I thought it might be helpful to have a simple title for the first post of my website (can you believe it, I'll look back after years and years and know that this was either the beginning of something special or I'll have totally forgotten about it, my money's on the latter). Deciding it might be useful to start collecting thoughts I have had along the way in my journey to become an author with a strong collection of works under my belt (even if never publish any of them), I opened this blog.
The picture you're hit with as you open the website (seriously, why are you here?) is Bar Beach in Newcastle, Australia, the first place I happened to find myself in when I moved here in late January 2020, in the before-time. It's a beautiful place, but one of many in this beautiful country. I suppose there's a metaphor in there somewhere, but someone smarter than me can figure it out.
Here, you'll find my thoughts on recent writing skills I'm trying to develop, books I'm reading, excerpts from drafts (even though I've been told this is perhaps a little risky) and other things that involve the craft of writing and my travels in that craft.
As a start, I suppose I should talk about beginnings - beginning a novel is the most important step that you can take, and you don't even have to start at the first page. What I ended up doing is pushing aside those thousands of listicles and articles about "Ten Best Ways to Start Your Novel" and "Killer Hooks for The Next Bestseller" that thousands of other blogs just like mine have written. Look, I understand the impulse (and I realise I'm doing the exact same thing here, to an extent, in writing a refutation of those articles): everyone is looking for an easy pill, a quick way to success. I can say with some confidence (though I hold out hope that eventually someone on r/betareaders or r/fantasywriters will see my blurbs and message me asking for a manuscript) that writing is damn hard.
Anyway, segue over: begin with a scene that seems to leap off your mind's eye - or if you have aphantasia, leap off your fingers. A scene that sets the tone for the rest of the book. For my first novel, that was the transformation scene where my main character undergoes his excruciatingly agonising (sorry for the Australian English, US readers) metamorphosis into a demon. As it should be, especially for a dark fantasy my moody self decided to write last year after a bout of depression. Take your trope log-line and your mashed together "Eragon meets Gilmore Girls" and just write the scene you're most excited to see. Even if you decide not to include it in your novel, and least you've written something.
And you can never publish nothing (unless, oh Zeus, I've got all wrong?).