Just do it…

14 04 2010

It’s been a bit quiet round here of late.

I’ve taken some time out for Eastercon and G’s birthday. I’ve done a bit of writing, rather more reading and some overdue thinking that has helped me clarify that I do need to make some changes to my approach if this writing thing is going to work. Primarily being a bit more realistic with my time, not surfing as much and setting expiry dates for projects.

In this vein I am – as previously stated – very near completion of The Scarred God (manuscript is there, I am really just cleaning up), have a new short story about to do the rounds, and am in the process of trunking older stories.

I’ve also been working on some changes to the blog and I anticipate a return to more regular content in the near future.

Stay tuned…

Eastercon 2010

6 04 2010

I’m back from Eastercon.

It was a great con: really good to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and, indeed, to make some new ones. I couldn’t help feeling a little frustrated with myself that I had not quite managed to be in a position to actually pitch The Scarred God, but I’m only a fortnight to a month away (line edit and synopsis), I may need to just attend the Autumn cons instead – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

A good haul of books including Joe Hill’s “Horns”; Adam Roberts’ “New Model Army”; Gareth L Powell’s “Silversands” and Lauren Beukes’ “Moxyland”.

Most importantly I’m feeling more focused than I have been in a while. To be fair this started before the con, but being around like minded people, not having to talk day-job shop, and having some thinking time, really has turbo-charged that feeling. At one point I found myself writing on my i-phone in a corridor, something I haven’t done in months and it felt great (the writing on the spur of the moment rather than the device). Preserving this feeling as I go back to work next week will be tough but I think everything will benefit if I do.

Now I need to go let my liver recover.

Near yet far

31 03 2010

I didn’t quite hit my deadline.

As of two minutes ago I did finish the major rewrite on The Scarred God’s fifth draft. However, strictly speaking it will need a line edit; a continuity check; and probably a slight trim for length. These will probably be quite quick passes, throttled only by my need to read the thing out loud to line edit it as at this stage it’s the only way I will spot problems, and I will probably finish in around two weeks time. And as I said before: then I really am done on this one.*

Nearly there.

* Unless someone pays me.

The week that was: treading water

14 03 2010

Actually on time with this for once.


I’ve been really dreadful at keeping track of the news lately. I see that the UK government continues to show itself as technically illiterate lobby responding halfwits with the hacked about and totally unworkable digital rights bill. Personally I’d quite like the people legislating to actually understand the medium they are passing law on but, you know, I’m funny like that. Election fever continues to grow in the UK even though Brown looks set to leave it to the last minute to set a date and no one seems to realise the parties have no actual policies.It’s enough to keep my head down and away from the press.


It’s been interesting to watch Apple, Google and Microsoft squaring up for what feels like a new phase in their corporate celebrity death match. Bing’s new ads have started rolling out in the UK but haven’t – as far as I can see – had much impact. Meanwhile Google seem to be making in-roads on mobile but Apple have such a lead now – especially on usability – many speculate Android will have difficult moving beyond the tech sphere. What’s certain is mobile internet has now entered that high proliferation phase where browsing habits shift permanently with all the inherent new challenges that presents. It’s going to be  a fun couple of years.


I’ve been reading outside of genre (don’t gasp at the back, I read wide, sometimes). “Foe” by J.M.Coatze (award winning author don’t you know) is a riff on Robinson Crusoe and a fairly trippy, dream like novel, that I cribbed off my sister once. I enjoyed it although I think it had technical problems with the structure that occasionally took me out of the narrative. I suspect it’s best enjoyed – given the length – in one sitting.


During the week I only managed a minimum amount of words on The Scarred God (I’m working the final, final draft). However, this weekend has afforded me some free time that has enabled me to crank through another three thousand words of new material and a bit of polishing on stuff I retained. I am very near the end of the major rewrites and with in a gnat’s hair of the last line edit. I finish on March 31st – whatever. I have too many other stories to work on. The plan is to either a) submit to agents (if I think it’s commercial and good) or b) issue as either an audiobook or e-book (if I think it’s good but not commercial) or c) trunk (if it’s not upto par).

