Guest Post – Brent Nichols

Brent is more than welcome to come squat in my cyber-space, especially after the great review he gave to Hard Day’s Knight! Check out his new book, Bert the Barbarian, over on Smashwords! You can find out more about Brent and Bert on his website here.

I’m thoroughly happy to be kicking off my blog tour in the company of John Hartness.  John writes his books just the way I like ’em.  I checked out Hard Day’s Knight and I think I was laughing out loud before I reached the end of the first page.  He doesn’t let a good joke get in the way of a good story, though.  Mystery, suspense, action, it’s all in there.  And the prose is solid as well.  John’s hitting the marks that I’m aiming for.

But enough about him.  I’m here to talk about myself, or more accurately about my creation.  I’ve been a novelist for a couple of decades now, but not a successful one.  It takes a long time to learn this goofy trade.  I wrote, I re-wrote, I sent submissions off to editors and agents, and I racked up an impressive stack of rejection letters.  And I got discouraged.

After a while I wasn’t writing very often.  I wasn’t satisfied with the results when I did write.  Writing was a disheartening chore, and the meagre results hardly seemed worthy of lining the floor of a bird cage.

Then I heard about NaNoWriMo.  How many of you have heard of it?  Let’s have a show of hands.  Okay, more than I expected, but not nearly everyone.  NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” Speaking as a Canadian I can assure you that it’s international.  The idea is to spend the month of November writing a novel of at least 50,000 words.  NaNoWriMo is a beautiful concept because it gets writers out of all kinds of mental traps.  If you’re going to finish a novel in a month you can’t agonize over every paragraph.  You can’t spend a year trying to get the first chapter perfect.  You have to move on.

It was exactly the kick on the seat of the pants that I needed.  After years of dithering I finally got back to work, and an unexpected bonus was that writing became fun again.  It actually took me about three months to get through my first draft of Bert the Barbarian, but that was still a massive increase in productivity.

At the end of it, of course, I had a deeply flawed manuscript.  However, you can’t fix a blank page.  For me at least, the only way to write a good novel is to write a bad novel and then refurbish it.  It’s been a couple of years and an astonishing amount of learning since I finished that first draft.  I’m pretty proud of the end result.

Bert the Barbarian is science fiction that reads like heroic fantasy.  Bert Hoover, who’s a bit of a loser, gets kidnapped and taken to a primitive planet.  His friend Janice is in terrible danger with no one else to turn to. Bert must find strength and courage to escape from slavery, rescue Janice, and find a way back home.  Look for it wherever fine e-books are sold.

Thanks for stopping by Brent, and good luck with Bert!

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