Category Archives: Writing

Bespoke Book Covers


Peter from Bespoke Book Covers has done a fantastic job and the kindle version of my book cover is complete. Have a look below and let me know what you think. I am hoping to have the book uploaded to kindle by the first week of October.

Bacchus and Sanderson (Deceased) 15 September 2014 KINDLE

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield


The War of Art - Steven Pressfield

For a writer, all writers, this book should be required reading. Robert McKee, a screenwriting genius wrote the foreword for the book. Robert McKee said,
‘Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art for me. He undoubtedly wrote it for you too, but I know he did it expressly for me because I hold Olympic records for procrastination.’

Procrastination is the enemy of us all. In his book Steven Pressfield calls this enemy Resistance. Resistance is elicited whenever an activity requires something of us. For instance, the pursuit of writing or painting, education of any kind, diet or health regime. Or as Pressfield say’s, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favour of long term growth.

His book then goes on to characterise the forms that Resistance can take. In part two he talks about combatting Resistance and the difference between an amateur’s approach and a professional’s approach. A lovely quote is from Somerset Maugham. When asked if he wrote to a schedule or only when inspiration struck he replied,
“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” He’s a professional.
This book has had a bigger influence on me than any other. It has helped me, forced me, to complete my novel. It keeps me working even though there are a thousand other things I would rather do and most importantly it has allowed me to realise that it is a privilege to do what I do: write, but I have to remember that I have to do my work everyday to keep Resistance at bay.

As always, if you like my post please like me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/worriedofwoolcombe) and leave a comment. If you don’t like my post please let me know why. Thanks

How do I market my book?


The book is finished. The cover is commission and is underway. I’ve sent out queries to three agents, but I’m a realist. They are awash with novels from first time hopefuls of every age group, genre and level of ability. The slush pile is feet deep and growing deeper every day. I think my chances of being plucked from obscurity is slim.

So, this puppy isn’t going to sell itself, but as a person who is at best an inexperienced marketeer, what is the best approach. I have Facebook and have started posting at least daily, (www.facebook.com/worriedofwoolcombe), I’m on twitter, but need to be more tweety than I am at the moment (www.twitter.com/woolcombe1) and I’m on tumblr, but don’t do anything with it other than my blog posts go there automatically (www.tumblr.com/blog/worriedofwoolcombe). I need to build my audience, attract more followers and generate interest so that when the book is ready to go on sale i will have a group who might be happy to spread the word.

Two things i will be doing to encourage people to read the book is firstly, prior to it’s launch, make the first chapter available on this blog for people to read and pique their interest. Secondly, the first week after it’s launch all downloads of the entire book will be free.

If you’ve any ideas of effective marketing strategies please leave a comment.

As always, if you like my post please like me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/worriedofwoolcombe) and leave a comment. If you don’t like my post please let me know why. Thanks

Ghosts – part 1


An odd title for a post you’re probably thinking. I agree, it is. Bear with me. My recently completed first novel, Bacchus and Sanderson (Deceased), has a main character who is a ghost. But why did I choose a ghost?

The idea came to me when I was recovering from a serious heart problem. It is at moments like these that you begin to consider your own mortality. I had a lot of thinking time on my hands and I began considering what there was after death. Is there anything after death? I came at these questions initially from a quasi-religious perspective. I’m not overtly religious, but I do believe there must be something rather than just emptiness, but what?

If there is ‘something’, that then leads on to the question, is this ‘something’ a homogenous mix of everyone? Good and bad? Or, as it is generally asserted, there is a division; good people upstairs to heaven, bad people downstairs to hell. What then happens if you weren’t supposed to die? You hadn’t reached your predetermined death date? If you had been expected to remain alive on earth for years longer? Potentially you would have a lot of loose ends that hadn’t been tied up. Unfinished business.

