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And so I’m back… from outer space… I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face. Presumably because you’re in my house and shouldn’t be. Now… get out…

So… it’s been a while. How are you? How are the kids? How’s the WEATHER?

I think that’s still how people speak to each other, but hey, I’m no expert.

Anyhoo…

I’ve been busy. I’ve had exams of the HOLY FUCK I REALLY HAVE TO PASS THIS variety. I’ve had a lot on writing-wise and that’s only going to get worse. Well, better, depending on how you look at it. There’s going to be more of it, put it that way.

Currently:

Spares (in novella form) was submitted to and then rejected by a very nice publishers who liked the idea, liked the writing and are keen for me to submit further writing to them. Super! It’s a rejection of the very best kind so I’m feeling highly confident and happy at the moment and it’s really spurred me on. Not bad at all for a “thanks, but fuck off” letter!

My magnum opus (Coburn: The Black Saint cycle) is in the planning stages and will remain so for “some time.” I’m not rushing this one and it will be going on in the background for as long as it takes to do it right and get it finished. It will be a trilogy and, once I’m done writing it, I will start to pimp out the first book. This is going to take YEARS, so I may be boring you with updates on it infrequently but for a long time. Haha.

I have three short stories in with publishers and am waiting with baited wotsits for news on those. One of which I would have expected to hear about if it had been accepted, so I’m writing it off as a dead ‘un. One I should hear about this month at some point, probably, and the third I’ll hear about sometime in September, probably. I’ve got one more to write for one of these publishers and will then be off

One other short story I have written was done to spec, so that’s in with the editors at the moment and there’ll be a proper announcement for the anthology once we’ve got dates and artwork to bandy about. The anthology is going to be called “The Night Wind’s Whispers” and features myself and several others writers from the Black Library Bolthole, talented bastards all. More on that soon…..

Now; current project. I can hammer out short stories pretty fast and novellas with reasonable alacrity, so I’m going full-bore to write a novel as quickly as possible. There will be semi-regular updates on this one (semi-regular like someone who eats only bananas and prunes, presumably) and this one will be a little… erm… it’ll be odd.

Expect to hear about the completed “Gumptions Follies” in the next four months. I aim to have it done (first draft form of course) by the end October. Why? Well, it’s fun writing to a deadline and the anthology I’m to be a part of is to be released in time for Halloween, so I’ll be racing alongside. This gives me four months to complete the project and, hopefully, that will be plenty.

Watch this space for a sample in the next couple of weeks!


Here’s to the future.

Well, my novella is basically finished from a writing point of view. Sure it needs further editing and this may or may not require a certain degree of rewriting once it’s back from the beta readers, but the story is there. It needs tweaking and finishing but it’s back onto the back-burner for a while as I await the judgement of my fellows, and that means that I have to get on with some other projects.

Now with regards the novella, I do have a comment and a slight retraction to make. I’m not going to be giving it away. I’ve listened to a great deal of feedback from people who think it’s a good idea and those who hate the idea, and given the time to mull it over I’ve sided with those who believe that you shouldn’t give your work away. I place a fairly high value on my own work, possibly through a certain degree of artistic arrogance, and I believe that the story is worth a small amount of your hard earned money. If this annoys, upsets or pisses anyone off (which I doubt, I’ve got a blog readership of about six people) then I apologise, but them’s the breaks I’m afraid. I could have just deleted the post where I discussed this, but at least I’m being honest with you.

Right, and on to the projects.

First of these is a novel set in a less futuristic setting, one that I’ve had bubbling away in the back of my head for some time. It’s a quest based story (groooooan) but one with a little potential I think, and it feels a bit like a process that I need to go through in order to improve my writing. There are many, many linear quest based novels out there and that style is perhaps a little over done in the genre, but as with anything else the real test is to do it and to do it well. Yes it involves a small group out to journey across the world, uncover secrets and some horrible truths and ultimately take down a powerful witch. Yeah yeah, yawn yawn fucking yawn, but you’ll just have to trust me on this, it will not suck and you will enjoy it.

After this will come the novel length sequel to the novella “Spares” which will take the concept, setting and characters and go large scale with it, hopefully with the view to be pimped out to publishers as soon as it’s reached an acceptable level of quality.

I have other plans beyond this, including but not limited to a vampire story (by the time it’s done people will be receptive to a genre faithful tale rather than one that tears up the rulebook for kicks and crowd pleasing) and one that I started and put back down, featuring the angelic hosts and the Grim Reaper.

Throw into the mix my potential (but unconfirmed) attempts to gain access to the Black Library’s open submissions window and I’ve got a busy few years ahead of me. I’m still not decided on whether or not I want to continue the pursuit of writing in the Warhammer and Warhammer 40K universes, but I’m not ruling it out. This isn’t to sound arrogant or dismissive but success with them would mean a greatly increased workload, which would by necessity mean pushing my other projects into the background in the meanwhile. Now obviously success is far from assured and is indeed quite unlikely for a huge number of reasons, but only a complete dickhead would approach something like that without attempting to succeed and consideration as to what that would actually mean.

I have a lot to think about it would seem, not least of which being finishing this blog post and doing something more productive.

So…

Bye.


The vital first edit/second draft.

A huge thanks to Jonathan Ward this week, that’s him down there on the blogroll if you were wondering, who has returned some absolutely spot-on advice to me about my novella “Spares.” It’s fair to say that there was a fair amount wrong with it, what with it being a rough first draft, written stream of consciousness style and all, but I’m pleased to say that there seems to be a great deal right with it too!

