When S.M. Carrière isn't brutally killing your favourite characters, she spends her time teaching martial arts, live streaming video games, and cuddling her cats. In other words, she spends her time teaching others to kill, streaming her digital kills, and cuddling furry murderers. Her most recent titles include 'Daughters of Britain' and 'Skylark.'
On my last post, I received a question that I want to take the time to answer fully and so, with the commenter’s permission, I’ll do so here. It’s a great question, but it is also indicative of a broader issue with writing advice that I also want to touch on. But first, the question:
There’s a piece of writing advice that I know is well-meant, but I never know what to think of it: the work you are writing now should be your favorite work yet. Any perspectives on that one?
Why yes, yes I have a perspective on that piece of advice. Primarily, this one:
Once upon a time, there was a person, and that person had inside of them a hundred-thousand worlds, filled with people and events; tales of incredible joy and woe. This person, who contained universes beyond count, had a desperate desire to share them with the world. But they hesitated. What if they weren’t any good? What if they shared these stories that they loved so dear, only to have the world sneer at them, turn their noses, proclaim them to be the worst stories ever told? So, in an effort to prevent that, they travelled the world, making a study of stories and how they’re told so that they might be able to learn the craft, learn how to emulate these stories that people told and loved, and make their own just as good. The stories didn’t have to be the best, but they had to be good.
The apprentice story-teller did not find the answers they sought. Only confusion. Each story-teller they encountered cited different things that made a story good.
I am currently editing a manuscript, rather than writing one, but as I sit here writing this post, my cat is pacing back and forth on the ground before the chair, looking up, judging angles and estimating. I know what’s about the happen. He knows, too.
Things are going to get very difficult in just a moment.
As I’m prepping for the release of the serial I’ve written as a freebie to my readers (each chapter will be uploaded on Fridays on my blog once it’s ready to go), I’m struck for the first time in a long time how long a process publishing is. You see, I’ve been away from the scene for a long while now. The pandemic really did a number on me. In less than two years, I lost my job (ah yes, the great furlough), had to move, found a new job, and had to move again. That’s a lot of change in a very short amount of time, and it took me quite a while to adjust and settle.
In that time, I wrote very little. This was not for lack of trying. I wanted to write, but there was nothing coming. I know I’m finally settling in because I was finally able to write again. In the last two years, I managed to finish two manuscripts (the most recent one being the afore-mentioned serial). Both of these manuscripts will have, I hope, a very different publishing journey.
Good aftevenmorn (whensoever you read this article),
When last speaking of video game to series adaptations, I left off one extremely brilliant adaptation. This was for two reasons. The first was that it was an adaptation into an animated series, which means a great deal more improbable things would work due to the medium that made adapting a little easier. The second was, shamefully, I completely forgot it existed.
I’m back at it with the mentions of BookTok, largely in part because this is a (relatively) new-to-me social media site, and I’m still trying to plumb its depths and unravel its mysteries. Right now, all I’ve managed to do is upload a few vids that are largely trying out silly filters and somehow turn my ‘For You Page’ into nothing but Astarion (from the Baldur’s Gate 3 game that was recently released) thirst traps.
You like one funny video…
In any case, I understand that it can be an incredibly powerful tool in getting a readership — which I so desperately need if I have any hope of making any kind of living from my writing. BookTok is such a powerful player in the publishing world that brick-and-mortar stores often have a table near the front door devoted to books that have popped off on the site. Conquering BookTok is now one of the best ways to acquire that much-needed readership.
I’m sure that any reader who follows any writer will have heard the plaintive cries from any one or perhaps all of that author’s social media, pleading for a review. Any review. It doesn’t have to be a good one. Or very involved. For the love of all things good and green in this world, would you please leave a review! You’re probably sick to death of it, actually. Don’t fret, writers are sick to death of asking, as well. Unfortunately, reviews do help, and they’re one of the few things that are actually useful in helping an author out; particularly those of us who are largely unread and struggling to be seen in a very flooded market.
It seems like such a silly thing to be true — that someone’s opinion could matter so much in helping a book and its writer find their place in the world. Surely any other avenue would work, no? Well… perhaps a little, but nothing else has the impact of a review – both individually and as a cumulative effect. Even negative reviews can absolutely help! If ever you’re hesitating to post a review, let me try my best to convince you.
Yes, my motivations are entirely selfish. Shall we?
Hello! Welcome to the end of August (nearly). Where I am, the nights are starting to get cool, and some of the trees have begun their autumnal blush. It is my favourite time of the year, at risk of outing myself as ‘basic.’ It honestly is wonderful. The heat finally leaves. I blame my largely Irish ancestry for my inability to handle the summer temperatures. The night air moves from obnoxious heavy and thick to clear and brisk. As the season progresses, an evening walk will deliver the delightful, homey scent of wood-burning fireplaces, and the sweeter scent and satisfying crunch of fallen leaves. Coats and hats and scarves make an appearance. It’s the perfect weather for a blanket, your favourite warm drink, and a good book.
So much better than summer, in my opinion. I am of the firm opinion that the heat makes people a little nutty. That might be why this summer I’ve been watching from the edges of author and reader social media and watched a couple of writers careen wildly into a good many readers ‘Never Read’ piles. This is not on the weakness of their work, but rather a horrifying flight of their good sense. Two happened quite recently, and I watched from a safe distance (as I hadn’t yet read or reviewed the books in question); both weirdly similar situations, in which authors received a review that was less than absolutely gushing and seemed to lose their minds.
Those following along on my own personal blog know that I am waist-deep into a work in progress that I’ve titled The New Haven Incident. It’s a very silly premise – what if a zombie-style plague created hyper-aggressive fairy-types instead of the walking dead? – but I’m loving the characters trapped in this silly hellscape and I’m having an absolute blast writing it. Ordinarily, I don’t really use any tools to write save for a word processor. This time, however, I opted to give one of the many programmes a go to see if it would help my workflow at all. What a better WIP to try it with than something I’m going to offer free on my blog as a serial? So, after a little bit of research, which includes the phrase ‘free’ because I’m a writer and have no money, I settled on Reedsy.com.
Good… whatever time of day or night you are reading this!
They say those who do not read live but one life. Those who read live thousands.
Reading is one of life’s few, small pleasures. It can also be incredibly frustrating, particularly if you want to share your excitement for any particular tale with the world.
It seems that I am once again seeing discourse floating around the interwebs about books and genres and weird superiority rankings. It’s tired and tiresome, and I can’t believe we are having this discussion again. Really internet? Really?!
Luckily, this time around, it’s nowhere near as vitriolic as the argument has been previously (that I’ve seen thus far), but it seems there there are some really pretentious knobs out there eager to try and elevate themselves by disparaging what others enjoy reading. I just don’t understand that mentality at all.