Reasons to be Peaceful, 1-2-3

It’s time for a short apology regarding why it’s been so quiet here recently. Here it comes: I’ve been really busy, sorry! To give a bit more detail, here’s some news about the exciting things which have been keeping me busy. So in a very particular order:

1) Unsung Stories

What’s been eating my time most voraciously is the new science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint I have been setting up. Yes, you read that right. The day job now involves getting a fiction imprint off the ground. This is tremendously exciting.

We have two books due out soon, Deja Vu by Ian Hocking and The Beauty by Aliya Whiteley. These are both absolute crackers and I’m currently working with illustrators and editors to make sure they are flawless and beautiful to boot.

For those of you so inclined you might like to know that we’re also open for submissions.

Unsung Stories

2) Of Falls and Angela

The time has come for me to create a money-mouth situation which means that I will be self-publishing Of Falls and Angela in the coming months as well. I’m currently working with talented chap, Jordan Grimmer on some cover artwork which promises to be salivatingly good.

I’ll keep this blog updated as that progresses but expect publication soon

3) Book 2

Yup, I’m starting again. In my head it’s called The Many Little Deaths of Arthur Malory and it’s a near-future melodrama. I’ve drafted 15 out of 32 sections and it’s feeling much tighter structurally than Angela did at this stage. This one will be much closer to home as well as it’s about how we deal with increasingly porous social environments in the modern world, and the roots of anxiety.

Don’t worry, there’s a love story in there too.

It’s quiet. Too quiet…

It might seem like a long time since I mentioned The Book, and that is partly because it has been a long time since I mentioned The Book. The thing is that the entire process, from the first conception that the only thing stopping you writing a book is the fact that you haven’t started writing it yet through to an agent showering you with Smaug’s horde to try and woo you (that does happen, right?), takes a long time. For those with full time jobs on the side, a really long time.

So to give you a quick update, I’ve done pretty much nothing to Of Falls and Angela since the last post in March. What I have done, however, is farmed it out to various generous people who I trust enough to tell me which bits need the Old Yeller treatment. So I’m waiting (patiently! If you’re one of those generous people this isn’t a heckle!) for their feedback.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of things I wrote recently as part of the regular UKAuthors prose workshops, just as a show of willing:

 

Level 1 complete

This is a late post (see the Late Gig Review series for no explanations, but perhaps a little remorse) but a pretty significant milestone for me. You see, a couple of weeks ago now, following an unexpected burst of focus, I finished the draft of The Book (84,162). I suspect one of the reasons I have only just got round to writing this post, amongst other things, is that I’ve been waiting for the bit when someone tells me I haven’t really finished. Or I get given a book which matches mine too closely for me to avoid accusations of plagiarism  Or maybe Dropbox’s servers got wiped out by nihilist mutant cockroaches with a grudge against aspiring writers born of their own failed attempts to secure a publisher. You know, stuff like that.

Whatever though, it has been drafted. Indeed the girlfriend and brother are both amidst the flappy, unedited and hopefully satisfying rawness of the final three-quarters. Comments are already forthcoming, and confirming my own suspicions about which bits need work. Much more importantly, I can finally talk to someone about what happens in it!

This is one of the things that I haven’t read in the posts advising first-time novelists. There were reams of good advice about motivation, planning and persistence, but I didn’t find a single one that said: ‘Prepare to be full of intense frustration because you can’t talk to people about it without spoiling it for them, and corrupting your feedback. You want to talk to people about it? Back to the keyboard, hopeful monkey…’

So, fellow aspirants, I feel your pain. Think of me when you get strange looks from your nearest and dearest because they’re half way through reading it, you’ve asked them a question and all you can say to their answer is, ‘Yes, but- Wait, I can’t tell you that. Or that. Or that… Gah, just finish the damn thing already will you?!’ They’ve put up with you this far, they’re probably used to it by now.

As for me and my words? Well any child of the 1980s knows that level 1 is just the tease. Level 2 (the edit) will be that bit harder. As for the boss stage (find an agent/publisher), well let’s hope there’s a big red visual prompt that tells me exactly what to do when I get there.

A return to (the submission) form

Some time ago I gave myself a list of things to do. Now, barely 6 months since the last murmurings in this particular thread of the ether, I can give some kind of a sensible update!

  1. I have bought a flat. For those of you out there who are considering it, I would recommend it wholeheartedly. The sense of side-stepping fiscal entropy, and being able to make reasonable and mature decisions about your abode without having to run it past a cankerous letting agency is truly euphoric at points.
    For those of you who have already purchased a property, good Christ Almighty isn’t it stressful?! I have discovered all sorts of shockery that is entirely permitted within (perhaps even subliminally encouraged by) English property law. The Scottish system sounds vastly preferable!
  2. 28k words later I have finished Part 1 (of 3) of something that could perhaps be described as a novel. It’s not the one I originally planned to write. It’s something completely different, in fact. I’m not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign. I often think of it as just a fact; a persistant fact that has currently hit the heady heights of 1/3 of the target. It’ll do.

I’ll see about getting more methodical here too as well. There are lots of things to consider about the writing now, and I feel I have hit a pleasant amble, if not a full stride…

A brief declaration of intent

Short and sweet this; I have two ambitions for 2012.

  1. Buy, move into and enjoy living in a house/flat in London
  2. Finish at least a first draft of The Book I keep banging on about

Today saw my (and my girlfriend’s) offer on a flat get accepted by the vendor, so number 1 is looking likely.

Number 2, well number 2… I drafted 15k words of something between November and the New Year, which was shockingly productive of me. That wasn’t work on The Book though, that was something else that had been scratching away inside me.

I will no doubt use this as a vent for the various frustrations associated with these things, and I’ll try and keep it to the interesting elements of the second. Who knows, maybe i’ll learn something in the process?