Category Archives: Writing

It lives! The Auran Chronicles: Message Bearer is out now

At last, Auran Chronicles: Message Bearer is alive and well on Amazon after 18 months of hard slog.

For those who may be interested, the Auran Chronicles is a series of Urban Fantasy novels that can be best be described as a mix of a gritty, older Harry Potter-type story mixed with the Matrix and some quantum physics thrown in.

Book 2 is well underway, and will be out 1st half of 2016.

Blurb…

‘You were drawn. I can see it. You are Latent.’

For reasons unknown, Seb is constantly drawn to random places without meaning, following an instinct he doesn’t understand.

One night that instinct lands him in trouble when he encounters Sarah, a young woman hunted by a fiend that can only be described as the stuff of nightmares. Against his better judgement Seb attempts to intervene, only to nearly get himself killed in the process. Before she passes, Sarah transfers something to him, an arcane knowledge that gets buried deep into his subconscious.

Rescued by the Brotherhood warrior Cade, Seb’s life takes on an unexpected turn when he is told he is a Latent, able to manipulate the very energies of reality to his own devices. He is brought into a world within our own where the Magistry and its allies engage with the demonic Sheol in a timeless conflict that has traversed entire universes.

A world where he, and he alone, carries the message that could change the course of the conflict forever.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0184PNP22?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Useful editing tip using the Kindle app

I’ve just finished the line edit of my final draft of Message Bearer and I thought I’d share an approach I found on this particular draft that I found immensely useful.

One of my biggest challenges is that I seem to have some kind of writer’s blindness when spotting the minor errors that dot a manuscript (double words “the the”, missing words “he opened [the] door” and so forth). These are the kind of errors that don’t get picked up by the spelling/grammar checker and are somehow invisible to my own eyes when looking at the Word document.

So, for this final pass through I wanted to read the book as a reader would, not in Word but on my kindle (well android tablet but you get the idea). Reading the book in this way makes these little errors stand out much more prominently than from the Word doc so I thought I’d give it a go. My plan was to keep a pad alongside and make notes as I went through, ready for the final touch ups.

What I ended up doing though was instead using the Kindle app’s note taking ability. This allows you to highlight text in the document, save a note/comment and move on. I did this for the entire read through and after that was complete I simply whizzed through the Word doc with my tablet next to me, fixing the highlighted text and then deleting the note. It worked a dream!

Hopefully someone else may find this approach useful. For me it allowed me to experience the book as a reader would, not as a Word file. It made it much easier to capture all the minor typos, word errors etc. I know I could’ve done this by printing out the whole thing and making notes on the manuscript but my handwriting is so terrible I’d probably forget what the comment is actually about!

Back, phew!

Well, this absence had been longer that I’d planned, but I’m glad to say I’m back on the writing wagon now, and it feels sooo good to say that!

The reason? Open University. I’ve been studying for an open degree for the past few years ( a combination of IT and Physics), and aside from the four year break I took for the birth of my twins, it’s been going pretty well.

Anyway, the end of the road is in site now, I’m on level 3 TMA’s (tutor marked assignments – basically the final year of uni) and this last module in particular has been a particular drain. I’ve been head down for two weeks, putting together the mother of all TMA’s it seems, ready for a deadline date of the 9th September. I completed the last question this morning and I can’t begin to describe the relief I’m feeling (maybe I should, I do make claims to be a wannabe writer after all!) at this moment.

Finally, after completing the last question, I then rattled out 700 words of my WIP, which is the first time I’ve touched it since I started the TMA with venom just after my last post on the 22nd August.

So, I’m glad to say I’m back, I’m writing, and hopefully I’m on track to complete this draft by the end of September.

Now, time to catch up on everyone else’s blogs 🙂

Take care.

75,000 words of draft two reached – so, so painful!

Well, this has been a struggle.

I hit 75k last night, but the last few days have been a trickle of writing that I just know will be obliterated in the now certain-to-be-needed third draft.

I’m not really sure what the problem is either. The outline is holding true, I’m still loving Scrivener, but it suddenly feels like someone’s drained 90% of my vocabulary. I look at earlier sections of the novel and I can literally see that the words were flowing so much more easily at that phase. Now, though, every word is a chore, every choice labored over for minutes before putting something down on (virtual) paper.

It’s frustrating, but trying to put a positive slant on it, it’s all a learning experience isn’t it?  I suspect deep down the reason I’m struggling is that there’s a flaw in the story that I’m writing around that I just need to identify and face up to. I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it’s nothing that a good red pen and scissors exercise when this draft is complete won’t solve.

