Six Sentence Sunday – on time!

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saavem swordsman

Today’s SSS is an extract from ‘A Vengeance of Angels’.  Again, it contains a mild spoiler if you haven’t read the first story; A Construct of Angels.’  So if you don’t want to know how the first book ends, please look away now.

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Michael, now an ex-angel and mortal being, is being addressed by an elderly hospice patient – one who has a reputation as a seer…

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Agatha Carpenter waved a bony finger at me and I felt the chill of one whose fate is irrevocably sealed.  I’d felt it before – as a doomed gladiator, as a convicted witch, as a Jew amongst the Nazis…

“The black swordsman is falling to Earth!” she wailed in a voice edged with hysteria.  “He seeks the one who shines most brightly – and all around him shall perish!” 

I knew a moment of panic. 

She could only be referring to one person; one Anakim…and he was coming for me.

.

Write on!

The BIG Giveaway…the results.

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Image courtesy of Cjcj at Stock Xchng

 

Twelve days have gone by since the Big Giveaway of ‘A Construct of Angels’ and as promised, I’m typing a few lines of feedback to let you know if I thought it was all worthwhile.

Before the giveaway, ‘Construct’ had sold eighteen copies.  That wasn’t a problem – I’d always imagined that my first novel would be a slow seller.  As I’ve told many people, I didn’t buy any of Robin Hobb’s books until she’d written six of them.  The first Harry Potter book I considered buying was ‘The Goblet of Fire’ – book four in the series.  E E ‘Doc’ Smith had written seven Lensman books before I ever laid eyes upon them.  Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, Andre Norton…all the same.

So I wasn’t expecting a stampede.

The weekend of the giveaway arrived – December 1st and 2nd.  I watched with barely-restrained anxiety.  Would anybody bother?  I’d Tweeted, I’d Facebooked, I’d emailed, I’d reTweeted, I’d told KindleBoards plus everyone who knew I’d published.  What more could I do at this early stage in my self-publishing career?  Ryan Casey had warned me to expect hundreds of downloads.  I saw twenty.  I stared at my tiny Netbook screen, waiting for the numbers to change, but they remained steadfastly low.  I refreshed.  Nothing changed.  I logged out and back in again.  Still no change.

It wasn’t until I realised that my Netbook was only displaying part of the Amazon KDP screen that the true scale of what had just happened hit me.

I’d had eight hundred and twenty-six downloads.
Smiley Faces
I looked again, scarcely comprehending.

How many??

Even now, nearly two weeks later, I can scarcely believe it.

So, to say that word got around would be something of an understatement.  With only Twitter, Facebook, Kindleboards, this blog and my contact list to work from, at least a thousand people had received the message that ‘Construct’ was up for grabs.

I’m happy to report that the first part of the exercise has been, without any shadow of doubt, a big success.

Now I can only wait and hope that the main object of the exercise, the procurement of some useful feedback, will bear fruit.  Even if only 5% of the readers leave positive feedback, that would still be forty reviews to strengthen ‘Construct’s credibility.

Fingers crossed and on with the sequel.

Write on!

The difficult second novel? Nah!

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inspiracion

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently well (15,500 words) into ‘A Vengeance of Angels’ (the sequel to ‘Construct’) and I’m re-discovering the joy of ‘pantsing’.

The writing is flowing well, still closely following the bamboo and creeper framework that I’d lashed together over a year ago when I was still begging agencies to consider ‘Construct’.

And this time around, I’m pleased to report, the writing feels different; more enjoyable.

With a year’s worth of editing  experience behind me, I have a clearer picture of the process from the first rough scratches through to the finished product.

I now know that I can roll along, throwing down my  ideas, comfortable in the knowledge that not everything I put into words will get used.  And with this comes a new kind of freedom from worry.

I don’t have to doublethink every sentence; every word uttered by my characters.   This time around I am aiming for continuity, rough adherence to the (flexible) framework but with a firm path towards the planned ending.

It’s refreshing to know that I don’t have to fret about what I’m writing – that can all be sorted out once the First Draft is complete – following the mandatory month-in-the-drawer, naturally.  What matters is that the ideas are recorded before they are lost to the white noise that is my ever-fizzing brain.

notebook and laptop

Experienced hands will already be aware of all this, so please forgive the egg-sucking instructions.

However, newbies may still (as I did) become mired in the spiralling hell that is the ‘must get that paragraph perfect before I move on’ routine.

Don’t!

Just pound that keyboard and pour all your relevant ideas onto that hard drive, pushing headlong until you have reached the end of your story.  That will then give you something to work with; something complete.

And if your Muse throws Chapter Two ideas at you when you’re racing through Chapter Ten, then by all means nip back, drop in a paragraph close to where it’s relevant and get right back to Chapter Ten.  Don’t (as I did) waste time and effort ‘blending it in’.  Just drag, drop and get on with it.  The idea will still be there in six months (more realistically, a year) when you are reviewing what you’ve written.

I regret now that I spent so much time ‘polishing’ what was essentially an unfinished product - a bit like applying sealant to a bath that was not only still in its packaging, but still on the delivery wagon.

If your story turns out to be anything like mine, in a year’s time, some of those ‘brilliant’ ideas may no longer be relevant.  Your character will (ideally) have grown as you’ve been writing and your original plan for them to rescue that drowning child in Chapter Two might no longer be in character for them.  You may need your character to be tortured and regretful by Chapter Twenty and NOT rescuing that child may be exactly what forces that character change.

So this is the point where, as they say, you don’t sweat the small stuff.  Not yet.

That comes later, once you’ve established all the motivations of your characters and where your story is heading…

Then begins the blood, sweat, tears and fingernail a la crue.

Writing is only the first part of the process.  Embrace the whole.

So;

Have you found that your approach to writing alters with experience?

What one piece of advice (post-it note sized only) would you give to your inexperienced self if you could get a message back to them using Sandra Bullock’s magical post box (The Lake House, 2008)?

Write on!

 

click me if you dare

Six Sentence Sunday

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An idea of heaven

As its Six Sentence Sunday, I thought I’d post another sample from my (soon to be Kindled) WIP ‘A Construct of Angels’.

This short extract describes Sara Finn’s experience as Michael (the Angel) decides to prove to her that he has a pure soul as opposed to the dark-souled, malevolent beings that she has encountered thus far.

Just prior to this extract, they touch the tips of their forefingers together, a gesture that instantly reminds Sara of the poster for ‘Bruce Almighty’.

Then;

I was suffused by a pure white Light that washed away all sight of the rain-lashed street outside.  The Light was more than just brightness – it was physical; tangible, rippling the air around me like a warming breeze on a spring day.

My eyes watered as waves of joy suffused me and I felt my hair floating freely around me, unhindered by gravity.  The Light flowed into my body to warm me from within, beginning in my bones, working outwards, infusing my muscles and my flesh with liquid bliss.  Every corpuscle of my blood sang in harmony, raising a forest of goosebumps on my skin.

I stared along my arm, following it to my crooked finger that pressed gently against a figure that was glowing, not through some trick of transparent skin, but from every molecule of his body that was alive and buzzing with Light. 

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I hope that this helps to convey some of the wonder that she feels in his presence.

Write on, everyone!

 

Dimitris Melicertes

I don't write, I touch without touching.

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