Manuscript complete – and some useful takeaways from the journey!

manuscript blogUPDATE 05/05/2017: ‘I will never claim to have finished a manuscript again, until it is either binned or metamorphosed into a beautiful book, sitting in the stores and waiting for a new owner.

I first posted this blog November 2015 under the illusion that I had finished the manuscript. I sent it to a friend and mentor for a second opinion – just one last read through. The final gloss. She provided me with detailed feedback, which has taken me close to a year to execute. I am a much better writer for it – the manuscript is far stronger.

I’m not going to tell you it’s complete now.

We shall see.’

***

29/11/2015 (original blog)

Manuscript complete – Part 1 of a dark, gritty young adult fantasy trilogy. Hooray!

I finished the first draft this time last year and have been polishing it ever since. Patience is one of the Five Ps I spoke about in an earlier blog. I’ve been patient with this one, working with a brilliant mentor. I didn’t need compliments and she rarely gave them! I had to raise my game (excuse the cliché). I also completed a couple of handy writing courses during the drafting stages, chosen specifically to plug holes in my craft.

It’s been a long, slow incredibly productive learning curve. Six months ago, I thought I’d finished. I set the manuscript aside for two weeks – this is something all authors must do. Heed the advice. When I returned to the story, I realised the book still had a long way to go. Again – patience.

But I got there.

The completed manuscript is now sitting printed on my desk. It seems a living breathing thing to me, a reminder of the hundreds of hours involved in creating a polished piece of prose. Every author will know this feeling. Handing it over will be difficult. I’ll be saying goodbye to the characters, my constant companions for the last two years.

On the flipside, I’ll blog much more frequently now that I’ve got some free time on my hands – the next story is already brewing in my brain but I’ll keep off the keyboard for a couple of months to catch up on my reading pile. Just finished Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. Witty, insightful and, at times, deeply sad. Everything I’ve come to expect from one of my favourite authors.

I’ll leave you with two quotes – the first one my partner will appreciate. She often comments on my vampiric skin tone. The second is more for me.

 

‘Writers don’t have lifestyles. They sit in little rooms and write’ – Norman Mailer

 

‘Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead’ – Gene Fowler.

 

A thousands smiles

 

Jonathan

Posted in Avid Book Lover, Books, Jonathan K Benton, Latest News, Writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

World Peace – An impossible ideal or a people-powered reality.

children of different nationalitiesI took my six-year-old boy to the park the other day. There was only one swing and another boy wanted to play on it too. Without any adult intervention, the two boys decided sharing was the best option, and ended up taking turns, and becoming friends.

 

Then I read an article about a potential war between two nuclear powers over a piece of land.  The war will lead to the indiscriminate deaths of millions of innocent people on both sides. The leaders would have us believe it’s a complicated issue, but it’s not. Break it down and the cause of the war comes down to insecurity and egos, traits that didn’t motivate my boy and his new friend in their decision making.

 

Poverty, pollution and overpopulation cannot be resolved without first creating a safe and respectful world in which ideas are exchanged between cultures without these dickheads sabre rattling. It is on them, and them alone, if war breaks out. Murder by murderers.

 

This world needs a collective voice, created by  the hundreds of thousands of citizens in every country sick of the threat of war. Let’s call this collective COPE (Citizens of Planet Earth), and show our leaders that they are in the minority, that we can get along, that we want all children, everywhere, to have a bright future, that we can share Earth’s swings.

 

#Cope4Peace

 

Jonathan Benton

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s all about regrets – finally a new blog

regretsRegrets: everybody has them. They come in all shapes and sizes and can ambush you at any time. There’s a plethora of quotes about regrets. Here’s one from William Shatner: ‘Regret is the worst human emotion. If you took another road you might have fallen off a cliff’.

I often look into the past. I need my experiences to write. But personal history is a dangerous place to go fishing for ideas. Regrets lurk there, like sharks waiting to bite into the present. I used to have too many regrets. Groundhog Day was (and still is) one of my favourite movies. It’s a well-made film, but I liked it for different reasons. I wanted Phil Connor’s day to happen to me so that I could get things right.

‘I should have …’ I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve said that.

But something happened to me five years ago that helped me to overcome regret. When my first child was born, and I looked into his eyes, I understood that I shouldn’t regret a single moment of my life. If one of those moments hadn’t happened exactly the way that it had, and my personal timeline was different, I might never have laid eyes on Harrison. I wouldn’t give him or his brother up for all the second chances in the world!

So – I’ll leave you with someone famous to tell you exactly what to do the next time you feel a bit of regret. Click here

JKB

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Hooray for being a Kiwi! – Jonathan K Benton

new zealandFeeling a little home sick: it’s times like this that I love being a Kiwi. Pink Floyd’s new album reached number one in NZ. I’ve always known Kiwi’s have great taste. My B’day is just around the corner and I only want one thing (apart from world peace and a candlelit dinner with Darth Vader): Floyd’s The Endless River.

DV dinnerIt might seem like I’ve disappeared from the blogosphere, but I’ve been buried in my new manuscript, estimated date of completion February 2015. Loving this thing called writing.

