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Showing posts from 2014

3rd Edit complete!

Yay! Finally I've finished editing the 3rd draft of my manuscript!

It's down to about 75,300 words now, so have dropped a fair chunk (was 81,000) out of the book. There are some bits I would have liked to have kept in, or expanded on, but I think I need to listen to my publisher on this (being my first book and all) and keep the work count lower.

I've clearly got some material that could be used as "Bonus material" on the website once the book is released, so maybe have to think about that in the future.

Beta Readers I'm still looking for beta readers and have just put a post on GoodReads in their Beta Readers groups to see if anyone is interested. Would be good to have someone other than a friend read it, they would be much more likely to give me honest feedback/criticism. If you're reading this and want to read the 3rd draft, get in touch at my website.

Once I've had a little feedback, it's off to the editors for their review and then we start t…

The Cover Design

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A huge thanks to my publisher Rowanvale Books and Alex Paise for the cover design that is ready for my novel, due for release sometime in the middle of 2015 (as long as I get my edits done before XMas!).

I just need to finish my second round of edits and rewrites, work out some Blurb text for the back cover and get this off to the editors!

If you're interested in being a BETA reader, please use the contact form and then I'll randomly pick someone to get a copy of the manuscript for feedback soon.

Ah yes, the book title. You can see now that it is:



Benjamin Sorrow: One for Sorrow
So the sub-title says something doesn't it?


Second Edit

I'm not enjoying the editing process as much as I did the writing process, but it's all new so still exciting in its own way.

My wife has read my first edit and added her own comments, suggestions and feedback. It was certainly a worthwhile exercise, as it highlighted a thinking issue (of mine) that I hadn't really thought about before (pun intended?). There are things I've written about in the manuscript that I assume the reader knows about, purely because "I" know about it and hadn't written it down for them to consume yet.

These aren't major things, but it's just a thing I needed to learn about my writing style. Some inconsistencies need to be addressed, apparently my tense is a little here and there. So I'm now trying to find time to go through all my wife's notes and begin the second edit proper. I've got the afternoon off work tomorrow (catching up on time owed from working at the weekend) to progress as much as I can.

Once that …

What's wrong with people?

Spoiler Alert - We had a great holiday!

A couple of weeks ago the family and I were on holiday out Great Yarmouth way, heading for a day boating on the river. Both kids were in the back of the car, one asleep (3 months old) and the other gagging to get on to the boat (2 years old).

We were travelling along the A149, a fairly unremarkable road, not overly busy. Up ahead there was a triangle junction on my left, with about five or six cars between it and me in front of me. There were a handful of cars, maybe four or five at the junction waiting to merge onto the A149.

Boom, a small Toyota (or similar make) was shunted from behind by a small grey (not brown!) car that had not seen the car in front yield for traffic. The blue car was forced into the road and managed to roll to a stop, half on-half off the road in a junction that immediately followed the junction they had been pushed out of.

Now, like I said, there were five or six cars in front of me that SAW the accident and carried on (…

Wish I Was Here - Backers' Premier

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Well, made it to London and the Cineworld O2 last night for the UK backers premier of Wish I Was Here. Firstly I just need to say, GO SEE THIS FILM!  It opens across the UK next Friday, 20th September.

I, and I'm sure all the other 46,520 backers, are proud and privileged to have been a part of this whole experience.

I wanted to take lots of pictures of Zach as he did the Q&A at the end of the film, but didn't. Why didn't I?  Two reasons.

Reason 1 I have a crap camera on my phone and sitting at the back of a 700 seat cinema screen gave no chance of taking any decent pics. I got one of the title page with the hashtag #WishIWasHere, but that's it.

Reason 2 I realised that we spend far too much time looking through the screen of a camera or view finder instead of enjoying the moment. Actually, there is a part of the film that talks about epiphanies and I think I actually had one when Zach came out at the end of the screening. Yes, I was there and I could have taken h…

First Draft Edited

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I had plenty of spare time this weekend, around mowing the lawns, walking the dog and catching up with my old buddy (see below), to edit the first draft. It didn't take as long as I thought it would, which does worry me a little.

