Missed Four Stations

Questions I get on a few occasions lately.

“What’s the book about?”.

So I tell them. It’s usually followed by…

“What’s the ending?”.

To which I do not answer, instead suggesting they might be interested in buying the final thing if they want to know that badly.

This then leads to…

“So are you publishing this then?”.

The answer would obviously be ‘Yes’ but I’m not sure exactly how yet. I figured long ago that I’d be far better off with actually getting the book itself done before I started looking at avenues to bring it to an audience. I actually Googled ‘Self publishing a book’ tonight as I was making dinner and it’s been something of an eye opener.

The main thing I can gain from it is that every single result I seemed to clock on suggested that self publishing was the greatest thing ever, that traditional publishing as we know it is dead and that it’s the easiest thing in the world to do as long as you give them $60.

I don’t really think that any publishing house or agent will want to touch this book. It’s not because it’s bad but more because I don’t think many places deal with science fiction anymore. I don’t really want to spend years sending out manuscripts, then wait around more and then get rejected.

Self publishing seems the way to go but then a lot of that just seems to be throwing it into a huge pile over at Amazon and watching it sink in the quagmire at 99p a go.

It’s still early days and I’m really not in a position to make any concrete plans about it now but does anybody have any experience of going down the independent publishing route? Any words of advice out there?

Turning Wood Into Canoes.

‘Alien blabber’.

Those were pretty much the only words that I had at the start of chapter four. In the original first draft my alien wasn’t really revealed until about 60% of the way through the story. Whilst this did mean there was something of a strange mystery running through the first two thirds it did border on being slightly ridiculous.

It pretty much went ‘Missing child, missing child, MISSING CHILD…oh yeah, aliens’.

Which feels ‘off’.

This chapter is the one that supposed to introduce this whole idea much sooner so it doesn’t feel quite as jarring. This does mean that the last chapter is very much set in small town Scotland before this one goes off into other planets. This also means writing out some rather wonderful sci-fi babble which is something I was trying to avoid to begin with. Thankfully it’s not that much and it’s not something that has a huge bearing on the story. It did mean I had to sit there and make up names for different star systems though.

The Tanzar Gate has a nice ring to it.

Hello To Canada Too

At least my laptop didn’t decide to have a second night updating just about every aspect of software it possibly could. Tonight’s trouble was a far more glaring problem.

I’d reached the end of one chapter when I left it last, I had no idea how to proceed. Who would take over the story baton? What timescale was I going to (the entire story works on two threads, one in the present and one two years before)? How are these characters going to work towards the ending?

I reached for my notebook but then realised that I’ve been adding bits on and generally modifying as I go along for the vast majority of this so not a lot of the planning I was doing all that time ago makes sense now. I had to go back to the notes, work out where I was and join the dots to the ending.

This has resulted in five more chapters to go, a change to the ending and a twist which I’ll have to plant seeds for earlier on when I come back to do the rewrite.

So whilst nothing was done word count wise the way forward has now become significantly clearer.

The ending is right there within touching distance.

Keep moving.

What You Need Is Someone Strong To Guide You

Another 1000 words today in about a three hour stretch which takes the total overall up to 43,000. With that 3000 in the last few days making it the best run at this book since before Christmas last year. Most of what I’ve written seems like horrible garbage when read back but that’s for the edit later. The best thing at the moment is that I think there’s momentum back to it which I haven’t had for a long while.

I’m finding myself a little bit restricted as far as story goes by the fact this was originally intended to be a 90 minute movie. With that fact in mind I cut down on locations and characters and kept everything as small scale as I could. If this had any kind of a chance of getting made then I was very much writing on the cheap. I spend eighteen months of my life writing a historically accurate account of witch burnings that would be massively expensive for anybody to make to a presentable degree so I was trying to get this one a little bit more on a leash.

But then I had to go and change it to a book. It’s not something I regret mainly because when I do finish it it’ll be in the final form rather than needing to go off and film it. It has meant that I’m very much stuck with a certain reality though. When I’m writing about distant planets, spacecraft and crashed aliens under the waters on Scotland then it feels quite good. Then I spend the next chapter writing about a Mother’s loss as her only child goes missing and I find it really hard to convey that emotion without it sounding horribly twee. The two halves of this also sometimes don’t seem compatible with each other either which causes another problem.

Some moments though, only some, I can see it hanging together like the Twilight Zone episode I hope it’s going to be.