So, we’ve come to the end of the journey. Or at least a junction. It is time to reflect, and this is what I’ve concluded so far.
I wrote at the start of this series that I considered myself to be a macro reader – i.e. a reader who could gloss over excessive POVs and literary errors. It’s the story that’s important, right? And I want to see as much action as possible in a palatable manner.
It turns out this is bollocks.
I thought I was a macro reader because I was able to read books without seeing the finicky little problems that may exist. But herein lies the bollocks. Now that I know about the problems, I see them everywhere, and they annoy me. So actually, I wasn’t a macro reader at all. I was ignorantly tolerant.
And with my new Deep POV hat on, I can’t be ignorantly tolerant anymore. Certainly not with my own work, and less so with the work of others too. It’s a bit like tasting better beer, or coffee, or whatever. Once you’ve tried the good stuff, you won’t go back.
Continue reading Final Thoughts
In last month’s blog we looked back at the results of running a series of tests as specified in Marcy Kennedy’s cracking little book: “A busy writer’s guide to deep POV”. Most of the work I’ve done into deep POV has been with Mandestroy, and I thought that was pretty tight. But what did Marcy’s recommendations suggest? Well…
- 23% of the sentences had deep POV errors in them; and
- 31% of the word count was “infected”.
- Some sentences had three separate errors in them!
- And there were some pretty heavy and clunky 50 word sentences lingering around.
All in all, there were a few belts to tighten. So, better get cracking.
Continue reading The Deep POV Effect
Implementing Deep POV
I had a month off with respect my writing experience blogs. Then again, it was NaNoWriMo, so it was only fair wasn’t it? Well now NaNoWriMo is over, and it’s time to dig back in.
Here I will be picking up where I left off – following and applying the principles of this little beauty of a book. And this month I start to get stuck in with a series of recommended actions and applying tests to the live version of Mandestroy. Now, I thought Mandestroy was pretty tight (see my Writing Mandestroy page if you don’t believe me!) but applying the tests in here opened up an eye-watering number of “errors”. Bloody hell. Read on to find out more.
Continue reading How Bad Can it Be?
Happy October! And if you’re thinking about Christmas already, then stop! Too early (although, try telling that to the supermarkets).
So, what’s been going on? Well, believe it or not, it’s not all about books. Is it? In fact, I have many strings to my bow. I can also cook meat. And just to prove it, here’s a picture of a brisket I cooked in September.
It took nine hours to smoke, but it was worth every minute! Tasty. And next month I’m going to brew a triple strength IPA. Varied.
So, if you want to learn more about my extra-literary activities, then come and join my newsletter.
Anyway, what’s in this month’s news blog? Here’s what:
- The adventures of Beagle the … architect
- The “To-Do” list
- Blogging highlights (last month & next)
So on with the news!
Continue reading Author Newsletter October 2016
In this writing experience blog, I’m going to talk about a technique I’ve developed for editing my own work. Before we go any further, this is not suggesting that proper professional editorials can be avoided – indeed, I have established a newfound respect for the work that gets done in editorials. What this does do is to suggest a way that ‘self-editing’ can be completed in a more productive, albeit time-consuming (!), manner.
Well, it seemed to work for me in any case.
Continue reading Editing Your Work
Wow – that was a busy month. As I mentioned last month, I may have suddenly realised that I had to get my skates on and get the novella sorted out pretty sharpish! I had been dragging my heels somewhat, and it turns out there was quite a lot to do. But I got there! Which is very exciting. So, in news of all things Mandestroy, this is what’s happened:
- Mandestroy book in a blog concluded;
- The final edit of Mandestroy was pulled together (including a sentence by sentence overhaul);
- It got a beta read from Joshua C. Cook – thanks Josh!;
- And it was published (hurrah!) on Smashwords for FREE and Amazon for $0.99 (more on that later).
But it’s not all about Mandestroy – oh no. What else has been going on in James Hockley’s world?
- Fear’s Union limped out of SPFBO#2 with the “Katana of potential” award – not all bad then!
- Some more reviews of Fear’s Union have popped up – mixed opinions so far…
- I’ve been reading lots (as always) with a particular highlight being Robin Hobb’s Ship of Magic. Epic in every sense.
That’s the headlines. Now, on with the news!
Continue reading Author Newsletter August 2016
Yep – I’ve given up on the silly titles. It didn’t take long did it? My knowledge of news based quiz shows is not extensive enough to keep it going any longer. And beyond that, I saw an article by Jane Friedman here which suggested it was not a productive idea! So we have a functional title instead.
And on that note – thanks to Jane for her excellent blog advice. I have signed up to a few ‘writing bloggers’ out there, but I have to say that Jane has become my go-to source of self-publishing info. There’s always something useful there.