This first edit was purely to pick out the major grammar errors (missing , or . a the end of dialogue mostly), check the continuity (may still have issues with references to the time of day) of events, make sure the spelling of character and place names are correct and remove a couple of chapters that aren't really needed.

I had done quite a bit of "editing" as I was going, which is maybe why I didn't feel the need to rip this draft apart too much. Something to remember for next time perhaps? I could have spent more time writing the draft than editing it and left the editing to the "editing phase". What do I know, it's a whole new experience!

The word could started off at 81,371 and after I'd finished this edit, it is n…

Cover design update

Well, the concept art for the cover has been selected and is now with the designer to polish and produce the final cover! Am very excited to see this in all it's glory and as soon as it has been finished I'll post it for you to see.

Or maybe I'll keep it secret.

Maybe I'll post it ...

Editing The editing is coming along steadily. I'm re-reading the book as I go which is reminding me of things I introduced months and months ago that need to be removed, polished, burned and buried. It's giving me an insight as to what you guys will read and my red pen is getting a good work out.

Additional material I've already cut a couple of chapters of exposition out that aren't really necessary for the book, but they were useful bits of information. I may build a Wiki of sorts on the website for some of this, as it might be of interest for those that actually like the novel (I hope there's at least one person) and want to know more about the lore and history after…

I'm Editing!!

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**pop**

(That was the sound of the Champagne cork letting fly)

That's about as far as that goes as I can't stand the fizzy white stuff, it can just bubble about and go flat! Besides that, the sentiment is there. I finished my first draft yesterday afternoon, during the very wet British bank holiday.

I've ended up with 81,500 glorious words (glorious, maybe?). I've now got the pleasure of my first edit to whittle the word could down to between 70,000 and 75,000. I've also got to make sure the story makes sense, as I think I mentioned before that there was a change of direction, which I think I covered up successfully, but need to re-read it to make sure. There's also the issue of continuity, I have a feeling there will be bits that make no sense.

That's what first edits are for ... right?  I can't remember where I read this quote, I think it might have been Terry Pratchett:
"The first draft is just you telling yourself the story" Hmmm, I hope I…

ALS #Icebucket Challenge

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Wow, what an amazing amount of coverage this charity has been getting recently! It is fantastic to see so many people taking up the challenge, especially the celebrities and to see how many donations have been made to their charity. If you haven't come across this yet, you know for those of you living on Mars or in a cave with no Internet, check it out below:


I have to say I've been entertained by some of the videos that are doing the rounds, I'm looking at you Chris Pratt and Donald Faison (hell pretty much everyone doing it). I say pretty much everyone, as some have just done the Ice Bucket dunk with no mention of the charity or the illness they are raising money for, just for some publicity of their own. Thankfully there are plenty of others (about 160,000+ others) who have donated, including me!

I didn't get "called out", why would I, no one knows who I am! Doesn't stop me from donating to a worthwhile charity. Now, I don't know anyone with ALS, b…

Aiming High (unintentionally)

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Well besides having a pretty crappy end to last week and a sleepless weekend, this week is looking very "up". I had a yo-yo temperature on Friday night and a pretty sore throat, which followed throughout the weekend, followed by bouts of meh and sleeping lots. Finally started feeling normal again Monday, but what a waste of a weekend a bug can be!

Word Counts Anyway, I had a bit of a revelation yesterday when emailing my publisher. Somehow I had a word count stuck in my head from before I started properly down the publishing highway and it now seems I've been aiming a little high (certainly as an unknown author)!

I'd researched average word counts and for Sci-Fi (which is where I'd put my novel originally) "they" say a word count of around 110k is good (between 90-125k), as there are lots of details to elaborate in a fictional world. Even a Fantasy book is around 90-100k words.

Quote: *
Science-Fiction: 90,000 to 125,000 – Encompassing many sub-genres re…

Website Update

I felt I needed to do a bit of webby stuff yesterday, so have added a cool new feature that allows you to find some famous/well known books with similar word counts to your book or manuscript. At the moment I'm sandwiched between "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" at about 69,066 words and "The Woman Warrior" at about 70,957 words.

