Half a million words in a year?

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source; Stock.Xchng

source; Stock.Xchng

Back in June, I wrote a blog post about my aim to achieve Quarter of a Million words by midsummer. That particular goal was achieved, and more, so I looked ahead and wondered if it would be madness to aim for half a million before the end of 2015.

Crazy, I thought. Half a million?

Now, at the time of writing, I’ve somehow (and it still amazes me) racked up 410,000 real words, most of them the in order right.

(Yes, I know I did the same joke back in June) *shrugs.*

So, at this point, half a million words before the year end seems achievable. My target for the end of September (this week), if I had been writing consistently, was 375,000. Bang. Blown that figure out of the water.

How have I been able to put down so many words this year? Having a whole string of short stories to write has been a major part of this, leaving me with no shortage of writing material. Got a block? Simply skip over to another story until the block passes.

The downside of all this is that my third book, and the last in the trilogy, ‘A Fury of Angels,’ has slipped behind schedule, so if I’m to complete it in time for my editor to savage (kidding!) in January, I need to put aside at least a month to complete it.

If only I had a cloning machine…

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CreateSpace – Part IV of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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CoA post its

Isn’t this is the BEST justification EVER for ordering a Proof copy of your Print on Demand novel?

I used nearly three packs of Post-it strips marking out typos (not too many), weird spacing issues (loads) and missing or shifted text (scores – mostly at the bottoms of pages where text had been moved to fill the silly gaps).

I also took the opportunity to have one last crack at polishing the prose as I went. Who says a writer is never done editing?

Anyway, Big Lesson learned here; Never assume that because it looks fine on the screen, it’ll be fine in print. WRONG!

And don’t order TWO copies in the naive hope that the print will be fiiiine *casually dismisses problem with a wave of his hand* and you would be able to send one of them to…for instance…your mother.

So glad I didn’t…

Unless you are planning to use an editing buddy, someone who will be reading the second copy, don’t waste your money. Order ONE, fix it, THEN order another proof – just to be certain.

Sure, it all takes time…an interminable period during which you are champing away, desperate for the process to be completed. But as I’ve posted before, patience is most definitely required in this self-editing game.

So, now that I have completed my read-through, I only need to update my electronic version and re-submit the document to CreateSpace…and order another proof copy, which must come all the way from the US… by snail mail..and then read through THAT…and identify any remaining errors.

*drums fingers in agitation*

How long is the average human lifespan?

Muse; Patience, Mister Toynbee, patience.

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An unexpected leap back to my past…

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ivanferrer executivo

Today I was passed a short piece of work (fiction) that had been written by an eleven year-old boy…the son of a friend of my wife.

I’d been asked for my opinion of the writing and I was happy to help. The lad who wrote it is currently enjoying ‘A Construct of Angels’ and is thrilled that his mother works with the wife of an author.

That’s me…in case you didn’t follow. 😀

I was happy to read it, but as I picked it up, I found myself wishing that I’d known an author when I was eleven. True, I’d had a lot of encouragement from my English teacher when I was at senior school, but an author? They were unreachable, weren’t they? My only experience of authors at the time were the books of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. No, I had to set my sights just a little bit lower. I still remember being thrilled back in 1978 when a BBC Open University lecturer replied to my letter containing an astronomical query.

So I sat back, put on some distraction-cancelling music and read through the two pages that had been printed for me. I recognised the style instantly. Quick, hurried prose that showed an excitability; a joy at having the freedom and passion to write. It was an end-of-the-world scene, something that I had cut my junior teeth on back in the 1970’s. Almost everything I wrote in those days was end-of-the-world where the crowded and less-than-friendly society had been washed away, leaving only a few familiar comforts for my fledgling characters. Looking back, I think it was my mind’s way of reshaping the misery around me into something I could control better. I wasn’t having a happy time of it. An overbearing and abusive father coupled with bullying peers made for a pretty miserable life. However, I still hold the legacy of those embittered days in the form of ‘Homeworld’, my sci-fi saga (as yet unfinished, but that will change) where alien beings battle to survive war and the harsh conditions of their slow-turning world.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the submitted piece; The scene didn’t take long to read. It was only two pages long, but I had to admit that it was better than the lines that I had been turning out at the same age. We’re living in a different era now, it’s true. Eleven year-olds are wiser now than they were when I was a pre-teen. But regardless of that, it was a very good start to a potential life of writing fiction.

If I was able to pass on any advice to the young writer, I would simply say this; Never stop writing. If you love it, keep practising it. Read much – and not just your favourite genre. Follow others who have trodden this path before you, for there are many…and learn from their experiences, because their errors can only serve to smooth your path.

Oh, and make sure you know how your story will end – so you have something to aim your story towards. Don’t repeat my decades-long mistake of creating never-ending stories.

The best of luck in your endeavours.

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