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Showing posts from June, 2017

Pieces of time

I love to write. I think it's safe to say that no one becomes a writer without wishing to write. Unlike some jobs, I don't think you can write - creatively, I mean, not copywriting, or technical writing for a job role - unless you genuinely have a desire to write the story. Which means, of course, that I can warn anyone starting out that they will find it hard to get their book noticed, that they will most likely make very little money, and that they will find the going tough sometimes, and they will still write. No amount of warnings would have stopped me writing, at any point, nor do they now.

But! Writing is a slow process. I'm by no means a turtle at this process, but nor am I among the quickest writers I know. Somewhere in the middle: a reasonable rate of getting-things-out. How long does it take?

I tracked my last book from the day I started it to the day I had a draft I was prepared to let beta readers get their teeth into. It took me 72 writing days - not day-days…

How to keep churning them out

Two people this week have indicated to me (following my last blog) that I’m a pretty prolific writer. This is not the first time such an observation has been made. (In fact, compared to many writers I know of, I’m not wildly prolific. In six years (almost to the day) I’ve written and released five novels, have another two trunked for now, and a sixth pretty well at completion. That’s not jaw-droppingly prolific – twelve would be getting there.)
But I also have a day job (I run a consultancy), have kids to run after and a range of pets and what-nots, and don’t really have a lot of time to fit writing in. Which means, when I do write, I have to make the most of my time.
Now, I’ve been self-employed for years and one thing you have to be able to do to succeed when self-employed is to sit down and work, in my case amid the distractions of a busy house. I apply much the same approach to my writing.
Here, then, is how I churn out whatever I do churn out:
I work at one project at a…

On sequels

On Sequels

I've written two sequels to date and, by and large, I enjoy writing them. One of the hardest things for me, when beginning a new book, is getting to know the characters. Once I have them nailed - as in they live in the dark hole in the back of my brain that seems responsible for writing books - I can, generally, happily write a new book about them.

Up until now, however, my sequels have all been in the Abendau world. Not only do I know the characters insanely well - I can slip into any of their point of views easily - but the first book hadn't been released so there was no weight of expectation. If I write another in that world - and my plan, eventually, is a second trilogy based around the younger generation - it will be because it has exploded out of me and I'm writing it because I need to and I love to.

The sequel I'm starting to work on is different. It's to Inish Carraig, it's been asked for and will follow up a book that is popular and the one …

What’s in a cover?

This week, and coming soon to an Amazon near you – honest! I just have a few hoops to jump through first – I updated the cover to Inish Carraig. I’ve also, a few months ago, had a new cover designed by Gary at Tickety boo for the Abendau trilogy – and this is the cover I think best represents the trilogy.
Here’s that cover: 

I’ll talk about why we went from a spaceship to a picture of a person, looking determined and dogged first.
A spaceship is a great cover image for many Space Opera books. It tells, clearly, what genre the book is in, it states who its target audience is. But! There are a zillion Space Opera books with space ships on them and, frankly, they don’t tell the reader much about the story. Which is fine if you’re playing with the SO tropes and writing a conventional, space-based, story.
Which Abendau isn’t. It’s a big sprawling story about people, centred on one man. Anyone picking it up to read about space battles will be sorely disappointed. Which is why, when it c…

Filtering things

I apologise in advance of my rant. Feel free to have a cuppa, go and vote (if you're in the UK), read a book, whatever, and completely ignore me.

My long-suffering critique partners will assert that if there is one thing bound to annoy every writing gene I have on my radar, it's filter words. But, generous soul that I am, I can tolerate them in critiques - that's why we go through the hell of such matters, after all - and in my own first drafts. But when I read published books absolutely full of them, I get a rant on.

Now, let's get this out of the way. I know there is, sometimes, a place for filter words. If you want to keep the reader distant from the character, they're a tool for that. If you want to ape an older style, yes to keeping them in (remember, omnipresent narrators used to be the norm). And if you want to write in omnipresent, filter away.

But! If you want to write a book with close character interventions that will pull a reader into the character,…