Saturday, 31 October 2015

Saturday writing, potential NaNoWriMo shot to hell - normal really

Today was a bit of a mixed bag. The novel didn;t seem to be working first thing today so I did a little bit of work to support the previous one. I wrote two synopses for it - one at 800 words or so and quite detailed; the other in under a page of A4 - agencies/publishers have different requirements.

I also started in on correcting grammar etc on it as the test reader wants to a copy. No way I'm handing it on unchecked and risking an incorrect they're, their, there. I would be mortified.

I even found another couple of agencies to send previous novels to - so there are two more submissions out there.

Then onto writing - it kind of clicked this afternoon and the sf-noir, as I think I now must declare it, grew from 24,741 to 27,437 words. Not quite the 3K I had hoped for but when you add in the 1,300 words or so of the two synopses I did kind of get there.

I did a bit more pre-planning on the YA SF that popped into my head the other day. The notebook will take a little bit more hammer over the next few days as the ideas coalesce. Then hopefully I will be able to finish the current one.

This leads me into NaNoWriMo thoughts. It starts tomorrow. So if I am going to stick with this I need to commit 50K words to paper over the next month. The only problem is I am not totally sure that the sf-noir has 50K left in it. It's starting to feel more like a long novella than a full length novel. mind you as it's a detective story I might just add in a second case and tell stories in one. That could see me through to the total without having to split it across two projects - or maybe three. It depends on which one grabs me.

I may have completely blown it if I was being serious about this. But at the heart of it all I need to is be true to the purpose of it. This is to get writers writing. I like to think of myself as a writer and having completed five novels and two novellas, plus who knows how many short stories, I think I qualify. So if I am writing then all is well, surely.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

More Thoughts, Scandi Drama, Blacklist, Bat-Whatever and some writing

The day before yesterday I ended the writing session on 22,507 words. I've mentioned before that yesterday was a washout writing wise. Today was better head wise but rather limited on time. not that I would trade the morning and lunch out with my wife for 100,000 words.

The writing this afternoon went well. I ended the session on 24,741 - so 2.2K in about three hours. And I sent off another submission to a US publisher for the Political SF novel Against the Fall of Empire.

This evening thought had been pre-booked for days. Although the exact content of it was up for discussion. It was a film/drama night with the family.

And after much discussion we opted for the first two episodes of Swedish drama Beck. It's kind of strange watching them. We've recently watched the final four episodes (from season 5) made last year. The first episodes were made all the way back in 1997 and the characters that are in the whole run look so young. I guess it is 17 years but wow! The most obvious of them is Mikael Persbrandt (you'll have seen him in the Hobbit movies - he played Beorn).

Well you can see how they improved the formula watching them in this order. The show started off well but the later eps were a lot slicker. It's just a pity getting hold of the episodes would cost me a fortune. The DVDs are listed on Amazon for silly money and it's not much less on ebay. I'll have to keep checking them out and see if they come down. We're saving the last of the three in the DVD set I had until tomorrow.

Other than that we watched the first episode of season 3 of the Blacklist. Now that is one show I like - crammed full of conspiracies and intrigue. In reality I'm not one given to conspiracy theories. I have this belief that if three people know a secret it's not likely to stay a secret for long. And so how some of the claimed conspiracies can be true when they require thousands to have pulled them off... Nah, I don't buy it.

Sorry if you are a Moon Hoaxer but I am going to be disagreeing with you on that one. I firmly believe we went.

Anyway Blacklist. Raymond Reddington is a wonderful creation. The way he slips from one scenario to the next always having a way out is just stunning. We were a little tempted to watch the second one too - but this is reserved for tomorrow.

Before all this started BTW - and through eating dinner/tea/supper (delete as you prefer to call the evening meal) we watched Supergirl. So now we have three DC superhero TV shows. One in Central City, one in Star City and now one in National City.

These fictional places are part of the reason I believe Marvel is better. Okay, Gotham works - no, scratch that, Gotham is the best setting of all. but the others are so generically bland it's untrue. Even Metropolis is uninteresting.

With the Marvel stories all set in the real American city - New York being the main one - it adds a lot to the feel of the whole. That and Marvel doesn't have Superman. I'm sorry but I've always thought the character a little lame. He can just do too much. And there is a little too much of the following for my liking.

Superman >> Supergirl >> Superdog
Batman >> Batgirl >> Batwoman >> Bat-Hound

It's just me. I'm not going to try to stop you enjoying whatever you like (as long as it's legal).

Anyway - more writing to come tomorrow. I'm hoping to get another 3-4K done.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Writing-ish updates

Yesterday was one of those days writing wise. I gave it a try a couple of times but deleted pretty much everything I tried to write. So I gave it up as a bad idea and moved onto other things. The other things being submissions.

So as a result the weird novella was sent off to another three potential publishers; the science fiction novel to six US agents; and the horror novel to another agent and a potential publisher. I made another short story submissions too of a (hopefully) comedic story with demons, ghosts, zombies and Minnesota Twins baseball caps.

The YA fantasy has been printed off ready to be edited. This last I know is probably a little too close to having written it but my test reader wants to read it and I want to at least fix up the grammar a bit and add in the two scenes I've sketched out to make the plot flow a little better.

So that was that yesterday. I did get to watch a bit more TV than normal and actually spend some time with my wife which was very much needed - and most enjoyable. Especially as it involved watching the last episode of both the Flash and Arrow (UK airings).

Today also started as a no writing day - but it was planned. I went out with my wife. It's the last day we've both got off work and wanted to at least have one day out. Pleasant morning and a really good tasty lunch and I'm back on the keyboard.

And that's when the good news started.

One of the publishers I sent a query about the weird novella The Intersection to asked for a longer sample. Which has been sent off and now I am waiting. Even if it goes no further still pretty cool feeling on receiving that email. But you never know - it could end with people finally getting to meet this Ben Williamson character I've blogged about from time to time.

The absence of writing head yesterday wasn't  100%. My annoying brain did attack me with ideas for two more stories - one more way of tormenting Ben and a YA science fiction story with a generations spaceship added in for good measure.

Now I am going to see if I have a writing head on. I have a couple of hours so let's see

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Another day of writing - and a submission

I'm more than half way through my week off work now - darn. It's not that I don't like my job - I do. It's just been great being able to do some serious writing day after day.

Well I worked on and off on the novel all day and it has progressed from 18,289 words to 22,507 words. Over 4K today. The story is coming along quite well and my cursing is growing more anatomical and more weird. When I revise I am definitely going to have to upscale the inventiveness on the earlier swearing.

Aside from that I prepped another submission of the horror novel Mr. Stinky - this time to Ghostwoods Press. Fingers crossed as with all of them.

I went through my spreadsheet containing all the other submissions. There are a couple due this week, so I will be firing off follow up emails to them tomorrow. Not expecting anything from them but it'll be better to know one way or the other.

Well writing itself is pretty much done for the day. I am going to be watching another episode of the Swedish Crime Series Beck tonight. Even if you've seen the top Scandi shows like the Killing or the Bridge this is one that may have passed you by.

It's not a bad show by any means, not in the league of those first two mentioned but still very enjoyable. I don't know but I am a big fan of Nordic Noir. In some ways it's odd as apart from the setting and the language they are essentially the same as British or American cop series and I don't watch them. I'm not going to question it. I'm leaving it with the fact I find them addictive.

The plan for the remaining time I have before going back to work is a little different to the last 3 days. I'm not going to get solid days of writing in. I mentioned my No.1 test reader wants to tread the YA fantasy story I finished a little over a week ago. Well to accommodate this wish I need to do the first revision - grammar fixing and adding a scene or two in that I have sketched out.

I know it's a bit quick to go back to it but it'll be worth it to get the feedback. So that will take up a chunk of both of the next two days and possibly most of the weekend. Hopefully though I will be able to get some more writing in on this Space Station story.

Although now I think about it I have suggested we all watch another Nordic Noir series from Friday night - probably Jordskott, That will mean less time to write but enjoyable viewing awaits. I'll probably post thoughts about the series once we've watched it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

80s inspired (includes writing update)

Today was not as productive writing wise as other days this week. Mainly due to the morning off I mentioned earlier. It was worth it though. I'm not going to allow myself to get so far behind with the Flash again. I will either keep up to date (-ish) or just stop watching it.

