To say that life hasn’t always been kind to me would be an understatement. At the risk of sounding like someone suffering from a persecution complex, my life has been tormenting me mercilessly for the past quarter of a century. What kept me going through all the tribulations was convincing myself there was nothing I could do about the crap life throws my way, and that these things happened to test me. Inevitably, this coping mechanism couldn’t continue to work forever. Sadly, I am only human; I can only endure so much before I eventually break, and by the end of last November I had reached my breaking point. I struggled on as best as I could into early December, because I had commitments I needed to honour. But once I’d done so, I had to admit defeat; life had finally got the better of me and I couldn’t cope with things as they were.
Greetings folks! This is the post I delayed from yesterday, announcing that the inevitable has finally come to pass; the #SPFBO adventure of my debut fantasy novel The Exercise Of Vital Powers reached its conclusion at the weekend after missing out on an unlikely place in the final, having been pushed into second place by Devil’s Night Dawning by Damien Black.
You may recall from the last update on my work in progress that I decided to re-write everything from scratch because I wasn’t happy with the opening chapter. Since then, though I’m much happier about the state of my WIP, I am much less happy about the slow progress of my writing throughout September. While most of the problems that prevented me from getting as much done as I would have liked were (as usual) out of my control, I fully accept that there is one issue that is in my power to affect: Time management.
It’s been a while since the last update on my current work in progress, principally because it’s been slow going (in more ways than one) these past three weeks or so, resulting in no noteworthy progress to report. However, it’s probably now worth mentioning a very significant development with my WIP (the sequel to The Exercise Of Vital Powers) that occurred at the end of last week which has had a drastic impact upon the direction and progression of the story.
I have recently come to learn that the most rewarding thing for any author, after successfully writing and publishing a book, is the feeling experienced upon discovering that the story you have written has really connected with a reader. This amazing feeling is further magnified when such a reader chooses to share their appreciation for your work with you, and the rest of the world.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better for my SPFBO entry, along comes Kitty G’s video review of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, yesterday. Not only did Kaitlin produce a very complimentary overview of my book, watching the video has actually made me seriously start to believe that it’s a better story than I previously thought. I still don’t think it’s polished enough to progress to the final round, but Kaitlin’s praise has already had a positive effect in terms of increasing interest in my book, as well as causing a spike in sales. In that respect, entering this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off has definitely paid dividends so I’m really glad to be involved. Anyway, that’s enough waffling from me; you can watch Kaitlin’s review below.
Greetings folks, it’s time for a quick SPFBO update for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the latest developments in this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off. First of all, with more or less two months having elapsed since the contest officially got under way, just over a third of the 300 entries have been eliminated from the competition so far. (You can view the list of titles that have fallen by the wayside at this point by visiting Mark Lawrence’s blog where he is keeping track.)
I have an exciting (to me at least) update about the Self-Published Fantasy Blog off contest, and it concerns my humble entry, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. To my surprise, #SPFBO judge Kaitlin aka “Kitty G” read my debut novel this week during her trip to Worldcon in Finland, and even more surprising than that was discovering that she really liked it. Yesterday she posted an initial review on Goodreads, awarding my book a 4.5 stars rating and it’s fair to say it has made my year. Knowing that my story struck a chord with a reader who has no vested interest in kissing my behind has gone a long way to making me feel a little less like an imposter.
It’s time for another update on my current work in progress. Unsurprisingly, last week was not as productive as the previous week, though surprisingly it wasn’t due to any of the usual suspects negatively impacting my freedom to write. The time I was able to devote my WIP wasn’t significantly less, but I only have a single chapter to show for it. What hindered my progress in the end were two time-consuming bumps in the road; the first was minor, therefore easy to resolve, while the second proved to be a major problem that took much longer for me to figure out.
Earlier this year something rather unusual happened to me; I had a 150,000 word unpublished story on my hands. Certain facets of this manuscript were different from every other story I had ever written in my life before, the most notable difference being that it was a finished novel. Prior to its completion, the only stories I had ever successfully completed were short stories and the occasional novella; all previous attempts at novel writing resulted in abandonment, usually because I unceremoniously tore up or deleted the offending work. It was also different in that it was the first story I had written with the explicit intention of having it read by persons other than myself. And perhaps the most unusual thing about the manuscript was fact the that I was actually happy with it, which shouldn’t have been possible; I am never satisfied with my own writing.