First Draft Entertainment

Hello there, trust me when I mentioned in my previous blog that after completing my first draft of the sequel to The Break I was going to have a break from writing before going back to it, I didn’t actually mean I would also be having another long break from blogging also!! Seriously I don’t know how some of these guys who I follow do it. Some post everyday, some can post twice a day, I know I blogged about time management but considering the crazy distractions over the last couple of months I have to admit no amount of time management can help you plan for spanners in the works. So from illness & home improvements to a fourth birthday celebration and a new born niece things have been a little mental.

However, I won’t lie mental has been a wicked distraction as it has only been in the last few days I have managed to break out that first draft. I love reading my first drafts I find it incredibly entertaining, so far I’m only a third of the way through and I’ve already decided to ditch the entire first chapter and decide to not kill off the person I’d killed off and kill someone else instead!!!

One of my favorite things to do when I’m ripping apart a first draft is invent a sound track, certain songs just put me in a certain mood for writing specific scenes. In fact I thought it would be an awesome idea to add to the Book’s with extra’s plan, for those of you who haven’t been around, many moons ago I asked why don’t books have have extra’s like DVD’s & Blu Rays So why not a sound track aswell, it would be so cool to realese the sequal of The Break with a sound track of music which lent to the inspiration of certain scences…. How Cool???? Maybe it’s just me!! Besides that just opens up a whole load of copyright issues which I could tell you right now I couldn’t aford to licence!!!

So we have a few new characters floating around in the Sequel, six in total to be precise, obviously characters that play a key role in the narrative not your average coffee shop owner!!!!!! As you know I was rather concerned previously about enjoying writing the new characters too much that I would gradually focus more on them than the ones that the story is actually about. I no longer have this worry, after now completing the first draft I found that the balance just comes naturally. I think it comes from knowing your material, especially since the sequel visits a completely fictional environment, as the place is unfamiliar and the reader can’t relate to it you find yourself using your characters more effectively than just telling the story so the challenge was never introducing new characters the challenge became introducing the new environment but by using the charcaters I was able to interpret that world from my own head through them to you!! I’m sure when you read it you’ll no what I mean!!! But don’t get your hopes up we’re a long way away from publishing still.

I’ve been thinking about the cover and as you know I keep going on about wanting to learn to draw and keep saying I was going to post something to show you. This is so not going to happen people!!! My drawing skills are reminisent of something I did in Primary school age 6!!!! So naturally I will be hiring a professional!!!
So on that note I’m off to do some more re-writes providing the sun doesn’t come out and I get distracted by the garden again!!! Just wanted to let you guys know I’m still alive!! and the sequel is still in the works!!!

Jubilee Weekend!!!

Well I guess being English I should really blog about this Jubilee Malarkey!!!! But that’s what every Brit is probably doing today and while I appreciate that HRH Queen Elizabeth II has the second longest reign of any Monarch (the longest belonging to Queen Victoria) and she is the Queen of my home country, I am personally getting a little vexed by all the hype all the chatter and all the bloody random merchandise (NO doubt my mother has already purchased her tea towel!!!!) and then this got me thinking again about my little book merchandise query, which led me back to the idea I had about Books with special features. This concept has now piqued my interest so much so that I have become more consumed by implementing this idea than working on my current project. This, I may add is also a great distraction as this weekend seems to have sparked a lack of motivation to work, 4 day weekends make me lazier than normal!!

I forced myself to re-read The Break recently for the first time since I published and since I was informed the editor I’d hired had messed up but since my first review came back positive I though I’d brave it and as I was reading and highlighting all the fresh mistakes myself I kept thinking about this special features idea. How would it work? I mean what sort of format would it be in? would it simply be a case of re-publishing the story and adding notes about the chapter/characters or how certain scenes came about??? No that sounds pretty boring. I still have laying around whole chapters which weren’t just re-written but binned completely because I took the story in a different direction, I deleted paragraphs at a time of characters that never made the final cut, maybe I should put all that work together maybe I could release it as like a book of notes but then who wants to read someones notebook??!! Maybe I could combine the two ideas? Who knows but I do really like the idea of sharing things that never made it to the finished product with the readers because lets face it, if people like what you didn’t then that’s the start of a whole new project is it not??? Or is that a cheap get out of jail free card for a next book idea!!!!