So this evening I did a bit more writing and brought the final total for the novel today up to 18,289. Which means it's longer by some 3.2K words. Will make an effort to at least match Monday's 4K tomorrow. Be a tough ask as I have kind of confirmed I'll be watching some Scandinavian drama tomorrow evening. But I can try.

Also have another potential brake on the progress of this SF Space Opera Murder Mystery Whodunnit. I had a phone call with my main test reader this evening. He'd been threatened with redundancy of late and it was looking a little dicey but fortunately he's had a couple of job offers from other companies so he's a little happier.

So cue one meandering science fiction/fantasy flavoured conversation and the result is I might have to revise the YA fantasy novel as he likes the sound of it and wants to give it a read. Which means at the very least I will have to tidy up the grammar and add in those two extra scenes I have in mind to make it flow a little better.

Music today has been a little contrasting. The main writing sessions were accompanied by some seriously top quality prog rock with bands like Rush, Jethro Tull and sine serious hard rock from Black Label Society. And then this evening I've been working my way through a 80s cheesy pop compilation triple CD that my wife bought as a laugh. It's the Final Countdown. The Final Countdown.

Also has lots of great memories
 - Ghostbusters
 - Living in America
 - 99 Red Balloons
 - Down Under
 - Walk Like an Egyptian
 - Broken Wings
 - You're the Voice
 - The Way It Is
 - We Built this City

I do skip past about half of the tracks. My internal cheese filter only allows so much crap through but it's still been great fun. I'm sure tomorrow will see more of it filling my office with noise

Right final bits of the evening to wrap up. Twitter count up to 849. Maybe hit the thousand this week? (tomorrow? fingers crossed)

 

Some random thoughts - includes writing

Okay, it's the second day of my week off work. So far so good. not had to leave the house for four days. I'm not saying I'm turning into a hermit but it's been good to have no pressure on to do anything.

Take this morning for instance. I came into my office; turned on the PC; opened al the apps I need to do this (Word, Outlook, IE) and then thought - nah. My wife thought the same about her music too so it was good timing. So instead of working we finished up season 1 of the Flash.

Now this is a series that for some bizarre reason I still like after watching 23 episodes. It gets off to a good start - there's a superhero from heck's sake and most of the rest of the cast are scientists. What's not to like. Well there's the science for one thing.

Now I know superhero stories play it a bit loose with real science stuff and we have to make some allowances. After all being bitten by a radioactive spider is a pretty dumbass origin story science wise. But even given certain allowances this show has taken flimsy technobabble to heights even Star Trek would find daunting. Anyway I've blogged twice no about the Flash so I'm going to quit it now. Onto other things.

WRITING!!!!

I did get some more writing in. Chapter 4 is done and the word count has progressed to 16,913.

This section of the novel is proving a little trickier than I'd first thought. It's varying between too flowery wordwise and needing some serious editing or far too brief and needing more description. Finding a happy medium is annoyingly fiddly. So is coming up with more and more inventive, and partly potty mouthed, metaphors and similes.

Why did I give my main character such a way speaking? Seemed such a good idea at the time but boy, is it a headache? All I can do is stick with it and hope it gets easier because I do rather like the way it's going

Monday, 26 October 2015

Monday is done

I will have to admit I wasn't totally all out writing for the rest of Monday (after the first blog post of the day). I may have watched a bit of TV and spent some time with my wife - I still like her after 23 years together.

But I did do some writing. The sf novel is up to 15,130. Which means that today it got tidied up, put into a novel like structure from my notes and 4,000+ words were added. That will do as a pretty decent kind of day.

This novel is a bit different from the ones I've done previously - especially the YA fantasy that was its immediate predecessor. This is definitely an adult story; not in the way of extremely strong violence of sexual content though. I've created this wisecracking, foul mouthed smuggler character and he's narrating the whole thing. So it's a bit sweary in places - okay in all the places. I'm getting a little creative with it too - many of the combination swear words are amusing my wife when she gives the first draft a quick read.

Hopefully it will work through to the end of the story; especially as it's a setting that could host other stories. It's not set up to be the first in a series the way the Patternmaker's Daughter or Against the Fall of Empire were. The story will be completed come the last page. But I will leave it open that another story could follow sometime later. Why the heck not?

On other news I have started to try to get my twitter following up a bit. It seems to be working. I'm up to 672 followers now which isn't too bad. I will put a good deal more work in over the next few days/weeks/months. Hopefully I can start to match some of the levels I see on other people's following lists.

So if you have been good enough to follow me at @ielester recently, then I thank you. You are making me very happy. I will keep trying to entertain you over the coming tweets. Maybe there will more jokey stuff soon. You never know

Away from the screen we're still working through season 1 of the Flash. Up to ep 21 now. Well it's  better than I remembered from the first two or three we watched at the time but I do have to keep holding myself back form criticising the science too much. My wife will testify to my not doing the best of jobs at this. These shows are fantasy so I should let it lie.

Well - end of the evening so I am heading off for sleep. More writing will be done tomorrow. I will report on it then.

Monday journal entry number one

I titled that thinking it might be the first of who knows how many. Truth is it might be the only one of the day but I am hopeful I will return to this site later. I also noticed I didn't blog at all yesterday - very remiss of me so this will cover both days

Sunday was a slow start day. Even given the clocks going back we'd had a late night. We were watching some Scandinavian dramas (mainly Beck) plus Doctor Who and some other stuff and as no one in the house had to go to work for another week we just carried on. I know rebels eh?

So I started off the day writing a few more words on my watery fantasy novel The City - the one I started whilst holding back on the sf Space Station story I intend to be my NaNoWriMo project. I brought that up to 2,881 words and got it to the point where I've introduced the main characters and can start to set the scene fully.

That done I headed off for the NaNoWriMo meeting in Leicester. I had no idea what to expect of the meeting so tried to go in with a totally open mind. Hmm, that sentence makes it sound as though I am about to be very disparaging. I'm not.

The people were very friendly, albeit one or two extremely nervous. Not sure if this is to do with my immense height. Being over two metres tall does unnerve some. Anyway I had some pleasant chats with people there and found out a little bit more about the whole thing. Most usefully I learned that you don't have to start the novel from word on the 1st November anymore. You can add those words to an already started project.

Music to my ears that. It meant I could put down the fantasy story and get on with the sf one straight away. Of course the first thing was make sense of my notes and sketches. Fortunately I had a bag full of energy and the desire to get it on.

Cue a few hours of intensive conversion of bullet points into actual sentences and filling in character names etc and it was starting to look like a first draft - well if you exclude a few "Here Be Dragons" type comments and a couple of remaining bullet point chapters.

So Sunday finished with the book at 11,1K although with the aforementioned fair bit of reformatting / adding in names etc still needed to be done before it resembled prose. Bullet points in a novel do stick out a bit.

Today I started writing all nice and early. I finished getting the notes and sketches into actual first draft standard prose and then got writing. End result is that five hours in (minus a lunch break and talking to a number of cold callers) I have now got all proper text and have added 2.1K to the whole count. The book is up to 12,373.

Now I need to go walk around for a bit.

Today's musical assistance has been provided by
Bruce Springsteen
Dream Theater
Enchant
Poverty's No Crime
And very much appreciated the help was too.

Almost forgot. Two more writery bits to report.

One more submission sent off - one I'd been meaning to do for an ice age and a half. And one rejection came in - a very impersonal "Dear Author" type. Both for the sf novel Against the Fall of Empire.

Them's the rub I guess

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Saturday eclectic

I woke up this morning (I mean totally woke up) at 7am. On a Saturday - and the first Saturday of my week off. My brain wouldn't let me sleep in. It does that a lot these days. It seems to go - you've had enough. There's a whole day waiting for you. One of the joys of getting older I guess.

Today though it came with a bonus - or maybe curse. Today it had another story setting, characters and plot bouncing around. And the more my active mind saw of it the less the chance for sleep was going to get. So I got up and started writing. Well before my wife had joined in with the day I had more than a thousand words down on the page.

This might sound good in many ways except for there is only a week to go until NaNoWriMo and I had intended to spend that week doing more planning so I could really go for it for November. Ah well. I guess I'll jut go with it and see how it looks. I can always sketch the plot down and come back to it later. It really is a good idea (ok, my opinion) so I will revisit it should I put it aside for November.

