15 March 2016

Is This Hell? No, Maybe not... A Writing Journey

My Tuesday Talk Guest -  A. J. Trevors
author of 'Birth of Hope: The Gaia Chronicles'

 My Writing Journey

‘This is hell’
Those were the first words that popped into my mind halfway through re-writing my novel for the millionth time. I stared at my computer long and hard, tired eyes drooping as if Father Time was throwing sand on my eyelids by the spadeful. The sickening white glare of the screen washed over me, giving my skin an unhealthy pale tinge.

With fury, I stood up and flung my laptop at the wall and proceeded to shout “FU-”
Nah, I’m just playing with you guys. What’s up?!

My name is Andy James Trevors and I’m a newly-minted author with a fresh fantasy/sci-fi novel out entitled ‘Birth of Hope: The Gaia Chronicles’. In this post, I will be sharing with you lovely people about my writing journey, all the ups and downs and the valleys in between.

First off, writing is not easy. There is no set formula for doing it. No copy and paste format in which all successful novels are written. If there were, everyone would become the next George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling!

No, writing is not easy. However, anything that is not easy usually is the most rewarding at the end of the journey. To start off with, since my novel is of the fantasy/sci-fi genre, I had to flex my brain muscles to come up with an original fantasy idea that hasn’t been done before. On top of that, there is the sci-fi component as well, which writers have to be very careful about. You don’t want it to be too much of a space opera, like Star Wars, or too filled with technical jargon, like Star Trek. There must either be a balance between the two, or a new avenue in which sci-fi could be written.

In the case of my novel, the original fantasy idea I chose was the theme of summoning beasts or creatures. Not very ‘original’, per se, but what I realised was that there is a dearth of summoner novels out there in the market and this theme will help ‘Birth of Hope’ stand out from the other fantasy novels. It helps that I am also a huge fan of this theme, being an avid ex-Pokemon and Digimon player, among other things.

As for the sci-fi component, the key issue that I identified was that most sci-fi novels, with respect to all the authors out there that have written one, is that they never explore planets in depth. Planets in sci-fi universes were akin to towns or other countries, where there was only one city or a smattering of villages in one planet, with no other development evident on the said planet. I felt that there should be a novel where one planet has multiple environments, as it should! The Earth has varying environments, from desserts to bogs to cramped cities. Why can’t other planets in the sci-fi universe be the same?

Hence, the subtitle ‘The Gaia Chronicles’, meaning that all the events in ‘Birth of Hope’ take place on the planet Gaia, with different environments at play, from the sand dunes of the Tahiba Desert to the tall, snowy peaks of the Cygnus Mountains.

All of this research, along with stringing the storyline and creating characters, took about three months to complete. That’s when the writing begins. At the start, I aimed to complete at least one chapter in one week. I would start my day at around seven in the morning and write for two hours until nine before I catch the bus to university. However, I soon began to realise that, by the time I got to university, I exercised my brain bone so hard that I couldn’t concentrate in my lectures.

I changed my writing time to seven in the evening until nine at night. That way, I was relaxed when I started writing, with the strenuous tasks of the day behind me and only the warm comfort of my bed ahead of me.

Writing the first draft was fine. It was when re-writing occurred that I felt the stress levels ratchet up. Many authors will tell you that it is in the re-writing phase where patience must be applied and applied well. Your manuscript, when completed, will look radically different from your first draft when you just began writing your novel There will be characters that you delete, new characters created, events changed, climaxed shifted, different endings, villains that perish then resurrected, new weapons, fight scenes, love triangles. The whole works. It will be so different that, when you read the finished product, you will wonder what you planned to write in the first place.

However, one must not equate having a different finished product to having an inferior novel. The things that you change during the re-writing stage are incredibly crucial to writing your novel. It has the potential to make or break it. Thus, I cannot stress enough how important it is for every potential writer to rewrite what they have already written. You cannot make your novel worse during this period. You can only make it better.

Joy. Peace. Fear. Death. Hope. To many, these are just emotions, facial expressions or words that are evoked in the face of numerous situations. However, there are a select few in the galaxy that have the power to wield them into something more. Into a weapon. Into a personification of their inner being. 

They are called Spectres. 

Damien is one such person. With the Spectre Hope, he will shoulder the hopes of the galaxy as he strikes out on an epic adventure that will bring readers to all four corners of the planet, Gaia. From the peaks of Mount Cygnus to the sand-blasted plains of the Tahiba Dessert, Damien and his group of friends will try to find a way to end the war with the merciless Vangarians and unlock the secrets hidden within the depths of their hearts.
A.J. Trevors

Helen - thanks for such an interesting article A.J. .... I haven't read your book yet, but its added to my To Be Read Mountain!

Next Tuesday : reviewing Indie Historical Fiction - from an Historical Novel Society  reviewer's perspective. 


  1. Is writing really Hell? Yes, it often is. Happily, there are pauses and times of slump and reprieve. However, as Sartre said, there is "No Exit."
    So, keep writing, A.J.
    And you, Helen, keep bringing us Indie talents from these different universes.

    1. Thanks Inge - Writing can be hell when you're desperately trying to get a scene to go right, the laundry needs attending to, the dishes need doing and your daughter asks you to come and help with the horses - that's my arghhh! moment. Mind you, I confess to ignoring the dishes and laundry!

    2. Hi Inge! Thanks so much for the encouragement :) I will definitely keep writing for as long as I live! hahaha :D

  2. This piece was truly inspirational! I am in the middle of revisions HELL with my novel and I feel like I'm playing whack-a-mole with the plot: if I change one tiny thing here, 50 things there there and there need to be tweaked - or completely rewritten. Good job getting through it and getting published!

    1. Oh tell me about it Meredith! Just been through that myself with my next one (On The Account) due out soon. You _must_ get someone else to read it through - for Bring It Close I took out the red herrings because I realised there were too many 'clues' to the final twist. What I hadn't realised until my editor pointed it out, I'd taken them ALL out!

    2. Hi Meredith! Thanks so much for the encouragement! :) It was crazy but worth it :D Don't hesitate to contact me if you need any help! :D

  3. I too understand the effort involved.
    Good to visit your site as a part of my A to Z visits. My theme Blog Promotion
    Welcome to A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016 - Co-Participant - Nrao
    NRao Blogs - 2016 A to Z Challenge Blog Posts
    Management Theory Review


Thank you for leaving a comment - it should appear soon, but Blogger sometimes chucks its teddies out of the cot and has a tantrum. My apologies if you leave a comment and I do not respond - blame it on Blogger Bloopers. If you are having problems, contact me on author AT helenhollick DOT net and I will post it for you. Sometimes a post will appear as anonymous instead of your name or avatar - I draw attention to this being another Blogger Blooper and NOT of MY doing... That said ...SPAMMERS or distasteful rudeness will be stamped on, squashed, composted and very possibly cursed - if you spam my blog, next time something nasty happens to you just remember that I DID warn you...