Blogs, authorship and a bursting mind

So, I made this website nearly a month ago and I’ve just realised that I’ve only posted on it once. I guess I have been busy recently: I’ve had a promotion at work, I’m sorting through an anthology of short stories (there’ll be more news on this soon so keep checking my blog and Facebook page) and I’m learning how to market He Who Fights and Runs Away! In all fairness, it’s mainly the latter that’s taking up most of my time and I confess I’ve got absolutely no idea what I’m doing! It’s fun though and (while realising that marking my book is probably going to be far more difficult than actually writing it), I’ve been creating a whole host of online profiles – which is called ‘building an online platform’ in indie author lingo.

This has taken a while, but I think I’ve almost got there and have a number of platforms ready to be viewed:

In fact, this has taken up so much of time I’ve just realised that I’ve not been telling people about what I actually write and where my interests lie as an author lie. I’m a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction and read these genres avidly. I’m not surprised that most of my writing seems to feature around these genres, although I am slightly baffled as to why horror regularly bleeds into my fantasy. I don’t really read or watch horror so I hope this doesn’t say anything about me!

This is definitely an exciting time for my writing and aside from Broken Dark, I have a whole host of ideas for novels, novellas and short stories rattling around in my head. I’m trying to write them all down, but it’s just finding the time and one work in progress is already too much (as fellow authors will undoubtedly know)!

Yet fiction is not all I write and my jump into the writing world actually began with science blogging. I studied biology at the University of Manchester (and when I say ‘studied’ I mean drank, smoked and blagged my way through three years of education) and actually took a science media project in my final year. This was more or less the point when my interest in writing was beginning to grow into something substantial and I created a site called Dave’s Science Blog for an assignment. Obviously this name is terrible and I quickly renamed it to This World We Live In (although the original name still persists in the URL) and began posting about various things in biology that I thought non-scientists would like to know without being bored by the nitty gritty mechanics of science.

This World We Live In did reasonably well and received a respectable amount of traffic while I posted on it regularly, but my life grew busier when I left university and it’s kind of died a slow, lingering death. It’s still out there somewhere (who knows where the Internet actually is) and I know people still visit it, but my interests in writing have simply shifted and I prefer writing fiction now. It will always be out there though and I just hope my readers still enjoy it and continue to learn from my posts – this is a thriving, strange world we live in after all!

Next, I discovered a website called Burrst that is perfect for an eager, budding writer. The site is a small writing community where authors share short pieces (up to 1, 250 words) of flash fiction. I can almost hear fingers scratching a few heads out there – what is flash fiction? I confess I didn’t know either until I found Burrst (although they didn’t come up with the concept). All flash fiction is is a bit of impromptu writing that a writer makes up as they jot it down. All it takes is an idea and I’ve found that it’s a really valuable tool for honing much needed skills. Much of my work hasn’t gone up on there as I simply used is to this end and I wasn’t that impressed by it. For example, I used to say ‘I need to write a fast paced scene that conveys exhaustion’ or ‘the protagonist needs to be really, really cold’ and then see what happened when I wrote it down. Although most of my burrsts can only be described as mediocre at best, there are a few pieces I’m proud of and I find it interesting to see how it has sharpened my writing skills in a relatively short space of time. For anyone who’s interested in reading some of my work, my Burrst profile can be accessed here.

If any of you are avid writers, you should definitely play around with flash fiction. It really is an amazing tool – a whetstone for writing if you like – and Burrst has a very small, caring community that gives great feedback on your work with their comments. The only downside to it is anyone on the Internet can read it (which might scare a completely new writer) and membership is by invite only – you will have a submit a burrst that the site adminstrators will critique to see if you’re good enough. But even if you don’t publish on Burrst, flash fiction is fun and effective so give it a go!

My last break into the writing world before I published came in the form of reviewing books and I try to critique everything I read now. All of my reviews are posted on Goordreads (eventually anyway) and I have a second blog called Fantasy Bookshelf Review that I’ve produced just to this end. This blog has been going for about 18 months now and I think it might be of interest to anyone with a similar taste in literature to my own. I’ve certainly discovered a few good books anyway and make a real fuss of the ones that are worth a read! After all, the written word is the greatest of mankind’s achievements!

And that’s about all I want to say for now! Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy my writing over the years to come.

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