Work in Progress
I’m currently at a little over 9000 words into my as-yet unnamed work in progress. It’s a young adult sci-fi novel set in the future where the world has flooded and the only survivors live on a space station, and a discovery they make under the ocean that could change everything.
It’s progressing a little slower than I’d like, mostly due to me being repeatedly ill (once to the point of being hospitalized from a severe reaction to tonsillitis). That said, it’s fully outlined so I know what and how it needs to be written, so I’ll keep plodding along and hopefully have more to report next time.
The other thing I’m working on is an outline for a second Gustav Gustavson novel. After kicking off the audiobook project I re-read the story to check it was all in order and a bunch of new plotlines thundered into my head and demanded attention.
Since then I’ve been taking copious notes on what I’d like to include and what directions it should take, so that has the potential to arrive some time next year.
The plot is still very much in the outline stage, but the working title is “The Fist of the King”. I’m working on a cover design that ties in with the first, using the same approach of paper cut-out type design.
My main problem now is staying focussed on my current WIP and not being distracted by Gustav. I’m enjoying writing the new one, it’s just a little heavier to write than a light-hearted comedic fantasy.
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Not in the Britney Spears way, more I got sidetracked from what I was going to write by a new story idea.
I was going to work on the short story idea I had called “The Redaction of Vernon Reid”, but due to some early morning brainwaves over the weekend coupled with copious amounts of coffee I’ve come up with a new idea that is just begging me to write it.
What is it?
Hmm, it’s still early days, but it’ll be a young adult novel set some time in the future where the Earth has been completely flooded. No landmasses anywhere, now just a complete ocean world.
A story of the survivors, and a starling discovery they find beneath the waves.
That’s all I’ll give away for the moment. I have knocked out a little over 1400 words since fleshing out the plot lines though, so it’s off to a great start. I’ll post more about it as it progresses, so check back regularly as always.
No news yet on “The Second Coming” except for a text message from my beta saying she’d got a few chuckles out of it already. So it’s always good to know it’s not just me that thinks I can be funny.
I handed off my most recent work – The Second Coming – to my beta reader over the weekend so the publication date of that one is drawing ever closer. Obviously I can’t give a firm date yet until I’ve checked over whatever notes she leaves for me while reading it, but my hope is mid to late November.
I’ve not had any other thoughts about cover design, which is kind of weird for me. Normally I’ve got a few different versions I want to check out, but I’m still happy with the one I’ve made so at this stage it looks like it’s the one I’ll publish with.
The blurb has had a few little tweaks since last time I posted about it.
Skylar, the wayward daughter of Stan (better known as Satan thanks to a typo in a first edition) is desperate to escape the ethereal planes of Hell and become a bounty hunter.
Sapphire, God’s forgotten second child, is oblivious of her divine heritage. Archangel Gabriel was to deliver the news on the night of her conception, but wound up bleeding and left for dead behind a seedy strip club.
So instead of delivering God’s latest and overriding commandment of “Don’t be a dick” to the people of Earth, Sapphire gets sucked into Skylar’s quest of hunting down an escaped soul from Hell that’s causing mayhem in Las Vegas.
The Second Coming is a wickedly funny urban fantasy crossed with comedic blasphemy, and laughing along with this book may land you in Hell.
I’m about 99% on that one. I might change a word or two, but for the most part I’m happy.
While The Second Coming is out of my hands I’ve been poking through my ideas folder for what to write next. One in particular keeps nagging at me to be written, a short story I’ve titled “The Redaction of Vernon Reid”.
The idea for this one came about while I was mucking about designing a cover for another book I wrote. I had the idea of a “Classified” document type design with various words blacked out. I quickly knocked out an example, and it became the inspiration for the rest of the story.
It’s the story of an ordinary NSA analyst named Vernon Reid, a sentient and very intelligent bomb that has developed a conscience, and an invading alien race hell bent on the annihilation of Earth.
When Reid accidentally designs a weapon possessing war-ending potential, the aliens deploy the bomb against him to erase him from history. All memory of him to be redacted until he never was.
Things don’t go to plan when the bomb has second thoughts about killing Reid, and the more it tries not to the bigger the paradox becomes.
Even though the cover exists, this is still in the very early stages of outlining so will be a few months away at the least. Check back soon for updates!
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Woo! First draft of “The Second Coming” is finally done and clocked in at just over 33,000 words, so a little more than I originally estimated (guessed 30k). Not far off as guesses go.
Now the (not so) fun bit begins. First round of self-editing, which basically means pushing the whole through thing ProWritingAid which I find is immensely useful. It points out stuff like crappy comma placements, grammatical errors, passive phrasing, repetition and a bunch of other stuff that you become blind to because it’s your writing.
After that I’ll print it out and put the text through a text-to-speech program. This reads my story back in a robotic monotone which is useful for picking up awkward phrasing and other misspellings. I mark-up the print out and then makes the changes to the file.
