Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Work in Progress

One of the things I am going to be using my blog for over the next couple of months is to record my thoughts as I put together The Time Bubble.

Why am I doing this? Well, I'm still somewhat of a novice writer but it is incredible what I have learned over the past year. "If I had known then what I know now" is an oft quoted phrase but how very true it is when applied to this business.

I have spent many hours reading other writer's blogs, forums and any other information I can get my hands on. Hardly a day goes by when I don't have a question that I need to Google. Here's a couple of examples of the sorts of things I have searched for.

"How many words should a novel be?"
"How many words should I write per day?"
"What category should I place my book in?"

And many more. These questions may sound newbie like but we all had to start somewhere. I am immensely grateful to all of the other writers out there who have provided information to help budding writers. What a supportive community it has turned out to be - and I have made a number of new friends in the process.

These writer friends, not to mention my readers and blog fans are the support network who keep me going. I am one of the most optimistic people that I know - never afraid to take a gamble or follow a dream but even I am not so naive as to not be under any illusions about the huge market I am competing in. There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of writers releasing ebooks these days - that's a big pond to get noticed in.

I imagine it is very similar for aspiring musicians, actors, artists, footballers and anyone else who is trying to make it big in the world of entertainment. There are a huge number of hopefuls and only a fraction of winners. But I would say to any of them, if you believe in yourself, don't be downhearted - follow your dreams and never give up.

After all, every TV programme, play or film you see has to be made, every book and magazine has to be written, that's a huge amount of entertainment being produced and consumed every day. The opportunities are there to be taken. You need a lot of determination and self-belief and probably more than a slice of good luck too, but as long as you keep going, you always have a chance. And you, my friends who read this blog and offer me support all the time are part of that fuel that keeps me going - every kind word, message, comment and review means the world.

So - what can I tell you about the Time Bubble? I am going to talk about the writing process and how I'm putting the whole thing together. I am going to talk about cover design, characters, and more.

How can I find time to blog this when I should be writing the book? Well it's like this. I have found that it is better to write short chunks of the book each day rather than working for hours at a time. I set myself a word target for each day - if it is a day when Jamie is at nursery all day I aim for 2,000 words. If he's only there in the morning, I try for 1,000. This does not sound a lot, but it soon starts to mount up. It comes to about 7,000 words a week (I don't write at the weekend). I also find that's about my limit in terms of quality. If I tried to write more, the quality would drop.

Usually by the time I come to write in the morning, I am all ready and raring to go. Over the previous 24 hours I've worked out in my head how the next part is going to go. Although I had a broad framework in place of the main plot before I started, as I go along I am able to fill in more detail and add amusing scenes/ dialogue along the way.

How many words in total? Well traditionally published novels come in at about 80,000 words but the conventional wisdom regarding ebooks is that they tend to be a good bit shorter. I am aiming for about 50,000 with this book which seems to be about par for the course. As of today I hit the 20,000 word mark so I'm up to 40% and going strong. I will have to take a break at the end of next week though - it's half term.

Categorisation? I'll come on to that later.

One of the main questions I have been asked about this novel is "What is this book about?"

Well - rather than go into great detail at this stage - I thought it might be an idea to just give you a teaser in the form of the "blurb".

The "blurb" is a term writers use for the Product Description on Amazon. It's the equivalent of the back cover text on a paperback. I have come to realise that this is a vital piece of the whole book launch process to get right. I didn't think it was that important when I launched my first book (as well as the cover). How wrong I was. Fortunately such things are easily remedied and Fortysomething Father now has a decent cover and more attractive blurb.

Obviously I haven't written the blurb yet as the book isn't finished but if I was launching the book tomorrow, I would write something like this. Reasonably short and snappy (unlike this blog) and giving you just enough information to pique your interest without giving away too much of the plot. I'll be interested to know what you think:

Proposed "blurb" for The Time Bubble (It will probably change before launch but you get the idea):

""Charlie and Josh’s main interests were the same as most other teenagers: drinking, parties and girls. That was until the day they discovered the Time Bubble.

What started at a bit of fun, jumping a few seconds into the future soon begins to have more dramatic implications as the leaps forward in time increase in length. When a teenage girl goes missing and the police become involved, suspicion falls on Charlie. How can he explain where she is? Will anyone believe him?

A time travel tale with a little romance, humour and mystery thrown in, this book will appeal to anyone who enjoys sci-fi stories set in the real world".

So now you have an inkling of what the book's about. More to come soon.

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