You can find it by going to my website and looking under the "Fun Stuff" menu, or following this link.

Disclaimer: The list or word counts has been collected from various sources across the Internet and comprises 166 titles. I don't know if these word counts are actual individual words or a calculation based on pages, average words per page etc.  Either way, it's just a bit of fun!

Oh and my thighs still ache from the bull riding at the weekend!!!!

I've found my stall speed

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It happens from time to time. Other family things that need dealing with, work, having a family break, they all need doing once in a while. So I've not had a massive progression of the manuscript for Benjamin Sorrow in the last week or so.  It seems like I melted my brain when I was away for my writing weekend.

I have crept forward to 70k words though and am now trying to work out the big "reveal" introducing the main protagonist proper and all that guff.

This weekend was fun though, we went to the Ramsey Steam and Vintage weekend and our 2 year old was beside him self when he saw the steam trains and engines. Got a future in Steampunk and sci-fi all lined up for him :)  For the first time in my life (now I know why I'd not done it before) I went on a mechanical bull! "Grip with your thighs" the woman said. "There are muscles there?" I said the next morning!

I managed a whole 23 seconds the first time, then 25 seconds the second time. Dead proud …

Going great guns

So far so good. I managed about 3000 words yesterday afternoon in about 3 and a bit hours. I had to have a break for dinner!

It turns out that there is a wedding reception here today (Saturday) and the main hall is set out for the evening disco. The Baronial hall, which is where I got married and had our wedding breakfast is all set out for the happy couple today ... who I have no idea about.

I've been told they will be arriving from about 2pm onwards, so guess there'll be plenty of people to chat to later (probably not the best thing for writing!). So I apologise in advance for the crashing of the party tonight if it's your wedding!

I did have a slight issue with the room, but as always the staff here are more than helpful. I had been given one of the rooms in the main building, which shows it's age in the decoration and creaking floor boards. But they have character and it's nice. Unfortunately when I walked into the room yesterday to unpack, it was REALLY warm i…

An exciting weekend ahead ...

... and a very busy one. I've got my writers retreat (not an officially sponsored event, just like to call it that) starting this afternoon at Highgate House in Northamptonshire. I said goodbye to the family this morning, come to work for half a day ... then off I go!

I've just about hit 60,000 words and am looking to get another 10k+ words done between now and Sunday afternoon. As I'm quickly discovering, even the best laid plans for sitting down and writing don't always turn out very productively. I spent a little time yesterday just going over my scrawl laying out the connections of all the characters, just to make sure my plot works. Didn't want to get there today and think "Erm, what am I going to write about" or "How the f**k did that happen" as I sit down to write.

Twitter I've also been slowly gaining Twitter followers, so thanks to all those who are actively following me. I've deliberately not followed those just looking for fol…

Propeller Heads & Anoraks

Disclaimer I found this content that I used to use extensively when testing our internal mailing engine this morning. I cannot for the life of me remember where it came from originally, but it was at least 8 years ago or more that I started using it (I think). Anyway, if this is your content, no copyright infringement was intended, but it is a nice explanation of the difference between Propeller Heads & Anoraks.

An update or two

Eating far too much Myself and several colleagues (and one now ex-colleague) went out for a meal to send him off last night. Bye James. We went to a restaurant floating (half beached) on the River Nene and lots of food was had by all. Their set menus provided us with full bellies last night and aching bellies this morning (well for me anyway). It has been a long time since I was last there, but the food was still as amazing as ever. I can't get enough of their 'nana Fritters and ice cream. Anyway, if you're in Peterborough (the UK one not the Canadian or Australian ones) I'd recommend a visit to East, you won't be disappointed. Should get a free meal for the plug. No? OK then.

