Monday, 10 December 2012

The Next Big Thing... or not, whatever man

Sir Alec of McQuay linked me in this, and so I shall endeavour to continue, albeit with a little difference.

What is the working title of your book?

At the moment, it is 'Spirit Warriors Saga: Book One'. A tad assumptive, I know, but In the process of writing I realised that If I had included the entire story that I wanted to write, it was going to be a rather large tome, so cut it into managable book-size chunks.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I guess the idea for this book came out of a love of fantasy and dragons. I decided to participate in this years NaNoWriMo, and felt that the first thing I attempted to properly write should be of a genre I know pretty well. Therefore, I went with fantasy. The rest kind of just fell into place along the way...

What genre does your book fall under?

Fantasy, can't you read? Seriously though, maybe High Fantasy, if we're being technical. There's not a lot of high fantasy that's really grabbed the market at the moment, nothing major has been released and taken hold that I've noticed since Christopher Paolini's Inheritance cycle finished.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This one, I couldn't possibly speculate. My characters are very much themselves, and in a movie renditon I'd have to let the director decide who best to represent who. Though I can definitely see Tom Hiddleston playing the part of the Necromancer. He has that crazy-face down to a tee.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Will and his friends are sucked into another universe, they find themselves in the warpath of an evil Necromancer - can they survive his wrath and find a way back home?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Well, I've seen several publishers that are open to novel-length submissions at the moment, so I aim to get it submitted to them as soon as possible. Ideally, I'd get a contract with them for the book (hopefully for both/all three of the books), but if that fails who knows. I may look into self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

  27 days exactly. I averaged 2,318 words a day throughout the month of November, and managed to finish off the manuscript at a fair 69,544 words. Of course this number will increase as I get further through the rewrite/editing process.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Narnia, for the sheer fact that young people get sucked into another dimension and thrown into a conflict there. It has a large range of fantasy creatures involved in it, and more to come in the subsequent novels, so maybe a piece of Tolkein's Middle Earth stuff too - he has a diverse range of races also.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

NaNoWriMo got me thinking of doing it, but when push came to shove it was my dear other half, Katie Wright, that pushed me on throughout the month of writing to get it done and finished. Thanks should also go to my university friends, who asked me almost every single day how it was going, and to Alec McQuay (mentioned above) and Abhinav Jain, both of whom encouraged me throughout the process.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think the characters are well-rounded and interesting, and there's certainly a lot left to be answered where the book ends, hell even when the book begins, so I'd hope that they would be drawn in by the originality of the story.

Now for the slight deviance from Alec's - unfortunately I don't have as many friends that are writing novels, aside from Connor Edwards - you should definitely check his stuff out. So there's just that one link I am afraid! Happy Monday.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The End!

So, NaNoWriMo has come to a close. BUT, I did finish my novel, and have since begun editing it. The prologue has been dropped entirely, and the editing process has begun on the first chapter, with at least two people reading it through for me right this moment! The editing process would have been held off until January at the earliest, but there are several publishers I've discovered (four I believe, to be precise), that all have open submission windows that are asking for things suitable for my story to fit into. Therefore, I hope to get the first three chapters edited and polished and sent off (in some cases just the first one - they vary in what they ask for).

NaNoWriMo has taught me so much about writing in general, and more specifically about myself as a writer. For instance, I know my best writing hours are 10pm - Midnight, where I've often managed to crank my measly 200-500 word count up to 2-4k. I now also have found that, if I don't read over what I've already written (bar searching back using the find button for specific things I need for continuity) I get alot more done! Other things have penetrated my brain too, like I can now 'read' my brain, and determine when I really do have writers block and need to go do something else, or if my muse is feigning death and hiding around the corner, waiting to be dragged kicking and screaming back into work. One of the most important things NaNo has given me, however, is the ability to write to a deadline.

Having finished my novel a few days prior to the end of November, I began searching around for other things to occupy my writing time in the leui between November and editing in January. I found a fair few, and listed them down in a handy excel spreadsheet; one of which was an anthology submission for the 30th of November. Now, it got to Friday night, approximately half ten, and I still hadn't done anything towards my submission. I had a vague idea of what I was going to write about, but nothing more. The urge took me to try, and so I sat at my pc, and managed to finish a short story of 2,700 words (approximately) by 11:50pm. I gave it two looks over and adjusted one or two words to make it flow better but, all in all, it was pretty decent attempt (so I thought then - I'm not going to go back and read it now just in case I find mistakes that I missed). At 11:55pm I had it sent off via email, all the formatting guidelines followed. I now just have to twiddle my thumbs and wait for a response.

