My PitchWars Rollercoaster

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So, January 23rd is quickly approaching like a ravenous jaguar that’s just realised its prey got stuck in a bear-trap (this happens more often than you’d think. Seriously, watch Discovery once in a while), and I’ve finally finished the line-edits from all my betas, finishing with my mentor’s. It was a hard and informing journey, but now we’ve come to the biggest monster of them all: addition revision!

But Dave!” I hear you cry. “The agents will be reading your opening in just two days! Aren’t you worried that they’ll be reading one version and unknowingly making requests (hopefully) for an entirely different one?

Not at all, dear friends, and allow me to tell you why:

1) I’m smarter than I look, believe it or not: I’ve already edited the opening that the agents will be reading so it won’t be different.

2) There’s not exactly a mountain of changes to make, and seeing as how I’m practically snowed under, I’ve got all the time between now and the 23rd to slip in the additions. And seeing as how they’re not entirely game-changers, it won’t wreck the narrative one bit.

3) Don’t call me Dave. Only friends call me Dave.

4) … What’s that? I said you were my friends when I started this list?

5) Okay, then. Call me Dave.

Where was I…?

Oh, yes! The additions.

Well, they range from bit-parts to major character motives, scene changes or alternative versions, and the addition of new ‘casefiles’ pulled from the Enigma Files website itself.

That’s right; not only has this last month given me a huge, unique insight into both the agent-hunting life (my mentor chose mine from hundreds of other entrants submitted to her within a week), and the author-agent dynamic, but it’s also shown me how someone who shares the same passion for the future of your book – agent or beta – can only be a Good Thing, and will often lead to the improvement of the book.

In this case, the improvement came from my mentor Jennifer. Not only has she jumped at the sight of my ‘X-Files for kids‘ tagline, but she’s done everything in her power to eke out every last possible drop of X-Filesness… Which led to the casefiles.

These are the sort of ingenious suggestion that make you slap your face in disbelief; I mean, I’d always considered adding casefiles, but was worried that the inclusion of non-fictional segments would never work. Then along comes Awesome Malone, the Master Mentor, with the same desire to see more files explaining the paranormal and that, as they say, was that.

Now, whenever Karl Breslin – protagonist and administrator of the Enigma Files website – mentions paranormal phenomena, the reader can expect to see more information on the subject in a casefile at the end of the chapter.

It’s working out great so far, and I can’t wait for Wednesday.

Until then!

Dave

Do you have any special methods of revision? What about special features in your books? Lemme know in the comments!

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PitchWars Update – It’s Good News!

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Update on the PitchWars contest:

*drumroll*

“THE ENIGMA FILES: PHANTOM THIEF” got picked by a mentor!

Woohoo!

This means the lovely Jennifer
Malone, my new writing mentor, will read over the book throughout December. Then she’ll send me the most masterful, in-depth critiqueI’m sure I’ll have ever seen.

But the fun doesn’t end there! I’ll then revise the book in answer to all her feedback, and re-present it for the final stage of the contest: so 15+ agents can read it, and request more.

I’m so excited.

Dave

New Facebook Page

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Following the steps and advice of published authors, I’ve decided to set-up an author page on Facebook. You can view it here. Please Like it and tell your friends about it – when the page gets 50+ Likes, I’ll celebrate with you all by posting an excerpt from my current draft of the first Enigma Files, so you can all have a taste of what to expect when the full book finally gets accepted and published.

Thanks,
Dave

PS: Blog, Twitter, Facebook… Are there any other social platforms I should consider adding to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Lost in the Woods – eBook Review!

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A first for this blog, an eBook review! The author, one ‘Fun London’, contacted me on Twitter. He complimented me on this site, and said if I was interested in reviewing his book ‘Lost in the Woods’ that he could email me a review copy. I said Okie-dokie, and here we are!

… Don’t you all feel more edumacated? You’re welcome.

On to the review!

The story starts, and revolves, around 12 year old Jack Barton. He’s your average adventurous type, and loves climbing trees. After a fallout with his mother, Jack climbs a tall tree. A really tall tree. We’re talking the ‘endless corridor’ of trees, here, so it’s pretty tall.

