Drew’s State of Writing – Resolutions for 2017

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And so we approach the end of another year.

In many ways, 2016 was a great year for me, personally. I hit some major life milestones in the past twelve months, not the least of which were getting engaged and buying a condo. All in all, it was a successful year on that count.

But on the writing side, 2016 was much more of a failure. I hoped to achieve a few things, none of which got done. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2016 – And the Gates Open

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You guys, I’m doing it. This is the year I *officially* take the plunge. I made an account, I’ve started writing, and I’m gonna win this thing.

It’s National Novel Writing Month, and I’m taking a break from drafting On the Strings of Oblivion (the sequel to All Flames Cast) to write a new story.

And the Gates Open is the result of some brainstorming I’ve done over the past two months, and the natural extension of a novella idea I came up with. Featuring two main characters, And the Gates Open is about a city under siege by an overwhelming enemy, and the two leaders who consider it their duty to keep the people safe during this time—at odds with each other. Mezra is the high priestess, concerned with the despair that plagues the city-state of Vael and fighting to keep her faith alive in the face of a conquering foreign religion. Vatan is the naturalized former mercenary who finds himself in charge of the garrison at the most important point of Vael’s defenses. Neither likes the other; each has different goals.

And meanwhile, one hundred thousand enemies camp outside the walls, under gathering stormclouds…

Cup of Dcaf: Finding Your Balance

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Let’s be frank here: every writer is going to have a unique approach to writing a book. I’m not going to sit down and say “you have to do it this way!” For one thing, that would be bad advice. For another, it would be wildly hypocritical. I’ve written three novels, and each was approached in a wildly different manner.

As most writers probably know, there are two general types of writers when it comes to novels. There are “plotters” and there are “pantsers,” or, as George R. R. Martin famously put it, “architects” and “gardeners.” Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: Writing and Fear

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I will admit, I’ve never really understood the sentiment that so many writers express: namely, fear about their work. I know many fellow aspiring writers who have said they’re uncomfortable, at best, and outright scared, at worst, about sharing their work with a wider audience. I co-admin a writing group on Facebook with over 100 members, and many of them don’t post their own work; lots more only do so after much encouragement from the rest of the community.

The fact that this website exists, and the volume of work available for all of you to read should tell you that I’m not shy about sharing.

After all, I’m in this racket because I have stories that, at some level, moved me. I write them because I hope that they can move others, as well. I talked about why I write last month, and I think that post stands pretty well on its own. I don’t need to go into my reasons for sharing this stuff here, and I don’t need to go into further detail on why I want to be published. No, this post is about the first time I’ve actually felt scared when sharing my work.

About a week ago, I got a response from a query letter I sent to an agency in New York. A big agency. One that I’d written off months ago as a rejection. Instead, much to my surprise and immediate delight, they want the first 50 pages of All Flames Cast.

Let me tell you, clicking the send button on my response was the scariest thing I’ve done as a writer. This is a major step (even if the likely outcome occurs and they end up rejecting it) toward my dream of getting Chronicle of the Sons published. It’s exciting, and it’s terrifying.

What if it sucks?

What if I just wrote a great query letter, and people who are in, people who are pros at this, come back and say that it’s not salable?

What if it’s bad, and my relative happiness with the story is complete naivete and blinded optimism?

I’m pretty sure my stomach will be curdling nonstop until I get a reply (and who knows when that will be?).

Book of the Week – October 30th, 2015

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After a brief hiatus for my State of Writing and a busy week at work, the Book of the Week returns! This time around we’re going for one of my favorite new fantasy series, Brian Staveley’s debut The Emperor’s Blades.

The Emperor's Blades

Staveley’s first installment in his Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne was a pretty resounding success. Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: So You Want to Write a Book?

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I want to start off with some encouragement here. You want to write a book? AWESOME. You can do it. Sit down with your pen or your keyboard and write it. If you want to write a book, it’s probably because you have a cool idea that you like. Write about that cool idea.

But here’s the thing. You have to understand what writing a book actually is. And what it actually is, is hard work. Continue reading