Friday, 26 October 2012

All change, all change

I've been thinking about it for a while and have now bitten the bullet ... I'm not going to be updating this blog from now on. But fear not!

I have a new blog @ and will be using that as my primary 'writing' blog. The Bearded Child has a nickname which has followed me for many years and I thought it was time I showed a more 'professional' public face in relation to my burgeoning writing career.

Many thanks to everyone who have followed me over the years but if you pop on over to the new address then you'll not miss any new revelations and opinions. And I'll be updating the progress of my NaNoWriMo on a daily basis.

See you on the other side ...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Promotion postcards

The promotional postcards for Tiberius Found that I ordered from Vistaprint (with an expected delivery date of the 25th) arrived two days ago, and they are brilliant. One hundred cards - with the full-colour book cover image one one side and blurb with two QR codes (one for the novel on Kindle and the other for Kobo) on the reverse - came to just over £30. Which included delivery that came a week earlier than expected.

The postcards are one of the aides I'm planning to help me promote the novel during my time at the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook organised Self-publishing in the Digital Age one day conference on the 3rd November.

There are many tools at a writer's disposal in the field of self-promotion and maybe the postcard is a bit clunky, the fact that it's tactile and has the QR codes on can make it a very useful asset. We'll see but so far it's looking good.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Tiberius Found latest on Wattpad

The latest chapter - 4 - of Tiberius Found has just gone up on Wattpad here.

Kindle freebie

For the next couple of days Joe Konrath (writing as Jack Kilborn) is giving away his horror novel Afraid, for the Kindle.

Joe's recently re-gained the electronic rights to this novel so to celebrate he's offering it free for a short period, so get it while it's hot.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

NaNoWriMo update

For those taking part in the NaNoWriMo competition we have to include a blurb detail of what the soon-to-be written novel will be. This is mine for Tiberius Bound ...

"Daniel Henstock dares to think that his life will return to 'normal' - his enemy (as far as he knows) is dead, the shadowy government organisation are no longer looking for him and his relationship with Eleanor is blossoming. But on the evening of the High School Ball Daniel discovers that the peace and quiet he wanted has been shattered. Gregory Dryden is killing off his enemies and Daniel is next on the list.

However Daniel realises - too late - that danger lies much closer to home.

Once again Daniel must fight to not only save himself but also protect those he cares for, and he has to make some difficult decisions along the way."

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Self-publishing in the Digital Age

Writers' and Artists' Yearbook are holding a one-day conference on Saturday 3rd November titled Self-publishing in the Digital Age, being held at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road.

It's going to be a packed day with various speakers taking attendees through from 9.30am-5.30pm, and for a short time is still available at a discounted rate of £65.

My ticket's already bought.

And I generated my first self-marketing tool last night - a Vistaprint postcard with the Tiberius Found cover image on one side with blurb and two QR codes (one directing to the Kindle page and the other to the Kobo one) on the reverse. I was surprised at how easy it was to generate a QR code - and it was free, too. Hopefully it'll help me promote the book on the event.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Writing roundup

OK - so it's been a while since I last made a serious post here. And again that's not because I've been idle. I've been busy doing the continual promotion of Tiberius Found and have decided to upload a chapter a week on Wattpad - my page can be found here. Feel free to go there, read the chapters and spread the word.

I've also made a couple of decisions in the last week -
  • the Tiberius stories will become a trilogy under The Emperor Initiative banner
  • that I'm going to take part in this year's NaNoWriMo - the 30-day 'competition' to write 50,000 words in November
I've not attempted the NaNoWriMo before but feel that it'll be just the kick up the backside I need to get the sequel up-and-running. I've had numerous 'demands' to know what happens next to Daniel and who are good guys and who are bad. OK, some of the bad guys are pretty clear-cut but there is grey area over one or two.

But most people seem to want to know more about Dryden's maroon suit. And I'm sure it'll get some more 'page' time.

I've decided that I want to continue the title format and alliteration of the sequel to Tiberius Found and the next story will be titled Tiberius Bound. It'll continue Daniel's story almost immediately after the end of Tiberius Found where he'll face some new (and unexpected) enemies, new challenges and raw emotions. He'll find allegiances tested and loyalties tempted, and once again finding that he's asking himself "who can I trust?"

Oh, and he'll get up-close-and-personal with an old enemy as well. But you knew that was going to happen, didn't you?

