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A Change will do you Good!

One of the ruts to fall into with writing is to simply write the same thing over and over again. I’m not talking about when you have a good series and you need to keep churning out the books for the readers who are keen to read more and more. Rather, when times get tough and you stay put on your favourite genre and keep doing the same thing. Terry Pratchett spoke of reading other genres to keep the writing of your own material fresh and I think it’s productive and refreshing to try another type of writing, even if your love for a particular genre still burns strong.

The book purchased from Jonathan Green

I used to love the Fighting Fantasy books back in the eighties and I was lucky enough at the UK Games Expo, to meet a man named Jonathan Green, author and one of the biggest names behind that type of book. I bought a copy of his latest book, based on the wizard of Oz, and as much as I enjoyed playing it, it actually got me thinking, maybe I could write this kind of book

If you’re not familiar, these books allow you to make different choices in the story and this directly affects your hero journey. Decisions come back to haunt you and often there are a number of endings. They also tend to be highly varied in topic, from fantasy adventures to star ship captains, ninja warriors to explorers and wild west cowboys.

Cover art for the new novel by J Caleb Clarke

I decided to write a spy story but based in the second world war when many female spies were sent by the allies to France. It’s a classic set-up as you make decisions that could cost you your life, based on scanty information and guesswork.

And so I set about mapping out the adventure, writing the paragraphs for each option and winding various paths back into each other, desperately trying to hold the whole thing together. I don’t need to tell you, it was a lot of fun, a lot of work and an education in seeing things from all angles.

The cover for the book

Now I have a first book in what will hopefully become a series of books, suitable for teens and young adults but perfectly enjoyable for any age above. Testing so far seems good, not just in the number of errors but in the enthusiastic responses of the players.

In order to fund the book I have also begun a kickstarter, a place where fans and interested parties or people can put up funds in return for rewards. These funds will ensure the book will be launched successfully, and with a little advertising revenue to go with it. You can check the action out at the Kickstarter website. Please do and support this new venture of mine, it’s a right good ripping read and a lot of fun as you replay situations you initially made a mess of.

I’m already thinking of book 2 and the nautical theme it’s going to have. But only if we float this first book. But then that’s what it’s all about. Branching out, learning more, so that when I turn to my traditional fantasy writing, I’ll be a better story teller and a more accomplished writer.

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Selling a Kickstarter – So Out of My Comfort Zone!

The editing is underway and going well. The cover is nearly all set. Reviewer research is done and ready to be engaged. And then it comes at mphotoe. My Kickstarter – it’s time to tell people why they want to support me in producing this book.

One of the downsides of being a creative is the requirement for money to put your masterpiece into the public domain. If only the Star Trek dream of money being obsolete was true, endeavours could just happen. But back to the real world.

It took me a while to realize this but a Kickstarter is aimage fantastic opportunity to engage people in my dream. It is scary to lay your soul on the line and try not to sound like a complete fool or a dribbling clown but if we don’t share our art what is its worth. It may be therapeutic but why keep that balm to ourselves. And so, for me, a Kickstarter seemed essential.

But then they mentioned the video. A good Kickstarter promotional video can encourage people because it shows the artist in the raw – not nude obviously, I want them to fund this, not run a mile. The real kicker came to me after I started thinking about how to make a video. The people in the know say that it isn’t about how professional your video is (although it is good to be as professional as you can). It is about your audience seeing you, connecting with you, understanding and wanting you to fulfill this dream, this idea.

And it came to me. What do I tell those around me about my books? How enthusiastic do I get? What about those times when I can’t be shut up for rabbiting on about my latest project? How wonderful do I think my characters, Austerley and Kirkgordon, are? What do I tell people the purpose of my book is, what strangeness in life am I exposing?

The trick now is to take that honest, down to earth passion I have for the book and put it on a screen and then dress it up with some technical know how. But at least I have the essence of my task already within me. Time to take on Hollywood? Well, YouTube at least.