On Deciding Which Place To Be

I suppose it may have been the Summer again. Or to be more objective my attitude to the summer season. The heat, the bright sunlight, long daylight, activity even muted by Covid; these do not suit me. Of course at 70 one should not wish life away, years, months even days should not be squandered and yet winter draws me ever on.

Summer brings out the worst in me, particularly this one had me in a very combative mood and willing to engage in arguments on social media, on all manner of topics, just because. All very undignified and not the least bit profitable  There was an effort not to smear this mood all over WP and keep it where it belonged – FaceBook. Hence my general absence from WP

Happily there was a smidge of constructive dignity still working within. This, of course being attention to my own writing project. If you have followed my blog you will know about my ragged progress and less than serious approach to marketing 

Another Launch (Persistence Doesn’t Always Pay, But It’s Satisfying)

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The British Approach

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

Although the last volume of the trilogy was in theory completed one year ago, the re-write process beckoned. This, personally is an enjoyable stage, aside from the obvious corrections, tinkerings and checking continuity in all its manifold ways, there is the joy of realising the overall intentions were surviving the necessities of a narrative. On this particular jaunt there was an urge within to re-visit the previous two volumes and work through them one last time to ensure they led in a sort of cohesive manner unto the third. Thus 2021 has been a year in which three large (If you are doing epic fantasy ‘large/long’ is something of a requirement) volumes were aligned. Yet another series of re-writes, I like to muse over the situation that should these books ever achieve noticeable sales status how early purchasers could brag they have ‘first editions’ and argue the case for the writing or narrative of those. A writer whose history does not contain even the words ‘some modest success’ should always keep an element of whimsey in their head (either that or take marketing and allied disciplines seriously)

On the whole the process has been yet another enjoyable and enlightening process. AS WE all know Word has many failings. Yet Read Aloud along with the ability to shift entire chapters around like chess pieces do carry their own particular appeals, also a sense of The Unexpected. In the case of the former this would be the sudden lurch into another gender’s voice, like some intrusive boor blundering into a conversation you are having with a friend, while Word throws up a frantic yellow bar warning in a woefully inadequate attempt to deny all culpability. When it comes to the latter shifting portions of the narrative might look fine at a particular juncture, but they could have a tectonic effect in The Continuity much further on down; by then the original revision is so embedded into the narrative it is necessary to give way to the impetus set in place back at at Chapter Fifteen and amend with much vigour to the events laid out in the first (or second) draft at Chapter Fifty-One. These are something of a melding of the Artistic, Imaginative and above all Inventive in the business. Some folk enjoy crosswords, siduko, chess or card game puzzles. for me the challenge of the re-write is the thing.   

The Third Volume nears final (only three re-writes) completion, the artist who did such stunning work on Volume Two’s cover is on the case.  Skirmishers  So maybe the final work will see the light of Kindle by the end of the year.

Ah me, this is where I should have been spending more time than was spent. Three volumes completed, a joy in itself. But soft, I have tarried long enough. Time to break camp and set forth on the final clime up the last 35,000 words.

Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences.   (Being Volume 3 of The Precipice Dominions)

I do love this happy burden.

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The Low-Key Approach)

SkirmishersThe Book

haughty response 2 The author has declined to appear for this post; he says he may not appear ever again; which may, arguably be a wise move. That said the team….. Well to be frank a certain selection of the team who have a more realistic view of the world and didn’t inform the others decided on this approach.

Doffing a hatThere we are m’dear. Nothing to be worried about, just say what comes in your head.

Impatient fellowYeah you bozos listen up. Ok, this is not how I would have done it. But you give the girl some space here. Or you’ll be speaking with the Knuckles Brothers.

Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised Heck, I don’t know how I got caught up in this; that’s one of the things about surfing the net, you never know. Anyway, since I’m here. This book, Vol II of what’s called The Precipice Dominions which I guess is allegorical. Y’know like the state of the nations and folks in the books, all wired up and on the edge with their plots, plans and ‘stuff’ you get in Fantasy Novels.

So the sometimes cute, sometimes deadly couple Arketre and Karlyn are making the best of The Sweet Life up in some faraway place called Terasonia’ cause they know sooner or later ‘stuff’ is going to happen. Trelli is being taught how to use her powers by some girls in this Libratery place (think of nuns, but not like the Sound of Music, and a lil’ bit like those weird women in Dune whose names I can’t remember ). Then A & K are sent off to see what they can make out of a sort of rebellion against the local prince, while Trelli gets despatched with a long beautiful & snooty called Coltello and some escorts to do something which didn’t make sense to me in another faraway place, called Fenshan. Then there’s all sorts of mini-adventures with Trelli turning up like a faux-ghost to rescue A & K from “The Dark Side”  that’s got into them.

