Its weird being a writer sometimes. There are times when you know you’ve written something good, and you’re happy when you finish it, but you love what you’ve come up with.
And then, as a writer, you spend ages and pages trying to recapture that feeling.
I’m a bit like that at the moment. The Delta Children is such a massive departure from anything I’ve written before that I’m busy trying to find that place in my mind where it all works. The last time I truly had that feeling was when I was writing Order of Britain: Stone of Madness, and everything just seemed to come together to make something that just worked.
Which wasn’t a bad feeling for a book that featured death by suicidal pigeons.
So yeah, here I stand, trying to find that feeling again. When I say that writing is addictive, I mean it – and the withdrawal is a sod!
Like my time spent learning to drive, and like when I tried to pass the cycling proficiency test, I’m struggling to find the right gears when it comes to The Delta Children.
I don’t dislike the story or the setting, but shifting from Victorian Era fantasy to near future science fiction is a big leap for me, and whist the concept has a sound has, I’m having the odd moment where I’m struggling to fit the pieces together. What I’m trying to do is stick to my usual policy of “when a scene gets boring to write, shift perspective,” and that seems to be working for now.
My main problem at the moment is that whilst I know what the endgame will be in this book, the steps in between aren’t very clear at the moment. In a more action driven story, that isn’t as much of an issue, but I’m trying to be a bit more thoughtful with this piece.
you’d think I’d have thought this through before I wrote eleven thousand words of prose!
I was going to take a break in between my books. After I finished Call of Herne, I was going to have a quite couple of days, catch up on some of my Anime backlog, maybe play some videogames.
But no. Like some insidious creepy crawly thing, the idea of The Delta Children began to weasel its way down inside the back of my skull, itching away like the ear-bugs from Wrath of Khan. I’m 4000 words into the bloody thing.
One of the biggest parts of starting this book has been moving the action back to a modern setting. All my previous stories have been set nearly a hundred and thirty years ago, whereas The Delta Children is near future. It’s a bit of a mindset change moving from one to the other. At the moment, most of the characters are in a very sealed environment, and I’m starting to get the story moving,
Soon though, I’ll take them into the wide world. And then things will get… fun.
Well, my poll closed earlier today, and it was, frankly, a landslide victory for The Delta Children.
And not that it was obvious beforehand who was going to win or anything, but I started writing the book yesterday when it still had 82% of the votes.
I will concede, it wasn’t the result in was expecting. Of the three concepts in the poll, Delta Children was the only one that wasn’t fantasy. Thankfully, its also the most developed concept of the three, so that has actually worked out quite well for me. The Damned Beneath was the most recent one, and was still a very nebulous idea, whereas Sky Trenches is an interesting idea to me, but I’m not entirely sure which direction I would have taken it in.
So, there we go. At least we can say that democracy has worked once this month.
So, after probably the longest time I’ve spent working on a single books since I started doing this consistently, I am FINALLY finishing writing Call of Herne today. It’s been a long road, and not always an enjoyable one, but now, its nearly done. I’m just writing the standard “Wrapping up” bits at the end.
My main problem is, what do I do next? You see, I’ve got a few concepts I’ve written down in my notebook, but I’ve only really got time to write one before I start on season two of Out of the Void.
So, because I’m Lazy, I’m going to put it up as a poll, and see what people fancy the most:
The Delta Children:
A group of genetically modified children escape from the holding laboratory where they have been kept. Endowed with terrifying powers, the group must find a way to survive whilst being hunted by government agents, in a country that fears the implications of their very existence.
1920: The war has waged on, and through the actions of both the British and German armies, France has been reduced to a desolate wasteland, covered in pockets of deadly gas. The war is now fought from massive ‘Trenches’ – huge Airships hovering above the ruined countryside. Richard, a young engineer, and Agnes, the daughter of a German General, are thrown together on an adventure as a final attempt at peace negotiations goes horribly wrong.
The Damned Beneath:
After witnessing a strange man slaying a demon, Carrie is drawn into a world wehre the dead of the city are policed by the living – beneath the veneer of civilisation, Demons, Zombies and other nasties are kept in checked by the Damned division, a group of police officers charged with keeping the peace between the living and the dead in this urban fantasy!
So, there are the choices. all of the ideas are at various stages of genesis, but given my writing style and method, that isn’ta major factor.
The book is very nearly finished. With a bit of luck, in fact, I should have the sodding thing done this week. I broached the 90k mark this evening, and I expect to wrap it up around the 100k mark.
Then comes the fiddly bit. My proofreader and editor – aka my mum – is in her busy time of year for work. On top of that, my highly professional cover designer – aka my wife – has got to get covers done for both the year one collection and Call of Herne itself. I don’t want to rush either of these things, so ideally I want to get the books launched around the end of July to sync up with the end of the first year of doing all this.
Then I’m going to try my hand at something else. I’m not sure what yet, but hopefully it will be fun.
Momentum can be a funny things. Sometimes it can feel like you’re rolling along like you’re on greased rails, but other times it can be like trying to push a boulder uphill.
This month, so far, has seen its share of both. I’ve pretty much stuck to my thousand word average a day, although I did take a day off last Saturday where I simply didn’t have the energy to write. finally though, I can say I’m onto the final stretch of call of Herne.
I know, I’ve been saying that for a while, but this time its for real. I’m literally finishing the penultimate chapter tomorrow, and then its the final blitz towards the finish.
Not bad for a book that was meant to be released last month, eh?
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But yeah, the problem is that I’m not sure whether or not I’m doing it for the right reasons. I’ve already killed a character very early on into the book, but the problem is that as it stands the good guys are taking very few casualties amongst the cast.
And that doesn’t really strike true for me. I know I can get away with it, but in the back of my mind there’s this niggling little thought that it isn’t realistic.
Of course this brings up the problem that would I just be killing this character to balance the numbers. If it isn’t justified by the story, killing a character is just a bit of a dick move. Its a cheap emotional tactic, and one I’m loathe to use.
On yet another hand, though, there’s the thought that it adds a dramatic element to the plot that might be necessary to emotionally spur on the final few scenes.
The struggle is real, folks. Thankfully, I’ve still got a while before I reach the point where I have to make that decision.