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Messages - sennydreadful

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Does Size Matter?
« on: November 23, 2016, 11:21:53 AM »
I'm partial to bigger books, just because they give me a bigger chance to immerse myself, but I definitely agree that quality isn't directly related to size.

I'd also like more stand alones, but I bet we're a hard customer, asking for a stand alone and then when that's done saying "but I really loved that world/character, please give me more of that!!!" :D

I think the big size of fantasy books tends to be due to the writer indulging in world-building, giving it priority over the actual story
Hmmm I'm not sure about this. It can be, yes, but sometimes the extra length is just due to the author going on plot tangents, or rather 'story tangents', that could be deleted without affecting the main story - not necessarily linked to the world.

In my experience (in reading and also as a writer guilty of monstrous books) epic fantasy novels tend to be weighty because they often have multiple PoV characters - when you have multiple character journeys to present, the page count goes up :)

Writers' Corner / Re: Nanowrimo 2016
« on: November 01, 2016, 03:08:54 PM »
I won't have time to Nano this year (in the middle of editing The Ninth Rain, woop woop!) but having done it a few times in the past, I wrote a little blog post with survival tips. Which may or may not be helpful.  :)


Writers' Corner / Re: Editors - any advice?
« on: October 20, 2016, 03:11:39 PM »
Hi Ms. Dreadful!
I have heard others speak very highly of your work, and appreciate you answering Jmack's summons. I have not yet read your books, but they're on my TBR list, which is still shiny and new after Jmack built it for me in a desperate bid to update me to the modern age. I'm 4 books into it? I forget. I am currently following Locke Lamorra through his lies at the moment.

I share your sensitivity about people seeing your work before it's ready for prime-time, but I draw the line further out. My writing experience has been very social with teams of 3 to 30 all working together, and I draw the line at the customer, which now means publishers and agents.

Your advice is good, and I was very specific with my editor and laid out my objectives. Her response: "That is EXACTLY what I do." Her cost was competitive with similar services elsewhere. She's very qualified and has edited works discussed here on several occasions, and garnered reviews and accolades from  authors she has helped. So I am hopeful and optimistic that she and I will be able to move my novel forward. Also I am playing a long game (I hope) and trying to establish a good editor relationship earlier than I need one. Did you go through multiple editors before you found Mr./Mrs. Right?

I learned some years ago that I am an idea machine, but my ideas range from horrendously bad to distinctively innovative and compelling - and having a partner to help me toss out the bad is more useful for me than I can communicate.

If you have any other advice on working with an editor, I am all ears.

Hi! Well I have been incredibly lucky with editors, which is handy, because in traditional publishing, unless you're  Stephen King or J. K. Rowling, your editor chooses you rather than the other way around ;) My first editor was a chap called John Wordsworth, who was a commissioning editor at the time at Headline - my agent sent him the MS for The Copper Promise and he became it's champion. John really understood what I was doing with that book and editing with him was a joy, involving many excitable phone calls and emails (it helped that John is possibly one of the loveliest people in publishing). Eventually though he left Headline, and since then I have worked with two more editors, who have both been fantastic - enthusiastic and sharp and utterly efficient. And lovely. Headline really are fabulous.

Unless you have some sort of enormous conflict with your editor, authors generally don't get to demand a new one - and it's not something I would recommend. Generally, if you're really butting heads, that's something your agent will step in and smooth over. Thankfully I've never been in a million miles of such a thing happening, but I have heard of incidents...

Further advice-wise, there was something I thought of while I was writing my blog post on editing. When you get your editorial letter (summarising all the things that might need changing) it's sometimes possible to feel a bit bummed out, because by its very nature it will be listing things that need work, or stuff that doesn't quite hang together. Usually I sulk a little bit, and when I first get it I can feel very resistant to changing anything. So my advice is: give yourself some time to absorb it, go and eat your favourite comfort food, and then when you come back everything will seem much more reasonable. :)

Writers' Corner / Re: Editors - any advice?
« on: October 20, 2016, 09:32:51 AM »
Summoning @sennydreadful. Do you have a moment to suggest things for Gem_Cutter?

GC, if you haven't met Sennydreadful (aka Jen Williams), she's a published author of wonderful adventurous fantasy novels whom most on F-F adore for her books and her incredible penmanship, er, friendliness, er, yeah. Personhood.  :-[  ;D

Hello! *waves*

I'm not sure how helpful my experience will be here - my work with editors has always come after the first draft is finished. In truth, my editor only sees the book on the second or even third draft, because I have a huge aversion to anyone seeing my rough work... Before being published by Headline, I had no experience of working with editors at all, relying on my own critical eye and the critical eyeballs of beta readers. And I'm too skint to pay anyone ;)

To be honest, with what you're seeking here, it does sound like you would get the same, or more appropriate, help from a writing group or even a creative writing course. Now, I don't have experience with either of those things either (woe, I am such a solitary writer) but everything I've heard from colleagues suggests that they can be massively helpful, if you're open to it.

As Cupiscent said below, there are no shortcuts with writing, and sometimes it just takes a really bloody long time. You wrestle with a book for years, you have to fight your way through, etc. I suspect at this stage an editor will be giving you a range of potential solutions - and if that's what you want, then that's fine. Just bear in mind you may still end up wrestling with the thing for a while yet.  :D I think, judging from your previous posts, you're pretty certain this is the path you want to take anyway, and in that case: be clear with the editor up front what you want, and how much it might cost you. And good luck!

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books
« on: October 19, 2016, 02:06:04 PM »
Oh how lovely! Always brilliant to see my books in a library :D

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books
« on: October 19, 2016, 10:40:07 AM »
I had to read some little bits of Winnie-the-pooh for work the other week, and I was totally charmed by it. Much funnier than I was expecting!