Once the eating bit was out of the way we popped out into Ashby.. Quite a successful trip. My wife has a Christmas music booking out of it. She wanted to do a charity performance in town in the run up to Christmas and fortunately the café she favoured has agreed. So if you fancy some saxophone/clarinet Christmassy stuff with your coffee and you're somewhere near Ashby de la Zouch on the (checks date) 12th Dec have a look. But please go check out their website or google them - don't take my word for the date.

Whilst in town I did my usual book trawl. Not the most successful but I did find a couple

Robert Holdstock - Earthwind, Where the Time Winds Blow & In the Valley of the Status (omnibus)
The Lunar Society - a history of the group of scientists in Birmingham two centuries ago.

Also bought a few more vinyl albums and a copy of the film Heavy Metal. Well I had to.

Anyway back now, my wife is starting to rehearse her Christmas set so I am back writing. Here's hoping it goes well.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Where it all stands Friday

I am still in my awkward position of waiting and planning for NaNoWriMo. It's getting really tough to not just jump in and write the darn thing. I've done a few background sketches - things that should expand into bigger and better things. All in all the ideas doc has 7K words in it. Would imagine when I expand the bits into the novel that should be double that - even if all I do is write it long hand rather than the shorthand of ideas.

Also finding it tough to stay away from the Patternmaker's Daughter. I have this idea for an extra scene I think needs to be added about two thirds in so I may have to go back and add it. Then of course it will be tricky not to start revising it.

What I should do it have a bit of a think about another story idea and get writing that. Say the Weird Novella, Ben Williamson's third outing. Maybe, maybe. I have some thoughts on it so why not?

Anyway - it is the weekend. I have the whole of next week off work and nothing planned at all. So maybe I will find another story. Or maybe I'll just do a little research on other places to send in my exiting stories.

Only time will tell. Let's see what the future brings

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Writing Update - Thursday 22/10

I haven't added an entry to this blog in days. Sorry about that. I just had to scale it back a little after the end of the Patternmaker's Daughter on Sunday. I felt drained totally after that was done.

Well I am partly recharged. I have however not left off the writing - albeit in a prep kind of way.

I will admit my first consideration was to print off the fantasy novel and go through it making corrections. But I had read in so many places that this is possibly/definitely not the best thing to do. So I resisted. Difficult as I know there is an extra scene I want to insert about two thirds through to add something to the ending. But I have held back.

I had considered too writing another Ben Williamson weird novella - I have an idea that I really want to write too. But I decided to get sensible. Really sensible.

I have kind of committed myself to NaNoWriMo (this National Novel Writing Month) thing thought November. With the goal being to write at least 50K in a month I thought I'd better prepare. So I've been filling pages of another of my notebooks with sketches and ideas and chapter guides etc. And over the past three days typing up some of these into background docs. This is necessary if you've ever seen my handwriting.

So we now have six nearly thousand words of background stuff in a word file. Some of this will end u pin the book - I don't know if that's cheating. I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt. It is only structures not whole chapters just to pick up and drop.

So I am going to do this for another couple of days then come the weekend I might just have to go back to that novella as I am itching to do some actual writing.

Right now though I'm going to go watch a little TV

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday evening - urrggghhh. I feel drained

I have gone for it with the novel today. I forewent the pleasures of book hunting as I wanted to get stuck into the writing early. It worked.

I started this morning on 81,100 words. Twelve hours later, about forty minutes or so ago I typed the final word of the epilogue. The first draft is done at 88,103 words long. I added three words over seven thousand today. Wow! No wonder I feel pretty much the same way as I did at the end of a rugby match all those years ago. I suppose the epilogue added a bit to it - it got a bit emotional there at the end.

88,103 words in one month and thirteen days; at the same time as working my day job too. That was intense. Now I just need to avoid revising it immediately. I have to take a step back - everyone tells me this.

Fortunately I need to put some time into planning the backstory for the space station story I'm going to write for NaNoWriMo. That should occupy my mind for the next few days.

Now I need to go rest. So glad I have the day off tomorrow. I need some down time

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Saturday evening progress report

I have been writing on and off for most of the day. And with the exception of the first 600 words it has all been on the YA Fantasy the Patternmaker's Daughter. I am now into chapter 23. The main part of the action for the book is now done. 81,100 words have been committed to paper.

All I have to do now is tie off a couple of loose ends and set things in motion for book two. Of course book 2 will never get written if book 1 doesn't sell. I will be moving on to the space station story come November 1st; if the weird novella I mentioned earlier lets me.

So if all goes well the book should be finished by early this coming week. Then I'll have a few days to get some serious editing done before NaNoWriMo

Oh, and I'd better skim down the rough plot of books 2, 3, 4 in the PMD notebook so I don't forget it. Tonight though will not see any more writing. It's family film night - even though tonight there will be no film. We'll be watching the latest episode of Doctor Who and then another episode of the Swedish cop series Beck. That will take up all the time until I need sleep. And before anyone moans its the weekend so why not stay up later, remember I get up at 6:30

And if all goes well in the morning I will be out and about at what may well be the last book hunt of the year

Weekend writing

I started good and early this morning. I've been having a few ideas about another Ben Williamson weird novella and when I awoke this morning at about 6:30 I had pretty much the entire plot swimming around in my head.

Great you might think; except for the fact that I am 75K+ words into writing a YA fantasy and have kind of committed myself to writing a science fiction novel through November as part of MaNoWriMo. The problem was the novella was forcing its way into my brain and trying to oust the other two.

Well I've let it have it course somewhat. I grabbed by Ben Williamson notebook and scrawled down a few pages of notes, key scenes, basic plot and the like. Then once showered and ready to go I even wrote the first section of it - some 606 words.

Thankfully once I had done that it seemed content to calm down and let me get on with finishing the YA fantasy. Not sure it will be so obliging when I've finished that and want to get on with the space station story.

Anyway to the YA Fantasy. It started this morning on 75,838 words. So far (it's now midday) I am up to 77,290. A couple more sections have been added; the first of which ended Chapter 21. Now I have just started the second part of Chapter 22 and magic is getting close again. It is a fantasy after all; it has to have magic.

SO I am not going to dwell here. I am headed straight back to it.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Friday very quick update

I did a quick bit of writing earlier in the evening. It added 1,008 words to the novel bringing it up to 75,838 in total. It's getting quite close to the end of this opening book. Once it's done (in the next few days) I will revise it, submit it to the few agencies that will look at YA fantasy and maybe a publisher or two and then sketch down the plot for the rest of the story and put it aside in favour of something else. I need to keep trying to get these darn things published and as you can't sell a book two if book one is not sold I will move on to fresh pastures. Fortunately as I've typed before, I have something in mind.

Going back to the Patternmaker's Daughter I have a confession. I had been thinking of this story as the inevitable trilogy - it is fantasy after all. The problem is the more I shape the story in my head and brief notes the less I can see it fitting into just three books, even if I make them longer than this one.

It's looking like it could become four (or maybe five). It got me thinking. I had three titles in mind. Obviously you know the first one - unless your memory is so bad you've forgotten the previous paragraph already. If so you have my sympathies - I've had days like that too. Anyway here goes for the four titles now in circulation

The Patternmaker's Daughter
The Runecarver
The Runecarver's Daughter
A Concert of Runesmiths

Fingers crossed I get to write the second to fourth of them. I like the ideas for this series.

I am also sketching out a new idea for another weird novella. It's another chance for me to seriously screw with my middle-aged, middle-class, middle-Englander Ben Williamson. I'm hoping I get to sell one of these novellas at some point as I could see myself tormenting this guy over and over as the years go by.

Anyway - Friday evening is done. More writing tomorrow

Thursday, 15 October 2015

I have a new book (it's more interesting than just that)

There was a book launch in Derby Waterstone's  this evening. The book being launched was Andrew David Barker's Dead Leaves. Andrew is a guy from Derby writing a book set in Derby in 1983 about a video nasty and some teenagers' hunt to find a copy of the banned film - the Evil Dead in this case.

It appeals to me as a story. I lived through those crazy days with the furore of the 80s and enjoyed many of the films they were banning so it brought back a ton of memories. So I bought the book. What can I say? I'm a sucker for books.

