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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Not Enough for June?

Some will recall the 1960s film, “Hot Enough For June’, from which I derived my title this month.
There’s no connection at all with the comedy spy movie; I just like the modified title, as it appears apposite.

So, what has this last month seen in the study of writer Stuart Aken? Well, not enough writing, that’s for sure. But there has been a great deal of editing, and that can only be to the good. My adult epic fantasy trilogy has been hanging around for long enough. I’ve written and edited the first two books and have now started writing book three. Long ago, I decided that I’d look at publishing book one as soon as I started writing book three. So, I’ve prepared it ready for a publisher and am now in the process of seeking some company that will be prepared to risk some investment in my fantasy. The book is 216,000 words (for comparison, the first book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is about 198,000 words) and will need to incorporate 3 or 4 maps. Clearly, this is hardly the sort of package most publishers will welcome. They tend to look for books that will be easy and cheap to produce. I need a brave publisher. If one doesn’t materialise, I shall have to self-publish, of course. I think an ebook initially, to see how it goes, and then the paper version. Still that’s for the future. For the moment, I’m looking at submission and the work involved. As you’ll see from the chart, I’ve spent a good part of the month in editing; most of that was on book one, which has 53 chapters. I’m still involved in the final edit of book 2; really no more than a re-read to increase my familiarity with the 83 named characters and multitude of places in my invented world.

What else have I done? Well, I’ve read a couple of books and written reviews. Reviewed some software, written a few blog posts, including a guest post on character development; here’s the link for that, should you be interested: http://brianhayden.net/guest-post-by-stuart-aken-character-development-is-good-for-you/
I’ve also written a short story and entered another for a contest. Nowhere near my target of one new story and one contest submission per week, but at least better than nothing. I did more research for the contest page on here, only to discover that I can no longer use Google Docs to provide that updated version. A lot of fruitless experimentation later, I discovered there is now no way I can continue to provide this service for my readers. I will, however, continue to find and pass on links to the websites I come across where writing contests are listed. Hopefully, some time in the unspecified future, I’ll be able to come back to this and pass on the information as previously.

Oh, and the touch-typing seems to have died a death along the way. It’s simply too time-consuming to try to write anything with my current level of ability in that skill, and I’ve discovered that extreme age has rendered my hands less flexible, so I’m not able to sustain the digital gymnastics for long enough to produce anything of a worthwhile length. It was worth the attempt, but I think the time has come to give in gracefully and continue with the reliable and relatively speedy two fingers and thumb approach that has stood me in good stead for the past 46 years.

For the coming months, I’ll now be more and more deeply involved in the creation of the third book of the trilogy. That is bound to take up vast quantities of time and effort, so I may not manage as much other activity. Only time will tell; but the writing must come first, so forgive me if I appear to be ignoring you: I’m not; simply spending my time in the best way I can to get some more fiction out there for you.

In the meantime, as always, I welcome and encourage your thoughts here in the form of comments. Let us all know what you’re doing and what your priorities are for July.

The chart, explained:
'Writing' - initial creation of stories, blog posts, reviews and longer works.
'Editing' - polishing of all written work to make it suitable for readers.
'Research' - discovery of info for story content, market research, contests and blog posts.
'Reading' - books and writing magazines.
'Networking' - emails, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ activity.

'Admin' - story submission, blog posting, marketing, organisation, learning to touch-type, and general admin tasks.
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