Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Some things to get off my chest

Firstly, let me take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who read the first draft of my manuscript, i'm sorry.
I'm sorry for sending you a work reflective of enthusiasm, but not of professionalism. A work riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. A work which would frustrate even the most diligent of reader and test the patience of anyone who read it.

I'm so very sorry. It demonstrated an attitude of casual amatureness and wilful inconsideration. It will not happen again. Indeed. I am not the person I was when I started writing my novel.

Anywoo, on to the finer things. The first half of the first draft has been completely edited. All 250 pages worth. There is not a single page that is not filled with red pen marks and corrections. It was very hard work, made harder by the afore mentioned grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and some really, really turgid, cliché writing, but you live and learn. No one is cooked fresh out of the box. Everyone need to do the work to become who they are. Doing the work and learning takes you closer to being you.

I've written several pages of notes on what needs to be fixed and how, which has given me a map of how more the first draft away for being a Frankensteins monsters and closer to being a the story i want it to be. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but if I plan carefully and set goals for myself, i should be able to finished the book with time to spare.

Also, as a matter of urgency, I need to get the second draft done before the beginning of the festive season so the my "faithful editors" they can spend a bit of time going over my draft before the holiday madness.  You need a second set of eyes to help you see the cracks you cant see.

I'm aiming to have the third and (hopefully) final draft finished by my birthday. Then I've got just over a month and a half to layout and design my book. Not to mention the illustrations that I've been working on undercover of darkness. Which reminds me, I have an email to send a certain working illustrator. Also need a fresh set of eyes for my book illustrations.

So, it's November 1st. 2011. Just under six months until the deadline I've set myself to have the book finished in its entirety. A month later it'll be eastercon. And nothing would give me greater pleasure that to put my novel in the hands of the writers who have influenced me. And who know what will happen then.

But before that come a lot of hard, hard work. Lets see if I cant nip this second draft in the bud my months end.

1500 words a day?

We'll see.

To work then.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tomorrow, when the war began

I just deleted/destroyed almost every single illustration I originally created for the 3rd year final major project-Frostfeld book. And truth be told a lot of it was bloody atrocious. Did I really believe I could blag my way into getting a degree? Did I genuinely believe I could create anything NEAR to what I was capable of without doing the work?

Everything I created for that final year demonstrated a complete inability to  recognise my shortcoming or work to overcome them. I genuinely believed that I could polish a turd and get away with it.

Where as, if I had actually done the work and created something smaller that I could actually complete instead to consistently creating ambitious projects that were WAY beyond my ability to complete.....well.....I would be in differently place now and I certainly wouldn't be writing this harsh critique of my shortcomings.

Every failure I have encountered has been due one of more of the following four factors:

1. Fear of failure/looking stupid

2. Not doing the heavy work nessecary to accomplish my goals.

3. Creating extremely ambitious goals for myself without realising that my ambition out strips my ability.

4. All of the above.

Not anymore. The 350+ page manuscript currently sitting in a brown envelope in my chest of drawers is proof positve of what happens when you sit your fucking ass down and DO THE THRICE DAMNED WORK

Whole new ballgame. Completely different approach. No blagging. No shortcuts. No easy routes. No lazyness. No excuses. Just HARD bloody GRAFT.

Watch this space. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow, the hardwork begins in earnest.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The first draft of my first novel is done

Finished. Completed. Done.

Just shy of 150 thousand words and 318 pages. The first draft of my first novel is complete. I cant help but feel a great sense of..emptiness. Something which had taken up my life entire has left a void. I remember when the first ideas for the novel came to me. Way back in 1996. They were random bits and pieces but had no cohesive center. Rubble and debris circling a star.
It wasn't until 2004 that elements of a story began to form. But I still had no protagonist. No structure. Just a series of uncollected islands in close proximity to each other.

One day in 2006 Marlyn Frostfeld popped into my head.

Followed in quick succession by her best friend: the pugnacious Ayami Kojima.

A story quickly began to take shape as well as a desire to tell it. I hadn't written in years at this point but the desire to craft a story became stronger everyday.

In 2007 I became serious about writing the novel.

In early 2009 I actually started writing the fucker.

Fast forward to today. 2011-09-21 and i have the fruit of my labors sitting in various media around my house and on the net (dropbox is your friend). I still find it difficult to accept what I've been able to accomplish. That there exists in the world a rough manuscript with characters and situations which do not exist before i breathed life into them.

I see them so clearly now. I hear their voices. But for now, they must remain silent. But only for a time. By the end of the week a printout of the manuscript will be in my hands. This will find its way into a secure folder and be put in a drawer. Where it will remain for six weeks.

At that time I will start work on proof reading and editing the work. Soon after that i will start work on the second draft.

Its fun. Its interesting. Its a learning experience. But it is work.

