I Am Alive, Honest!

Well happy 2014 to you all!

I know, we’re in May but it has been too long and I never wished you all Happy New Year as I did in 2013 so I thought it would be the best place to start!

I won’t bore you with excuses of my absence but suffice to say life interrupted me somewhat, some good, mostly bad and most definitely Concordia Book Cover v0.1difficult but I’m here now and as you can probably deduce from last night’s post entitled ‘Tease’ I am almost ready to bring you the sequel to The Break and yes I stuck with the working title, Concordia, it just seemed right.

Just to reassure you when I say almost ready I do mean it, I am currently working on the formatting for the Kindle version and as soon as that is complete you will have the finished product. I am toying with the idea of a Beta reader though just to make sure it’s as good as it can be, any volunteers?

Through my previous and first experience of self publishing I did learn a considerable amount, the main thing being my decision making process. Now I won’t bore you with any personal details but just to give you a little context last year I got a new job, a job which I fell into by necessity and was incredibly happy to realise it was a perfect fit, very me shall we say but what it has taught me and made me confront in new ways is the art of my decision making process (my previous decision making process was NEVER an art!). Now, from my first outing as a self published, indie writer I learned many lessons the hard way, one being my consistently ranted about mistake about skimping in areas that need the most attention. So this time I have invested properly in an editor as I do not want to be equally as devastated by the comments regarding the appalling grammatical errors in the first for which I may never forgive myself.

DecisionsMy new found decision making process has also lead me to consider my creative process, a process which changed half way through this book and which I will continue to future projects (Possibly Screenwriting, as it’s something I am keen to get back to).

One of the things which I have discussed before and hope someday to compile all of this information as part of my idea for Books with special features, is the soundtrack, I realised I wasn’t just using certain songs to write certain scenes or whole chapters but I had practically constructed a whole sound track which told the story in the same way as if you were reading it.

I am a massive lover of music, my collection is as diverse as me, (I have deduced I have a distinctive 6 personalities all with varying degrees of geek, normal and weirdness: Me, friends, family, work, strangers and people I haven’t seen for years and bump into in the street) . Anyway, I digress, as music-head-convertedalways; my point is, music is a distinctive part of my creative process, it moulds my imagination as much as that initial first idea. People have asked me, if The Break was ever made into a movie who would play the parts? I have to say just for the record one of the important things to me is, if it was ever a movie it would have to have the same soundtrack as when I wrote it (Not that this will ever occur!!). So as a challenge to you, my readers, if I was to ever revisit Annabel’s adventures and the world of Concordia, something I haven’t quite figured out is what would be the main characters theme tune. I have songs for situations and atmosphere but not people. So tell me what song suits their character.

Moving on from this, another decision I have taken for the sequel is, I will only be releasing on the Kindle, I have no immediate plans to release a paperback at this stage, it doesn’t mean I won’t it just means not right now. I love reading an actual book we have a room in our house just full of them but I am becoming ever intrigued by new media and technology and want to explore the possibilities it can offer.

So on that note I will leave you to ponder and hopefully eager await the release of Concordia. As always if you have any questions or want to comment please do contact me.

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!!!

Doesn’t Time Fly

My new view from our bedroom window!

I’m back people and I must say it doesn’t feel like it’s been nearly a month since I warned you all I would need to go radio silent due to the big move, which did not go as planned but we’re in now that’s all that matters, so people keep saying, I say, how do you sue a solicitor but that story is for another day! On a more positive note I’m now surrounded by the most inspiring scenery, I’ve seen my first barn owl that wasn’t in a book or on TV, in fact it likes to land on our back fence now and again!!! and I’m loving the rural life, I can’t wait to own chickens once the jungle of the garden has been sorted!!!

It’s very strange in this day and age not having the internet around all of a sudden, I mean I’ve been able to check my e-mails on my smart phone (modern technology amazes me!) but it hasn’t been the same to just sit down at the computer and surf. I do however find it disturbing how much we rely upon it, it has quite obviously become part of everyday life. We ended up using a family members computer so we could set up all our utility bills online for the new house. This was because it was the fastest way to do it, when we phoned these places you had to go through a zillion automated messages, press 1 for this press 3 for that by the time you’d finished punching in numbers you were left on hold for half an hour before you could speak to a human being, yet on the internet we’d set up all our utility bills in 20 mins. It’s almost like the company’s don’t want to speak to you anymore and set up all these barriers to force you to do it online!!

It wasn’t like I didn’t have plenty of distractions to deal with in my absent weeks from the blogging world, there was Wimbledon, where I cried when Andy Murray made it to the final and cried some more when he lost to Federer in the final. Yep I admit I cried at sports, is there a group I can attend for this??? Well there’s still the Olympics and next year’s Wimbledon!!

