Sensitive Writing for Comfortable Readers…

Revisiting ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ as a I prepare for a relaunch, I have been considering the balance between historical terms and the comfort of readers. The format for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ is Jack Hobbs as narrator writing in the early 20th century of his adventures as servant-companion to Emily Darkwood in the last quarter of the Victorian era. I had always intended it to read as though it had been written of its time, but mindful that as Darkwood was not a woman of her time in outlook and attitude Hobbs would have been similarly influenced.

To get the historical feel for the world Darkwood and Hobbs are in, I mined old expressions, ways of talking, word structures, and terms of the time. Reading through my old works I have come to decide against this to try an improve the appeal. I have also found myself uncomfortable with my few uses of outdated labels for race, and the editor of a current project highlighted a character’s derogatory reference to race and its associated religion. In light of everything that’s going on in the world at the moment around gender, sex, sexuality and race with the associated prejudice, oppression and discrimination these labels feel even more discomfiting.

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Working With an Editor…

WebsiteWUEditing is writing’. It’s my new mantra to get me through what is likely to be a year of editing with no actual writing. This is a consequence of my plan to write write write, and get a bunch of projects done so I would gain some distance from earlier projects to help me with the blindness I haveĀ through being so close to my writing. That plan’s not looking so hot now. But, after a long break from the whole writing process, I am reminded of how important the editing process is.

I had a recommendation of an editor, and we are now working on ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (9): The Rat King’ together. I read through it a bunch and sent my manuscript off… and it’s come back with edits on nearly every line. So that was… humbling lol. Cue: Writerly Angst. Ranging from ‘wow–I’m really sh*t at this’ to ‘Okay, I have a lot to learn’.

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New Covers & a Self-Publishing Problem…

WebsiteWUAfter lots of obsessive tweaking, wrestling with my perfectionism, and having to accept the limits of my budget, software and skills, I have finalised the new covers for my four horror novels. After trawling fonts for hours on end I ended up keeping the fonts I started with. But, I managed a kind of glow on the title which I quite like. It does make it look a little blurry looking as a thumbnail, but the white font consistent across all the covers now, should hopefully make the text stand out for each of them. I really like the new cover for ‘The Room’. A bit more engaging than just the picture of a door I had before. I wanted to have several dogs for ‘The Pack’, but also wanted the title in the jaws of a dog, so had to settle on one killer dog to maintain the in-your-face size I wanted for the title. ‘Ivory’ has the same image as before, and I have just redone the cover for ‘Harvest’ with a similar composition. The covers are all live over on Kindle now, and look good as thumbnails, so mission successful in my mind.

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Sneak Peek at New Horror Covers for 2020…

WebsiteWUWith a holiday and some decorating I didn’t have as much time for the next editing project of ‘The Dakrwood Mysteries’, so I decided to focus on the new covers for my four horror novels.

I couldn’t do much better than the image for ‘Ivory’, and was happy with the composition for ‘Harvest’; so just used new sources. ‘The Room’ and ‘The Pack’ are whole new covers.

I’m not sure about the font for my name at the moment, and the cover of ‘Harvest’ needs some more work, but this is where I am so far… some feedback would be great!

 

Writing in 2020…

WebsiteWUHappy New Year! I don’t do new year’s resolutions but I am a planner. 2019 was finishing up the next run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’. Of course, in writing, ‘finishing’ is never quite as final as the word implies. I have 11 first drafts finished, and this plan to revisit them now that there is some distance between my writing them, and editing them. Editing. *shudder*. I hate editing.

I think it was a good idea to just write all the Darkwood Msyteries in the next run, and go back to them after some time, as it should make editing I hate editing easier to see past the word blindness I get for recent work so I can spot silly mistakes–wrong words, missing words, repetition–but there is also that anxiety about reopening a file for editing I hate editing that hasn’t been worked on for nine or ten months. Will it be shit? There’s a bit of that ‘what’s in the box?’ Seven moment in opening a file. Please let there be a visceral severed head of Gwyneth Paltrow and not some awful prose…


Aside from getting a second run of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ out there, I will be relaunching the first run, with a new story slotted in to round the count up to 10 tales. A number I’m going to aim at for each run of stories. There will be new covers, and I’m going to try and go as broad as I can with availability, and I’m hoping to get the omnibus into print format.

I’m planning new covers for my four contemporary horror novels, and print versions of those too.

Most exciting of all for me, is that I am going to start planning and start a new contemporary horror. The next novel was intended to be ‘Sigils’, a story about people marked by mysterious symbols which imbue them with a supernatural ability unique to them–but, I want to be careful not to make it too fantasy, magicky, superhero feeling, as I want to make sure it stays firmly rooted in horror. I really want my next novel to be horror, so I’m skipping over that and into writing ‘X’, that’s a working title. I like the title at the moment, as the novel is about a guy with a scary ex, and how on a cabin retreat they are one by one marked with an ‘x’ for… well, I better not say. But, I think I will probably go with another title. We’ll see. It will be a ‘don’t go in the woods’ folk lore type tale, which I pretty much have sketched out from beginning to end in my head.

But first… Editing. Have I mentioned I hate editing… Oh, yes… I believe I have.

Editing & Formatting

Getting Back to ‘Normal’…

WebsiteMVI have had a break from the writing desk. Finally, after 6 months, our home move completed. We are now in the new house. There was lots to do to prepare, and then settle in, and we’ve only been settled for the last week or so. In all honesty, I could have been back at the keyboard last week, but I just needed the weekend to do sweet nothing. I needed it after… THE MOVE. I’m sure this is going to be a horror title in my writing future…

The Move

The move was pretty intense. It was only a three property move, with only us and our buyers actually required to physically move. The place we bought was vacant. The owners died. Under pretty mysterious circumstances actually. They were found in the basement with loads of candles lit around them. Eh, not really. We don’t have a basement. They were murdered in the lounge. Eh, not really. They already live somewhere else. We thought the move would be quick, as we all settled offers in May, but it dragged on. We were all set, our solicitor was on the ball, and we started the packing and selling stuff we didn’t want to take with us, and were ready to go by the second month. Unfortunately, we were told our buyers hadn’t instructed their solicitor and our solicitor and estate agent pushed how unusual this was and that we should think about putting our home back on the market.

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