I've blocked out the main frame for Tiberius Bound and pretty much know where it's going and what I need to do. And I know how it's going to end. At least the the 'mood' of the end, anyway.

And I know the main crux of the third story. All I'll say is that, for Daniel, it doesn't get any easier.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway

Want to win a free copy of Tiberius Found for the Kindle? I've written a guest post and offered a giveaway on the Little Library Muse blog.

Go here and have a go.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Tiberius Found review on Goodreads

There's been a great review of Tiberius Found on Goodreads, by Rebecca McKinnon, and can be seen here (just scroll down the page a little to read it).

Monday, 20 August 2012

Will there be any good news?

Very, very sad news about Tony Scott. I'm sure that the truth about reasons for his death/suicide will come out in due course but it's still a terrible loss to the film industry.

My thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Meridian Writing summer winners

The three winning stories for the recent Meridian Writing short story summer competition are:
  • 1st Place - Walter by Joan Sonnenburg
  • 2nd Place - Space Dust by Andrew Hanson, and
  • 3rd Place - Laughing Llamas and a Saxophone by Jo Derrick
All three of the winning stories, along with author bios, can be viewed here.

Our autumn competition runs until 30th September.

Monday, 23 July 2012

And Tiberius is now live

For all of you non-Kindle people out there, Tiberius Found is now live on Kobo, via their Kobo Writing Life system, priced £1.54 and may be found here.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Coming soon to Kobo ...

Tiberius Found.

It's been a long time coming but Kobo Writing Life, Kobo's self-publishing imprint, is now live. It's designed as a rival to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform and is reasonably user-friendly. It will allow a file to be uploaded in multiple formats - .epub, .doc, .mobi etc - and will convert them to an .epub format (if not one already).

And as with all self-pubbing imprints it allows a price-setting capability based on a primary territory selling price, or individual prices.

I have to say that it has a nice look to it and so far seems easy to use. Tiberius Found has just been submitted to publishing and will go 'live' on the Kobo system within the next day or so.

Monday, 16 July 2012

YA book review site

Camila Chediak's Nap. Snack. Read. Three Essentials for Life YA book review blog is one worth taking a look at. And it's based in the UK.

Give it a go.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Meridian Writing spring short-list

The twenty stories for the Meridian Writing spring short story competition have been announced and can be viewed here.

The three winning stories will (hopefully) be chosen by next weekend and posted on the website asap after that.

The summer competition runs until 30th September.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

More sad news

R.I.P Eric Sykes 1923 - 2012.

A comic genius that will be sadly missed.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Meridian Writing madness

As usual the last minute flurry of late entries are flooding in for Meridian Writing's summer competition, ending at midnight tonight (UK time). At the time of writing this, you have about five hours to email your entry over so there's no need to hit the panic button just yet.

There's nothing unusual with this - it's been this way since I started Meridian Writing in 2009 - but what is unusual is the amount of late entries requesting a critique.

At the moment it's running at just over twenty percent. Guess what I'm going to be doing for the next week or so?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Sad news

From America about the death of Nora Ephron.

Writing progress

Despite Meridian Writing's summer competition drawing to an end - and dealing with all the last minute entries and critique requests - I'm making good progress with the re-write of Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen.

The few 'simple' changes from the Agent's notes that I got a while back have pretty large effects almost from the start and, as such, means a lot of work. I'm also focussing more on Oliver being the central character - this is his story and he needs to be more the centre of attention. But, so far, so good.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Tiberius Found ...

... is now on Goodreads.

Rate and review to your heart's content.

"What killed them made them stronger"

That's the tagline for Marko Makilaasko's zombie-flick War of the Dead, and I now hold in my hand a copy of the DVD. About time too.

It's been described as "like an episode of Band of Brothers with zombies", and stars Andrew Tiernan as Capt. Martin Stone. WW2: 1941, Stone heads up an American/Finnish unit with the mission of destroying a Nazi bunker which goes horribly wrong.

A long time in the waiting, War of the Dead (previously Stone's War) is now available on DVD from Amazon here with a ridiculous current price of £7.80

So what are you waiting for? The zombie apocalypse has started ...

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Adieu, BSSC - it's been fun

Kaos Films has confirmed that the rumour about BSSC 2012 being the last competition, is true.

