I think it was the great Bill Bryson who said that a waiter will never see you until he’s ready to see you, and in the same way, you can’t tell a story (great or otherwise) until it’s ready to be told. What this means for me is that I might have the idea but for various reasons the whole thing is not completely assembled in my brain, there are parts that I haven’t processed properly yet, and to try to write it down at this time is to fail. I’ve seen this myself on several occasions and having since been able to go and finish the work I know it to be true.
If you remember, George Lucas always said that he had waited to film Star Wars episode 1 until the technology of CGI had caught up with his vision, well it’s the same sort of thing. Before I could write Myra I had to get my thoughts in order and work out how I was going to incorporate the flashbacks and that meant a lot of research; in that time I read a lot of excellent stuff and learnt how other writers had dealt with the techniques. And the back story had developed enough in my head as well, to give me a better idea of where I was going.
And often, while I’m writing, I’ll realise that I have nothing more to say about a particular story, all my ideas come to a grinding halt and it feels like I’m unable to move things along, even though I know where I want to end up in the narrative. I have to put the project to one side and get on with something else. Then, in time it will all make sense, a logical order will come to me and I can return to it. Hence why I have several ideas on the go at once; I can hop around as ideas take shape in my head.
I can’t imagine how much easier it is in this age of word processing to write than it was in the old days of typewriters and longhand (even though I still use a notebook sometimes).
And so, having finished two of my ongoing novel projects this month, I’m going to be spending May on edits and Short Stories.
I have a novel called “Jungle Green,” which my editor has gone through; it needs a bit of a rewrite, and I have another, “A new life in Ventis,” which is off for a first look this month, that of course, will need working on when it returns. I have several short pieces which could do with a bit of attention, I’d like to publish another selection of short stories soon and the more content I have the better it will look. And working on short stories is a lot easier to fit in around editing. At the moment I have a mixture of straight Sci-fi and Steampunk ideas and who knows, one of them might just develop into more than a short story. One of them is, in fact, a sequel to a short story I wrote which features in Flash Fiction, a part three to my story “Tales from the Sleepers,” an examination of time dilation and its possible outcomes.
If you haven’t yet you can get Flash Fiction FREE from this link
So I have the corrected manuscript and I’ve sent it to my beta readers, depending on what they say, and what I have thought about since I saw it last, there may well be bits to change, perfect and modify. Then it’s time for a second edit.
Meanwhile, I will have found a cover picture or at least a concept for one. I’m extremely fortunate to have a brilliant cover designer in Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics and I’ve also found a local photo-artist in Vicki Boulter who got my idea for Myra perfectly.
Anyway, this is the time to sort out the cover and prepare the metadata, the nuts and bolts that go with the ISBN and the eBook. Things like the genre, the page count, keywords, long and short description etc. etc.
And if you think that writing the book is hard, try condensing it into 250 words for an interesting hook to put on the back cover (giving nothing away), or 350 CHARACTERS for an ISBN entry! Once I have input these the ISBN is assigned and cannot be changed. I prefer to use my own as I’m then identified as the publisher.
The metadata and manuscript go to my formatting service, Coinlea, who lay it out ready for printing as a paperback, depending on the final size I’ve chosen and as an eBook.
First Coinlea will send me a pdf of the paperback layout for approval and after having a look; it gets a final once-over from my editor.
And that’s where we are with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, the last step is to upload all my files for approval, then I can set up an on-sale date and press “publish!”
And then it’s about a week until I get a proof copy of the paperback in my hand, wow it feels good to get a physical copy in your hands.
Another check for quality and we’re ready to go. The eBook is uploaded and the marketing can start. And you can pre-order
I’m a little bit early with the post this week, there are important grandad duties for me on Tuesday so the post is a day early. And I’m afraid that it also means that my next post about the book production process will have to wait for a bit.
This time I have two covers to reveal for you and also an update on my challenge for the year, I forgot to put it last weeks.
Firstly, the full cover for Andorra Pett is back from Avalon Graphics, my thanks to Cathy for another great piece of work. Andorra is the creation of Matthew Britton and is brilliantly drawn, he’s captured her personality exactly as I imagined her. Chapter 1 is still available to sample HERE
The novel will make its debut at the Tiverton Literary Festival, firstly at Credfest on June 17th, and then at Tiverton Library on June 23rd, signed copies of all my titles will be available for a special price.
I have also made the cover for my next FREE collection of short stories,
which I’m hopeful will be out before the end of May. It will feature 21 stories and 8 excerpts, including three from books that have never seen the light of day, “Jungle Green,” the sequel to “Ribbonworld,” “Survive,” a spin-off from “Freefall” (and part of the Galactographic! universe), and “A new life in Ventis,” the sequel to “The Rocks of Aserol.”
While we’re on the subject of new work, so far this year I have written 155,000 words. Not all of them on one title, but “Survive” has 30,000, “A new life in Ventis” 60,000 and “Andorra Pett on Mars” has 50,000, with the rest spread over short stories.
You might have noticed the title “Andorra Pett on Mars” and wondered what I was on about, well it’s the second book featuring Andorra and I have two more in planning, “Andorra Pett takes a break” and “Andorra Pett and her sister.” They are very much at the initial planning stage as I write this, but I have basic plots and they will be produced, the only question is when?
I will have to add them to the list, which also includes a third Balcom story, provisionally entitled “The lost Princess,” and a sequel to “Myra,” which has no title at the moment. If I can keep up my wordcount and make 500,000 this year I should be able to get most of them done, as long as I don’t run out of ideas.