Met up with a friend for the signing so got to say hi to him as well as attend the book launch.

Got home to the usual pile of emails and one from an agency. Did the usual job, deleted all the junk and spam, bringing it down to the four or five emails I care about. Then opened the others first, saving the one from the agency until last. Well, there's no use getting the disappointment in early. Then what do you have to look forward to.

So I opened it and it was....a rejection. My science fiction novel moves onto 11 rejections. There is still the one agent who requested the whole manuscript so there is hope. This rejection was from the hhb agency. The email had the rather nice phrase "though there was much to admire in it". That at least felt nice. But it is another rejection to add to the pile.

So it is now 21:37 and I might just get time enough to sneak in a quick section of the YA Fantasy.

In other words stop typing her you idiot (me) and get on with the novel

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

End of Wednesday update

The evening start with the book at 72,128 words and chapter 20 a section away from done. That section is written, as well as the first two sections of chapter 21. By some fluke I have added exactly 2,000 words tonight so I am finishing with it on 74,128.

I am probably not going to be able to write tomorrow night. I am going straight from work to a book reading/signing in Derby. I will admit there is a bit of a motive on here as well as the interest in this book - which does sound really good BTW. I will be buying it.

The publisher is a new one and based in the area. I am hoping to get a chance to talk to him a little and you never know. Yes I am that transparent. Or rather I am that semi-transparent. I do want the book.

Right now to go finish John Oliver's Last Week Tonight then sleep time.

Submissions Update, More Twitter Oddness and Wednesday in General

I received another response from an agency today. The Blair Partnership sent me a very polite email saying they would not be looking to represent my novel. This brings the total number of rejections for it to ten. Yep, I'm in double figures. Ah well. Got to keep trying I guess.

Twitter simultaneously told me I have two new followers today while reporting the fact I have one less follower than when I started the day. So it looks like a couple more of the bots that pick it up from time to time dropped off. I had a look through the list and couldn't see as many of the users offering me so many followers (10K, 20K, whatever) for a very reasonable fee as I used to have. No great loss.

Now it looks like pretty much every twitter follower I have is a real person. So that's a plus.

Well tonight will not be as much of a writing night as yesterday (or indeed as tomorrow will be). My wife is home tonight and I intend to spend some time with her. I might just tap out the final part that will bring chapter 20 to an end.

If that's the aim I'd better get to it

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Quick Update on Writing Progress

I've managed to spend enough time away from twitter to pen a couple of sections of the YA fantasy. Tonight has seen 1,452 words added bringing the book up to 72,128. Chapter 20 is not far off finished. Probably just another couple of sections and I'll wrap it up. Chapter 21 is the next bit that will move the story along.

Sought my usual support from music. Had a bit of a Marillion fest tonight. Listened to
 - Misplaced Childhood
 - Anoraknophobia
 - Holidays in Eden.

I probably would have picked another one of their albums were it not for a tweet I saw from @TomWaitsPodcast about one of Waits' less liked albums Foreign Affairs. Now I like several of the tracks on that album so it had to be played. It's just finishing as I type this.

Anyway - last thing done for the night. The novel is backed up. I back up all my writing. Every time it changes it gets backed up. Better safe than sorry.

Twitter, Tuesday, tiredness and trying to write

My head is really not in it tonight. I've had a headache most of the day and am seriously tired. A big part of me was tempted to not even try writing today. But I remember reading somewhere about writers that they write through such times; just like I do for the day job. I don't stop my day job for a headache. I just take some pills and keep going. I don't stop when I'm not really in the mood. I don't have the option.

I guess the lesson is you have to treat writing exactly as you do working. It is work after all. So it's suck up and do it time.

Right onto another part of this blog's title - twitter.

I have a twitter account and I'm trying to increase my followers count. So if you want to hear any brief as they happen updates on my writing, or odd titbits and random weirdness - basically whatever comes out of my head - please go follow me. Just search for @ielester

Just noticed looking up the first part of this pretty much covered the tiredness and trying to write. Previous paragraph took care of twitter. So what about Tuesday. Hmmm, not much I can really say about it. It's just an arbitrary day - a box on your calendar. It has no great significance except that it helped the alliterativeness of this blog post. I shouldn't dwell on it anymore I guess. Especially as that would keep me from writing

Monday, 12 October 2015

Very quick final update

Added another section.

Book now up to 70,756 words.

Now I really do have to go spend time with my wife before she
 - kills me
 - forget who I am
 - starts selling my stuff
 - begins composing haiku

Monday evening update - thoughts and some writing

I found another possible place to submit the weird novella The Intersection. The only thing that has held me back is that they require a 500 word synopsis. I didn't have one of those so I started to write it and oddly found it a lot harder to do that write the novella itself.

I put it down a second and came up with a plot for another weird little novella. That's gone down in the notebook for another day.

Once that was done I headed off to spend a little family time - I am quite keen on making sure my marriage lasts (forever). So we watched another episode of the Flash. With it returning we thought we really should finish season 1. Watching it now we remembered why we didn't keep up with it when it was being aired and why we never deleted it from the Sky Box. It's so almost. I really want to like it. I do.

But I have one problem. I'm 47. All the characters are so young. I fear it's not going to be too long before I have gone past watching stuff like this. Darn. I have so enjoyed these shows for years. Ah well - I'll just have to get my pipe and slippers and start to listen to the Archers (never going to f***ing happen).

That done we noticed we had the full run of The Spoils Before Dying on the machine too. We had no idea what it was so hit play on episode one. It's very surreal and I absolutely love it. That will not be being deleted.

Then having finished the two shows and with mu wife wanting to watch a prog I do not, I headed her, to my office, to write a little.

And as you would probably guess I did not re-open the synopsis file. Bad me. I should have stayed focussed and got another submission out there but my brain wanted to get back to my YA fantasy. I'd left them in a bit of a pickle and it was time to start getting them out of it.

Well I have written the first chaplet of ch.20 and despair is still in full flow. The section was 794 words long. The book has now grown to more than 70K. It stands at 70,165 words.

My original thought for it was about 80K but it's looking like breaking through this easily; probably 90K not out of the question now. Still quite a bit to do. For a start getting them out of that pickle. And they need to get some new allies. Book two will require their numbers to have grown a fair bit.

Music is doing its usual support act. So far we have had
 - Spock's Beard - Snow
 - Sister of Mercy - Floodland

And I still haven't detailed the handful of books I bought at yesterday morning's car boot sale; very remiss of me.

Now I need to just tap the keys a few more times before heading for the lounge and catching up with Victora Coren-Mitchell and Only Connect.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

A question

This blog is being read by more people than ever. Thank you all by the way. It does make me a little curious about what you all prefer to read about on here.

Mostly I have been posting updates on how the writing has been going and any news from the submissions I have made to agencies and publishers - which at the moment are all a bit quiet.

But I am wondering what else I could post. I've added details from time to time about my book collecting which I haven't done after today's hunt. I did buy six books today, most of which I already had. The car boot just wasn't all that good today for books; well not if you weren't looking out for celebrity biographies, true crime books or Catherine Cookson novels, none of which feature on my wants list.

The last one was odd though. Back when I first got serious about book collecting I would see Cooksons everywhere. They've been rather scarce for a while up to today. Today there were about half a dozen people with a box of Cookson novels. Odd.

Anyway - here is my collection. Will you let me know what posts have been your favourites? Just post a comment and I'll see what I can do to oblige. Obviously I'm not going to suddenly take up an interest in flower arranging so I can talk about it but if there is something...

Here's a few I could whittle on about
 - Europe and Politics in General
 - Science Fiction Writers from the past
 - Lists. I am a list builder. I find them cathartic. My book collecting blog entries may have given this away. I can happily post random lists from time to time.
 - Music. Big music fan. If you want recommendations on albums I will happily oblige (a lot of prog will feature).
 - TV stuff. I'm not a big TV watcher but I have seen a lot of good genre TV over the years. Will whittle on about it.
 - random weird stuff. My wife often tells me the weirdest shit seems to go through my head.

Anyway I'm going to relax now away from my computer. It's ten thirty on Sunday evening and I need to spend some down time.