After eleven years the short screenplay competition is coming to an end. In their newsletter sent out yesterday they don't really say why they're stopping, but thank all the entrants, judges, sponsors etc over the years for helping it become one of the major annual competitions.

It's a shame. I last entered in 2009 with The Hitman (which later became Coffee, Biscuits and Bullets) and made it through to the semi-finals. The competition was a great concept and allowed anyone the chance to have a short professionally produced. Rival entries were consistently at a high standard but that only made people try harder.

Maybe Phil Gladwin's Writing Goldmine competition will take the BSSC's place in the competition calendar?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Tiberius Found reviews on

The first two reviews for Tiberius Found are on  and can be viewed here - and they're both 5 star!

Also, I'm trying hard to convince other online reviewers to read/post a review for the book but it's tough going. It stands to reason that the popular bloggers/reviewers are inundated with review requests and I'm trying my best to make Tiberius Found as attrractive as possible.

Might have a few nibbles, so far. Finger's crossed.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Bank Holiday? What Bank Holiday?

OK, I might have have a couple of days of food and alcohol, but the last two days have been pretty busy with a) continuing the re-write of Oliver Drummond and The Four Horsemen, and b) emailing sooo many book review sites, requesting a review for Tiberius Found.

One major issue with these requests is that, although I'm following each site's guidelines, they're still very much unsolicited. The good sites with lots of followers are inundated with requests and take on a very low number of reviews, and the opposite ... well, it's all good but a lot of effort for a few followers to read (assuming that they actually like the book).

To be honest I'm not sure if going back to work will be a rest or if I'd rather just have the extra time "off" and carry on doing what I have been for the last two days.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Oliver Drummond, revisited

Now that the post-publication promotion of Tiberius Found slips into gear, I've time to revisit Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen - my 1926-set Young Adult supernatural adventure.

The story was initially written a couple of years ago with an adult as the central character, but was re-written with the protagonist being a fourteen year old boy. This made more sense as the original version didn't really have a sense of focus, as to who the reader would be.

I sent (what I thought was) a finished version to agents a while back and I received notes back with suggestions on how to improve the narrative and story, so I'd be a fool to ignore them. The main change means that a fair chunk needs re-working and impacts throughout the story. I agree with the agent - the changes will make for a stronger novel.

I'm finding that, with the Bank Holidays of late, that I'm able to crack on with it and am pretty happy with how it's going so far.

Tiberius Found on

Tiberius Found has its own page now on

Please feel free to review my book "Tiberius Found" on

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Tiberius Found has jumped from being #53,000+ on the Amazon Bestsellers Rank list to being currently #17,371.

But it could be better.

It's still currently only available via Kindle - there's been some logistical issue with Smashwords ... It's still priced £1.54 and you can find it here

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

It's alive, it's alive!

Tiberius Found lives!

This is how Victor Frankenstein must have felt.

After a slight delay (whilst I wrote the screenplay for Salesmen Abroad) Tiberius Found has finally gone on Kindle.

"On his sixteenth birthday Daniel Henstock's parents are murdered and he discovers that his life, so far, has been a lie. He's been genetically engineered and those responsible want him back. To survive Daniel has to run. And run hard.

But it was never going to be easy or simple. When his liberator is captured Daniel returns and puts his life on the line to re-pay the debt."

Tiberius Found is a YA action/adventure novel written in a similar vein as Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider stories ... Alex Rider crossed with Jason Bourne, that is.

It cost an extremely resonable £1.54 and can be found here 

The great cover art is by Julie Cuthberts

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Bullet has been bitten

After staying up to past 4:30 the other morning and just after midnight last night - I will catch up on sleep, I will - the first draft of Salesmen Abroad has been just been emailed over to Scott Barber and Paul Wallis. Well, I say first draft - it's gone through about five or six mini-edits already.

I don't think I'll ever get used to that moment when I send work out to be seen by 'normal people', especially when those 'normal people' have effectively commissioned me to do said writing. If you've never been there, it's scary stuff. Even when you send a story or screenplay into a competition you're natural concern is that it's you who's going to be judged, not the writing. This is personal stuff, after all. What if they hate it? What if I've got the brief horribly wrong? What if I get run over by an eighteen wheeler as I step out of the door?

