I’d imagine that quite a few writers hand off their finished (or first draft, second, third etc) novel to someone they trust after they’re happy with it. I’m lucky enough to have four people, my wife, my mum, my sister-in-law and a colleague at work that I trust. But the very first reading is always done by my wife.
As you know I’ve gone back to writing the third book in the trilogy and it’s been coming along pretty well. I was up early this morning (5:30) and instead of doing a bit of writing which I normally would I decided to have a bit of a blast on Halo:Reach. In that strange way that seems to happen with computer games before I knew it the time was just after 10.
One of the things I learnt during writing the first book was the importance of being prepared. Not in the sense of having a story, more that moments of inspiration can leave you as quickly as they arrived. And once they’ve gone they sometimes don’t come back.
Psssst, wanna hear a secret? W.Chaser isn’t my real name.
Well, it’s probably not that much of a secret, it says in the about section that I write under that name, so it’s obvious that’s not my real one. And it’s not that exciting, at least over the internet where we’re pretty much all anonymous anyway, but why would I choose not to tell my colleagues at work or other friends that I write? Am I ashamed? Nope, it’s not something I do in secret as such, I even write in my lunch break at work where I risk being seen. Embarrassed? Nope, don’t have anything to be embarrassed about. So what then?
One of the things I heard regularly when my proof readers (test subjects? torture victims?) got hold of the first book was ‘I love Laura’. Laura is one of the main characters in the books, although not the main character, but everyone commented on how much they liked her. One of them even suggested they would be less than impressed if I killed Laura off. Now whether I had that design for Laura or not only I know, but since that person was my mum I kind of figured it would be rude to do it anyway.
As anyone who’s been reading this blog knows I’ve been working on a trilogy of books. It didn’t start out that way, but that’s what it’s turned into.
When I’d finished the second volume and was mid way through editing it I got another one of those ideas, this time driving back from work. It’s not always the best time as you’re traversing the motorway, but it’s not like you can stop it happening.
When I was writing the first book I came across an interesting thing. I was about half way through the book and knew where the plot was going, knew what was going to happen at the end, but I had a burning desire to jump ahead and write the last two chapters. I sat and thought about that for a while, wondered whether other writers did the same thing (they do) and what the ramifications would be for the rest of the book.
One of the most difficult things we had to do before submitting the book to an agent was writing the synopsis. Most agents want this in no more than 2 pages, so in my case this meant compressing a 350 page/93000 word novel down to 2 pages. There is an abundance of advice on the Internet for how best to go about writing a synopsis, but everyone seems to have their own take on it. Do you do it on a chapter by chapter basis (ie: In chapter 1 Sam…..) or do you do it in a more casual style taking in most of the major plot points, including any twists in the story. One thing everyone seems to agree on though is that it’s probably the most important thing that you can write and you should spend a considerable amount of time perfecting it. If an agent doesn’t like the synopsis they aren’t going to read the three or four chapters that you submit (or it’s unlikely they will at any rate).
As I said in the first post I knocked out the first 30 pages of the story and handed it proudly to my wife. When I’d originally said to her I was going to write a book she kind of looked at me with a quizzical expression, and understandably so. If roles had been reversed I’d have probably thought she was mad.
Given that I’d never expressed any interest in doing something like that it was probably a justified reaction.
We have to go back to October last year, when I guess I should really have started blogging, but hey – better late than never!
For what I can hear you ask (or not as the case may be)? Well, I had an idea. In the bath. For a book.
Now, I don’t often have ideas in the bath, and wasn’t quite sure what to do with this one. Never having written before I shook my head, filed the idea in the place in my brain marked ‘Junk I really should forget’ and carried on. Next night, same thing. Problem this time is that I could actually hear the heroine of the book in my head. I’d just like to add at this point that I have absolutely no history of mental illness, but clearly my mind was trying to tell me something.