However as I set up this blog to promote/discuss my writing projects I guess the biggest thing I should share with you all is I now have a completed first draft of my sequel, granted it’s a little all over the place as first drafts tend to be!! but now I’ll just do what I always do put it away for a few weeks and go back to it with a fresh head ready to rip it to shreds!! I think the most difficult stage of any writing project is to be able to go over that completed first draft and be objective, I mean you’ve spent weeks and months creating this baby you’ve poured your entire soul into it and then when you re-read it in full you realise, actually chapter 6 is crap, I don’t like how that character got from A to B in chapter 12, why did I write character X into the story she has to go she’s useless and also to think about the reader as opposed to how you read it. I find this the hardest because its hard to get the balance between being a little cryptic to keep your audience intrigued and making it way to over complicated that it confuses your audience, alternatively you’ve dumbed it down so much you realise you’ve written a book for primary school kids!!!!! I’ve also managed to gather some great material for the book with extras idea I had a while back, I have several alternative endings I would like to try out so naturally they’ve all gone in the folder for that project.

Anyway, naturally now I’m back and I’ve finished my first draft, you can expect to see more posts ranting about similar things from the beginning of the year, I need to start thinking about cover design and most importantly who I can go to for editing this time around so I don’t get conned again as I did with The Break!

To Kill Off Or Not To Kill Off????????

I know, I didn’t Blog at the weekend, I apologise but if it helps I had a really constructive weekend, personally and writing wise!!! We’ve now pretty much got everything we need for the house apart from a completion date, why do these things take forever when you’re desperate to move in WHY???

So I managed to get six chapters written of my current project which is pretty amazing for me in a short space of time clearly this time management malarkey is paying off! My issue now is, I know there’s always something!!! Anyway I’m toying with the idea of killing off a major character. In the “pro” corner I have Justified this by telling myself that it suits the narrative, it works well and seems to be a natural progression of the story, I mean really how many times can somebody survive these random near death experiences??? However in the “Con” corner I have, I would be heart broken to see this character leave (Completely selfish reasons!!!). Anyway it got me thinking about other books I’ve read where the author killed of a key character and although very sad it still worked out fine, let’s take The Harry Potter series JK Rowling killed off loads (Still think the most devastating was Dobby)and it worked well as part of the story, Suzanne Collins did it in the Hunger Games, actually I guess if you made it in too the Games you were always pretty much doomed but I’m talking about the significant one in book three (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it and are waiting for the movies!!), Tolkien killed off Boromir, I guess you’re getting the general picture now, my point was it works, when you kill off a significant person my question is, actually I have two, one is how can you justify it to yourself and two how can you justify it to your readers? I guess if I really wanted to I could find a way to save this character but what if that’s the wrong move?

Maybe I should do both and the reader can decide like a choose your own adventure book, do you remember those? Turn to page 156 if ?????? Dies to continue the story or turn  to page 256 if ????? lives to continue the story!!! Books should be like DVD’s we should figure our a way for them to come with special features. You could market it as a box set it could include a copy of the original story, a copy of the story with an alternative ending, extra pages that were cut, character bios, concept art, hey I’m really getting in to this idea, I’d buy something like that!!!

I don’t know, maybe the sun has gone to my head today, what do you guys think???

Book Trailers… Seriously?

So now the Car drama is over and Yes I did get the wing mirror fixed and no I didn’t do it myself my better half did!!! Anyway it’s now time to get back to business. The writing business!! Now, amongst all my research for a good marketing strategy and preparation for the release of The Break there is one thing that keeps flashing up everywhere and that I keep blatantly ignoring and trying to avoid and that would be the crazy notion of The Book Trailer. I remember seeing a book trailer on TV for the first time and my first thought was ‘You’ve got to be kidding me, why?’ But on further reflection my second thought was ‘What an interesting concept why isn’t everyone doing it’ and I kind of came to the conclusion that it’s a little odd to present imagery to the reader before they’ve read the book. I mean I enjoy reading because it’s my interpretation of the story and each reader takes out of a story what they will, what’s personal to them and their view of what’s significant and their own imagery, surely by presenting them with images of your own perception is manipulating your reader before they’ve even read your work. It’s different to movie trailers and obviously movies as a whole for that matter because we’re viewing that Directors interpretation of the script and there’s hardly ever any room for personal interpretation.

I have to admit though the concept of Book Trailers intrigues me still so I had a Google and found a few people who’d shared their experience of making such a trailer, now naturally my first reaction to the idea was Oh My God do I need to start casting actors and getting them to act out scenes from the book? I now chuckle at the idea! And the answer is certainly not, I typed Book Trailers in to You Tube’s search bar and trawled through the many listed from the amateur to the professional and found not one single actor in sight, which is probably good news as I doubt  Johnny Depp would’ve been available!!!  Now one of my many passions as a kid/teenager/young adult was film making, my first real shot at this was when I made a promotional video for a local education centre which they used to send to primary schools to promote what they did, I was seventeen at the time and I was all about the cinematography, I was always so excited about everything but unfortunately a passion which died once financial responsibility started and I needed to pay the bills!!! So now, I’m thinking why not relight that little film makers spark hidden away and experiment with a Book Trailer, I still think the idea is crazy but I’m all for crazy it’s all part of the adventure after all!!!!