Wait. What? @sennydreadful, say it ain't so!
You should be living the high life off Copper, Iron and Silver royalties!
Er, what is your day job?

Ha! I wish  ;) I work as a copywriter in my day job, so still writing - it just involves fewer dragons and taverns, unfortunately. The good news is, I mainly write copy about books! :D

Writers' Corner / Re: Sharing Your Writing Process
« on: October 19, 2016, 10:35:26 AM »
currently obsessed with spreadsheets
Hurrah for spreadsheets! :D

I would never have guessed it, but they have really helped. I have a 'rough info' spreadsheet, where I have splurged everything I know about book 2, a 'main plotlines' sheet where I've tidied it all up, and a 'beat sheet', uh, sheet, where everything is reduced to bare-bones story beats. Whether it helps the next book get written is another thing, of course...

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Miscellaneous Musings about Books
« on: October 19, 2016, 10:32:28 AM »
I had to read some little bits of Winnie-the-pooh for work the other week, and I was totally charmed by it. Much funnier than I was expecting!

Writers' Corner / Re: Sharing Your Writing Process
« on: October 19, 2016, 10:25:10 AM »
I wrote a little series of blog posts on how I go about writing, which seem appropriate for this thread. :D In truth, my approach seems to change a little bit with every book (currently obsessed with spreadsheets for the planning of the sequel to The Ninth Rain) so it could all be different again when I come to the first draft.





The posts are pretty long, but I've added pictures of She-Ra and friends to break it up a bit.

It's tricky, isn't it?  ;) Certainly when I wrote the books I considered Sebastian, Frith and Wydrin to all be equal protagonists, with their own journeys and conflicts etc. However, feedback from readers has suggested that most people think of Wydrin as the lead, and from there it might be easy to see Seb as the sidekick – at least partly because he's the 'straight man' (the irony) to her roguish character.

So in conclusion, I don't know. As the writer, I am happy for readers to think whatever they like  ;D

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Mothers in Fantasy
« on: September 20, 2016, 09:26:20 AM »
Wow, Ryan :o

Time goes and I struggle to identify with younger heroes.
Funny you should say this, because I feel the same and there's 20 years between us, hehe
But sometimes I wonder if it's simply about the age, or rather more about the types of struggles they face: a recent example was Pratchett's Tiffany Aching, who was only 9 but I loved hehe

I think the key is for the writer to be able to maintain the parental relationship without restraining the main character (like so many of you have mentioned).
I have to say I loved Wydrin and her mum, because of this: both strong characters in their own right, Devinia was a "normal" support character in the story without stopping doing stuff that mums usually do ;D

The main thing Devinia does of course, which is the most Mum thing possible, is wind Wydrin up something chronic. ;)

Honestly, I think killing off parents, or having absent parents, is like any other writing trope - if the writer is good enough, of course it works. What would Fitz's story be like, without the shadowy memory of his mother, or the father he didn't know? Fitz's absent parents are enormously significant to the character and the story.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Mothers in Fantasy
« on: September 19, 2016, 09:40:38 AM »
Hm, from my own library it was the opposite! But they both die a lot indeed and YMMV. Adding insult to injury, I offed a lot of parents in my own WIP too  ::)

The Copper Cat -->
Spoiler for Hiden:
Wydrin's mother is alive, father presumably dead. Sebastian's mother is alive, no mention of father. Frith's parents are offed.
F:2, M:1

Since I'm here... ;)

Spoiler for Hiden:
Some extra details: Wydrin's father, Pete Threefellows, was lost at sea and presumed dead. Sebastian's father died before he was expelled from the Ynnsmouth knights, but his mother still lives in their old home (which leads to one of my favourite scenes in The Iron Ghost). Frith's mother died of an illness some time before his home was attacked and his family tortured to death.

Wydrin's mother, Devinia the Red, is a main character in the third book, at least partly because it bothered me how few older women turn up in fantasy books - specifically as characters in their own right and not just as catalysts for the behaviour of male characters. The Silver Tide also includes Wydrin's 'nan', Augusta. Who is tough as old boots.

We're guilty of killing off parents a lot, it's true. It's a handy way to sever ties with the main character's past, to make it easier for them to head off to the big explodey mountain and destroy that ring (were Frodo's parents dead? I can't remember...) I think with fantasy it's also a little nod to its folklore and fairytale roots - mums and dads were very often either bad or dead in those stories.

^ That book is really really good (and a stand-alone). Trust me, he's one of my favourite authors that actually nobody ever mentions in fantasy, I don't know why (me included), beause it's "literary humour" fantasy.
I think all you writers out there would love his Thursday Next books (starting with The Eyre Affair).

And my copy's cover is much better ;D

I saw Jasper Fforde when he was GOH at Bristolcon and immediately developed a crush. He is lovely, clever, and very funny indeed.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: August 25, 2016, 09:29:47 PM »
Aww thank you very much Lanko, I am very pleased you enjoyed it!  ;D The Iron Ghost was a tough book for me to write, and so I am extra pleased when people like it. All that blood and sweat wasn't wasted!

Introductions / Re: How did you find us?
« on: August 23, 2016, 09:21:11 AM »
I didn't realize how many of my favorite authors are affiliated with this clan of fantasy writer-reader-warrior-poets. If I had, well, perhaps I'd have put on a tie :)
@The_Gem_Cutter, they don't mind ;) - I'm writing this in my pjs, and I bet Jen Williams (our @sennydreadful) or Mark Lawrence also don't wear ties when reading the forums ;D

(and if you haven't read their books, go do it NOW!!! Honestly, they're the best, in very different ways)

Me reading the forum right now

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