Progress Report

I’ve finished the first draft of Monstrum ex Machina, the third novella in the Grey Revolutions series. So that’ll go aside for a few weeks. Probably a bit of work to do on it. I was experimenting with not doing quite as detailed an outline (mainly because I was getting the urge to write it before I did the final cycle of breaking it down), but it doesn’t feel quite as comfortable, and I’m sure it’s going to require more revision time than it would have taken outline time. I think I’m closing in on my preferred working method.

Next up I’ll have a look over the first two parts of Dwimmerfall as I try and plan out the rest of the story. It’s been close to a year since I last worked on it. I’m going to rewrite the first chapter, since it isn’t quite working and I’ve had an idea of a better opening.

I might have a look at redoing the cover of Allegiances, on the assumption I’ll ever get around to the other stories in the series. Maybe.

Glyphmaster Pre-Order

Since I’ve received the proof copy, I’m making Glyphmaster, third in the Glyphpunk series, available for pre-order. It’ll be out June 1st. I should be able to get it prepared by then.

It’s currently only available on Smashwords and associated sites, because Amazon require some form of text provided, and I can’t be bothered formatting a version of it just for that. I should get it done by the end of the month anyway, so it’ll still be available for pres-order for a month or so. Not that I expect many actual orders.

It’ll be $2.99 until publication day, at which point I’ll put it up to the regular price point of $3.99.

It might not be out in print initially, since I’m not happy with how the cover came out. It’s a different cover to the eBook version anyway, since that wasn’t going to work for print. Not sure what to do instead, and I’m reluctant to order another proof just to check the cover. Unless sales pick up (or start) on print copies of the earlier books, I doubt it’ll matter.

 

Other Stuff

Proofing it and preparing the final version will put on hold the current project, the third in the Grey Revolutions series, currently with the working title Monstrum ex Machina. The story is pretty much broken down, with only another pass or two of outlining before I’m going to have to start writing.

And after that maybe I can finally get back to work on finishing Dwimmerfall. Although that’s looking like it may be more than just a third part of the story that needs doing. One of the features of pantsing the writing.

Progress Report

I’ve done a revision of Allegiances, for a couple of reasons. First, I have a sequel planned (vaguely), though it’s unlikely to be soon, so I wanted to refresh myself on it. Secondly, Glyphmaster was being proofed, and I needed space from the next one I’m breaking down, so it keeps me in practice. It’s a few years old anyway, and the text felt atrocious. It might get a new cover at some point, since I have an idea for a design for the series. Not just now though.

Glyphmaster is now ready for print formatting, so that’s the next job. Then it’ll be a matter of waiting for the print proof copy, which usually takes at least a month to arrive, and checking that. So I might list it for pre-order soon.

There’s one element I’m not entirely happy with in it, but it’s so fundamental that the alternative is scrapping the book. In retrospect it could maybe have done with a bit more foreshadowing in the previous book than it got. Mainly because I can’t remember how developed the idea was by that point. I’m worried it’ll come a bit out of left field for some, and raise more questions than will be answered. Ultimately I’ll just have to try and foreshadow it enough in this book. It’s what the story wants to be, so there’s only so much I can do about it.

I just hope it doesn’t demand another book to justify it. I’ve got enough lined up as it is.

Deadpool

The Deadpool film is probably the most accurate transition of a character from comic to screen that I’ve seen, and hugely enjoyable and funny.

The only problem I had with it was purely a personal issue with flashbacks. Most of the story is told in flashbacks, which because of the way my mind works makes the actual forward moving story seem slight. But this is just a personal thing, and won’t stop me watching it again when it’s out on DVD.

It also feels right at the rating level it is, and the calls to have a children’s version don’t really make any sense to me. Deadpool’s never really been a children’s character, and a younger skewing version would either be ten minutes long or have to be redone from scratch. You’d have to have the action be far more cartoonish, changing the entire tone of the film, and it wouldn’t be how I see the character.

Early on in his comic history Deadpool evolved into basically a cartoon character transposed into the slightly more realistic comic world. Surrounded by violence that was harmless in a cartoon, from which he’d always heal, it left more of an effect on the world around him.

The film takes this one step further, making the violence that much more real, and visceral, while maintaining Deadpool himself as a cartoon character. Reducing the violence, and other adult content, to a more child-friendly level, feels like it’d rob the film of its character.

Remember, Wolverine: Origins was only PG-13, and look at what happened to Deadpool there (shudder).

Warning: I don’t mean actually go and look at Wolverine: Origins, because I don’t necessarily hate you that much. Just recall it. And if you haven’t seen it, I in no way want to be responsible for inflicting that on you. Go see Deadpool instead. Provided you’re old enough.

Pricing Change

At the beginning of the year I changed the pricing on my eBooks (and forgot to post about it). Most that were $2.99 are now $3.99, and this’ll be the price point for my novel length stuff for the moment (although some series starters may be $0.99 or free).