After that Karlyn goes off one of those freaky path ways she uses to help Trelli with her task, and Arketre having been promoted to officer starts throwing military intimidation around in all directions. This is when things get all complex, because some renegades from that even more far off Shadow Lords realm invade. And this is the good thing, unlike most books they  don’t get to slay hundreds of locals until only our heroes are left with magic doo-hickies; the girls are just part of the army. Some guy I know who reads military histories says its also all allegorical (I like that word; I’m gonna use it a lot at coffee breaks) to do with other wars, but I switched off after he started on his fourth example.

Anyway, the girls do well. Trelli swings that power of hers about, keeps her cool and gets ‘lucky’ (y’know…. I mean lllluckieeee!). We get some of Karlyn’s back story which is fun because she gets dual identity; her usual kooky self, and sometimes all regal, and imperious, like in one of those historical dramas. And Arketre goes action mode and kinda edgy.  Impatient fellow I like that girl!!

Y’know it’s no spoiler to say it works out, because by now you should know that’s what the writer is all about. There’s a bit at the end which is really funny, in a way which is sweet, and a take on how men still see us girls but A & K use to their advantage. 

There’s lots of other things going on with other characters which I guess Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised leads into the next volume, so you might want to get a notebook out to remind yourself of who is doing what, where, when and why for future reference. 

Although, it’s like 200,000 words and lot going on, it’s not a bad read. Even if Fantasy is not your thing, despite some gory bits it’s a kinda light. Not Game of Thrones, and my boy-friend says ‘Joe Abercrombie; it’s not’  he reads a lot of Fantasy so make of that what you will. So for 0.99 whatevers; y’know.

anger-clipart-rage-2 Too many women having there own way! Naah that won’t do! If you ask me…..

Wives and lovers woman clothed

WE AN’T!!

worried-manI’ve never seen a man so out of shape move so fast….

Young woman, finger on lips, looking confused surprised(I was warned something like this might happen) Anyway. Like I was about to say. It’s on Kindle Amazon, and it’s free for the rest of Friday then it’s 0.99

And that’s about all we have to say on it. OK?

Re-Launch

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

victorian-mens-costumes-2Well that’s was rather restrained. In an trans- Atlantic sort of way, wouldn’t you say Chumbleigh-Smythe?……. Oh quite so old chap. Mind you 200,000 words, that’s rather large book…I say haven’t you heard about these Thimbles they can put books on? Dashed clever…… I think Fotherington-Jones you might mean a Kindle…….Kindle Harrington-Carruthers? What sort of word is that???…..Oh it’s something to Americans dreamed up…… Hmmm how very curious…..Now what were we talking about?…..Where to go for lunch I think…Good idea. 

Pondering oneI saw worse on the last marketing run. The girl saved it……again.

Just for Marketing and Giggles II (The team conference)

Skirmishers

WIN_20201130_14_37_57_Pro OK guys. It’s out there I know this can’t be avoided. How are we going to handle this one?

shy-man-partyLeave well alone and unto the whims of the free-sales campaign? I feel there is more dignity in the simple nobility of the effort of writing and then saying ‘Ah this now belongs to The Ages’

Impatient fellow. Are you kiddin’? We gotta go hard and aggressive. We gotta get these books out there. We gotta grab the public’s attention by da scruff  of its neck. We gotta shake ’em loose from their tired ways, an’ tell ’em to stop their weak ass’d ways of just following what’s trending or best selling. We gotta make ’em think an’ try something new. We gotta…..

Pondering oneYou do realise this author and his advisor are British don’t you?

Impatient fellowWell, can I smack him in the mouth then for being such a self-effacing whimp ?

Wives and lovers woman clothedNo cuz’. We’d had this talk before. He’s kinda harmless an’ means well. Now go back to arguing with Covid-Conspiracy types. You enjoy that. Ok guys back to your sorta marketing.

WIN_20201130_14_37_57_Pro  Thank you

enthusiastic 3How about this? It’s a winner I tell ya!

. Ohhhhhh,

Buy the book

Buy the book,

You’ll enjoy it.

Take a look

Cautious 2It has a certain…….quality?

PuzzledYeah, that’s a polite way of putting it

This meeting is declared adjourned!!

pogo.stick. 2Well I must get my copy now!

Gee. Is it gonna work?………………………………….Only in the world the book is set.

Re-Launch

Some folk of a ‘certain’ age will recall back in the late 1950s & early 1960s the number of failed launches of American unmanned space craft. And yet within 10 years the USA was the first and only nation to land men on the Moon.

I take comfort from that.