But eternally tall or not, all trees abide by nature sooner or later, and it’s not long before Jack falls foul of weak branches and, erm… Falls.

(I’m so utterly brilliant at synonyms, me…)

Fortunately for Jack, a thick branch breaks his descent (hah, see? I didn’t say ‘fall’ – dammit!). With cautious steps, he sets foot on solid ground. Only, it’s not any ground he’s familiar with… And the tree he came down from wasn’t the one he climbed up…and is that squirrel talking to him?

… Yes, yes it is. Wait, wait! I know what you’re thinking; talking animals have had their day, and shouldn’t be heard unless they’re satirising the communist movement in a barn. That’s right, Dave has read ‘ANIMAL FARM’ – but that’s not important!

What is important is that Fun London does talking animals well. Each creature Jack meets on his journey home had a different, unique voice. And not all of them actually spoke to get their voice across. And not all of them are friendly… But instead of having random enemies, Fun London (in case you’re wondering, that is his pen name – I’m not referring to him by his Twitter name to confuse you all) makes sure that any and all foes have a personal and, more importantly, believable reason why they’re going after Jack.

But it’s a forest-wide disaster that brings everyone together, friend and foe alike, in a bid to save their home. And maybe – just…just maybe – Jack learns something about himself along the way…

‘LOST IN THE WOODS’ is a brilliant, old-school fantasy story that will entertain and delight children of all ages. If I had one complaint, it’s a tiny one; Allen (the squirrel) says “And so forth and so on” a few too many times for my liking. But, like I said, tiny – a slight characterisation hitch isn’t enough to get in the way of this wonderful tale.

Rating: 4/5

For those wondering (that’s probably just a few of you), I will be reviewing the rest of Barry Hutchison’s ‘INVISIBLE FIENDS’ books very, very soon.

Until then!

Dave

Judgment is Coming…

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Saw this poster upon stepping outside New Cross Gate train station…
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At first, I thought it was some sort of ‘End of the World’ notice. I thought it was nice they wanted to remind us ahead of time, but the Mayan’s predicted date was still a way’s off. Then, upon closer inspection (ie. spotting a release date and the Lionsgate logo), I quickly realised that this was a teaser poster for the upcoming ‘DREDD’, and that it was pretty spiffy, for more than one reason…

Firstly, it LOOKS GOOD, and draws your attention and curiosity. Judgement? Whut now? There is a city in the midst of fiery devastation, and surely that means this judgement is either a) the cause of said destruction, and not good, or b) the answer to this ruined city’s problems, in which case huzzah! It can’t come around quick enough!

Secondly, could have just shown a picture of Dredd himself, but then – other than to take in the costume – you wouldn’t give it a second glance. They purposefully left him out, along with any other glaringly obvious iconography from the movie or comics. Doing so is a very clever marketing strategy, if you think about it… Instead of thinking ‘If we don’t make it obvious this is advertising DREDD, how is anyone going to know?’ They instead went with ‘Hey, if we just have the ominous statement “JUDGMENT IS COMING”, it will confuse a lot if people, but in a good way – instead of shrugging it off, they’ll hopefully look into it online, and find out more about the movie!’

And they’re not the only ones to take this approach. Only recently I saw an advertisement on the tube for ‘Rekall memory services’. This was easier for me to place, as I’m a huge fan of the original TOTAL RECALL, but it struck me nonetheless as an ingenious marketing campaign – involve your audience, bring them into the world of your story, and they feel more affinity towards it.

And I’m sure it’s not just movies utilising this strategy – the card game ‘Magic: The Gathering’ did a similar postal campaign for their recent horror-influenced ‘Innistrad’ set, mailing postcards done in the olde English style of posters, declaring everything from witch hunts to monsters stealing children. They were odd and disturbing, and set the mood perfectly when the new range of cards came out.

I’m sure books can use similar approaches, if they haven’t already. I’m already in the planning stages of a HUGE publicity angle for the series I’m writing, but I can’t be alone…

What do YOU think? Are there any unique publicity/advertising campaigns for books I’d should know about? Maybe you have plans for the future, or would like to share a past success? Leave a comment!

Until next time,

Dave