EXTRAS

I suspect that I’m not the first person to experience this but when I started writing, there was never even the slightest thought about the reality of what would have to happen after.

You know what happens when you try to spread the word about a book?

Loads is what.

I¬†was never that up on the delights of social media before I started working on the book. My wife is much more adept with all things of that kind. She’d been active on Facebook and Twitter for years and add to that her amazing ability to talk to anyone and everyone and she is very much at home in the world of social media.

I am not quite so comfortable.

I love to see what my friends and family are up to and connecting with like minded individuals is something which can never be underestimated but maintaining the push of advertising of my work is a huge chunk of what needs to go into this being an author malarkey.

I had a few goes before the blog settled into some kind of routine, my writing schedule can best be described as up and down and the need to go to events and spread the word is always eating into the time available to be creative. Add to this Instagram, Goodreads, trying to create a website and everything else that you need to keep on the boil, and pretty soon, there’s seemingly no time left for anything else at all.

Maybe I would have gone about things differently if I’d actually thought about the realities of what was going to be required but I just wanted to write the book and get it out there. The thought that I’d be out hawking the book didn’t enter my mind because it was always about just the story. The only thing I can kind of cling to is that that shows I wasn’t solely motivated by being published, rather it was the story which was the focus with the wider thoughts not coming until later.

This weekend coming we’ll be in North Wales at this years Sci-Fi Weekender and I can’t wait. I love this convention and the chance to meet up with friends and have a blast is one that just can’t be overlooked. We’ve been attending the convention since it started in 2010 but this will be the first time I will have attended as more than just another member of the public. I have a table and I’ll be doing my very best to entice people to explore the land of Dragons I’m creating. This will be the first time I will have attended a residential event as a vendor where I’ve previously been a member of the public. I can remember going to talks on writing at the first event and thought it would be amazing to one day find myself at an event as more than just a ‘punter’ but again, what that would actually entail didn’t even cross my mind.

So everyone out there reading these words. Remember that there is always so very much more going on than we first give credit. To get to the best results always seems to mean spreading that net of experience just that little bit wider than first thought.

By the way.

Have you bought my books yet?

The Circle of Fire

The Circle of Duty

Tall Tales for Dark Nights

PICK A CARD, ANY CARD

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the power that family has on any story. How the engagement that the reader could overlay for their own family could potentially help in drawing them into the narrative at hand. When I posted the link on my Facebook page I explained that my wife and I had received some wonderful news before we’d gone on holiday and told people that they would need to read all the way to the end of the post to find out what it was. Add to that a picture of a family tree and we were all set.

And it worked.

That post has turned out to be the most visited of all that I’ve posted, beating the previous record by some distance.

But why? Was it that an unknown fact just has to be discovered? Was the information I gave just too tantalizing to ignore? Or did the statement of wonderful news lead the reader to create assumptions regarding what was going to be divulged?

My little baby sister ( she’s in her thirties but will always be my baby sister ) told us that she’s pregnant so my wife and I are going to be Auntie and Uncle but I’ve since been told that when everyone read the opening statement they’d thought that the impending bundle of joy was going to be landing a little closer to home and we were going to be parents.

I did it on purpose, the subtle misdirection, just to see if it would have any effect and it highlighted perfectly the power that the literary equivalent of a card trick, can have. We all know the feeling. The book you’re reading is leading you in one direction and then at the very last minute, reveals itself to be something totally different, leaving us with our mouth stuck open in shock. In film terms, The Sixth Sense.

It’s a vital tool in storytelling. It creates a false impression of what’s going on and delivers the telling switch at the end that causes you to have to re-check all of the details in the book. How could I have missed that? On the second read – with the benefit of forewarning, the whole story becomes a vastly changed tableau.

But that trick can also go horrible wrong.

We all know that feeling as well. You can just see the twist coming from page one. All the details are pointing you in one direction but you just know that there’s going to be a ‘ta-da’ reveal of something else at the end. In film terms, M.Nights later work has some unfortunate examples.

I’ve tried my hand at this when I’ve been working on different bits and pieces with varying results. My short story ‘TRUE LOVE’, beautifully read by an insanely talented friend of mine DrNeevil, tries to play with this idea. Give it a listen if you haven’t already and see if the story works.

I’m still looking at the ways to use any and all weapons in my writers arsenal to help create the story I’m after and literary slight of hand can be, if used well, a devastatingly effective method.

All I’ve got to do is learn how to do it properly rather than land on my face.