Wow! Another Year Already

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Image from http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Wow September the 8th, I get to this part of the year and it brings to mind that the year is about to enter its fourth and final quarter.

My birthday is in just over a week on the seventeenth and although this once filled me with wishes and expectation when I was younger, it now makes me look back on the last twelve months and take account of what goals I have made. What I have accomplished and even more so, what I have not accomplished in the last year.
For one, I said I would have sent my manuscript out to an agent. And buy and large I suppose I did, only it keeps coming back complete with rejection letters. I wanted to start a new novel, Not a sci-fi but a crime thriller, and that is on its way. I’m at least a third of my way to finishing the first draft. I’m very excited about this one. Its fast and gritty, with honest characters that are filled with many conflicting values and principals. Its great to write about bad guy turned good and god guy turned bad. They say the secret to a good book is conflict, and inner conflict is even better it is also a great motivator.
Its no secret that I’m a great sci-fi fan but the crime thriller genre is a page turner for sure.
The novel’s called, “The Promise” it follows a father and a promise he made to his wife sixteen years earlier. He is bad guy turned good. The only thing is a bad life has a habit of coming back, wanting its flesh even when you have no more to give. The promise he makes is about his daughter who has just turned sixteen. She has no idea what her father once was, where he made the money they live by today. How will she cope with the idea of living off blood money?
I really do love this one, and I hope so will the agents and publishes when its finished.
In the mean time my other novel “Purple” is still out there awaiting representation so any up and coming agents fancy a read and I haven’t sent it you then please don’t be shy.
A friend of mine was on his annual holiday and by chance bumped into an agent at a hotel bar. The conversation moved on to my friend telling her that he knew someone who was trying to get published. (Thats me he is talking about, incase you were wondering.) She told my friend the same as every writer out there knows. They have many thousands of query letters and synopsis per month and it all starts with the query letter, if thats ok then its the synopsis and if their still reading then its the first fifty pages or so and if you are still in the running, then they request the full manuscript. And even then you are likely to be rejected. Its a numbers game, a mood game. For instance if the agent had a bad night and had had enough of sci-fi then the next sci-fi novel would not get past the query stage.
In the end you can have the best query in the world and a synopsis that would bring tears of joy to the eyes. A manuscript that any full time author would give his right eye for. Your query can still be binned at the first glance.
I try not to take this as a negative but to reassure myself that if I keep sending them out and keep writing more, then one day it will be my manuscript that the agent see’s, and that day they were looking for a manuscript just like mine.

I have made big improvements in my personal life, finically and emotionally.  I look forward to what I have to come in this next year, who knows what may come.

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Character Relationships and Development.

Sometimes I think we can get so court up in the big full-on relationships of ours characters that it is possible to lose sight of the whole picture.

We are told that when developing characters that we should make a personal profile, by giving each and every character there own back story. Basically a life before the plot.  This is to give us (The writer) the ability to write from their (The character) life experience. Now this is good as long as you keep the exercise to the point of view characters. I say this because when I first started writing in a more than caesural manor, it was this that through me the most. Know one has ever told me that the least important the character, the less back story you need to create. Making a full and colourful life for all your characters will be fun, but I’m not sure if its necessary. To be clear I’m not the kind of writer that writes a full profile on any of my characters. I make them in my head and they stay in there. I was asked to explain this once and my explanation spooked me as much as it did the person asking. They said ‘How do you make these people up?’ my response was a few moments of fumbled thought and a few scratches of the head, then. ‘Its like there is a small room in the back of my head, where there are many little people. (I mean little people in my head) They kind of listen to what I want and when I’m stuck I hand over to them. They then spend what ever amount of time is necessary to make things work. I can be washing the car or cooking the tea but when they have finished working with the plot or character problems. I get an alert that things are ready to move. This normally comes in the form of that magic called inspiration. I stop what I’m doing and go find my laptop.’ Now the weird thing is that in my imagination this is what happens, a group of people live in my head waiting to help me when I am stuck on plot or character. Snapping into action when required.

Am I schizophrenic? I think not, I just have a good imagination. When you look at your own life and the complex relationships that are held there, you may see a kind of scale. First there is your close and most important relationship, your wife, husband, partner. These are the ones you know most. Then there are siblings, uncles, aunts, friends, work colleague and so on, the list goes on. What we have to remember is that when we interact with these people in the real world, we do so on a much different scale. Some people don’t get on with their mother or father. Some cannot be in the same room with there brother or sister. Some people place friendship far above the family connections.

Also if you give yourself such strict guides as character mapping, you can take the ability for a character to be lied to, or be manipulated by another, because you know too much about them. In life we fight to see the genuine within people but get it wrong more times than any of us would like to admit. By mapping every character I think its possible to take that ability away from your characters and make them a bit predictable. I would be very interested in your view on this, as I find characters fascinating and think its this that drives me to write.