Anyway

Skirmishers  Latest edition

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Skirmishers-Lace-Steel-Fire-ebook/dp/B07SSLN1GQ

And is currently free for 4 days. (Tuesday to Friday).

In this volume the same trio are involved directly with various parties, leading to them taking part in fighting off an incursion by a renegade Shadow Lords Prince in the princedom of Terasonia. 

Those who purchased the previous flawed versions are thus able to avail themselves of an improved and final version. 

For those who did get Vol I Of Patchwork Warriors’ but went no further below in an extract from ‘Our Skirmishers of Lace Steel and Fire’ 

Extract: Having been separated from Karlyn and Arketre and finding her abilities growing Trelli reaches out to her friends to break them out of a dangerous influence….. 

   ………………..       Beritt in an undignified sprawl gaped at the sight of her friend, all spectral. The LifeGuard, seeking a religious comfort touched two fingers of her right hand to her forehead, her lips and then her heart. The action stung as if offensive.

          ‘Dear Lord God. Trelli. You’re dead. You’re a ghost,’

          Trelli tutted in derision, now folding her arms.

          ‘No. I am not. My living body is on board a ship out in the Centrus somewhere. Me? I am here because I felt a great,’ she stopped pointedly, attention on Karlyn ‘Karlyn let go of Arketre’s hair. Will you both sit in a more modest fashion, and please wipe your faces clean,’ she cleared her ethereal throat ‘To repeat I was suddenly aware of a great peril about my dear friends, but as I drew closer sensed a greater unpleasantness, reminding me of Ragithyl,’

          Both were about to voice objections, when Trelli’s hands lifted towards them and they were bathed in a swift-flowing of red and blue light, making them both to splutter and gasp as if being drenched in a cold, clear waterfall.      

          Trelli examined her hands.

          ‘My. A bit unexpected, I was intending just to talk to you,’

          Beritt was sitting up straight. Legs tight together. Head in hands.

          ‘Was I really discussing killing a prince of the empire, in a casual tone?’

          Karlyn gave the matter five’s worth of serious thought.

          ‘Yeah. An’ you convinced me too. Oh, Frib and Spiffle. Whychie-in the-Spectral, did we ‘appen to look particularly stormhiggle dirty?’

          ‘Ha. I should say. Well I appear to have cleaned your faces too.  I was wondering why you seemed to have an Ethereal…bother. Stommigheid appearance of having been sloshed with buckets of the sort of water which runs out of slaughterhouses,’

          Karlyn slapped her forehead.

          ‘Oh, arse-blasts. We was sproggled, thence kerfluffeged into being seduced by the Zerstorung,’

          Beritt and Trelli did not appear to be any the wiser.

          ‘Flaxi. When we was fighting that spikie in the bad desert. We got splattered, we did,’

          ‘We’ll explain later,’ Beritt told Trelli, Karlyn rushed on.

          ‘In Zerstorung infected territory. Right? We got it poured over us. And it slowly started to seep in,’ she clenched her fists, her hands shook ‘We were on our way down the spikies road. Talking about murdering poor Krafty,’

          Beritt had been more inclined to think back to her own experiences and tales from the LifeGuard of the troopers who had walked so far into bad places they didn’t just not understand how to get back out; and they did not see the point of doing so. There again with Trelli saying they’d looked particularly stained, in a Stommigheid way she wasn’t going to argue with either girl. She was out in the middle of a fast-flowing river again and the banks on either side very far away.  Scraith. She had started to be dragged over to the Zerstorung ways. ‘Go with the current medician, go with the current, until you meet some sort of landfall…Fine advice if you know what sort of river you are in,’

          Karlyn meanwhile was in admiration of Trelli, Beritt wondered if the girl was going to kneel and offer up prayers to her.       

          ‘Oh my Whychie. You truly are one of them forces of Nature people. Yeah. See, makes sense, I mean you’ve been doing things without knowing how to do them,’

          Trelli was too cross with the pair of them for being so careless she was not in the mood for praise.

          ‘Nice of you to notice. Now how did you both get so dirty, scruffy and half-dressed in this reasonable room?’

          Karlyn said ‘urr’, suddenly feeling very much, the naughty housemaid. Neither girl felt confident enough to explain to their friend Trelli about their romance. It didn’t seem the time, nor the place. They did find time to exchange a chastened look. Neither could remember much about last night apart from a general impression of being somewhat ‘basic’. Beritt after her few years in the LifeGuard was naturally quicker with an excuse, though one based on a reasonable assumption. Which she launched into as she pulled on undershorts and trousers.

          ‘Y’know Kit- Karlyn I reckon from what you pair been sayin’ being very much possessed by unnatural forces, was causing us to be careless in our dignities,’ her mouth quirked inwards as she continued with the invention ‘Hence our unhappy state of poor cleanliness and dress. Must have come about through rolling in confusion?’ she winced; the last part did sound weak. 

