Nice to see you.




I grew up rural working class. Much of my work is raw and from experience.
Many stories and poems published worldwide.

2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. (more)


''They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes,
Within a dream.''


Contact: anthonyjlangford2@yahoo.com.au

Ode to Dead Young Friends




A couple of months ago, I made a submission to a major UK publisher with my fifth novel, Ode to Dead Young Friends. I've tried to snare an agent before, mainly in the US with my second and third novels, a Young Adult sci-fi series, but I haven't really tried to get my other novels 'out there.' There are a few reasons for this. Mainly that I've been too occupied in the process of actual writing over the past six-seven years but the truth is that I'm terrible at the business side of writing. I'm a creative. I know. I need to do more.

Anyway, I finally got this one out there and thought I'd talk a little about the novel. I'll keep you up to date on it's progress with the publisher, who are seeking new writers and wanted to see the whole manuscript but are only choosing one submission. Chances are, I'll be rejected as I'm sure they had thousands of entries (it was a type of competition), but it's an opportunity to talk about the book.




It's different than my other novels, as it was not directly targeted at Young Adults (like the first three Novels I wrote). And it was mainly a memoir. I say mainly as I had to change a few things and I'll explain why in a minute but it was mostly fact, at least 80%. Yet because of that, I couldn't call it Non-Fiction either. A tough sell? I don't know. Perhaps its better to be quiet about such things. I wonder how many memoirs are 100% fact. I'd say none. Especially if its Auto-biographical. I never trust biographies anyway. The truth is only a matter of perspective anyway.

Ode to Dead Young Friends, is literally what it says it is. It's based on four friends of mine who all died young.

Avita – A stunning but wild, free spirit.
Andrew – A passionate country boy with fire in his blood.
Rosemary – A meek city girl just coming into her own.
Ryan – A confident young man with a zest for life.

I have changed their names and some situations, to protect the real people involved, but I wanted to honour their memory and my association with these young people, who were all very different. Their only commonality was their youth and that they all knew me. It's respectful, though honest and as a consequence, isn't always pleasant. I found this very difficult to write as I realised that it was impossible to tell their stories without including myself in it. It felt very narcissistic. But I couldn't tell it any other way. Well I suppose I could have dressed it up within the confines of a fictional story, but somehow, I don't think people would have believed it. Some events can only exist in the real world. I did however, end up revealing much more about myself than I had planned. I'm still reluctant about it. Yet, I had to be truthful. At times, I don't come out looking that good. I didn't want it to be some Hallmark / Mills & Boon version of what happened. Youth is a difficult time for most. Youth is painful. And it was painful to write. More than once I ended up in tears. I miss my friends. They were too young to die. It's still hard to talk about. I almost decided to shelve the book and never release it. And it did stay in the drawer for over a year, before I pulled it out and decided to redraft it. I had written the initial draft quite quickly, I think over 2-3 months. But I spent almost a year rewriting it, while I was working on other projects. It's simply written. No reams of eloquent, flowing, wistful Victorian style prose. That's not me. I believe in simplicity.



The Book is divided into Four Distinctive Parts and yet, sometimes the timelines blur as some of these people knew each other. I remain the constant factor throughout. It covers an almost twenty year period, from when I was 17 through to 36.
The theme of the book evolved into a celebration of youth itself. I came to understand that we are all slaves to our age; it defines our thoughts, never more so obvious than when we are young.




I'll let you know what becomes of the submission and perhaps I'll begin shopping it around if it comes to naught. It would be nice to see it in print. If only for them. I'll leave you with this little tag I wrote for the synopsis.

An epic novel dealing with the fragility of life, the bond of friendship,
the jealousy's, the intensity of emotion between friends and lovers, the misunderstanding's, the breakdowns, the violence, the insecurity's, the discovery of sex, the emergence into an adult world and the very essence of humanity, captured in youth.



Coming Next Post,
A New Entry in Greatest Written Films
A Short Story, Ferris-Wheel Frivolity

Until Then,

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations on completing what must have been a very painstaking journey (writing the book)! It sounds very powerful. Hopefully, it was a healing experience for you.
    I look forward to updates. I'd like to read it.
    xoRobyn

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  2. I wish you luck. Any manuscript sent to a publisher needs to be read by someone who empathises with the book and knows that it is exactly the type of book they can sell at that moment.

    I don't know about being slaves to your age. You are as old as you think you are, I reckon. There's two years difference in age between my brother and me, and he's looking towards retirement, whereas I am just starting a new career.

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  3. Thanks for your comments Robyn (yes it was difficult to write) and Graham. I think a lot of what gets published is down to the individual taste of the person on the other end. Or whether they were referred by an agent, etc. It's equally a matter of right time, right place as to the content I think. Just have to keep trying.

    As to the age thing, you make a good point Graham, and attitude is everything. This book though, is about youth, and there is a huge disparity between a 13yrold and a 16yrold and a 19yr old and 21, 25 and so on. I think beyond 30 it's all the same anyway; we are mature adults..or in many cases, just adults.. With attitudes based on our experiences/upbringing. Youth is a delicate time for many and it was for me too as we fumble our way through and learn about the world and ourselves.

    cheers for stopping by.. and I hope yr writing is going well to Graham.

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  4. I'm so happy for you. I have so many writing projects going that I'll probably not ever actually finish anything. I don't want to deal with the business end of it at all.
    Please keep us posted!

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  5. Cheers Pat. No wonder mate, your blog alone must require alot of time. Though I'd love to read a memoir of your childhood. I think it would make for a good read. And yes, I hate the business side of it. Content is obviously a part of it, but so much seems to depend on contacts and just pure sales..it is a business afterall..

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  6. Hey Anthony I have my fingers crossed for you ... it sounds to me like it would be a fabulous read. I think that having included yourself in this novel & revealing more than you intended about yourself, both good & not so good, makes it a more honest, meaningful book .... one that I would be compelled to read.
    I lost friends too, that were too young to die & I know how hard it must have been to relive those terrible moments in the making of this book. Good Luck!

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