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I submitted the first draft of the first chapter to the Critters Workshop and I’ve now received the results. So far four separate critiques have come in and they all seem to say much the same. The content is good and the story takes them along, however there are some issues with the grammar and puntuation.

In my defence this was only a first draft and hadn’t been proof read to any great extent. Plus, I had a bit of a struggle getting the story actually uploaded via the submission screen, and it seems I may have lost a little of the formtting in the process.

Still, I now know that I need to pay a lot more attention to grammar, instead of taking for granted that I’d get it right first time.

There were also a few minor comments about the characters that I’ve been ablt to address.  While doing that, I had a second, longer think about Lucy the Guardian of the Knowledge, or LW. When I thought about her I could see that there was a serious discrepancy between her character at initial appearance and the characteristics she displays later in a more confrontational situation. That’s now sorted, I think.

All in all the critiquing process seems to be well worth the effort involved. It’s always good and useful to get some proper and independant views on your work.

Action

Added some action scenes recently.  Marc and his team needed to get out more, so they have. Been upsetting the opposition to an extent, although they’re going to have to do a fair bit more of that before they’re done.  i just hope it doesn’t get out of hand.

LW, Marc’s girl friend is developing into a very strong character in her own right.  Not afraid to take on the big boys and determined not to be left out ‘just because she’s female’.   I think I’ll have to give her more of a back story to explain where she’s coming from.

I was thinking about adding one more character to the team, mainly to deal with the more mundane real world sorts of jobs that they might be asked to undertake as well as being able to act as a sort of ‘first reserve’ when they need an extra pair of hands.

I could probably also do with more activity in the office block. So far there hasn’t been any at all and while the peculiar circumstances of the building could explain a lot of that, the fact that it is so immense suggests there should be something going on more or less constantly.

I’ve been managing about 1500 words a day for the last few days so I’m feeling quite productive, although I imagine I’m going to have to go back and re-write some sections to tighten them up a bit.

Total word count is now approaching 57k so I’m almost 75% of the way to my target. Not really sure if the story will end on target or if I’ll over run, not a real issue either way.

Playing Catch Up

Real life has got in the way for the past week or so. and I’ve not been able to keep to my preferred schedule.  I’ve been able to get a few words down here and there and move the story along at least a little, just not as much as I’d hoped and of course this blog hasn’t been updated in that time. Still, we’re back.

Marc has now got his extra member of staff and very useful she’s proving to be.  Her background is a perfect match to Marc’s needs, (that was lucky?), and importantly she’s been accepted by the rest of the team. Purely coincidentally she’s in possession of an important item that might come in useful later, it remains to be seen.

2k words so far today and still got an hour or so before i need to start thinking about bed. the overall word count is now approaching 44k. my aim is to finish this story by the end of the month. it looks as though it can be done, but it’ll probably be a close run thing.

Still not decided on a suitable title, I’m hoping something will pop into my head when I’m not thinking about it. i just wish it would happen now rather than on the day I decide to publish.

Moving On

About 4500 words in the last couple of days.  Marc is now in negotiations with LSO and GG about the way forward.  He has decided what to do about the task from his first client, and that needs to be implemented; more importantly he is now seeing more clearly what LSO’s position is.  This is not a bad thing, but it introduces an element of chance that he didn’t originally expect.

By way of a sweetener, I think he’s going to force the introduction of a new member of staff onto his team. This will be LW, mentioned below.   It will also be the first member of staff that he has seected entirely by himself.  Her background will fit in as an almost exact match for their current project.  I think I’ve got a good hook to get her in despite LSO’s earlier adamant stand on refusing to co-operate with outsiders.  GG will of course do whatever his boss tells him to.  I wonder if that is Marc or  LSO?

Short Stories

I’ve now submitted my short story, ‘A Winter’s Tale’ to the Strange Horizons website.  Having read a few of their previous stories I’m starting to think that it’s maybe not really ‘strange’ enough.  Still,  we can only wait and see and nothing lost in the process.

In the event that it’s not accepted then I think I could make a fiull novel out of it relatively easily;  just remove the last two paragraphs and take the story on from there.

In the meantime I’ve written an even shorter story for the local critical writing group.  I’ve also created a new section on this site that includes some of my short stories.  Select ‘Short Stories’ from the menu on the right.

I’ve also started adding to the Loose Louche novel again.  After the revelations from LSO it seems Marc has sought refuge in his local pub, where he has re-met with Lucy the Guardian of the Knowledge (LW from now on).  There is an obvious attraction between them and although Marc doesn’t yet realise it he is being hooked and landed.

Looking for Answers

Now that Marc has got GG alone he is trying to get answers as to what is actually going on and what is the meaning of the situation he finds himself in?