This was where my story began. One of my main characters had been killed before he should have been. Inevitably he had unfinished business, in his case a lot of unfinished business. Therefore as a relatively good man he went to limbo.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionaries definition of limbo is: ‘A region supposed in some beliefs to exist on the border of Hell as the abode of the just who died before Christ’s coming and of unbaptised infants’. As limbo is also viewed as a fictitious place or mythical place and by Roman Catholicism as ‘the place of unbaptized but innocent or righteous souls (such as infants and virtuous individuals)’, I felt vindicated in using limbo in my story as a place that those with unfinished business go to. They remain in limbo until their unfinished business is resolved and then continue to heaven. I have assumed if you’re bad enough for hell you go straight there.

In my next post I will cover how I view limbo in my novel.

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Rewriting and Rewriting and Rewriting and…


I thought Bacchus and Sanderson (Deceased) was complete, finished, dealt with, ready to go. It had been edited, typo’s removed (hopefully), grammar checked and now pretty good. So good to send to agents and see if there is any interest or whether I am going to be Indie man. I’m happy either way to be honest and the fact that I have commissioned a cover design perhaps adds credence to the inevitability of following the independent publishing route.

I had found three agents who handle the type of book I have written. Checked there submission criteria, the main one seems to be, spell their names correctly…So I decided a quick reread through the first three chapters to double check for typo’s would be a good idea. Oh shit, I can’t send this out it’s awful, really awful. After the nausea had subsided and I’d stopped hyperventilating, I accepted a little light polishing would be useful and began the buffing. Two day’s and five attempts to improve the first three chapters later, it was better, much better. Tighter, more tension, atmospheric. Excellent.

I began working on the synopsis and covering letter. I’ll come back to those in my next post. Synopsis and letter complete, I’ll read through everything I’m sending and then email it to the agents I’d chosen. Oh shit. Not quite as shocking, but had I thought this was good? This process was in danger of repeating itself for weeks, possibly months.

I’m think I’m suffering from a common writing ailment, obsessive rewriting syndrome. The symptoms are, an inability to see if a piece is good or really does need more work and a reluctance to let go. The reluctance to let go is the hardest to deal with, as will be the inevitable rejection, humiliation, penury, followed by self loathing and…okay, wait a moment. Now I have identified the disease the cure would be self apparent. Never ever send anything to anyone, no that was the alter ego speaking.

If you believe it’s as good as it can be, send it, post it, publish it, get it out there. With feedback comes insight. You never know someone may like it.

Have a look at my Facebook page, Worried of Woolcombe and if you’re in the mood, give me a like. I’m happy to reciprocate.

Is plotting okay?


Dandelion

 

I ask this question because of Stephen King. Let me explain. I have been listening to his book – On Writing – which is amazing and he is vehemently anti-plotting and advocates a free thinking, stream of consciousness approach.

I have and would continue to struggle with that. I like the structure that is offered by a planned plot line. I know where I am, I can see how the plot will advance and how my main characters are interacting with each other. I know I have covered all of my bases and not let a  character or sub plot slide off to one side and disappear, unconnected to it’s encouraging introduction. Is this wrong?

Should I feel intellectually inadequate because I prefer to have what some view as an a cheat sheet to see me to the end of my novel?

I have thought about this a lot and come to the obvious conclusion. Of course not. In my view plotting a novel doesn’t suppress spontaneity, it helps you focus on the nuts and bolts leaving your sub-concious the time to work on the twists and turns. An outline is a roadmap or perhaps even a shopping list. It allows you to see the routes from beginning to end and not lose sight of subplots and minor characters.

Will I continue to write in this way? Yes. Should I join the free thinking seat of my pants writing? May be one day when I have the confidence and trust in my ability to venture away from what I know and am familiar with.

Beyond fitbit and Fast Diet


From Wikipedia. Photograph by George Stepanek
From Wikipedia. Photograph by George Stepanek

This post is by way of an update on my experiment with The Fast Diet and a fitbit  exercise tracker.