Cover Design Concepts I spoke to my publisher and the design concepts should be ready around the end of the month, which will be cool. I'm intrigued to see what Alex comes up with based on my ideas and thoughts. I did my best to describe what I can see in my minds eye, but we'll see…

The Writers Toolbox

I got a copy of The Writers Toolbox for my birthday, as a way to help my creative mind. So, as I thought I needed a bit of a break (kids, wife and dog are asleep) I'd give it a go.

It's just what came out and onto "paper"! I've not edited it, tidied up or made it flow nicely.  It kind of does, but it would need work to make real sense. It's actually given me a great idea for a story!

FS = First Sentence (highlighted in bold)
NS = Non-sequitur (highlighted in bold)
LS = Last Straw (highlighted in bold)
SS = Sixth sense, supposed to bring out feelings

PS. This is copyright now, so don't go getting any ideas! ;-)

FS

He swore on his mother's grave, but then he swore on just about everything. Max looked intently at Karen.
    "I promise! If swearing isn't enough, what else is there?" he said.
    "I guess there's nothing but to take your word for it then," Karen said gritting her teeth and wincing at the thought of what was about…

A Couple of updates

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Film Stuff I got an email last night from Zach Braff (yeah he emailed me personally*) about the advance screening of Wish I Were Here in London. Looks like this is happening on the 12th September, but the venue has yet to be confirmed. Am looking forward to it and the Q&A with him afterwards.


Book Stuff I've done another info-graphic of the word count for my manuscript. Am now just over 53 thousand words. Such a long way to go! Just worked in the first major plot twist, I hope it makes sense. Felt like the right thing to do, although I think in the first edit, it may need a little work to make it sound more plausible. I like the idea though, so it stays :)


I've got a long weekend away in a few weeks to shut myself away from everything and crack on. Hopefully I can get 6,000-10,000 words done ... or I'll drink my body-weight in coffee, either way it will be a good weekend.

*That bing-bing-bing you heard in the background was your bullshit detector going ape!

A new toy

I purchased a refurbed ASUS MeMO 7" tablet to do all my Social Media stuff on. My old HTC One phone does everything I need a phone to do, but I'm not spending hundreds of pounds on a new one when this one works fine. Remember when a phone had buttons, actual real buttons? Anyway, I use WiFi where ever I am rather than data on my phone contract, and that costs me about £9 per month for the privilege (rather than £30 to £40 for a contact with new phone). If I do need to use data, I can use the WiFi hotspot on the phone for the tablet.

But I digress. The tablet is actually not bad at all. Some of the reviews said that it lacked power in the higher end 3d games, but as I don't play games, it's plenty fast enough for the UI and it's nice, smooth and responsive.  I saved about £50 getting a refurbished model, although it does have some cosmetic scratches on the back (which I'll only add too), it's fine otherwise.

The basic spec:

1280x800 pixel IPS ScreenQuad-core…

39 is the new 38

Well, brushing that fact aside and a Happy coming-out-of-your-mothers-vagnina day to me, it's about time I wrote another blog entry.

(That all sounded like an intro to a sitcom episode in my head)

So, what's happened in the last year (a reflection?) It's been a long year, but no longer than any other (I don't think it was a leap year?). Another orbit around the sun, another 365 days of everyday-ness.

The highlights of the last year though, obviously have to be the birth of baby number 2, who is a couple of weeks old now and eating like a trooper; deciding to write a novel, finding a publisher and avoiding any planet destroying comets (well we all did that one).

I lost touch with a few old friends (I think "unfriend" is the word the cool kids use these days) and kept in touch with a few others. I've avoided politics, the media's persistent coverage of hacking (would we really qualify guessing PIN numbers "Hacking"?  I guess I'm just old fa…

Weekly Ramblings

Our New (Still pending) Arrival Only a week to go until Son number two should make an appearance. If he has his Grannies timekeeping skills, we'll see him sometime in July! Things feel a lot more relaxed this time around, all our bags are packed and in the car; the car seat is in ready and MP3s loaded on to the generic MP3 player, hospital on speed dial. Son number one said baby this morning and pointed at mummy's tummy. Well he's not quite two, but knows where the new baby is at least. We've got his present from his new brother to wrap and put in the car yet, so he doesn't feel pushed out when his little bro starts getting lots of mummy's attention.