I’m not too sure of what the answers are myself and I’m writing it all.  Going to have to sleep on the problem and come up with some answers myself so that we can move the story along.  This is an unusual situation because generally I can see the overall picture in my head and I just need to fill in the detail.   At the moment I can see some of the detail but I don’t really know what comes next.

What i do know is that the villains will be really villainous and the good guys will be really good.  There is very little space in this story for shades of grey.

i have one main character who has yet to put in an appearance, B.  He has more than a whiff of sulfur about him, but he’s the exception to the rule about shades of grey.  He has some redeeming features and a serious crush on one of the goodies, Pd’E.  We’ll have to see how that pans out.

Been managing around 2000 words a day for the last few days.  Now standing around 31K in total.  Still a long way to go but at least I can see progress.

In the Lion’s Den

So Marc and GG have their prize but now have to try and figure a way to get it out without being caught.  Easier said than done, especially when they’re both in the same van and it’s not their van, and they’re not even driving it.

Getting out might not be the hardest part.  They have to get back in tomorrow and return the prize before it’s missed.

I’m not entirely sure what the prize actually is.  We currently only have the unlikely word of the client, and we don’t know if we can trust her.  Possibly (probably ) not.

This wasn’t intended to be the main plot line, just a sort of relatively simple training exercise sort of outing for Marc and the team.  It seems to have taken on a whole life of its own and it’s getting more and more complicated   the farther into it that Marc moves.

Managed another 2000+ words today.  Total word count is now around 26K, which means we’re slightly more than a quarter of the way to the current target figure of 80k.

It just gets harder

So Marc and his intrepid team, only GG at the moment, are involved in recovering property for Marc’s first client.  It’s rapidly becoming clear that this is a much bigger and harder nut to crack than they had anticipated.  Uniform security guards outside, plain clothed security guards inside and CCTV all over the place.  I’m not sure if they can actually pull it off – and I’m the one writing it!

No new main characters today, a few minor ones, incidental to what I’m thinking of as ‘the heist’.  The premises to be cracked are impressive to the extent of palatial.  One problem is, once I start to look at this heist, I immediately start to think of other plots and plot lines leading off from this one.  For example, the target was just somebody who ran a few gyms.  But the extent of his home and the need for all this security implies a lot more than just a gym owner.  Drugs? arms? people trafficking? or given the universe that the story exists in, could it be something even worse?

I’ve set my daily target at 1500 words and on a day with not too much else going on I can easily exceed that, done 1650 tonight so it’s good.  Just read a forum post from a very experienced writer who says she can do four 130k word novels a year.  that’s something like 1450 words a day, every single day – very impressive.

and a New Character

Been busy for a couple of days so not a lot done, but today achieved the target of 1500 words before noon.  Marc has his first client, although it’s a tricky assignment, involving an idea and loads of muscular and violent opponents.  There are of course time constraints and problems involved in completing the assignment.  But I guess there always will be.

He’s been instructed by SB, his first employee to take on GG as his second.  It’s not really clear at this stage who is in charge here.  Marc, of course thinks it should be him, while SB, of course knows that it’s her.

What Marc doesn’t know yet is what is the relationship between all of the characters around him.  How old is the office building he’s using and just how big is it, really?  He’s not really had time to get his bearings yet.  So let’s keep him running to stay in the same place.

I’m still without a suitable title, but I am starting to think about a proper cover design rather than the bland ones available on the Amazon Cover Designer site.

New Plot line

I’ve had a couple of fairly busy days, so not got a lot done, but today managed 2.2k words, so we’re getting back on track.  our hero Marc now has a definite date for his fortune to arrive.  On the strength of that he’s signed up for an office in a rather strange office block.  It’s run by Pd’E who I think might turn out to be a bit more than the real estate agent that Marc thinks she is.

He’s also got himself a receptionist/assistant, SB after she interviewed him, somewhat aggressively I thought, but then again she is super efficient and might be able to instill in him the discipline he really needs to make a go of the business.  Plus she’s a friend of Marc’s new room-mate and between them they can exert a lot of push on the poor hero.

It’s strange how these things happen, but I was sitting and munching on a few crisps, which I don’t normally eat when I thought of the beginnings of what might just turn out to be a major plot line.  This is involving his previous boss CB and the two main villains, AC and his evil twin sister SC.  Sometimes you need an opportunity to think rather than keep plugging away and on this occasion I think it will work out nicely.  I’ve already got a couple of other plot lines in my head.  One was always going to be minor and the other, while it would have been major had started to feel a bit like a cliche.  That can now become less important and the new major plot line should be both unusual and topical enough to please readers.