End of weekend state of play

I did a fair bit of writing this weekend. I just checked back to the last blog entry on Friday. I ended that evening on  62,120 words. Having spent a good amount of time at the keyboard over the past two day this has increased to 69,374 words. So that's a little over 7K in two days.

I am relatively happy with that. I'm going to have to build one thing into my writing planning if I write any more fantasy. I don't find it as natural to write as either science fiction or horror. Those two just seem to flow naturally from brain to keyboard. Fantasy has a problem translating its way down my nervous system.

I think the book is likely to be a little longer than I had originally planned. I'd thought it would run to about 80K - which I thought okay for YA. It's likely to be up to another 10K on top of that. Some of the bits just took longer to write than I thought. I'm not going to try to rush it. It comes out as it comes out.

Today's writing saw a pretty pivotal scene finally make it to the page. This part was one of the first I imagined when the plot for this story entered my head. A few weeks ago (on a nice hot summer day) I was waiting for my wife. She was having her hair cut. I was in the car park listening to Neil Young on the CD player and scribbling notes down frantically in a notebook (the one that sits beside me now).

By the time she returned I'd got a dozen or so pages filled. I had the main characters sketched (pretty much as they are in the book), the basic plot and the key scene I've just written all filling up a dozen or so pages of the notebook.

It was a real struggle to put it aside and finish the weird novella I was writing at the time. That novella, the Intersection, did get finished however and has been submitted to a few places as reported earlier. So, to get back to the point. I have finally written the scene I imagined all those weeks ago. And it feels good to have it down on the page.

Pity the weekend's over. I would like nothing more than to be getting up tomorrow morning and heading back into my home office to carry on writing. The whole of the rest of the book is sitting in my head at the moment; just need the time to type it up.

Unfortunately though, I need to go do the day job. The mortgage has to be paid. By the way, none of this is any comment on my day job. I actually like what I do and I like the people I work with. It's just going to be frustrating to have to wait until the evening to write some more.

Should get through the 70K mark tomorrow night though. Will report more then.

Keep well all.

Sunday is writing day

Well I started the day with a car boot. It was looking a little light on the ground but I guess it is nearing mid October. Most people with any sense will be staying in their warm beds and not heading out to sell. I thin I am likely to call it quits now until it starts again in 2016. So that should mena I concentrate a little more on writing (yay!)

So far today I have done a little. I added a final 647 words to chapter eighteen and called it done. The book is now at 64,910 words. So getting along. Chapter nineteen should see the action ramp up a little. Hopefully it will seem as good on the page as it does in my head.

Have listened to a bit of obscure music so far.

 - Grey Lady Down - The Crime
 - Opus Atlantica

Having listened to the second I think I know why I don't pick it out all that often. Symphonic metal isn't really my thing.

Anyway a short break (okay longer than that really). I went off to watch the start of the Russian Grand Prix. The problem with doing that was I ended up watching the whole race. It was actually quite interesting - more than most F1 races I've seen over the last few years.

But now - no more excuses. I need to write. I have Rush's Clockwork Angels on the CD player. So let's get typing

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Saturday progress report

I'm running out of time for writing today. In about 20 minutes I'll be popping out to buy the last things for tonight's meal - you always forget something don't you?

Then after eating it will be Saturday film night. Or maybe it will be Doctor Who and Midwinter of the Spirit. We'll see. Can't be both as I need sleep - out for another book hunt tomorrow morning as we have the weather.

So I started this morning on 62,120 words. It has grown a little since then. The book now stands at 64,247 words. So about 2.1K for the day. Not bad when you think we went out for a good portion of the day. And with most of tomorrow available for writing it should grow even more.

And it's just as well. I have this idea I've mentioned before for a science fiction story set on a space station that I want to get on with. And after talking to a friend last night I have a witch story that we discussed some years back trying to force its way into my conscious mind. I just hoped all these story ideas will play nice with each other in my frontal lobe.

Music for this writing session
Jethro Tull
It Bites
Grinderman

Yeah, I know the first two actually go together reasonably well but the complete departure that is the third does make up for that.

Managed a little bit of collecting

I had to pop out - Saturday's being the only day we can get to places as we work in the week. Whilst there I found a little time and did a book hunt run. I didn't find all that much book wise but I did find some talking books. My wife listens to them when driving here, there and everywhere for work or for the various concerts and shows she plays. A few CDs were added too - mainly dupes of stuff I have to join the CDs I keep in the car to play when I'm driving.

Book wise I found four
The Illustrated Brothers Grimm
Orson Scott Card - Shadow Puppets
Philip K. Dick - Ubik - a really great 1970s cover
Philip K. Dick - Our Friends from Frolix 8 - same as above.

I already had the two PKD books but not in these covers. I am trying to find every single Panther/Granada/Grafton edition published. I love the covers.

The two PKD books also raised an odd thought. I found them in a charity book shop in the young adult section. Most of the science fiction they had was in this section and most of it was definitely not young adult friendly. The PKDs certainly are not. I had a word or two with the staff. Parents might buy their thirteen year old kiddies something from this shelf without even looking at it. Some of the themes they contained I would imagine those parents would want in front of their offspring.

Anyway four books in my collection now it's time to write something

Saturday morning - quick write and some advice

I had an opportunity to get an hour's writing in this morning before I had to go out. So I took advantage of it. End result was Chapter 18 now has a second section done. Another 933 words have been added to the novel. The Patternmaker's Daughter now stands at 63,053 words.

And I've done the second most important part of writing (in my opinion). I have backed up all my files. I do this pretty regularly - at the end of each writing session. I've known too many other people lose work (admittedly in other fields) that I am paranoid about it. One friend recently had her hard drive crash so spectacularly that virtually nothing could be retrieved from it. She'd used this as a storage drive for all the photographs she had taken over the past few years. And the vast majority were lost. And this is someone who works in IT and admitted she knew better.

So my advice to anyone who might read this. If you have files you want to keep - BACK THEM UP.

Anyway techy stuff over. I will be writing more later today. My wife has to start prepping for the next shows. She's taken on the role of Musical Director for a pantomime so will be quite busy. I think she'll be out for every Sunday for the rest of the year. Sound like I'll be writing.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Another night passes

I have to go play taxi man again soon - the perils of being a teetotaller. So I am stopping writing now for the night. It wasn't a bad night. I moved the story on a pace or two and added 1,763 words. Currently running total is 62,120.

Looking through my notes for what's left to cover before I call it done I think I am going to have to extend it beyond the 22 chapters I expected. The perils of cutting a couple short because they had reached good end points. you just have to make it up later. Still it seemed to work better that way.

I can see it getting another 23K or so, maybe a little more. Hoping I can do that in 2 weeks. Should be able to make a good dent in it over the weekend as my wife will be musicing. (I do like making a noun work like a verb and vice versa. It feels so dirty.)

Have had my usual musical accompaniment, albeit via the CD player and not playing it myself. I don't share my wife's talent.

Since last posting it's been
 - The Who Sell Out
 - Black Sabbath - We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll

Now all I have to do is fight the temptation to start building lists again. I have this great urge within me to list things. I find it wonderfully cathartic. And unfortunately I also find it very addictive. I need to concentrate on writing and not indulging my own particular insanities.

Okay time to go fetch the parents in law. Then later I'll be out again getting my wife. Oh the hardships I have to endure. I thought I would escape being dad taxi by not becoming the dad part. I figured wrong.

Chapter 17 is finito, done, terminated, over and out - I'm like totally over it

Tonight writing is going well. I've added two chaplets totalling 1,200 words and chapter 17 is on the page. I'm celebrating with a Pepsi Max. I must totally go against the typical idea of an author. I'm teetotal (completely, not even in food). I don't smoke. And I'm a vegetarian. I only allow myself caffeine when I'm writing, sticking with just water otherwise. Talk about dull and uninteresting. Hopefully that won't feature as a comment in any review my writing might get in future (assuming of course I am ever published).

The book now has 61,556 words and I think there are about five chapters to go. Although I will admit I may have to add one or two - I did expect 17 to finish a little later than it did but what I've just written felt so much like a stopping point I curtailed it.

Music is doing its usual helping job. So far this evening I have had the Rolling Stones (a compilation) and Rush's Permanent Waves. It's maybe two thirds over so it won't be long before it's being changed. I have the Black Sabbath compilation We Sold Our Soul for Rock 'n' Roll waiting next to me. Ozzy! Ozzy!

