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.