I become a better writer, storyteller and editor with each story I write. So that leads to the question: Do I regret/hate/cringe at my early works? Answer: Yeah, kinda sometimes. But I still have them up for sale.
To look back on one’s work and cringe is a mark of improvement. Whether it be advancing in a craft or as a person. It means I’ve come a long way, in a good way. It means that my subsequent works will be better in some way. If I just keep churning them out until I eventually create that masterpiece I aim for. But to look at current works, I must look back on my old works to critique.
My first publication was Feet or Fins. My mermaid horror. It came out on the 31st of May 2013. This was after I finished my time at UoMelb and realised that I was 23 with nothing to my name. I was a writer with no work. I have to get something out. I think I did almost everything, not wrong, but not quite right. If you know what I mean. So far, it’s my only novel, just barely, though. Just under 51k and has too many POVs for a first-time novel. I did over 13 full book edits, and I remember on my third edit, everything seemed wrong to the point that I rewrote it. Maybe it was the tense? I can’t remember. It’s currently on its 4th cover, and as of last year, I had gone over it again to fix even more errors that I found. God. It really was a learning curve and proof that if I had the sense I do now, I would not have published it until more brutal alterations. But ultimately, I don’t regret publishing this. This little baby has given me much practical experience.
My 2nd work, My Cousin Megan, came out just a year later. A contemporary YA novelette that is Australian in feel. This is a bit more cringy for me because I can feel my teenage angst about living in a country town seep from its pages. Can remember much about writing this. Don’t know why, though. It is also the first story I published overseas.
Thirdly was From the Mountian, a sci-fi short story. It came out just before my 27th birthday. This was a time when I was writing a lot. And I mean a lot. I couldn’t believe how productive I was. It, too, has gone through a few cover changes. I’m thinking that I haven’t found the right image for it yet.
Two months later, The Beau Factor was released, though it had a different name – The Back-up Girl. Unfortunately, the name didn’t suit it. This story was just under 30k and is a YA tale about a girl who’s crushing on her neighbour.
I didn’t publish anything for a year until I got the inspiration for The Witch Room. A short story about two sisters travelling to a witch’s commune seeking help. It’s medieval fiction, and I created the story around a scene that popped into my head randomly at work. The new ebook cover I created in Canva has greatly helped with sales.
In 2019 I published The Things We Do and Sauska (previously called Save One). From memory, I have been working on these for at least a year prior. Both novellas are dystopian, but Sauska is YA and Things is not. I have changed both covers; time will tell if that was a good idea.
Next was my pandemic tales. The Dragon’s Mate at 23k and Matt and Rose at 14k. Both were published in the later half of 2020. Matt and Rose is the first story where I had the main character be a male. I need to do more marketing for these, so I plan to do so later in the year.
My last and most recent publication is Becoming Stardust. This short story is the prequel beginning of the longest sci-fi story I have written. All up, the book will be 120k words, and I had intended it to be published next year. But that’s not going to happen. The novel will need a lot of work, and at the moment, I do not have the time to invest in it, though I have gotten a few good reviews.
Well, 2021 passed with nothing, which might be the case with 2022 unless I produce something. But I’m hoping to push something through. I feel like I’m going through a new season of my life, and maybe when I return to Australia, my brain will change. But who knows?
In 2020 I arrived in Utrecht with Chris just in time for their lockdown. I didn’t have a job and couldn’t get one until I got my residence permit. Something I did in by August. So for the first time in years, I had 24 hrs of free time day after day after day.
I wanted to use this time to write many stories. But I didn’t. From memory I had burnout and forcing myself to write was slow and arduous. But somehow I managed to churn out two stories.
First came the novella at 23k. It’s a medieval fantasy story about a wizard’s apprentice and woodcutter’s daughter coming together to try and stop their king from owning a dragon. The second story is 16k and it’s a contemporary supernatural tale about a man who wakes from a car crash following a disturbing dream. It is also my first story where the main character is male. Something I’ve not really done before.
Both of these stories I came up with during 2020 and I was able to write them up to completion and publication within maybe six months for both of them. I didn’t work on them constantly. But I can’t quite remember how long I waited between the two. I know I was brainstorming other story ideas and such.
I’m proud of what I produced that year. I think it speaks about how determined I can be. It was also a lower year for me. I also think back and wonder if I was in higher spirits would I have produced more? But the time has passed and now it’s today.
I have decided what my next writing project is. I’ve currently titled it Garden City Variety or GCV for short. It was an idea I came up with in mid-2020, but I did nothing with it because it was only in its embryo stage. In the years since I’ve occasionally added to it and somewhere along the way I started writing it. Originally it was going to have one main POV but now I’ve expanded it into three main characters.
The story is from three sisters who are stuck in a city that is stifled by a pandemic. I know right. How original. I drew inspiration from my surroundings. Well, anyway, the pandemic isn’t the focus but the background. The focus is on how the sisters deal with a crazed ex who’s been altered by a rare side effect of the virus.
I think it’ll be a novella, but with three separate storylines, it might end up as a short novel. We’ll see. I’m making this my project of the moment and will work on it until completion. Or at least I intend to. In the last month or so I’ve noticed my memory and attention span get quite shitty. Or what I think is shitty compared to what I think it should be.
Anyway, GCV will be what gets me back into writing and self-publishing after about a year plus of nothing. I’ve already created the ebook cover.
Came across this little gem of a writing vlog and it spoke to me so much.
Before I turned 30, I had the goal of 10 stories published. While I didn’t achieve it, I still hit that number before my 31st birthday.
So what was next?
As I write this, I can’t remember. And I’m too lazy to go back and check what I wrote about it. However, in the last month, I have been making myself think and decide on a goal for the rest of the year. There are five months left in 2022 and I’m going to make it count.
So I think my end-of-year goals will be;
- Self-publish one story.
- Have a completed first draft of a second story.
- Have the plan for a third story (mostly completed).
I’ve got a few ideas from back in 2020 that I still need to get around to. So maybe they can be the other stories. But I also have this one little gem from the beginning of this year that I’ve started.
Since buying Grammarly I’ve seen how much it improves my writing. It made me think that I should go back and go over my old stories. This is the first story I’ve gone over. I figured a short story would be perfect. I found that I have a lot of issue with commas. Like where to put them or that I need to add them. Anyway, I went through the story and fixed many things. And I figured that since I was updating the manuscript, I should update the book cover. So I hop onto Canva and create a free cover by just adding the sketch drawing of the seaside cliff, the circle and adding a transparent vignette over the teal background. I’m surprised that I was able to put something together so quickly.
I also changed the name from The Witch’s Room to The Witch Room as I thought it sounded better. I updated the blurb and decided to celebrate this event I’ll make the short story free on Smashwords for a month. The coupon code is XG79P. I would really appreciate it if anyone who downloaded a copy would leave a review.
So I went and bought the premium version of Grammarly last night. I figured that since I want to go over all my work and revamp it, I should invest in some quality help (but on a budget). Well, if I had any inkling that there were parts I should improve on, I now have confirmation. Red and blue underlines everywhere. Makes me wonder how I managed to string two words together, let alone two sentences without sounding like a mess.
Here’s a joke. How do you show an impressionable writer with 10 years of writing experience that thinks they are somewhat decent, they’re actually still just a novice?
I’m dreading going back over Feet or Fins. Anyway, this one novella I’m working on, I can’t go a paragraph without at least three issues. Well the only way to fix them is to fix them. After my initial shock, I started going through the suggestions and saw that they kind of made sense. Sentence fragments, commas and the need the re-write bits and pieces.
Just goes to show that thinking up a story isn’t the same as expressing it well in the written form.