Anyway - adding blog entries isn't going to get the novel done. Nor, I guess, is checking twitter again. But that's inevitably what I'm about to do.

Change of plan music wise. I remembered it's John Entwistle's birthday. The Who Sell Out is now playing.

The weekend starts here

I'm going to be writing later but as I had a few minutes I thought I would just type in some random meandering. Or to put it another way I have a few minutes before I turn into a taxi for the night.

I have been playing around with the idea for the science fiction novel that I am going to try writing as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - http://nanowrimo.org/). I think I might have a shot at finishing a draft I a month - even if I think that might approach 90,000 words. Of course I might need to take a day or two off work to do it - I have the holiday/vacation remaining so it's a possible. Anyway the challenge is 50K, so I will try for that before I get too ambitious. Life has a habit of throwing things in m way if I aim too high.

The week hasn't gone too badly writing wise. 53K at the end of last Sunday.60.360 now. A little over 7K despite being at work. Hope to improve on that tonight.

Will blog more later

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Done writing for the night

I have completed two chaplets of chapter 17. We are the midst of both magic and the crux of book one.

Tonight I have added 1,836 words bringing the novel up to 60,360. Yes it's through 60K. Getting on for 3/4 done now. Should get a chance this weekend to get a bit more done so I am on course to have this completed (draft one at least) by the end of the month so I can get ready for NaNoWriMo. I am going to go for it - draft one of minimum 50K in a calendar month from scatch. I really must be mad.

Fantasy novel is going well. It's not been as easy as the sf was. I am much more of a science fiction fan over fantasy so I have had to have periods of big thinkings and have on more than one occasion stalled a little; fortunately never for long.

Anyway as it is quarter to eleven and a school night I am not going to do anymore tonight. Going to chill for a few minutes then try to find sleep.

One last thanks to Big Big Train. Their English Electric album has kept me going through this last bit of writing. If you like prog you really need to check his group out.

Thursday update 1

My wife is doing more music stuff tonight - rehearsing for the Ashbeian Musical Theatre Group concert tomorrow night. She does a fair bit with them and enjoys herself doing it. I'm told they are doing a version of the song Black Coffee that has the cast applauding madly whenever it's played in rehearsal so must be good.

They have a website if anyone cares. It's a bit out of date and doesn't actually mention the concert but give you an idea about them
http://ashbeianmtg.org/


Anyway this means I am all alone again and writing. I have written the first section of Chapter 17 - including a little bit of magic. It added 949 words to the book taking the total to 59,473.

I am going to get going on the next now. Probably have the best part of an hour until my wife is back

Tonight's writing has so far been set to music (without their even knowing) by
 - Led Zeppelin
 - Edison's Children
 - Transatlantic

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Chapter 16 is done

That blog heading pretty much sums up what I was going to type in the post itself. I have finished chapter 16. Should I leave it at that? Anything further beyond that point is just filler; fluff.

Well of course I'm not going to. One thing I've noticed from authors is they like writing and I at least share that with them. Hopefully if all goes to plan I will share the published part (with regards novels) with them at some point in the future.

Chapter 16 clocked in at 3,367 words. It got me to the point where the crux of the book is due to start which is a good thing. And I'm reliably informed (it's by my wife so there might be an element of bias I'll admit) that it built some nice tension. The book itself is at 58,529 words.

Tomorrow my wife is at a rehearsal for the concert this Friday. So I will have two more nights in alone to work on it. And then at the weekend she is starting to prepare the next concert. Cue me staying out of the way a bit more and writing. You never know how many words I might be able to add. I'm not going to jinx it this time.

Have been ably assisted today by some great music from
The Who
Pink Floyd
various Northern Soul artists (a compilation in other words)
and Marillion

always need music.

Post derailment

Well I didn't manage to get any more writing done before going out. Boo. but at least I was right about the afternoon. I had a great chat covering all manners of Horror Films, science fiction, the recent lunar eclipse and all the usual kinds of things you get when two geeks chat for an afternoon.

Leave there get home  a little while before my wife is due from work so head straight for the cooker (yes I am domesticated) and one meal, plus a little TV watching together and all of a sudden it's quarter past eight. These days go by so quickly.

Well my wife us heading off to watch the Great British Bake Off Final so I am going to do a little writing.

Just time before I start to mention a trip to Tesco. Not something I would normally blog about but I saw a couple of books there I felt like buying. So as I log all the new book purchases here they are

Neil Spring - The Watchers
Catherine Chanter - The Well

Wednesday daytime writing - plus derailment

I have the day off work and nothing to do; well, nothing active. I just have to wait in for someone this morning.

So I thought, rather than just book a half day and head in this afternoon I'll take the whole day and try to get lots of writing done. And yes I realise the pressure that might put me under. Too much time and you start to think I NEED to do "this" much. Of course you always aim high then allow anxiety to creep in and you end up falling far short.

Well not today. Today I woke up feeling good. Sat down at the keyboard and wrote a quick chaplet. All good. That was by 9am too so lots of day left.

And then...yes it happened. I had tweeted about not being at work today and someone I've known for a while but not seen in... Well to cut a long story short I am going out at 12 and probably for the whole afternoon. It will be good in many ways but end result is limited time to write.

And I have a couple of chores to do before I go, so even less time. And yes I know heading straight to the blog and typing this cuts it down even further but what can I say? I guess I'm just like that.

Anyway, I'm going to quickly get the chores done and see if it leaves me writing time. At least I think I'm going to enjoy the afternoon.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A writing update

9:20 - I've been writing for a little over an hour and a half. In that time I have started chapter 16 and completed the first two chaplets. 1,418 words committing to file (it sounded much better in the days when you said to paper).

The book is now standing at 56,578 words. I think this is going to be the last chapter before something more serious happens. Magic will happen in chapter 17. I just like pacing it a bit - having the action, then a bit of a come down before the build up starts and then more action. It works in my head.

I am just hopeful it will work in the head of a literary agent at some point.

One good thing about last night's rejection. The tone of the email was so friendly I decided to email him back and ask whether he would be okay with me sending another submission his way soon. I told him I was writing a YA fantasy and he replied that he will be happy to receive it. Cool. I didn't want to overload the agents.

I might not be getting any success at finding agents but I am capable of tapping words out. The books do get finished reasonably quick. This could result in me subbing to him every other month. That could piss someone off in a hurry.

An evening of writing+

My wife is off doing her music tonight so I have nothing to stop me from writing - yeehay.

Except for the jinx factor. Something is bound to happen now. Something is going to jump up and get in the way. I know it. And I have a fear its going to be of my own making. I'm betting I am putting so much pressure on myself that I will never be able to get it going.

Take a deep breath. Hold it. Now let it out slowly...

Is that better?

Yes?

Good...

Now start to panic again. Then accidentally open MySQL Workbench. I really should uninstall that.

Anyway - status report. The novel last night was at 55,162 words. Chapter 16 is next. All I have to do is figure out what should start it and get typing.

I have some writing music on - Spock's Beard - The Oblivion Particle. I am really trying to like this album. I like Bennett Build a Time Machine. That's a good track. Hopefully I will like the rest of the CD.

 

Monday, 5 October 2015

An unexpected, and unfortunately disappointing, late email

Just as I was about to power down my PC I noticed an email had popped into my inbox regarding a submission I made for my alternate Earth sf novel. Well, I opened it and read the text and it was, as expected really, a rejection.

It had lots of kind words and good wishes in my search for an agent but no good news.

I will keep trying. I want to do this old school. I don't want to self publish. Not saying it will never happen but I would prefer it to be the traditional way.

Fingers crossed the YA fantasy might have a chance, And I'm still waiting to hear from the one agent who requested the entire manuscript

Uber quick post

Put my head down and wrote tonight. 1,935 words added. Chapter 15 done and it included more dragons - or at least a report on dragons

The book is now at 55,160 words.

Slowly moving towards the big scene.

More will follow tomorrow. And a few more Wednesday. I am off work for the day - got to wait in for someone. It should give me some time to do a little more. But I do have things I need to do that day too - real life getting in the way of writing. It's terrible.