If there's one thing I've learned from reading blogs by the likes of Dominic Carver and Jason Arnopp then it's to have a little confidence in your own skill. There has to come a time when a script or story has to be released into the world, otherwise what's the point in writing it? (OK, apart from some sort of self-therapy, but you know what I mean)

No doubt that Scott, Paul and whoever else will be involved at a high level will have thoughts / opinions / recommendations for changes - that's a given - and any writer who is precious about their work and refuses to change a single word, is either a) a colossal giant in the writing world and at the top of their game, or b) the opposite.

I'm not a) so I hope I fall somewhere between the two.

Monday, 7 May 2012

First Draft polish

It was almost light by the time I went to bed last night - by which I mean this morning - by the time I'd gone through the PDF formatted script of Salesmen Abroad. The last time I looked at the clock before bed it showed 4:37.

And here's a lesson for not editing in normal screen format - no matter how many times you read a piece you've written you can always miss some typos. I made myself go through it line by line and actually read it, not read what I knew I was expecting. What I found was a number of type errors - notably where I'd amended some text and either included a repeated word, or where a word was missing in order for the sentence to make sense. I think I've got them all.

But I'm not going to rely on that. I want to send Scott and Paul the script in a couple of days time, so I'll go through it (probably) another two times before the 'Send' button is hit, just to make sure I don't look silly.

There's good news from Paul about a potential director - Sergiu Prodan, a Moldavian director - and he's almost pre-cast an Czech actress for the love-interest role. From her picture she looks perfect, she just has to be able to kick a football.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Screenplay finished

... Well, the first draft anyway.

Just one month and three days from starting, the finished 90-page first draft of Salesmen Abroad is complete. When I say it like that it sounds as if I've just knocked it out as fast as I could, but the truth is far from that. I've probably spent in the region of 100-120 hours writing those 90 pages - that's roughly an-hour-and-a-half per page.

Most work day lunches I've been scribbling in my A4 notebook (to the semi-interested questions of my work-mates) and then spent anything up to eight or nine hours after work transferring those scribbles in the Celtx file. And then there's been the weekends ...

Now my one complaint with Celtx is that when you 'format' it into a screenplay, it doesn't follow the formatting as displayed when it's originally written. Or maybe that should be the other way around.

Basically what happens is that what might be a line and a half of dialogue in the original page on Celtx may only be one line once formatted. What this means is that I spend a lot of time going back and forth between original and 'formatted' in order to trim dialogue and action description, to kill the widows. For anyone who's not familiar with that term - a widow is a new line which only has one word. It's a waste of space and takes up as much room as a full line of text, so if they can be trimmed then all the better.

If only the formatted text looked exactly like the text when I write it originally, or as I say, the original text format is how it will be displayed in PDF mode. It would save a huge amount of time. Not an end of the world problem, but there you go.

Anyway, I'm going to sit on the script for a week or so before revisiting it and seeing what - and there's bound to be a what - stands out as needing reworking.

Might have a beer now.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Salesmen Abroad screenplay, update

One month into writing the screenplay for Salesmen Abroad and I'm 70 pages in - leaving 20 pages to wrap up Act III. At the moment I'm pretty happy with how it's going - the Act I break, the mid-point turn and the Act III break all come in pretty much spot on.

The characterisations are reasonably good - particularly the obnoxious and weak/boring co-workers. I'm happy that the set-up and pay-offs work, and that the through-story is strong enough to carry the film.

Let's see how the next 20 pages go.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The glass is now 2/3 full

The screenplay for Salesmen Abroad has now reached 60 pages - two-thirds complete.

The mid-point turn came pretty much spot-on at 45 pages and the Act 2 end is on course to hit its mark at 68 or 69 pages.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Glass Half Full

The script for Salesmen Abroad has now reached half way - 45 pages.

This is the first time I've written a script based on a beat-sheet format and although there are the occasional sticking points over precise dialogue and description I've found this process reasonably easy. In a similar way that I block out a novel I've found that writing the screenplay in small chunks - almost scene by scene - a much easier procedure.

And that's not the only thing that's looking good for Salesmen Abroad actually getting the green light. Paul Wallis has emailed to say that he's got definite elements in place for filming; production and post-production. He's also let me know that the potential investors he and Scott Barber have got lined up are really happy with the treatment, as is.

So, back to the Celtx for more pages ...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Beat-sheet Frenzy

In the wake of producing a 40-card beat-sheet for Salesmen Abroad, I've now completed another one for a 60-minute drama which centres on the corruption and manipulation of a new female prison worker: inspired, in a small way, by BBC's successful Prisoner's Wives, which recently aired here in the UK.