          ‘Yeah,’ Karlyn enthused ‘Lost our dignities,’

          They had talked about what they would say concerning their romance to Trelli when they next met but the conversations had petered out into vaguenesses. Neither wanted to have her feeling she should no longer be around. This was Trelli, friend, equal partner in the ventures and the sensible one.

          Thus by the time this excessive agreement was done they were presentably dressed, and hair brushed. Karlyn was then swift to change the subject back onto Trelli.

          ‘You are a marvel Trelli. Everything is natural to you, don’t ‘ave to think about it. And you with your good heart are bound to be against anything spikie,’ without thinking Karlyn reached out intending to hug Trelli, only realising she was halfway to hugging herself managed to stop. 

          Beritt was suddenly awash with a great sense of relief coming riding over her nagging fears, doubts, and memories, even if only for a short time. Her head was clearing, she could see beyond the getting here. It was a time to take strong battlefield decisions without orders. No killing unless in self-defence. She wanted to get the talk to conversational.

          ‘What y’all doing thereabouts Trelli?’

          ‘I’m with the Devoteds in Tuscatalia now travelling to a port Drolis, in Anthes, I think then going north-east, somewhere,’

          Karlyn sounded quite relieved.

          ‘Then you’re not eloping with Wigran?’

          A discernible frost settled about Trelli.

          ‘No, I am not. After we lost you, we all ended up in Elinid and when he met me, he had some sort of stupid idea about pretending to hate me, frib knows why. Anyway, I was hurting, frightened, tired and upset over you both, and had no time for his rock-headed scheme,’ she sniffed ‘So I threw him over a table and threw the table after him,’ she paused ‘Or maybe the other way around. It was a confusing time. He never thinks things through,’ she sniffed again ‘I then went to the nearest Libratery,’

          Beritt whistled low in admiration.

          ‘Frib sweetlin’. Throwing fellahs an’ tables. Strong girl,’

          ‘Poor Whychie,’ Karlyn said ‘An’ after all you did. He’s not worth your time,’

          ‘He can be a bit hasty,’ Trelli replied forlornly, at that juncture she felt very lonely, even though they looked dishevelled and abashed, seeing Karlyn and Arketre together had her realising how closer the three of them had become. She missed that so much.

          Beritt was insistent on getting back to the subject of location.

          ‘And whence onwards are y’all bound?’

          ‘Fenshan,’

          ‘Fenshan’ Beritt drew out the word and looked from one girl to the other. ‘Tremoran,’

          She had made the words sound worse than a visit to The Third Hell. Trelli hovering became a little less stable, her voice tart.

          ‘I’ve already been warned. Everyone seemed to have much fun in warning me,’

          ‘But not from me Trelli,’ Beritt was back to her clipped military voice. Karlyn stopped thinking the way Karlyn usually did, memories from elsewhere calling from far off as Beritt continued ‘We were allowed to sneak into Terasonia but would not be allowed by any means to go into the patch from Tuscatalia over to Tremoran and in between, right Trelli?’

          ‘I was told they come under Devoteds jurisdiction. Some convention or other,’

          ‘Concord of 175, as confirmed in 283, by Imperial Edict,’ Beritt rattled off ‘Just so. However it was common knowledge a few of our deniable scouting half-files were sent to the Tuscatalian borders and some places to the east just to take a sniff around,’ Karlyn sniggered but was ignored ‘Only to make sure, you understand there Trelli?’

          ‘Pleased to say, I don’t,’ and looked very proud of herself, Karlyn clapped in admiration, Beritt briefly raised a hand, fingers splayed in indulgent acceptance, then returned to her plain straight and cold face, Karlyn could imagine her standing guard on those hard Drygnest walls in the worst of a winter storm, unbending. When Beritt spoke next, her voice was low, almost as if she suspected someone could overhear.

          ‘The thing is, no matter how hard the Commanders try, things can seep out. Like when y’all alone in a Drygnest dark night mixing up potions an’ in a forgotten room next door to an archive, which never closes and folks are always speaking in whispers ‘bout the very best and the very soft-padded of our wolves who were sent into those Tremoran lands, only they never sent messages back, nor trace was found of them. LifeGuard vanishing,’ she shuddered before continuing.  

