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Greetings! Hello all!

Alan P

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Hello everyone, from the new kid on the block.

I'm thrilled to be talking to you real writer creative bods. I'm a tad overawed by your world, being more comfortable in the welcoming long corriors and bleeping cacophany of an acute hospital after many years managing docs and nurses in the NHS.
Somewhere along the way, in between the business plans and waiting lists, I somehow strung together a historical novel. I floated it to agents and after making plans as to how my first tv interviews would go, crashed on the realisation that no-one actually wanted my masterpiece.
I'd stumbled onto pop up submissions, loved it, and so I picked myself up, dusted myself down, and thought I'd pick a few of your brains before tweaking my life's work and it laying it in front of AgentPete.
Before then, I'd love to have the chance to share thoughts and help others with their works too, if my views can be of any use.
So, Hello, one and all!
 

RK Capps

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Welcome aboard @Alan P :) Very commendable effort juggling a novel and the NHS. What part of history is your novel set in?
 

Alan P

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Welcome aboard @Alan P :) Very commendable effort juggling a novel and the NHS. What part of history is your novel set in?
Hi RK, thanks for saying hello!
The book is set during the Roman invasion of Britain. I was intrigued by how the strongest military force in the world, after defeating some local tribes and having alliances with some others by the end of 43AD, would then take another 60 years to conquer the rest of England. Even here the roads coldn't have been THAT bad!
Of course the problem is that the Briton tribes didn't write. So the Roman historians are our only real source (apart from archaeology of course).
So, what if the Britons were not quite the pushover the Romans thought?
Hmm, I thought, might be a story in that....
So, off I went!
How about you - what do you write?
 

RK Capps

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Hi RK, thanks for saying hello!
The book is set during the Roman invasion of Britain. I was intrigued by how the strongest military force in the world, after defeating some local tribes and having alliances with some others by the end of 43AD, would then take another 60 years to conquer the rest of England. Even here the roads coldn't have been THAT bad!
Of course the problem is that the Briton tribes didn't write. So the Roman historians are our only real source (apart from archaeology of course).
So, what if the Britons were not quite the pushover the Romans thought?
Hmm, I thought, might be a story in that....
So, off I went!
How about you - what do you write?

What a great idea! And I'm sure I recall on Pop Ups (the episode with one of the publishers from Zeus), predicted that Roman History would be the next trend (I thought he mentioned sand and sandal fighting). I'll look and post it here.

Me? I write very differently. I write fantasy :)
 

Barbara

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Hi Alan,

A historic novel, nice. Your story certainly sounds like an interesting concept. I love history too, especially historic battles (I have a small sword collection). I'll be watching to see how your masterpiece develops. (And you WILL have that TV interview, I'm sure!)

Welcome to the Colony! Glad you have found us. Any questions about the site, please message me. I'm one of the Guardians and always happy to help.

Do check out the Colony Notices to familiarize yourself with how the site works – The Prime Directive is the foundation of our ethos. For literary chat and general socializing, head over to Café Life.

So get stuck in. You'll see that the more you put in, the more you get out. You'll learn a lot here.

Great to have you on board.
 

Alan P

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What a great idea! And I'm sure I recall on Pop Ups (the episode with one of the publishers from Zeus), predicted that Roman History would be the next trend (I thought he mentioned sand and sandal fighting). I'll look and post it here.

Me? I write very differently. I write fantasy :)
Thanks RK (am I ok calling you that?).
Sand and sandals is the one, so I hope you are right - my book, though, is as much looking at the Briton perspective as the Roman one.
What sort of fantasy do you write?
 

RK Capps

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Thanks RK (am I ok calling you that?).

Absolutely!

Briton perspective as the Roman one

I'm not sure that'll make a difference, but you'd have to listen to what Nick says. He sounds like he a great guy, so if anything he's someone to add to your 'query them' list :) Do pop work into the Writing Groups before you press send though (you can make your thread private too, so you can control who sees your work).