Maybe it was because I had the practise fresh in my mind from Salesmen Abroad, I don't know, but I found the process this time around much easier. It may also have been easier because I've been mulling over the storyline for a while now. Whatever the reason I found that I banged out the 40 beats pretty quickly and where there were any gaps they were rapidly filled in. I don't have a working title for it yet and plan to leave it alone for a while (a few weeks, maybe) then start scripting it out.

As it stands right now, I'm in a happy writing place: my Tiberius Found novel is waiting to be given a quick once over and then posted to the Kindle book site, the treatment for Salesmen Abroad seems to have been well received and other ideas are swilling around in the maelstrom which is my imagination.

If only there were more hours in the day or that I only needed three hours sleep.

Salesmen Abroad, treatment feedback

Both Scott Barber and Paul Wallis have given initial feedback on my treatment for Salesmen Abroad. And on the whole it's very positive - Paul suggest a slight tweak to the foreign location, and Scott has an issue with one of the character's sexuality.

Naturally, I think that how I've written the character's 'trait' works well and adds a level of depth to him which, in turn, gives him a sadness that - should it ever come to being filmed - viewers would sympathise/empathise with. The potential director, Steve Hughes, has apparently just finished filming in South Africa and has told Scott that he'll get around to reading the treatment later this week.

Now I'm certainly not precious about what I've written so far, and would be willing to make the suggested changes should I be 'asked' to but I hope that Steve can see what I've tried to create.

Of course, he might like that and hate the rest of it ...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Salesmen Abroad, Script Day #3

Initial feedback from the Salesmen Abroad treatment is quite positive. Obviously there'll be amendments and such but I've taken the decision to start working on the script.

So far, three days in to the first draft and I'm already fifteen pages down. And I think this speed is the result of spending time working on the 40-card beat-sheet process. I'm finding it really quite easy in just focusing beat-by-beat or scene-by-scene.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Salesmen Abroad, treatment sent

Well, that's it. The treatment's been sent. Not bad, I think, for two weeks' work.

Now comes the limbo of waiting to hear what the producers think about it.

Salesmen Abroad, Treatment Day #14

I finished the first-draft of the Salesmen Abroad treatment late yesterday. This is the first time that I've tried using the 'correct' process of creating a 40-card beat-sheet and then write a synopsis/treatment based on that. And what do I think? I found it surprisingly easy.

A few years ago - when I first started writing seriously - I read as many 'how to' books and articles as I could, as well as following numerous writers' blogs detailing the screenwriting process. I read Blake Synder's Save the Cat and Syd Fields' The Definitive Guide to Screenwriting. But this is the first time I've actually sat down and followed the beat-sheet process that these two heavyweights advocate. Why? I think it's because I'm writing the treatment for someone else, and not just for me. By being invited to write the treatment by professionals it gives the project more of an importance, somehow. There's more at stake than just getting something down.

I've blocked-out the format for stories before, sure. And when I came across that concept (about five or six years ago) it came as a revelation. "What? I can actually work out what's going to happen in the story before I start writing? Wow" It made the whole process much easier. I could see where plot gaps were, where there were pauses in the action or where avenues for character development could be slotted in.

The projected running-time for Salesmen Abroad is ninety minutes, so with 40 beats it means that when I come to actually write the thing each beat only need an average max of two-and-a-half pages each. Sure some of those beats will only be a short visual but others - the 'talking' scenes etc - will help smooth out the average. The same as a page of script evens out to a page a minute, I guess.

Anyway, before I get into horse-and-cart territory, the treatment needs to be approved by Scott Barber and Paul Wallis, before it'll be passed onto Steve Hughes. With only a few amendments and tweaks (I hope) it'll be time to sit down and write the screenplay proper. I'm goign to review the treatment later today then take the plunge and mail it ove to Scott and Paul.

If I thought that the beat-sheet / treatment process was scary then I'm sure to have a few sleepless nights in the weeks to come ...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Salesmen Abroad, Treatment Day #12

The last piece of the 40-card beat-sheet fell into place earlier this week and the actual writing of the Treatment for Salesmen Abroad started yesterday; story overview, descriptions of the main characters and finally a scene-by-scene breakdown. This'll be the first serious Treatment I've written and I'm trying to stay within the guidelines I've read about how they should look.