          ‘When I was a Devoted, we learn about the Age of Conceits. The story goes the royal family held control over a fayre substantial amount of Call-It-What-You-Will, just like it was their private wine cellar. They had some plan to do good, and of course, it went wrong. Damn killed most of them, except for this one Prince and his, apparently beautiful daughter. He tried to pretend all was sorted, but she’d gone unsettled and thought she could rule through this wealth. Things got out of hand. Stories vary but this is where The Revered Captain Green Vixen accounts start. She being innocent an’ kind of getting’ swept up in the business. She and others fought the princess, things went good, then bad, then good again, but actually everything had got unsettled and so the teachings say this is when the Age of Retribution started. Fenshan is where the last of that particular piece of power is supposed to be all locked up,’ she shook her head unhappily ‘Sweetling, they are sending you into the wilds where a bad ol’ bear is lurking,’

          Trelli cocked her head.

          ‘I heard a similar tale, but some of the meanings and details are different. It was all about caution and hubris,’

          ‘Who was he?’ Karlyn asked, as she was bound to.

          Who apart from that brief interruption had been sitting hands around knees in rapt attention, mouth slightly open. She blinked, sat back and slapped her hands on her legs.

          ‘Wait a five. Wait a fribbin’ five,’ she paused frowning and gathering thoughts ‘Whychie turns up and cleans us up of spikies’ stuff. Then Flaxi, you warn our bold wandering girl, she’s being sent into a midden,’ Karlyn stared into middle-distance, hands clenched ‘Something is working through us isn’t it? It’s getting us together, we’re warning each other, but we all still got those dangerous things to do,’ she looked one to the other ‘Dontcha get it? We’re being put back together. Things what started lunations ago an’t done with us, nor we with them neither,’ she rocked back, a look of something approaching happy excitement ‘We in the nor’ east an’ Whychie in the south-east, well sort of. The stormhiggle is binding us. It all makes sense,’ her eyes darted rapidly from right to left ‘Annnddd, this place. More I think with a clearer head, the more I think it’s sproggled itself,’ she looked around, eyes darting ‘There’s something more than spikies here,’ sniffed, one finger raised tapping into thin air ‘Dangerous, but not what you could call evil. Dunno. Yet. I tell you wot though, there’s a sorta link. Because that stuff in this Fenshan, you didn’t call it evil, neither of you, just dangerous. All most the same.  I mean, two crisis, with us involved and overlapping,’

          ‘That’s a fayre summary Kittlin,’ Beritt said.

          ‘Kittlin?’ Trelli thought ‘When did that start?’

          Concentrating on the business to hand Trelli’s hands drifted out as if she was balancing herself upon some unseen and narrow spectral walkway.

          ‘You’ve got a point there Karlyn. Dearie me, you pair should be careful too,’

          Beritt whistled another one long low note.

          ‘Y’ reckon so Trelli? Is our little squirrel here talking Stommigheid  sense?’

          ‘’Course I am Flaxi. Remember? The crows warned me,’

          ‘It does Arketre,’ Trelli shivered ‘Spiffle. I’m being drawn back. Got no more time,’ her shape began to fade, her hands reached out to them ‘Do be careful. Don’t go charging,’ her voice dimming ‘I will reach you again. I will…’

          And was no longer there.

          ‘Oh my,’ Beritt intoned ‘Lady Green Vixen; Captain-Sister-to-Us-All, guide this thy poor sat-upon trooper,’ She loved her Kittlin, but the girl was deep in the Call-It-What-You-Will and sometimes Beritt had trouble keeping up with her explanations. Trelli was solid in the middle ground, it was one of the reasons Beritt was growing to love her as a friend, she was kind, dependable, stable and just as importantly could adapt.  

          Karlyn moved close and put an arm about Beritt, her nose twitching.

          ‘Lawd Gawdelpusal Flaxi. It’s so clearer to me now that Whychie spoke. We’re confronting holes in places where there shouldn’t be and someone here is not being careful,’

          When Karlyn and Trelli got together everything did become a bit clearer to Beritt.             

          ‘Second Hells Kittlin. Looks like we have to have ourselves an audience with a prince. Kraftenlos needs to be clarifying; if nothing else only to be proving he knows Frib’ All about what’s going on,’ She looked wide-eyed in the general direction of the Grand Duke’s army ‘And someone else needs a finger wagging,’

          Karlyn gripped Beritt’s hand.

          ‘Agreed,’ she now whistled softly ‘Us thinking about killing and plotting. Oh my. Then Whychie turned up to save us. Oh my, oh my,’……………………………..

Musings on Writing (Another series). Just Because. A Fresh Edition.

Skirmishers

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-Skirmishers-Lace-Steel-Fire-ebook/dp/B07SSLN1GQ

Weeks, nay months (well two and bit) of using Word’s Review + Read Aloud to run down those typos and to realise (yet again) the wonderful description or speech when read, in a flat monotone just does not make any sense at all. Then the was the question of Continuity which as ‘Skirmishers‘ is the middle volume flows in both directions { Actually this is quite a neat bit of irony as the Flow or Perception of Time is one of the themes of the Trilogy }. Finally there is always that portion which has the ‘Nah. That does not work at all. What was I thinking of? Dismantle with extreme prejudice’ reaction.

