Sarah Potter Writes

Pursued by the Muses of prose and poetry

Archive for the tag “fantasy”

#NaNoWriMo 2017: Two Winners In One Household!

Yay! We did it. My son Joshua and I managed to write the opening 50,000 words of our novels between November 1-30 during National Novel Writing Month 2017. This was the first time either of us had participated in NaNoWriMo, but we both felt the urge to do something that stretched us to the limit.

At one stage I was about a week behind with my word count and thought I wouldn’t make it, so had to do some mad 3,000 plus sprints per day to catch up.

Joshua managed to be more consistent in his progress but was a bit erratic in updating his word count on the NaNoWriMo website, so his final stats and graph looked a bit strange, which is why he wanted me to post mine and not his. In case you are wondering who Wolery Wol is, that is one of my online author usernames/pen-names.

My novel, which will probably end up at about 75,000 words in length, was inspired by a short story I wrote way back, titled The Parable Teller, so this is what I chose as my working title during NaNoWriMo but ir won’t end up as my final title as it is no longer suitable. This, my sixth novel, was intended as an exercise in shutting off that pedantic inner editor and recapturing that creative energy and dynamism that went with writing my first novel years ago. It worked, but doesn’t mean that I will skimp on the editing during revision 1, 2, 3, 4, or however many it takes.

When I started the novel I thought it was science fiction, but after writing the first three chapters, it dawned on me that it wasn’t science fiction but mainstream satire, which happens to be set at an unspecified time in the future (think Ben Elton meets Jonas Jonasson). In fact, it is possible that I have never written true science fiction, or true fantasy for that matter.

[Thank you, Bob Shaw for your book How to Write Science Fiction, which has been lurking on my bookshelf since 1993, and became my only reading material throughout November. It would have saved me from a lot of marketing problems, if I had read your book properly in the first place. Next on the list is Writing Fantasy Fiction by Sarah LeFanu, on my shelf since 1996].

My enlightenment has proved a liberation, as I am now free to embrace my quirkiness without the strictures of rigid genre.

My son’s novel is his first, although he has written plenty of short stories (you can read one of them here), plus he has a BA in History, English and Creative Writing. He likes to write fantasy: real fantasy, unlike his mother! His novel, which also has a working title that he intends to change, will end up much longer than mine and sounds potentially epic.

Lastly, I want to award my husband a medal for his patience and encouragement throughout November. It must be hard enough for anyone living with one NaNoWriMo maniac for a month, but to live with two, you have to be some kind of saint.

Poll: Which Book Should I Publish Next?

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Okay, I need some help focusing here. The time-gobbling monster has already eaten January and is threatening to eat February, too.

First, before I go any further, it’s time to get something off my chest. I’m not sick of indie publishing but I am sick of trying to sell novels to children and young adults. On the plus side, I have some fabulous loyal adult readers, many of whom have read both Desiccation and Noah Padgett and the Dog-People and given me a heap of positive feedback. This has led me to believe that I don’t write the sort of novels that most people under the age of 18 want to read, but ones that their parents and grandparents want to read instead. Yes, my novels contain elements of fantasy and science fiction, but no, they’re not about wizards, vampires, paranormal romance, spaceships with lasers blazing (or whatever lasers do).

sarah-potters-quirky-novels

This leads me on to my next point: even if I publish a novel specifically for adults, it could still deviate from the expectations that die-hard fans of a particular genre might have.

I had considered writing a genre-bending novel, as it fits into the bracket of quirky and yet has an identifiable market. With that in mind, I decided to read Jane Austen’s  Pride and Prejudice and then carry out a textual comparison between it and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and the Zombies. The trouble was that I loved the original so much that I couldn’t get past the first few chapters of the zombie version, which I hated. Maybe if I hadn’t read the original, then I might have seen it differently. Certainly it made the New York Times best seller list. I don’t have a problem with zombie books per se, having read some excellent ones. I just don’t like ones that would make Jane Austen turn in her grave (no apologies for the pun), although I do acknowledge that some of her writing is quite witty. Maybe one day I might bring myself to write a novel based on a classic novel but not so that it follows the original text word-for-word in places; otherwise, what’s the point in having worked hard to develop a voice of my own?

I’ve written five novels in all, leaving three unpublished as yet. The fifth one, my speculative fiction novel Counting Magpies, I intend to submit to publishers after a further edit, as I’ve identified some new small press publishers that didn’t exist a couple of years ago but are looking for quirky novels. There are plenty of successful hybrid authors, who have both indie and traditionally published novels, so why not me?

Now to ask you, my wonderful blog followers and visitors, readers or potential readers, which book I should indie publish next. In other words, which would you be most likely to buy, if any at all? To help answer this, I would really appreciate it if you could take part in the poll and/or comment with some constructive feedback. I’m at a bit of a crossroads and am not sure which direction to take just now.

