Hello writers, readers, agents, publishers, and occasional wanderers-in.
My name is Tony Fyler, and when I was 24, I was going to be a writer.
That was it, there was no Plan B, no pension, no pretension to actually working for a living, nothing. I was going to be a writer. I’d known this with a certainty you could break rocks on since writing a story in primary school, aged 9, in which the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Martians from War of the Worlds, battled each other for the planet, and my teacher had given me an A for it, along with the somewhat cryptic and exhausted comment, “Very Imaginative”.
So when I was 24, I wrote a novel. Just like that. Locked myself in my room for a couple of months, and just wrote it.
As it happened, BBC Radio Wales had a book review show at the time, on which unpublished authors could send in their first few chapters, and if they were good enough, get a critique from a publisher. A real one, like John Jarrold, Simon Spanton etc from companies like Pan MacMillan, HarperCollins, Orion and so on.
I got on the show. In fact I got on the show several times. A couple of publishers were interested, but one had “just signed someone similar”, the other needed changes made to the manuscript etc. I spent the best part of a year talking to and rewriting for HarperCollins, before ultimately, they turned it down. (Oh yes, brother writers, I have known your pain!)
Not knowing what to do after that, I became a journalist, pretty much to spite them.
The thing is, I’ve always, since that time, thought of myself as a writer, despite not doing very much in the way of proper creative writing. I’ve dabbled, and I did finish a second manuscript, but that was very much too long and complicated, made little sense in the third act and has what I’m reliably informed are “tonal issues” here and there.
Now, I am an editor by trade. I still have no pretensions to actually working for a living, but now some people are nice enough to give me money to edit a magazine and a website, and lots more people are nice enough to give me money to tell them how to fix their novels, and yet I still haven’t written and published one of my own.
That’s going to change. From 1st August – 31st October, 2014, I am taking a three-month sabbatical from my editing company, to focus on my writing.
No, I’m not mad enough to think it only takes three months. No, I’m not going to give up after that.
But clearly, nearly 20 years on, I’m many things, and I still think of myself as a writer. Which means it’s time to finally write something. Write it and sell it.
So that’s my challenge to myself: One of my day jobs continues – the magazine and website one. But I’m taking time off my own company to invest in my writing.
This website is where you’ll find out how it goes. There’s information on my current Works In Progress – the two books I’m aiming to push forward first, entitled Wonderful and Happily Ever After respectively. It’s also where you’ll find links to my short fiction and non-fiction articles when they’re published elsewhere.
We have links to some realy cool stuff – some of it writing related, some which will just improve your life immeasurably.
There will be blogs – on the process of writing, the inspiration, the frustration, the challenge and hopefully the triumph. There will be blogs about editing and publishing too – what to do, what not to do, and why, and how, and lots of other subjects beside, though all writing-related.
And there will be news – both of my work when it’s published either online or in traditional format, and news from the literary world, competitions, opportunities to get noticed, published or to win a bit of cash.
Three months to write, edit and begin to try to sell at least one market-ready novel, maybe two.
That’s the challenge.
Deep breaths, everyone.
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