05 Apr Mitchell the conqueror
Mitchell Hayward recently celebrated the publication of his first novel, thanks to support from Ability Links / Uniting. The Conqueror is an epic piece of historical fiction that focuses on Roman military history. He shares the story of how it came to be written with Uniting.
Writing my debut novel was a long process to be sure. I wrote the original 20-page synopsis of the story when I was still in Year-9 at Narooma High, and wrote the second draft in Year-11, updating the design of my character and settings, and the plot. Even in primary school, I recall having some small interest in writing when given certain class assignments, but I never would have guessed how things would turn out today.
My interest with Roman military history really is just a fraction of my interest in history in its entirety. I have the intention of writing hundreds of stories set throughout the exotic places and interesting events of the world — with as much accuracy and truth to the facts as a writer of historical-fiction can convey. There is absolutely no denying that Rome was one of the greatest civilisations in the world, and how much it has changed from its inception to its final fall in Istanbul is definitely fascinating.
I couldn’t have done it without Beck Minear and Troy Read, who I had first met in my last term at school. They pointed me to various sources of knowledge and direction. I started attending meetings with a few local authors who were happy to share their own experience and methods, which provided me with some helpful tips, and the self-assurance that I was on the write track. (Pun intended.)
Beck and Troy had also found my editor—Ros Jenkins. Ros’ guidance was pivotal in how I learned how to properly edit and structure the wording of my manuscript. I can’t express enough just how helpful she was in this phase of my writing. As I have learned from my experience with her, how to properly edit my future works myself.
There are also storytelling reviews for various films, TV, and even other books that I had taken an interest in at the time. And this provided me with a lot of insight into what is really necessary in any story — such as the importance of seemingly irrelevant characters.
It was a combination of these things that really helped me get a new appreciation and understanding of how stories work, and just how important every little thing is to creating a good story.
With what I learned there, I refined the story into something much better than the original product. Before I had written one draft after the next, and had also taken to illustrating each chapter of my novel from scratch. A friend of the family — Thomas Wright, had been very helpful in putting together the cover of my novel. With a design guideline I had drawn-up, we worked together to create a stunning cover for the novel. To this day, when I look at the cover, I am still shocked at how gorgeous it is. The detail is incredible, and the colours blend perfectly. Beck, Tom, Troy, and Ros were truly instrumental in shaping the final product with me.
Writing my first novel was not an easy process, and it wasn’t simply over when I finished writing it. In some ways, it’s still going.
Since then, the reviews I have received from the people who have brought and read my book have been heart-warming. The appreciation has absolutely not been unnoticed, and it’s been a personal privilege to entertain every single one of those people. The reader is really the focus of all literature, and I loved the opportunity to bring people a story that they could enjoy reading.
The writer is nothing more than the person who conveys it.
In the future, I hope to continue on this journey of producing stories that I hope everyone can sit down with in a cosy chair and enjoy. And I would even like to expand out of writing fiction books to write screenplays for films and TV as well.
Now, I’m working on a range of small projects. But my focus is on the first instalment of a new series focused on religious conflict, which is well underway. For this new story, an accurate and gritty depiction of the Crusades; as well as lot of drama, comedy, romance, and can be expected, plus some new and zesty twists that I can guarantee people will not see coming.
Readers will notice a massive difference in plot, setting, and vibe, between The Conqueror, between my new story, which is guaranteed to be even larger — Faith.
(text by Mitchell Haywood)
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Uniting, in partnership with Settlement Services International (SSI), is funded to deliver Ability Links NSW in Nepean Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, Western Sydney, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW.
This free, innovative program for people with a disability, their families and carers is aimed at promoting social inclusion and community participation. Ability Links is delivered by ‘Linkers’ who support people with a disability, their families and carers to do what they desire with their own lives – outside of the traditional disability service system. Linkers assist people with setting goals, building confidence and developing networks so they can participate and engage in their local community.
Linkers also work with local communities to help them become more welcoming and inclusive of people with a disability. Ability Links commenced on 1 July 2014.