Posts Tagged ‘Comic Fantasy’

What Do You Write?

Peony, a flower fairy, dressed for flying.

Peony, the scientific fairy, suited up to fly into adventure.

‘What do you write?’

As a question, that never used to be complicated. I write comic fantasy, it’s where my heart and mind sit and live and laugh and share. It’s just…me. The first person to inspire me to believe I could write as any kind of professional gig was Douglas Adams, and the ideas which come to me and have the most natural ‘legs’ sit naturally within the comic fantasy/comic sci-fi genre.

Sure, over the years, you have ideas in different genres, and you think ‘Oh, that might be fun, when I’m finished with the story I’m actually writing right now…’ I’ve got a trilogy of darker, more philosophical stories that are waiting in the wings, as well as a kind of Jurassic Park-meets-Brave New World techno-social satire that I’m putting off more or less because it would be deeply difficult to write, whereas the comic fantasy stuff comes easily to my mind and fingers.

But someone asked me the question again recently, and it stymied me.

‘What do you write?’

I stopped and thought about it, because here’s the dichotomy. What I write and have yet to seriously submit anywhere is comic fantasy, and it’s novel-length comic fantasy at that. So I think of myself as a novelist in the comic fantasy genre.

But what I actually write and submit to places is entirely different. Over the course of the last year or so, inspired initially (and somewhat shamefully, in retrospect) by a pal submitting a story and asking me to have a look at it before she did so, I’ve submitted a handful of erotic short stories to three publishers.

I’ve submitted five.

Sinful Pleasures, available now.

Get yourself some Sinful Pleasures today. You deserve them.

The publisher of the first one – the one inspired by my pal submitting and me, being bloody-minded, thinking ‘Well, why not give it a go?’ – said some very kind words about it. Something along the lines of me ‘having missed my calling in life till now.’ That’ll put a spring in your step, I don’t mind telling you, especially when it was written the night before the submission deadline in a bit of a blur. If you want to catch up with my first official foray into erotica, the anthology’s called Sinful Pleasures, from Sinful Press. Go click and enjoy.

The second one I submitted, a story of vampires on the Queen Mary, I was never happy with and rightly, I think, it failed to get published.

The third and fourth were two different stories in two different anthologies published by an American publisher, SinCyr Publishing, with whom I’m rather smitten for the grooviness of their consent-and-body-positivity politics. Check out Working It and Owning it here. And I’ve heard today that the fifth one is also to be published by them in an upcoming anthology, called Kintsugi. There’s a sixth which is alive in my mind for a submission call with them which has to be done by the end of the month.

Working It

Working It

So far, my story in Sinful Pleasures was Male/Female, from a Male perspective. The Vampire story was a free-for-all, but again from a Male perspective. Working It was Female/Male, from a Female perspective. Owning It was mostly Female/Female, from a self-evidently Female point of view. Kintsugi was Male/Male and Male/Female, from a Male viewpoint. and the new one which I intend to submit by the end of the month is – get this, it’s in the submission requirements – Male/Male, romantic shapeshifting pregnancy with a happy ending. Which I suppose, if nothing else, brings in a degree of fantasy writing – or at least, it does the way I’m doing it.

All of which is just a way of re-framing how we see ourselves. If people ask you ‘What do you write?’, do you answer them based on what you aspire to be, or based on what you’ve actually delivered? You can argue black is blue that you shouldn’t have to put yourself in a box, but it’s a key question when adding items to your authorial CV – have you done similar things before with any provable success? If you went for an interview, you couldn’t get away with saying ‘Well, I’ve been successful in several positions as a bricklayer before now, but really I see myself as a computer programmer,’ because your proven experience wouldn’t match the requirements of the role.

So what do I write?

Hell, I’m still writing comic fantasy, and enjoying it, and getting good responses when I show it to people. But purely on the basis of production, submission, and popular uptake, I guess you’d have to say the chief strings to my bow are currently erotic short stories and Doctor Who audio drama scripts, of which I’ve also written four in the last year or two, with a fifth to be delivered by the end fo the month. What you write, ultimately, isn’t just a question of what you actually write, but what you write, finish, and submit somewhere, because it’s what other people know you write, or can be shown that you’ve written, that ultimately builds your profile as a writer.

So – best finish a novel then, otherwise I’ll be a short story and audio drama writer, rather than the novelist I’ve always thought I was going to be.

Mind you, one publisher did say they’d take a look at pitches from me for a novel-length erotic story…hmm…

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Challenge Accepted

Tony Fyler about to begin writing

Writing hat on head – Check.
Tardis in background – Check.
Head full of words – Check.
Challenge accepted.

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.
Challenge accepted.

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