I know what you're thinking - I've said that I was going to wait until Januray to edit my NaNo novel, and I've said that I decided not to wait and have already started doing that. I've also said that I have a list of anthology submissions to attempt in the meantime between now and editing my novel. So, I've decided to do both. Editing is less like writing and more like reading (at the moment, I've yet to find something big that needs changing), and so I'm reviewing my novel when my creative writing muse gives up. Currently, I'm working on two pieces - one steampunk-style short-ish (10-20k) and one quadrilogy of short stories (four 2000-word pieces that tie together and would be released as a serial if they get through selection). So I'm keeping busy. I'm actually quite excited about the steampunk one, as I've never tried anything like that type of fiction before, so its all new and spangly and I get to play with some cool ideas within it.

Back to my novel submissions - If it doesn't get an acceptance through a publishing company before April/May, I'll be utilising a NaNoWriMo partnership company that gives all NaNo "Winners" five free printed copies of their manuscript, and offers them the chance to set it up as a self-published print on demand/ebook via amazon. This I'll do, in the vain hope that someone somewhere will want to read it; if this is the case, I'll be setting it at a low price, somewhere in the region of £2-3. Who knows. I'll be back sometime this week with further updates on my whereabouts with my stories and whatever else is going on in my life at present. Peace!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Decisions, Decisions

So; hurrah! I have validated my story on NaNoWriMo and have found it to be a full 63 thousand words long (and in splicing all the chapters together for said validation, found out that I have 104 pages of material - a personal record!). I have officially become a NaNoWriMo Winner (see below)!


I was at work today, and idly passing the time planning my next chapter, and it got me thinking about how the rest of the story will play out. Jotting a few ideas down onto a scrap piece of paper I soon realised that there is probably way too much information that needed to be dropped onto the reader before I could properly say "The End". As soon as I accepted that, I came to the conclusion that I could end the book relatively soon (a chapter to away, as it happens).

Once THAT realisation hit me, I found that I could very easily split the whole story that I had in mind into two books, three if random things keep dropping in like they have been in this first part. If I continued with the way I was going, and included everything that I wished to (and it all quite informs the final conclusion - there's not alot I believe could be cut without seriously altering the story) then I wouldn't be finished until gone New Year.

So, in conclusion, I will be finishing my story in a chapter or two's time, and polishing what I've got as the first of a pair/trilogy. Whether I continue the story in my own time (after editing this first one), or if it'll be next year's NaNo project - I guess it depends on how much I get finished editing its predecessor. In light of this; woohoo! Less work straight after NaNo finishes for me! With that announcement/revelation, I shall leave you be!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I did it! I 'won' NaNoWriMo! I have broken the fifty-thousand word barrier! This is me right now!

See - total likeness

I feel great, I topped the 50k word count, and guess what? Found that the story is nowhere near finished yet.

I know how you feel, Captain

BUT it's ok; you know why? Because I've written those 50,000 words in just twenty days. That's right, 20. Count 'em. So, in my estimation, there's probably a good 30-40k more to go until I have gotten through the majority of the story and can safely write "The End". That's ok - I have another ten days to go! I can also console myself that, I KNOW that I can keep writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day; hell just today I've written 2.5k, and I know I have another few hundred, possibly thousand, in me for later this evening. So, you know what, unfinished story?

Yeah! Leonidus-ed

So, whilst I may have "finished" NaNoWriMo, I'm not going to kick-back and end my story early, making it (even more) sub-par (than it already is). No, I'm going to keep on hacking away at this granite block until I find myself looking at a (extremely roughly hewn) copy of Michalangelo's David. In book format. Obviously. So, I'll leave you until the end of November, this'll be me-

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

NaNoWriMo! V 2.0

So, this time it's been even longer!! I do apologise to all of you who read this regularly (so, Katie and Mum - I'm sorry). NaNoWriMo has, well and truly taken over all of my writing life this past 13 days. But that's not a bad thing (except for my blog, but hey, you knew this would happen - I warned you back in my post 'NaNoWriMo', hereafter referred to as V 1.0), in fact, its an extremely good thing. Not only am I cruising along with the story at a very nice pace, but I am also breaking both the NaNoWriMo recommended target AND my own target (There's was 1667 per day, mine was and still is 2000 per day, which I'm easily reaching each day so far!).

