13 Sep

27 Feb 2016 – Linterview’s Mission

27 February 2016 – Linterview’s Mission

I am a self-published author of three books, Making HeadlinesHow I Learnt to Stop Missing England and Love the Herring or A Decade in Sweden, and Let Go. I am also one of the writers in the Keyhole Stories project, which has launched two anthologies Keyhole Stories and Dead Ends. I have also released Think Inside the Box, a collection of short stories written for creative writing class assignments. My short story Untouchable was published in Two Thirds North 2017 and my poem Typewriter was published in Aesthetica Magazine’s Creative Writing Annual 2018. There are many good websites that offer advice to authors and I do not want to repeat information or claim that my advice is any better than what is currently out there. What I intend to do is to relay my writing processes, describe in detail what it has taken me to write my stories, and some advice on how to get your work out there. I am not claiming to be a best-selling author (I wish!) and I am not claiming to be better or know more than anyone else. My blogs will simply reflect my experiences, and if this information helps other authors out there then that’s great. If it doesn’t help then I can only apologise and suggest you find other methods that work for you.

13 Sep

How do you deal with being rejected by agents or publishers?

13 September 2018 – How do you deal with being rejected by agents or publishers?

It’s never easy to receive a rejection
by an agent or publisher.
There are varying degrees of rejection and I almost every piece I have written has been rejected in some way or another. I submittedLet Goto as many agents and publishers as I could, and kept track of each response in a spreadsheet (which sounds nerdy but I really recommend it, especially if you are submitted different stories or poetry to agents at the same time). The first category is the no answerand I usually declare a submission a no answer after six months. These are perhaps easier to deal with because you are left in limbo. Let Gogot a fair share of these non-responses. The second category is the straight no without comment. Let Gogot a fair share of this response and it’s just about moving onto the next submission when this happens. The third category is we like this butLet Gogot some of these answers including “we’re a small publisher and can’t take this on”, “we took on a book on the same theme and it didn’t sell so no thanks” and “this is better than most of the stuff we receive here but I’m afraid we can’t take it on”. You can only be encouraged when you get these replies because it lets you know they have read your work. However, I got one agent who replied: “We didn’t like Let Go. We didn’t like the style of it and couldn’t connect with the main protagonist”. They went on to say more negative things about it, which also lets you know that they had read my work. How did I deal with this type of rejection? Well, I believed Let Gowas, and still is, one of my best works to date, and this attitude can really get you through a tough rejection. If someone doesn’t like what you have written then they can find something else that they do like. So long as you believe what you have written is good, then that’s all that counts at the end of the day.

Sometimes it is hard to pick out the successful submissions from the plethora of rejections. When my poem Typewriter got accepted by Aesthetica Magazine, I had got so used to dumping rejections in the recycle bin that I missed the success email until the penny dropped. I had seen word successful hadn’t I? So I dug out the email to make sure, and was beside myself. So my advice is just to keep plugging away and believe what you are writing is good. If you doubt your own work then go back to it and improve it before you are sure you want to submit it.

 

04 Feb

4 February 2017 – What phrases do you tend to avoid and why?

4 February 2017 – What phrases do you tend to avoid and why?

I think every phrase has a time and place, and if used at the right time and in the right place, then every phrase should be left in the author’s toolbox. I said in an earlier post that the word “suddenly” is ok but is not to be overused. It depends on the situation and the sentence in question.

The phrases that I try to avoid tend to be ambiguous phrases that the reader has to really work at to be able to figure them out. For example:

“Follow me,” he said in a soft tone.

What is a soft tone? If it is a whisper then write whisper. Is the person speaking at a volume that is between a whisper and speaking normally? It’s not so obvious. Then, you have to ask yourself the question: why is he speaking in a soft tone? What could be the reason? If there is a context surrounding speaking softly, then it’s fair enough. An alternative to this phrase could be:

“Follow me,” he said, speaking softly.

You would still have to ask the question as to why the man is speaking softly.

“Follow me,” he said, speaking softly as to not be overheard.

Then you might as well write whisper, right?

“Follow me,” said the man softly but audibly.

This one is better but what could be the reason for half-whispering?

“Follow me,” the man said softly, trying to avoid attention.

“Follow me,” the man said softly, trying to keep the conversation private.

“Follow me, and I’ll tell you everything,” the man said softly, keeping the gossip between them.

Another phrase that crops up from time to time is “leaned in”. For example:

“The man leaned into the conversation in order to hear better.”

This is ok. However:

“The man leaned in for a hug and got a kiss as a bonus.”

Do you really need to add the description of “leaning in” for a kiss? Don’t humans already do this as part of hugging? Consider this instead:

“The man hugged the woman and got a kiss as a bonus.”

The word “hugged” already paints a picture of the action, so “leaned in” becomes redundant.

24 Apr

24 April 2016 – How do you keep yourself writing?

24 April 2016 – How do you keep yourself writing?

It can be said that there are days where I get nothing done due to other commitments. I can’t keep a dedicated schedule of waking up at 7 a.m. and writing until 3 p.m. like famous authors can. However, I do try to write something every day even if it is just 500 words or some editing. I find I can keep writing in some shape or form. I have been asked before how I keep my motivation going at a high pace, and I will write down what I said to those people. Two work colleagues, one in the UK and one in Sweden, died at tender ages due to cancer. Although I can’t claim to have been best friends with them, I can say that their deaths brought my own mortality to light. It created the drive and the reason I needed to do anything, not just write books. Nobody is born with a best before date stamped on the underside of their feet, and therefore nobody knows when the Grim Reaper will catch up with them. Therefore, I feel it is important to achieve what I want to achieve in this life and do it before Mr Reaper has a chance. People who have passed on too soon might have not had the chance to achieve what they wanted to achieve, and if I waste a day by doing nothing, a day my deceased colleagues would have liked to have had, then it feels I am doing them a great disservice. I find this keeps me writing and pushes me to accomplish achievements.

05 Apr

5 April 2016 – Is it wise to write a book with a target audience in mind?

soap-1417687-638x4785 April 2016 – Is it wise to write a book with a target audience in mind?

No. This is only my own personal opinion but I don’t believe you should write a book with the intention to hit the big time. You will do yourself a disservice by writing something that doesn’t come from within, or in other words – you’ll be called a sell-out. You should always concentrate on writing the story you want to write and stick to your guns. If you finish writing your novel, and you are 100% happy with it, then that’s all that counts. If you are receiving rejection letters from agents and publishers with your gold bar of a book then don’t be too disheartened. J.K. Rowling and several other authors got rejected too, and if you get to the end of your tether with agents and publishers, then at least there is always the self-publishing option. If you try to write the next Harry Potter, or the next Gone Girl, then you’ll most likely run into problems in quite a few areas. Use your influences wisely – don’t copy them! I also don’t like the word “brand” when authors, or anyone else involved in artistic virtues, describe their works as a type of brand. It makes it sound as if I have created something that washes underpants like washing detergent or soap. Brand makes it sound as if the story or book you have just written will be the forerunner to anything else you may write in the future, and this, in my opinion, will pigeon-hole and typecast you as “that author who writes horror” and only horror. Stephen King has said in his book On Writing that he never defined himself as a horror writer or any type of writer specific to a genre – other people did that. Having said that, it could be said that you will write in a certain style and this is fine, but some of the best authors surprise us and keep surprising us by being different.