It’s grim out west

It’s April 4th. That means I’m late telling you all I missed deadline for the second supernatural adventure story. Once again I made a promise I didn’t keep. 

My reason this time? Research.
See, I had a look at my sales figures. Predayne and Scav are ticking along nicely. The graph looks like a stegosaur’s back. Even a couple of crime thrillers I wrote a few years ago (under someone else’s name) are have started moving again. Wood Hollow (as I type) has sold 2 copies.

Don’t get me wrong. I was mega excited to see that double spike. I told Lady Orchid with rabid delight then felt the sensation evaporate as I watched her face shift into a look of either guilt or constipation. Turns out Orchid and her best mate Wolfie picked up a copy each to boost my sales.

So anyway. Horror obviously isn’t my strong point. Stark has been sent to the naughty step and I’m working on something a little more spacey.

I’ll definitely get it done by the month’s end.

The beat goes on

It’s Tuesday. My hectic work schedule has been knocked back by three days (issues with other contractors) and Wood Hollow us out on the virtual shelves.

Other than stroll the dog, my diary is looking pretty empty. Lucky for me, my Random Awesome Generator is always ready to come up with something epic. This morning it tells me I’ll be doing something a little supernatural again.

Since there’s 17 days left in March, I reckon I’ll be able to get another Ryan Stark jaunt done and dusted by the first of April.

I’ll let you know how I get one

Wood Hollowed Out

Wood Hollow by [Grimaldi, J.P]

 

There it is, the cover for my latest offering. It’s just over 10k words long and retails at a MASSIVE  £0.99/$1.20. I know that’s asking a lot, but I have a dog and jeez can she fill her jowly little face!

Here’s the link for .com version

And here’s .co.uk

If you do pick it up, I’ll love you forever (or probably only ’til Tuesday) and if you leave a review (even if you think the book sucks and I should die in an horrific ice cream-related accident) I’d probably manage to stretch out ’til Wednesday.

Aaaaand we’re done!

Wood Hollow (yeah, changed the title during the edit) is now crawling through the KDP system. I’ll receive an email when it’s good and done.

Obviously, I’ll post a link here when I can. Right now, I’m off to start a new project. I’ll let you know what I’m up to when I’ve read the runes (okay, perl generators I put together).

And That’s a Wrap

Stark Truth is done. Outlines written. First drafts typed and expanded into second draft madness.

Okay, I need to format the thing, give it one final read through then sort out the matter of a pesky cover, but the thing itself is finished.

Despite the fact I’ll probably change a couple things (most likely the title), Sand Dragon has his copy. That’s one of six (?) China Offerings made.

I think I’m done for the night, so I’m off to grab a beer, see Lady Orchid and chow down on some noodles before waking up tomorrow and working on offering numero dos.

 

Big Fat Stinky Excuses

I said I’d get Stark Truths (or whatever) finished by this evening. I said I’d have it wrapped up and ready to go tonight (despite having no cover designed as yet). I said I was awesome. I’m a big fat stinky liar.

Yep, I’m roughly one scene away from project completion (except the cover thing) and I’m calling it for the night. I could tell you that I work a manual job, it’s been a hard day and that I’m tired. I could rattle off the number of unexpected social engagement that sucked up writing hours over the weekend. I could just admit that I’m a lazy blob of lard and logging on to WoW seems like a better use of my time than writing. I could tell you all that, and I guess I just did.

I’m tired and I’m going to need a day’s extension and that’s going to make the Sand Dragon cry.

Excuses. An update.

Busy is still my middle name. At this time of year things have usually slowed to a crawl so I can tackle the festive panic with wide eyes and aching heartburn. Not so this year. On top of that, this is also the first year I’ve had to deal with the presence of greedy little ankle biters. At my age, it’s been a steep learning curve.

All this means my 20k splatter extravaganza is coming along slower than I’d hoped (one day I’ll manage a 17.5k run again). The makie-it-up-as-you-go thing still feela kind of slow, but it’s also making my creative brain run on overdrive. I still don’t know much about what’s going to happen, but it turns out my protag is some kind of martial artist (which is handy) and that the action has shifted to a secondary world. I’ve got a rough idea of how things are going to end but that may well change. I’ll see when I get there.

I have to say I’m constantly tempted to grab a pencil and work a quick outline, but I went into this with the intention of writing blind and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. What is interesting is that I’ve crossed off my scheduled minimum daily word count every day since starting. Although some days the words take longer to form than on others, they are coming each and every day.

That’s pretty unprecedented. I have more unfinished manuscripts choking my hard drive than I do extra pounds of fat around my waist. One of them, a fully plotted space oper adventure, was killed well into the 30k mark. I can’t say for sure, but I think the reason for my uninterrupted writing might stem from the face every day is a little voyage of discovery. That said ‘The Story So Far’ (I know, shite working title) is no where near 30k.

I’ve also been reading some stuff by the Realm and Sands guys, which I’d like to go into on a later post. For now though, I have a word count to spit out so have a nice weekend and I’ll catch up later.

Lucky I got ditched

Maaaan, what a weekend!

I’d love to tell you that I finished Working Title between signing off Friday and waking up Monday morning (I didn’t). I’d even settle for regaling you all with tales of excess after being reunited with friends of old (there aren’t any). An epic trip into the Welsh wildernesses would be cool, but all I managed this weekend was to stay in and not write (that much).