Book Progress I'm up to 46,472 words as of today! We had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, even though the weather forecast was for rain and clouds, we actually had lots of sunshine and a bit of a sprinkling here and there. I managed to finish a chapter or two and evolved a big part of the plot, so am happy.

Othe…

Fun chat with a Bot on Skype this morning

My week is never complete without a random bot trying to get into my pants on Skype. It amuses me to see how unsophisticated they really are and I often have a "Chat" with them. You never know, the guy who writes the scripts for the bot may actually go through a few and read them.

Here's the transcript from this mornings bit of fun:

[07:57:24] pink.chapstick93: Hello! Please add me to your Contact list.
[10:55:03] BeakZ: Why?
[10:55:33] pink.chapstick93: Yay someone to speak to :) !! how r you?   
[10:55:44] BeakZ: Do I know you?
[10:56:14] pink.chapstick93: I'm awesome  thanks for chattin with me I found your name in the online members search :) what u up to?
[10:56:31] BeakZ: Oh god here we go again. Another sex-bot selling services
[10:56:49] pink.chapstick93: Ok, now you really lost me?? bot???
[10:57:07] BeakZ: Oh the standard "What is a bot?" Bot reply
[10:57:39] pink.chapstick93: I'm not too into exchanging pics .. I'd much rather see each other, you …

Typical British Weather

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If the weather reports on the BBC had been more accurate, I would have been outside more this weekend. As it happens, the forecast was for rain, our outdoor plans changed, so had time to write more than usual.

The climb to 50,000 words is feeling like a mountain at the moment, but I have a history of getting over the virtual "hill" and then being even more productive.  So here's hoping the trend continues!

Here's an updated chart with the current word count. I've also added the "Change" in red so you can see the words written on each interval.

Note: The same day appears more than once, that's just when I've submitted a revision twice in one day (paranoia anyone?).


Fourty Thousand Words ...

... that is all.

Oh and a big f**k yeah!

I have a publisher!

Woo hoo!  It feels like something is really happening now. I know, I know, I've got to finish the manuscript first, but to have the support as a first time author really does feel like a warm comfortable blanket wrapped around me.

I'll post more details as the process continues, I think it's worth sharing the pitfalls and rewards as a first time author.

A couple of productive days

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Well, it looks like taking two days off work to get on with the book worked. Is 8,000 words in two days good?

Wednesday I didn't get the early starts I was hoping for. Up at 6am with the little man, childcare by 8am, had to tackle the lawns, done by 10am. A lot of today was spent talking out loud to myself, going over the plot and interactions of my characters. A whiteboard helped! Turns out, I had a couple of issues with where characters were going and that took a few hours to work out.

I think I have a more cohesive flow of plot devices and stories now. Time will tell.

Thursday Again, didn't start as early as planned. Had to take our dog to the vets for a check up after her knee surgery, so managed to get a bit done from 0800 to 0830, but didn't get cracking properly until 0930. Still, better than yesterday!

The words seemed to flow easier today, the conversation with myself yesterday certainly helped things along a huge amount.

Tip of the day I was struggling to work ou…

Wow, It's been a long time!

Hi all,

It looks like my last blog post was almost 2 years ago. I was waiting to take my wife to hospital for the birth of our first child.

We're almost in the same place, waiting on the birth of number 2 (so far nameless). Got a month to go this time though, so thought it was about time to resurrect the blog.
Writing I've been pushing my writing a lot more recently and am about a third of the way through my first draft of my Novel manuscript. What a steep climb this hill is!  It's a fun and enjoyable process, building a fantasy world, creating characters, finding a publisher etc.

I've built up a relationship with Rowanvale Books who are based in Swansea and will be using them for publishing when I get to that stage. I think I've got about another 60-80K words write yet, but I am sure this will vary a little when I get farther down the road.

I've now got the website registered (well have had it registered for a while) and a site up now. You can find this at:

Ben…