Sunday, 26 December 2010

Season's Greetings and such

It's time for another blog, and a Christmas one at that.

I continue to write over the festive season and I am currently working my way through a printed MS of the novel and adding any details I see to be missing. Should hopefully have it all done by the first week of the new year.

There's little else to report otherwise. Stories of the short variety are in the wind with magazines and I got (and spent) my first author payment.

I came across an interesting blog entry recently regarding mistakes amateur authors make when trying to approach an agent, mistakes supplied by actual agents. Now, I think myself pretty read-up on the subject but a few of these mistakes surprised even me.

For this month's blog book, I am currently reading The Braided Path, a massive book and so good for Christmas, a time when I know I won't be moving around much.

That is all.

Back to writing.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


My short story, Kids, is now available on Electric Spec!


You can read it here.


Sunday, 21 November 2010

Backwards Writing More No

As the title suggests I am no longer working backwards through the novel.

It was a great exercise and meant that the energy I have working on the beginning of the novel was this time applied to the end of it but there comes a point in the middle where it's just the same as the old-fashioned method. So now I'm back to writing it from the front as nature intended.

There are fewer things I'd like to change about the beginning so progress is going rather quickly and I'm still hoping to have things finished by the New Year.

Other than that, things are moving along. Me and the Electric Spec editors have finished going over Kids and it should be ready for publication on 30th November. You lucky things!

Magazines have practically been queuing up to reject Promises at the moment but I think it's one of my best stories so I'm persevering with it. I think it's the length that puts people off, a problem I'm all too used to (snigger).

I've also added the facility for comments on this blog (at least I think I have) so do get in touch if you feel the urge to do so. I've read a few blogs in my time that get rather whiny if people don't comment but I'm not one of them, so comments are not compulsory.

And for a little added fun I shall also include what I am currently reading each month. So today I am currently reading 15 Miles by Rob Scott as well as working my way through The Walking Dead comics, which I've read many times before but still enjoy. I'm loving the TV series at the moment and enjoy being surprised when they do something different from the comic just so long as they do That Thing At The End Of Issue 6. (Or was it 5?)

Anyway. Less blogging, Grey, more writing.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 5 November 2010

You wait forever for one bus...

And then two come along at once!

This is an emergency bulletin as in the past week not just one but two magazines have accepted my short stories. For money! Some people out there have liked my stories so much that they're willing to reach into their pockets and give me some of their own hard-earned cash. Fantastic! Money, if anything, is a good way of keeping score of where you're at as a writer (and buying meals at GBK) and I've been told at work that being paid money now puts me under the label of 'professional writer'. This does give me a warm, glowing feeling.

So at the end of this month, (30th November) if all goes to plan, you will be able to find my short story Kids in the latest issue of Electric Spec. Hurray!


In late 2011 my short story The Old Factory Award will appear in Abyss and Apex Magazine. Hurray again!

And to remind you all that No Longer Living can be found on Tales of the Zombie War, which is also great.

Anyway, I really should get back to writing.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


It's been a long time since I've blogged but it seems since I've last checked this site out the number of followers has increased 300% to four people! So I can't leave them contentless!

Things have happened since last I blogged. I have changed job into something a little more lucrative with more responsibility and a lot more creativity. I've moved in with my girlfriend and have my own writing room (which is also the guest bedroom) and No Longer Living has been published for the second time on Tales of the Zombie War. It even has comments on it including these little beauties.

"Woah, chilling story, some of the best writing I have seen on the site."

"Ah…damn…you killed it man, excellent work."


"Wow… Awesome. Totaly felt the fear and guilt of toby for being around his zed wife. This is one of about 4 stories on here that pulled me and i just had to finish."

All of which were encouraging to read.

The novel continues. And continues. And continues.

I have a proper draft of Part Three now and I'm currently trying out the novel process of working through the thing backwards to see if that works as I try to tie things up and iron out the last few creases in the story. Hopefully still on track for finishing it at the end of this year!

Oh, and there's also the possibility of another short story being published soon but I'm waiting for confirmation. Once I know, you'll know. I promise.

Anyway, enough gassing. Maybe I'll try to post once per month, see how that feels.

Back to work.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Step by Step

This week, I’ve been working on the second third of Part Three. It’s doing well, so far. I know what I want from each chapter and it’s now a case of writing it.

The main difficulty, however, is in the character interactions. At so late in the proceedings, I now have a tight cast of characters with a lot of complexities and history behind them. This means a lot of things to remember, a lot of complex emotions and having them all clash together in a way that works but doesn’t result in the characters tripping over one another and getting in the way of the story like they would do if this was real life.

Needless to say, I’m enjoying writing it. I love challenging myself like this. This book is going to be great.

Speaking of great books, I am enjoying Kraken.

Back to work.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Out with the old...

Another bank holiday comes to an end.

