More Progress YAY

For the first time in weeks I’ve actually hit a thousand words in a day, and I’m not done yet. That might not sound like much but given the problems I’ve had over the last few months getting back into writing, that’s a big thing for me. I got started, and it was slow, then something just kind of broke – the dam burst and suddenly everything just started to flow.

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I need to take a break for food, then it’s back to work. If I can make this a 2,000 word day, I’ll be really happy.

UPDATE: it’s about 8pm and I’m stopping. This has been the BEST writing day for a long, long while – 2,500 words, no less. One more scene and Chapter 4 is done. Man, does that make me feel good. Time for something to eat and a Dos Equis, and some Father Brown on Netflix.

Progress

It’s slow, but it’s some progress: work on Britannia One (sequel to Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia) is grinding along slowly. I set a personal deadline of the end of August to complete the first draft, but at the moment I don’t think I’m going to hit that mark; I’m averaging only couple of hundred words a day, and I need to be doing much better than that. It’ll be done when it’s done, I guess…

Gunn & Bohemia: The Sequel

If all goes to plan I’ll have three – count’em, three – books coming out in 2018. Exciting times!

The Artemis Device* is under contract and currently undergoing copy editing. That’s been slow going, but I’m hoping that the pace will pick up now that the holidays are behind us.

Phantasms & Magicks* has been submitted to my publisher and I’m waiting to hear if they want to take it on. Fingers crossed, but if they decide they’re not interested I’ll almost certainly self-pub. Either way there’s no reason it can’t be out there this year.

Last but far from least, Britannia One* – the sequel to Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia – is at the writing phase; I expect to have a first draft completed around the end of April, which could put publication somewhere around October**.

There’s a little bit of a story behind Britannia One. I actually started work on a sequel in 2014, not long after G&B was published. Then, life happened. We moved house, which threw writing work into a tailspin for a while. On top of that, while I thought the story I’d developed was pretty good, I wasn’t happy with the timeline. So for various reasons I put it to one side.

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was ready to pick up from where I’d left off. For some reason I was under the impression that I’d stopped somewhere in the middle of developing the timeline.

So I was pretty surprised when, just the other day, I went back and reviewed what I had. The timeline was done; not quite correct – it needs a couple of changes – but complete. I had a line drawing of a map showing the area where most of the story takes place. Not only that, but there were two first-draft chapters already written. What was most surprising was that, until I looked at it, I’d completely forgotten that I’d got that far.

That’s why work on it is already at the writing phase, when I hadn’t mentioned anything about the prep work here; all the groundwork is already done. I just need to tweak the timeline a little bit, and I want to make a couple of changes to the supporting characters. That’ll take a day or so, then I can start pounding keys.

I’m planning to post regular updates here as the work goes along. Watch this space.

* working titles

** total guesswork

How To Change Direction By Slamming Your Head Into A Wall

IT’S official: the sequel to Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia is on hold for a while. I’ve been having a lot of trouble writing it and I’ve been putting the blame for that on the disruptions generated by our recent house move, but after sitting back and doing some soul-searching I finally realised the truth: I wasn’t happy with the story I’d developed. Let me qualify that a little bit. I was, and still am, enthusiastic about the story’s Big Picture. The problem is in the details—the subplots and the “flow” of the story as a whole. I can’t explain how it went wrong—possibly that house move thing was part of it, possibly not—but the upshot is that the timeline needs some serious rethinking before I write another word. Seriously, I don’t even want to look at the current timeline in case it pollutes my thinking. So I’m going to start over from clean. But that’s not going to happen right away. I need time away from the project so I can order my thoughts. In the meantime I’m working on something else.

A couple of years ago I wrote a full-length story with a working title of The Artemisia Chronicle. It got put to one side when I started focussing on editing Gunn & Bohemia, and then after G&B was published I got pretty much straight into thinking about the sequel, so my other projects stayed on the shelf. Now that I’ve decided to mothball Gunn & Bohemia II for a bit, this story has been dusted off and is back in play. Today I finished reconstructing its timeline by skimming every scene and summarising it in a spreadsheet. The next step will be to review that timeline and fix a handful of problems (for example, there are a couple of early scenes that happen impossibly close together in time). Once that’s straightened out I have some work to do to fix a subplot that doesn’t really do anything, and then the ending needs some work to give it a bit more cowbell.