I write YA aimed at 16 year old girls :)
 

RK Capps

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Brilliant! How did you get to it so fast??

It's on Youtube and I know Youtube ;) And I have a friend who writes historical adventure, so because I sent it to him, I already had the episode sitting at the right time.
 

Alan P

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Hi Alan,

A historic novel, nice. Your story certainly sounds like an interesting concept. I love history too, especially historic battles (I have a small sword collection). I'll be watching to see how your masterpiece develops. (And you WILL have that TV interview, I'm sure!)

Welcome to the Colony! Glad you have found us. Any questions about the site, please message me. I'm one of the Guardians and always happy to help.

Do check out the Colony Notices to familiarize yourself with how the site works – The Prime Directive is the foundation of our ethos. For literary chat and general socializing, head over to Café Life.

So get stuck in. You'll see that the more you put in, the more you get out. You'll learn a lot here.

Great to have you on board.
Hi Barbara, thanks for the welcome. Small swords, heh? A gladius or two?
I actually made a bronze sword (circa 2000bc Irish design) in the evocative depths of a Welsh valley as part of a Stag-do! We had stories around the campfire, and went from pouring the bronze, to filing and polishing it!
It sits proudly in my front room (though me and the rest stag-ees would have been in trouble if we'd been stopped on the way home - shades of "That's not a knife, this is a knife..."
"Yes, but you're still nicked, sir"
Nice to meet you!
 

Barbara

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I actually made a bronze sword (circa 2000bc Irish design) in the evocative depths of a Welsh valley as part of a Stag-do!
Oh wow!! You made your own. In Wales. Fab!! I'm so jealous.
Small swords, heh? A gladius or two?
No gladius (I wish). Several small swords and officer's swords from various wars (all antique) and ... a Swiss halberd.
shades of "That's not a knife, this is a knife..."
LOL
"Yes, but you're still nicked, sir"
Just call it a craft project from school. Or say they're antique (you're allowed to have antique swords) and hope they don't carbon date them.
 

Jonny

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Hi Alan,

Your novel idea sounds great. It's only a matter of time... ;)

Welcome to the Colony and hope you enjoy it here. I'm sure you'll find Litopia a very welcoming environment.

There's plenty to do and we have lots of people happy to give and receive advice on works in progress. You'll get the most from the Colony with a two-way exchange and you'll be pleasantly surprised how beneficial offering critiques on the works of others is for your own work.

Litopia is a friendly and supportive community and best thing to do is dive right in. You'll find a very helpful intro here How to guide which will point you in the right direction, and the Writing Workshops Directory WWD is a great place to road test your opening pages, chapters, blurbs & synopses etc.

If there's anything you're unsure about or need help with please drop me a message and I'll be happy to help.

@Alan P
 

Ancora Imparo

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Hi Alan. Welcome! Your book sounds great, your home-made sword even better. Like @Barbara I'm jealous. What a fantastic thing to make. Look forward to seeing you around the Colony.
 

Steve C

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Hi Alan. So, you are here to pick our brains with your homemade sword eh? I guess working in the NHS you must have had to help out with a spot of surgery now and again - all hands to the pumps during the busy times eh?
Welcome aboard :)
 

Alan P

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Oh wow!! You made your own. In Wales. Fab!! I'm so jealous.

No gladius (I wish). Several small swords and officer's swords from various wars (all antique) and ... a Swiss halberd.

LOL

Just call it a craft project from school. Or say they're antique (you're allowed to have antique swords) and hope they don't carbon date them.
Ten of us there were, making the bronze, pouring the molten tin and copper mix into the mould, dodging the sparks of searing heat. Then stories of Irish heroes in the iron age roundhouse thatch towering above, before drinking around the blazing bonfire. Then, next day, the filing and filing as the liquid bronze gradually emerges from the dark green raw metal.
Ten of us, working as one, before we finally emerged from the valley, us band of warriors.......armed, each with a shining sword.
Which, back in the real world, I could hide in my modern chariot of metal! Bit more difficult for the one amongst us who had to change trains twice before geting back to South Wales with his newly forged weapon concealed in a plastic carrier bag, along with his toothbrush!!
 

