It’s crazy how quickly the weeks (and months) can rack up with no updates on this site. My apologies. I’ve been dedicated to producing my author newsletter on a regular basis, so all the news and recommendations you can ever dream of are waiting for you here.
As ever, things have been busy. Since Territory came out in June, I’ve been hammering away at various other projects. I finished my novel Last Night of Freedom. The book taught me a lot about the editing process.
As I’ve probably bored you about over a beer at a convention or reader event in the past, I’ve come fairly close to getting an agent with previous novels. But I’ve never managed to get over that hurdle and earn myself that line into major publishers. I’m hoping Last Night changes that for me.
I think one of the things that held me back in the past was my lack of a clear editing process. I always thought I’d edited the books well, but perhaps not to a professional level. With Last Night I was not only brutal with the book, but rigorous. I made copious notes – very useful for writing the synopsis – and ensured I kept track of not only the characters’ actions but also their emotions throughout each chapter.
The final stage (and this takes longer than you think) was to read the book aloud. Thanks to Will Dean for this tip, but it was really helpful in spotting cadence and tone inconsistencies.
I produced this writing prompt to keep me going throughout the writing process. Something I’ll definitely be doing for future novels.
I’m also halfway through a screenwriting course at a local university. The course has been great. Not only has been brilliant to be back in a classroom (in the flesh!) but to just be learning a new skill and meeting new people. The tutor, Adam, has been great and his notes have been so helpful in trying to batter some of the novelist tendencies out of my screenplay.
I’ve managed to turn my previously half-completed, abandoned novel Static into a TV pilot and I’m currently working on the pitch document. Hopefully they will both be edited and honed by the end of the year.
This follows on from writing the screenplay for Territory (badly) earlier in the year. Hopefully, with all the lessons learned from the course, I can redraft Territory leaving me with two decent spec scripts in my back pocket. I’ve also written four short films in the last few months. Two are originals, two are adaptations of stories from Dark Missives.
The key thing I’ve taken away from my course is – you’ve guessed it – to edit and to hone the writing to within an inch of its life. Every note I’ve had back has encouraged care, craft and brevity. All of these lessons are sinking in and week by week, the words are getting better. Who knows, some of them might even be good one day!
As I said, just because I haven’t been writing here, doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy!
I guess with that all said, I’ll leave you with one final image. I’ve also been working hard on my photography of late. Here’s a snap I took at New Brighton a few weeks back. Perhaps it’s a story prompt… Who knows?