A Journey Through One Man’s Trunk – Guest Post by Author Patrick Malum
Patrick Malum – Author of Oddity of the Magicus Eye
So as you may have noticed, this is not Duffy. But I am Australian and, as you know, all Australian writers learn under the legendary Australian author Jay Kristoff, which obviously means we are highly qualified to talk about writing—which I was going to do until about one sentence ago.
I was so close to opening up about my writing process like a million other writers before me, so close to peeling back the layers of this chocolate cake and revealing the golden nuggets inside that would hold the key to your writing success. Instead, I figured why don’t we take a look at my trunk novels and the amazing failures I went through before writing the greatest (only) space fantasy serial of all time, Oddity of the Magicus Eye! So read on and enter my sacred writing trunk (folder on Dropbox) unless you’re one of those writers who YOUR FIRST BOOK WAS AMAZING AND YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS HELL.
So let’s go back to 2011 . . .
Ok, so we’re skipping a huge chunk of history but pre-2011 was just the stuff every young writer did: really-really large handwriting on an A4 page, horrible pencil drawings on the other, staples. Repeat. I had maybe twenty of these tiny books, or episodes, which ripped off everything. Final Fantasy (particularly the best one: VIII), Star Wars (the villain was basically Darth Vader), The Lion King (the Vader character’s name was Scar for some reason), the Spyro games, etc.
In 2006, I upgraded to typing books with Arkai and Achom (featuring Halo, Lord of the Rings, etc.) and Coly Key: Pyramid Explorer Legend (Tomb Raider: Legend rip-off). In third grade I wrote Harry Potter and the Antidote of Life and some more Final Fantasy VIII rip-offs.
Now let’s go to 2011 for real, one year before the Mayan Apocalypse and in a time when I was obsessed with the end of the world. The first book (“book”) I ever wrote was Apocalypse 2029, about the asteroid that’s going to slam into Earth in about ten years. I entered the first scene into a short story competition in Year 7 and took the first prize: lunch. The book was a tiny 19,638 words but it felt like I’d just written a goddamn tome. The book was unreadable.
In 2012, I awoke in the middle of the night to the GreatestIdeaEver™ which was a dystopian thriller called Gavin Hawke. As I lay in bed listening to the ending of In the Name of God by Dream Theater, I meticulously crafted the entire novel and then spent the next year or so writing the 41,000 word epic that would go on to become a bestseller, and then a film trilogy with the last one split in two, and make me a millionaire before age fifteen. The book was unreadable.
In 2013, I awoke in the middle of the night to the GreatestIdeaEver™ which was a dystopian thriller called Battalion: Origin. It was only 55,000 words so I wrote a half-assed sequel and added it so that it went to 80,000 words and that looks good on the Microsoft Word word-count thing. It was an F-bomb fest. The book was readable but embarrassing.
And then I actually started . . . reading books. The first book I picked up in, like, five years was The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. And somehow I actually blasted through it. I went on a fantasy binge until eventually landing on the first book in The Wheel of Time series.
This book created the biggest jump in my writing ability ever.
In 2014, I wrote The Last Sorcerer (114,000 words) and The Last Sorcerer Reboot (96,000 words) and The Black Throne (117,000 words). The Last Sorcerer and The Black Throne were hugely ambitious epic fantasies that were way beyond my skill level but they taught me a) that I can hit proper word counts and b) that THIS is my genre.
In 2015, I wrote my first trilogy and started to be able to execute things the way I envisioned them. This also marked the point where I finally felt confident giving my books to readers and the first time people were able to interact with the texts on a deeper level than just, well, reading it. Now keep in mind, it took an embarrassing SEVEN BOOKS to reach this point.
Then I wrote the first draft of what would become the beginning of Oddity of the Magicus Eye. I’ve also written other stuff, lots of it for other people, a handful of novellas, a secret novel that’s maybe with agents and stuff, and maybe some other secret stuff too. But Oddity is the project that’s been nagging at me for years and it marks my first time releasing something.
It’s a serial, like the first stories I ever wrote, but it has one thing going for it that many of my earlier books did not: this one is readable (IT BETTER BE). The first part is available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. It’s a monthly YA space fantasy about magic and gods and the unbearable weight of legacy. It was also a #1 bestseller in the space opera category for, like, a day.
Buy it now on Amazon for about a dollar:
There’s also a website:
BIO: Patrick Malum (rhymes with Salem) was born in Melbourne, Australia in the same year the animated classic Antz was released in theatres. He is not a real person; instead he is the far less-cool alter ego of a musician who writes music and sometimes performs it.