Well I have to admit both this idea and my current project are currently on hold this weekend, we very rarely get to enjoy a relaxing four day weekend, so firstly thanks to The Queen for adding an extra bank holiday to the calendar this year!!! Thanks to ATP for putting Roland Garros on so it clashes with a four day weekend (will not be moving from in front of the TV!)!!! Thanks to the USA for exporting Budweiser to the UK however I will NOT be thanking the Great British weather!!!!!!!!! So although I will not be completely lazy with my projects this bank holiday I will be looking for other peoples opinion on how to pull off this new idea of a Book with DVDesq Special Features so if you you have any ideas of what you would like to see or you’ve always wondered how authors arrive at a certain point or how they get there character ideas let me know and I’ll see how I can work on presenting that info, the thought process is now in your hands!!!

The Block

So I’ve let my imagination run riot for the last two days and have come up with a few rather interesting narrative developments my problem is I’ve kind of written A and B but have no idea about the journey, that’s right I’ve been attacked by “The Block”. I’ve read a lot of writers think writer’s block is a myth, I myself have on occasion concluded that if you have writer’s block then your original idea was never that great in the first place and more often than not scrapped the idea in favor of a new direction. Which I’ve decided is the key, direction. Now I find myself stuck as I refuse to believe this time “The Block” is a result of a bad idea, I quite like this idea but the direction in which to take to get from A to B is what’s causing the block. I think the reason for my most recent conundrum is introducing new characters, in The Break there are six major characters who carry the story and obviously you have a few narrative devices thrown in to move things along and help you get from one place to another, yep that’s what we’re calling the irritating under age drinker at the bar in chapter 11 a “narrative device”!!!! But whilst working on my current project the narrative has been blown wide open and to get from A to B our main characters are going to need a little help, now the readers have had a whole book to get used to The Big 4 (this is what we’re calling them to avoid spoilers!!!) and I have to say I’ve personally become quite attached to them but I find myself writing new main characters for this particular part of the story and neglecting the others which I hate doing.

Basically it’s hard trying to find a balance between keeping my main characters interesting and feeling so inspired to write the new ones that I’m giving them all the action. I guess like I said though, the reader has had a whole book to get used to the others the trick is trying to give a handful of new people depth in half the number of pages but how do you do that? I don’t want my reader to get caught up in the same trap I have and start to forget about The Big 4 and draw the attention away from the main story line but I guess you always have favorites in a story, whether that be the main characters or not or maybe your favorite is the bad dude but hence “The Block” do I continue with my current newly inspired story line or do a attribute “The Block” to just another bad idea???? Oh Decisions, they’re so not a strong point of mine!!

Disaster Recovery, Furniture And Sequels

Well the weekend is finally here, time for a nice, calm reflective moment, a plan of action is needed. When I set out on this little adventure I didn’t think a disaster recovery plan would need to be implemented so naturally I don’t have one but after my little rant on Wednesday and the kind words of support from you guys (Thank you for that) I’m working on a back up plan, I too hate reading a book with typo’s, my problem is I’m not in a financial situation to re-edit and put out a new edition at this moment in time but rest assured I’m working on a plan as I type, don’t write me off just yet!!

Also this weekend the new house/moving saga continues, all official stuff has now been instructed so we should soon have a date!! Next on the agenda is furniture as we have none to move in with, it’s kind of nice it’s like starting over having a blank canvas so to speak but as a date draws closer the urgency to actually have things like a bed grows!

Frantic furniture shopping and a back up editing plan are also at the moment over shadowing my second project which for those of you who’ve already read The Break will obviously now know it is a sequel, now to me sequel’s are really hit or miss but for the story I had planned it would never have fit in to one book, despite the grammatical errors missed by the incompetent editor I spent a lot of time before I even started to write The Break, detailing worlds and characters that it became to extensive not to continue with it. At the same time I’m interested to know how the reader thinks it should progress, I’ve read books in the past where I already know there’s a sequel in place and tend to think Oh I hope they do this with this character or kill this person off etc etc so if you’ve read The Break feel free to post some ideas about what you think will occur!

The Secrets Out

Out Spring 2012

So my second proof arrived today and guess what, it’s perfect! So all that’s left to do is OK it then it’s back to waiting but this time waiting for it to come out for real!!

I guess at this point I should really start by confessing that it’s not really a big secret I need to reveal but as I draw closer to the launch of my book, The Break, I feel I must explain something to you guys. This book is being published by ME!! I have ventured in to the realm of self publishing, a realm I must admit I was very sceptical and apprehensive about especially considering the stereotype and reactions that go with self publishing.

