Over the Summer I did some pre-work for a new fantasy novel. I planned out a lot of rules, characters, settings and stuff and I also wrote the opening chapter – which worked really well. But something just didn’t feel right. I felt it was a mix of not knowing where the characters were going, how the initial set-up would play out and whether the conflicts and ‘bad guys’ worked. Umm, yeah, quite a few issues….
However, whilst mulling it over this weekend, I figured out a different direction that takes me into an area that is ‘more familiar’ and I guess more comfortable but also allows me to incorporate the central concepts. In a way, I am not necessarily going as far out there with new creations as I was before, but I do feel that I can actually move on. I can see new situations developing and how to create dramatic tension and challenging scenarios for the characters.
And the title came to me as well! So that’s the hardest job done. It’s all gravy from here on in…..
So this week, no last week, I finally got round to going to a meeting of Walden Writers. I had first joined their mailing list in 2009 but what with life, the universe, my own miserable inertia, it has taken this long to go. It was really nice to meet people going through their own trials and tribulations and more importantly, it’s great to meet some established authors. Not only so I can get their advice and ideas but just to start building up a network that I can tap into when it’s time to try my books in front of agents.
It is with some regret that last year I sent round my first draft of Tangier to a bunch of agents. I got a couple of interested sniffs who asked to look at the whole manuscript but no further. Can you guess what the deliberate mistake was? Yep – too bloomin’ lazy to do a god job and relying on a flawed first draft. I haven’t gone back to it yet but I know that I will die of embarrassment when I review it. It’s what has happened with The Coming Of Night as I have been working through it – and yes, I sent that out a couple of years ago as well.
I do worry that I have shot my bolt with both manuscripts and that I am wasting time on them. Should I just start with something new? It just doesn’t seem right after the time and effort that has gone into them. I feel I owe it to myself to crack on and make them into something which, at the very least, I can turn around and say, “Yep, I’ve done all I can. Time to move on.” I know that they can both be better. It is causing me some concern as my last day in the office draws near, I really don’t want to waste the time that has been gifted me by my lovely wife.
I was also thinking about putting up excerpts of both books and indeed the starting words of two new stories to see what people think. What do people think? That wasn’t rhetorical by the way.
Sorry, just expressing some frustration.
Having got Redoubt onto Smashwords, I’m still awaiting their review prior to distribution. Not their fault, they are no doubt inundated with poeple submitting stuff. What is shocking is the amount of erotica you can gey on there. If that was your thing….Got to say thought, some of the titles are amazing!
Anywho, I am itching to get started on the next one now. Still got a month to go before I finish work, and I could start doing stuff now. OK, I can start doing stuff now. As soon as I have finished writing this blog. And made dinner. And had that delicious crumble thet the missus made last night. With custard. And then, dear friends! Oh yes, watch out.
I have actually started already, I am writing a scene that was originally related by the main character but I decided that this was a case “of show, don’t tell” as it has more dramatic impact and heightens the tension. Even as I’m writing it I’m going, hmm, is this right? Surely I can use better words and description and stuff. I think that I’m rushing it a tad – no matter, I can always go back and sort it. This is when it is good to get someone else’s opinion. I definitely think you can over-engineer description, it depends on context, sometime less is more.
You must write two sides and have 40 minutes, discuss!
I never thought I’d say this, being an old reactionary that I am, but I have embraced the digital age. Last night I uploaded Redoubt onto Smashwords, an epublishing service. Essentially, they modify and distribute your manuscript to all the usual eBook retailers, Kindle, Sony , Barnes & Noble etc and then take a % of all turnover.
All I had to do was get Redoubt into the right format – which took a while…..
I had lost the final print version of the manuscript so I had to go back and retrofit an earlier version by ploughing through the hardback novel. And it took far longer than I thought. Not helped by my Lucas-like desire to fiddle and change things. I must admit, reading it again after a number of years meant that I cringed at some of my choices and the language. Sometime the words are too modern, sometimes the flow is just clunky. Ah well, young and foolish and all that.
Of course, ebooks are here to stay and if someone’s novel gets to reach someone it otherwise wouldn’t have done, then it’s a good thing. But I still like to hold a big , heavy ream of paper in my hand when I read, there is nothing like it. And don’t get me started on Blue Ray!
Some people have asked me whether I will write a sequel. I would like to bring the characters back – I think they do stand the test. I guess it depends. Once I have The Coming Of Night and Tangier finished I might start thinking about what I could do. Okay, that’s a porky, I’m already thinking about it anyway 🙂 But there is a ton of other stuff to do first.
Anyway, I’m just waiting for Smashwords to review Redoubt and then they’ll distribute it out, though you can buy it direct from them now. I’ll let you all know when they do.
Enjoy. Well, I say enjoy…..
And welcome to my first ever foray into the dark world of blogging. Or perhaps it’s a light and happy place? I wouldn’t know.
And I digress.
Anyway, I am taking a few months off to get some writing done. As I embark upon my extended hiatus I’ll be updating this blog on stuff relating to my writing – unless you really want to know what level my character in SWTOR is?
I have a fair bit to do: got to get Redoubt onto ebooks, start the 2nd draft of The Coming of Night and the 2nd draft of Tangier and then get feedback and proofreading done for both. Then, after that, rinse and repeat until thoroughly sick of the both of them 🙂
After that I’d love to get something new written. I went on a wonderful course in July run by Maggie Haman, Shaun Levin, and Natalie Butlin. During it I had a chance to play around with the story I want to write, and realised that although I’ve done a fair bit of prep, I really am not sure about what the characters yet. So, I might end up writing something else – oh the joy confusion!
Finally, I heartfelt thank you to all who read this and any futures posts. I hope I can repay it with something good for you to read 🙂
PS. Well done for spotting the Garth Marenghi quote. My hero, my idol!