When all that’s done it’s off to my beta readers who find even more stuff I’ve missed and give me excellent feedback on the parts of the book. And once those changes are made, it’ll be ready for export to Kindle and Paperback!
So all that considered I’m still quite a few weeks away from being ready to release it to the world. I’ll also need to bash out a blurb for it, which is probably the part I hate the most. Trying to come up with a few sentences to make people want to buy the book is rather difficult.
What comes next? I’m not 100% sure at the moment. I’ve got a few things I’m working, including an app to help kids learn to read and a website to support it. It’s been neglected for the past few weeks while I finished “The Second Coming”, so I need to get back to that.
Also kicking around inside my head is an idea for a second adventure for Gustav Gustavson. It’s rudimentary at the moment so needs a lot of fleshing out… so we’ll see where that goes.
I’ve also got a few ideas for a couple of kids books I wouldn’t mind looking at. By a wide margin they aren’t my biggest sellers, but I like being able to write and illustrate stories for my kids.
I price them as low as I possibly can so they don’t make me any money when they sell but it does give me a smile to know someone out there is laughing along with their kids because of something I wrote.
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The first draft of my current work in progress is almost done. I’m at about 80% of my 30,000 word goal for this one, so I’m sitting on a little over 24,000 words.
Once that’s done though the real work begins.
By real work I’m talking about going back and reading through the whole thing. Adding where necessary (I tend to gloss over parts on my first run through, so need to add in parts for it to make sense) and deleting where necessary to tighten up the story where it’s messy. And then going back to fix grammar and typos I introduced by adding new bits.
I’m happy with the current cover design I’m using, the Heaven / Hell split you can see at the top of this post. My name is smack bang in the middle of the Hell section. I’ve no doubt the subject matter of this one might make me a target of religious nut bags who can’t see the funny side of life, so at least I’ve got a head start on them.
I’ve also been actively avoiding thinking about the blurb, since that’s one of my most hated parts of the process. Trying to condense the novel into a couple hundred words that makes people want to click the “Buy Now!” button.
But these are the evils one must accept when trying to carve out a life as an author, especially a self-publishing one.
Last week I ran a 0.99 sale on The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior. I’m happy to say it was a huge success, and as it happens, it was my most successful sale I’ve ever run, with heaps of people grabbing a copy to read.
I’m quietly hopeful that some of these will turn into Amazon reviews. They’re one thing I’ve never had much luck at getting. I’ve read somewhere that only like one out of every hundred or more readers will leave a review, so I would have thought I’d have seen a few more by now. Perhaps the 1 in 100 is actually much higher.
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A minor update today on my current work in progress – The Second Coming. I wasn’t fully in love with the previous cover I’d designed, and after showing it around neither were other people so I went back to the drawing board.
I ditched basically everything except part of the title font and the little horns, and came at it from a different angle, the end result being what you see here.
Sitting at a little shy of 14,000 words, the work in progress is progressing really well. The words and plot are flowing nicely.
No guesses on when the first draft will be done yet though. It really depends on how much time I can find each day to write. I’ve got out a few thousand in the last few days though which has been really good progress.
That’s all for now. The kids are being quiet for the moment so I should try to bash out a few more words into the draft. 🙂
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After a few weeks of not touching the work in progress at all, I’m back into it at full steam. I added approximately 1000 words since last night, so the total currently sitting at around 11,300 words and nowhere near done yet.
I’ve also (because I can’t help myself) been working on a cover design. First attempt is shown here. Not 100% on the design, but it’s literally the first attempt.
It’s a comedic urban fantasy novel featuring the God’s daughter Sapphire, and the Devil’s daughter Skylar, as they hunt escaped demons in Las Vegas and generally try to stay out of mischief.
It’s got everything you need to keep you laughing. God trying to get laid. Dinosaurs scaring the virgin Mary. A misnamed son of God (Chris, aka Jesus) and the faith he accidentally started. Stan, the Devil (who thanks to a misprint is now more commonly known as Satan) and his headstrong daughter Skylar, and a stripper named Cindy Doo-Yoo who bears the second child of God, Sapphire.
Here’s an (unedited and un-proof read) snippet from the first chapter.
“Behold,” said God. “I am your creator and you will lay with me.”
God cocked an eyebrow and stroked his beard. A beatific smile peeked out from behind the lush, white facial hair. His robes gleamed brightly in the late afternoon sun, and God knew he had it in the bag.
Mary was less than impressed. She scowled at God and flapped her hands to dissipate the smoke that threatened to darken her recently laundered bedsheets.
“I’ll give you this,” Mary said once the smoke had cleared, “as far as pick-up lines go it’s one of the more unique ones I’ve heard.”
“But I am your creator,” God sputtered. “I am bestowing upon you the great honor of being the bearer of my child.”
