Learning From Success and Failure

The next episode of the From Zero Podcast is here! This episode focuses on what I think about learning from success, but also from failure.

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


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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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!


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