It’s been a summer of semi-solid writing for me. A little bit selfish on my part but worthwhile all the same and very enjoyable to boot. So I’d like to offer a quick apology to my on-line friends for not seeming to be around much over the last couple of months.
I’d also like to say a big thank-you to the continuing trickle of new readers and especially those who’ve taken extra time to post reviews for Firebird and Thunder. I’m really grateful for your encouragement.
So, how’s G’host coming along then? Well, I’m satisfied with what I’ve managed over these last few weeks. I’ve written around 15,000 words of draft which takes the base text to circa 45,000 words. Allowing for edit, that’s about 40% of my target length. Importantly, these 45,000 words are the opening and, for me, this always takes the longest. Once the scenes are set, the key characters are in place and the main threads are initiated, the writing tends to feel like it’s all downhill from there. That’s not to say the rest of the story will be easy. Or that I won’t get bogged down or blocked from time to time. It’s just that the start, for me, is always the longest part of the process. Perhaps that’s because I’m a future-thinker and in my head I can always see where I’m going more clearly than where I am right now? Perhaps this is just normal for writing? Who knows?
And, on the subject of downhill from here, I suppose I should also mention that I’ve just turned fifty … Long pause … I’m not quite sure how this milestone crept up on me, or how I feel about it, but my friends and family have done a fabulous job of making sure I didn’t just ignore it! I’d like to thank them all for not allowing me to follow my normal routines and let it pass by unnoticed.
So this is where I am. Fifty, not out … and still chipping happily away.
… in the land of the living.
Yes: I’m back from my holidays. For the record, I only had a couple of cheap weeks on the beach and returned a while ago to the usual chaotic crash-dive of return-to-work-related issues. To be honest, I feel like I need another break already!
But enough of that. My holiday did exactly what I needed it to. It cleared my head and, sitting on the beach, a little bit every day, I’ve somehow, amazingly, drafted over 25,000 words of my next story.
Being straight with you, I’m under no illusions that many of these draftings will end up in the recycle bin. Equally, many sections will require considerable, relatively easy, expansions when I start pulling it all together into a comprehensive whole.
When I get some time, I’ll pull together a graphic like I did for Thunder, to illustrate progress. I have no idea whether any of my visitors find this useful but, hey ho, it does serve as a bit of self-stimulus to make sure I keep putting in the writing hours!
Anyway, I suppose I ought to get back to the somewhat abstract title of this post: it’s a veiled reference to the subject matter of the new novel. I’m not going to reveal too much yet, but I can say that I’ve settled on the title…
The next book will be called G’host.
Well my trip to Finland was, once again, extremely restful. Except for the journey home where, somehow, I managed to damage my lower back on the way to the airport. Eight hours of transit and tight connections later; I couldn’t even stand upright unassisted! Ouch …
My doctor says, “Things like this happen, as you get older…”
Thanks, Doc. That makes me feel much better…
Anyway, I’m pleased to report that I’ve made a start on the new novel and the opening pages – assuming I don’t shuffle things as I go – have been drafted. Openings are vital for any piece of writing, particularly novels. They need to drag readers in by the eyeballs and may, in the end, determine the entire success or otherwise of a story. As a result, I try not to be too precious about the opening pages. If I get a better idea later, I’ll swap stuff out. Looking back, Firebird hasn’t got a ‘bad’ start but I think Thunder’s is better. For me, I’m looking to stir up shock, confusion and to create intrigue from the get-go – although I don’t deliberately sit down and try to force this to happen – and recently I’ve been to paying more attention to missing things out, rather than putting them in… In other words, I’ve noticed that a little deft cutting sometimes adds more value than a hundred extra words…
On another subject entirely, I noticed yesterday that Amazon have adjusted their pricing regimes again. As a result, I’ve been able to reset Thunder’s pricing so that it’s a little bit lower than it’s been since publication. Other authors might also want to check out the pricing policies in detail. Certain country price points are lower than the US which, thanks to Amazon’s global price-matching rules, means that there’s a little bit of headroom to offer better deals for your readers (and for us to still get a few cents to contribute toward our next computer upgrades!).
Right, it’s time for me to go and enjoy the, highly unusual and probably short-lived, British sunshine…!
That’ll be me…
Yes, I’m back from my holidays. Two weeks of unbroken sunshine, twenty-eight degree heat (Celsius, of course), and a nice constant breeze. Perfect for someone like me, who only has two skin colours: red and white.
I went back to the Canary Islands this year – a crazy collection of Atlantic-bound rocks, located just off the western shores of Africa, and dominated by volcanic landscapes and often whacky architecture. We selected it as good weather is almost always guaranteed, all year round, and importantly because for Europeans it’s an affordable destination. As holidays go, it wasn’t the cultural delight of last year, but nonetheless it was good to chill-ax for a while.
It was a bit of an odd couple of weeks from a creative perspective. Compared to last year, not much drafting got done – I guess because I’m still working on the characters and storyboard for book three – but I did (unexpectedly) end up writing a possible first few pages for Thunder’s sequel (where did they come from!), come up with some nice plot-line components for the next novel, and even added some flesh to my outlines for a possible Firebird sequel. So, overall, I’m quite pleased with what I achieved.
So what’s next? Well, it’s time to see if I can get Firebird onto the Apple iBookstore and, after that, I will revisit Thunder and start preparing for publication. Lots to do! I just need to top up my hot-water bottle, and then I’ll get started…
I must have been through one…
Spring has been cancelled and the UK has jumped straight into mid-summer. Not that I’m complaining. Cloudless blue skies always bring out the smiles, the good spirits and stimulate a mad rush to dig out shorts and t-shirts from the back of the wardrobe.
Yep, I’ve even found mine…
Thunder’s draft is also, at the moment, at a point in time somewhere toward the end of March. This is an unexpected coincidence and the current, exceptional, heatwave is making it tricky to write about what should be the usual chills and morning frosts.
Nonetheless, good progress is being made and my word count has now crept above the 70,000 mark. This is broadly in line with where I think I should be according to the end-to-end plot line that I’m working to but I strongly suspect this novel will now end up being slightly longer than Firebird is.
Probably like every other British citizen, I’m optimistically hoping that these weeks of warm sunshine are not the entire quota for Summer 2012. If my writing progress continues at the current pace, I’ll soon be diving into scenes describing hot and dusty lands, with baking dry heat and my two main characters embroiled in a seemingly unwinnable fight for their lives.
It’ll be much so much nicer if I can be doing that writing in similar conditions to today’s and not, as I suspect might be the case, under wall-to-wall leadened cloud cover with an extra jumper on just to keep warm!
Fingers crossed, eh?
Do people really judge books by their covers…?
We do seem to be hard-coded to make snap judgements based on what we sense around us and sight does seem to play a dominant role in this. Maybe it’s an ‘animal’ thing? One day, when I can’t find anything more interesting to do, I’m going to have to do a bit more research into this apparent sensory-order-of-precedent… (could be a long wait…).
The concept of perception is also toyed with in Firebird but as I think I’ve mentioned before, at the time of publication, the limits of my artistic capability created a temporarily insurmountable barrier and, as a higher priority, I wanted the 1st Edition to be synchronised with the same calendar day as the story begins (albeit that 2011 is obviously a different year). So that’s why Firebird launched with a 2D cover.
Feel free to call my strange attention to tiny details, like the launch date, ‘OCD’ if you like… I do, because it probably is OCD.
Anyhow, now it’s time to make good the final piece of the puzzle. I think I finally have a cover that does some reasonable justice to the story that’s hiding just behind it:
FIREBIRD: 3rd Edition published – 7th October 2011 (all of the changes are listed on the editions page. There is no material change to the storyline).
Thanks once again to all of you who have already read it and thanks to everyone who has helped with the new artwork. I really do appreciate every single comment, post and review…
(Right then monster, off you go… I’ve got a thunderstorm raging here and it’s been waiting impatiently for my attention…)
… as do pigs (occasionally).
I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last post but, looking back, I’m also wondering what I’ve actually achieved in the intervening time…
Well, aside from:
- Writing another fair slice of Thunder
- Setting up the epub files for Firebird v.3
- Making lots of new Goodreads and Twitter friends (hello all…)
- Creating my first and probably only animated 3D gif file (I do love tinkering with technology)
- Pickling my beetroot (seriously, this is not an intentional double entendre…)
- Rediscovering my hoover (and working out how to switch it on again)
- Exchanging writing thoughts and drafts with another indie author
- Doing two solid days of (boring) business analysis (which I still need to finish off) and…
- Spending far too long surfing around the internet!
Given my last bullet point above and that (mysteriously) Summer has finally descended on the United Kingdom (I know, it’s incredible, 27 degrees in September!), I’m off into the garden to see if I can find my lawnmower…
Thanks for all the positive feedback on the new book cover. Much appreciated.
Time flies; so make the best of every second…
(now then… I think it’s lurking somewhere in that long grass that I used to call a lawn… where’s my machete?)