Things Ben shouldn’t do in October…

October isn’t a good month for me. Mentally, it’s one of the times of year where I’m a little bit… off. There are plenty of reasons, most of them rather dull, but the crux of the situation is that my concentration levels aren’t exactly at their peak at this time of the year.

So it was a bit bloody silly of me to set myself an October deadline to finish The Delta Children. I still intend to do it, mind, but I’m not getting nearly as much work done as I hoped I would when I started the month.

There’s also the fact that I’m still very much struggling with the book itself. My stories tend to go though some fairly bg evolutions during the process of writing – I’m a sequential writer, I can’t skip ahead and write the ending, then jump back and write another chapter, then fit it together like a literary jigsaw, I have to write the story as it would be read. The thing is, I’m often learning the plot at the same time as the reader would! 

One conclusion I have come to, though,  is that The Delta Children isn’t going to work as a standalone novel. There’s too many facets to this universe to fit into one relatively short book. It would need to be about 300000 words long to do that, and I really don’t have the patience to stick with these characters for that long! As an introduction to a universe,  it could work well, but as a single book in its own right… eh. We’ll see what the response to it is when it hits the market.

Well, that’s where we stand for now. Blog again soon!

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The ravages of time.

I’m at that weird point in a books life where I’m starting to keenly feel the pressures of time. Yes, as an indie author I know I set my own deadlines, but ultimately I need to stick to them: I can’t really put off the second  season of my main books and I need to get a head start on them if I want to release them in January. 

Thankfully, one thing The Delta Children does have is the fact that I’m entering the final act. Now I just need to figure out what happens. I’m considering leaving a certain amount of open-endedness to it, as, with some of the characters at least, theres room to revisit and tell further stories.

But I need to focus on finishing the damned thing first!

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OktoberschreibenFest 2016: Day One.

And so it begins. And no, I’m not writing that title every day. 

THe way I see it, I’ve got thirty one days of October to work with, and that’s 31000 words, give or take, that I can get written to finish The Delta Children. 

Time to start running for the finish line!

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Rainy days

The advantage of being stuck on a bus that’s taking ages to reach its destination is that, at the very least, I have time to write a blog.

So, caught in traffic, recovering from an all day migraine and distinctly feeling the lack of sleep I had last night, I find myself reflecting on where I’m up to, and where I’ve come from. 

Okay, so I’m not making a living off my writing yet. That’s fairly obvious from the fact I’m on a bus to my daily dose of purgatory at my day job, but even though I’m not selling in massive numbers, I feel like I’m edging closer, that I’m building  a fanbase and word by word,  letter by letter, I’m getting closer to that goal of doing this full time.

The temptation is to try and find some kind of magic bullet, that single book that catches the publics imagination and propels me up the rankings to financial independence. Yes, we hear stories of books like Twilight and Fifty shades of Grey doing this, but I keep having to remind myself that they’re the exception rather than  the rule. If I get there, when I get there, it’s going to have to be through perseverance. 

All I can do is hope I make it, and keep plugging away.

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The Midfield Conundrum.

No, this is not, as the title may suggest, a blog about how Manchester United could sort its problems out. Firstly, This isn’t a sports blog, and secondly, I’m more of a rugby man.

No, this is about the fact that I’m starting to get a bit… well, bored of The Delta Children. I’m 38k words into the bloody thing, and I’m struggling a bit. This is my first foray into Action/Sci-Fi, and at the moment a lot of my characters are standing around doing not very much at all other than setting the scene.

It’s the bit all writers get a bit bored of, I suppose. It’s like sitting in the cinema, watching the film roll, when you were the one who filmed it. You know what’s coming, and you know the good bits are coming up but you’ve got to get through the bits where all the characters are talking to each other first.

Ultimately, I have a month and a half to finish this book before my self-imposed deadline. It’s plenty of time. I’ve just been toying with another concept in my head and it’s really grabbed my imagination.

