Yesterday I successfully kicked off the rewrite of The Ghost Smuggler and wrote the first 2062 words. In the interest of honesty, 896 words of that were a direct copy of a piece from the original draft but with the notable exception of one other section, that won’t be happening very often. The reason is simple, I’ve decided to switch the book from third person to first person. If you’re thinking that sounds like a big change, it is, but it was something Jeff VanderMeer suggested when he critiqued my manuscript. At first I was very skeptical that it would work – not to mention reluctant to force myself into such a dramatic rewrite. However, the more I thought about it, the more I rolled the plot around in my head, the more comfortable I became with the idea. All that rolling knocked some of the rough edges off the story and the pieces seemed to slot into place a lot more cleanly. Interestingly, some of the original ideas I had for the book, ideas that had dropped by the wayside during those early drafts, re-established themselves and I found myself getting more and more excited about the direction the book was taking. Somewhere … Read More
I’ve been listening to the Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing podcast for quite a while now and it’s usually good but the latest episode (168) is one of their best and really struck a chord with me. The podcast covers a mix of publishing chatter and author interviews – they’ve had people like Michael Moorcock, Patrick Rothfuss and Elizabeth Bear on in the past and I’ve discovered a lot of good writers by listening to the show. Each episode is around an hour or so and will usually get me through a visit to the gym quite nicely. Episode 168 features an interview with Jennifer Brozek, Mark Teppo and Mary Robinette Kowal recorded by Sandra Wickham at the Rainforest Writer’s Retreat. There’s lots of talk about the process of writing and some excellent no nonsense advice and I found it very inspiring. Highly recommended.
This is the second in a series of Meaty Monday posts – longer posts where I ramble on about writing related topics. You can find the first Meaty Monday post here. Today, I’m talking about ideas. You’re probably familiar with this quote. “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” – William Faulkner Or this one. “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscripts to press. Murder your darlings.” – Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch Or how about this? “Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.” – Samuel Johnson They’re all variations on a theme – if you think a scene or a sentence or even a whole subplot is the most wonderful piece of writing in the world, you should cut it. Some people take this literally and remove their favourite bits from their work just because they like them so much – apparently director Danny Boyle always cuts the single best shot from his movies. I take it more as encouragement to examine those “particularly fine” pieces of writing and consider whether they might be too … Read More
Welcome to the first Meaty Monday. Meaty Mondays will be a series of writing focused posts that appear – as the name suggests – on a Monday. I can’t promise they’ll be any more interesting or more useful than my normal posts or even if they’ll appear every Monday, but they will be longer. This week, I’m going to talk about my puzzling attitude towards self-publishing, or indie publishing as it’s called nowadays. I have a very strange relationship with self-publishing. I’ve self-published any number of video games and other pieces of software. In fact, I spent over seven years doing just that and that was before the iPhone kick-started the current golden age of independent game development. Even now, I still harbour secret desires to go indie again and crank out some of my own games for iPhone and iPad. If I was still in a band, I’d be out there building websites, uploading recordings to iTunes and Bandcamp and hawking t-shirts, coffee mugs and limited edition hand warmers to anyone who strayed too close. If I could draw, I’d have my own online comic strip. And the t-shirts, coffee mugs, limited edition hand warmers and the hawking. But … Read More