Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Finish Line....For Now....

It's official. I've just completed the first draft of the Devil's Number. Weighing in at 22,296 words and 78 pages, I managed to finish a little under a week ahead of schedule. I promised myself I'd have the draft finished by Christmas time and I've done it. I know I predicted a word count target of 25,000 words, but it was only a guide. I didn't quite make it but a successful author once told me that a story will find it's own length. By the time I re-work the novella it could be 35,000 words or it could be 18,000 words. It all depends on how many more scenes or flesh I add to the story or how much I cut out - who knows?

The self-imposed discipline paid off. And the reward? I now get to spend the Christmas break pounding out some short works that have been begging to be let out of that cage I call my subconcious, while my novella manuscript will be left alone for a good month or so before I attack it with my red pen - I can't wait! Rest assured, I'll keep you in the loop as to how it's going in the new year.

So let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and for fuck sake, drive carefully when you're travelling - you know what the road toll's like. Listen to me - I sound like your mother!

Seriously, everyone enjoy their break and I'll be back online again and refreshed after new year's. I think 2007 is going to be a huge year for us writers. There's going to be an absolute deluge of new stuff making its way into print.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another 3,000 Words

Whew! What a spurt. I managed to bash out three thousand words tonight in an hour and a half on Part III of The Devil's Number and man does it feel good! I'm rapidly approaching the climax of the story - it's going to rock.

I never thought I'd write this much - I've surprised myself. 18,400 words! Anyway I've had enough for tonight but I'm right on track to completing the first draft by Christmas. I reckon two more sessions should do it. I'm looking forward to writing a few short pieces over the break to give myself time away from the novella so I can come back to it and mangle it up and re-write and re-work the parts I'm not happy with. Then I'll realise what real work is. Bring it on!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Jaunt - Orphaned

My sci-fi story, The Jaunt will not be published as planned. It was to be released in an anthology called Timeflash next year but the project isn't going ahead.

Although this is quite sad, it is good experience for me because I know that it probably won't be the last time this happens. I think it's one of those things we, as writers can't control and we simply have to move on. So without further ado, I will be sending The Jaunt out again as soon as possible. Life goes on and I'm not going to cry over spilt milk.

Last night I was looking through all my files on the computer and I found I actually had a total of thirty short stories in my document files. I nearly fell off the chair because I didn't realise I had so many. Of course, some of them are earlier pieces that most likely won't see the light of day - who knows? It made me think, why can't I aim to complete seventy more next year and bring the total up to one hundred. A big ask, I know but quite a few of those would be micro stories that are less time-consuming.

What I'm reading: Clive Cussler's Treasure of Kahn

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Final Stretch....

Whew! The first draft of Part II of The Devil's Number is complete. No long to go now - only about 9,000 words to be written. As much as I'd like to, I can't say what's going to happen. It wouldn't be fair to you because my original idea could change dramatically with the second draft - so I'll keep tight lipped for the time being.

Even though the relief will be sweet once I've finished the first draft, I know that the real work will begin when I go back to it after letting the novella sit for a month. I know for a fact that it is far from satisfactory at the moment. Sure, there are passages of writing I'm okay with, but most of the story is going to be re-written and re-worked extensively. This is a fact of life as a writer and I'm really looking forward to getting out my red pen. Some of my short stories have gone through many re-writes and drafts. The novella will be no exception - it'll be treated with a very critical eye (it's just the way I work.) I want it to stand out so it has a chance of being published next year. I feel fortunate that I can distance myself emotionally from my work so I can edit it properly with no regrets, no sorrow, no remorse - because when it is finished and when I'm happy - I know it'll have the best chance of finding a home.

Changing the subject, last night I took my beautiful pregnant wife to see the new Bond film, Casino Royale and I have to say I was impressed. My wife really enjoyed it too so that's a pretty big thing. Daniel Craig portrays the character of Bond perfectly. The movie has certainly breathed new life into the franchise and let's be honest - it needed it. And, we finally find out what makes Bond tick and why his personality is so cold in all the films. Highly reccomended.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Latest Purchase

Aside from my writing, one of my passions is reading. Occasionally, I like to read some stuff other than horror. So imagine my delight when I recently picked up a copy of Clive Cussler's latest adventure novel, Treasure of Kahn. I became aware of its upcoming release back in February this year and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

Clive Cussler is one of my favourite authors of all time. Whenever a new book of his comes out I buy it without reading the blurb on the inside flap. I don't need to (I always buy his books in hardback) because I know Clive will always deliver a compelling story. It takes a pretty special author to instill that trust in me. Aside from Clive Cussler there is one more author that I trust that much - the late and great Richard Laymon.

I can remember when I was fifteen. My reading appetite was insatiable. Looking for something to sink my teeth into, I raided my Dad's collection of books and came across one of Clive's earlier books, Cyclops. Since then, he had hooked me and I've been reading him ever since. When I grab a new book, it's like visiting old friends - the characters, the adventure, the intrigue and interesting historical references.

This latest adventure is about 500 pages long and it'll only take me four days to rip through - can't wait.

Oh, by the way, I just got back from seeing The Descent. Fucking awesome!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Back to the Grindstone

After almost a fortnight of no writing whatsoever, I'm glad to say that I'm back into it. The Devil's Number is on the move again - thank God. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but my workplace merged with a larger company six weeks ago. As time has gone on, the place has become busier, the tasks more demanding, the workload more horrendous. Don't get me wrong - I love my job but lately I've been so mentally exhausted that when I got home each night the last thing I wanted to do was write.

I know this is a poor excuse and that I should have forced myself to sit at the keyboard - but it felt like my brain power had completely fizzled out.

But now, after a little r and r over the weekend I sat down this afternoon and pummeled out another thousand words of the first draft of my novella, taking the word count up to 15,456. Not bad for a hack who only wrote up to 4,000 words in the past. I'm nearing the end of Part2 and it feels really good to be motoring along again.

Tomorrow night I'm off to see The Descent. I haven't sat down and watched a decent horror movie in quite some time so I'm looking forward to it - it'll be great way to unwind. I watched the trailer the other day and it does look quite good. I'll let you know what I think...