 

Goodreads Giveaway: Noah Padgett and the Dog-People

NPDP ebook_imageFrom today, for a fortnight, I’m running a Goodreads Giveaway, which means that one lucky person has the chance of winning a paperback copy of my newly published novel, Noah Padgett and the Dog-People.

The Giveaway ends at midnight on September 28, but don’t leave it to the last moment. Enter the draw now, before you forget.

This novel is aimed at anyone aged 10-18+, so you might like to win a copy either for yourself or for a child you know.

I hope that dog-lovers in particular will love this quirky and exciting adventure story, which I had such fun writing.

To enter the Giveaway, click here.

Countdown to Publication Day: The Proof Copy

NPDP Proof copy

Lest my dear blogging friends are feeling somewhat neglected of late, I’ve been lost in another dimension ruled by Canis sapiens.

This has made a change from fighting giant inter-dimensional woodlice (pill bugs) in a girls boarding school, as in my science fantasy novel Desiccation.

Please bear with me a little longer, while I finish checking through the proof copy of Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, which is an upper-middle grade crossover children’s  fantasy novel.

It’s quirky, of course!

Recently, when I suggested it was time that I wrote something straight-genre and non-quirky,  a few people reacted along the lines of  “being normal is just not you“. I’m hoping they meant this as a compliment.

Under acknowledgements in my canine novel, it says, “Thank you to my husband, Victor, for designing the book cover and surviving the experience”. In fact we only had one argument (not that heated) about the choice of font and its size; especially the latter, when it started out too small to read easily as an online thumbnail image.

My official launch will be in the early part of September. I will confirm the date shortly, plus whet your appetites with a preview of the blurb.

Time-hop: 1967, the year when an elite boarding school went to hell #science fiction #fantasy

Andy’s eyes turned a piercing black. He picked up the guitar — Samantha’s dreaded electric guitar — and held it above his head, a warrior brandishing his weapon. To his right, one of the Three Graces stood poised, her skirt halfway up her thighs and a bass guitar in her hands. To his left stood another of the Graces, her arms raised and her fingers spread like the talons of a descending eagle over an electronic keyboard. Behind him, the most butch of the girls sat twirling polished wooden sticks behind a set of drums.

Desiccation (excerpt ch 23) 

Click here, to find out more

May’s Guest Storyteller, Cybele Moon

Cybele (L) & daughter

Cybele (L) & daughter

Not all who wander are lost” – or have attention deficit disorder

By her own words Cybele Moon is a somewhat introverted but passionate traveler in many realms, seeking old bones and philosopher’s stones, – and other such treasures! History, astronomy, and paleontology have been among her interests.

She loves to wander off the beaten path in search of adventure and is a great friend of  Murphy who states “when all else fails, read the instructions” — or in this case refer to the map. Just ask her daughter, the navigator and keeper of time, who, by the way, is a grand travel companion and never misses a train.

She was an English Lit major in college way back when, and has always had a fervent love for the written word. At the same time she also enjoys photography and so began a quest to create visions and tales that complement each other.

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An Extract from Niamh’s dream journey (Tales of the Tuatha)

Niamh's path of dreams

She had followed the stag down from the knock until it disappeared into the grove. The people of the Sidhe were near. She could feel them as Aine’s red mare climbed the hill, spreading her bright cloak across the star scattered sky and the trees below. For a few moments there was silence before the sweep of light awoke the birds to their exaltation. The sacred spring was deep in the forest and any who drank from it were granted great wisdom. Not all had the eyes to see it, but she was, after all, a daughter of the Tuatha.

beacon streamsmall

As she followed the way deeper into the woodland, Niamh became confused. She looked at Etain’s map. So, was it right or left at the tree by the little stream? Something was definitely wrong and nothing looked familiar. Should she go back to the beginning? She untied the small pouch on her belt that contained  her dreams to make sure she wasn’t confusing one with another, but the purse slipped out of her fingers. All the dreams spilled out onto the path and went spinning backward into the soft curve of the early morning mist. “Now I’ve done it!” she thought.

She retrieved one that had rolled up against a tree. This as going to be very troublesome she thought as she held onto it tightly. There had been nine dreams in the pouch including the one that had begun her quest in the early morning light — and still no spring was in sight! She didn’t even think she could find her way back to the mound, and she couldn’t return without her dreams! How could she have been so clumsy?

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As she searched the thicket she suddenly found herself standing by a shining lagoon. Everywhere there was the glint of gold!

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Sarah says: Thank you so much Cybele for this beautiful tale, told in traditional storyteller style, and  for your magical photographic illustrations.

And fellow bloggers, you can read the ongoing Tales of Tuatha from the beginning, as well as lose yourself in more of these illustrations at Cybelshineblog, where she calls herself Dune Mouse, which I think is a lovely name for a creative introvert!

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For a catch-up read of previous stories, please do visit my page https://sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/

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