This is just an experiment to see if it makes any difference, giving an impression of value to the object by the higher price. $3.99 is apparently the new $2.99, and the optimum price point for eBooks. According to some. It’ll probably take more than changing the price to get any traction, but it’s a relatively easy experiment to set up.

And when Smashwords have their Read an eBook week promotion it’ll be easier to put them at 25% ($0.99) rather than 50% ($1.49).

Novellas I’ll probably price at $1.99, and shorter works at $0.99.

You may notice that the pre-order of The Monster in the Mirror, which I mentioned in the previous post, is a novella at $0.99. It’ll rise to $1.99 sometime after the release date (maybe the day after), but I’m planning to price pre-orders slightly lower in the lead up to release. So if you’re interested in it, you can get it half the regular price by pre-ordering.

Pre-Order: The Monster in the Mirror

The Monster in the Mirror, the sequel to Grey Enigmas, is now available for pre-order on Smashwords, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and other retailers, due to be published on the 1st of March.

The Monster in the Mirror smallWhile technically the third part of the Grey series, I’ve also classified it and Grey Enigmas as part of the Grey Revolutions series, since it carries on the story of the characters (there’s at least a century between Grey Engines and Grey Enigmas, with only the setting in common).

Places that allow multiple series allocations, like Smashwords, will have both, but for other places, such as Amazon, Grey Enigmas is now part of the Grey Revolutions series.

 

I’ll probably set the pre-order for Glyphmaster for the middle of the year, once I settle on the blurb (often the most excruciating and least satisfactory part of writing). That should give me enough time to get it finished (mainly dependent on how long my proofer takes, and how long the Createspace copy takes to arrive).

Progress Report Dec 2015, & Plans

A few revision passes of The Monster in the Mirror have got that in a reasonable state. I’ll set it aside for a few more weeks before looking at it again. A short break in the meanwhile, with maybe some considering the character arcs from Glyphmaster, and listing other things in need of attention when I get to revising that. I might take a run at it before returning to The Monster in the Mirror.

Further ahead, there’s a couple of shorter pieces to revise at some point, and then I need to get back to Dwimmerfall. Probably a light revision of the first two parts before planning out the third. That will probably take some time.

While I do have a couple of other things planned beyond that (including the next in the series after The Monster in the Mirror), I do need to consider whether to carry on along my current path. Fantasy and Science Fiction are the genres to which I feel most attracted, but I’m not sure my writing style is really suited to them. I tend towards the sparse, and worry that I’m maybe not giving enough detail to satisfy readers. Maybe I’d be better suited to writing thrillers.

Not that my existing thrillers sell much better than my other stuff, but I’m wondering about focussing on those for a while. The first novel I wrote, The Paragon Protocols, was an espionage thriller, though I never published it. I’ve been meaning to go back to it at some point, and have been considering fixes recently, so maybe I’ll have a tinker with it.

It’s related to Allegiances, though only in setting rather particular characters, and I had rough plans for where the setting/series could go, but they’ve changed slightly. Originally I’d intended an espionage series that verged on super science, with a hint of the excesses of some of the Bond movies in that direction. But in writing Paragon Protocols I found myself grounding it more than intended, so the immediate planned sequel just felt too different to fix.

Not that it’s ultra-realistic spy stuff. It’s still more action movie territory. And it’d probably have a large cast that would weave in and out, rather than a fixed central character (I have plans for some of the characters from Allegiances, but haven’t got around to writing them yet).

Even without the shifting genre, I’ve been considering trying a more ongoing series. Not sure it quite fits my sensibilities, though. I might get tired writing the same characters over and over, so they’d need to be planned well to begin with, leaving enough space for them to grow.

Or not grow, simply be the fulcrum of the story. I’ve been reading some of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books recently, which I’ve enjoyed. Reacher doesn’t really change, serving as pretty much a plug-and-play protagonist who stumbles into plots. His backstory can be summed up in a few paragraphs, so just connect him with a reason to stay involved and you’ve got a protagonist with whom existing readers already have a bond. Cuts out the hassle of building it anew every time.
Even from cold, Reacher is easy enough to relate to. I’m reluctant to say due to lack of depth, but it obviously came to mind. The few times he has emotional reactions actually feel kind of odd.

Not that him being a cipher hurts the stories. The craft is good enough to hold the interest without requiring the central character to undergo any change. Which isn’t necessary for a story anyway, though it seems to be expected in novel length works. But if you’re writing a series, there’s only so much growth a character can really be exposed to before it becomes too repetitive.

This can be a problem for TV shows especially. Those where characters have to experience an emotional arc every episode, and learn something from it. That level of constant emotional turmoil can’t be healthy. Most such characters should probably be committed after a few years, to get them away from sadistic writers.
So I tend to doubt I’d be able to write a series with a single main protagonist. More of an ensemble piece might work.

Once I’ve cleared my current workload enough to be able to think properly about it, and not let my mind ramble as it has just now.

Not until next year, then.

Seasons greetings, if you’re into that kind of thing.