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Apologies for the quiet times

So I have been less than prolific in recent weeks, I’ve been on holiday and then trying to sort out the post holiday rigmarole, to be honest Ive been too busy but that doesnt mean I havent spent anytime being creative.

My random serial killer story has been fleshed out and should be on the story boards and up and running soon, I just have a small amount of research to do along with my desperate attempts to get the second installment of Ricky’s story pushed on. In short I have been busy doing stuff that is unrelated to my writing but some of it is very much about what I will be putting out in the future, so bear with me and wait for the new stuff,

 I will post some of the interim stuff on here for feedback and to engender some interest, as the man always used to say, keep em peeled.

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Assistance required

So I know that the kind of people who read my blog are usually genius’ it stands to reason doesnt it? so I now ask a question in the hope that all my clever friends and readers can help or at least offer a few ideas.

 I am writing a short story about some ner’ do wells and the point of the story is we assume quite a lot about them based on what they are about to do, fair enough you say but i need to feed the mystery a bit and I have gone to great lengths to hide their true intent and in doing so I need names that are not denominational obvious, ie not christian, muslim or Jewish, or indian and chinese for that matter, I want them to have names which could be from anywhere, with a reasonable degree of suspension of belief, I think Al is OK as it can be a shorter version of a lot of names which could be from anywhere but I am struggling to come up with anymore.

 Any reasonable ideas would be gratefully received and none would be dismissed off hand, the story is almost done and the names I am using spoil it really, I am happy to let who ever comes up with the names a preview of the story and honourable mention when I get the anthology published.

Too scared not to write

I have three stories on the go right now, two full length novels and a short story which I will use in a anthology of short stories I have planned. This is rather stupid really, I am totally wrapped up in trying to get new ideas on paper to the point I might even start a new story at anytime and if I do it will just happen and I’ll get on with it.

Whether this makes sense or not doesnt matter right now as I have suffered years of writers block and I am fearful of it coming back, hence taking every idea and getting it onto the laptop straight away. I have done quite a bit of research for my books and this makes it hard to concentrate on writing sometimes and I get worried that is the start of the block but in truth its hard to be creative and studious at the same time, once I put the reading down the writing tends to kick off.

I am thinking of putting a teaser for the next book onto my web outlets to give potential readers something to look forward to and in the vain hope that someone with a bit of sway will read it and commission it for their publishers etc. My wife is pushing ahead with her PR campaign and I am trying to use Fathers day as a sales point, it remains to be seen if it works or not.

Dark and scary

I am keen on using the character of Ricky Head in my next few books, I may change the type of book into more of a novella to accommodate the various stories but in theory he will be an anchor around which events occur, not so much a hero looking for adventure just a good hearted man with other people’s best interests at heart. That said the ideas for stories has been strange as I get inspiration from places I wouldnt normally look, I accept my life brings me into contact with very odd people at times, either face to face or over the phone and I dont want to use these people as templates in anyway but that doesnt mean I wont pick things up as I go along, does it??

So where do my darkest ideas come from? I have always been very suspicious of Stephen King, he looks odd and the ideas he has are clearly not from a normal person, but is that really what is going on in his head or just a rich imagination he can switch on and off? I have developed a few ideas in the past couple of days which arent really based on anyone or anything I know about and this disquiet me a little, what does this mean about me and what is the difference between a master villain and a writer of villainy? One of my projects is about a serial killer who I have developed in answer to a few questions I have always had about the psychologists they employ, how can they predict so accurately and yet never catch the killer after his first kill? and when I watch CSI the list of coincidences needed to get from A to B is entertaining but ridiculous all the same, using these thoughts I came up with a plan, often joking called my perfect serial killer scenario.

I used to tell my friends I was working on one and would let them know when I died if it worked or when I got caught which ever came first. this might make me a little macabre but I know where the inspiration is from, in Dying Wishes I knew a bit about some of the subject matter and researched a bit more , I knew what I wanted to know about and searched in likely sources but the new stuff is off the radar and I dont have a clue where to look or in truth want to, if I found any evidence that what I was considering actually existed it would be terrible knowledge to have and could get me in trouble for enquiring, or at least would if the system could follow up on such things.

In the end I am supposing my imagination is very rich, maybe not creepy Stephen King rich but better than some and unique ideas arent easy to find so I should quit bitching and get writing

Holidays over

So Easter has been and gone, I have aged another year, note to self see what can be done about that, and I must turn my attentions back to the book I am trying to write. The readers of Dying Wishes have been pressing me to continue and I have been busy in the break writing down new ideas tha can maybe be included in this next story or added to the third and maybe even be the basis of a fourth, all things are possible I guess but decisions need to be made and draft created or its all for nothing.