Tonight I would like to thank the following
Dream Theater
Queen
John Entwistle
Fish

Their music has kept my foot tapping and my fingers tapping quicker still

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The weekend is done

As suspected earlier I didn't get back to writing. My brain was just a little too friend and I had to get stuff ready for work tomorrow. Weekends have this nasty habit of ending far too soon.

I'm not quite on schedule with the novel. I had hoped to be nearing 60K by the end of this weekend and I'm on 53,285. It's not terrible and it's certainly not the end of the world. I can't push myself too hard - especially when my body is trying to fight off a cold.

I will just keep plugging away. I will have a little bit of extra time this week in any case. My wife is playing another concert on Friday evening as well as being at rehearsal Tuesday and Thursday. That should hopefully give me time to tap out another few thousand words. I'm hoping too it will get easier now we are in action phase rather than the build up phase.

Although I may have to take a little bit of time out as I've come across another couple of places to submit the novels/novellas I have already completed.

Anyway - that's it - end of Sunday - I'll be at it more tomorrow.

Keep well

Writing, writing, writing

I'm not doing too bad writing wise today. I know one thing; I have to revise my expectations when writing fantasy. I don't find it as easy as horror or science fiction. I don't look as much stuff up on the way with those other two.

Anyway I am now done with chapter 14. Another section of the book is over - we are moving into the final part. This is where book one comes to a head. Hopefully it should resolve a few issues whilst nicely setting up what is going to follow when I eventually get to Book 2 - if I ever do.

Beyond honest I am inly likely to write the second, third, and maybe fourth, if I manage to sell book 1. I will have the plots all detailed in the Patternmaker notebook - just as I have the plots for books two and three in the Against the Fall of Empire SF series. But I am in this writing lark to see a book published. If I spent the time writing a book 2 of a book 1 that was unsold I am hardly achieving my objective.

My logic (annoyingly) tells me that the best way to see a book in print is to give myself as much chance as I can - and that means (to me) having as many irons in the fire as possible. Hence the sf idea (again one which could become a series) that will be the next novel to be written.

I am going to finish this YA fantasy, polish it and send it out into the world. I will wave it goodbye and hope it finds its fortune (or rather, mine). And yes I am aware of how little authors get paid for their books. I am not expecting to become the next Stephen King or George R.R. Martin. My aims are a lot lower. I just want to hold a printed book I have written.

Of course I would then almost certainly want to hold a second, and a third etc. But let's start at square one. And that means getting back to writing.

Dream Theater's Scenes from a Memory is playing. My foot is tapping and I am writing chapter 15 as soon as I post this blog entry.

Current word count is 52,776. Now let's add to that.

Slim pickings

I went out this morning on a book hunt. October and car boot sales is always going to be less than brilliant but it had been okay weather for a few days and you never know if you'll get another chance before autumn kicks in fully.

Books this morning were fairly scarce and for the most part celebrity biographies or copies of Fifty Shades...

I did find three books though

James Herbert - Moon
Rober Asprin - Another Fine Myth
L. Elizabeth Storm - Quantum Leap: Pulitzer

The last was a whim purchase. I used to like the Quantum Leap series and have in the long distant past read one of the novels they brought out. I may never read this one - in truth I almost certainly won't but for 50p how could I not buy it?

Away from books there were a couple of CDs/DVDs I couldn't resist. Every house should have a copy of Kentucky Fried Zombies after all.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

One final short Saturday post

Quarter to midnight and I'm done. I've been up since 6am so a little surprised I got this far. And I might well be up early tomorrow.

The day wasn't as good writing wise as I had hoped; despite the nice early state and success first thing. I just couldn't get my head into it for the rest of the day - not fully. I did see of that pesky chapter 13 though so that's good. And I'm well underway with chapter 14. Word count at about 51K so not too shabby. It's only been a month since I started this thing so I've not done too bad.

hoping to have it finished at least a week before the end of October to leave myself a week to re-read and revise before NaNoWriMo starts.

To do that I need a good Sunday. So I am going to go sleep to try to give myself the best possible chance

Have finished chapter 13

Thanks to the efforts of Helloween with their Keeper of the Seven Keys part 2 album I got my head back into it and put my head down. Result was two final chaplets, another 1,398 words and chapter 13 was done and dusted. I'm getting closer playing with dragons again.

A little way into chapter 14 now and the book now has passed the 50K - but 17 whole words. I just wanted to wait until it had done so until I blogged about it. Yay! Go me!

Anyway I have changed my music for the next writing session. Earlier this evening Alistair Reynolds tweeted how he had answered a number of the questions on a Mastermind round on Hawkwind. Well it put me in the mood for a little of the band. And so as I go for it with chapter 14 I am listening to Masters of the Universe. Good headf**k stuff.

Apart from that I have mostly avoided the rugby. England lost as I knew they would. In truth I wasn't totally avoiding it. I'm not a fickle supporter to that degree. It's just the sky box was recording Doctor Who and Beck and the time so I couldn't watch it.

It did me some good as I'd procrastinated enough earlier watching the South Africa vs Scotland match. And I am going to surprise a few people now. I was supporting Scotland. I might be English but I am also British and I am European and I live in the Northern Hemisphere.

Now I have nothing against South Africa, I have many South African friends but every world cup bar one has been won by a southern hemisphere team. I want another Northern Hemisphere win - even if it is not going to be England. So I wouldn't care if it was Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy or any other Northern Side (it's not going to be anyone not mentioned even despite Japan's fantastic upset against SA earlier).

So Allez Les Blues, Andare Italia, come on Scotland, Wales, Ireland. Let's prove the Northern Hemisphere can play this sport.

Teensy bit of a collect

Had to pop into Ashby this afternoon so had a chance for a quick book trawl. And yes I found one or two.

Laurell K. Hamilton - Bloody Bones
Colin Harvey - Damage Time
Philip K. Dick - Solar Lottery

and a research book for when it might be needed

Ann Baer - Medieval Woman

There were a bunch of CDs and a DVD of Prophect 3 as well but only the three books. Maybe better luck next time.

Saturday writing - post one

Okay I had to delete all of last night's writing. It was awful. I knew my mind hadn't been in it.

But I have made some amends this morning. I started the chaplet again and this time I think I got it right. I'll see for sure when I reread after the whole thing is done.

Anyway 799 words added this morning (which includes some of the chaplet after that) and am now up to 48,668. Going well. Will be doing much more today I hope.

Now all I have to do is keep away from my new distraction. I am a total geek - out and proud. I've been reading sffh for 40 years, watching it too. I listen to prog rock and I'm a science nerd.. I'm beyond hope. And I'm easily distracted.

That's why finding sites like Flickering Myth (http://www.flickeringmyth.com/) is a problem. Full of information about geekdom. And I can't easily escape now as I've followed their twitter feed so these little tempting messages keep popping up. Ah well - at least I get the teasers on the new Marvel/DC shows etc

French music

I have a challenge for anyone reading this. Name ten French pop or rock stars. It's difficult.

For me the name Johnny Hallyday came to mind instantly, followed not long after by Vanessa Paradis and Jean-Jacques Burnel (who might have been born in London and raised in England but he has French parents so he counts).

Then, because of my love of prog rock Jean-Luc Ponty and Patrick Moraz popped into my head. And yes, then I remembered Moraz is Swiss. I also thought of Gong. I've heard them claimed as a Frnech band but they aren't really. I looked a bit further on my CD shelves and found Magma. Magma are definitely French but you are unlikely to know them unless you collect obscure prog.

Then Plastic Bertrand occurred to me - oh, hang on. He's Belgian.

So I started to think a little further back and I added Serge Gainsbourg, Sacha Distel, Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf. I'm sure if I put some time in to research there would be more but that shouldn't be needed.

It's something that has always puzzled me. The French are a wonderful people with a fantastic culture - even in areas you might not instantly associate with France. After all the first Science Fiction author was Jules Verne. So why is such a cultural nation so unknown in terms of pop and rock music?

After all France and England are similar in so many ways and the English can boast dozens/hundreds of top bands and artists to rival America and any other country. Why not France?

Look across one more country on the map - Germany. Germany isn't a name I would associate with popular culture as easily as France. High culture (classical music, ballet, the art world, literature) yes but not popular culture. But just stopping and giving it a moments thought and how many German acts can you name...