Nmlee

Nikky Lee
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Hello and welcome! And speaking of swords, I recently fell down a YouTube black hole watching people restore old swords (for writing research, I swear!). It was fascinating! And so many steps (and patience!)
 

Galadriel

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Hi @Alan P , welcome to the colony. Your book sounds exciting (it makes me think of Britannia starring Mackenzie Crook. Have you seen it?). I did an MA in Roman Myth & History, although much of it was on Augustus and contemporaries of his. Studied Ovid's Fastii in depth. Always liked the Romans. Therefore, I'm looking forward to reading some of your work. Do join in the Huddles.
 

Alan P

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Hi @Alan P , welcome to the colony. Your book sounds exciting (it makes me think of Britannia starring Mackenzie Crook. Have you seen it?). I did an MA in Roman Myth & History, although much of it was on Augustus and contemporaries of his. Studied Ovid's Fastii in depth. Always liked the Romans. Therefore, I'm looking forward to reading some of your work. Do join in the Huddles.
Hi @Galadriel - Good old Gaius Octavius hey?
My book is set during the Claudian invasion, so only a couple of Emperors later. I've tried to look at it from the perspective of the Britunculi (or Nasty little Britons, as a writer on Hadrian's Wall described the locals).
I'm getting a feel for things (and trying to pluck up courage to let you all gently eviscerate my poor innocent ramblings).
Do you write historical fiction, or is Miruvor more your cup of tea?
As for huddles - sounds good, but alas, as yet I am but a Basic fellow. My Strider is yet to ascend to his Aragorn heights!
Apologies, too much time on my hands, or too good at serving the demon Procrastinator.
A question, fair Galadriel. Do I venture to blurb in the Writers Workshop first, or huddle with by betters?
 

Galadriel

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Hi @Galadriel - Good old Gaius Octavius hey?
My book is set during the Claudian invasion, so only a couple of Emperors later. I've tried to look at it from the perspective of the Britunculi (or Nasty little Britons, as a writer on Hadrian's Wall described the locals).
I'm getting a feel for things (and trying to pluck up courage to let you all gently eviscerate my poor innocent ramblings).
Do you write historical fiction, or is Miruvor more your cup of tea?
As for huddles - sounds good, but alas, as yet I am but a Basic fellow. My Strider is yet to ascend to his Aragorn heights!
Apologies, too much time on my hands, or too good at serving the demon Procrastinator.
A question, fair Galadriel. Do I venture to blurb in the Writers Workshop first, or huddle with by betters?
Hi @Alan P , no I write dark fantasy. My interests lie in folklore, legends, mythic fiction and folk horror. I like my stories to have the British landscape and the ordinary world bleed into the invisible Otherworld/Underworld. Think Alan Garner or Robert Holdstock.

I do believe there are a few Litopians that write historical fiction. The Writing Groups are a great source of help. I was hesitant to begin with, but you will only get out of Litopia what you put in. The best way, I've found, to improve your writing skills (and critiquing ones) is to be a regular on here. Having said that, there's forums or chats I miss because I haven't noticed them or because I'm cracking on with work. I tend to try and have a quick gander once a day, especially if I'm critiquing or receiving feedback. I'm pretty regular with the Huddles. I haven't entered Pop Up Submissions, yet, but I've been making more of an effort to join in via the chat room every Sunday. Pop Ups is great for seeing what works or not (blurbs and openings).

Head over to the Writing groups. Read what others have put up. Often it's easier to see mistakes in another's writing. Ah! you say, and then you return to your own work, and realise you've been making the same ones! Progress. Put some work up, and ask for feedback. If several people see the same issue, then it's probably a good idea to rectify. If only one points something out, it's their opinion, and then you have to go with your gut.