My University work is slowly coming to an end and in theory this frees up much more time for writing but i have not been able to apply myself in the way I used to, I could , in the past set aside a few hours on specific days and do the work, creativity to a timetable isnt very practical but it worked for the nuts and bolts stuff but this time I dont seem to be up for it whenI should be and it comes on while I’m doing something else and I have at least begun to carry a note book to record the ideas, I just need to use the stuff in the book at the right time and I’m good to go at least in theory anyway.

So I am resolved to get cracking at some point this week and also do my social sciences assignment and volunteering commitments and school governor stuff and sort out our next family holiday and change my lifestyle to account for my new medication regime and try and support the wife in her stuff, so plenty of time for writing I’m sure you’ll agree?

Its out there now, so fingers crossed

So this week I took my second Kindle select sales thing, whereby you make your book available free on kindle for as set amount of days, in this case sat and sun, my birthday weekend being the impetus for this date. Its hard to define how it feels to see lots of people downloading your work, its good because it means its out there but it hurts because its for nothing and if the last freebie drive is anything to go by it could all be pointless.

The last sales thing ended up with 400 people downloading it in a few areas, US, Canada, the UK and even a few Continentals, which I was pleased with, but none of them left a review. I wouldnt have minded bad reviews at that point as they would evidence it had been read but none left me bereft of any knowledge on how its been received which makes my future work harder, i dont know if the characters I intend moving forward with were liked or not, does my style resonate with readers or is it clunky and needs refining, I just dont know.

This weekend there were 443 copies downloaded, which is great and I hope even a few small percent of the readers leave me some feedback but I can’t force them and without it I am working blind, I have had good reviews from most people I have spoken to, a few bits of advice on who should fall in love with whom and the likes but they are hard wired to be supportive and positive theyre friends etc and I can’t really put too much stock in their reviews as unbiased as theyd like to be they are related to me through friendship or kin and wont do the hard thing, believing I am just saying I wont mind harsh criticism, I probably will be bothered if its harsh and unhelpful but by putting my work out there I am leaving myself open to it and thereby acknowledging it can and may happen.

If you have read it, or tried to even then please feedback either here or on Amazon so my next book doesnt compound the bad stuff and I may be able to change your experience in future.

Inspiration,great but at the wrong time really

I love many genres of fiction and hope to be published in some of them, historical fiction probably wont be one of them as the level of research is too much and the current crop of aficionados is so strong I dont see the point of trying to compete, that’s not to say I think any of the writers in the genres I am trying are not any better, I just regard the quality of their research etc to be far and away better, needs must I guess.

Anyway I am knee deep in my second proper book, its a crime/action book set in the world I know about men I have met or heard about firsthand, not specific to them, its fiction but I know the field well enough to get away with writing about it or I know someone who is or was in that world and they can illuminate any areas I dont have knowledge. So while watching TV last night I had an inspired thought, It wasnt necessarily highly original but the premise is and when i started to get the creative juices flowing it came easy and the prognosis was written in a matter of half an hour, great you’d think but I have a few irons in the fire as it is and this just adds more diversions I dont need, dont get me wrong, the fact I have these ideas and they make sense to me is great I spent a long time in the wilderness of writers block so Im not complaining, well I am but I shouldnt be.

I have to get my shoulder to grind stone and get book two and three done, I have people asking how long it will be and in reality it shouldnt be too hard, I know these two stories so well, how they pan out, where they are set and who dies and who lives, the endings are set in my mind so there isnt anything real holding me back but I am not getting it done as quickly as I should. I will get my University work done next and then knuckle down, honestly I will, who am I trying to convince here? you or me? I guess we’ll never know but please bear with me, I am going to get more stuff ready and put it out, honest.

Grit and knowledge

I am currently writing the opening salvos of book two, funnily enough book three is almost complete but a quirk of circumstance has made me switch the timeline so I am now focusing on the story I intended to end the story with.

In doing so I am having to draw on knowledge I havent accessed for years and also making assumptions about life, well prison life and although I have been in cells and experienced the environment it was never as an inmate so I am considering calling on a friend for some information. this leaves me with a quandary, am I being intrusive by even asking or is it legitimate to ask, to add that much requested element of a crime novel, grit. not much of the story takes place in prison, about two chapters but it is vital it is accurate to allow for the reader to get a proper feel for th character, In Dying wishes I was asked why I gave the villain such a tragic back story, was I trying to engender some sympathy for him, the answer was no, I just wanted to give some idea of how man can develop such a warped attitude to life and how he can do such unconscionable things with out a second though.

There is an argument that some people are just evil but my experience is they are nearly always the product of something, an event or illness and many other variables it doesnt let them off, it just explains why and the belief that there is a higher purpose works for doing good so why would it not for the opposite? By investigating the reality of prison life for just a short part of the story will add some realism and grit and allow the character to do some pretty abhorrent things without me having to explain everything as it happens, that’s got to be worth the effort right?