The trouble is: there doesn't seem to be a definitive format for how a Treatment should look. Kind of like a piece of string and its determined length.

Still, what's taking shape at least looks sensible to me, so I'm hoping it'll be OK.

What's making me a little anxious though is that Scott Barber (one of the producers) has emailed me to say that a director friend of his - Steve Hughes - is willing to have a look the Treatment with the possibility of being attached to it should the script ever make it through to production status. Steve's directed Dr. Who, Land Girls, Doctors, Holby City, to name but a few. Did I say anxious? No, that doesn't even cut it.

No guts, no glory though. Hold tight ... I'm going in.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Salesmen Abroad, Treatment Day #8

I'm further along with 'beat-sheet' process, for Salesmen Abroad. I've been adopting the 40-card beat sheet system championed by Blake Snyder/Syd Field (amongst others), using ten cards for Act 1, twenty for Act 2 and ten more for Act 3. So far I've got twelve cards yet to fill, but I'm pretty happy with the ones I've already got.

The flow's working well at the moment and all I think I'm missing are a few linking scenarios.

So far, so good.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Salesmen Abroad, Treatment Day #2

Ok - so I've not been working on this for too long but I'm already beginning to see where the characters are starting to go. I've created another secondary character (which may turn into the antagonist) and think I've worked out what the Act 1 and Act 2 plot-point transitions will be.

Some of the interpersonal relationships between the central characters are beginning to gel. Scott Barber and Paul Wallis are continuing to feed me with anecdotes of their own experiences in the 'world' in which the story is set - so I've plenty of ammo to call upon.

So far, so good.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

It's nice to be schmoozed

I had a very interesting meeting this afternoon with Scott Barber of SeaView Pictures (and the driving force behind the FilmNav website) and Paul Wallis. I've written a couple of short pieces for Scott in the past - Selling Sweeney, and Novocaine WIll Numb the Pain - and he got in touch with me to see if I was interested in working with him and Paul in developing a feature.

The film - with the working title of Salesmen Abroad - will be loosely based on their experiences of working in the broadcast arena in Eastern Europe around the turn of the new millenium. At the moment it's intended to have an Auf Wiedersehen, Pet tone but with a more white-collar feel. We've indentified the central character, the three other 'salesmen' and the 'love interest/dilemma', and I've got three or four weeks in which to develop the initial treatment/synopsis.

Scott and Paul have some very good connections in the film and broadcast medium, so (in theory) the production and post-production element of the process should be much easier than novices working from scratch. All I need to do (all!) is to produce a strong template which we're all happy with, respond to feedback and then produce a first-draft script. We're looking at a run-time of 90 minutes with a 15 certificate.

I may be quiet here for a while, or I might use this area as a means of letting of steam.

We'll see how it goes.

Monday, 5 March 2012

If I'm not writing here ...

It's because I'm writing elsewhere.

I've been re-working the Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen story - including new elements which come pretty much right in at the beginning: more suspicion and (hopefully) more tension. They're going well and I'm liking the new inclusions. I think it'll make the story stronger and let the reader ask more questions about some of the character's motives.

I've also (in the last couple of days) starting fleshing out the plot for the (as yet unnamed) Tiberius Found sequel - oooh, there's some stuff going on: revenge, betrayal, intrigue, power-gaming, double-crossing. I'm thinking it'll be a touch darker and harder than Tiberius Found - the Daniel Henstock at the end of the story isn't the same person from when it started, and those events have changed him. His world's different and he comes to realise that the stakes are now much higher.

At least, that's how the Beat Sheet is shaping up. Right, back to it ...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Quiet, not idle

That's me, by the way. I may have been quiet on here of late (I've even been berated for it from some quarters!) but that doesn't mean I've been idle. As of a few minutes ago I've finished the most recent edit of Tiberius Found. Unlike a lot of other writers who find their word count drop significantly during the edit/re-write stage, I find that my word count goes up. The total count went from 75,000 to 77,000 - quite reasonable for the YA market, I think.

When I write the first draft I generally under-write and as I go through the iterations I tidy up the structure, remove redundant words/sections, correct any typos (and they always have a way of sneaking through) and expand any areas which need clarification. The up-shot of this process is a gain of 2,000 words from an original manuscript of 75,000. From what I understand, a lot of writers just get as much down during their first draft and then find themselves hacking and cutting the dross away to tighter up their story, but there are a few of us out there who seem to work the other way around.