Of course a writer can only get away with this if they are going Indy and publishing via Kindle, and be honest have not had a large amount of sales. There is a freedom there, but I wouldn’t recommend to all other writers. And no there is no ‘romance’ in being that ‘free’; it’s just a ‘thing’ . Please chose your own path.

It is fun though to be able to tinker, tweak and tear some novel which ‘looked’ great a while ago, but has not stood the full test of time. You could view this process as one aspect of Life where you do get the chance to go back and do things differently. 

That aside; Vol II is now ready to be re-launched into the Amazon-Verse; on Monday 24th May 2021; of course will be free for the first seven days, so anyone who has the early edition can gain recompense. 

And thence onwards to finally work upon the release of Vol III ( 1st draft originally completed 11th October 2020)

Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences

With working covers, while awaiting the professional touch (which I’m guessing will be nothing like- these were me doodling around with Canva https://www.canva.com  )

 

Volume 3 'Daughters'Daughters Fire Back Ground

 

For further info on the whole project please refer to 

The Precipice Dominions 

http://wordpress.com/post/theprecipicedominionsafantasytrilogy.wordpress.com/121

Some Thoughts on Revisions and Re-Writes

So as I work through an updated and improved version of

Skirmishers

And the Nagging Demon of Doubt says ‘What’s The Point?’

 

I take heart from the fact that Samuel Taylor Coleridge author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 

Ancient Mariner

Returned to this work over and over during 40 years and that there are at least 18 different versions.

 

Pondering one Are you suggesting that you’re…….

 

Whimsical one No! Just saying. That’s all. 

worried-man Please close this post now.

When You Get There

There it is. This time. Finished. Honest. The final edition

It is common knowledge that the overwhelming majority of writers are never quite, truly satisfied with whatever they have written. Ignoring the ever persistent typos which cunningly ignore even the most dogged scanning or those fiendish tricks which all writing programmes keep hidden until after you have sent the completed work off, there is invariably something nagging at the recesses of the creative spirit.

Be it description of scenes, character development, pace of narrative, plot development or the conclusion, there always one aspect which remains ever out of reach; drifting through the indefinable borders between inspiration, creativity and physical presentation.

This can be something of a mire, dragging a writer down into a place of continued dissatisfaction which pollutes true creativity. There should always be a point when a writer says ‘Enough. There can never be perfection. This is as far as it goes,’

However in counterpoint we should not forget the feeling that maybe there is room for improvement.

In this I was fortunate to have two folk review my earlier endeavours on this book:

Audrey Driscoll at https://audreydriscoll.com/

Berthold Grambel at https://ruinedchapel.com/

My thanks to both for their support and taking the time to read and review the book AND most importantly to point out the flaws which kept on flitting about my mind this way and that for some time, while I was forging ahead with Vol. III (Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences). All the while there was this tip-taping ‘You are going to have to go back to Vol I & Vol II (Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel, and Fire) and tie everything up. Continuity is all shot to bits,’

So I proceeded; thanks to my very good friend (and major character) Trelli, who as you may recall recently explained the situation and process….

Sometimes, We Characters Need to Explain The Position

Trelli was, as always, invaluable (along with the grudging assistance of Word’s ‘Review’ & ‘Read Aloud’ facility), in that she continued to supply the correct information on the events and point out my errors in interpretation. Of course sometimes it was left up to me to use my own perception to illustrate the bare facts with some lyrical elaboration and reach a far smoother narrative. Therefore although the story and the major events remain the same I do believe the account has a better flow and truth be known shorn of some inconsistencies a more logical read.

And gosh! If the whole exercise wasn’t a great deal of fun seeing what was a strung together kind of effort, evolve. It may still never be a widely read, or successful work. To me that does not matter. What does count is that the volume is finally where it ought to be and does the characters more justice.

The next part of the plan is to try this time to make some attempt at marketing, publicising or whatever, then on either the 1st February or 1st March release the final edition via Kindle. It will be free for the first week (or was that 10 days?). Therefore, you good folk who purchased a copy will have the chance to get an updated copy for free.

And then onto Volume II.

While Volume III awaits a cover (That’s quite another story)

Some Thoughts on Writing A Novel

Warning Foreword:

This post WILL contain some themes of a convolutedly, introspectively, esoteric nature concerning the relationship between a writer and their work. 

So sue me ….