Once I’m happy with that timeline I’ll be editing every scene. In some cases that might mean a complete rewrite; there will almost certainly be new scenes needed, and it’s more than likely that certain scenes will be trashed. That’s the way these things go. The end result will be a shiny new story, ready to be submitted to my publisher. And because it’s already been written once, it won’t take a very long time to write it again. Depending on the publisher’s schedule it might even be on shelves before the end of the year.

Watch this space.

Resurrection

THE aftermath of the house move continues . . .

We’re still basically recovering from the move. (Yes, I know, it’s been well over a week. We’re taking our time, and in any case after several weeks of back breaking work followed by a killer weekend—see the previous post—I think we deserve to go at our own pace. That’s our excuse and we’re sticking with it.)

Bathrooms have been cleared of boxes and fully usable pretty much since day one, except for one that’s waiting for me to hang a new shower door. The kitchen is, as of last weekend, fully usable. The master bedroom is usable but still has a lot of boxes on the floor; much the same is true of the office. The living room is still a bit of a disaster area, although it’s not as bad as it looks because there’s a sofa and love seat hidden under the boxes—so there aren’t as many boxes as it appears.

As a result of all that, writing is still suffering some. I’ve managed a couple of hundred words on the Gunn & Bohemia sequel, and that’s all. The problem isn’t really that the house thing is taking time away from writing (it is, but not too badly) so much as that it’s been really, really hard to get my writing momentum back. I need to just write—any old thing at all will do, whether it’s a blog post or a throw-away few hundred words of fiction or an idea for a story. Hence this blog post.

A while ago I mentioned that I need to write something every day. The house move killed that. I need to resurrect it.

Until next time . . .

Is This Thing On?

Back On The Air

I haven’t had time to catch my breath, let alone write even a short blog post, for a couple of weeks. I haven’t even found time for Twitter. My laptop was packed up, and there were some problems getting Internet up and running in the new place (but that’s nothing next to the problems I had getting the phone working; I won’t go into that here). However . . .

The House Move Thing

THE house move is OVER.

Or at least, the worst part—the actual moving of all our stuff from the old place to the new—is all done. We still have piles of boxes cluttering up just about every room, closet, and hallway, waiting to be opened and emptied into cabinets and onto shelves, but that can be done at a relatively leisurely pace.

Relative to what? The answer to that centres on the fact that the last week has been a nightmare. It became obvious that going the way we were, trying to pack and move just about everything on our own just using a car, was going to take weeks. So we called around and found a moving company that could help at short notice, and with their help we got all the larger things and a lot of the packed up stuff moved over. (I’d already loaded a three-seater sofa and matching two-seater love seat onto our rented truck single-handed; not bad for someone as out of shape as I am. I really need to get more exercise.)

That still left a LOT of smaller things. We worked—and I mean worked, hard—for forty, count’em, forty, hours, with only the shortest breaks for food and drinks. By around the thirty hour mark I was so tired I was hallucinating; my eyes made people out of shadows, I kept thinking I could see men in the corners of the rooms and under the truck. In my whackedness I managed to cause a shelf unit to overbalance and fall on Kate’s shoulder, then I couldn’t get a grip on the damned thing to lift it off her.

I finally got the last things out, and locked up the old place, just before midnight Sunday. Then I went to the new place, climbed into the bed, and died. (I truly expected to sleep for at least twelve hours, but woke up after about six. I still don’t feel like I’ve had enough sleep the last couple of days.)

And now, as I mentioned, we have a lot of unpacking ahead of us. The kitchen and living room are basically unusable because the floors are covered with boxes. My office desk was that way, too, until circumstances this morning forced me to do a rush job of clearing enough space to set up the work laptop. But I have to say that, even with the remaining clutter around me, working at this desk (I’m sitting behind it right now) is a dream. A few more days of organising things, then I think I should be able to allow myself some time to get back to writing. And about time, too.

