Yearly Plans And How To Write A Novella In 24 Hours


So far this January, I’ve spent most of my time knee-deep in editing land. After stalling a bit during the holidays at the end of last year, I rediscovered my drive and it feels good to be making progress again. I’m even confident of releasing a finished product by the end of March.

I remember clearly writing this stage of my first book, and how agonising it became. I slumped in the middle of the second/third draft and it sapped all of my energy. I would open the behemoth manuscript, tinker with it for a few minutes, then lose all enthusiasm at the sight of how much work lay ahead of me. In the end it dragged on for so long, taking months longer to finish than it should have, that I promised I wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

One of the reasons for my renewed enthusiasm lately is this short time-lapse of author Ed Davis attempting to write 50,000 words in one day. Watch it and be uninspired, I dare you.

How did he manage it? An abundance of coffee and determination I think. Here’s a blog post by the man himself, explaining some of his reasoning for making the attempt. In the end, he managed 28,000 words in just over twenty hours before calling it a day. I think any writer would happily call that a success. I’ve never achieved a word count quite like that in one sitting, but watching it has inspired me to buy some coffee and put more hours into my writing.

So in directing this newfound eagerness towards my writing, I’ve decided to set myself a minimum target of releasing four novels in 2017.

These include Solace Within (book 2) and Zenith Rising (book 3) which will complete the Fielding trilogy I started with my first novel. Then I’ll be moving on to two new standalone novels, tentatively named Crawlers (a science fiction story revolving around giant wheeled machines the size of towns on a hostile desert planet) and Journey (a story about a young man forced to make a journey across an unfamiliar world, experiencing fantastical people and places which change him).

I’ve already done a lot of the outlining work for these projects, and I’m genuinely excited to see how they turn out. I keep my current projects page updated regularly, so you can keep an eye on my progress there. While I have already published a novel, it probably won’t be until the end of this year when I have a good few books under my belt, that I’ll truly regard myself as a professional author. Something I’m looking forward to more than I can put into words, which is probably a bad thing for a writer.

Now stop reading my ramblings and go write something awesome.

Photo by david silver licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


How Do You Start Writing?

Just sharing a bit of amusing advice from the rockstar author himself, Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Coraline).

Of all the questions I see from aspiring writers, asking how to get started is probably the most common. And there really is only one answer: just write.

This sort of question always reminds me of the irresistible simplicity of this quote from Bukowski’s Factotum.

‘You think you’re a writer?’

‘… I’m still writing.’

National Novel Writing Month 2016


We all have incredible stories knocking around our heads. They often bounce around up there for years, slowly fermenting into world-shattering epics, terror-inducing horror shows, and enduring tales of human connection. For most people, that’s where they stay, never leaving the shadowy recesses of their minds. But wouldn’t it be great if you turned that fantastic idea in to a tangible creation you could actually hold in your hands?

Well, you know the old proverb,

‘The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.’

Next month is fast approaching, and with it, National Novel Writing Month. It’s a simple enough idea: write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. That’s a lot of words you’re probably saying, and you’re not wrong. But it is achievable if you just keep writing one simple word after another. I took part last year, and while I found the forums to be less than helpful, I did get access to all sorts of fancy stat tracking, gamified achievements, as well as pep talks from published authors.

If inspiration from your favourite authors sounds like your cup of tea, you can check out the archive of pep talks. Here’s a sample of one of my favourites from Neil Gaiman.

neil_gaiman_2013_800x1065‘You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

‘A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interlocking stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.’

If you have any writing aspirations then you owe it to yourself to give it the old college try at least once. And if you do decide to take the dive? Good luck, it’s worth it.

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Neil Gaiman photo by Kyle Cassidy licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.