Tag: writing

How to Write a Good Book – Post 6. Editing

pen6At last your manuscript about Rudolph and Santa is complete and has  gone to your beta readers for one round of testing. What next?
This is where the hard work begins. Most writers don’t enjoy it, but editing is the stage that will lift your work from just a rough story to a world-class bestseller. Well, okay, we hope it will. Seriously though, without good editing, you book will not stand a chance in an increasingly competitive market.
If you can possibly afford the cost, I recommend you get another writer or professional editor to do the final edit on your work. You can always swap books for editing with other readers, if you are short of money. Why do I tell you this? A writer reads what he thought he wrote, not what he actually wrote, when he reads it back. He or she will read the same paragraph 20 times and not see the typo. It has has happened to me in a very embarrassing situation; a submission to a pubisher had an error in the first line of the query letter. Two other people close to me checked it and didn’t spot it. I read it at least 20 times and missed it. Once the tension of submission was over and I received their rejection, I saw the error and it was blindingly obvious!

Continue reading “How to Write a Good Book – Post 6. Editing”

How to Write a Good Book – Post 4. Structure

pen4So Rudolph is desperate to guide the tractor on Christmas eve, but his nose won’t glow properly. Erma makes him an enormous apple pie to make him happy and promises him a good night in bed afterwards. She wants that new TV!

How do you you get the structure of your story right?

First Draft

For your first draft, don’t worry about structure. Just get the story down. It will come out chronologically, that is, with the events in the order in which they happen. They may not stay this way, but that’s fine for now. Too many writers worry about writing a blockbuster with their first draft. You won’t. All writers have to write a second draft, so don’t try and avoid it. Continue reading “How to Write a Good Book – Post 4. Structure”

How to Write a Good Book – Post 3. Characterisation

writing3Basic Rules of Characterisation

So, in our story about Santa’s sleigh problems, we have Santa, Rudolph, and Rudolph’s wife, Erma!

Now how do you create characters for them? There are no hard and fast rules, but be wary of simply writing the story as it comes into your head without setting the characters. If you do this, the most likely outcome is that all the characters will sound like the same person, or sub-personalities of the same person. For instance:

“Wow! I got an egg for my birthday. Thanks Erma. I really love you. It’s exactly what a male reindeer wants!”
“It’s okay Rudolph. Wow! I really love you too. I’m glad it’s what you wanted.” Continue reading “How to Write a Good Book – Post 3. Characterisation”

17 Days to War?

17 Days to War? This was the innocent looking subtitle for an episode of a recent high profile BBC series to mark the Centenary of World War One. It instantly upset me, not deeply – I mean I wasn’t throwing things at the TV or thinking about writing a letter because I was close to tears. But the grammar of that phrase bothered me! I think the Beeb made a shocking error here because their grammar is ambiguous and could mean something insulting. Let me explain:

17 Days to War may seem like an innocent phrase to you but it grates on me, as a writer, editor and reader. It grates especially because I know a thing or two about war, although I have never had to fight in one, for which I thank God in my heart almost every day! I am not a war-lover, despite writing fiction about it. I have an affection for the technology used but more than this, I love writing about people, people in difficult situations, and there are no more extreme situations than war. I would like to think it’s an emotive subject for anybody. Continue reading “17 Days to War?”

What keeps you writing?

This week: sneak preview and what keeps you writing?

Sneak Preview
This week it’s from the new project provisonally entitled December Radio a sci-fi World War II story.

The following scene takes place in an aeronautical centrifuge in Cologne. Remember those? I seem to remember they featured in a few 60s films and as a very young boy, one of these left a lasting impression on me. In fact the scene has such a powerful effect on me personally – it almost disturbs me in the same way OCD does sometimes – that I would love to pin down the film I originally watched and see it again. The Gerry Anderson film Doppelganger, sometimes called Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, may well have been the one. It is reputed to have a centrifuge scene in it and the only other film I know if is the Roger Moor Bond film Moonraker, but this would have been too late for it to have affected me so powerfully and yet be a vague memory. If anybody knows of any other film where a man has trouble surviving a centrifuge, please get in touch. Continue reading “What keeps you writing?”

Blog: Carnival of Souls

This week: a story’s soul,  Frankenstein and the Monster, Strunk & White: The Elements of Style

A Story’s Soul This week I have returned to another incomplete work, December Radio. The story is a sci-fi WWII whodunnit of sorts. So far I haven’t written a lthis although I have spent many hours thinkabouit it. The problem is that the story’s soul as I last envisaged it may be too obvious. The problem has been compounded by the recommendation by a friend, based on my description, to read Gravity’s Rainbow. I am on page 50 and so far I have very little idea what is going on; a British Agent is investigating V2 rockets amidst a chaotic kaleidoscope of disjointed feelings, weird characters and disparate locations. What is clear is that the main story is uncomfortably close to mine.  A battle has begun for the soul of my story. Attack Hitler’s BunkWas was a simple story; men fighting against immense odds for Good. It’s soul was born without hiccups on page one. The Ordo Lupus series have their origins in my own private obsessions with the darker side of Religion and more specifically, Faith, God, the Devil and luck. However, both Escher’s Staircase and December Radio have been born of the nebulous (to quote William Shatner) inspiration of a relationshhip; they have neither a beginning or end when I start wItch think think the former title has now settled into a comfortable childhood but the latter may lack something to distinguish it from it’s distinguished competition. Once I have the soul, the story will tell me what to write. This probably probably sounds lkid whimsy and not a little bit pretentiousI, but I believe it! If a book doesn’t have a soul it can’t live. Continue reading “Blog: Carnival of Souls”