Category Archives: Book stuff

An Open Letter to EL James

Hello Erika. Can I call you Erika? I kind of don’t want to because I keep having to correct myself, but I suppose it’s not your fault that your parents didn’t know the right spelling of Erica.

Anyway, I feel compelled to write to you, two days after the debut of your new ‘novel’, Grey. What, why the quotation marks, you ask? I figured it was obvious, but I am as hesitant to call your latest work a novel as I am to call you a writer. Yes, it is a collection of words available for sale, and you put words on (virtual) paper, but to me the words ‘novel’ and ‘writer’ still imply a certain amount of quality, which is sadly lacking from your output.

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Portraits

If any of you are following the blog of my friend and editor Hillary, you’ll have noticed her recent post where she went wild on an Anime portrait generator. Now, I am not particularly obsessive about creating portraits for my characters, but I do like the overall look of anime, and there is something inherently pleasing about pissing about with mouths, eyes, clothes and – best of all – hairstyles, so I had a go as well.

Before I show you the result, however, I must mention that I possess some excellent portraits of all my main characters, which I commissioned from an extremely talented Norwegian artist called Linn Standal. You can check out her art on deviantart, tumblr or visit her portrait adoption page.

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Musings on Science-Fiction

I know it has been absolutely ages since I last posted a blog post, but this is in part due to the fact that I have been on holiday for two and a half weeks. I am also shamelessly behind on reviews, but I will catch up on those at some point, I promise. I just don’t know when yet.

With that brief news out of the way, I found myself pondering science-fiction literature recently, mainly because I have started Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars).

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Editing in action – part three

A week ago I gave a detailed, blow-by-blow account of how the first part of my Prologue went from First Draft status to Second-Draft-after-the-nitpick. Today’s post takes a closer look at the second half of my prologue, which is where things get really tricky.

No, really. The reason for this is that while I’ve still got the first draft, I’ve now overwritten the second-draft-before-the-nitpick version. This was a bit silly, I know, but I’m not much for saving stuff that I’m not actually going to use. I’ve been able to salvage some from e-mails (yay for editing through Googledocs!) but not all of it. Still, it’ll probably make this post a lot less waffly, so let’s crack on anyway!

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Editing in action – part two

A few days ago I promised to illustrate my editing process with an actual example, so you can now see how my prologue has evolved from its first draft version to the second-draft-after-the-nitpick-edit version. The status is therefore that it might still change, but probably not drastically. I’ll tackle things a paragraph or a sentence at a time, to give a good idea of where it started and where it’s ended so far.

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Editing in action – part one

I have started on the full rewrite of my third novel, now that the first draft is finished, and I got the idea that it might be interesting to give an insight into the rewriting/editing process that me and my friend Hillary use. Our working methods are pretty similar, mainly because I’ve adopted her way of working, which suits me quite well. In essence, I write a first draft, of which every chapter is sent to Hillary as soon as I finish it for her first impressions. Any comments she gives me are stored away for use in the rewrite (usually in my head, though I’ve started to actually write them down. I rely far too much on my memory sometimes).

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Sneak preview of book three

This kind of hasn’t quite worked out the way I wanted to, but I promised, so here goes. In case you missed it on Monday, I promised a preview of my third novel as a tie in with Fantasy Review Barn’s Tough Traveling entry on Fairgrounds. Why? Because the protagonist of my third novel is an acrobat and juggler, and they tend to be fairly omnipresent in fairgrounds (fantasy ones at least). I have a little section where he practices his arts, and I was going to post it as a sneak preview.

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Another WiP update

Seeing as there are some people who have asked me recently, I figured I’d give another update on The Coup, my current Work in Progress and part three in the Theft and Sorcery trilogy.

Progress is still slower than I’d like it to be, but that’s largely my own fault. I keep procrastinating, so I rarely get more than 1000 words on the page in one day. More often it’s anywhere between 500 and 1000, and there are (too many) days when I don’t write anything at all.

That said, I have now got twelve chapters in my first draft, for a total word count of around the 77k mark. I still cannot say how many chapters the book will eventually end up with, but my best stick-a-wet-finger-in-the-air guess is around eighteen or nineteen. I could be completely wrong, because I’ve got to the point in my outline which says ‘arrival in Tizar, regroup’, and after that my outline just says MORE STUFF, WAH!

As you can see, my outlines are in themselves minor works of literary genius.

For all that the progress is slow, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve got so far, and my alpha reader/editor also seems pretty happy. I value her opinion, so I’m optimistic that the final result will be worth reading. I keep wanting to post a teaser snippet, but there’s still a really big thing that I’m trying to keep a secret, so I kinda can’t.

Oh, and the most important part: there has been sex, wohoo! My main characters have now well and truly got laid, so that’s the main part of my mission accomplished. Now I just have to achieve the happily ever after…

 

My review of 2013

I know, I’m a little bit late with this, but frankly, I couldn’t be arsed to do this sooner. Monday is my regular post day, so today you shall have my review of the year just past.

I’ll try to split this into three parts: my year of reading, my year of writing, and my personal life in 2013. I’m leaving the personal stuff for last, for those of you who get bored easily.

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Update on the WiP

So, since this will be my last proper post for the year (I’ve got one more review to link to, but that’s not a proper post) I figured I’d give an update on my Work in Progress. My hope was that I would have the first draft of book three done by the end of the year, but that’s absolutely not going to happen.

It’s not a project lost though. I have seven chapters finished and hope to have chapter eight done before I break up for Christmas. It is very much a first draft right now and will probably get some extensive rewriting, but that’s a worry for later.

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