So all my best laid plans went out the window. I took a break from writing the YA novel I was working on because I was in the mood to write something humorous. Since I’m still working out plot points for Gustav Gustavson book 2 – The Fist of the King – I revisited my notes for my planned short story The Redaction of Vernon Reid.
Two days later and I’ve finished the first draft. At just over 7,000 words it falls slap bang in short story territory.
A short story of an ordinary NSA analyst named Vernon Reid, a sentient smart weapon that has developed a conscience who prefers the name Keith, and an invading alien race hell bent on universal genocide.
When Vernon designs a weapon possessing war-ending potential by accident, the aliens deploy Keith to erase him from history.
It still needs to be edited and the rest of the fun stuff that happens after writing, so it will still be a few weeks yet before it’s ready to go.
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I’ve been busy over the weekend doing the first round of self-editing on “The Second Coming” and I’m almost done.
Listening to a robotic voice read back the words is monotonous but highly effective way of catching out typos.
Missed words or wrong words (like using “and” instead of “an”, or “in” instead of “it”) stand out like the proverbial, so when they show up I can run the red pen through them to correct later.
I’ve also been working on that most hated of tasks: writing the blurb. What I’ve got so far is below, and I’m pretty happy with it. Like always I’ll sit on it for a while and come back to it later.
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 scion, 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 get you a visit from Stan.
So hopefully it does what a good blurb is supposed to do. That is, suck you in and make you want to read the book. What do you think? Opinions are always welcome. 🙂
In other news, I’ve picked up a couple of nice 4 and 5 star ratings for The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior. A 4-star on Amazon.com, a 5-star on Amazon.co.uk and 2 x 5-stars over on Goodreads! (There’s also a 2-star on Goodreads, but I’ll ignore that. Can’t please everyone, and they’re obviously in the minority of people without a sense of humour… hehe).
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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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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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Waiting, waiting, waiting…
My Kindle Scout campaign for The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior came to a close on Monday, and since then I’ve been
impatiently eagerly waiting on a response. It finished with a flurry of activity pushing up my total views… the one thing I wish I could see was how many nominations in total I received.
I can see how many people looked at my page in total, but I’ve no idea how many people actually nominated it. It’d be a handy statistic to know.
So now I can’t do anything but sit and wait until I receive an email from Amazon. In the past I’ve received “was not successful” messages for books I’ve nominated only a day or two after their campaign ended, so does waiting longer mean I’m being considered more closely? Or maybe they’re just busy and haven’t got to me yet. I prefer to think it’s the first one. 🙂
Either way, I’m glad I went through the experience. If nothing else it’s given me a lot of exposure I may not have otherwise received. I’ll post another update when I hear back from Kindle Scout. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for me!
Ever since I wrote the first line of this post, I can’t get the line “Waiting, waiting, waiting. I’ll never get out of here. I’ll die in Casablanca.” out of my head. Maybe I’ve seen that movie too many times.
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 »
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update on my comedic fantasy work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior (TTTAOGGLVW for short, lol).
Well, it’s going really well, about 95% complete or thereabouts, and is now officially the longest single work I’ve written to date. Currently weighing in at a little over 47,100 words, I’m aiming to get it above 50,000 by the time I wrap it up.
Why? A couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a nice beefy number for a novel, and make it a good 10,000 words longer than my second longest. A decent sized read and makes for a nice thick book on the bookshelf. 🙂
Last week I gave you a peek into what I’m currently working on – a comedy / fantasy with the working title of “The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior“. I was fortunate to have last week off from work so got a lot more words into the draft so it’s now sitting at a little over 18,600 words.
Based on my outline that should put me maybe 30-40% of the way through the draft unless something changes.
I’ve also been working on a cover idea. Sometimes when I get stuck for words, I take a break from writing the story to work on cover ideas. I wanted this one to convey to potential readers it’s a humorous book so have designed a cartoonish look for the cover (along with the comically long title). There’s a bigger version of the cover concept at the bottom of this blog. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a while since I’ve given an update of what I’m working on right now. Between reading a lot and getting the combined FTW Series ready I’ve been a little slack.
But I haven’t been idle in the ideas department. About a week ago I had a great idea for a comedy/fantasy novel. So once again I brushed aside the book I was working on – The Obsidian Witch – to work on this one while it was burning a hole in my mind.
I will get back to the other one eventually, but after letting it sit for a while (since I got side-tracked by Badlands), I was having a hard time getting back into the swing of it. So of course when the new idea came along I jumped at the chance to belt out as much as I could.
At the time of writing this I’m sitting at just over 11,100 words with still heaps more to write. I’ve got a working title – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior – and cover idea (which I won’t be sharing just yet, still a work in progress), and a detailed outline for the plot. If I can keep up the momentum it might turn out as the longest thing I’ve written to date. There’s a small sample of the story at the bottom of this post. Read the rest of this entry »
So apart from slacking off over the Christmas break by lounging around in swimming pools (we’ve had a few 40 degree Celsius days here in Australia recently… that’s 104 Fahrenheit in old money) what else have I been up to, I hear you ask. As you can tell from the deluge of book reviews I posted yesterday, I’ve done a lot of reading.
But also I’ve been editing part 2 of the FTW series: Badlands. That’s right, it’s getting closer and closer to a final release date! I’ve got my feedback from my beta readers and am working through their notes and making adjustments based on their observations. Once I’ve done that I’ll dump it all into a Kindle so I can have a final read through to pick up any typos or formatting mistakes I may have made, then it’s off to Amazon for publishing!
It’s roughly the same length as part one (a little shorter, but not by much). As before, I’ll be making a paperback copy available as well for those who prefer the feel of a book rather than a device.
As I’m typing this, I’ve just realized I haven’t even begun to think of a blurb for Badlands. I better get onto that today because I’ll be needing it very soon, so maybe (and this is my first attempt as I type and think at the same time): Read the rest of this entry »