Monday, December 2, 2013

Growing as a writer: Guest blog with Rebekah Turner

I’ve always had loads of enthusiasm for writing. As a kid, I made up my own bed-time stories, which progressed to me relaying my tales via the medium of crayons on my bedroom wall. Every writing project after that was a progression of blind enthusiasm and a dogged determination to get published. Why, if I published a book, I would be rich! Rich, I tells you!
Lunch time in school saw me holed up in the library, where I wrote my masterpieces of YA angst. I mailed my manuscripts off to publishers, and waited to be discovered. I think I ended up with two folders stuffed full of rejections. See, problem was, I just wasn’t very good at the craft of writing. Story telling? No sweat! Syntax? Um ... does it come with fries?
Fast forward to 2006, when I joined a writers centre and signed up for a course called Year of the Novel. After that, everything changed. I learnt that writing a good story involves learning the beats from beginning to end. I learnt that to get published, it wasn’t enough to just have the tenacity of a salivating bulldog with a bone. It helps to learn the rules.

Year of the Novel was followed by Year of the Edit, and in 2010 I entered my manuscript into a Manuscript Development Program. When I was advised I was a finalist, I knew it was a sign my writing skills were getting better. The Development Program itself was a crazed whirlwind of awesome. I met other enthusiastic writers and we talked about our manuscripts. We met agents and publishers who chatted to us about the industry, including the realistic side of publishing, which did not involve unicorns saddled with contracts and buckets of cash.

When it came time to sit down with the publisher face-to-face, the experience was a little nerve wracking. But I listened hard and made lots of notes. It felt pretty surreal to finally talk to someone in the industry. The publisher talked to me about where my book would fit in the marketplace and then pointed out a few issues in my story that, if addressed, would make it much more appealing.

I broke my story apart and compared its arc to others in its genre. It was only then I finally saw what the publisher had really wanted to see in my story. Thanks to their feedback, I was forced to analyse my own writing and storytelling technique on a level I'd never bothered to in the past. It made me a stronger writer and last year, my novel, Chaos Born, found a publishing home. But I would never have gotten there, if not for that push in the right direction. I would recommend to anyone to join their local writers centre and taking advantage of developmental courses they have to offer, I'm know I'm glad I did!

Chaos Bound
Chronicles of the Applecross
Book 2
Rebekah Turner

Genre: Urban fantasy

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Date of Publication: 1 December 2013

ISBN: 9780857991072

Number of pages: 177
Word Count: 82,000

Book Description:

The long-awaited sequel to Chaos Born takes us back into the Applecross, where Lora faces increasing threats to her survival and her chance at love.

Lora Blackgoat — mercenary and smuggler — has only just recovered from the last threat on her life and hasn’t even begun to sort out the mess of having both a nephilim warrior and a reborn hellspawn as potential lovers. Work should be a refuge, but a job finding missing persons puts her in the crosshairs of a violent gang and a merchant with a taste for blood sport.

Reluctantly, Lora turns to the two men in her life for help. Roman — the nephilim — professes to be her soul mate and turns to her when he feels the darkness of nephilim madness descending. But though Lora is drawn to Roman, it is Seth, ex-lover and reborn hellspawn, who Lora must ultimately ask to protect those she loves. Can she trust Seth to save Roman and her adoptive family, or will this be a fatal mistake?

About the Author:

Rebekah lives in sunny Queensland and has worked in the past as a graphic designer. She now does freelance work when her kids are looking the other way. An avid writer since she could scrawl in her dad’s expensive encyclopedias, she has progressed from horsey stories to tales of dark fantasy with lashings of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Her vices include eating overpriced ice cream, over analyzing 80s action and horror movies and buying stationery she just doesn’t need.


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