So now I’m onto the first editing process, which I can largely compare to that picture at the top of this post. The majority of what I am doing is cutting out sections and pasting them into a “cutting room floor” document of ideas, quips, dialogue and other bumf that, while not dreadful, simply either doesn’t fit, doesn’t work or interrupts the smooth flow of the story. Now, flow is something that I personally hold to be vital to a story. I like a story to grab you and drag you along for the ride, occasionally dumping you on your arse when there’s something to learn or listen to. I like snappy dialogue, insults that cut to the bone and people that are as real as I can possibly make them. Now in order to maintain a pace that accelerates you towards the finish and then dumps you hard on the other side, gasping for breath and reeling from what you’ve just witnessed, a story needs kicking, chopping, hammering and generally pummelling until it’s in the right shape. At the moment, I don’t have that. It’s tangential, overly introspective at points and a little prone to waffle. Now that’s ok some of the time, but at the moment it simply doesn’t have the clout that I want it to have and I want this story to be the literary equivalent of a haymaker to the temple.

Ouch.

Besides that there are points where I got stuck, didn’t have the right idea and so ploughed on regardless, leaping forward in order to keep going until I reached the end. Now of course I have to go back and sort this out, inserting chunks of story that fit and can be welded in place to strengthen the narrative arc that I’m going for. I have a sub-plot to weave through the story, a whole new scene that I’m writing whenever I’m not working, revising, blogging or preparing my Black Library Live army so I can carve my way through my friends’ armies with gay abandon. That’s like regular abandon, by the way, only with a lot more cushions.

In short I have a lot to do, but have all the time in the world to do it. I’m still tempted to say that this could be done within the month, though probably not ready for release as I simply can’t state categorically that those who have agreed to read it through will be done in time, or that they won’t uncover something dreadful that needs my immediate attention.

For now, I must plough onwards. I have a lot to do in order to fulfil my promise of a free ebook for you all and I like to keep my promises, though deadlines are largely something that happens to other people. The key point there, however, is that the wait should always be worth it.

Alec.


Good afternoon! There we are, a nice, positive start to today’s bloggulations.

I’ve been a bit busy today, I was busy yesterday and have been busy in general these past few weeks, putting together what I hope will be my first novella length work (outside of fan-fiction, that is, where I’ve written far larger pieces) with the intention of having it published in the new year. Lately I have been working on a piece of genre fiction (stop groaning) featuring the undead (hey! Come back!) and a post-apocalyptic Britain (alright fine, go! I’ll be fine by myself!). For those of you who are still here, I hope to have this finished over the Christmas break (that includes a full edit and re-draft where necessary) and will post a thousand words or so for your general perusal once it has been proof read by non-biased eyes and adjusted accordingly.

Now I have to decide where to sell such a thing. There are many options open to me, with self publishing online being one of these, though I would much prefer to see it in print and on somebody’s shelf. I’m a bit old fashioned with my books and a big fan of must and well-bound pages over ebook readers, but a novella is a tricky beast in that it’s short and lends itself well to digital media. I think I’m leaning towards publishing it myself in some way, maintaining as much control of it as humanly possible, and then looking to include it as a rather lengthy prologue to the novel length follow-up which is due to be started in the summer.

The main purpose of today’s post is as a small introduction to what is to come, hopefully creating a little bit of interest in what I am doing and possibly even building a little enthusiasm for it. With this in mind, here is a small snippet of what I’ve been up to these last few weeks. There is a fair amount of swearing involved at certain stages but, to be fair, this is fairly in keeping with the setting and the situations in which the characters find themselves. I’ve always been somewhat confused by people’s tolerance of extreme violence juxtaposed with their intolerance of swearing and, as a parent, I would be far less angry with my sons if they had cursed in public as opposed to having thumped someone, yet movies and television programs will often include scenes of torture where the victim does not swear. Anyone who has ever stepped barefoot on LEGO or, worst of all, an upturned plug, knows how unrealistic that is, yet violence is everywhere and swearing seems to be a far greater taboo.

Funny old world, innit? Ladies and gentlemen (I say, optimistically assuming a readership where plurals are appropriate), I give you my work in progress.

Spares.

‘We were just happy to be alive,’ Anders rumbled. ‘Made sense when we first got stitched, don’t think any of us were surprised that we were kept at arm’s length when we didn’t even know whose arms we had, but over time it seemed less and less fair. You lot remember how you felt when you looked down at yourself?’ We all nodded. “Well we had bigger problems than a bunch of snot-arsed business men, but we weren’t looking when the lines were drawn between us and them. This is just business and looking after our own, but this could be the start of something. Fuck, do you have any idea how serious what we are doing actually is?’

We did. We all did. Even Deacon fell silent while Anders spoke. The segregation between “us” and “them” had been a gradual thing, a rot that had crept in slowly until it permeated our entire culture, but now I wasn’t sure that it could ever change. We didn’t live in cages or behind fences, behind razor-wire walls or even in separate towns, but those of us who had known the Doctor’s hand seemed to naturally gravitate to the more lowly areas while the rest, the untouched, took the higher ground. It was an unspoken accord at first, an instinct to be close to our own kind, but over time it had taken on a more rigid, cultural element that made social mixing the most serious of taboos. They were disgusted by us while we resented them, and so the divide had widened. Though I knew that what we planned to do was wrong I knew that they would never allow us to ascend to their level.

Our only choice was to drag them down to ours.

And there we have it. The story features a group of undead (note, undead, not zombie) protagonists as they struggle to come to terms with the horrific realities of living forever, while everything that it ever meant to be human crumbles all around them. Sound good to you? Well I hope it does and I hope that you’ll follow my progress over the next few months, hopefully from first draft to publication in whatever form I choose.

Thank you for reading, please let me know if you have any thoughts on my email account, Inquisitorfiddlesticks@rocketmail.com

Alec.