Huddles are brilliant. It's a virtual meeting. At the end of the day, on a purely online written forum, you could be speaking to anyone. You might not even know their real name. However, the Huddle is a face to face meeting. You get to talk (there's also a chat function that runs alongside, so you can type chat even as the 'real discussion' continues) to Pete and other writers. You can put work up to be critiqued or just enjoy the camaraderie of fellow writers.
 

Alan P

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Hi @Alan P , no I write dark fantasy. My interests lie in folklore, legends, mythic fiction and folk horror. I like my stories to have the British landscape and the ordinary world bleed into the invisible Otherworld/Underworld. Think Alan Garner or Robert Holdstock.

I do believe there are a few Litopians that write historical fiction. The Writing Groups are a great source of help. I was hesitant to begin with, but you will only get out of Litopia what you put in. The best way, I've found, to improve your writing skills (and critiquing ones) is to be a regular on here. Having said that, there's forums or chats I miss because I haven't noticed them or because I'm cracking on with work. I tend to try and have a quick gander once a day, especially if I'm critiquing or receiving feedback. I'm pretty regular with the Huddles. I haven't entered Pop Up Submissions, yet, but I've been making more of an effort to join in via the chat room every Sunday. Pop Ups is great for seeing what works or not (blurbs and openings).

Head over to the Writing groups. Read what others have put up. Often it's easier to see mistakes in another's writing. Ah! you say, and then you return to your own work, and realise you've been making the same ones! Progress. Put some work up, and ask for feedback. If several people see the same issue, then it's probably a good idea to rectify. If only one points something out, it's their opinion, and then you have to go with your gut.

Huddles are brilliant. It's a virtual meeting. At the end of the day, on a purely online written forum, you could be speaking to anyone. You might not even know their real name. However, the Huddle is a face to face meeting. You get to talk (there's also a chat function that runs alongside, so you can type chat even as the 'real discussion' continues) to Pete and other writers. You can put work up to be critiqued or just enjoy the camaraderie of fellow writers.
Hi @Galadriel , thanks for all that. I'd be interested to see some of your work too. What are you working on at the moment?
 

Galadriel

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Hi @Galadriel , thanks for all that. I'd be interested to see some of your work too. What are you working on at the moment?
I'm tweaking Fell a YA dark fantasy. It's a reimagining of an old Dartmoor legend concerning Richard Cabell. The legend formed the basis of Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles. I also have a WiP called Dule, another fantasy set across two timelines: 1930's England and contemporary England. Again set on Dartmoor and concerning a boy who kills his adopted sister. Unfortunately, he happens to live near a very unusual wood that hides a special tree. Be sure your sins will seek you out - even if you die, are re-incarnated, and have no idea what you've done. That's the gist.

Have you secured an outline for your novel or are you still researching and testing out ideas?
 

Alan P

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Ah @Galadriel , 'As flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods, they plague us for their sport'.
Your ideas sound very interesting. Datmoor is a bleak place and when the mist rolls in, the tors seem to have a life of their own. Leave the path by only a few feet, and you could walk beside it for exhausting hours and never know it shadowed your every step - and not know what century you are in!
The Gods have plagued me with an idea and for some time and when I teased it out they twisted the knife and made the lovely agents blind to the charms of my tale. "Not that we don't like it, but not quite our cup of tea", or not for my list or I just don't care enough.
So, crestfallen, I stumbled across Pop Up Submissions and wondered if I dared to peep over the parapet one more time.
In the meantime, the characters (or those that are left after the last trip out) are gradually hinting at their paths for the next sally forth.
The first book: 46AD, Claudius has claimed victory and Britannia is now a province, but Caradoc is not caught and now there are rumours of a Boudica, a Warrior Queen in the north, who might cause trouble. Rome can't allow that to happen.
Of course, it's not 60AD and its not East Anglia and the home of the Iceni - so something isn't quite right!
Well, I had fun anyway.
What do you reckon - Blurb to the Writing Workshop - first chapter? Both?
 
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