I have this ‘thing’ about liking, nay enjoying re-writes and even more so since I discovered a rare useful device of Word’s ie ‘Review’ & ‘Read Aloud’

Microsoft Word Actually Being Useful in Self-Editing

The cause, may or may not be a combination of the following:

(1) Triumph in picking up all those niggling typos placed by Word’s evil cyber-pixies who wish to discourage all creative writing and would have a World Literature based on Business Projections and Internal Management Documents thus spoiling their plans. 

(2) Not wishing to be the cause of disharmony between me, some innocent beta-reader or helpful editor who inadvertently committed the unforgiveable crime of suggesting I change some part of the narrative or tweak a character. (It’s not that I am inflexible you understand, it’s just that……errr….. I’ll get back to you on that one in another post)

(3) Saving money on the aforementioned in ‘2’.

(4) Some latent vanity in the joy of reading/ listening to my own work. (Well someone has to admit to it!)

Those are the nuts and bolts ones. The actual fun comes in:

(A) The dismantling wholesale and replacing chunks of say 20,000 words with something better.

(B) Catching out the devious Continuity Fae who entrap a writer with whispers of enthusiasm to churn out the words and rush off to the next exciting bit and thus overlooking some leap of logic or several quite contradictory statements/actions undertaken by a major character. (This takes on cosmological proportions when you are writing a series of books).

(C) Actually listening to one or more of the characters who steps out of the narrative, stands in front of you waving an allegorical piece of paper and saying ‘Seriously?’

(D) And above all, the interactions of (A)- (C) which start some unexpected runaway process, dragging you off down a route you never even realised existed and effectively rattling loose most of the story into something else. The thrill of being part of such a situation overwhelms any concerns about having finishing a book by ‘such and such’ a date.

I don’t think my trilogy will ever sell many copies (so far most have been acquired ‘free’ through Amazon). Yet I do not care. The main characters are alive, and vibrantly taking control of the narrative, thus I owe it to them to make sure this is recorded.

The whole process is wonderfully chaotic and unpredictable. Everything else I intended to write or think about writing is on hold while this little universe settles down.

And I wouldn’t have it anyone other way.

Seriously folks… The Joys of Writing

 

 

Microsoft Word Actually Being Useful in Self-Editing

Editing. Outside assistance

I have to be one of the world’s worst in this department of the writing process. People finding mistakes in my spelling or syntax or questioning punctuation is bad enough. When anyone suggests even in the most friendlies of tones that there could be improvements in a character or plot line then hopefully visible warning beacons start to flash and they will drop the subject. Should someone be unwise enough to try and be critical then if they are lucky they just get the cold treatment. As my wife says ‘You’ll not be told’. And I won’t.

Except in the case of one short-story (unfamiliar ground for me) where without the valuable help and patience of Rachael Ritchley the story would have never flown.

Visit Rachael’s site. It’s a treasure trove for writers of Fantasy and Rachael does not only write YA Fantasy she creates the most amazing covers

Rachael Ritchley

So back to me ‘n self-editing

My fault. My problem. But enough of these quirks,  introspections and possibly controversial comments. Let us away to the practical.

One of the issues with self-editing is that no matter how diligent you are, there will always be tendencies to:

(A) Overlook a mis-spelt word because Word recognises it as another word eg.  You have written a passage in which you character makes an entry in their Diary, only for you to find when the book is out in the public domain the character appears to have been writing on the walls of a place where milk products are made.

(B) Lose control of those indefinite or definite articles when you were sure you had them in the write place.

(C) Forget at night time when you final shut down your device to intone the mystical chant which will ward off the evil cyber-pixies from sneaking in and make typos in your precious work.

(D) Not notice that sentence is a tad too long and those commas or semi-colons don’t hack it for you.

(E) Somehow fail to notice that the piece of prose which in your mind is brilliant, is actually in the cold light of reading by someone else to be incomprehensible.

(F) Possibly be guilty in the eyes of one grammar sect or another of an act of punctuational heresy.

Now aside from (E) & (F) which are unavoidable even to the most astute and gifted writer, the others are the banes of writers who insist on ploughing their own self-publishing, self-editing  furrows (or according to some of a harsher outlook- digging their own graves)

So never mind about all the blah-blah about holes in plots, lack of character development, structure of narrative etc which truth be known are but mere opinions what about those aforementioned pesky practicals? Which despite what you might consider to be your most diligent efforts still sneak in?

Well, let us away to the Word Toolbar. Normally for a writer a nightmare jungle, that truth be known has been designed with a heavy weighed favour for business presentations and academia while having no notion of  how to assist in the artistic process.

