The new teaser trailer for Star Wars broke today. Shot by J.J. Abrams, I'm not lying when I say it blew my mind. Admittedly, I've been fooled before. I geeked out just as much over the trailer for the Phantom Menace but I have hope.
Star Wars holds a special place in my heart. I remember vividly being taken to the cinema when I was seven by my dad. We went to Leicester Square (at night no less) with my sister, grandmother, and my best friend at the time, a boy called Stephen. Afterwards he and I had mock lightsabre fights while we waited to go home.
I went and saw it another three times that summer as it took over my life. I was lucky that my family indulged me and my obsession. To think I had to wait three years before no 2 came out!
The prequels were crap and a great case study in not letting technology overrule a good story but here's hoping that these rock and once more Star Wars excites the world. I can't wait for my son to be old enough to see these films.
And this bad guy looks awesome! Roll on Christmas 2015.
The book stands at 77,000 words which is good but far from where I wanted to be by this date. But as I've said before, better to get it great than just done. Part of the slow down of the process had been as a result of my agent's notes, pointing out the faults in the early sections I sent him. I've been fixing them from the beginning of the book so I've added lots but the story hasn't moved forward for a couple of weeks now. The good news is what I have is BETTER. I'm really excited and enjoying myself. I've been sticking to the 5am starts religiously as well. My eye bags are showing the strain but its worth the effort.
So I sent my agent the first 50% of my book to read and the other day I got notes back on the first 13 chapters he'd read. Five pages of just general notes of all the things that needed fixing. It was amazingly detailed feedback. Part of me felt a bit defensive because I knew a lot of it was wrong anyway and I'd probably have fixed it when I began editing but I quickly pushed that away. The big question though was do I go back and fix the beginning parts or just push on and go back en masse. However I've chosen to go back because the changes might lead me into new areas that will effect the latter stages. I'm so lucky though to get that feedback. In the past, I'd paid freelance editors quite a bit of cash for only a fraction of feedback. I'm so lucky to have this new resource to make my book the best it will be.
When you decide you want to become an author, there are various stages of achievement.
Step 1 is simply to finish writing a book length book - it's bloody hard and if you manage to do that, be proud.
Step 2 is getting an agent. Querying (the process of finding said agent) is hard, demoralizing and takes forever. There's a real art to writing the letters, summing up a book in a few sentences. But the real challenge is in the waiting to hear back from agents. They are busy people with existing clients who take up 99% of their time so potential clients aren't high on their list of things to do. I hated the process, even though I had a good converstaion rate of requests to read partials, and full manuscripts. Hell I did so well I got an agent! And I'm so glad I don't have to go through it all again.
To give an idea of how long you can wait to hear back from agents, only today I got a response from an agent regarding SWITCH/BLADE from a submission I sent off about six months ago. It said: "I must apologize for the lateness of my reply. I try to get back to authors within six weeks, but sometimes that isn't feasible. With that being said, I want to thank you so much for sharing SWITCH/BLADE with me. I found your story to be very strong, and it drew me in right away. You have talent, but unfortunately, I didn’t fall completely in love with it in the way that I need to in order to take it on. I do want you to know that it was very hard for me to pass on this project, and I’m certain that if it hasn’t already found a home, it will soon. I wish you the best of luck on your writing journey."
Now that's a really nice rejection note and got a nice thank you note back from me because that's the right thing to do.
Of course, step 3 is getting published (or going on submission) which is whole different ball game.
I think I mentioned awhile back that the first version of Nathaniel Rane appeared back at the turn of the decade. His surname was Ran back then, in reference to the Akira Kurosawa film of the same name. It means 'chaos' in Japanese. He grew an 'e' when I realised that having a verb for a name was problematic.
It was probably back in 2006/7 that I first attempted to write prose with him as a central character. Above and below are some sketches I did to help me as I had no idea how to write a book.
I abandoned the first try after only a page or two as writing seemed an impossible thing to do. The second attempt went better but again was easily abandoned. Some elements did make it into the draft that became CRY HAVOC, the first book I completed.
CRY HAVOC took two and a half years to write, ending up at 118,000 words. Of course there was probably about 100,000 words that got scraped along the way including a third of the book about an older soldier called Nial. It was an amazing experience though and I learned so much - the most important being that I can actually write a book.
SWITCH/BLADE was far easier and far better so fingers crossed all that is paying off on Book Three (whatever it is called.)
My agent is reading the first half now so very anxious to see what he thinks of it all.
yes, I'm making progress. I had some good writing days and feel in good form with what I'm doing. I also had a lovely scene pop into my head while eating dim sum yesterday which was lovely and I think very pivotal for the book.
I know I'll go through another period of thinking the book is crap but at the moment I'm totally excited about it.
I was looking back at my old blog and the progress I made on SWITCH/BLADE. I had been writing it for 13 months when I reached 60,000 - the point I'm at now after two and a bit months with SOUL SWORD. Sometimes it easy to forget success or improvement when you're caught up in the day to day of just trying to get words down. The goal always has to be to get better each and every day and acknowledge that journey.
I'm back in the groove with the book. Almost at 60,000 words. I've been getting up at 5am everyday, and looking forward to it. The old saying is true that if you love what you do, it doesn't feel like work.
My father, wife and agent are reading the first part as well so looking forward to hearing their feedback.
And I have to say I still get really excited just getting an email from my agent. In fact just typing that gets me excited.
Writing has been a really solitary pursuit for many years now so its great having people helping all of a sudden.
I've just moved home which was a fun experience - especially as I had to pack up all my books and comics and other assorted things. Nearly one week on and I'm still unpacking boxes. However on the up side, I've rediscovered things I'd kinda forgotten about. One of those is the Grendel War Child series by Matt Wagner.
Back in the early nineties, I had stopped reading comics because of other growing interests like girls, going out, clothes, beer and other such interconnected wonderful things. But one day I was wandering around Guildford and I suddenly saw a new comic shop and for no real reason, I went inside. There I discovered John Byrne's Next Men, Frank Miller's Sin City and a book with the most gruesome Simon Bisley cover called Grendel War Child. I bought all three and just like that I was hooked on comics again.
Grendel had everything I loved - cyborgs, samurai like soldiers, light sabres, vampires, ultra violence and so on. It blew my tiny mind.
Looking back now, nearly twenty years later, I can see what excited me then. Its still fresh, full of raw energy. I'd love to see a film version. Rock n roll sci-fi.