I have started putting more thought into the second third of the final part. I can’t say that the first third is to my liking as yet but there are times when you have to stand away to gain a little perspective and work on the next thing.

Hopefully, when I go back to it, I shall be able to see more clearly what has to happen to make it into the novel I need it to be.

Little has happened since I last blogged. The thing about writing is that it contains an awful lot of typing (or scribbling if you prefer pen and ink) and sometimes there’s only so much you can say about it.

Asimov’s magazine sent me a nice form rejection, which has been added to the pile.

Other than that, I spend the rest of my time playing Mass Effect and enjoying George R. R. Martin. I’m currently reading A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow and I’m very much enjoying it. Any other writer and you’d think I’d be tired of this massive long epic, but he’s definitely keeping me entertained.

Next up, Chine Mieville’s Kraken comes out at the end of this week. Looking forward to that one!

Anyway. Back to writing.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Gentleman of Leisure... and work

Let me just say this; being a full-time author just has to be The Bomb.

I had a wonderful week off, last week, in which I pretended I was one and I can't stress enough how much I want that to be my actual working life.

I got up at eight (not seven!), mooched around the flat eating toast and drinking tea (Wow! Actual breakfast!) until nine, then wrote for a couple of hours (Two hours or more on a school day morning!).

Then there was lunch.

Then more writing. Then I read a book in the afternoon sun, cooked food of an evening and awaited the Lady of my Life to return from work. Then I had several hours of hanging out with her, uninterrupted by writing, until it was time to go to bed.

I even tackled multiple problems a day.

Normally, when I write for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, I start writing, hit a problem that takes roughly twenty minutes thinking time to solve (why it always seems to be twenty, I have no idea) by which time it's time to stop and go to work. Then, when I get back, I write the solution I had that morning. Repeat.

On Saturdays, I write for four hours but sometimes I'm so intent on having Free Time that they're just as productive as a two-hour shift on a workday.

But with all the day ahead of me, I'm more relaxed. I think through my problem, then write the solution. Right then! Until I hit the next problem. Then I solve that! It's wonderful.

That’s a way to earn a living. It’s not flash, it’s not swish but I want it and the holiday underlined my need to work hard during non-holiday time to get these novels done and bring that dream closer to reality.

On another note, I received my shiny certificate from Writer's of the Future a couple of weeks ago. It was very nice and may go on a wall somewhere, possibly. I haven't decided yet. That's another thing to look forward to; an office I can call my own. Though that may not be as far off as full-time authorship...

More next time.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Grey Freeman - Honourable Writer of the Future

It took a few moments to realise that the first word in the email I received this morning was 'Congratulations!'

The Writers of the Future award have given my short story Earworm Turns an Honourable Mention. This means that while I didn't make it to the quarter-finalist stage the judges considered it good enough to be worthy of a mention for being well-written.

I've been told the certificate is in the post. Now I need to send it somewhere else to see if I can get it published!

If you need further proof you can find my name here.

Right, now I really need to get back to work.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Dodge and Fukkit make it Big (or they will one day)

So, as of this evening, it's back to the novel.

It was fun writing Dodge & Fukkit, think I'm on to something there, but unfortunately it had to be curtailed when I realised that it had become over 20,000 words in length, probably didn't count as a short story any more and I still had miles to go with it. Maybe it'll become a novel one day but for now it has to go on the backburner along with a number of other stories.

Going back to Machinations is a bit intimidating this morning. It's this big monstrous thing with plot-tentacles and an as yet ill-defined character and I don't know where to begin making it better. I'm thinking the best way might be to print out everything I've got and work through it page by page taking notes.

Yeah, that might work.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The grass is always greener...

The novel is on the back burner at the moment. It needed a rest and now it's having one until I get my Machinations muse back.

Right now, I'm working on a new side project; my first detective story, which I might call Dodge and Fukkit if a better title doesn't come along.

It's nice to be writing something new. When I’m editing or reworking and not writing new stuff, having the words flow out from under my fingertips, I begin to wonder whether I’ll ever be capable of writing something new ever again or whether that particular talent has deserted me.

But then I sit and start something new and there it is, the skill just comes back and I find I can still write at the same pace as I can create.

Then I have an idea too late, something that should have happened before this or that bit or a new thread or theme or plot point pops into my head and I think ‘that’d be an awesome thing to do’ and I begin to wonder if I still have the ability to edit and polish, to work a short story and incorporate new ideas and make the language flow and sparkle; basically turn a nice short story into a great one (great, here, being a relative term. For you, dear reader, read 'ok').

I guess there's just no winning with me. I always feel I'm losing the skill I'm not using at the time.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Avoiding 'The Thinker'

Little to report again, this week.

Currently "Good" WC is 34,000 with a total of 51,000 so it's as half as long as it needs to be and there's still lots to be done. Which is nice.

