Month: December 2019
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This is the last blog for 2019!
Busybird is closing tomorrow, Friday 20th December, at 1.00pm, and will reopen Monday, 13th January, at 9.00am.
During the break, we want you to think about your writing.
Did you write the book that you wanted to write in 2019? If so, great! Fantastic! Well done!
Did you contribute a sizeable portion to its development? Excellent! Good on you! Keep it up!
Or did it just sit there, leaving you to think, Oh well – next year I’ll write it.
As a writer it’s important to understand what holds you back from dedicating yourself to your aspiration.
Here’s some things to ponder …
Pitch your book (content) in one or two sentences.
It’s amazing how many people don’t have a clear idea of what they’re going to write before they sit down to write. It’s fine if your content evolves in a different direction as you’re writing – at that point, you need to redefine your understanding of what you’re writing. But you can’t do that until you have an initial idea of what you’re attempting.
What is your market?
Have an idea where your book would fit in the market. You might think it’s trendy to have the first horror-slash-erotic-sci fi-cookbook, but publishers will want to know exactly where it sits, rather than in some nonexistent hybrid genre. As will booksellers. If you can’t place it, it’s unlikely they’ll take the chance.
At least know how you could pitch it specifically. This will also help with the previous point – how you see your content.
Why didn’t you write your book in 2019?
If your answer is that you steadily worked on your book throughout 2019, and keeping up the same pace in 2020 will see it finished, then you have a pass.
If your answer to not being able to write is TIME, then you need to be brutally honest about where that time went.
You can have legitimate reasons: business, kids, dialysis, etc.
But you can also have excuses: watching The Voice, re-upholstering the couch that didn’t need it, or doing anything that could’ve waited.
That sort of behaviour needs to be eliminated.
The Mathematics of Writing.
If you can manage only one hundred words every weekday, that’s five hundred words in one week. That’s two thousand words in one month. That’s twenty-four thousand words in a year.
Now this is using an extreme case where you write very little regularly, but it shows that writing a little daily does add up.
Don’t ever dismiss a little block of time as not enough time to write.
Persevere … Regardless.
Make sure you know when you’re going to write, and stick to that schedule. There will be times you don’t feel like it for whatever reason: tiredness, wrong headspace, lack of inspiration, etc.
Again, these all fall into the realm of excuses.
If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never write a single word.
Think of it like a job: if you were tired, in the wrong headspace, or lacking inspiration, would you stay home from work? Likelier, you’d go and push yourself through the day.
Writing is no different.
If you feel you have shortcomings in your writing, get educated. Go study at a tertiary institution. Or do workshops. Or find a mentor.
All these are options where you’ll be exposed to stimuli that will fast-track your development – development that might otherwise take years, if it happens at all.
A book doesn’t get completed by talking about it. Sometimes, that’s all people do.
It’s understandable if you need research or some other contributing material, but sometimes you just need to sit down and go for it.
Identify whether you can’t go ahead because you need certain information, or if you’re just procrastinating.
Waiting for 2020 is just another excuse.
If you’re serious about writing, why wait?
And don’t forget …
… we’re running our Pitch to Publish competition!
Pitch your book to us and you could win a publishing package worth $12,000!
… the team here at Busybird Publishing would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
See you in 2020!
December 5, 2019
When you read, you hear the narrative in your head.
The voice you hear won’t be the idealised version of your own – you know the one you hear in your head when you’re rehearsing what you’re going to say to somebody? Like if you’re preparing for an argument with an internet provider, or a dispute with a utility over a bill, or a plea to somebody (a partner, a child, a friend) to do something.
It won’t be the author’s actual voice. The bulk of the time, you won’t know what the author sounds like, and have no frame of reference to draw upon. And even if you know the author’s voice – say it’s somebody popular who’s done plenty of interviews and speaking engagements, such as Stephen King – that’s not the voice you hear.
And it’s not some proxy – some voice actor trained for speaking, such as you’d hear in an audiobook, or in a voiceover for a commercial.
It’s the voice of the writing itself: it’s about how the author phrases concepts, how they articulate ideas, how they pace their content, how the content unfolds, etc., and then moves into the abstracts of how the author explores those ideas, the choices they make, and how they interpret and articulate their thoughts – all these are different facets that blend together to produce a voice that is distinctly the author’s own.
Think of music as an analogy. The band Chicago produces a certain sound, while Bon Jovi produces another, Lady Gaga another, and so on. If a song comes on the radio you’ve never heard before, you may get an idea who the artist is by the song’s sound. This is often the case, regardless of the sort of song it is, or how the singer sings it.
The band Queen has ballads, pop songs, hard rock, etc., but you can always identify them as Queen. In their classic, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the music and Freddy Mercury alternates from this haunting ballad, to an operatic interlude, to heavy rock, but the music is always distinctly Queen, and the vocals are always distinctly Freddy Mercury.
The same applies to authors, regardless what they’re writing or how they experiment. Stephen King’s known for supernatural horror, but has also written psychological horror (Misery, Gerald’s Game), fantasy (The Eye of the Dragon), and urban fantasy/western (The Dark Tower series), but the voice is always identifiable as Stephen King.
How YOU write produces a voice. How well you write and achieve what you’re attempting defines how good that voice is, and how sharp and clear it sounds in a reader’s head. You’re not always successful. Established bands still release albums that don’t do well. Well-known filmmakers still make bombs. And authors can still release books that don’t work – sometimes, it’s just by a matter of the smallest margin, but it’s enough.
What’s important is that you always strive for something to be the best it can be.
And you always strive to be YOU.
Voice is arguably the last thing writers develop, because it’s the concentration of everything else.
But it’s the most important, because it’s a representation of you as a writer, and the way you uniquely identify and portray yourself.
Your voice matters.