So, what do I plan to do over the next couple of weeks? Why, start work on the sequel and the illustrations for book one of course! I've got a plot outline to nail down!

It never ends my friends. Never.

Back to work.

Friday, June 03, 2011


"Every writer faces rejection and it's never easy—so go, drown in self-pity for while. But then get off your ass and WRITE. A fierce, unyielding passion for Story is the key to success."

-J.M. DeMatteis

Sunday, May 08, 2011

If anyone's interested, I've got a blog on which I've been documenting the progress and process of my novel. SHAZAM!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fortune Favours The Bold

I'm NOT going to do a master degree. I intend to forge forward a build a career in novel writing and illustration. I don't have the time or patience to sit in a class room and work toward "a piece of paper" or letters after name anymore.

Originally I planned to take a masters degree so that I'll be able to then to a Post Graduate Diploma in Education which would allow me to teach. But surely the best way to teach is to lead by example, right? A blog and books are far more far reaching than a classroom.

Come what may, I will succeed. Because I refuse to give up.

"Fortes fortuna adiuva"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things i've come to accept recently

I can only do so much in a day.

I should never write when I'm tired.  I end up writing crap.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good work takes time

"Ten years from now, no one is going to care how quickly the books came out. The only thing that will matter, the only thing anyone will remember, is how good they were. That's my main concern, and always will be."
-George R.R. Martin

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Self Publishing

It occurs to me that the only way that I can have complete control over my finished novel is to publish it myself. After a long hard think about the difficulties involved with self publishing, I've decided that it's the only avenue available to me.

The notion that will be able to have my well designed, and hopefully, well illustrated/written and designed novel be immediately snapped up by a publisher is a long shot at best and a fantasy at worst.

No, self publishing it is. Understand that this is not a decision I take lightly, as one need only type "self publishing" into their search engine to read about the difficulties involved in such an enterprise. But it has as many benefits as it has hardships.

Christ in heaven i really do enjoy making life difficult for myself don't I?

On another note, I've decided to return to university. What that you heard to cry? Wasn't i sworn off the whole UK art education experience after the debacle that was Southampton Solent university?

Well, just hold your horses for a second and I'll explain.

I'm planning to study for an MA (Master of Arts) degree in illustration. My reasons are both two fold

First, I've had always planned to teach illustration at some point in the future. I've always wanted to pass on my skills and experience to the next generation of British illustrators. To be one of the good guys who shepherd young student illustrator in the direction they want to go and help educated then about the history of their profession. Also I want to remind or rather educate students that working for free or being preyed upon my unscrupulous clients who believe they can with a wink and a smile trick students into believing that in an age of tlumbr, print on demand, blogs and facebook, that producing work for free equals publicity is bullshit of the highest order.

Yeeees sir, people will look at them images you've generated off your own back and have not been paid for and think "Hmm. What a nice image. I wonder what else he/shes has done?"

And how is that going to help you pay your rent? How is that going to help you put food on your table? The people who perpetuate that lie can afford to pay you and wouldn't do their job for free for even one second. Indeed, they would bitch about how much they get paid and want more.

You, a poor student, should a freebie for a major publisher/client who can afford to pay you?! FUCK NO!!

Jesus H fucking Christ, it makes me murderously angry that people still believe and perpetuate that crock of shit. Fuckers.

I'm ranting, aren't I? Moving on.....


Secondly, having a job will help feed me and keep a roof over my head whiles i work on my novel/graphic novels and self publish them. I believe Jeff Smith, Craig Thompson, Alison Bechdel amongst many others took this route. Not that teaching route, but doing freelance illustration to pay for their graphic novel projects.

Unfortunately, at least in the United Kingdom, in order to teach at university level, you have to hold a MA in your chose profession. So, in the next two years i have to save £4,500 in order to pay for my tuition fees. And i need to actively start building a portfolio of work. Something that should have slowly building over the second i set foot in Norwich. Le sigh.

As i said, I really enjoy creating work for myself.

More later.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

You will be tested ....

If you want to become something. If you want to do something with your life other than just exist. If you want to be creative. If you want to be successful. You will be tested.

G-d/the universe/fate/life will test you to see how determined you are to be want you want to be. Life will throw you curve balls to test you resolve. Obsticals will be put in your path to block your progress. Shit will happen.

All of these designed to test you. To make you into the person you want to become.

It has always been thus.

And it always will be.

And you have two simple choices:

Either suck it up, accept it and deal with it.

Or abandon your dreams.

The balls in your darling.

Everyone you admire and respect whose life and or work inspires you to better yourself, EVERY SINGLE ONE has been through what your going through.

The question is and always has been thus: How badly do you want it?

Good night my brothers and sisters. And spare a thought/prayer for our brothers and sisters in Egypt and everywhere in the middle east.