Saturday, 8 August 2015

Getting back to blogging - reporting on writing

I am a terrible blogger. It's not the first thing I think about and I guess it shouldn't be. After all there are more important things in life (my wife being the main one). But I think blogging should probably be one thing I do think about.

Then the question is what should I blog about. I started this blog to post news about my writing - and then promptly stopped writing. So I stopped blogging.

Well I did start writing again and this time I am trying my hand at novels, although this will not be news to anyone who has read the last couple of posts from 2014. Well despite a period when I went a little weird for a while I have stuck with the writing.

I finished my first novel, a horror story called Adam's Death. You're not going to see it; no one is. Not unless I majorly rewrite it. It was an okay idea for a story but a first attempt at serious writing.

A second novel followed, science fiction this time. It was called The Day before Tomorrow. A bit pretentious that title I know but what can I say? It's also going to stay just for me to see.

These two served a purpose. They proved to me I could stick it out and get this kind of thing finished. Adam's Death lasted 100,000 words. Day lasted 87,000. Both had plots that are okayish, characters that didn't seem too bad but they're not right.

The third novel, Mr. Stinky is a horror at 96,000. It's better than the first two and I've even sent it in to several agents, all of whom have rejected it. Most of the rejections were form letters; I'm not complaining as their submissions pages suggested this would be what I would get.

One of them though was a very kind email, personally written, referencing the characters and saying how much she liked it but that horror of this type was not an easy sell at the moment; useful advice that. I wished I'd known it earlier as I would have stayed with the sf ideas. I keep a pad everywhere I go and sketch down ideas when they happen. Most of them are sf but for some reason I thought horror was a better option.

When I got this email I dropped the fourth novel, When the Snow Came, leaving it at about 25,000 with the rest of the plot outlined in case I go back to it and the fifth, with the rather dumb working title The Samaritan Killers, at 23,000 and decided to concentrate on sf. And before you say it I know it's probably dumb to write two novels at the same time - just as it's dumb to use the same word (dumb) more than once in the same paragraph.

Anyway I had an idea for a sf novel (or rather series of novels). I was on holiday at the time, in Oosterhout in the Netherlands (which is a wonderful little town ideally suited as a base for exploring the country). I went into a Albert Heijn supermarket and found a note book (in Dutch BTW the word for a note book is notitiebookje, which I love hearing). By the time I got back to England this book had more than forty pages of scribbled notes; characters, plots, background, settings, locations.

I wrote book one, Against the Fall of Empire in a little under seven weeks. Not too shabby given its length at 122,000 words. I think its the best thing I've written. The whole story is likely to take me four books to tell.

This book is now doing the rounds with agents and has so far received a couple of rejections. I am hopeful I will find someone who likes it. I started to write the second in the series, What Remains When the Dust Settles, but thought I might be limiting my options as I couldn't submit a book two to anyone.

So I have put it on hold. although I do keep sketching ideas into my notitiebookje when they come to me - there are more than 120 pages of notes now. And this beings me to where I am now.

I had an idea for a weird tale, not quite horror, not quite fantasy, just strange. It's called A Parallel Life and I think it will be much shorter than the others maybe 30,000 words, so a novella. Not sure if I am likely to have any more luck at this length but the story is making me tell it.

I'll post more when I have it

(Apart from the next post - which will be on my other thread.)

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