently than that.

Now, I think this is a good time to introduce you to one of my most prevalent qualities: sidetracking. I will derail and destroy the original purpose of anything any time. It’s obviously not intentional, and I’m certainly not the only person who does it. People who enjoy talking, I’ve noticed, have a tendency to do it. Or maybe it’s people who think a lot. Or both. Or neither? Regardless, if you’re planning on sticking around, it’s something you’d take care to be very, very aware of.

Understand the title might say: ‘What Is My Book About?’ and the closing line could be: “And that’s why I don’t like penguins”. You have been warned.

I was supposed to make a blog ages ago, but WordPress intimidated me… so I waited for a few months. I finally decided to just get on with it. Part of the reason I didn’t make one before was because I always used YouTube to create content. Even my writing channel isn’t that old. But I decided to take my writing seriously, because someone had to. I can say right now that my intentions are to use this blog to talk about whatever I fancy, but for a general sense, you can expect to hear (or read, rather) about some: writing and the industry (from a teen’s perspective), my thoughts/comments on books I’m reading/have read, video games, pet peeves, personal slice of life stories, my manuscript/planned stories, anime, occasionally politics, and just some general thoughts on life and the world.

One thing I tend to do is attack general wisdom. If you’re the kind of person who buys into everything you hear, or follow things just because they’re popular, then you’ll probably not enjoy your time here.

I would honestly love to talk about fantasy, writing, my manuscript, and the world… but right now I’m a bit tired. It’s nearly 9am, and I’ve barely slept because I was trying to figure out how to make this insufferable thing, but I’m glad I did because I like how it’s come out. That being said, it’s time for me to get some more sleep now. I’m not sure when this will be posted (probably later in the day), but I’m happy to say: welcome to my blog!

I hope you stick around, and if you’ve read this far, there must be something charming about me! Or you’re just bored…

Whatever the case, I’m done here! If you want to know more about me, read my future posts. You’ll get to know me quite well as time goes on.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to say, and I’m out!


Snapchat: Novelicity