The Skill of Subversion

Episode 3 of the From Zero Podcast is out!

This week’s topic is about subversion and the skill required to adequately pull it off. I use the example of Chosen Ones, and refer to my own subversion of the overplayed trope, and share some of my thoughts and feelings on it.

To be honest, most of what you need to know about this podcast is already in the video. So I won’t waste words here, if you’re interested, take a listen.

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/from-zero-podcast/id1204112738?mt=2

Writing Whilst Studying

The second episode of my podcast is here! 

I wanted to do a topic that was directed more towards people near my own age, and so it came down to one other topic and this one. The other is going to be done in vlog format, and I’ll make that video sometime soon.

For now, you have a video dedicated to the subject of writing a story whilst you are studying.

It is a rather harsh video, mostly because of my blunt tone. I’m very aware of the fact that most writers are introverted, and thus, tend to resonate more with a calmer, gentler form of expression. Up until now, I’ve mostly tried to keep it on that level, and I’m perfectly capable of it, but in all honesty, once I get passionate about something, you get a result much like this.

The advice is useful, but it is presented in a ‘tough love’ kind of way. I’m well aware that for some people that’s too much, but I won’t apologise for how I am. Because maybe my tone will scare you off, but perhaps it won’t. Perhaps it will actually hit you somewhere you didn’t expect, and trigger a response that results in you taking the best possible action you could: thinking.

Many of the things I do are to inspire thought. I ain’t some genius, but I have some pretty good points to make here and there, so when I say something, it’s for a reason.

As I say in the podcast, in a way, this is an episode I’m making partly for myself, but it’s mostly for younger writers. When I was 16, the best advice I usually heard from other writers, came out like this. Not everybody is the same, so I don’t expect everyone to take my advice in the same way.

I see a lot of young writers struggling with things similar to me, and when I advise them, this is the manner I do it in. Sometimes, being too soft and sugary doesn’t get people anywhere.

This episode is also significantly shorter than the first one, so hopefully that makes it a little bit more bearable.

Hope you enjoy it!

iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/from-zero-podcast/id1204112738?mt=2

The Birth of A New Writing Podcast

A podcast dedicated to the documentation of the thoughts, views and ideas of the young aspiring author, Alexander Thomas as he begins his journey from zero.

I’ve wanted to do a podcast for a long time. When I say long, I mean since I was about 15. Back in July 2011, when I was 14, I uploaded my first ever gaming commentary. This basically just meant I would talk behind a full gameplay (an in-game match that was considered decent/impressive). If you think of most current YouTube gaming channels and Twitch streamers, you will see this is extremely commonplace now, but not as much back then.

One thing I had always spoke to my friends about was making a gaming podcast. I had the idea in my head for ages, and really wanted to make one. I love talking so I knew it was the perfect format for me. Unfortunately, it just never happened.

But the idea never left me. Not too long after my transition from gaming to writing content, the podcasting desire caught up to me. Again, I wanted to do it with other people. All the podcasts I have spent considerable time listening to were mostly enjoyable because they had a group dynamic, with friendly banter and occasional chit-chat. But most importantly, they bounced ideas off one another, or interviewed people of particular interest.

However, I could never get this exact format to exist. The honest truth of the matter is that I have ideas and topics I want to talk about that aren’t commonly spoken of. This would mean the other writers not only need to have a competent understanding of the craft, but also a more specific knowledge of the things I would be discussing.

Those writers surely exist, but I don’t know of them, and I would have to become comfortable with them before I could podcast with them. All of that would get in the way when I could just start the podcast, and literally talk about these things perfectly fine, in a shorter time, in the way I want, whenever I want.

Freedom to do things as I see fit is something I’ve grown to consider rather important in my life of late. Probably a bit contradictory considering I plan on becoming traditionally published, but even then, I expect a degree of respect to my work and control over it. Maybe I can’t choose my cover art, but I decide what words weave my worlds, and if the publisher has an issue with any of it, I have all the power to walk away. Maybe that’s something writer’s don’t like to consider, but to me, the vision is more important than making a quick buck.

And that is a nice segue into the topic of this first podcast. Vision. I discuss what ‘vision’ is and its understated importance in the construction of our stories.

For future podcasts, I plan on speaking on various topics. Some of those topics are: Ethnic and Narrative diversity; Emotive Writing; The Skill of Subversion; Japanese Storytelling; Sex and Violence in Fantasy; Do Writers Need Talent?; Series Lengths, and many more.

The podcast will be released every Friday at 8PM  (GMT), 12PM (PST) and is currently available on YouTube and iTunes.

Since you’re still reading this, I’m going to assume this is of some interest to you. Why not take a listen to the podcast? I spend about 7-8 minutes explaining the purpose of the podcast and how it will work, and in doing so, accidentally give it it’s title. The rest is dedicated to the topic of ‘vision’.

Here is a link to the iTunes version! https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/from-zero-podcast/id1204112738?mt=2

But if you want immediate access, here is the first episode of my new writing podcast, From Zero.


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My First Query Submission Experience (and what I learnt from it)!

I submitted my first ever query to an agent on Sunday (4th)! Like the physical submission of my manuscript that I done at the beginning of the year, it feels like it has not reached the person it was meant to. Does everyone feel that way? Obviously it’s just a symptom of my paranoia.

I had written out my query letters for various agents a while ago, but only recently have I begun the process of actually sending them, partially because I’m still editing my manuscript, but mostly because I was just anxious about it.

I realise now though that I kind of like the fact I left it until December. Considering my first manuscript submission was back in January, this feels like a cool way to round off the year by submitting my first query at the end.

During my time trying to create these queries, I learnt something quite useful.

I learnt how to explain my story in a condensed fashion. It was difficult at first, because whilst I’m actually okay at writing a synopsis in most instances, this story is… well, it’s basically (in my eyes) the flagship series, the one I hope to define my ‘writing persona’ of all my possible works. So my difficulty to explain it, comes not only from it’s complex nature, but also from my desire to try and describe it in the perfect way.

This is probably something most writers do, and why they struggle with synopsis’, and I’d even say info-dumps. It stems from a desire to create this picture-perfect understanding of your world and ideas.

But then, I came to realise, and accept, that not everybody is going to interpret your work in the same way you do, and there’s literally nothing you can do about that. Even in a visual medium such as film, television or comics, people interpret different gestures and things of that nature, in various ways.

Of course, it is important to be as clear and accurate as possible when explaining your story, especially to an agent/editor, and for me, I’d say it’s paramount said agent/editor understands the vision behind the work at the very least, and at best, they wish to push for it with equal passion.

But at the same time, you must accept that there will never be any one, true view of how your work is. Even you, as you age, may interpret your work in a different light to the one you currently do. I mean, I can imagine looking back on my current stuff and saying: “That kid had some great ideas, but man was he bold.”

I know I probably will, because I already have with the older versions of this same story. There was some real cringe-inducing material in some of those old outlines, and my first draft. And bare in mind, a lot of that was only made a year or two ago.

A good sign of my growth to be sure, but also a reminder that your views on things can change drastically in relatively short periods, so long as you keep an open mind (which I think is a necessity as a creator). Ideas I once thought to be genre-shifting, are now being swept under the carpet for fear of being brought to light. And believe me, we don’t want some of those things brought to light.

That’s just a little insight I got from this experience. The next move now is to send out my other queries to the other agents on my list, and to bring my story into beta.

This post went on a bit longer than I originally intended, but for many of us fantasy writers, such is the way of things.

Expect me to be documenting things a bit more on here as time goes on (I really should have done that from the beginning).

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


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