Girl Island: Introducing the World’s Newest Country

I don’t have Suzy Shipman’s photography talent, but she’s endlessly inspiring.

Title and tagline for my new book. Does this work? Make you curious? I would love honest feedback, as always. Girl Island is done. It’s edited, been through several sets of eyes, refined over and over. There’s always more to do though, isn’t there? And that’s okay. You have to do the hard work.

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I’m awful at posting regular blog posts. I’d prefer to write fiction, the more accessible the better (though I don’t always achieve that). I’ve been thinking on the pursuit of writing longer pieces, and I quite like it. Girl Island is my third novel, not my first. I think the first two are pretty good but they need more work. For one, they’re way too long, even for being fairly epic. But they’re really good stories, with my typical bugnuts characters.

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It’s funny how you work on trying to publish your work – that’s a difficult thing. It takes work, and probably a spot of luck. As people say, if you have a good story to tell and you’ve told it well (and it’s marketable), then you have a chance. I think I have a chance. In the meantime, I’m writing like crazy.

Last week, I finished a short story about a WWII submarine captain who pines for his lover as he hurtles to the bottom of the sea bed after failing to torpedo an enemy destroyer. But what he finds down there, at the edge of a deep trench (a real one, to boot!) is something monstrous.

I have another longer story that I’ve written and been holding onto. It’s a fairly controversial one, in my eyes. I think I’ll cut it into a few pieces and publish it on the blog at some point, although it makes me slightly nervous to expose this one. We’ll have to see what you all think about it.

I have started laying out my next larger writing project. It’s the most ambitious thing I’ve tried so far. In order to organize my thoughts, I’ve been using Scrivener, a tool I quite like. It was referred to me by Johnny Crabcakes, with whom I’m hoping to work on a photo-story shortly (when I get my act together). Scrivener really allows me to organize my thoughts, characters, plot points, settings, and notes. I’m definitely a from-the-hip writer for short stories – they just blurt out of me. But for longer pieces, you have to have a roadmap, in my opinion, and Scrivener is super useful for that.

I also owe Arthur Browne a moose-related podcast. Don’t ask. But it’s going to be hilarious. He’s not right in his head, but that’s why I like him. As for someone who is definitely right in his head, I need to read and post a review of The Irrepairable Past, a novella by Mark Paxson. Really can’t wait to do that – just need to make time.

I also joined Twitter. It’s kind of addictive. I’m @trent_lewin, if you want to check it out. I’m also going to start using my long dormant Wattpad account.

That’s it from me. Hope all of you are well. If you haven’t had a chance to look at A MOMENT FOR DREW RAMOS, just peer back through the last few blog entries. That story is near and dear to my heart.

Dream hard, rage hard.

43 thoughts on “Girl Island: Introducing the World’s Newest Country

    1. I’d hesitate to send them to you, Mark. The first one was a halting effort, and I know exactly what it needs for an overhaul – but it is a big overhaul. I need to spend some time with it at some point, there is real potential there. The second one is much more polished but also much more adult, and just kind of crazy. One day, I hope these things are read, but they definitely need work.

        1. I will have to take you up on that. Do you know Johnny Crabcakes? I linked to him. Also a very good reader, attentive to detail just as you are. I hope these two novels are updated in the next year, as I work on the next one. I’m positive I’m overcooking my schedule, in addition to marketing activities for Girl Island and writing short stories, but this is also a very exciting prospect.

          1. I don’t follow Johnny. Maybe I should.

            But regarding your earlier novels … I’ll be patient, but don’t underestimate the value of another set of eyes at this point in your process either. Considering how much you have on your plate at the moment, it may be a good way to put one of these aside for a time — give it to somebody else and see what they think before you delve further into it.

            1. You, sir, are a glutton for punishment! I’m happy to send the more polished of the two your way, together with a lump in my throat at your unearthly generosity. It’s a long book, and it’s nuts (it’s super nuts!). I’d love to get your opinion on it, I know there’s much work to be done on it. Really appreciate it, Mark.

              Definitely have a look at Johnny, he’s a photographer and poet, and is very good at both. Really want to write a story around some of his photos, he has a way of capturing things that fits directly into how I visualize stuff when writing.

              1. I’m going to check out his website. I like the idea of using his photos as potential prompts.

                With whatever you send me — I’ll make you a deal. I’ll be honest with you and if I am struggling with it, I’ll let you know. A few months ago, I volunteered to read a manuscript for a woman posting on a Literary Fiction Writers group on Facebook. She sent it to me. I read a couple of chapters and told her that it wasn’t for me and offered some constructive commentary. She was extremely grateful for my honesty and willingness to give it a try.

                Now I need to go back and look at Johnny’s photos and see if anything inspires me. I need all the inspiration I can get these days.

              2. Come on man – give it to us. You’ve issued some good fiction lately, more needed. I figure once your floodgates open, they simply will open. I know it.

                Yes please on the honesty! If you can’t get through this book, tell me so! It’s a very different genre than my other stuff, and of course, it won’t be for everyone. But it was massively fun to write.

  1. Actually finishing a novel must be such a culminant experience. I’ve tried to tether stories once or twice, but my brain doesn’t quite work as intended, and I can’t seem to make the necessary decisions for a narrative proper. I mull on things for weeks, sometimes, things as ornamental as which types of trees might decorate a bazaar in Southern Algeria, or how there is an inherent associative symbolism behind every single thing you pen down. I suppose I’m trying to write fiction with the mindset of poetry, but one must not forget that I suck at both, haha!