I’ll blog more – promise.

JKB

Posted in Books, Jonathan K Benton, Latest News, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Troubling times – inaction is not an option

UN secretary generalUnited Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the world on Saturday: “… Today we face a profusion of mounting challenges,” he said. “People are crying out for protection from greed and inequality. The United Nations must answer the call …”

The United Nations is a wonderful concept that cannot reach its full potential without the majority will of all free people behind it. Ban Ki-moon’s speech was a plea for help and a warning to us all: ‘This year the horizon of hope is darkened’.

We must act!

Here’s an article outlining the key elements of the speech. Worrying, isn’t it?

 

JKB

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Darth Vader rant, and can someone please shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level?

954621_585507368167838_1940585380_nEveryone has their favourite superhero – at least people who like this kind of stuff. Mine is Darth Vader. Okay, he doesn’t quite fit into the Marvel and DC idea of what a ‘super hero’ should be, but he did end up saving the galaxy. Darth Vader possessed the highest concentration of midichlorians, ever, period, full stop. Midichlorians allow their host to communicate with the force. The force is life. This means Darth Vader is the most powerful superhero in all the universes – that’s my solid fact-based scientifically proven conclusion anyway . He’d see Superman coming before the Man of Steel donned his external underpants. He’d force crush the Hulk and give Thor a lightsaber haircut. At the risk of sounding immature, Darth Vader is simply the best. So there. Just ask this guy.

Jonathan K Benton

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Movies, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

There’s not enough time but there’s always time for a writing tip – Jonathan K Benton

writing tip and updateI’m approaching the end of my new manuscript and I’m really excited. This book has been a collaborative effort – I’ve realised that you don’t have to write solo. My mentor’s contribution has been immense and I’m kind of hoping she’ll continue to work with me as my writing grows. I don’t think the manuscript will be ready until February but I can taste the final sentence. It’s not far off.

Which is the reason I haven’t blogged for the last two weeks. My apologies. It also explains why this week’s blog is short and sweet. My manuscript consumes me at the moment. Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a course at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival held by the energetic, witty and intelligent Lenny Bartulin – I was so impressed by him I raced out and bought one of his books. Infamy is the next book on my reading pile, behind Anna Dressed in Blood.

Here’s something I learned at the course – six questions you need to ask yourself when starting to write a novel. I can’t read my scrawling notes so I apologise if I am misquoting the source – I believes it’s Robert Mckee.

  • Who are the characters?
  • What do they want (desire – in its myriad forms – moves the story forward)?
  • Why do they want it?
  • How do they go about getting it?
  • What stops them?
  • What are the consequences?

Adios

Jonathan K Benton

Posted in Avid Book Lover, Jonathan K Benton, Latest News, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

True Blood – truly entertaining.

imagesI’ve been struggling to blog recently, even though I’m determined to make it part of my weekly routine. Blogging ain’t easy when you’re writing a book.

There are a lot of terrible things happening in the world at the moment. I feel I have to try to make some sense of it in blogs likes this. Sometimes, however, it’s good to leave the big picture stuff alone and write about True Blood.

I spent last night in Bon Temps with Sookie and company. Jason Stackhouse is my hero. I’m thinking of modelling myself off Ryan Kwanten’s character. I’m glad Alcide passed away last night. Every time he took off his shirt my partner gasped. Now I don’t have to listen to her sharp intake of breath whenever he disrobes. Lafayette is simply sensational and Pam is some kind of wonderful. I’ll miss them when they’re gone. I hope this final season ends with a wonderful Bon Temp’s vampiric flourish!

 

Jonathan K Benton

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Reviews, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A deeply moving article by Hannah Richell

sorrowI found this beautifully written article by Hannah Richell about the loss of a loved one and the impact it had on Hannah and her family. It was real ‘tissue box’ material, and reminded me how important it is to live each day like it’s your last. It also reminded me to keep on keeping on, no matter what life throws at you.

A deeply moving article. Peace, love and huge dollops of happiness to Hannah and her kids. Thank you for opening up about your loss. It will surely help others.

 

Jonathan K Benton

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

An explosion of philosophy to change the world – Jonathan K Benton

change the worldI was sitting on the train watching the suburbs pass by. Picket fences, parks, factories and commercial real estate. Someone was hanging washing on a tiny balcony in a tall apartment block. I felt alone. Insignificant. This is why we need an ego. It makes us the centre of the Universe, despite the Copernican reality of our existence. Egos are our existential gravity.

Problems occur – and I believe this is the root cause of a lot of humanity’s issues – when insecurity starts feeding the ego. It becomes difficult to see past our picket fences, if our existential gravity grows too strong. People and their personalities start to seem paper-thin, as the expanding ego distorts reality. It’s easy to neglect the one-dimensional.

In conclusion … Even the humble have an ego. It keeps us centred. The trick is to accept our insignificance. Then we can truly appreciate that each of us plays an equal part in a much bigger picture, in which even the smallest thing is perfect and beautiful.

Jonathan K Benton

Posted in Jonathan K Benton, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment