Sunday, 22 February 2009

The House of Cards

Writing is plodding along. And I mean plodding. You can't rush these things but bloody hell better than slow would be nice.


I was caught in a bit of a fix yesterday. I gave chapters 21-23 a good going over and got them to what I think might be narratively sound so then I had to decide do I continue onto the next chunk, chapters 24-26, or do I finish 21-23 by third drafting them and making them read as smooth as smooth can be? I didn't want to do the first thing leaving behind shoddy prose behind because they would pray on my mind but I didn't want to work hard on 21-23 only to have to change them later on due to something else later on. Grrr.

I did the second one. Trust that I won't have to change them and at least feel good about those three chapters (I need something to feel good about at the moment). I've managed eight pages so far and, as usual, I like them more now I've third drafted them. Feels nice to have them polished now I just have to resist looking back unless I absolutely have to.

Which is harder than you think.

Oh well.

Onwards and... well, onwards, anyway.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


At the moment I'm remembering that there's a lot to remember about writing.

I have to remember that I'm allowed to write in short, descriptive sentences, not every one of them has to be some perfectly crafted epitome of the English language. Even Terry Pratchett (well down on the knighthood, old boy) spends most of his time just writing what he sees in his head, not fussing that the sentence is too simple. If it works it works.

I'm still working on Act Two. April will be a year I've been working on it and I'm getting sick of it. Felt I should have a finished novel by now, or be close to one at least. I might have been too fussy with it, trying to hard, but I think I might like what I have now and if I don't, well then I don't think I'm going to produce any better. I've got to stick with what my brain has given me. Neil Gaiman and other authors often talk of how the story in their head wasn't the same as the one that emerged on the page. I have to remember that too.

More practically, since I'm working on the middle of the book I have to remember everything that came before in Act One and what will happen in Act Three. Maybe this is simply the hardest part of the novel. I can't wait to get started on Act Three. I want this all to be finished so I can find out how this ends.

In the end, even if I keep working hard and produce a novel written to the best of my ability, it still doesn't mean I'll get published. All it takes is for a handful of people in charge to not like it or have schedules too full or have someone too tired to really read it and reject it and it's out. Luck counts for a lot and it counts for everyone. I have to remember that too.

Still nothing on the magazine front. I really want to be published soon, just a little wink from someone that I'm on the right track. For all I know a lot of people are rejecting me for one reason, like I over-describe or that my stories are too cliched and I'll never know that, so I might just be wasting my time. An idiot doesn't know he's an idiot, right?

Anyway, chin up. I'll just keep plugging away and hope for the best. All I can do is my best.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snowings and Signings

Yes, yes, you're right, you're right, I know I haven't posted in a while. But I'm here now, on the arse end of a snow day where London raised its head. mumbled and pulled the blankets back over with nary a grunted 'fuck it'.

To be honest there is little to report. The new new new new new draft of Part Two is done and this time I'm sticking with it. I like this one because it's more Theo going around doing things, rather than going around seeing people do things to other people. It's more personal. Great. I'm printing it out chapter by chapter and polishing it until it shines. I'm about five pages in : P

I went to the wonderful Forbidden Planet signing and encountered Joe Abercrombie who was a very pleasant man and was happy to chat, but I completely choked and ran away once he'd signed my books (complimenting me on my sideburns) in case I said something stupid. But he was very self-deprecating about his new book, the much anticipated Best Served Cold (which I am one of the many who are anticipating) and was very like me when it came to saying, "I'm writing something, it's no doubt rubbish."

Since there were ten authors there and I was only in it for Joe I also bought another book and had it signed by the lovely Alex Bell. Both Joe and Alex talked bitterly of their editor Gillian Redfearn but agreed that although she always made changes to their beautiful books she was always right to change it. That sounds to me like the mark of a good editor. She's someone you grudge a little but appreciate immensely.

I wonder if she'll take me on....

Thanks for reading.