#AmWriting . . . or am I?

THE thing with the Twitter hashtags is that they can often be a bit misleading. At this moment I’m working on the Untitled Sci Fi Novel project, but at the moment I’m not actually writing anything.

This project is four stories back to back, with the same central  character, set in the same universe. Each story is self-contained, but there’s a separate story arc that runs across all four. I’m using my own process (as described in Finish Your Book) and in a particular way; I’m developing all four stories in parallel, rather than doing the first down to scene level before I move on to the second, and so on. Right now I have the top-level structure for the first three stories pretty much done, and I’m getting the fourth one down; it’s coming along well, and I should have that finished in a couple more days.

In other words, I’m world-building, and I’m developing the story, and I’m developing the characters. But I’m not writing anything other than my notes.

And that leads to something that is probably extremely trivial but bugs me nonetheless. You see, Twitter has hashtags like #AmWriting, and #AmEditing. But I don’t see #AmWorldBuilding, or #AmDevelopingCharacters, or #AmThinkingAboutAStoryIdea.

So I gave up on those hashtags. I don’t use anything but #AmWriting. If I’m in the car, thinking about a story idea while doing 75 down I-25, then I’m writing. I’m writing if I’m making notes about a character, or working on scenes, or building the timeline. Basically, if I’m doing anything at all that’s moving a story from the first seed of an idea to actual ink (or e-ink) that someone can read, then I’m writing.

And on that note, I have to run out to the store. But you can bet I’ll be “writing” at the same time.

Until next time . . .

p.s. A few words about the events at UVA:

  • They’re not “alt-right”. The term alt-right was invented by a nazi to describe nazis without calling them nazis. These c*nts are giving nazi salutes and carrying swastika flags. They’re nazis. Call them nazis.
  • So far about 99% of the tweets I’ve seen are condemning what’s been going on. That’s an encouraging sign that most people are against these bigoted, spoiled, white trash. I take some comfort in that.
  • Meanwhile, as of about sixty seconds ago, Comrade Trump hasn’t tweeted a damn thing about it. Fifteen hours without a tweet has to be some kind of record for him. I’m wondering what mealy-mouthed bullshit he’s going to spout when he does bother to say something.

Finish Your Book now in print


AFTER a certain amount of messing about, Finish Your Book is now available on paper here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1522043837 — cheaper than a $6 cheeseburger, and better for you, too. (Disclaimer: please don’t eat the book; I suspect the inks and stuff are not exactly FDA approved.)

And of course the non-dead-tree version is available from all good eBook vendors. See https://petefordwriter.com/books/finish-your-book for details.


YESTERDAY Sam Sykes (@SamSykesSwears) tweeted something that echoed with a lot of writers, it seems; at least, it got quite a few retweets. (No, I’m not talking about the epic and hilarious back-and-forth tweetstorm between him and Chuck Wending that made news a few days ago.) Here’s what he said (link here):

No matter how many stories, scripts or novels you’ve finished, you will, during a new project, become convinced you don’t know how to write.

Man, is this ever the truth. I don’t know why it happens, but every time I start a new project I can guarantee that right away I hit this wall. There’s this feeling that you just have no idea what you’re doing. It’s not lack of confidence per se, although if you let it go on long enough it can certainly lead to that—the feeling that you’re not and never will be good enough.

So the answer is, don’t let it go on.

You’ve already done this, right? You’ve written a book, or a short story, or a poem, or a magazine article, or something that you started and finished. You did it before; you can do it again. Get a cup of coffee and sit down, and make a start. Get busy, and the feeling will disappear like fog when a breeze comes up.

What’s great about Sykes’ words is that he’s a well-known author; so if even he gets the heebie jeebies when starting something new, the rest of us duffers can reassure ourselves that we’re in good company.

Until next time, gentle reader . . .

Dear Diary . . .

MY regular readers (Sid and Doris Bonkers of Epping) might have noticed that every now and then I post something here that’s more like a rambling journal entry than an article about something specific.

This is one of those. Day job and household chores took over things for the last couple of days; I did find time to get a few things done, though, and now I feel like rambling a bit. Let the rambling begin . . .

On books and writing:

As I mentioned in the last post, I uploaded a correctly-formatted version of Finish Your Book, and now that should be what gets downloaded by readers. I tested it and it looks the way I intended the first time round.

I also re-published Pavonis, which was the first full-length story I ever published. It was originally self-published in 2012, but I took it down after Mr. Gunn & Dr. Bohemia was published professionally, the reason being that after going through the whole pro publishing process with G&B, I realised that my self-editing left a lot to be desired and I was no longer happy to have a flawed work out there. So I had sort-of planned to rework much of Pavonis with the help of a professional editor (and cover artist—the cover pretty much stinks), and come up with a better title (because Pavonis doesn’t tell you anything about what the book’s about). But after much consideration, I decided I’d rather focus on new works than try to fix old ones. And anyway, quite a few people liked the book despite its shortcomings. In the end I decided to just put it back out there. I might at some point upload a new version that fixes the known spelling errors and some formatting problems (a few passages display underlines and italics that weren’t in my source text), and I’m considering paying an artist to come up with better cover art. Maybe.

Meanwhile on the writing front, I’m building up the story line for the currently-untitled SF book I’ve been thinking about for the last couple of months. I’ll probably be getting back on that this afternoon.

Also, I did some tweaking of the web site to rearrange a few things and update a couple of pages. I think it’s looking pretty good.

On TV:

We’re saving Game of Thrones on DVR, with the intention of binge-watching when we have four or five episodes recorded. Reason: last year we watched the first episode of season six the night it showed—and at the end we were like a couple of addicts, craving more and cursing HBO for forcing us to wait a whole week for our next fix. So, not this time.

Meanwhile I’ve been re-watching season two of Dark Matter, and when I reach the end of that I’m planning on watching the available episodes of season three on on-demand.

On games:

I was given a new video card—a GTX950 to replace my older GTX560. I installed it yesterday afternoon, but wasn’t able to do anything with until the evening. I played some Serious Sam – The First Encounter and it did seem to be smoother. I’ll try it with something a bit more demanding on the video later; maybe No Man’s Sky. (I noticed NMS has had several patches since I played it last; if they fixed some of  the shortcomings that bugged me most, I might start playing it a bit more often.)

That’s enough for now. I need coffee and maybe I’ll watch a little TV before I get back to that SF story I mentioned.

Until next time . . .

Finish Your Book updated

I found out that the Finish Your Book file I uploaded to Smashwords didn’t get converted properly (my bad—I messed up a paragraph style). As a result the text ended up with first-line indents on every paragraph instead of the block paragraphs I wanted.

The problem is fixed; I uploaded a new file with the corrected formatting. If you bought the book on Smashwords you can download again (you already paid for it, so no need to buy it again). The way I understand it, if you got it on a Nook, Kindle, or Kobo, your device copy will update automatically within a few days. If it doesn’t, I believe you can remove it from the device then re-download it and you should get the updated version.


Now, I need to go and update the links on the Books page to add the B&N link.

Thanks to all who’ve bought and downloaded the book. I hope you enjoy it and it helps with your writing!