Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mammoth update following a brief hiatus.

It’s quite worrying how quickly the weeks race by. It only feels like I posted the last update a week ago. I apologise for not doing it more frequently but I have been slaving away on the editing process.
Without further a do, I will just dive in and update you on what I have been doing:

Editing: This has been going really well. I set myself the deadline of the start of the world cup and with three chapters left to do, it looks like I will be able to achieve it. I am happy with many parts of the book.
There are still some things I would like to change and re-work but there comes a point where I need to let others see the work. Otherwise, I will have amended my work so much that I would be unreceptive to any changes suggested. So come this weekend, I will print the novel out and will send it out to those four people I have selected.

Mark C Newton: For those of you that don’t know, Mark is the author of Nights of Villjamur. An excellent debut novel in the, “Legends of the red sun” series. His second book, “City of Ruin” has just been published and I highly recommend you check it out. Mark has quite a strong online presence and out of all of the authors I read, his style of writing is most like my own.
I do not pretend to be any where near his level in my standard of writing, but there are parts of NoV where I thought, “I would have written that in the exact same way.”
Anyway, the reason I am talking about Mark is over at James Long’s Speculative Horizons blog, Mark gave a three part interview (the third has not been published yet). In part two, Mark talks about his writing.
He mentions how he always makes sure he writes 1,000 words in a session, something I do too and how he thinks self-help books on writing have their place but should not distract from the actual writing process.
The thing that really resonated with me in the interview though was the fact Mark hated editing. Something else we agreed on! When I read that, I got a rush of blood and rattled off an email to Mark asking him how he went through the process and how he improved his ability.
Mark got back to me very quickly, more quickly than I would have expected a best selling author too. It was also not just a bog standard reply but a very helpful response, where he recommended certain books and websites (contact me if you want these).
It is so refreshing (I know there are others out there) for an author to be genuinely helpful and interested in a fans work. I just thought, the least I could do was to thank Mark on here.

Critters: I mentioned in my last post that I was considering submitting a couple of chapters to get a feel of people’s opinion of the book. I relented and sent in the first 5 chapters. Which in hindsight was a mistake as this amounted to 19,000 words and put a lot of potential critiquers (I know that is not a word) off.
Having said that, 5 people were generous enough to give their opinions on the chapters and I am pleased to say overall the comments were positive. I was also giving some excellent advice.
One person in particular concentrated on the first chapter and gave their opinion on a paragraph by paragraph basis, stating what worked for them and what didn’t. Their suggestions were invaluable and I can’t thank them enough. I offered to review their work in return and if I am honest was a little apprehensive. Their comments to me were so professional and it was obvious they knew what they were talking about.
However, when I reviewed their work, I was able to offer my own suggestions and there were areas that clearly needed some improvement. This was a positive experience as it clearly demonstrated to me that everyone benefits from others looking at work. Even if someone tears your work to pieces, every one of us aspiring authors is going through exactly the same thing.

So that is all I have for now. I am gearing up for the world cup and the inevitable disappointment of England’s exit in the quarter finals but for a few weeks the country will be buzzing. Come on the three lions!!

Mood: Upbeat