I am a little embarrassed to ask my friend, he isnt shy about his past life and he is an inspirational character far from a template for my villain but is it intrusive to pry in this way? I suppose I can only ask and allow him to make the decision on how he feels about it himself I guess, and an acknowledgment in the book might be recompense enough for him anyway.

Balancing the books??

I was asked by the wife to work out what my expenses have been thus far concerning the book and all the little expenses that it has incurred. I knew roughly what was involved and was happy to just have a rough idea, there was never meant to be a profit in this, I priced the book to sell and with my costs being covered by the printers in the price I was happy to stay oblivious of the real cost and what I would have to do to make the money back, which would the very most I would have wanted from the outset.

We went through everything so far, editing, formatting, proofs and books about books, yes they exist and seem to profit greatly by claiming to make you a profit. I was quite blase about it, not thinking about the smaller bits and pieces involved by the wife, in her budget conscious way picked all the smaller costs out of the ether and we worked out how much I had invested thus far in producing two versions of my first novel. Now this sum, which I wont publish here because its private and doesnt need to be out there to make the point. what I argued with the wife was as a self published book it was peanuts compared to what it might have cost in the not so distant past. apart from the editing which I need to be very aware of in the future if I am going to get a proper service for my money the costs were extras I didnt need, the proofs I suppose were invaluable, I could have bought less though so in truth the whole expenditure was twice what it needed to be, if I wanted to be just a kindle author it would have been halved again.

The point is the risk is minimal, if you could assess my small costs as a risk at all, I spent a lot less than many would have on golf balls in a year or a fraction a smoker or drinker would lay out. This said the cost for a publisher must be a lot less, they have in house services and the printing would be a large percentage less for them as trade prices exist for such as them. Why then is it so hard to get an established publisher on board these day? I am seriously considering setting myself up as a publisher, offering a small service to aspiring authors, they would not be expected to lay out huge sums and the marketing would be in their court, this is where the money gets spent and so far I havent put any major cash into that avenue, I will be doing it but for as little as I can manage. this said I would be almost redundant from the start as anyone with the wherewithal to do as I have could get this done for a great deal if they just set out on the path in the right manner.

I suppose I am saying that if I wanted to make things better for new authors I could, this might be a labour of love as the proceeds wouldnt be great, I just dont feel I should have to, the big spending publishers could take a lot more risks these days with print on demand making their risks shrink to almost nothing and letting the author make their bones on the marketing front if they dont feel the investment is worth their while at the start of the process. I will just have to resolve myself knowing I have done what I have for very little cost, in my eyes anyway the wife may not agree.

Writing is writing right?

This was my thought on the matter up until recently, I knew that I could do essays and in work I did very detailed reports for clients as well as sales documents, my wordsmith credentials were highly praisd by my employer and I was given the job of dealing with clients who were almost certainly going to be getting bad news visa vi their guarntee claims. This required a very specific style that I used to good effect, I found if you explained everything very clearly, including the constraints I was forced to work with they never got on the phone to argue or duspute things. A huge difference from the previous system where a sales person would just send a perfunctory report stating they were not covered and that, they usuually added insult to injury by offering a quote for the work we werent going to do.

I learned to write very young and tried everything to make it interesting and worthy of praise, as a small, hard to believe I ever was, asthmatic kid my sporting prowess didnt reveal itself until I was a teenager so kudos had to be gained with my brain and my wit. It worked in the main and my classmates and teachers liked my little stories. Poetry came a little later and was shielded from public gaze as if it were the famed golden fleece for fear of mockery. In short I developed lots of styles of writing which served me well in most situation but now I am doing academic writing its proving tricky. The concept is sound and I am not in anyway struggling to do it I just struggle to find anything good about doing it, no pay off as such.

When I write prose I get something back, satisfaction on the basest level and much more if its good and I enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it but this is hard because they have a plan for everything and it doesnt include gratification, unless the marks are your kick in which case I should be gratified but I like writing and dont want to feel like its work, if I’m not being paid for it anyway. The current project is a report, an academic one which means referencing ideas and concepts, great except I have my own ideas and concept I’d like to include, they are valid and based on my own research, through reading and watching stuff, listening to informed people and every other avenue education can be said to exist within. This is a huge no no, stick to the ideas written down and use references even for stuff which I didnt learn from the book, simple ideas that everyone could be said to know have to be put down to someone who happened to have written it down, this sucks and I find the idea of continuing quite difficult with these parameters.

I suppose the answer is to get my degree and then do a thesis of my own, make them reference me and see how they like that, would be funny but not entirely in the realms of impossibility. It may be hubris but I feel I have a voice in these areas which is different and could be worth listening to, even if its just as a counter argument to everyone elses, it may seem twaddle to them but they would have to consider it in order to write it off and that consideration would be my pay off. My aim in writing and publishing is not financial, I want people to read my stuff, like it hopefully but regardless to have an opinion and recognise that it was my work and in some way have an effect, maybe this would a new avenue for me to do that, and get referenced by some pissed of student one day.