Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m talking about The Arc, the finale of The Loop trilogy. I talked about earlier books previously, and you can find that post here. Author Ben Oliver has shared a letter to his unpublished self today, and I think you’ll really enjoy what he has to say!
Luka Kane is dead, executed in front of a crowd of Alts who cheered despite the fact that the truth of their oppressive leaders had been revealed to them.
But one Alt, Chester “Chilly” Beckett, did not celebrate; his eyes have been opened to the truth. Luka’s corpse is dragged away, but Chester remains determined to find out what is going on in the Laboratory on the 65th floor.
There, he finds three subjects tortured in an attempt to extract a regeneration formula… and one of the subjects is, impossibly, a face he never thought he’d seen again. A bold escape sets in motion a race against time as Happy’s plans to release planet-eating nano-bots into the world draw nearer. The Loop team must reassemble, survive Happy’s final attempts to rid the world of the rebels, and figure out how to halt the apocalypse before humanity is destroyed.
Ben, stop practising your author signature and actually write something! By the time you get an agent and a publisher you will have written five novels that go nowhere, so you better get on with it.
This is going to sound weird but try enjoy the next few years before you become a published writer. Yes, I know you’re starting to get worried because you’re 27 and you’re a waiter, and sometimes people from your high school come in for business meetings and they order the expensive wine and you feel like a loser because you have to pour it and they look at you like I know that guy, isn’t that Ben from back in high school? Wow, he’s doing about as well as I expected him to be doing, but right now is probably the most fun you’ll ever have as a writer. You get to sit down without deadlines or expectations or the pressure of sales figures or any of that stuff. You just get to write whatever you want and that is awesome. (Don’t get me wrong, being published is much better, but you’re going to look back on this time a little wistfully).
I guess what you’ll want to know is How did you get published, and how can I do it quicker? The answer is: I got published by writing and submitting over and over again. How can you do it quicker? You can’t – you have to go through all the rejection and all the exasperation because that’s how you learned to write better. Sorry, I wish I had a better answer for you, but… tough, you just have to stick it out.
Listen, a worldwide pandemic is going to peak at almost the exact date you debut novel comes out – this is going to hurt a lot, and you’re just going to have to smile through it and remind yourself how lucky you are to have a published book out there in the world, and remember that your situation is infinitely better than those who are truly suffering due to COVID, so shut up and count your blessings, but allow yourself to feel sad about it sometimes.
The only piece of advice I have for you is to not over-rehearse your author events. You’re better than you think at thinking on your feet, you don’t need to practice your answers, they sound robotic when you do that, just listen to the questions and answer them.
Be happy, take risks, don’t worry about what your boss says about you, and all other good things of that nature. You’ll be fine, you’ll be better than fine, you’ll be great. Remember that a colon sets up a list and semi-colons separate items in that list, other than that, just don’t try to use them, you don’t understand them and you need to admit that to yourself.
Oh, and cut your hair, you think it suits you when it gets too long and starts doing that John Krasinski flicky thing, but it doesn’t.
Thank you so much to Ben for sharing this emotional – and witty – letter, with advice that I’ll certainly be taking to heart while I work on my own manuscript! A big thank you also to Olivia at Chicken House for all her hard work.