Here are the acts that came to mind for me
 - Kraftwerk
 - Rammstein
 - The Scorpions
 - Michael Schenker
 - Nena
 - Tokio Hotel
 - Helloween
 - Tangerine Dream
 - Accept
 - CAN
 - Amon Duul / Amon Duul II
 - Boney M
 - Milli Vanilli
 - Popol Vuh
 - Kreator
 - Einstürzende Neubauten
 - Sodom
 - Nico
 - Alphaville
 - Propaganda

Give me longer and I'm sure I would add more. I certainly spent less time on that than I did trying to think of French artists.

So why is this? Why aren't the British charts filled with French acts?

The easy argument is the language and in one way it is correct. But I don't think quite in the way that might be instantly apparent. Saying the English don't like things in other languages isn't a fully valid argument. Yes we are terrible as a race at other languages. Too many of my countrymen and women expect foreigners to speak English - even when we are in their countries. (To my defence I will say I can get by in French and Italian and have a smattering of Dutch.) And also there is a growing popularity in the UK for European dramas - shows like the Killing, the Bridge, Inspector Montalbano, Gomorrah, Romanzo Criminale and others have become popular.

So there might be something of the Brits not wanting music in "foreign" but I think a strange rule in French broadcasting is also partly responsible. French radio must play a minimum of 40% of songs in the French language. That means there is reduced competition to get airplay which to me can only result in a lack of innovation. Why try to develop if you don't have to? It's far easier just to do the thing you know when you know it's likely to get played anyway.

I find eastern European cars a good analogy here. Anyone my age remembers the golden age of Skoda jokes

 - How do you double the value of a Skoda?
 - Fill up the tank

 - Have you got a new tire for my Skoda?
 - Yeah sure - that sounds a fair swap

Now these jokes are no longer all that appropriate - Skoda cars today are just another car, as good or as bad as most others (and I'm not going into the VW emissions thing). And it is not really Skoda that I am referring to. Just go look up some of the car companies from the Communist Bloc days

The point was that they, and many others, were produced in an environment where they were protected. You had a market that needed cars and those were the ones you could get so you bought them even though they were terrible.

Now French music isn't terrible; or at least, not all of it. Whenever I am in France I listen to the radio and I do hear some good French music but I also hear a lot of rubbish. It's rubbish but it still gets played. And because it gets played even though it's rubbish, the next batch of songs that come out are likely to be just as rubbish.

Now the interesting thing is French Radio stations are rebelling against this ridiculous law. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.

I'm sure there will be many who rally to its defence. Some will say it protects the French identity and language and that removing the law will harm the very idea of what it is to be French. It's one theory just not one I subscribe to. French language and French culture should stand or fall because it deserves to stand or fall; not because some law exalts it beyond a level it actually deserves.

If this law goes and French radio can play whatever they want it will not mean the end of Frenchness. It will mean the end of some of the crappy French stars who have only prospered because they have had this unfair advantage but I believe the true brilliance of this country will ensure they produce acts that will shine on a world stage.

After all the nation that invented Science Fiction, gave the world Molière, Victor Hugo, Albert Camus, Alexandre Dumas, Flaubert, Voltaire, Baudelaire, Marcel Proust, Emile Zola, Claude Debussy, Hector Berlioz, Camille Saint-Saëns, Georges Bizet, Erik Satie, Maurice Ravel, Sophie Marceau, Jean Reno, Jacques Tati, Sarah Bernhardt, Audrey Tautou, Juliette Binoche, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugin, Matisse, Renoir, Manet, Pissaro, Paul Cézanne, Marcel Duchamp, René Descartes, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and so many others can shine without this, in my opinion stifling, cultural law.

Golly I hope they let me back in after this. I want to go on more French holidays

Friday, 2 October 2015

Virtual non starter

In some ways this week has not been a good one. Not in any major way so this isn't going to be a complaint. I have too much in my favour in life compared with many people to moan about small stuff.

It's basically that I am tired. I've not slept all that well and as a result didn't really have it in me tonight to do much writing. I added about 300 words before I gave it up and watched some TV.

So I am caught up with Midwinter of the Soul. Fantastic show. Feels a little like the Scandinavian dramas I love - nice and gritty with flawed characters. Pity there is only one more episode to go. Also watched last night's Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. Bit of a wind down Friday.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be reinvigorated and make up for everything not done this evening...

Replies from agents and other stuff

I was decrying the lack of responses from agents and publishers about my submissions. It seems at least two of them heard me (or read me).

I received two rejections today - for my horror novel from UK agency Annette Green, and for my science fiction from the Zeno Agency. That started the weekend off well. It was more fun not hearing in truth.

And a publisher I contacted out of the blue isn't open for submissions - maybe next year though.

I'm not sure my head is up for writing tonight. Not because of the rejections. I've steeled myself for them. They're part of the inevitable writing life. But it's been a bit of a long week and I'm not fully with it. I might be in a little while but for now I might search for more agencies or publishers I can send stuff in to.

So I have chosen so uplifting music. This will be a little bit of a challenge for even hardened prog fans to follow. Erik Norlander's Music Machine. Not for it being extreme. It isn't. It's quite melodic. But it's not that common. I'm not sure many will have come across it. It's more the 80s AOR end of proggy stuff. But it seems a bit of a concept album - double CD for certain.

On other matters - one thing I tend to do is hunt for books. I've detailed it on here in the past. I go out trying to find old sci-fi, fantasy and horror. The books I find which I already own I try to find new homes for. Well today I passed one on that I have hopes for. One of my colleagues is a sf fan. I've passed books to her in the past by Ray Bradbury, Michael Moorcock, Margaret Atwood, Issac Asimov and others. All have gone down well. So today I passed across a copy of Intervention by Julian May. I love this book so fingers crossed she will too.

Now let's hunt markets

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Tom Waits and Tricky Conversations (a writing combination)

I had a tricky conversation between two of my characters to write so the only music choice I could make was Tom Waits. I picked the album Alice. Normally I like to have music on that makes my foot tap when I'm writing (and Tangerine Dream when I'm revising) but there's just something about Tom Waits.

My wife often remarks that a lot of my musical taste is rather difficult. It's usually when I'm playing King Crimson (especially some of the ProjeKCt stuff) or Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart or...Tom Waits. There are others that would probably also fit in this but these are probably the worst offenders. Oh, some of the German bands like Neu and Can might.

Anyway the point is I am a massive Tom Waits fan. I've loved his music since I first heard it. The first track BTW was Whistlin' Past the Graveyard. And there are times when only Tom's stuff will do it - and that was just what happened earlier.

Played Alice - finished the chaplet, the second of chapter 13. total words added tonight 1,426. A little less than both the previous nights but it was a fiddly little section. Dialogue is a little harder than description.

The novel as a whole is up to 47,857 words. Hoping to get some decent writing in over the weekend. Let's see if 60K is a possibility.

Other than that I have been developing the idea I will take into NaNoWriMo during November. It's a space station story - bit gritty so it should make a nice change from the YA fantasy I'm working on now.

Other than the actual writing I have had no further emails or otherwise about any of the submissions that are out there. Been quite a while since I've heard anything. It's a bit weird. I was expecting at least one rejection by now. That of course is probably ensuring I get a dozen "Go Away Loser" emails tomorrow.

I hope not but it would be nice to at least get some news.

I need to make some time at some point to hunt down some other places to sub to. It does rather get in the way of the writing though and it's nowhere near as enjoyable

Wish me luck

YA fantasy update

I thought I'd come to some kind of impasse with the novel. The initial idea I had for the next chapter just didn't seem to be right. The more I thought about it the more it seemed wrong.

I know where I want chapter 14 to be but getting there. This chapter 13 is going to be tricky. I need it to continue the calm a little that chapter 12 brought. After all the one it followed was a big action scene. I need it to have a decent pace else it will be a gallop straight towards the big bad.

But how to do it. That was the issue. Well on the drive into work this morning I think I came up with the way to do it. It will mean a bit of a decision for one of the characters that she will regret whichever way she makes it but...

Any road up - have written the first chaplet, 667 words. Now to get on with it.

Writing music for the night so far
 - The Beatles' Revolver
 - Rush's Moving Pictures

Foot is tapping well