Great books to read

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Finding a beta reader.

If I asked people to take my poor ailing joints or bad breath, I'd probably get a warmer reaction than to my plaintive plea: will you read my book?

   All I want is for someone to read it through and tell me if it's (preferably) good, just okay, or even rubbish.

  I'm only asking people who ostensibly like to read. I'm not demanding an extended breakdown of the good and bad parts, but just to tell me if it's readable. I think I'm going to have to pay someone. I can almost understand my daughter refusing point blank. Perhaps she doesn't want to upset me although in reality it's probably because it's written in real English and not that gibberish she reads and writes all day on her Blackberry.

   I never though it would be this hard.

   Not to be put off I've already begun the final edit of book number two while trying not to think how hard it will be to get some sucker to read all three of them.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

I've finally done it.

After a week of slogging I've finally finished the final edit of my first Three Hoodies novel. That makes about the twentieth but it's finally finished and I'm not entirely unhappy with it.

   After all these years It's really done. So I'm going to take a rest and tomorrow I'm going to begin the final edit of Three Hoodies Two. That will take me about ten days. Yet as the urge is still with me I'm going to finish the third novel which will be done in about 15000 words. Then I'll take a week off and re-edit that. I've been messing around for so long with this work that I'm determined to see it off.

  Then I'll begin the process of publishing the first one.

  I haven't heard from the agent yet but even if I do and they aren't interested I promised myself that I would try two before self-pubbing.

  Can't believe it - after all these years, it's finally done.

  I've just noticed a very lazy repetition of the word finally in this entry but I don't care. I've finally finished.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Even worse than Ascot.

Last night I found myself sitting in a car for eight hours in Berkeley Square, which, in our continuing attempts to confuse the world, is pronounced Barclay square.

   Talk about sub-culture; more like a sub-species. Why anyone would want to go into the centre of London and queue outside a bar for three hours to pay a kings ransom for a heavily diluted drink, only to come straight back outside and cower in the frigid temperature since smoking is considered a near hanging offence these days, is beyond me. And then to be harassed every few seconds by people attempting to sell single dead roses at five pounds a pop, or begging/demanding spare change; or the man/woman crammed six inches away throwing up or dropping said ridiculously priced beverage all over your Jimmy Choos or Versace frock, because, after all, Gucci is just so yesterday.

   Small diversions were to be found by watching taxi drivers, "accidently" crashing into rickshaws or deliberately crashing into mini-cabs illegally picking up fares at the kerb. But if you've seen one drunken brawl you've seen them all. Although the fight between the two women was fairly diverting until it began to stray perilously close to the Roller.

   And even at three am when most normal people have crawled away to even more stupendously priced clubs, the crowd here were apparently made of sterner stuff. Which is probably why even the police patrol in threes

  So how do you tell some vagrant of indeterminate ethnic origin, armed with a pick-axe handle that just because you're sitting inside a classic Roller, you're just a driver and too poor to give him some spare change? And no, you don't just  happen to have a spare packet of ciggs, while he's swinging his weapon and suggestively eyeing the silver goddess perched on top of the radiator grill.

  Am I getting old or have I just misunderstood the concept of Fun?

  And I got a ticket.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Last minute nerves.

I was just beginning the process of preparing my Hoodies novel for Amazon when I decided to take the advice of Tina F, a real literary agent who has a Shelfari page called: Help for Writers. She has always said that any writer should at least try for an agent or publishing company before self-publishing, so that's what I've done. I've sent off a proposal to an agent. I firmly believe that my novel is good enough to publish, so I'm going to discover if anyone else thinks the same.

  I know that I should have the courage of my convictions but maybe it's just vanity.

  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Upto chapter seven.

Right, I'm upto chapter seven on the absolute final edit of my first Three Hoodies novel. It's just amazing how many typos there still are after thirty two million previous edits. So I've come to the conclusion that I'm never going to be happy with it. But at least I can take a little consolation from the fact that I have never read a novel in my entire life without at least six typos in it.

   So I painted this. I'm considering putting it on the back cover and write the blurb (which I haven't even begun yet) over the top. Anyway, this will be my last painting until the novel's on the shelf or should that be shelves?

Monday, 14 November 2011

Change of plan - again.

It occurred to me in a rare bout of original thought that I was digging myself into a hole. Albeit a literary hole, but a hole is a hole is a, etc etc.

   My annual idea informed me that if I finished the third novel in my four novel series, then that would provoke a whole mountain of editing since I've yet to finish the editing the previous two. Thus after some very kind advice and even kinder help from DM Yates, and her excellent blog, "Believe In Yourself", which is full of inspiration, I decided to actually finish the first one and put it into Amazon. Not only that but to do it in actual paperback as well as in electronic form.

   So that's what I'm going to do. And as I get closer to that date in about three weeks time, I'll be posting my cover in the hope that someone will tell me that it's either good enough, or just rubbish. I can take either piece of news because I want it to be right.

  So back to the editing.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Should I be offended.

A writer friend of mine accused me of being otiose today. I'd get up and slap him around if I could be bothered. Needless to say anybody who bandies around words like otiose and obtuse writes a different kind of prose than I.

   I know that writing should educate, amuse and enlighten but should I use words that the majority of people have never heard of? Remembering the laws of libel, there's an excellent horror writer who has an unfortunate habit of dredging up words that I've never heard in my life. In fact I spend so much time looking up these words that eventually the story loses most of its appeal.

  I know that the dialogue I use in my Three Hoodies novels is not exactly plumbing the depths of the approximately 170,000 words in the English language but would three fourteen year old boys who spend most of their time dodging adults, the police and rampaging aliens, really enunciate their feelings with four and five syllable words? And remembering that those novels are meant to be read and hopefully enjoyed by teens and above, I don't want to annoy them with words that they would never use; and in some case would never have heard of.

  My daughter currently has a vocabulary of about ten words to explain just about every situation she ever encounters. I didn't know the word random could have so many interpretations.

Monday, 7 November 2011

It's finally catching up with me.

Just to break the block I managed a marathon eighteen pages the other night and so to celebrate I painted this. I don't know what a psychoanalyst would say but I'm pretty sure he'd be calling the men with the heavy jacket and padded accommodation by now.
  Still, they have to catch me first and I've only got about another fifteen thousand words to go before it's finally finished. Except that I've just had a great idea for book four in the series. Will it ever end?
  Maybe I'll give them my address.

Friday, 4 November 2011

It's happened again

I put it off; I hedged, I fudged and I fussed. But yesterday I could no longer find any reason not to write.
    But I'm supposed to be a writer, you say. You're supposed to love it; which I do. Except that sometimes it's like going to the dentist and having a tooth pulled with no anaesthetic. And of that particular subject I'm well versed, being immune to local anaesthetic. Thus you can imagine how entertaining it was waking half way through the operation to extract my rotten appendix, after they already given me enough happy juice to sedate an entire army. And I'm still convinced that it smiled at me as they dropped it, wriggling, into a dish.
    So back to the writing - or lack thereof. I've come to a halt. No creative inertia here. For the last few days my progress would make an inebriated tree Sloth seem positively energetic in comparison.
    What do you do when your story comes to a dead end? Do you go back a few chapters and make your perps do something else? Tried that. Or how about introducing someone else, inject some fresh blood. Did that. He got killed off by a marauding meteor because I was bored. I could always go downstairs and annoy the cat. No good. She knows that look in my eye and always disappears into the garden with a velocity that would make your eyes water - hers too in the last case when the door happened to be shut at the time.
    So I'm going to go back to the important part with a fresh eye. It begins a couple of spaces after the words  Chapter One.