After fourteen months of prep, writing, editing, and a fair amount of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, it’s done.
Franklin – a brother in search of himself goes live on an Amazon store near you in early Dec 2015.
What have I learnt in the process?
- I enjoyed it. A lot.
- I still have things to learn. A lot of them.
- Writing a 125K word epic as my first novel was a tad ambitious (see point two)
- Those adverbs I was (liberally) peppering my sentences with, (mostly) weren’t needed.
- Subtle is good, obtuse is annoying. Those plot twists and sneaky references that are obvious to me, aren’t always clear to the reader. The more I found myself explaining things to my beta readers, the more I realised I had to go back to the drawing board.
- I have an annoying habit of picking a word or phrase, and then (liberally) peppering a whole page with it (see point four).
- One meaty adjective is worth two vegetarian ones, or a string of vegan ones.
- But two paragraphs look better on a page than one. Not as dense.
- The search function of scrivener/ word etc is a great tool for editing. I typed in ‘ly’ and played ‘seek and destroy’ with the adverbs (see point four), and subsequently, I had a go at words like ‘then’, ‘started’, ‘turned’ etc.
- Dealing with feedback is an art. Some of my beta readers were as subtle as an eye surgeon, others as delicate as an avalanche. All of them were rather good (AmE – ‘totally awesome’/ 1970’s South Wales English – ‘tidy’ or ‘lush’).
- I could have changed some of the names to make them easier to say or not quite so ‘smart/ cute’.
- My. Punctuation. Sucks. I have a particular problem with commas. I either see an ‘and’ coming a few words away and start haemorrhaging commas across the page, or I spread them across the text the way a farmer sows seeds, and hope that some of them will stick.
- The Oxford Comma is a vindictive little sod (see above point), who lies in wait to trip the unwary. And probably mugs little old ladies pushing prams full of orphans.
- There’s nothing wrong with ‘clever’ writing, until it gets in the way of the story – the literary equivalent of a beehive haircut in the cinema.
- I have a tendency to get up on my electronic soap box and rant (that may come as no surprise to some old friends).
- I’m allowed to put more than one sentence into a paragraph.
- I should have written the prequel before I wrote Book One – I would have saved myself some timeline headaches, and comments like “did all your female characters have babies while they were in pre-school?”
- I couldn’t have done this without the support of a whole host of friends. I wrote the book but there was a team of people around me who gave me the framework to do that. In particular my wife: a one woman ecosystem of encouragement, patience, and love (while she’s asleep).
- One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and one book doesn’t make an author. I’m not sure I’ve earned the right to that title. Yet.
- I’m a perfectionist and like things to be symmetrical. So, this point is only here to push the list to 21. Part of my rehab.
- See point one.
Book One is done (barring any horrendous plot holes I may have missed or typos lurking behind the next page). Book Zero (the prequel) is about to be sent to the editor. Book Two is bubbling. Once Ray Franklin and his friends & family are at peace, I’ll stop playing whack-a-mole with the other ideas that keep popping up in my head, and try and coax them out into the light.
Reviews and emails!!!
Until then, on behalf of every (new) author: if you read a book, please leave a review and join their mailing list! The reviews help us get noticed, and the email addresses give us a little bit of professional independence. Don’t worry, most of us hate spam as much as you do.