Please comment or send me an email.

Destiny’s Crossing First day on Amazon

Well I suppose I’m now published. My short story Destiny’s Crossing went live yesterday and yes I have already sold some, no reviews as yet though. Its kind of strange, I looked at the story on the Amazon web site and immediately wanted to change the cover. Someone commented that you should never cut off peoples Limbs. Not knowing what they meant I quickly checked out the book cover and there plane as day, I had cut off the mans feet. I have since adjusted it on the templet and it looks a lot better for it, so thanks for the tip. Why I did this in the first place I just don’t Know. I will update the Cover later tonight, hell, I might even change the cover. It just shows you that when you decide that the cover is done, you better make sure it is. Because if this was a print book, I would be pretty much stuffed about now. Luckily for me I am finding my feet and this will not cost me to change it.

It’s cool that people are buying it, I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, I have many more short stories and I will put them on Amazon.  I will need to pay a bit more attention to my covers in future though.

If you are interested In Buying Destiny’s Crossing then click on this link Destiny’s Crossing, and please leave me a review.

Comments are always welcomed on the blog, I do really like them.

A day of snow

This gallery contains 26 photos.

I think this is the first snow we have had since November 2010. At least its the first that could be sledged on. I thought I would post a few pictures of my snow day. We in the Glenn household … Continue reading

Self Publishing to Kindle

I’m thinking about publishing some short stores to Kindle. I have at least five that I could quickly polish up and they would be good to go except for the cover.

I have spent a bit of time on two covers using Pixelmator on my mac. The first one is below, its called Destiny’s Crossing. The story is about a woman who while leaving the supermarket has probably the most important event happen to her since her  birth. I would like some comments on the design of the cover. While I know I’m no professional graphic artist, I think I know my way round a computer.   I’m putting my self in the ‘what do you mean, its not good enough’ realms. So honesty is paramount, after all I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing now, do I.

I have learnt some really useful things recently about book covers. For instance Kindle covers generally are 600 pixels by 800 pixels and have a DPI of 300. If you follow this setup then you will find it fits the Kindle screen nicely. Also try to use some colour, its tempting to go black and white because the Kindle is black and white, only the Kindle has platforms on the iPhone, iPad, PC and more. All these show the colour cover versions. This is no rule, I do like the cover above and as you can see its black and white. ( In my mind it suits the story that way)

The Cover below is of the short story A Brave Man A Mugger Be. The story follows a man through a mugging, Where he begins to empathise with his mugger. Its a strange one, but I do like it.

My other dilemma is do I charge, you see looking on Kindle their are Full length novels going for $0.99 (thats about £0.77 to us in  the UK) up to $15 $20 mark and a Short story for me, is about 1500 – 3000 words, I have a couple of novella that need more work and theres always my novel Purple, which Im still working on. This one is  to be traditionally published. Its hard these days with all this Do I self Publish or not.

I think I’m taking the stance that I will throw my short and maybe my novella up to self publish for the £0.77 and see what happens. These are quick to write and only take a little while to polish to a good standard.

Comments are more than welcomed, they are positively encouraged. So please leave a comment and say Hi.

Learning To Write, The Lesson Goes On

This being my first post about writing this year, I thought it may be a good time to update you all on how far I have come along this road we call Writing. At the turn of the year it was two years and three months from when I decided (after reading a book I thought of being badly written) I was good enough to write a novel.

Since then I have finished a novel called Purple, which is about a man and his family. How an alien race attack his home town. The protagonist John Valley has to fight to find his son and wife whilst coming to terms with his birthright which has given him extraordinary  powers.

I began another novel called Sole Man this one is a supernatural thriller about a man who moves to a new home only to find he has unlocked an unusual ability. I’m currently only half way through this one. Mainly because Purple decided to push its self back into my life with (you guessed it) a part two, I called It A Lost Nation. This follows Purple but two years on. A kind of what happened next. I know that the books say that I should have finished Sole Man first but I just could not get Purple out of my head. With all the short story ideas, some written and polished, others still just notes on my computer, I’m finding that I’m pretty annoying to my family with all the change of subjects.

I suppose this is one of the biggest lesson, that you have to finish the story because if you don’t it just stays an idea. last december i sent Purple to a Pod cast show and  the first chapter was read out on air. Paula B (thats the host) says that the story and suspense was good but it needs cuts and a good copy edit. I think her words were ‘this is un-readable in its current state. At the time I thought ok, thats fine, maybe I should go over it again. It wasn’t until the first week into January that I decided to take a look at it.

Now keep in mind that I thought it was almost at a publication quality. The very first sentence I found two things that need changing and the punctuation was not good. I must have changed every sentence on the first page, then on the second page. I have since cut two and a half thousand words from the first twelve thousand words of the book. I’m acutely getting worried that this will not stay novel length by the end of this edit.

