As they say on Top Gear – “Let’s do the news.”
So, what have I been up to since the website went live in February? Well, mostly I’ve been writing the novella Mandestroy; a prequel to Fear’s Union. I plan to freely release this novella sometime in the summer (I’m not committing!), so it has become a bit of a race to go from blank page to published in a few months. I’m therefore taking the opportunity to record all my experiences of the process here, where you can also track my progress on my live activity calendar! More on this later.
But what else have I been up to? Here’s what:
- Watching the 6 nations and leading my fantasy 6 nations mini league (again!);
- Writing about my world-building efforts in the regular writing experience blog;
- A book review of Megg Jensen’s ‘Hidden‘;
- I’ve been reading the excellent short story anthology ‘Dangerous Women‘ by Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin;
- And Beagle completed the second part of his blot around the World of Ku.
As might be expected, writing the novella Mandestroy has dominated my time this month (aside from a few BBQ attempts – yes, BBQ in February – and a birthday weekend.) My first novel has taken many many years, but because I want to release Mandestroy in the middle of the year, I need to get my skates on. And I need to do it while holding down a full-time job, and spending time with family and friends. It makes for a very busy schedule, but broadly speaking, this is how I do it:
- 06:00 to 08:30: getting ready for work [includes child management].
- 8:30 to 09:00: walk to work – great for switching off, imagining, and planning out writing.
- 09:00 to 17:30: the bit in the office.
- 17:30 to 18:00: walk home [unwind].
- 18:00 to 19:00: bed time [child management].
- 19:00 to 21:00(ish): dinner and chill time.
- 21:00 to 23:00(ish): writing.
- Weekends: only if the opportunity presents itself (family first).
So, quite a schedule. And this also needs to include writing other stuff, such as this blog for example. But it seems to work for me, and you can follow a day-by-day account of my activities on the ‘Writing Mandestroy‘ page.
But can you really write a whole novella (c. 30,000 words) in a month with that schedule? Well, I’ll be honest. This story has been in my head for a while, so the ‘planning’ bit was already fleshy – hence, not starting from a completely blank page. But it’s still a challenge. I’ll shortly be releasing some notes on planning Mandestroy on the Writing Mandestroy page, so come and take a look when you get a chance.
And in the meantime?
If you’re interested in a more immediate fix, then here’s what’s already out there, and also what’s coming up in the near future:
- Sample chapters for Fear’s Union are available on the book page;
- A very early draft of Mandestroy (warning – it may not be readable and definitely includes spoilers!) is available on the Writing Mandestroy page;
- The free short story Dusk is Coming is available by signing up for the newsletter;
- I’ll be doing a review of Dangerous Women;
- I’ll be blogging about my first attempts at writing a novel (oh the horror!);
- Technical: I need to look into the baffling world of keywords!
- And I’ll be conducting an interview with General Kantal – the star of the novella Mandestroy.