I knew there was some function which read out written copy because while typing out at a goodly rate I used to accidentally hit a combination keys and someone would start speaking at me. (Apparently it’s Alt+Ctrl+Space…how the heck could I hit those accidentally????)  However by stubborn diligence this was tracked down to ‘Review‘ and thence ‘Read Aloud’

Screenshot Review Read Aloud

Once ‘Read Aloud’ is clicked on, at whatever word your cursor is on, away will go the narration.

Overview and Observations

The voice reproduction is not very robotic. If fact the voice word per word is very human. The narration would not pass muster on an audio book, but never mind that is not its purpose. So let’s look at a breakdown on the process:

The speed of the narration is designed for the listener to pick up on errors or questionable phrasing so you will notice ‘things’ . Each word is highlighted as it is spoken, thus you can pin-point the pesky problem. Though the narration does not stop so you have to be swift if you want to amended it there and then. Go the A and click to stop the narration or use the set of tools which will be visible on the right side of the screen; you can change the voice, and speed- the latter is not recommended, it is not subtle.  Do not try and amend without stopping as the amendment will be at where the narration is and not where you want it.

Pronunciation is nearly flat of accent, but is overall very good. Some words can sound quirky (Eg: ‘Squirrel comes out as ‘Sk-wi-rell’), contractions might result it the word being spelt out in single letters, along with any sounds you may write such as ‘Hmmm’ (‘H-m-m-m’), others however the programme has no problem with. If you are writing Fantasy or SF you might well find a whole new dimension to those place and character names.

It will read as it finds, thus is very good at alerting you to something your hearing picks up but your reading speed missed. Pesky typos are exposed in their oddities and those definite or indefinite articles are shown to be in the wrong place. The programme does not appears to have universal sensitivity to punctuation, but there is a definite pause when coming to a ‘full stop’ , this is very useful when it dawns on you that particular piece of prose is far too long as one sentence.

As it is a programme you will have to accept your characters are going to sound somewhat soulless; although there is one slight benefit to this. If their intent, emotions and individuality still come through then you know you are on the right track!

A flat and soulless read can be very useful in picking up on one of those oversights as highlighted in (E). The writer on hearing something narrated back to them in this fashion will have ‘Uh?’ moments and revisions will start to form in their mind. Thus prepare yourself for a 1,000 word extract collapsing while crying out ‘re-write’ ‘re-write’ . As you know these re-writes might be conducted at haste and contain their own ‘issues’, ‘Read Aloud’ will point those out to you too.

One final thought, aside from self-editing books this system would be very useful for those very long blog posts, the pitching letters, book summaries and blurbs, for all of the above reasons.

My Own Experience

Having become familiar with the basics, my own method is as follows.

I work one chapter (on average 2000 – 3000 words) at a time. It is advisable to conduct a review in smaller ‘chunks’ so you can keep track on the errors/problems and revisions arising.

To repeat. When the narration highlights an issue I click on ‘A’ to stop the process and conduct the revision there and then, before clicking back on to continue. Some writers might find this disruptive and prefer to have a notebook and pen at their side to record the error then tackle a group of problems in one go.

I also use this system on reaching a part of the narrative which (1) I know was rushed because it was only a link between two important parts, or (2) there is a complex interaction. These might have already been cleansened of any errors in typos, syntax, wrong word, punctuation etc however listening to a flat narration has often given me a broad picture insight into whether the intended basics of the extract have worked.

Currently I have found the average number of words reviewed each day is approaching a minimum of 5,000 which take me about 1 hour per 5,000. These figures of course are very individualistic and should not be taken as any you should aim for. They are simply an observation, each person will have separate targets and outputs.

Conclusion  

I have to say, for once Word produced a most useful aid to the overall writing process. This is recommend to anyone embarking on self-editing in its entirety. It would also be useful for anyone looking to send their work to a professional editor or beta-reader, after all their job is challenging enough without having to confront those items highlighted in (A) to (D)….items in (E) & (F) are between you guys.

Try it with a small portion of writing first and see if it works for you.

Have a good re-write

Probably not the most interesting blog post on WP…but what the heck!

Warning:

Just about a book I’m writing

So the first draft…..well you know how that goes…..Blaah!

Second draft, it’s the working one!

cartoon-boy-doing-a-happy-dance-by-toonaday-6279

I am ridiculously cool with it!!

Working title: ‘Daughters of the Hard Road’….. not really what I was looking for.

Revised to ‘Daughters of Circumstances. Arbiters of Consequences’

Happy

(Volume 3 -or III- and conclusion of  ‘The Precipice Dominions’ )

The Precipice Dominions

Of Patchwork Warriors

Our Skirmishers of Lace, Steel and Fire

Now to check for spulling, syntax and other stuff.

Just had to post this up….. writers will understand.

Ah well…. off to the self-editing…..

 

Wives and lover husband coming home