Anyway, I’m going to plough on with this draft, as painful as it has become. The end is in sight now (100K words), my main characters are all in their right places and the scene is set for the climactic battle. I just need to get there, as painful as that might be.

It’s a shame really – I’ve actually loved writing this novel, and compared to previous works I haven’t found it hard to put fingers to keyboard on a daily basis at all until recently. Earlier on I was nailing 1500 words + easily per day, but recent efforts are 600-1000, and a lot of it could/will be cut with no real impact to the story. Hey ho!

On the plus side – still loving Scrivener – easily the best part for me so far is that each scene is a separate file, which breaks the story down into nice manageable chunks for me to deal with. I’m even trying the Linux version now as part of my transition to a Ubuntu-running laptop. This bit is working alright actually, it’s the Google drive integration that’s proving irksome. But that’s another story.

Anyways – back to the WIP. I was going to lay my cards on the table this week and put down an anticipated release date but I think I might hold off from that, at least until this draft is completed.

Mike

Inspirational music to help find the muse

I’m a fan of sharing the knowledge, be it tools to help writing, benefits of my (limited) experience of just links to writing-related tips, news or other nuggets.

Today it’s the turn of the music. I personally find it beneficial to listen to music whilst writing, it seems to help me tune in a little more emotionally to what I’m trying to write, especially when the scene is particularly evocative.

So, today’s sharing is EpicMusicVn. This talented group of editors have compiled an excellent series of music compilations on YouTube that really serve to inspire, motivate and just simply help visualize what I’m writing about. I don’t watch the videos as such, just listen to the music and type away.

Check them out anyway, hopefully someone will get the same benefit I have.

epiccn

Mike

 

 

Researching WHILST writing your WIP, and why you shouldn’t do it…

It’s my own fault really.

A lot of my current WIP draws on modified versions of different mythologies from times of yore.  Now, before I did my first draft I spent many an hour on Wikipedia, mythology sites, old books etc as I worked to build the world behind my story. This went well, the background seemed solid, and the framework held for the first draft.

Then I made a silly mistake that I aim not to repeat.

I wanted some extra depth on my ancient Gaelic myth, so I dug around the web, eventually finding the fascinating “Epic Of Gilgamesh” (yes I know this isn’t Gaelic, I was branching out from my prime “Gaelic” source – curse ye Wikipedia and you’re suggestive links!).

Now, I should add that I’m not using this story in my own, but the story was fascinating, and I dug more into ancient Mesopotamia and other ancient legends. Inevitably, I found things I would just love to put in my WIP,  and so ensued manic reworks of outlines, backgrounds, histories etc just to fit in these extra juicy titbits of that I felt enriched my story.

Now I sit here, previously angry but now serene. Initially, the end result was  a sprawling mess – a prime example of trying to fit in too much to too little available space, but after that I took a heavy duty editing machete to this background work and trimmed the hell out of it. Gone were the various cherry-picked morsels from various old world religions – I took the best bits, the core required for my story, enforced consistency by way of sticking with one underlying mythos and I’m now left with a much simpler version of my background.

The exercise was helpful, but it means yet more work in draft three, when I get to that. My aim now is to consolidate my background documents into one master document and aim to work from there.

I suspect this is a newbie mistake due to my relative inexperience as a writer. I’ve never invested so much in world building before, but in order for this story to hold credence it needs to have a solid, consistent mythology for me to build upon. I also learned that this WIP will definitely NOT be a one book piece, there’s just too much – even with my simplified history – in my world for it not to be visited again. Whilst part of me is excited by this prospect, the other side is dreading the upcoming battles I’ll have with my own curiosity and the need to add “just one more thing”….

Anyone else experience this kind of story bloat when trying to cram too much in? Please say sit ain’t just me! 🙂

Here endeth the rant 🙂

 

 

Novel Structure Cheat Sheets

Hey,

I’ve added this link to my blog roll but also as a post. I found it via a link from reddit a few weeks ago but only really got round to looking at it now. For me and my inherent lack of planning skills I’ve found some of these templates very useful for checking my beats, structure etc. In fact I’m using one right now to go through my current WIP to check I’m on the right lines.

I know there’s no hard and fast rules about plot and story structure, but for me, with this being my first “properly edited” novel, I’ve found adhering, even loosely, to some kind of framework very helpful.

There’s a few here, kudos to Jami (@JamiGold) for doing this 🙂

Mike