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|Entering the World of Unbound Boxes Limping Gods...|
Micro story creation: Sharing with others
Monday 25th July 2011
In April 2009, I had finished my fourth novel, and a rather bad relationship. My ultra critical and socially challenged ex partner had quite rightly pointed out that it was fine to write novels, but that my 'hobby' wasn't getting me anywhere. In his opinion writing was pointless without a readership! I partially agreed with him, but fortunately for me, our relationship disintegrated further, I turned him into one of my characters and we parted company. This sounds rather mean, but this was not a positive and encouraging sort of guy. Self esteem semi-intact, I was set for war, to prove him wrong about so many things. Writing is not just a hobby to me. I may not be a 'raging beauty' (He seriously said that!) but writing is what I do best. I can't cook or perform magic, but I want people to read my novels. I want people to know this world exists and to fall in love with my characters as much as I have.
So to get feedback on the first few chapters of Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, (my first novel in the series) I did something very brave. (For me) I joined a critique group, (The Cola Factory, based in London. Headed by Michaela Statton.) Real life writers constructively criticised. I'd also joined an online group of writers, formed by Justine Marie Hedman. I met some fantastic writers who I remain friends with to this day. They read, they encouraged, and constructively criticised. I began to feel that my writing did have worth in the literary world. This was the beginning of my opening up these stories to other people. No one apart from a few close friends had read my work before, (my ex wasn't one of them!)
After getting affirmation that it wasn't just a 'hobby' and people actually wanted to read my work, I decided that it's easy to get feedback for accessible mediums like music and poetry and short stories, but reading a whole novel takes time. I was in a predicament. I had written a long line of novels, but no short stories, had no publications to my name, no editor or agent. If I wanted to seriously take those first steps to getting my novel published I had to think of alternatives to simply approaching a publisher, dressed in my writerly birthday suit. So, I thought about my characters, about the stories in the background, in the sub plot, in their past, about things which happened in the character's lives, before the novels were set. After a while the very first micro story was written and illustrated. My interpretation of a 'fragment' from my novels, became easily accessible to people, gave them a taste of what my world is about. I've now completed 19 micro stories, have submitted to a publisher for novel one, (still waiting for the decision) and have written two steampunk short stories for an ezine, due out in September.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not naive enough to think these steps are enough to magically conjure a publishing contract, but reality and magic seem to mix together when you spend most of your time in fiction. One thing I know is that whatever happens in the publishing world, writing good quality stories, submitting, taking rejection and being stubborn are a cocktail of ingredients you should never be without. Whatever happens in reality, this world is now living outside my head. It's something I can share with you. You are very welcome to come with me as I continue writing. One day, hopefully not too far in the future, you'll be able to read my first novel. The place these characters call home.
Thanks to everyone, past present and future, who make these stories more than just a 'hobby.'
Reprinted with permission
by Cheryl Moore