To keep me honest if I trunk it I will burn one hard copy and pass all digital files to G for safe keeping.


I appear to have injured myself. I’m not sure how but I have pulled my trap and so have been walking around like an old man most of the week hence no gym time. On the positive side I did watch my food levels and I dropped some weight. I’m hoping this week goes better.

That’s it for this week. I suspect their will be more next week simply by virtue of the fact I have actual Stuff planned and, of course, Eastercon looms.

Post Binge

7 03 2010

I’m done.

All told I covered off two chapters and rewrote around 6k. My brain hurts.

On the plus side – because you have to take breaks to let the brain catch up – I also managed to finish some reading and some other bits and bobs. In terms of The Scarred God the end is now in sight and even if the week goes screwy like the last few I have another clear weekend to clear off the remaining major rewrites. Once done I will not be touching this one again (unless someone buys it) with all feedback going into new projects.

It’s funny, once upon a time I could churn out 10k in two days without too much difficulty. I’m not sure if the slowing down is an awareness of quality (I definitely sense when I’m banging out drivel now) or just me getting a bit slower.

Anyhow: a productive weekend. How was yours?


6 03 2010

So I’m home alone this weekend.

I’m planning a writing binge starting…well…now. By nature I am more of a binge writer preferring to do long stretches punctuated by alternate bursts of similarly binge-tastic reading periods. The necessity of keeping a roof over my head has, in recent years, forced me to learn to write in shorter bursts but I still prefer my default method for beginnings and endings of longer works.

I have around four chapters to rewrite (which will probably push them to six chapters). Let’s see how much I can get done.

NB – Posts over the weekend are likely to be very writing orientated and/or random.

The Room

16 02 2010

My short horror story “The Room” is up now on Tales of the Moonlit Path.

Just thought you might like to know. You know: if you’re interested…


14 01 2010

I thought I’d draw your attention (albeit a little late) to the Preditors and Editors poll.

You know, in case you’d read Crunch and felt compelled to nominate/vote for it.

I really do need to get more organised.

Popping in…

27 11 2009

To point out that David Tallerman lists Crunch amongst his favourites from the recent issue of Ballista.

You can read David’s story, Feeler, and my story, Crunch, in the current and final issue of Ballista.


27 11 2009

Sometimes lessons can be painful.

I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking when I decided to engage in NaNoWriMo under the ballsy criteria I set myself in late October. I suspect that the growing dissatisfaction with how things had gone this year, and my realisation that my current approach has not proven effective on any level, culminated in the desire to do something huge. I didn’t really think about logistics. Project management is for techies not for creatives.

Yeah, right.

What I should have done is calculate my average word speed ( a maximum of 2k per normal working day rising to 3k at the weekend if I have nothing else on) and the average time to edit a thirty minute piece of audio (around four hours). I should then have divided that by the number of days and factored in the already scheduled Other Things I had to do in November. Roll in all the other tasks such as marketing the podcast etc. and it…well:

It was never going to work.

In many ways this is a really hard blog to write because I don’t like admitting failure and without wanting to sound melodramatic this has taken a great deal of reflection. I’m at about 25,000 words of Eleutheria and I really like the story concept and some of what I’ve written and I’m pretty sure its got legs – if done properly. However, the podcasting is extremely time consuming, I have done little to push it and so very few people have listened. In the last week I’ve found myself increasingly padding the story in order to hit word count and more often not enjoying the process. This is not why I write.

In short I am ending the experiment early.

I am very sorry to anyone who has listened to the podcast and is waiting for subsequent parts. If you contact me via the blog I will be happy to share the complete story with you at some point next year, when I finish it. In terms of the charity, I will make up the rest of the target amount as a means of reminding myself in the future about not thinking things through properly and assuaging my guilt.

What now?

I usually wait until year end to reflect but, in truth, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with where I’ve got to and think most of the blame for that rests squarely with yours truly. I’m going to be a bit quiet for a week or so while I work through some of this stuff and come up with a more systematic plan to get where I want to be. If you really want some Neil written prose, please do check out Ballista and my story Crunch. In the meantime, I hope you will bear with me.

Have fun and see you in a couple of weeks.