Late shift this evening, but I’ve been at Cerberus hammer and tongs today. The story is moving on, and I’ve spent a little time on an interlude for serious character development.
Beginning word count 28167
End session word count 32499
Close of play 4332 words
Averaging just over 4000 words per day excluding headings and formatting. Might have trouble keeping up the pace tomorrow as I have errands to run, but a break will give me time to think about how I link in the next story elements.
Update: Added a few more paragraphs after this evenings work shift. Final word count 33250. Total for the day; 5083. Birthdays and errands tomorrow, so I’ll be lucky if I make 3000 words. Time for bed.
According to Spaceweather.com we’re due another X Class solar flare on Friday. I’ll try another Aurora observation blog if conditions are good, but this time I’ll wrap up better against my little biting friends.
Work on ‘Darkness’ and the ‘Cerberus’ series is currently painfully slow. On the upside I’m currently in the process of writing to various convention holders about being a speaker on the topic of science fiction, albeit the slightly nerdy end of the spectrum. My 20-30 minute talk “The big what if” always seems to be well received by audiences, mainly because I avoid sight reading, and simply talk to people instead of ‘at’ them. Oddly enough my slight stammer seems to disappear when I get into a more relaxed stride.
Finally got the picture taken of me, grinning like a maniac at my first ever book signing. Still not comfortable with seeing myself smiling, or the shine off my head. However, life moves on, and despite not doing much writing over Christmas, things have been moving gradually in the right direction.
Helping out with taking down our local Museums ‘La Belle Epoque’ display and gossiping with display guru Rick Slingerland about various things, when Amy, the museums Programs Director wanders into the display area we were taking down, sees me lying on on my back undoing bolts with an electric screwdriver in hand and asks to talk to me “When you’re vertical.”
“Sure.” Said I, finished what I was doing, and being a gentleman stood up to talk to her.
the upshot of our conversation was that I’ve been invited to do a presentation as one of the local ‘Literary Luminaries’, in which local writers get to do short presentations about their work on the 26th February. Although at the time of writing my name isn’t on the blog or any visible online publicity yet, but then I wasn’t asked until shortly before 11. Even in these days of instant connectivity, Facebook and Twitter, someone has to write the news down first.
Feeling mildly pleased with myself. Must get a couple of posters and some promotional stuff made. Fortunately I picked up some extra work over Christmas which will pay for such small expenses. I’m almost looking forward to it; which is unusual for me and public appearances.
Have been looking through my story notes and partial manuscripts for my ‘Cerberus’ series of Novels / Novellas. One of the thoughts occurs to me that perhaps it might be better if I kept the story length down to 20,000 – 30,000 words. At present I’m looking at throwing a couple out into the eBook market place at about $1-2.99 each. A serialisation. Like Stephen King originally did with the ‘Green Mile’.
Will be trying to follow Vonneguts eight rules for writing fiction:
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
- Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
- Start as close to the end as possible.
- Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
- Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
Well, maybe I might play a bit fast and loose with rule 8. A little suspense is no bad thing, and there’s nothing like a cliffhanger to spur the reader along.
Am doing a first proof on a partial MSS I last worked on five years ago. I like it, but even I can see why the project ground to a halt though. The plot is too weak. The story runs out of steam at around the 45,000 word mark. Paints a great picture of a post-anarchy South London though.
My major issue is that in spite of there being enough detail, drama, sex and violence in the narrative, there are too many loose ends. No definite direction. Apart from that its very well written and has lots to maintain reader interest, including some quite elegant character quirks. Despite that, the MSS is in need of a revamp to get the story successfully from A to Z.
I think that apart from a jailbreak, the storyline tells little of my lead characters motivations and objectives. That is the projects main weakness. He’s swept along by events and doesn’t really take control of his destiny. He’s a great Deus ex machina, but needs a little something extra. In the words of Hitchcock, a Macguffin.
Aside from that, a little extra thought will make ‘Shifting States’ ready for market. Fifteen thousand words and a cliffhanger ending, perhaps. Four to six weeks work in between putting the last volume of the Stars Trilogy together, and beginning work on Earth’s Night.
Have elected to rewrite Cerberus as a series of shorter works, as opposed to the original trilogy. Paul Calvin is too good a character to limit in that particular fashion. Telempathic Cop turned rebel solving mysteries? Shades of Sherlock Holmes, but not quite so full of himself. 50 – 60,000 words apiece, which should allow a higher output if there’s demand.
The follow on to the Stars trilogy I’m going to call ‘Earth’s Night’. No idea why. I just like the sound of it, that’s all. Similar format to the Stars trilogy, set two hundred years on. There’s a whole slew of ideas already in note form. All I have to do is finish ‘Darkness’ on schedule and move on.