God stroked his beard again and pushed a hand through his hair, slicking it back. He was sure this approach had worked in the past. Mary put a hand on her hip and looked at God, an expression of skepticism painted on her face.
“If you’re really God, then prove it,” Mary said.
“Easy!” God said, then mumbled, “whatever happened to just having faith?”
“What was that last bit?” asked Mary.
“Nothing! Right then, let’s get started,” God said and clicked his fingers.
Behind him materialized two equally enormous and fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex. Mary didn’t know what they were, but when two hulking anachronisms appear out of thin air and scream at you, it doesn’t much matter if you know what they’re called or not.
I think it’s coming along nicely. The few week break I took from writing turned out to be a very good thing as I brainstormed a lot of the plot and added lots of extra complexity into the story line.
So why did I take a break? Well, that’s something else entirely. My wife and I are developing an education app and website to help young children learn to read and spell as well as other things along the same line. Making the app has been taking up a lot of my time while I get it right.
It’s still a few weeks away from being ready, so I won’t be giving away anything just yet. Stay tuned to this blog for more on this in the coming weeks.
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The last month has been hectic. My pay-the-bills job has been keeping me busy, plus other things outside of work have got me to the point of not wanting to do any writing when I finally have spare time.
I know that’s not the attitude to have, but it’s just been exhausting. That said, I think things are finally easing up a little which is giving me time to think about my next project.
I’ve decided to work on a new idea that’s been floating around in my head rather than the other story I got part of the way through before stopping to write Badlands and The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior.
It’s still a little too early in the game to give away too much, other than to say it may make me a target for religious nut-bags. It’s a humorous tale of God and the Devil, Christ and few other family members and the havoc they cause.
Other than that I’ve been spending a lot of time over on Reddit as a way of not doing any writing. The Writing Prompts subreddit is one of my favourite places to hang out, reading all the prompt-inspired responses. I’ve posted a few of my own over the time, none that have really taken off until the one I posted the other day.
The prompt I submitted was: You accidentally summon a demon by trying to pronounce IKEA product names. I honestly didn’t expect it to get any traction, much like the ones that I posted before. But to my utter astonishment it took off, trending as high as top spot in the subreddit and garnering over 7,800 up-votes and even a gold star.
If you’ve got a bit of time, go over to Reddit and check out the awesome responses people have posted. It’s great to see how people interpret the response in different ways.
In The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior related news, it’s now been a little over a month since I released this book and I can honestly say it’s by a wide margin the best-selling book I’ve ever put out there.
It’s been snapped up by people all over the world, including countries I’ve never reached before. Sales have slowed a little since its initial release but I’m still seeing lots of people grabbing copies through Kindle Unlimited, and even the odd paperback copy being sold. Having people read and enjoy something I’ve written really makes my day.
That’s all for now. Back to
procrastinating …er… working on my next book. 🙂
I’m sure you’ll be eager to hear that my work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior – is now at the “beta reader” stage of editing.
That means it’s getting much closer to being completely finished! Once I get it back and comb through the notes, adjusting my draft where necessary, and it’ll be one step closer to putting it onto Kindle Scout.
In the meantime I’m busy working on some other things for the book. Firstly, in my books I like to have a custom “mid-chapter break” or “section break” if you prefer. In a lot of books these are three little asterisks “***” or bullets “•••” or the like that usually denote passage of time during a chapter.
I’ve always gone with a little symbol I like in all of my books to date – – for no other reason than I happen to like it. But with Gustav I’ve made a custom symbol, Gustav’s head:
My focus this week has been split between first-round editing of my work in progress, the comedic Viking fantasy “The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior”, and reading the superb superhero coming-of-age story “Dreadnought”. More on Dreadnought further down because first up it’s all about me! lol 🙂
So my first round edits basically involve me printing out the entire Word document as well as converting it to spoken word with a text-to-speech program. Then I sit and listen to the mechanical voice reading my story back to me. Any errors or awkwardness I find I correct on the print out. When I’m done with that, I’ll update the Word doc and convert to Kindle for a read through before I send it off to my beta reader.
I’ve also been tweaking my cover art for my work in progress. I had a brainwave late one night earlier this week that the cover I’d settled on was a little too flat and it might look good if it was stacked-paper. So I got to work editing the artwork which resulted (after a few horrendous attempts) in the new cover design shown here.
I had to adjust a few of the colours because once I shrunk it down to thumbnail size I couldn’t read any of the title text. To make the colours more complimentary, I changed the water and the background to green, and I think overall it works. So it’s the one I’ll be publishing with (unless hit by some major inspiration and redesign the whole thing, unlikely).
Below is a quick progression of how the cover art matured over time. The first (lame) attempt was mainly to get the bones of the idea in place (such as the Viking long boat at sea) and then go from there. Read the rest of this entry »