Author Archives: Sean Monaghan

About Sean Monaghan

Writer. Voracious reader.

How Hard is Writing?

keysI write a lot. I guess that’s a given. I love it. Love making up new worlds and new places. Love playing with new characters, throwing problems at them and seeing what happens.

I study a lot too. I take courses. I attend workshops. I read ‘how to’ books.
One thing I’ve noticed in several of these is how the author or presenter suggests something along the lines of “writing is hard” (one author even had a similar phrase in bold type in the middle of the page).

I would counter that with ‘writing is fun’. Sit at a desk and play. Make up whole worlds. Crush them with asteroids or oppressive rulers or dragons. Build a family putting themselves back together after tragedy. Track down a killer. Have a struggling musician succeed after so many setbacks.
Warm the hearts of your readers.

I love it.

I love it so much that I write every day. Recently someone asked me how I have such discipline. My response? It’s about the same amount of discipline as it takes to draw a breath.

As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep writing. I hope that my sense of enjoyment comes through my books for my readers. Yes I would like to do this full time, and I’m not there yet. But even without that, I still get to have the best fun ever, every single day.

I don’t fret over the writing. I let it be. I write the best I can, with the skills I have. I work on learning new skills along the way.

And I keep having fun.

Because writing is fun.

(Oh, and the author who bolded “writing is hard”? They’re a far more successful author than I (my congratulations). But also, crucially, they’re a very good business person. The book with the phrase was about marketing for writers. Now to me, marketing is hard. That’s why I was reading the book. To learn something about marketing.)

Athena Setting available in an ebook bundle: “Battles For The Night”

boxset - battl for the night

Athena Setting cover finalMy novel Athena Setting is in a new bundle through BundleRabbit. The Battles For The Night bundle gives you ten ebooks for as little as $3.99 total. Athena Setting alone is usually $5.99 so this is a real bargain. The bundle will only be available for a limited time.

Some other wonderful authors collected here too – Kevin J. Anderson, Russ Crossley, Stefon Mears, James Palmer, Wayne Faust & Charles Eugene Anderson, and Joseph Robert Lewis. A great way to discover new authors.

Battles For The Night is available through Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Novel three underway, novel two passed in.

glass baysmbig sur cover sm

Once again I’ve been caught up in the writing and forgetting to post. I think that’s a good thing.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking Dean Wesley Smith’s three novels in three months challenge. Heading into the last three weeks now, with the third novel well underway.

I completed the second novel – Glass Bay – and got it turned in on time. It turned out to be the second of my Emily Jade thriller series. It’s been a couple of years since Big Sur came out and I was starting to wonder if I would find the next book in it (my thriller Taken by Surprise, from last year) has an appearance from Emily, but it’s more like a side book, with a diff103339c0684d4020197c34075c956ca076bdabdcerent lead character (I just noticed that on the cover of the two Emily Jade books I’ve got “Author of Taken by Surprise).

Once I have Mr Smith’s first reader notes back I’ll get it underway with fixes and tinkering and underway to a copyeditor. Hope to have it out before the end of the year.

And a funny thing has happened. Not only have a learned a whole lot about writing, but I’m having fun writing a novel a month. Wondering if I might try to keep it up as a challenge for the rest of the year. That would be fun too.

The Verdict Is In

glass baysmIce HuntersThe three novels in three months challenge continues. I’m nearly done with the second novel, Glass Bay, and wondering what to write for the third novel to carry me through August.

Part of the deal with the challenge is that Dean Wesley Smith will give feedback on the novels. What I guess I forgot was that Mr Smith won’t pull any punches. Won’t give any quarter. He does offer caveats (which I think all first readers should), that it’s just his opinion, his view and his taste. I know that some of the authors he enjoys reading, I find difficult and not at all to my own taste.

What he does bring to the table is decades of experience as a professional writer, with millions of copies of his books in print. Yeah, I should listen, even if it bruises my poor little ego.

The points he made about what didn’t work in the novel are basic things that frankly I should know after all the time I’ve been reading, writing and studying writing.

Being in the character’s head. Depth of setting. Appropriate imagery. (to paraphrase his comments). Probably, easy fixes, for the most part.

Right now, I’m taking those comments and making a big cycle back through the current novel (Glass Bay) and creatively looking for where I’ve made similar errors and deleting sections, or writing new sections. Yep. Glaringly obvious now.

Of course fixing is one thing. The really interesting test will be when I write the third novel and keep those concepts in my head the whole time.

Frankly, ego aside, that feedback was, if not like a complete writing course, the crystalization of writing courses, where all those concepts suddenly seem much clearer.

As Mr Smith would say, onward.

 

Glass Bay image © Claudio Arnese | Dreamstime, Ice Hunters image © Algol | Dreamstime.

Three novels in three months: Novel number 2 update

glass baysmAs I’ve mentioned, I’ve taken on Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge to write three novels through June, July and August. I completed the first novel late in June and, somehow, I’m already nearing the halfway point in the second novel.

It turns out that this new book is a sequel to my 2015 novel Big Sur – and Emily Jade thriller. I’d wanted to write the next novel in the series, but have been distracted by, you know, writing science fiction (insert self-deprecating grin here.

Draft cover here – image © Claudio Arnese | Dreamstime. I don’t know if that will be the title even, but it’s kind of got the look I want.

Important thing to point out: this challenge is fun. Really. It pushes me along. It gets me focused. It gets me in the chair. And whenever I’m focused and in the chair I’m definitely having fun. I hope the fun comes through in the book.

Two thousand days of writing every day

quito2000daysA thousand days back I posted about writing every day for a thousand days. That’s almost three years. Now, after five and a half years, I’ve hit that two thousand days mark. Funny thing, that happened almost a week back and I missed it. Too busy scribbling away, I guess.

Now, I guess that for someone who’s a writer the idea of writing every day is pretty obvious. Somewhere over the years I guess I let that tumble away. I suspect I also bought into the myths that writing is hard and I needed to rest my brain and that I needed to gather my thoughts and I needed to think about what I was going to write before I wrote it.

Kind of, I guess, like a tennis player thinking about playing tennis before entering a tournament. Thinking about has its place, but exercising the muscles and getting out on the court figure pretty highly too.

But more than all that, I’ve seen more success with my writing from that. I’ve won a couple of contests, I’ve had numerous professional stories published, and I’ve indie-published a whole lot of novels, stories and collections. Those would not have happened had I not put my focus back on writing. So, I recommend it.

And about missing the actual milestone day, I think a part of that really is that the habit is so established that, even though I track my word count and other marks for each day, I feel like I’ve fully integrated the habit. I recommend that too.

Venus Vulture album – Air and Eyes on Zenapolæ

zen154_0

In between all the traveling and novel writing and trying to get my head around the general oddness of the world, I neglected to mention that the Zenapolæ netlabel released my Venus Vulture album Air and Eyes in May.  I’m grateful to Arnd for curating this collection of five tracks – in this case effectively becoming producer as we whittled the number of tracks, and worked a couple into better shape.

I’ve always made music to listen to while I write. It usually turns out that I can’t listen to my own stuff more than, say, once, but that’s okay, there’s more out there, including lots from my labelmates on Zenapolæ.

Air and Eyes is a free download.