Fitbit first. I love it. The determination to get all of the lights lit up isn’t quite as obsessive as it was, but I still value it as a way of showing myself that I haven’t just sat and eaten. According to the fitbit I must have moved as well as eaten…

The Fast Diet isn’t such a success story. I struggled to organise myself sufficiently to do fast days. By that I mean, I would happily come down in the morning, eat breakfast and then realise that I was supposed to be fasting. So fasting would be postponed until the next day. The following day we would repeat the eating breakfast mistake, this time because it wasn’t my usual fast day and the cycle would be repeated. I actually went weeks threatening to have a fast day, but being too disorganise and dim to actually achieve it.

So we thought we would juice. We bought the juicer, the Reboot with Joe Cross Juice Diet book, three hundred pounds of assorted vegetables and went for it. When I say went for it, that isn’t entirely accurate. Actually it’s a complete fib.

The first morning we juiced for breakfast after having ginger slices and lemon in hot water instead of our usual cups of tea. Not too bad, this might be okay. Lunch was a green juice involving kale. Not so good. The sulphurous, cruciferous vegetables were a mainstay of the majority of the main meal shakes and were more than I could  deal with. If this was the only way  forward I was doomed. We have now sold the juicer.

Redemption came in the form of the gym at Sherborne Sports Centre. I have never been an enthusiastic exerciser, or even a reluctant exerciser to be honest. Then I had my epiphany and the eat less, move more, mantra became mine. This gym is excellent. The staff are knowledgable and helpful, the equipment is in superb condition and the other facilities are what one would expect from a sports centre adjoining a top public school.

I have begun to get a figure that I can be proud of. Lumps and bumps where they should be. A better posture which is pulling the sagging bits into line. The biggest pay off from this investment in me is confidence. Now I’m starting to believe I can do whatever I want to do. I just have to prove myself right.

The Dorset Kitchen


IMG_1724

 

I’ve not had any time to write over the previous two weeks as the boss is opening a new business. We have been running an outside catering business for the last five years and a change was required. Not a complete revocation of the outside catering, more an adjunct to it.

The Dorset Kitchen is a cookery school with a twist. The school is principally aimed at children 8 years and over to show them how to cook outstanding food using local ingredients. The school opens on 14 July 2014 and will run daily over the course of the children’s summer holiday’s. After that, dependant upon the response over the summer, the boss will be running weekend cookery clubs for children and begin offering a small number of back to basics adult classes.

My role in this venture is website designer, Facebook and Twitter content developer and chief washer upper. As the first advertisements begin to appear the pressure to get the website live and kicking gets increasingly intense. The boss’s expectations vis a vis web design have completely outstripped my ability. What we end up with will be a combination of luck, flair and fortitude in adversity.  Or, pulling out of day dream land, whatever I can cobble together by tomorrow afternoon.

Writing


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We have recently changed the way we run our business which has given me some spare time to write.

I am a writer. I’ve never said that before. I’ve thought it, called myself a part time scribbler, but never acknowledge that is what I am. Back to the spare time. My wife has supported my scribbling for years. She encourages me and gives me as much time to indulge myself as our business allowed.

Now i’m a writer. It’s my job. I sit down in front of my computer and I tell stories. Everything has been going well. Word counts have risen, i have completed the first two drafts of my first full length novel and i’m a quarter of the way through the next one. Well done me. But…

Procrastination. Treating the writing as a job rather than a hobby means the application of the bottom to the seat for a certain number of hours a day and writing. This has taken a lot of getting used to. I honestly believed that as soon as I had the time to follow my dream I would write until my fingers bled. Not quite.

I still have certain responsibilities for our catering business. We still have a family with all that entails. I am the part time chauffeur for children’s activities, delivery driver for our catering business and anything else that needs doing.

A book that is a huge eye opener on procrastination is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I’ll be reviewing it in my new weekly book review section, beginning next week. As one of the most influential books I’ve read it’ll be the first review.