The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

It's a whole New Year...

As I said in my last post on New Year’s Eve – last year was a pivotal one for me. All years are pivotal but I was actually paying attention during this one.

After far too many years running on a treadmill for a packaging company, I found myself in January of last year in a position where I could take a long hard look at what I had made of my life and what direction I wanted to steer things for the future.

First let me say that as lives go, I have been fairly lucky. I’m 40 years old and still have all of my fingers and toes – all 21 of ‘em. My general health is good. I’m fairly intelligent and somewhat well educated. And to top it all off I am blessed with a wonderful, healthy family that loves me (let’s face it – if you have that, anything else is gravy).

On the other side of the equation had been a job that offered little in the way of fulfillment. There was frustration and stress and though the money was pretty good, it was not enough to compensate for the incredible bullshit to reward ratio – bullshit winning out every time.

In January 2007 I decided to start things off by finishing a novel that had been shelved for many years. A goodly portion of the novel was written while I was at University with infrequent visits every few years adding to the story. Starting that first week of 2007 I wrote everyday until finally, in mid February, the first draft was finished. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. The novel was nearly complete when I settled in for the day. From the first few typed words I could smell blood. I knew that today was the day. I might have stopped briefly for a hot dog lunch but as my wife returned home around 5:30pm I was still tapping away at the keyboard. I was so close, I could taste it when my wife said, “Remember, it’s your turn to take the boy to indoor soccer.”

Normally I am riveted to my son’s soccer games, but this evening I was on such a high that I was writing and revising the final paragraphs in my head and I have to admit that I remember virtually nothing of the game. Home we came – ahhh - bedtime routine for the kids – stories – songs (please, sweet Jesus, go to sleep easily tonight) and finally, with a last flutter of eyelids, I crept to the door and rushed to the basement.

“Dinner?” my wife asked as I swept past her.

“Later…” I said, “Almost done – couple hundred or so words…love you.”

I lowered myself at the keyboard and pounded out the final scene and, as I typed “The End” I was filled with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction I have never experienced before.

“So this is what slaying a dragon must feel like.”

I’m pretty sure I said those words out loud.

With a novel finished and in need of a rewrite I decided I needed some distance before I set to that task. I wrote a number of short stories and started a couple of novels. The novels are both derived from a novella, The Platinum Ticket, that I will flesh out to novel length this year. I also sent out numerous queries to various agents to represent my completed novel, Loremaster. I soon discovered that finding an agent is very difficult even for a published author and next to impossible for an unpublished one. I intend to start a new round of agent queries later this month now that I have gotten over my initial round of rejections.

Good ol’ Loremaster needs one last polish – a complete, word by word walk-through over the next month or so – and then I’ll submit to DAW books to see if it can rise, cream-like, through their slush pile.

Over the Labour Day weekend I took part in the 3 Day Novel contest and create what I consider to be one of my finest stories – a novella called Patriot. Normally the results of the 3 Day Novel contest are announced during the month of January. I am keeping my fingers crossed. If it doesn’t win, Patriot can easily be expanded to novel length without losing any of its flavour.

There are also some new ideas that will be worked on this year. I have some lovely ideas about demons, Herne the Hunter, and children’s story about giants and dragons. There are also a number of short story ideas germinating in my brain that will need to make their way out onto paper. I am also going to drop off a registration form and a cheque to participate in a fiction writing workshop at the end of January.

With all of this on the go, I am looking forward to a productive 2008.

Monday, 31 December 2007

New Year's Eve

Well, another year has come and gone and it has proved to be a pivotal one for me. I suppose they're all pivotal, but I actually paid attention to this one.

I'm putting this together in a lull in the afternoon before the lovely sushi dinner we have planned. We'll later head into beautiful downtown Fergus for some first night celebrations. Things are a little upscale in Fergus this New Year's Eve. 2008 is the 175th Anniversary of the town. We'll head out and frolic until the kids are too tired, then head home. If I have some time between then and midnight I'll add to this posting. If not, you'll hear from me next year...