Now, on with the news. What’s been happening? Here’s the highlights:
- England rugby union rolled over the Aussies in their own back yard! Hurrah;
- England football limped out of the European Championships with an embarrassing whimper. Not so hurrah;
- And Brexit happened. Brexit actually happened. Oh dear god;
- I have been reviewing a lot of books in a quest to get some feedback on Fear’s Union;
- Mandestroy has continued to be edited and is being blogged with a view to getting it published at the end of the month (still).
And that’s about it – I think. It doesn’t sound like a lot when I put it like that.
Continue reading Author Newsletter July 2016
You may have noticed that I am going through popular television related news titles – don’t worry, they will run out pretty soon. Sorry.
So – what have I been up to? Well, I’m happy to say that I think that the upcoming novella is in a pretty good place, and you may have noticed that I’ve started to blog the whole book. I intend to do this with the main novel later on too, but just the novella for now. More on that later.
And the novel has now been out for a month, and the sales have been stellar! And what I mean by that of course, is that the sales tracker has largely been a void with the occasional blip of space debris (i.e. a sale). But hey – this is a learning curve. And I have learnt a great deal in the last month, so let’s look on the bright side. I’ll give more details later.
And on the light side of the moon (I appear to have adopted a space themed style today for absolutely no reason, and for which I apologise), I was not voted out of the SPFBO#2 at the first hurdle: see here. Though on the dark side of the moon (oh dear once more), the cover wasn’t a favourite. So we’ll probably revisit that at some point then.
But to return to the matter at hand – on with the news.
Continue reading Not the 9 O’clock News?
So, it turns out that the plan that I had has been somewhat thrown out of the window. The book I was going to release later this year (after another edit and after the novella has been around for a bit) has gone live already. Whoops!
That’s right – Fear’s Union is now available for sale (though only currently on Kindle). Other formats will be available later this year.
Very exciting. And as you’ll see, I’ve also had a proper book cover sorted out, as-well as for Mandestroy. I used 99Designs, and I am very happy with both results. I shall blog about my experiences later this month.
So – why have I suddenly decided to publish Fear’s Union? Well the answer is simple really. I wanted to enter the fantastic self-published fantasy blog-off hosted by Mark Lawrence, and to enter, I needed to be published by the 1st May. It’s a great opportunity for some exposure (assuming I get anywhere in the competition that is!) and given that the book was largely ready, it seemed a shame not to dive in. And so I’m officially self-published. Very exciting.
But other than getting my book over the line in KDP, I have been mostly writing the novella Mandestroy; a prequel to Fear’s Union. I’m still on track, and by all accounts, I actually quite like where it’s going. As a bit of a spoiler, this novella focusses on a character who is a bit of a bad guy in the main series, and it’s been great fun expanding his back-story. In fact, I may now like him so much that he has written himself a bigger role in the later series. The second draft is here, and it’s looking good – though there’s still plenty of hacking round to do if you don’t want to spoil it.
And even more than that! I’ve also been up to this:
- Some stag dos and other general partying;
- Early starts with my son and lots of nappies (just to balance out the fun I’ve been having above);
- Writing about my recent activity reviewing the very first attempts at pen to paper of a friend – a really rewarding activity;
- A book review of Robert J Crane’s second book in the Sanctuary series – Avenger;
- Lots of activity sorting out book covers;
- And Beagle completed the fourth part of his jaunt around the World of Ku. He may only now be starting to realise what he’s let himself in for!
Now, more on the upcoming novella.
Continue reading Have I got News for you? May 2016
Another month, and another head scratching moment as I wonder what I’ve been up to. Fortunately, this here website happens to be a bit of a log of activity, so even I know what’s been going on! This is excellent news.
And just as last month, this month I have been mostly writing the novella Mandestroy; a prequel to Fear’s Union. I’m still on track for a summer (cough!) release, and this month, I spent most of my time doing a first review of my work, and nailing the story arc. A reviewed first draft, as-well as a log of all my activity, is available here, and I’m very excited about the progress. I’m learning things about my writing process that I never even knew!
But what else have I been up to? Here’s what:
- Watching the 6 nations and ultimately coming up short in my fantasy 6 nations mini league (devastated);
- A busy social calendar including an Easter weekend wedding;
- Writing about my first attempts at actually putting pen to paper in the regular writing experience blog;
- A book review of Dangerous Women – a collection of short stories edited by Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin;
- A book review of Michael McClung’s excellent fantasy debut, The Thief who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids;
- A book review of C.C. Hogan’s first book in the Dirt Series, called Dirt;
- Reading a lot (apparently);
- And Beagle completed the third part of his blot around the World of Ku.
Now, because it is my main focus, here’s the news on the upcoming novella.
Continue reading Let’s do the News: April 2016