I'm excited to bring you a very special guest post from new author M.L. Mackworth-Praed and her fantasy book, The Future King Logres.
This looks like it is such a fun and interesting read and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
Thank you so much Meredith for being here today!
Release Date: December 5, 2015
Britain, 2052. In a world of war, disease and hunger the UK stands alone as a beacon of prosperity under an all-powerful ruling party. Life at new school Logres seems promising for fifteen-year-old Gwenhwyfar, and quickly she falls for the school's handsome catch, Arthur. When Arthur’s rival, Lancelot, returns after a suspension, her heart is soon divided. Realising that behind the UK's prosperity lies unspeakable cruelty, Gwenhwyfar sets off on a path to dismantle everything the government stands for. Suspenseful, raw and awash in a dystopian setting, The Future King: Logres is a story of identity and discovery against this backdrop, the second coming of the Arthurian legends.
14 things… The Future King: Logres
“His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down from Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
‘Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:’
Sang Sir Lancelot.”
The Lady of Shalott (1832) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The above is where it all started. Or, should I say, is where I rediscovered a whole new layer to something that had been with me since childhood, since I first watched Jerry Zucker’s First Knight (you know, the one with Richard Gere). My interest in the Pre-Raphaelites led me to John William Waterhouse’s exquisite oil painting, The Lady of Shalott (1888), and with Tennyson’s accompanying poem I was suddenly in a world of knights in shining armour, of magic and brotherhood and betrayal; the world of Camelot.
In my local bookshop I found Arthurian classics, unknown Arthurian gems, and some retellings that were so diabolical I only got through them <i>because</i> they were Arthurian. It was way back then, in college, when the idea of modernising the legends came to me. The characters formed first: sullen Lancelot, the questioning Gavin (Galehaut-come-Gawain), curious Gwenhwyfar, and lost Arthur, struggling to fill the role set out for him by his world.
I missed most of secondary school due to a combination of appendicitis, glandular fever and aggressive adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. I felt nostalgic for the school years I had absented, and the Arthurian characters I recreated seemed to slot perfectly into my old school environment. It took four years and several false starts until I had a story in which these characters would fit, and with the summer of 2011 just ahead of me, I finally sat at my computer and let myself be led where they wanted to take me.
The first draft took six weeks from start to finish; so eager was I to put thought to page. That was just the beginning. Countless revisions, 20-plus literary agent submissions and at least three major rewrites later, I decided to self-publish in June 2015. The publishing process took a total of six months, and that was a tight deadline to set—I was working against the clock, doing formatting, design, editing and proofreading with help from those who were willing to give it. All things considered, writing my first novel has been a long (and difficult) process, and has taught me many things. So, to summarise;
14 things I have learned whilst writing this book
1. If you love writing, writing is what you will do, no matter how slowly it is going or how little time you find for it, because you’ll never let a hurdle like real life stop you.
2. Be flexible in your aims. I was determined to publish via the traditional route, mostly to be sure that my book was good enough. But after sending out queries for two years I was galled by the prospect of more waiting. I wanted to get on with writing, so I self-published.
3. Time away from writing still counts as writing; so don’t feel too guilty about playing those video games. It’s good to set your mind on other things. It’ll give it a bit of space for that breakthrough moment</i> that solves the brick-wall problem, you know, that thing that just wasn’t working. Or it won’t, whatever. But we all need downtime sometime.
4. Write what you want to read. Ignore those How to Write a Bestseller books—they’ll tell you how to dance to someone else’s tune. I tried writing like someone else once, and it really didn’t work. Find your voice. And if there isn’t a certain archetype or character that fills the shoes you want to see filled, make one.
5. Drafting your novel from start to finish is the easy part. Editing is where the real work begins. Expect to feel that your book is perfect and be wrong about it over and over, until you’ve worked it half to death, and then quite abruptly you’ll know, and I mean know deep down that it’s done.
6. When actually writing the first draft just keep going. You can make it perfect later.
7. Sod’s law dictates that at some point, you will lose a large chunk of your book. Tips for this: hit ‘save’ obsessively, get your word processor to save a recovery file more often and email your novel to yourself after every revision. Not only will you be insured against laptop/USB/external hard drive failures (it happens), you’ll have proof that your novel is yours from start to finish. Emails are dated, don’t you know.
8. People say you will never publish your first novel. I’m not sure who, but they’re other writers and publishers, and they must be quite knowledgeable. The Future King: Logres is technically my first completed novel, but it’s the third attempt at it and the gazillionth draft. Also I tried to write a completely different book in my teenage years, which never went anywhere. It’s currently shelved, maybe forever. I have now got a whole series to write after all.
9. Get people to read your book and ask them to review each draft. Remember that it’s natural to completely disagree with suggested changes at first, but once you’ve given yourself time to think you’ll probably realise that they actually do make sense. That being said; don’t change everything for the sake of changing it. Always go with what your gut is telling you.
10. Yes, a lot of crap gets published. No, unfortunately that does not guarantee that your (better) book will get published too.
11. It’s a good idea to compile a timeline of your scenes listing the key plot points and their narrative date. This will save you much grief during any major rewrite and prevent you from having to count out the date by catching mentions of time in your scenes (yes, I did this).
12. When applying to literary agents I got a couple of full manuscript requests. Though it was immensely tempting to spend my days hitting ‘refresh’ in my email browser, I used the time to write the sequel to Logres instead. The full manuscript request came back with the suggestion of a rewrite and resubmission. Problem? Not at all! I’d already identified many of the issues with the first novel by attempting to write the second, and to top it off now had fresh content and new ideas to rework into book one from the now obsolete book two. Result!
13. You could keep tweaking scenes and sentences forever. At some point however you’ll have to draw the line and leave it alone, and release your work into the wild. Yes, there’s the odd word here and there that I’d trim if I hadn’t already published, but the book reads just fine with that extra fat and probably needs it to survive out in the wilderness anyway.
14. If you’re enjoying writing then you’re on the right path. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day; you do it because you love it. And you’ll keep doing it. But remember to be determined. You’ll need to be.
About the Author:
M. L. Mackworth-Praed is a writer, artist and illustrator. She is the author of The Future King: Logres and illustrates on a freelance basis. She is currently working on the next instalment in The Future King series.