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Hello everyone, and welcome to my first blog post of the New Year. The topic today is new beginnings, and it focuses not just on your characters, and the start of their journey, but also on my fellow authors, and the beginnings we can face ourselves. Let us begin.
Characters: Now, it is incredibly difficult to be an author without having at least one character, I would risk saying it is impossible, although I don’t doubt a more clever soul than I will prove me wrong. Every character has a beginning, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be their birth or beginning of their life, instead it’s the first moment they appear on the pages of your book. I like to call this moment the inciting event, the moment in your characters live when something happens that changes their lives forever, so much so that they can never go back to what was. This can have lots of different forms, anything from the traditional (and somewhat overdone) farm boy leaving home to be mentored by an old guy with a stick, to the more unusual, such as an ape having his first conscious thought. If you have a character in mind then I strongly suggest working out what inciting event would drive these characters forwards in the story, it doesn’t need to be dramatic, but it does need to have an impact on the characters’ life.
New Authors: Now that I have stretched my creative mind so much, its time to look towards the technical side of this business. For new authors, who have just written their first book perhaps, I would suggest taking a risk in the new year. The process of submitting your book to a literary agent, or a publisher, can be a frightening ordeal (even the bravest writer quakes at the thought), but it is always a risk worth taking. It might seem easier to self-publish, and that is a noble path for an author by itself (one I walk too), but I would always encourage authors to make that attempt at submitting first. In all likelihood, it will come back as a no, every published author in the world has a long list of rejection emails, but if you never take that chance it will never happen. The worst thing that can happen is you’ll have an extra few months to prepare your self-published platform and a no from a literary agent. The best thing is that you’ll have experience of that part of the publishing industry and, you never know, it might just be a yes.
Old Authors: that is to say, experienced authors, not necessarily your age. I will always suggest taking a similar plunge, even if you are getting quite successful as a self-published author, but my advice is in a different vein. It can become quite comfortable, especially if you are writing a series of books, to stay within the same characters, the same world. The space you have created is something familiar, you know it’s ins and outs, and writing is easier there. Although building on a series is always a good use of time, I would also suggest writing something new. This new thing needn’t be a full novel, maybe just a short story, but flex your creative muscles and try something outside of your comfort zone. A different genre, a different point of view, and a plethora of other examples are arrayed in front of you. As a new years resolution, give one of them a try.
That is it for my musings, for today at least, but this year has me quite inspired already so you can be sure I will return sooner or later with more advice and tips on writing. Until then, have some fun and remember to polish off any spare Christmas food, diets can’t begin until all the temptation has been safely eaten