Between the Covers


So how’s you?  Life’s finding me in a much better mood these days, and no don’t thank the tablets – I stopped taking them as they were actually making me more depressed.  But I know that I’m getting better because I can’t stop writing.

April got me four articles on Warped Factor, which makes 31 articles / comic reviews published in four months – took me six months to do that last year.  This is down to the fact that there have been some fantastic new comic titles out this year that I’ve really enjoyed reading and writing about.

I’ve been a bit between the covers this last month.  Not only because I spent a week with actual, can’t-get-out-of-bed, deliriously ill, dehydrating ’flu, but because I’m between books.  You see I’ve deliberately not been writing book three of my crime series featuring Charlie Bell.

Book one is will the agent – fingers crossed it sells soon – and number two spent this month with my editor, Sam.  And number three has been giving me terrible headaches.  I’ve plotted the thing out three times, each time quite differently, and it just never gelled.  I hadn’t found the right story, nothing was falling into place as it should.

Eventually got so hacked off with the situation this month, that I moaned to my boss – Tony from Jefferson Franklin Editing, not the one from the day job.  Then Tony asked two questions:

  1. What’s the philosophical question at the heart of the book?
  2. What’s the hook?

I swear to God I don’t know if I love him or hate him when he asks questions like that.

Thankfully I knew the hook and his advice was that I follow the hook until I stopped dropping off the end and into the abyss.  Did all this philosophising help any?  Actually – yes.  I started putting ideas down and this time they flowed, they made sense and most importantly, they made a bloody good skeleton to flesh out into a book. Thankfully, after the best part of a year of dangling the hook and not getting a bite, I finally caught the tale of the story.  So book three is now plotted, but I haven’t started it, except in my head because that storyteller never shuts up.

Also, I got book two back on 30th April.  God I was nervous about opening that email up.  Not sure why, I’d already had the first 25k edited by Sam just to make sure it was working.  This nervousness wasn’t just the result of general paranoia or depression.  It had its root in the very real memory of being told that the first version of this book was “not as good as it should be”, not by Sam.  Tony – I will never forget having Charlie described as “beige” but that’s because I have to remember never to take him there again.  When I read that phrase, well let’s just say distraught, distressed, disappointed and a lot of other dis- words come to mind.  At which point I basically threw the first version away and re-wrote it from scratch.

The fear of email opening was that I truly couldn’t face doing that again.  I know that there’ll be edits from this review, there’ll be edits once my agent reads it, then there’ll be more if a publisher picks it up, but a total re-write – no I don’t have the where-with-all go through that again.

Luckily, I need not have worried.  Actually Sam was very nice in her comments, so far, I’ve only got as far as Chapter One.  I know there’s lot of work to do, Sam was nice, but that doesn’t mean she let me off lightly, there wasn’t a hiccup she didn’t pick me up for. I’m hoping this coming weekend will allow me to plough on through the amendments – it’s the first weekend in a while that I haven’t got plans that’ll take up all my time.

I should also say that I’ve been working on my steampunk novel, it’s now just under 30k long typed and about half a notebook still in longhand only.  Not sure how it’ll go down as far as publishing goes, but I’m thoroughly enjoying writing it so I’ll carry on and see what the professionals think once I’m done.

Anyway, that’s it from me for now, got some writing to go do.

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