Reflecting on 2016 & My Writing Resolutions For 2017

I just posted a video on YouTube talking about some things I learnt from the past year, and what I hope to achieve by the end of 2017.

I know some people don’t like New Years resolutions, and personally, I find them quite jarring too. But for people who are serious, they’re a nice way to zoom out, give yourself an overview and reminder that you have 365 days to accomplish whatever you want.

I mean, sure, you could just achieve it in a shorter or longer time period, but I like the urgency it creates. Too few people have a sense of urgency, and if they don’t know how to break out of that, no amount of resolutions will help them.

That being said, here are my resolutions.

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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The Next-Gen Novelist We Need, And the One We Deserve

I’ve been away for a while, but I’m going to ensure that changes. I have had so many ideas on what I want to do with my blog, my YouTube, and other social media. I have been overwhelmed with ideas, and not entirely certain where to go with any of it.

But I have some clarity now.

The past couple of years have been quite good for me as a person, and by extension, a writer. I’ve learnt so much about the craft of writing, and tons about other areas of life. Through these years, I’ve learnt about how I want my writing to be, what I want it to achieve, how I want it to sound. The same for myself. Who actually am I? What do I actually want to achieve with my life? And how do I want to come across and be presented to others?

2015 and 2016 have been great to me, because I have had time to have these thoughts (had a gap year, which gave me a significant window to reflect before starting university). Now, coming to the end of the year, I believe I have clarity on what it is that needs to change about my current approach.

I need to be myself. Truly myself. I feel I have a very strong sense of who I am, and so far, I’ve done great at conveying that to people with mostly no smoke and mirrors. Mostly. There’s a layer to this that I’ve been very aware of, but have been rationalising away.

I’m only 19.

I have a very, very strong sense of intuition. My social and emotional intelligence is off the charts, and I know and can explain things that can make me sound 30 years ahead of myself. And I think I have a very unique mind, and can be very charismatic, and I know I have the ability to show others sides of themselves they never knew existed.

But I’ve always felt that people wouldn’t listen to me because of my age. And I have blogs sitting there, very useful, powerful blogs, that I have not published for months, because I fear the response I may get. “Oh, he’s just a kid, what does he know?”

However… I’m going to be me. Not the published author I’m slyly acting like I am. I’m going to be me.

Now, this blog hasn’t shown that authoritative part of me, because I’ve not published the things I wanted to publish, for this exact reason. But the issue is that I focused so much energy on content that perhaps I shouldn’t have been putting out in the first place, and ignoring the stuff that actually mattered. So many people are giving advice to authors in general, but what about a young writer giving quality writing advice to other young writers?

From here on, the only advice I will give on here will be to other young writers, and if anyone else wishes to take something from it (because I still believe they could) then they’re free to do so. But in terms of the content I will put out on my blog – the advice specifically – I will now target it at other young writers.

That being said, there are other things I wish to put on here. I have a very cool short story series in mind, that I think some people might really enjoy, and I’ll still document my thoughts on different things, as well as my journey to publication. The thing is, I’ve been slacking on all of that.

Not anymore. It’s not 2017 yet, and this is not a New Year’s resolution. This is simply the next stage of my journey.

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

Peace!


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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!

Peace!


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