Currently, having just reached todays target, my novel stands at 33, 766 words. That's fully three times as much as I've ever managed to write on a story, and it feels like I'm going to easily reach the 50,000 NaNoWriMo target to become a NaNo 'Winner'. I actually feel like my story is going to be alot longer than 50,000 words, and I am definitely going to keep on trucking once I've reached it in an attempt to finish it and write "The End" on the 30th of November.

I'm finding the process of writing without editing very liberating, and in general the story is seeming extremely fun to write. I'm enjoying how the characters are evolving, and love how random things keep popping up in my writing that I didn't see coming - early on in the novel I had giant ice wasps suddenly appear on my page without warning! I know some loose places that I want the story to go to, and a couple of things that I want to happen, but I'm leaving the processes by which the characters go there/do them completely up to them - hopefully it'll let the story flow more naturally to those points, or to completely new ones that are better than that (as I found with a certain four-tier waterfall that magically arrived in my character's way more recently in my writing).

I have a host of notes and sketches building up; where I started with just six post-it notes (one for each character), now I have a notepad with ideas and random snippets of prose I want to include (or could include), and roughly- sketched maps and diagrams to help my mind organise and describe various things (see below). Back in V 1.0, I never dreamed of how well this would be going...obviously I hoped it would go well, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too much just in case my interest fizzled as per normal after almost 10k of writing it. I didn't, and it hasn't and it doesn't feel like it's going to anytime soon. I honestly think the 2k target is very freeing, not to mention the no- editing rule.

A few people have read what I've written so far, and I'm getting some good responses (they're not allowed to point of mistakes or errors of any kind, for fear of reigniting my drive for self-editing)., and at least one super-enthusiastic response, which is lovely for fuelling my writing drive. So, anyway, can't write too much here, I have a NaNo to complete! Until next time!

Friday, 2 November 2012

NaNo No Blog!

So, it's been over a week since I last posted - slacker that I am! To be fair to me or, at least, to give some reasons as to why I haven't blogged sooner, I have been busy. I last posted on Thursday week; Friday I worked, Saturday I worked. Sunday, I was in town all day at training for a volunteer post I'm taking on. Monday I was working, and I spent the evening out on the front of Blackpool town with my fellow Lancashire NaNoWriMo-ers. It was lovely to meet them, and a great boost for the challenge to come - it really helps to know my fellows (at least a few of them) from the website and be able to connect with others that are in the same boat this month.

Tuesday was my only real no-commitment day, which I spent cleaning the entire flat from top to bottom; doing loads of washing, did a huge load of washing up, tidied up all three bedrooms, changed bed clothes in the two other rooms (i.e. not my room) and took all the rubbish and recycling down (quite a big feat when you consider we're on the second floor and the bins are all around the back of the large building)! Then I waited for two of my best friends to arrive from Peterborough before we had dinner.

Wednesday was a dreary day weather-wise, but we stuck two fingers up at that and went into Blackpool town anyway (though we hid in the crazy golf course whilst the worst of the downpour took place), playing on amusements and ambling around showing them the area (sea, buildings, tower...that's it really to be honest!). James and I had a go on this cool laser maze where you have to get through it without breaking the beams entrapment-style (I broke two, James three), which was really fun!

We then had the evening drinking and watching Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted (and laughing at both to be honest) in celebration of Halloween. Oh, and I should mention we were dressed up. James was the Joker, which was an amusing set-up to do I tell you! Sara was a bloody red riding hood, which didn't serve her well when we went for a walk along the lights (she got a bit cold bless her). And I dressed up as a zombie doctor. The looks on some of the driver's faces that passed us - it was worth the money for the costume and make-up just for those!

See - we were awesome!

Thursday was a day spent in limbo really, not really doing anything bar going to slimming world in the evening. Both Katie and I reached our half stone loss mark, and gained certificates and stickers to prove. Aside from that the only thing I really did was my first day of NaNoWriMo! I managed a solid 2706 words; a full 706 over my personal target of 2k, and way over the NaNo guided target of 1667.; needless to say I was really pleased. Today I have managed just over another solid two thousand words, and really got into the groove of writing it.

Keep on trucking!

In other news I have recently read the latest Black Library Limited Edition Horus Heresy novella, by the esteemed Chris Wraight, and loved every moment of it. I intend to write a full review soon, but suffice to say I can't wait for his first full Horus Heresy novel, and sincerely hope it is based on the White Scars (as this was). I'll try to keep the blog updated better than the past week, but obviously for the moment NaNoWriMo takes priority.

