It’s alive!

It’s alive!

It is with great pride that I can finally say that my debut novel, The Spyglass and the Cherry Tree, is finally ready and soon to be on sale. It will be on sale from June 19th but I am currently working on getting Amazon display it for pre-orders rather than as “out of stock”. If anybody knows how to sort this, let me know!

You can get ready to order now by searching your favourite online retailer for The Spyglass and the Cherry Tree or click this link.

The Editing Process

The Editing Process

How does one openly accept critique of something so personally created over years of writing, drafting and re-drafting? It’s something that I was very anxious about as I sent my manuscript away to my editor. What would she say? How could she possibly know the characters and their stories well enough to offer any advice that I hadn’t already agonised over a thousand times in my head?

Well the first round of edits came back to me a few days ago and I’ve since been immersed in working through the first few chapters. I have to say, I had no reason to be worried. The advice I’ve received has been great, both positive and suggestive and has made the whole process, dare I say it, fun!

I’ve enjoyed revisiting familiar places with a fresh perspective and I can see how the macro as well as the micro suggestions will result in a much better story for my eventual readers.

If any of you out there are wondering whether an editor is the way to go, then I’d say go for it. It’s worth it!

We’ll see if I’m still so enthused after three rounds of suggestions!

Enjoy the teaser header image as well!

Big Editorial Decision

Big Editorial Decision

Today marks a big step in the process of publishing my first novel, Spyglass and the Cherry Tree. I’ve made the decision to work with the very highly recommended editor Pam Elise Harris of Kitchen Sink Edits. I can’t wait to see what improvements she can suggest and it gives me a nice working date of the end of June for publication.

However, this isn’t set in stone as I’m also the proud father of a new baby daughter who has caused her own problems. The main protagonist in Spyglass is a girl called Willow; a name that me and my wife both loved so much we have named the aforementioned daughter so. My older daughter was non-to-pleased about her baby sister being name-checked whilst she was left out and so I’ve got the conundrum of trying to rename a character that I have been creating and breathing life into for the better part of three years.

No word yet on the new name, I’ll leave that until publication (plus I’ve not decided on it yet!).

Writing With Scrivener

Writing With Scrivener

I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a revelation I’ve had recently with writing software. Off the bat, I’m aware I may be way behind the curve here, but I’m still very excited!

When I wrote The Spyglass And The Cherry Tree, I used Microsoft Word to set out the manuscript by default. As the story was largely linear with only one thread it worked quite well; however, with the follow up novel, Emperor In The East, I wanted a much more multi-threaded story with more complex narratives. Working in Word would have been very cumbersome as I wanted to be able to move sections of the narrative around easily.

Enter Scrivener. I’d been recommended it before and used the trial but it seemed overkill to me and, to be fair, it probably would have been for Spyglass. For Emperor though, it seemed ideal.

As you can see from the screenshot above, it allows me to write each character thread in sections that can be moved around at will. It also meant that I could write the entire Willow narrative at once, section by section, and it wouldn’t impact on the final order. This was much easier than writing the first bit of Willow’s narrative, flicking to Ithilmir to write a bit for Snudge etc.

The only concern I had was whether once I’d finished writing the first act (I chose to structure the story in three distinct acts and write each one separately) would I have to move all of my beautifully organised sections out of their folder structure.

After organising all of the sections into the structure that I think works best (for now!) I started to look at how to achieve what I wanted. It turns out, Scrivener has a concept called Collections that you can add written sections to and order as you wish, without changing the underlying structure.

Amazing!

If you’re not using it already, I’d certainly give Scrivener a go!

Hello World!

Hello World!

Well, here we are. Again. Having kept a blog for many a year when I was but a young twenty-something, I am finding it harder than I thought to come up with something worth saying this time around.

As an aspiring writer it has been brought to my attention that I really ought to have somewhere that I can showcase myself and my writing, even if nobody is actually reading it. This is my space. I shall try to fill it with colourful anecdotes about my attempts to finally finish my debut novel, The Dark Queen of Deorc, and my travails in attempting to get it published either through traditional routes or via the increasingly common self publishing. Right now, I can’t make my mind up on which way to go.

I suppose a good place to start would be a introduction, though I’m sure that anybody reading this, at least in the early stages, already knows me. I am currently a teacher of primary aged children and find it very rewarding. It is also a great proving ground for trying out any ideas I have for my book.

The book. It has been several (albeit stop-start) years in the writing and I finally growing happy with it. It currently sits around the 75,000 – 80,000 word mark which I hear is on the long side for a mid-grade/young adult story (does anybody else find the age bands rather hard to understand?); on the other hand, it is a fantasy and so I am apparently allowed some leeway.

Over the next few weeks I plan to knuckle down and make sure that I am writing every evening again (work permitting) and will hopefully have a finished product to dangle in front of agents sometime before the end of February.

We shall see.