Saturday, 23 July 2011

I Can’t Do It! - Kurt Chambers

I’m here today to make a confession. I’m quite stupid. This may not be a surprise to some people that know me. LOL But today I am going to publicly announce my stupidity. For those readers who don’t know me personally, I’m the author of four complete children’s fantasy novels with more on the way, and hopefully soon to become a published author. Most people, namely those from the non-writing world, have a preconception of what an author is like. I know I did before started writing. Authors are clever people with a massive understanding of the English language (assuming you’re writing in English). That’s not how I see myself; I really struggle and always have with the written word.

The English language is a complicated thing. Despite being English, living in England my whole life and speaking it every day, it sometimes seems like a foreign language to me when it comes to writing it down. Literacy comes naturally to some people, especially girls for some reason, in the same way that mathematics comes naturally to boys. Obviously, there are always exceptions to these rules, but I’m not one of those exceptions.

I have learned so much since I wrote my first novel and joined a critique group where I met other authors. They spent so much of their own time helping me, and for that I will be forever grateful, but it has always been an uphill battle. Today was a good example. A friend of mine, Annie, posted a great article in our forum explaining passive voice in great detail. Here is the article. I read it twice, but couldn’t quite understand all the concepts. This sparked a long discussion between me and my son before I could fully understand everything it said. I can recognise passive voice at a glace, but when it comes to defining it to someone else and explaining it in detail, this is when I struggle. It’s so complicated to me. Am I stupid? If this was a mathematical equation, it would only need to be explained to me once.

So, why on earth did I think it was a good idea to become an author? That is actually a very good question. It seemed like a good idea at the time. There are a few different reasons why I started writing, one of them is I’m a natural born storyteller. I tell stories all the time, and I’m very passionate when I do, flinging my arms around and doing all the actions. People laugh at me. LOL I don’t mind, I think it’s funny. I can’t help it, it’s just me. Capturing that passion on paper in the form of a novel did actually seem like a good idea at the time.

Despite how hard I found it to learn all this stuff, I did do it. I have four complete novels, two of which have been edited to a publishable standard (if there is such a thing.) If there are any other writers out there who reach that point where they think, I can’t do it! This is too hard! I’m just not good enough! Think again. You don’t have to be a genius to become a published author. All you need is that passion to tell stories and share them with the world. Next time you start doubting yourself, think of that stupid bloke who once told you…”You can do it. Just don’t give up! Have confidence in your own abilities.” They are actually very wise words indeed. (For the benefit of those stupid people, that was me saying that. LOL)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Writing Competitions--Kurt Chambers

For those of you who have been around the writing community for a while, you will know just how hard it is to get your big break when it comes to finding that exclusive agent of publisher to fall in love with your work. The submission process is the obvious way to go about it, but this will often lead to rejection. Also, there are many publishing houses out there that won’t even accept submissions from Joe-public like myself. But all is not lost.

I was once advised by a top publishing agent, the wonderful Robert Brown, to get myself noticed in any way that I can. Be as creative as you possibly can, but most of all, be seen. One way you can do this is to take advantage of the many writing competitions that circulate the blog world and that exist on many agents’ websites. I was once advised to do this by a published author friend of mine, Dawne Dominique, and it is very sound advice.

So, while I’m banging on about writing competitions, let me get the ball rolling for any Young Adult or Middle Grade writers out there who are aiming to be discovered. Here is a contest where one lucky winner will be asked to submit their full MS to agent Bree Ogden from Martin Literary Management, and two lucky runners-up will get to submit their first 50 pages. I wish you all the best of luck! As with all contests, please read the rules very carefully in order to give you the best chance possible.

Elevator Pitch competition:

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A Good Week—Kurt Chambers

This week has been quite an eventful week for me in my writing world. Normally, I’m blogging about keeping your chin up in the face of rejection, or ranting on about how crazy life is. I do try to keep my blogs as positive as possible, not always an easy task when everything is falling around your ears. LOL But today, I’m going to be very positive, because it has been quite an amazing week for me.

My adventures started on Monday. I had a job interview as a site manager in a primary school. This would have been my dream job. I thought the interview went well, but unfortunately I didn’t get the job. That night, I had my email page open when a new message popped up. It was a reply to a query I had send. Oh no, I thought. Not another rejection letter. Not today! Without hesitation, I clicked on the message to get it over and done with.

Within seconds I was jumping out of my chair and randomly running around the living room. “OMG! I don’t believe it! They want to see more of my book!” Yes! It was my first partial request for my new novel, Unknown Reality. At last! Well, I shouldn’t complain, I had only sent out about six queries and now I had a request for a partial. I have bored the pants off everyone I’ve met since then as all the people in my real life know absolutely nothing about a wannabe author’s world.

Filled with renewed hope and some spare time on my hands, I managed to get some writing done. I have just started a new novel and I was determined to finish writing the first chapter, which I did. It’s a good feeling to be writing again. When you run a critique forum and you are in the middle of a submission campaign, not to mention all the things that need attending in real life, writing time doesn’t come very often.

Just when I thought my week couldn’t get more eventful, I received some wonderful news. Deborah Halverson has been running a contest on her amazing site and is offering a ‘First Chapter Critique’ giveaway as part of her book launch with the release of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. To my utter amazement, I won on day three of the contest. Yes…me! Haha!! I never win anything! There is still a couple of days left in this contest, so any Young Adult or Middle Grade writers out there, head over to Deborah’s site and get entering. If you’re not a writer of these genres, then get over there anyway because this is such a great and informative site. We all wish you the very best with the book launch, Deborah!

So, now my exciting week has come to an end. Here’s hoping next week goes just as well. J