That said, it sounds so much better for the cuts. I think Stephen King said in his book On Writing that you must kill your darlings. Well it wasn’t just my darlings that I’m killing it was some very bad stuff that had no right to be in the book in the first place.

I began writing because of the thought that I could do better than a published author, well I have since read more of that authors work and have enjoyed most of it. He had a bad book I suppose. I can only throw my respect to all authors that have managed to get published. Maybe I will never be one of them or maybe I will. All I can say is that I love to write, I love the way the characters come to life in my head, how they become part of my life. And as long as I can write I will, published or not. I will learn and the lesson will go on.

The End Is Nigh

I watched a TV program this morning and one of the points made, was that of the sun exploding and destroying the earth. Thus killing us all.

It got me thinking that if we KNOW this will happen to the human race, then should we not be making concrete plans to find other places in the universe, and go there. (The story of Noah comes to mind. The only difference is that we maybe capable of avoiding our demise.)

They say that ninety nine percent of creatures that have existed on earth are extinct. So are we being premature to begin planning so we don’t go by the way of a swollen sun.

I must be clear that the sun will not take us for about another 5 billion years. So we do have time on our side.

May I offer this for thought, that we should maybe eradicate starvation and human suffering before reaching for the stars. Can a race expect to survive on other worlds when it still cannot fix such fundamental problems such as these. I’m no fundamentalist and I except the role of nature and evolution in our lives. Its just sometimes I watch the news and see things happen in the world, that make no sense to the evolution of our species.

There is a miss interpretation of the mayan calendar, that all ends december 2012.

A phrase comes to mind, ‘everything that begins, must end’  so the calendar could not run for all time and they who made it had to make a point to stop it somewhere.

It’s a finger nail biting moment

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The time is 07:46am I received an email last night from a popular podcast show called The Writing Show. It’s hosted by Paula B and she informed me that she will be looking at my book in her next show. The show is posted today and because it’s in America I’m not sure what time. I have checked twice already. They are a few hours behind and I have no clue as to what time zone she lives in.
Oh he’ll I’m nervous, its that someone else is reading my work with a critical eye. I have listened to Paula B’s podcast for years now and very much respect her view, I even look forward to listening to it because I know it will help me with the book. Still the nerves are here.
You will be able to find this podcast at http://www.writingshow.com or on iTunes it’s labeled as slush pile workshop 22.

The time is 8:22pm I have now listened to the podcast and before I give you my update I thought I would explain why I time stamped the post. Why not post the bit above this morning then post this update? Well because I think i wanted to keep it together and I like the format it’s like a diary of today’s events. And who wants to keep getting emails that I’m posting every two hours.
Back to the podcast, Paula B read my chapter and that was strange in its self. I have listened to her read other peoples writings for years. She was kind with a large scoop of honesty. In brief my story is good, my plot is good. It’s very cinematic. These are some of the good points that she talked about on the show. The main point was copy edit, copy edit, copy edit.
I have to say that this does not come as to much of a shock, I must be the worst speller in the world and punctuation, well I’m still on that learning curve.
In my defence I wrote the first chapter to Purple back in 2008 and I have learnt so much since then. I suppose my challenge now is to bring that what i have learned to the book and stop being lazy. Give it a listen and by all means give me your opinion especially with the word tw*t (for a full disclosure of this word listen to the podcast) as this seems to have a different meaning in the states and I think I may need to change it.

A Christmas play

I have two children and they are both boys. This year is the first year that they are both in the same school and playing in separate plays.

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My oldest son is playing a solder from world war one, the play is called Silent Night, Holy Night. He reinacted through dance the game of football played by opposing sides on that famous Christmas eve in nineteen fourteen. For a group of ten year olds I have to say it was a very
Moving and special performance. It left me feeling good about the human spirit at such times.

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My younger son is dancing in the Nut Cracker, I’m forever impressed and so proud of my children.

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I was one of the three kings in the christmas plays when I was young. Now a days it’s a historic point of history by my oldest and one of the most successful plays of all time by my youngest. Who says the world has not moved on for the better. In my house my children are surpassing me at the ages of ten and seven.

How time can stand still

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I met my wife when she was eight-teen and she worked on a market stall selling clothing. I would wait for her at a food stall in sight of her while she would finish each day. Usually i was eating a bacon and egg sandwich.(the good old days when this was not a treat) I was twenty-one at the time and Never realised what impression this made in me.
This morning I revisited the food stall by pure chance, again waiting for my wife, this time she is not in sight of me because she now managers an outlet for a company called Biotherm. Seventeen years on I’m sitting on the same chair as I did back then and like a unbroken habit I order a coffee and a bacon and egg sandwich, it was like i had never left.

We may move jobs and grow into more experienced people but as I sit here now I feel the same as I did back then. Time truly stands still in some places.