One good thing for now is that I have some time for blogging, Twitter, and so on, so expect to see more activity there.

Until next time, gentle reader . . .

Overdue

Now Is The Time . . .

IT has been far too long since I posted here. Basically the house move—which I thought would be behind us by now—has taken every spare moment. Today I’m taking a rest break from the moving, because frankly I’ve had enough of it today, on top of day job work. And I need to write something, before I die of writing withdrawal, and a blog post is just the thing.

The House Move Thing

AS noted, we are STILL moving house, but the end is in sight. I could go ahead right here, right now, and say we’ll be in the new place by this time next week . . . but that would probably be the kiss of death, tempting providence, and things of that nature. So I’ll just say that I hope we’ll be in by this time next week. There’s still a chunk of work to take care of, but it’s really not so bad.

The floors were done some time ago, and a whole bunch of cleaning and fixing up has been done. Desks have been built. Clean, new appliances have been installed, and dirty old appliances have been removed. Bookcases are in place and books are on shelves. And three quarters of the basement in the old place has been cleared—some of the stuff having been moved to the new place, some stacked up as trash to be disposed of, and some items marked for donation to our local Habitat For Humanity place. (No, I don’t donate to Goodwill since I read that every penny they make from sales of items given to them for nothing is pure profit—they don’t actually give anything to charity.) One more room in the basement to take care of, then three rooms on the ground floor. Then the final step—call in professional movers to take care of the big stuff I can’t manage myself, such as sofas and beds and the fridge, etc.

Why has it taken so long? Simple: we’re doing most of it ourselves. In other moves we’ve done, we’ve had professionals to load our stuff onto trucks at one end and unload at the other, and everything’s been done in a matter of hours or maybe a couple of days. This time, the old place and the new one are but minutes apart, so I’ve been able to shift a lot of stuff just using my car. But that’s meant I’ve had to do it after work and at weekends, and time is limited—as are other things, such as the number of arms I have, the amount of space in my car, and the number of hours in a day.

The Writing Thing

ALL of this has meant that everything not related to house moving or the day job has been pushed to a back burner that’s so far to the back, it’s actually over the hills and far away. That includes blogging (until now, of course), writing, gaming, and even Twitter (which might seem insane—you’d think I’d be able to find time for the odd tweet, but honestly I’ve been so absorbed with everything else that most times it hasn’t even occurred to me to tweet anything at all).

So I’m behind schedule with writing work on the Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia sequel. But once we’re in the new place, I have a brand new (and might I say, awesome) desk in a room that’s our dedicated office, and working in there is going to be a dream. I can’t wait.

The Day Job Thing

ACTUALLY, I was going to say a few words about what I’ve been up to at work. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. Admit it: you don’t really care anyway, and unless you’re a Java web application developer I might as well be writing in Swahili. So enough said about that.

The Smoking/Vaping Thing

THE last time I lit a real cigarette was June 10, so if my arithmetic is correct, today marks thirty-six days without burning tobacco. Hoorays and cheers are in order, I think.

The Gaming Thing

AGAIN, as noted above, I haven’t had time to play any games. And that, just like not having time to write, is getting me twitched-up. I long to spend a couple of hours playing Freelancer, or Sir, You Are Being Hunted, or Unreal, or Serious Sam, or Half-Life, or Portal, or any of a dozen other games. Maybe if I make some good progress with moving stuff to the new house over the next three or four days, I’ll reward myself with a game break. Got to get those priorities right . . . but then ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. (For some reason I have an urge to write that again a few times.)

The Competition Thing

A few posts back I announced a contest in which readers had a chance to name a character in the Gunn & Bohemia sequel (see that post for details). Well, one or two new reviews popped up, but nobody contacted me so there’s no official winner. However, since I’ve no time to work on the book at all, I’ve decided to extend the deadline. You’ve got until July 31. Get yourself a copy of Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia, post a review on Amazon, and send me a note through the Contact page (link on the tabs at the top of this page), and you’ll get your chance. Go on, you know you want to.

Until next time . . .