Down To Work

So why on earth am I writing this?

Still in second draft purgatory and having read through my old SF novel (see previous post) I am now wondering about the somewhat meandering plot in Touch. There a lot of threads and they are in a bit of a tangle. Of course my readers are super-intelligent and well able to sort out the plot… or are they?
Never overestimate the cleverness of readers (I am one, for starters). What seems obvious when you are writing something might be a complete mystery to a reader. That little sliver of information you poked into the corner of a scene expecting a reader to grab and shout out ‘clue!’ will probably be overlooked and pages and pages later the poor reader will be wondering how your main character managed to get hold of the diamond/gun/girl/****.
Ok, so down to work. Ah, but first this author’s favourite delaying tactic: a cup of tea!

Dusting Off

So I have been dusting off and old science fiction novel I wrote a few years ago. I thought that I would be shocked at how bad it was but it was the other way around. It was actually quite good. It had done the merry-go-round of agents but to no avail. I guess that put the scuppers on it in my mind. Of course this was before the rise of the ebook indie revolution and one thing I now realise is that we shouldn’t let those old-style gatekeepers (the agents and publishers) have the sole say on whether a book is good enough because they don’t necessarily know best. So… I am going to get it out there and see what the real people thing. Yes, I know, real people are kind of scary because they can write reviews and things (things? – well, they can email you and tell you how rubbish you are for one), but in the end if the real people don’t like you then you ain’t any good, are you? Ok, ok, so it isn’t always the cream that rises to the top, there are the occasional floaters as well. And I am not talking about those spots in your vision – I mean something rather more lavatorial in nature…

Misbehavin’ Characters

Charlotte has been behaving herself recently, which is nice. Unfortunately some of the others haven’t. They keep getting ideas well above their stations or else they try fading away into the text leaving great bloody holes that need filling. Second drafting is like that: it is a see-saw, a tug of war, a game between two sides, sometimes a game where the loser kicks the board and all the pieces fly into the air and one or two disappear under the sofa never to be seen again. Just when you think you have thrown a six and are about to cross the finish line you step on a snake and slide halfway back to the beginning.

Analogies over. The truth is it is tough to keep going, but the answer, for me at least, is to write your way out of trouble. Write, write, write and then miraculously something appears to solve all the problems. Until the next set rear their ugly little heads at least…

So When Is It Finished?

Is that finished or famished? Sometimes I am not sure. It goes like this:

Read a few chapters. Think ‘Wow, this is actually Ok. No, maybe it is even good.’ Feel smug. Make congratulatory cup of tea. Pick up latest Graham Hurley novel. Open at page xxx. Read a chapter. Go back to own writing. Read a few chapters. Think ‘Bollocks. What a pile of absolute crap. Couldn’t make minestrone soup from the meagre content in here.’ Revise proposed completion date to sometime around 2017.

Missed the er… Dagger

Have just seen that the CWA Debut Dagger competition is about to close (5th Feb.). Considering entering, but since I don’t have a synopsis finished I think it would be a bit of a rush. Looks like a worthwhile thing to do though, even if you don’t win, because various agents and publishers (really? wow!) look over your work. A number of authors who have won or reached the shortlist have been snapped up.

In the beginning and all that.

So, this is it. After years and years of developing websites for others, of coding hundreds of thousands of lines of VB that have been hidden in the depths of the web, of designing databases stuffed with all manner of junk, I have finally got round to having MY OWN SITE.

The purpose, of course, is to promote my writing. That is something that writers are often loath to do. They prefer to sit, anonymous, hiding behind their words as if those words are all that are needed. How I wish that were true. Unfortunately it is not. Ho hum.
Soon my first novel will be available in Ebook format on Amazon and then it will time to face reality. I am going down the self-publishing route while at the same time submitting to agents. A year or two ago this would have been merely the electronic equivalent of those vanity presses, but quite suddenly it seems like the way to go. In a very large part this is down to the Kindle. People are actually beginning to consume ebooks in quantities that make it worth publishing in ebook form alone. The major publishes are in danger of missing the boat unless they change their model soon. Authors can now self publish and get 70% royalties through Amazon. Many people are selling thousands of books a month solely through the ebook market. Check out Joe Konrath, an author who argues the case for abandoning the conventional route to publishing success. His figures make pleasant reading for anybody contemplating going down the ebook road.
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