Thursday, 2 November 2017

November 2 2017
My head's whirling at the moment with the amount of work it is trying to do. I have one novel out with a publisher for approval, one with beta readers for comments, a third in drafting stage and a fourth being born at the back of my brain. If the publisher does like the one I sent them they should be impressed what I will be able to offer them as a follow up. A three book contract won't be a problem at all. Mustn't count my chickens, however. Nose down and keep writing.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Spring has started with two major advances in my writing.
The first revised draft of The Man Who Didn't Like People has gone out to four beta readers for initial comments.
A submission for Murder For A Grandmother is packed up and ready to go off to a publisher on Monday.
I am hoping Murder For A Grandmother will be accepted as it has the potential for more commercial success and could lead to a new lifestyle for me if I decide to travel around writing new novels in the series at places I visit.
I would like The Man Who Didn't Like People to go to a publisher but if it doesn't I will self-publish so that it is in the same format as A New Era For Manny Youngman. I may even put a new cover on Manny so that the two have a similar look.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Steaming ahead

Eight months since my last post and in that time I have completed the first draft of The Man Who Didn't Like People and most of a structural edit and revise. The finished novel is going to be somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 words and I am much more satisfied with the build up to the final scenes than I was with the first draft. I have not yet decided on the exact ending and will be offering two possible endings to my Beta Readers to see their reaction. This is perhaps not as dramatic as it sounds as both versions will have the same outcome but one will leave the reader with a slightly softer, more gentle feeling.
As soon as I get it finished and off to the Beta Readers I will be returning to my Grey Nomad detective series with the plan being to get one off to a possible publisher as soon as possible. Two of the novels are written and others are partly written or in outline form but I made some significant pov changes in the final version of the first of the series and will have to adapt the rest to be consistent. It is not a major task and something I can get on with while the publisher is making a decision.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

I'm back at Deep River at present and it's good to be in the familiar place looking out of the familiar window behind my computer. It's a six hour drive to get here and I spent a lot of that time thinking about how I'm going to reshape the chapter I am working on and where the novel goes from there. Very productive. Now to see if I can turn the thoughts into realities over the next few days,

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Back in the groove

After a period of lacking in direction in my writing I am back on track, writing between two and four hours every morning and pushing along with my latest novel 'The Man Who Didn't Like People' at a fair pace. Each day I am writing a little more and spending more time on thinking about the way it is progressing, going back to edit where I see I have left gaps or inconsistencies and adding more detail to what I am going to do next.
The biggest change for me was the decision to plot the novel in a lot more detail before starting on the first draft. In the past I would do a rough outline and then launch into it with some idea of where I was going but not of how I was going to get there.
This time I have laid it out scene by scene with details of how the backstory is brought in, how characters develop and where the story changes pace and builds up to each crisis. I find there is still a lot of room for new ideas to be built in as I go along but every time I sit down to write I have a very clear idea where I want to go that day and how I am going to get there.
It has had a big effect on other aspects of my life. I feel calmer, know what my priorities have to be and feel as if I have a direction and purpose.
I remember this feeling from times in the past when I was on  a writing roll but I had not felt it for some time. It's good to be back in the groove.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

One of the most fascinating sessions at the Rockingham Writers Convention on Saturday was Literary Agent Alex Adsett talking on copyright and contracts. I can't do it full justice here but these are some dot points.

·       Copyright is automatic and free; it doesn't have to be registered.
·       To claim copyright you have to have something in a tangible form - written or whatever the latest technology is. Talking about it is not enough.
·       It is a myth that writers should self-publish on line to protect their copyright.
·       The copyright symbol © has no meaning except to indicate the owner.
·       Ideas cannot be copyrighted - only the way the idea is expressed.
·       There is no copyright on titles or slogans unless they have been trademarked.
·       Using quotes or song lyrics in your work can be breach of copyright - get permission.
·       If you have a traditional publisher it is still your responsibility to get permissions, but the publisher can help you.
·       Copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the creator. The report suggesting this would be changed to 15 years was rejected.
·       Writers should join The Copyright Agency - it not only monitors and collects fees on your behalf but has a great newsletter and offers training seminars. Their website is
·       If you have questions about copyright the Arts Law Centre should be your first port of call. Their website is at Alex has names of lawyers with copyright expertise on her website at
On contracts Alex said :
·       If you get a three-page contract worry about what is missing - normal contracts are 15-20 pages.
·       Beware if it says "all forms, editions and languages throughout the world for the term of the copyright". Decide what forms and territories you want to give them and retain what you are not sure they are the best to handle. 
·       Make sure the contract includes reversions (where the rights revert to you if they have not been achieved within a set period).
·       Watch out if the contract says they will consult with you on changes to your ms. That means they can consult and go ahead despite your opposition. Make it says you must consent.
·       Watch out for lower royalties on subsequent editions or print runs.

There was a lot more. Have a look at Alex’s website or, better still, watch out for one of her talks or workshops. She is also a contract consultant as well as a literary agent.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Into the plotting stage

I'm a sort of hybrid pantser/plotter, starting off with a spurt of seat of the pants writing until the shape of the story becomes apparent, then going back to plot and rewrite.
It's the plotting stage I am in now with The Man Who Didn't Like People. The story is about a man who deserted his family because he resented his wife having a career and this came to a head when he was made redundent. Twenty years later he has acquired a large amount of money but has learned he has a fatal illness. He returns to find his family and decide whether he should leave the money to any of them. My original concept of the central character has changed dramatically and I am beginning to see that the events of his early life, leading up to when he deserted his family, impacted on them as well as on him. That means his interactions with them as he makes his decision about the money will be largely effected by their reactions to him. It becomes a much more complex story with multiple layers of motivation on all sides. A big part of its success or failure will be how and when I introduce different aspects of the back story.