I'm going to leave it for a while then do one more iteration - pretty much just as a read-through - to see what I think about it as a whole piece. Then it'll be put up on Amazon for Kindle.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tiberius cover art?

Artist Julie Cuthbert has supplied a provisional end product for the cover art of Tiberius Found, following our initial meeting last week. It still needs a little polishing and tidying up but I think this is the one we're going to go for.

It has the feel of sci-fi and enforces the gentic, DNA theme which is at the heart of the story.

This version differs wildly from the original artwork as we decided that the image as was didn't really convey what the story was about.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

War of the Dead UK Premiere

At last! War of the Dead, Marko Makilaakso's long awaited WWII Zombie feature, starring Andrew Tiernan, will finally have its UK premiere during Glasgow's Film Festival horror film fest on Friday 24th February.

For anyone that's not aware about this film, it's been years in post-production following disagreements between the producers and for a time was thought that it might not even see the light of day. Ironic really, considering it has zombie-based theme. However, after a titanic effort on the part of its lead actor Andrew Tiernan and a handful of others it has crawled its way onto the film festival scene and the news of a UK premiere is fantastic news.

Ten of the eleven films in the festival are getting their UK premieres and you can get more deatils / buy tickets here. If horror flicks are your bag then these films are those which need your support; you can get a festival ticket for all 11 films for £55, or pay £8 per film.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tiberius editing

I've been editing and tweaking Tiberius Found for about ten days now, and the process is actually quite interesting. Sentences that I thought perfectly good a few months ago now seem terribly structured. And what's with all those redundant words? Where did they come from?

I'm a few chapters in now - fitting the editing in during the early evenings after work, and at weekends - and I'm happy with the tightening up that's going on. But let's see how I feel once the whole process has been done and I look back at it in a month or two's time.

Artist Julie Cuthbert has provided a provisional cover art sheet which I'm going to have a look at in a couple of days. The busy life of a wannanbe author, huh?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Danes are coming, the Danes are coming!

Actually, they're already here. It's been a long time since Viking raids played short-season appearances along the British coast but this small island is being invaided once again. Only this time we like it.

After the super impressive The Killing and its nearly as good follow-up The Killing II, BBC4 have brought us another series from the Danish broadcaster DR in the shape of Borgen. It's a 10-part series which centres on Copenhagen politics, and has already had double-dealing, blackmail and death. Episodes 1 and 2 were shown on Saturday 7th.

Sidse Babett Knudsen plays Birgitte Nyborg Christensen - the leader of the Moderates Party - who (by the end of episode 2) eventually assumes the Prime Minister role. British viewers of previous DR series will be happy to see both of Sarah Lund's previous side-kicks - Soren Malling and Mikael Birkkjaer, Jan Meyer and Ulrik Strange respectively - in the roles of TV news director Torben Friis, and Birgitte's husband Philip.

It's great to see Soren back on our screens as he made such an impact as Meyer, and refreshing to see Birkkjaer in a good-guy role. 

Borgen is being shown, as two back-to-back episodes, for the next four weeks on BBC4 each Saturday.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

On Your Marks, Get Set ... now what?

So here we are at the start of 2012 ... with about ten days short of a year to live - if you believe the Mayan prophecy of world destruction, that is. It'll all be over on 21st December, apparently. Still, that'll save on deciding where to spend Christmas, I suppose.

The trouble with world-ending prophecies is that they haven't - so far - been particularly accurate. But then only one has to be, I guess. I'm not sure if the end will come in quite such a 'Newton's Cradle' kind of way, but I like the picture. Maybe the apocalypse will come in an Armageddon fashion with a huge meteor strike, or perhaps an attack of giant, mutated Guinea Pigs.

We've also got the London summer Olympics to look forward to, so it'll certainly be a year to remember.

The question is: with all this ahead of us is it worth doing any actually writing? Is it worth doing anything at all? Will the millions of well-intended resolutions be redundant? Of course they won't.

Keep calm and carry on. What's the worst that can happen? I plan to finish the re-writes on Tiberius Found (my second test reader has finished now and given notes) and get it published using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, as I intend to do with Oliver Drummond and the Four Horsemen. Oh dear, I seem to have come back around to the apocalypse. Never mind.