I’m actually tempted to put back the second season of High Moon Rising/Order of Britain in order to write it. But we shall see.


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The calm before…

I’ve had fairly hit and miss luck with promotion over the year and a bit I’ve been publishing, but recently, in order to spur my sales a bit I jumped on the chance to get in on one of Patty’s Promos.

Patty Jansen, a damned fine author in her own right, spends time each month running a promotion through her website, and a couple of weeks ago High Moon Rising Volume One was part of her 99c promotion.

Given that my books are pretty damn niche, I wasn’t expecting big things, and since my promotions have been limited to giving away books for free before now, a sales promotion was something I was very new to.

However, I was pleasantly suprise by the results. Over the course of the weekend, I ended up selling about twenty books. This may not sound like much, but it was twenty more than I’d sold in the previous month!

I’ve made no bones about the fact that promotion is my least favourite part of indie publishing, mainly because its time away from writing, but finding a good promo is brilliant. Unfortunately for me, I’m going to have to get back on the proverbial wagon soon, because Call of Herne is  veering over the horizon. Currently, my goal is to finish The Delta Children by the end of October, and get a head start on season 2 of my main books for 2017.

It’s a steep learning curve, but you live or die by it, I suppose.

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Tick… tick… tick…

I think every writer has days when they don’t want to write, and those are the most difficult days you’re ever going to get. As much as you push yourself, sometimes it’s better to take the hit and leave the writing, because if your heart isn’t in it, the quality of your work will suffer.

As a writer with a day job, however, equally difficult are the days when you’re looking at the clock and thinking ‘I could be writing. I could be at home, tapping away on my keyboard, hammering out the plot of this story.’

Today, thankfully, was one of the latter. The Delta Children is finally coming into its stride, Call of Herne is edited, but is waiting for my in house artist to find the time to do the book cover, and I’ve got ideas bouncing round my skull like ping ping balls in a wind tunnel.

I like these days. When I was at Uni, I was encouraged to always carry a notebook with me, so that I could jot ideas down as and when they hit me. It’s a habit that I’ve sometimes allowed to lapse, but not in the last few years. The Nuclei of most of my stories are in there,  and I add and ditch ideas as I go along. Today I had random ideas about clockwork worlds and faery counter-terrorism units bouncing through my mind,  and it always helps to scribble away in my House Stark notebook and think of where to go next with my writing.

Admittedly, after The Delta children is done, I’m going to have to get a start on season two of High Moon Rising and Order Of Britain before I do anything else, but it’s nice to have some other toys in the attic.

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Fatal four way.

I have, as I may have mentioned before, got a bit of a tendency to not plan ahead when it comes to my stories. It isn’t so much that I don’t plan, but beyond the initial nucleus of the idea, I tend to disregard most of the details I plan really early on, and from that point onwards improvisation takes over.

Delta Children is well and truly into that phase at this point. From a relatively small cast of characters, the stories roster is beginning to expand and adapt to fit the story. The most interesting example of this so far is a news reporter who, initially was just a throwaway characer, but had now become fairly central to the second act, by becoming a catalyst for groups of characters to link together.

There are currently three active factions in the story, and I was definitely struggling to bring them all together, and eventually it became clear to me that I’d have to expand even further and bring in a fourth player to the game. A part of me is starting to get uncomfortable with expanding the cast this much, but it’s become unavoidable. 

The only other way would be to Deus Ex the hell out of it, and whilst I’m not averse to a bit of the old Machina, it would be way to early in the story at this point.

At the moment, Delta Children is starting to straddle the line between thriller and Sci Fi, with a few horror elements thrown in for kicks. I’m also starting to plan season two of High Moon Rising / Order of Britain, so I’ve got plenty to keep me entertained!

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Promo time! 

I’m in this month’s promo by Patty Jansen, along with many other great authors; check it out!

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I was intent on writing a full thousand words today but…

Too Hot

I shall catch up later in the week.

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