Having spent the weekend handing out cigars, announcing to the world (Well, family and friends on facebook), the safe arrival of 1.9lb, 336 page, FEATHERSTONE Rogue Tales, I now relax into my role of responsible parent.
I sense knowing smiles from you who have children of your own, and hopes for encouragement from those, who await with anticipation, the arrival of their very own first child.
I am finally a fellow author. Today, I bathe in the clichéd glory of belonging to such a noble brotherhood, and can tell aspiring authors that the feeling is better than a kick in the nuts, just.
Now, I don’t want to bore you with loads of baby talk but the urge is difficult to resist. If you say, “Yeah, been there, done it,” you probably won’t want to read any further. This message is aimed at those who say, “Wow, what’s it like?”
FEATHERSTONE was conceived not long after I joined scribophile.com. He gestated for about 9 months, growing from the embryo of a short story, through the stages of four novellas, into the bright bouncing baby I hold in my hands and love dearly.
I mention scribophile.com because it was there that I finally felt: Yeah, I really can do this writing stuff, and if it wasn’t for scribophile there would be no FEATHERSTONE. You see, when I enrolled, the form asked for a pen name. I didn’t know I could enroll with my own name, yeah, that’s how dumb I can be. I thought for a while, and then ‘Featherstone’ emerged.
I was certainly no virgin. I’d mixed with writers before, copulating here and there in the murky world of advertising. I’d kept journals, having no confidence in my memory. I write proper letters to people, often correcting drafts from my lawyers, but didn’t think it proper writing.
“You should write a book.” The immortal words spoken to many, encouraging them to sit down and start was also my inspiration. “Tell what you know,” was the common advice given. “Start with short stories,” I was told after presenting my 100,000 word autobiography. It was good advice I ignored.
I am lucky in as much as a close friend of mine is a professor of English. She kindly offered to edit my first action/adventure novel. The manuscript was returned. The first couple of chapters had more writing in her red pen than my original words typed in black. The rest was left uncorrected. Not because it was immaculate; she couldn’t be arsed to read any more.
I had 90.000 words on my old blog. I reshaped them into a novel and submitted it to numerous agents and publishers. That’s how my bathroom came to be decorated in rejection slips. My experience with agents and publishers might form the topic of a future note to you. It will certainly be longer than this one.
“Give it up,” was the advice I gave myself. Fortunately, I ignored that as well. I started writing short stories. I couldn’t take further advantage of my professor friend, but knew I needed feedback and critique. Online writing groups were the words I gave Google. It gave me a choice of 19,078,165,000 sites that fitted my search, delivered in only 0.024 seconds. I took me a little longer to eventually give scribophile a go. The rest, as they, is history.
The total process has taken four years. It has cost probably close to half a million words, not in the right order, but none of them wasted. I am loathing to giving advice, but that never stops me. To all you pregnant writers I say: “Be prepared for miscarriages and still births, but don’t stop shagging. The practice might not make perfect, but is definitely fun.”