Progress Report – June 2015

I’ve more or less finished the first draft of the second part of Dwimmerfall (working title). I’m probably going to add a chapter to include a beat in one of the storylines, but otherwise this’ll be set aside until I’m ready to get on with the third, and probably final part of the story.

I still have only vague ideas about what happens, and nothing close to a proper outline. I’m also pretty burned out by what I’ve done so far, so will probably leave it a while and work on something else.

Upcoming Milestone

On Wednesday I’ll be releasing the final short story in the Tales of the Thief-City series, The Nexi Meme. It’ll also be the 50th title I have out in circulation. Only a dozen of those are novels (by some definition).

I’m not sure how I feel about that. It’s a start, I suppose. Or maybe a sign I should do more to try selling them. But that tends to be a time sink that produces few results. It seems to mainly be a matter of luck whether or not your work finds the right reader.

One concern I do have is that I’m writing the wrong stuff. While I do like epic fantasy, and many of my ideas fit into this genre, I don’t tend to write as long as this genre expects. or fantasy in general. I know I’m not too good with descriptive guff, which I also tend to gloss over when reading if they go on too long. They can be more necessary in second world fantasy, where much may be foreign to the reader.

Should I therefore veer my writing towards less fantastical stuff. I do have a thriller for which I have sequel ideas (and it is itself in the same setting as the first novel I wrote, which hasn’t yet been published).

But I don’t see that working unless my subconscious mind, which keeps throwing story ideas at me, plays ball. I write what’s most interesting to me at the moment. Or what was most interesting to me up till the point I started actually writing it. By then it’s more of a slog, and other shinier ideas float past my mind’s eye, but I have to finish the project when it’s started or nothing would ever get finished.

Maybe I’ll try focussing on one genre (other than fantasy) for a while. Get a few books in a series to see if that has any more luck.


What to do Next?

The next immediate thing will be compiling a collected eBook edition of the Tales of the Thief-City series. I have the print edition prepared and proofed, so just need to work on the digital version. I’ll probably release them in August, so I maintain a monthly schedule. I have a few other unpublished things which could probably be knock into shape so I could have something out every month this year, if I want. I’m still undecided.

The ideas fighting for a spot as the next writing project are mainly sequels to my existing stuff. At the forefront I’m getting ideas for a sequel, or sequels, to Grey Enigmas. how the setting will evolve mainly, and exploring new aspects to it. Since I’ve got ideas for a couple of bad guys in it we’re probably talking more than one sequel, and more closely following Grey Enigmas than that book did Grey Engines.Making notes for this will be my primary goal for the next month, seeing whether there’s enough there to spark an outline.

I also need to get around to a third book in the Glyphpunk series. I’d hoped to get on with it soon after Glyphwar, but other ideas pushed their way in. While I’m happy the story was ended cleanly, there were still things that need addressing, and it continues to niggle at me.

The sequel to the aforementioned thriller, Allegiances, has also been bouncing about in my head since I finished that five years ago. there was actually a lot more planned for the setting, but that’ll have to be revised if I ever get around to them.

So July will probably be mainly pre-writing. Or tidying up finished stuff to publish. Or something completely new, if I’m so compelled.


I’ve finished redoing the lost work, and the remaining chapters for that POV character. It was fairly painful.

The thought of the first draft can often be excruciating before I force myself to start the actual writing. Once started, I tend to focus on the writing so the anxieties dissipate.

Rewriting in this way apparently doesn’t do anything for the anxieties. Having had a practice run makes it no easier, as I can’t reference what I wrote in the original.

Are the bits I’m sure were in the preceding chapters actually there, and not in the lost stuff? If I slow down to check every bit I could easily grind to a halt. I’ll just have to hope that I notice any omissions when I come round to the revisions.

Revisions are far easier than rewriting. And the initial writing for that matter. Even if entire tracts have every single word changed, I’m using the same skeleton. Even if I replace or reshape portions of the skeleton, there’s something concrete on the page with which I can work. I’m shaping the story rather than creating it, giving detail rather than expelling this lump of an idea from my mind.

Even before this I was growing disillusioned with the project, which isn’t unusual in the middle of the first draft. It becomes overwhelming, and the flaws are all I can see this close up. The general irritation of rewriting has only made it worse.

I’ll finish writing it though. At least this part, and hopefully the third part after I’ve had a break and worked out the detail of what happens. Then I’ll be able to leave it a while and judge the completed work with a bit of distance. Even if that distance is a few years.

I’m Done with Scrivener

I might have been getting lax with my backups since I started using Scrivener. I used to try and email the word file to my online account at the end of every day of work (I know, I should set up something automated, but the email method also keeps a record of the various drafts). Scrivener doesn’t have a single file unless you compile it, which I do less regularly.

[I’m sure you can see where this is going]

So I was using Scrivener for the second part of the current project (working title Dwimmerfall), since I’m writing it in batches of the chapters for one character at a time. This is one thing for which Scrivener is useful. It flashed up an odd message when closing down, so I reopened it to check. It’d lost a day’s work.

With a little googling (after having copied the text files so I at least had something to work from if it went further askew) I worked out how to recover the last backup. It keeps the last five, so I was fortunately able to restore what had been lost, and was relatively confident in being able to recover should it happen again.

Which it did the next day. Only this time it lost all the text from the project, not just the past few days. And it managed to somehow wipe all five back ups.

I thought I’d lost all of part two, about a month’s work. Fortunately I still had the text download I made following the previous crash. I could copy and paste those back in – the chapter files and titles remained, they just didn’t contain any text – but I’m reluctant to trust a program that could crash every time I turn it off. Even if convinced this was a bug that’d been fixed, I don’t know I’d be happy trusting it, and going through the process of backing things up after only working an hour or so at a time would soon get frustrating.

I’ve left the writing alone for a few days, since the thought of having to redo something done so recently was initially overwhelming. What could I miss out, forgetting that it came there and thinking it came earlier? Of course I could also add things that I hadn’t initially included, but that’s not what I worry about.

I’ll get back to it in a day or two, using Word, and probably do the succeeding chapters for this character before going back to redo the lost ones.

And I should probably think of something more regimented for saving back ups.


For a Few Faeries More

The eleventh part of the Tales of the Thief-City is now available.


For a Few Faeries More smallFor a Few Faeries More

As his machinations rebound on those closest to him, Rax must travel to the hostile lands of faerie. An unwilling observer to the intrigues of the faerie court, he must navigate their treacherous waters in the slight hope of ever leaving again.
Eleventh in the Tales of the Thief-City series. A 5,000 word short story.