Plotting With ‘Saves the Cat’ & Editing…

WebsiteWUAfter my last post despairing about having written 11 projects and the cost of editing all of these, I was recommended an editor who turned out to be reasonably priced. So it’s not all doom and gloom after all. I haven’t booked anything in yet, but due to submit a project for her to work on in May, and I have another project ready for her if she can fit that in too. Considering the cost of this it should be manageable over the next year to get all of them done. That’s if she doesn’t get sick of Darkwood in that time. Strangely, the pandemic has kind of helped out my finances to, as it put a stop to all the home improvements we were going to do–plus it’s hard to spend much in this situation!

A purchase I got in just before the UK went into lock down was a couple of books on writing. ‘Saves the Cat Writes a Novel’ and ‘Anatomy of Story’. Both had a lot of positive reviews and I’ve seen recommended. ‘Saves the Cat’ interested me–not because it mentions ‘cat’–as it has a 15 point ‘beat sheet’ for writing a good novel. I really enjoyed the 7 point writing plan and used that with the majority of my last run of stories within ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’.

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Other People in a Pandemic…

WebsiteMVSo. We’re all inĀ  a bit of a pickle, aren’t we? I don’t know about you, but currently we are social distancing due to corona virus, and being one of the fortunate ones, I am able to do the majority of my job working from home. Life is indoors with occasional ‘end of the world’ runs for supplies. I actually had a head start on this as I developed a dry cough out of no where and had to self-isolate about a week before the UK went into lock down–I felt a 100% fine aside from the annoying cough and a bit of wheeziness and a burning sensation in my chest at times. I was in a bit of denial about it as I felt so well, but thought ‘what do I know?’ as these were the symptoms the government were telling us to self-isolate over, so I did as I was told. I was kicking myself though, as I had spent a couple of weeks nagging my mum to take the situation seriously as she is a high risk of complications from corona virus due to her age and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), and I saw her the very day before I got symptoms. I was worried I had given it to her. Thankfully, she didn’t get ill. Of course, I don’t even know if I actually had it.

Seeing this pandemic unfold has obviously been awful, but as an observer of people for writing characters–wow. I mean… just wow. Continue reading

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!

 

The Meta World of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’…

WebsiteMVMy love of classic ‘Doctor Who’–especially the 70s Gothic horror styled stories–were a big influence on my series ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’. I have been reminded of this recently through reading ‘The Doctor Who Handbook’ by David J Howe, Stephen James Walker and Mark Stammers, which delves deep into the background of the production of the classic series of ‘Doctor Who’ with a fascinating amount of detail–collected interviews, production notes and even quotes from memos I’m amazed are still about. Reading all the mixed messages and confusion and opposed departments it’s crazy how the series ever got made. For me, my interest in ‘Doctor Who’ has always been the stories and characters, but also the production and the history around it, and I had always intended to reflect this in ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ by the conceit of rooting it in the real world…

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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