Thursday, 17 March 2016

Coffee and a chapter

It probably won't come as a surprise to you, but I have done relatively nothing in terms of writing my book. Working long and irregular hours does make it a little difficult to find time to write, although I could try harder. I've recently been swamped with work so whenever I've had a free minute I haven't wanted to be stuck in front of the computer, churning out pages and pages of text that never quite sounds how I'd like it to.

My solution to this problem has been to take my notebook and a pen to a local coffee shop before starting work. I spend an hour or so writing draft chapters, plans and character descriptions there. So far I've managed to get one chapter finished (or almost finished). I've also thrown caution to the wind and decided to write the book in the order I feel like, and not in the order it is going to be presented to the reader. Hopefully I won't regret this decision later.

My goals for next week are to have two completed chapters (in addition to the three I've already got).

Monday, 30 March 2015

Motivated, driven and busy

It's the first day of a new week and I am feeling motivated and excited to work on my novel. However, a client sent me some work this weekend which means I'm probably going to be quite busy with that until early this evening. It always strikes me as quite annoying that I never wake up with such motivation when I have the time to actually do something with it. I guess that's just life for you.

In the interest of not wasting all my motivation and drive on a work project, I decided that I'd write this post and outline some of the things that I need to work on in the interest of improving my novel. Firstly, it would seem that I'm no Dickens when it comes to giving colourful and descriptive names to my characters. All of my characters could quite comfortably appear on a 22nd century Jeremy Kyle show and not seem out of place: that is, their names are mere sounds with strange and exotic spellings that lack meaning, relevance and class.

After the issue with the names, I really do need to treat the potential reader to a lactose-free diet. By that I mean I need to cut the cheese out. I've been reading things that annoy the hell out of me when I see it in somebody else's book. God alone knows why I thought I could justify including something that irritates me so much. Just to give you a few examples: the cheesy, clich├ęd protagonist who has to do everything alone; and the baddy explaining himself just before he commits his final act of evil.

There are also quite a few loose ends that need tying up (or better yet, removing). After years and years of writing (without being published) and years and years of translating documents (which I'm sure have been published somewhere), I feel that I've got an excellent understanding of structure and, to be honest, I am quite happy with the structure of the novel.

So, all in all, I have to work on three things over the next few weeks:

  • Renaming my characters.
  • Removing the cheese.
  • Tying up the loose ends.

Well, I think that's enough skiving for today. I'm going to get some work done before I lose myself a client.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

The first for a while

I started this blog years and years ago when I was busy writing my first novel. I'd dawdled and procrastinated too much and so decided to use a blog as a way of monitoring my progress (or rather, lack of). To cut a long story short, I finished the novel, I signed a million pound publishing deal and I've enjoyed literary success ever since... well, it didn't quite go like that, but I did finish the novel. What happened next was completely unexpected. I hated it. The product of years and years of reading, writing, editing, rewriting and cutting could inspire nothing more than disgust and frustration in my mind.

I'd had the idea in my head for years and had been writing draft chapters since I was fourteen. I was determined to be the next J. K. Rowling; to take over the world of crossover fiction. I knew that my story was pure gold and so I never stopped to question myself or my characters. At that moment I deleted my blog, I deleted the book, and I deleted everything that made me think of the novel. Or rather, I deleted everything from my computer, I had completely overlooked the weekly emails of updated chapters that I'd send myself for fear of losing the work that one day I'd wish to delete.

We're now five years in the future and, as you might imagine, I recently found the old manuscript whilst going through my ancient emails trying to clear a bit of space. I reread it and thought to myself 'hey, it's not as bad as I thought it was' (although it isn't nearly as good as I'd hoped it would be). Along with the manuscript I found an old rejected screenplay with a couple of nicely written lines of rejection from the agent I'd sent it to. So, my goals for this year are to fix the novel and edit the screenplay. I don't have a lot of time, so I'll have to do it while I should be working.