I guess there’s two pinnacle moments that has lead me to this point in time, the first is way back in the day when my thirst for writing began and the moment when I was eighteen years old and had some success with a screenplay I had written, which piqued the interest of a casting director, a producer and a commissioning editor at Channel 4. I couldn’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster ride I continued on, which unfortunately lasted all of four months as the project fell through due to funding. What I can describe to you is the devastating effects something like that has on the soul of an eighteen year old, to have all your dreams handed to you in a stroke of fate only to experience a mere smell of them before they’re whisked away just as quickly as they arrived. With the exception of journalism pieces for the student magazine of which I was editor of whilst at college I didn’t write a single thing for four years. I think this is why I get so annoyed at reality shows like the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol etc because some of the contestants are too young, you can’t possibly comprehended the manipulative ways of the entertainments industry at the ages of fifteen to eighteen. Grown adults seem to find it amusing to play with kids hopes and fears. Anyway that’s a different rant for a different day! So once I started writing again I still couldn’t find my “Mojo” I was continuing to write screenplays still because that’s what I had had success with before but none of those projects felt right. Incidentally, I now have a huge pile of them I now use as a door stop!

Then the second pinnacle moment occurred just after I turned thirty, I started to lose my hearing. Now without meaning to sound incredibly clichéd but it is incredible what we take for granted. I never expected in a million years to hit thirty and start going deaf, over the course of a year I completely lost the ability to hear out of my right ear and now wear a hearing aid in my left, without out which I’m a little useless to you!! It was in this moment that I sat down and started writing, writing an actual story, a novel, not a screenplay. Why do people need life altering moments to motivate them to do something they would never have dared try? I’ve always loved crazy, wild, unbelievable stories based in imaginary worlds and fictional crazy characters ultimately the fantasy/Sci-fi genre so that’s where my crazy imagination took me, to a complete fantasy.

After finishing my first completed draft, I went back and started to focus on the first three chapters and formatted them in accordance with “industry standards”, I wrote a covering letter and started sending them to literary agents, I figured I didn’t need to know the ins and outs of the world of publishing I’d get an agent and they’ll do it all for me. I was so naive back then I look back and I’m convinced that attitude belonged to a different person. The thing is everyone said no but the annoying part was it wasn’t because they didn’t enjoy the work. I think it was because of the genre I was writing in. I think nowadays if you’re writing a fantasy novel and you’re not on Team Vampire you don’t stand a chance.

It seems in this current economic climate nobody wants to take a risk everybody wants a sure thing. I was on the verge of scrapping the idea completely to attempt perhaps something more main stream a romantic comedy maybe!! Or to conform and throw in a vampire or two but I’d grown a little attached to my characters and to not see it through to the end would’ve reminded me of how close I’d come before and writing and telling stories is the only thing that has stayed with me since I learnt to read, write and draw, it’s the only thing I’ve never kept changing my mind about, I’ve always wanted to be an author. Then somebody suggested self publishing and to be honest I turned my nose up. I spent about an hour Googling and realised it consisted of dodgy looking companies with dodgy looking websites asking you to give them about fifteen hundred quid and they’ll print your book and get it in the shops (yeah right), it just all looked like one big SCAM. Then my partner suggested I do some more research “Buy a book about it”. So I did I purchased a book called Self Printed: a sane person’s guide to self publishing by Catherine Ryan Howard. I think it was the “Sane” part that was the biggest selling point for me! Anyway as I read it, it just all made sense and there wasn’t a dodgy looking Scam company in sight, it’s become my bible and the biggest thing it opened my eyes to was, self publishing in this way is much like running a small business, basically you have a product you would like to sell and that was my problem before, how could I expect literary agents and publishers to take a chance on me financially if I wasn’t willing to do it myself. So I have taken a leap of faith, for the experience, for the understanding, for the business woman in me, for the creative woman in me, for the deflated eighteen year old still left in there somewhere. I will always continue to go down the traditional publishing route (this is the dream after all!)  but now, I’m better armed with better knowledge, I am my own boss and I’m not scared of the hard work, the hard work I’ve already put in and the hard work that’s still to come, I’ve got a strong stomach and thick skin and I can’t wait for the new challenges around the corner, I’m not delusional, I’m not going to suddenly quit my day job and expect to be in the top 20 of The Times best sellers list in The Saturday Review but I’m up for an adventure and I hope you guys will come along for the ride.