I've been feeling a bit slow this week but I have to consider the factor that now I'm getting into the real meat of the story things are getting more complicated. I have to think of what order to place the issues in and make sure I don't repeat the same points twice. It's difficult to thread a theme or argument through a book without blowing your wad and having the whole discussion in the first third, to not have your characters have all the thoughts they need to have in one 'the thinker' sit down moment, then get up and get on with it a changed man or woman with their new world view fully formed. People just don't work like that.

But the other danger is you have them running around repeating themselves as they have the same argument over and over again, developing it only a little each time. It's a fear of this repetition that's slowing me, I think. There's an urge to have your narration keep pace with the reader's thoughts, to have the character have the startling revelations at the same time as the reader but this can sometimes lead to the same 'thinker' style scene where everything changes all at once, so there's always the inevitable danger that the reader will see what's coming before the protagonist and then label your story 'predictable'.

It's a tricky one, but maybe there's just no helping that.

On a more cheerful note, I very much enjoyed The Guardian's 10 Writing Tips from famous authors article which you can find here and here. I don't agree with all of them but I do agree with most of them and it's nice to feel that as a writer you're not alone in feeling a lot of these things.


Thanks for reading.

Monday, 15 February 2010


Two blogs in as many weeks? Unheard of!

I have just finished planning what I'm calling Arc Three. So far I've been separating Part Three into manageable bite sized chunks, each with around 10,000 words as the target culminating in one of the many large events / plot twists I have in my head for the final book. Arc Two was completed on Saturday nicely a bit fatter than I'd been aiming for (13,000 words) leaving a WC of 'quite good' material (or Arcs One and Two as they should be called) at 26,000 and a total of 46,000.

So the past couple of days have gone into planning Arc Three, which is where things start to get more complicated. I do enjoy the planning, each plan is a little over a page with a brief synopsis of what's happened and then bullet points of all the major events that I now need to happen. Whether they appear in the order I've bulleted them in has yet to be seen.


Thanks for Reading

Sunday, 7 February 2010

It's Alchemy I Tell You!

Hello, everyone.

Not much to blog this week.

The first draft of Part Three continues to go well. By my estimates (based on how I've been doing so far) the 33,000 I wrote last month with the added material will end up closer to 66,000, which is nice. Every time I start something new, I worry it won't be long enough, that I don't have enough material, yadda, yadda, yadda, but, wouldn't you know it, there it all is when I get down to writing it. Current WC is about 41,000.

Short stories are all with magazines at the moment, which is good. Should probably think about getting round to writing a couple more this year. Hmmmm.....

In my spare time, I managed to read five books last month, most of them proof copies of titles not yet published. Here's the list below:

The Passage by Justin Cronin
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
Return to the Lost World by Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow
Jordan Stryker: Bionic Agent by Malcolm Rose

And I recently finished Alien Storm by A.G. Taylor, the sequel to Meteorite Strike which is currently a nominee for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2010, both of which I have quite enjoyed.

Next up is A Clash of Kings, the next in the series after A Game of Thrones.

This is the first I've read any George R. R. Martin and if there wasn't a TV series on the way I probably never would have done. I'm glad I did though, Martin manages to draw you in and make you care for a character almost immediately in a way that I can only describe as alchemy (i.e. I have no idea how he does it and so it must be magic.) I have no idea if I can do it, but then maybe that's something a reader decides and I don't. Anyway, I highly recommend them.

Also, currently playing Mass Effect 2, which has a couple of characters that are so much fun to interact with it should be criminal. Mordin and Jack, I'm looking at you.

Right, that's enough stalling. Back to writing.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The First Blog of the Year

I like that my blogger spell check has highlighted both 'blog' and 'blogger'.

Anyway, hello!

I haven't written a blog in a while and so now I am!

Things are well. Part Two was put aside a few days before New Year and I had the rest of the year, hell, the rest of the decade, off!

I have since been working on Part Three. There's been a read through with the general idea being that most of it needs to go. Parts One and Two are both so different to their originals now that Part Three (first written perhaps three years ago) is almost a completely separate entity, like Theo and co's exploits in a parallel universe. What wasn't totally different was simply deemed 'boring' so that has to go too.

So I have been planning and writing and planning more and writing more and so far the new draft stands at 38,000 words and is already so much stronger than its predecessor. Nice.

Murky Depths rejected Promises, which was a real shame. I was so sure that they were meant for one another. Editor, Terry Martin had this to say about it though: "We loved this story. It's melodramatic, romantic, affecting and well-written. I'd like to take it, but it just isn't right for Murky Depths, so I'm reluctantly passing."

Very nice but also a bit of a bummer. But hopefully the next magazine will have it.

Also, Electric Velocipede have turned away Kids, so that needs somewhere else to go as well. This means that I now have 52 rejections in my writing career.

On the 50th, me and some friends had drinks to celebrate as no writer worth his or her salt hasn't at some point been rejected a whole bunch of times.

Anyway, that's it from me for now.

Thanks for reading.