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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Help

The Frozen North. Cold.

Back to Warcraft stuff tomorrow: for today, I just want to spend a few minutes thanking someone.

As you guys know, I'm doing some fiction amongst the blog posts. What I've found is that this process is actually making me a better writer all-round, not simply when it comes to spinning an entertaining yarn. All in all, anything that keeps me working on the words ends up as a good thing, but there are a lot more issues when you're telling stories: tenses, context, exposition... lots of this isn't significant if you're writing non-fiction. Fiction however is a particular beast, and I knew that if I was going to start doing this properly I would need some help with the technical, because it's probably my weakest area.

So, I asked someone for help.

As I mentioned at the end of last week it is something I find hard to do, especially when it comes to things that are personal to me. Imagine my amazement when the person I approached not only accepted my request, but came back to me with feedback which is probably some of the best and most detailed I've ever had on anything I've written. I found myself utterly amazed, and genuinely staggered at not simply their enthusiasm but their sympathy with my subject matter. I still can't quite believe how lucky I've been.

I wanted to say a particular public thank you to my new friend, and I also wanted to take a moment to urge anyone who's ever sat and thought 'now should I put myself on the line and reach out to someone I don't really know' to have the courage of their convictions to follow through and make that first move. The problem with the Internet, of course, is that you don't really know who anyone really is (and films like Catfish only serve to make people more nervous about what might really go on behind the screen) and leaps of faith can ultimately be a recipe for disaster. However, I find myself thinking that sometimes, you really don't have anything to lose, that everyone else is probably as scared as you are, and in the end magical things can still happen with complete strangers.

Needless to say, without any of you guys I'd not have a place to speak in, a place to rant about the game, people to play it with or indeed a group of people that make the entire experience as fantastic as it still remains. Sometimes, taking a step in the dark brings brilliant results. I feel I've learnt a great deal about myself in the last few weeks and I hope I can continue to learn and meet new people who help me expand my horizons and make me a better writer than I am now. Let me say again that every piece of feedback is read and digested, all discussions are gratefully received, and that without you lot I'd be less of a person than I am now, and for that I will never be able to thank anyone enough.

To my new 'editor' I nod, smile and warn them that there's 5000+ words of new fiction on the way next week. I hope they realise what they've let themselves in for... :D

3 comments:

Nev Jones said...

When I admitted my depression on Twitter 18 months ago, it was someone I 'knew' only through blogging in the same field & had not even really spoken to, that messaged me & offered a shoulder. Here I am over a year later, head over heels in love with said someone. If he hadn't reached out & I took the risk of accepting, I'd never have known what a gentle & special person he is. I say go for it - reach out - you just never know where it will take you!

I loved your piece the other day & I look forward to more {{{hugs}}}

Anonymous said...

/like

K.

Anslym said...

I'm so glad you've found someone that can help you learn and grow as a writer, speaking from experience I know how much of a blessing it could be.

Let me tell you my story and for that we need to flash back to the time Trial of the Crusader was relevant and current content.

I had just joined my guild and was kind of a wall-flower. I only spoke when spoken to, kept my eyes on my own paper type of thing. One person I did hit it off with was the guildleader's wife. We would whisper each frequently, and I brought up my concerns about not really finding any friends in the guild. That's when she mentioned she has another friend in guild that she thinks I would like because we're fairly similar. So I took a shot and whispered him.

Bear in mind that this was at around 9pm. We finished talking at around 5am. I brought up at some point during our conversation that I wrote a book. He was naturally interested in reading it and this being the first person who had shown interest so I was thrilled abet a little (lot) nervous of sending my baby over.

The next day I sent all 30 chapters over to him and the day after he got back to me telling me he finished it all and he liked it. I was floored to say the least.

Our friendship continued to grow and it even out grew WoW. He quit the game around the time Firelands was current but we still talk nights away on the chat feature in Steam.

He not only read the original rough draft (that's what I'm calling it, as it's shoved in the back of my closet waiting to get burned - no one should ever read that again.) But he edited the re-write. I would sit down at around 9pm, and would write a chapter sometimes until 4-5am. I would then send it to him, he would give me his notes and I would make the minor changes.

Eventually we progressed into him actually editing the grammar of the work.

I can't tell you how helpful and annoying it is when he gives me a comment along the lines of "why would he do X, wouldn't it make more sense for him to do Y" or "How does this work, explain your thought process" and he always sticks it as the last comment on the chapter. It's those comments, that I know I'll be nursing a headache trying to fix what he found.

And because of all that, I not only have I gotten to be a better writer, but at the end of July I'll be sending my manuscript out to a literary agent, and it's all thanks to him.

Sorry for the rant, just trying to show you how what you did - reaching out into the dark, it's an amazing thing and I hope you gain as much insight and satisfaction from the experience as I did. I hope to hear more about it.

-Anslym