That’s not the confession of some incapable wannabe (it probably is). Oh no. Saturday, mid afternoon, I was puller away from the keyboard by a knock on the door. There stands Lady Orchid’s delightful neighbour with a half smile and grim eyes. Turns out my old dad’s van has died on a particularly nasty road in the middle of nowhere. To make matters worse, they’ve got no mobile reception and can’t call for help. They, were their lives a nasty movie involving engine troubles and horribly mutated cannibal-killers, were staring what James Scott Bell would call ‘Trouble Brewing’.

Luckily for the parents, the worst thing that happened (after the breakdown, of course), was a couple hour wait for a tow truck and the nasty flask of coffee I took up to them to tide them over (they’re not so keen on strong coffee).

Since it’s not Thursday and I saved this post to drafts on Monday, I reckon the mental mickey pace of my week is quite clear. Work has picked up again (posh customers never make life dull, just infuriating) and apparently there’s some tiny little winter fest around the corner that needs attending to. Anyway, I’ve not had a lot of time to work on Working Title. It is creeping along, just not at the 20k-in-one-day rate I’d envisioned. Still, I’ll hopefully finish this one up (before the aforementioned winter bash) and that’ll free me up for something else.

Okay, I admit that was a bit of a nothing post, but I didn’t want you lovely people to think I’d dropped off the earth without letting you know how things go.

Right, I have to extract this cat from me chest. I’ll see you in a couple of days.

So I got a little side tracked…

I said I’d walk the Howling Horrors then jump straight back into the story. That didn’t happen.  I took my pooches for a stroll through the lovely woodland in where I live, but my keyboard had a little break. The delightful Lady Orchid lives on the route I amble with the animals. I popped in for hot chocolate and a chat that lasted more than a few hours. That’s no bad thing, because enjoying romance and friendship is at least as important as hurling words.

It’s Friday, usually a day of held breath and excitement. Actually, I guess it still is because although I’m client free again (long, boring story that’s not as bad as it sounds), I’ve got the rest of the day to smash my way through some more words. Yes, I’ve had to lower my word count expectations, because writing on the fly is slow, but I’ve also seen some interesting differences between plotting and going organic (I’ve not no love for the term ‘panster’).

My as-yet-unnamed protagonist is a guy (Scav is heroed by a young woman, plus I’m not keen putting a lady through a splatter punk scenario because I couldn’t condone certain behaviour, even in fiction). From one sentence, I know he’s likely to be in his early-to-mid-thirties and knows how to dance fox trot (albeit not very well). He has shaggy black hair and works as a courier. He has also been terrified of caves since childhood.

Although I have some ideas, I don’t know why he has these attributes. They’re the interesting little character quirks that would make a real person interesting and also the kind of minutiae I’d never though of for Mona Kit (hero of Scavenger Hunt). Yes, I can tell you that Mona is a certain height with red hair, that her mother died in a fire and her father is an unknown, but I’d never thought that maybe she learned to toss knives to impress a wasteland guard who absolutely made her knees quiver or that she can’t stand the taste of  cranberries because a mean-spirited kid from the shelter fed her the fruit for kicks when she was very young.

In Smith’s writing into the dark, he mentions that plotting comes from the brain’s left hemisphere and in the land of order and logic, the tried and tested are true. I found this interesting because, when plotting, there’s invariably a scene or seventy that are almost carbon copies of previous work. The scenes frustrate the hell out of me and invariably lead me to reach for my Perl IDE and run the programme again. I repeat this process a lot.

The right hemisphere is where the goblins live, stirring their big cauldron of ideas and throwing them willy nilly (sorry, love that phrase) out into the brain. According to Smith, writing into the dark (as he calls it) harnesses the right hemisphere, leading to greater creativity. I’m no neuroscientist, and I only have personal experience to back up his claim, but I can see the next chapter of Working Title in my mind, where things are possibly going to head and how I can dig my protagonist even deeper into the brown and smelly.

Strangely, I can also see exactly where I’d take this had I reached this point on an outline. The story would go in the same tried-and-tested direction that much of my other (unfinished) work has gone and I’d become deflated by the sameness of it all. I’d reach for the IDE and start the process again.

Let me be clear; I’m not saying that writing into the dark is the ‘One True Way’. With everything in life, we’re all our own individual bags of meat. I’ve probably failed as often going organic as I have plotting, it’s just at this point in time going in blind is working for me.

Anyway, I have an empty mug and an unlikable cop to inflict bad things upon. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on the WordPress.

TL;DR?
If writing’s your thing and you enjoy doing it, sit down grab your tools of choice and just crack on and enjoy.

How much is too much coffee?

Chapter two took half as long as chapter one. I guess that’s creative flow kicking in. Apparently my protagonist is a delivery driver and he doesn’t get on with coppers. He’s also prone to headaches of various origins.

A while ago, I mentioned Writing into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith. I’ve tried using his method before, but not had a lot of luck (outside of short stories). Since I’m going in blind on this little project, I am going to take note of some of his advice.

Smith reckons you can write a novel straight off the bat, no outline, in one draft. To do this, all you need to do is crank out a chapter, edit typos, punctuation etc, then make notes of important doo dads (character description, potential Checkov’s guns etc) and bear all that in mind for following chapters. Although it flies in the face of modern writing advice, it (at least on the surface) seems plausible.

All that said, I’ve got my pen and notepad beside me as I write. I’ve just finishing chapter two and will crack on with chapter 3 (after I’ve walked the dogs and refilled my mega mug).

It being 13:00 and having some unavoidable commitments ahead of me, I don’t think I’ll be getting 20k words done today. For that, I’d definitely need an outline and a copy of Rachel Aaron’s 2-10k