Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Trying Something New

It’s too easy to get into a writing rut – to stay in your comfort zone. But sometimes you need to step out of that zone, to push the boundaries and to try something new.

That is what I am doing.

When I started out I wrote mainly Science Fiction and Weird fiction short stories, and achieved modest success, placing them in anthologies and magazines. It was satisfying and rewarding. I could have settled into that rut and stayed there. But I didn’t. I wanted to write novels, and so I tried my hand at writing for a younger audience.

The culmination of this venture was RED ROCK, my YA Cli-Fi thriller. And for a while I felt I’d found my niche. But RED ROCK hasn’t sold particularly well – at least not by publisher standards – (they expect sales of around 10K for a book to be considered a success) – and the subsequent MG and YA novels that I have written have all been politely declined.

I know in my heart that they’re better books, but this is a business. Publishers are looking for something shiny and new, and by that I mean debuts. What nobody tells you is that once you’ve had one book deal it becomes so much harder to get another, especially if your sales aren’t huge. There are no second chances in this game.

I’m not prepared to accept that. I do have an idea for another kids’ book, but I’m not going to write it. Not just yet.

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and writing something new. Something different. And I’m not just talking about switching genres – (adult psychological thriller) – I’m talking about voice.

I’ve been experimenting with different points of view, mixing the first, second and third person, the present and past tense. Each can be approached in a different way, and the more things I try the more I start to see what works and what doesn’t. It’s fun being experimental, and I’m accumulating a number of interesting flash pieces that I may well post on this blog at some time in the future, to illustrate a few of the techniques I’ve been trying out.

The new novel is coming on well, and I’ve started to test it out on my critique group. And as for that kids’ book idea – I may well write it one day – but if I do it won’t be like anything else out there! And it won’t be like anything I’ve written before!

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