    Regarding Girl Island, will it be anything like Lord of the Flies? I’m assuming that’s where you got the inspiration! But it sure sounds exciting.

    1. It’s a strange feeling, Joao-Maria, though I suspect a book is not done until you have many people read it. You have to be open to revision and the work required, and I am.

      You definitely do not suck at poetry. I’ve not met too many people who are as eloquent as you.

      Girl Island is somewhat the opposite of Lord of the Flies. Or Robinson Crusoe. Imagine being shipwrecked and stuck, and not wanting get off the island – imagine wanting to turn that island into a new country, one with rules that aim to fix the ills of the world.

      1. Writing is this dual experience. I also find it difficult to find myself “writing” unless I’m showing it to someone. It’s as if one is speaking to oneself: it serves a purpose, but it does not serve a purpose fully.
        Girl Island seems great, then. Considering how the current world is going, I wouldn’t want to get off the island either. Oh, the dreams of solitude.

        1. Writing is an odd thing. For me, it’s different than my normal life, and there’s a divergence there that is hard to reconcile. I try to do so, often within minutes of each other, and I swear I can hear different parts of my brain humming depending on if I’m writing fiction or working at my decidedly-uncreative job. I find the dichotomy sort of interesting, although largely academic. I’m not sure I’m in it for the purpose. I think I’m in it to tell stories, hopefully compelling ones that have a spark of decent writing in them. We all hope for ascension!

          As with anything around civilization, starting anew presents its own challenges. It’s easy to go in the wrong direction at times. Girl Island isn’t Heart of Darkness, but there’s a certain corruption that occurs when you have no restraint and don’t have any shackles. We occasionally go back to our earthier roots and do things that are perhaps not what we set out to do. We can make mistakes, which is expected. It’s how we correct them that matters. That said, this is a joyful book. I set out to write something anti-dark, and I hope I achieved that. I think we need some anti-darkness in our lives just now!

  2. Girl Island – title and tag line… I’m honestly more intrigued because of who wrote it. I don’t that isn’t terribly helpful, but that’s how I pick new books to read. Either through recommendations or because I’ve read that author before. My time is a closely held commodity these days, I don’t have much to waste browsing for new things. I will read girl Island because I know the author is brilliant. I’ve read their work before.

    1. You honour me with that comment, Matticus. Thank you. I hope this book lives up to that expectation. I think it does, but I’m horribly biased of course.

  3. Hey Trent! Congratulations on writing a book and finishing it and all that! You are an inspiration. May honest opinion on the title: Girl Island. It’s more intriguing to me anyway.

    1. Linda! Where’ve you been??? Great to see you, my friend. Thanks for the congratulations, it’s actually my third book that I’ve written but the first one I’ve deemed really worthy of trying to publish.

      1. Your third book!! That’s wonderful!! You are such a talented writer. I some publisher out there has the wherewithal to publish it. Have you thought about self-publishing? I’d be interested in knowing what your thoughts are on that. I’m in the process of writing a book. I have already decided to self-publish only because I hate the submission process. It takes way too much time and also because when all is said and done. I’m lazy!

    2. Yeah Linda, where’ve you been??? Hanging out on your own blog writing hilarity or something i suspect…good luck with the book! And well done to you too Lewin, though i must be honest and say i don’t like the tag line…once an even newer country is founded your usp will be gone…and we don’t want that, do we Linda?

    3. Yeah Linda, where’ve you been??? Hanging out on your own blog writing hilarity or something i suspect…well done on the book. And well done to you too Lewin, though i must be honest and say that i don’t like the tag line…once another new country has been founded that’ll be your usp gone, and we don’t want that, do we Linda?

  4. And I see you’ve redecorated. I like the new digs. I tried that recently as well but I didn’t dig it. Went back to the old house on the hill, with the dark, peeling wallpaper and the weed-infested garden…..but it’s home.

    1. It’s a great aesthetic over on your site. My wife redecorated for me. She’s got the touch. I’ve got chili on my hands, and for some reason, in my shoes.

  5. Totally works.
    I’d like to know if I need a ferry ticket to get there and if I can pay for it with my unemployment debit card.

  6. You have 3 books written!?! You’ve been holding out on us. I am really looking forward to Girl Island. The cover art definitely seems appropriate. Now I am off to find out what “Wattpad” is all about.

    1. I do… first one was a doozy but needs work. Second one is completely nuts. This new one is much more commercial, I would say. .And more fun. I don’t know much about Wattpad either.

    1. I will spill more beans… I’m excited about it. I think it’s really good, and would appeal to a bunch of people. Plus it’s a bit crazy. I have to deliver the crazy.

  7. Writing is addictive…even when it’s going badly (One must suffer before success, right? HAHA)
    Wise to not fret over posting when there’s more serious writing going on. Followers understand – but they love updates.
    The submarine shot story is intriguing!
    Write on (we’ll just talk among ourselves haha)

    1. It is addictive… strangely addictive. I wrote a short story today that rang my bell immensely. I think it’s a darling of a story, weird and wonderful and kind of glorious… and also the history of chess. And an interracial couple. And a vivid sex scene. Such is life!

  8. Yeah, give me my moose-related project! Also, that scrivener thing sounds cool. I can never keep all my projects organized. Drawers full of note pages torn out of notebooks is not a good method. I will have to look at that. Also, this post was not as sexy as I thought it was going to be.

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