This weekend marks the first ever Black Library Weekender, an awesome event where over twenty authors and artists congregate at the Belfry hotel in Nottingham. I'm sad to miss the show, but I sincerely wish everyone of my friends who is attending a great time, and I can't wait to attend one myself (hopefully next year). I also specifically want to wish Ben Cawkwell a speedy recovery - he recently came off his bike and broke his leg (now he's Bionic Ben thanks to the surgery), and also hope Nik Vincent-Abnett get's over her fever/weakness soon! In the spirit of these well wishes, I leave you with this.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Eight Days To Go!

NaNoWriMo continues to approach with speed, and I still plan to meet it head on. Speaking of head on, this is what I did on Sunday


The long and short of it is, I walked into a concrete lamppost. I wasn't watching where I was going, until the last second when I turned and suddenly, post! Scared Katie a fair bit, as it made a fair sound and oozed instead of bled, but I was dandy and unconcussed (and I did get sympathy-ice-cream out of it).

Anyway, as part of my NaNoWriMo preparation, I did another no-edit post today. I'm not entirely displeased with it, which is interesting as I'm never happy with a piece whilst editing and re-editing it, so cutting that slice of creation (or non-creation as it sometimes becomes) seems to help my inner muse. I thought I'd share it with you, as I'm stumped as what to blog about (not really feeling any of the many ideas for a post that I've got written down). It's loosely based around the accident on Sunday (and I've copied it as-is; no editing!)


 I remember little from before. Not much, you'll understand, but enough to piece together some of my situation at the time. The day was nice - clear and warm, with a light sea breeze cooling the skin just a touch. Some form of travelling took place - though I cannot recall how or where we went, I know instinctively it wasn't far. My heart soars with the memory of emotion - happiness, love, contentment. Know that in these recollections I do not feel these; I only feel the shadow of what was once there.

There was commotion - distraction; something drew our attention elsewhere. That much remains, though its exact nature eludes me in a blur of noise and vision. My last complete sensations are so brief they have become almost one, only distinguishable by the different ways they were percieved. A loud, sickening crack is the initial by a moments fraction, the sound heralding the crushing sensation in my forehead. Lastly comes the sight of abeautiful woman, brow creased in worry, a question pursing her full lips, her eyes alight in shock. Then darkness.


Coming to, the disappointing absence of her face hits me hard, deep in my chest where I would feel hapiness if that emotion was left to me. This is my fifth awakening that I can recall, and nothing is different. The nurse attending machines in the corner of the room is still there, and I'm still connected to them by various tubes and wires. An incessant beeping, which I first noticed the second time I awoke, is still present, and I soon tune it out. Once more, barely have my eyes opened that a man in a large white coat enters. I deduced I was in some kind of private hospital room on my first awakening, though the type of doctor this man is and what facility I am in remains a mystery. As if driven by some predescribed script, the "doctor" speaks the same questions as before.

"Another Dream, Mr. Smith?"
"How do you feel? Any headaches? Nausea?"

I do not answer. I barely move save for the rise and fall of my chest. Even if pressed I couldn't say why I don't - some instinct inside me warns me off interacting with this man.

"How are his biorhythms?" This to the nurse in the corner, "The same as ever?" 

She nods. "Cerebral activity shows he hears you - he understands. I can't say why he doesn't speak." Once more, she repeats the same she has each time I've regained conciousness. He considers me from the foot of my bed, chin in his hand, tapping his lip with a forefinger - again the same act as before. Precisely a minute later - I know, I counted - he nods to himself and leaves.

The reflective glass window, that occupies the opposite wall to me, shakes as the door closes. It's a one-way mirror, of course, though the exact way I know this is, once more, a mystery. It seems this is all my life has become, though obviously aside from the half-dreamt memories, I have no way of knowing what my life was like before. I brace myself, and sure enough the nurse presses something on a console and theres a hiss of pnuemonics. A moment later the pressure in my arm increases, and the room blurs and spins me back into my dreams.


And there you have it, 571 words. Nothing like the 2k practise that I did the other day, and nothing like the 2k slogs I'll be doing each day come November, but hey ho, practise is practise. And it's getting easier to ignore the urge to self-edit! Huzzah! Now, off to do....I don't know what yet. I'll leave you with this, a lovingly-detailed reimagining of the climatic end of the Horus Heresy by an inspiring artist, Neil Roberts.