Tag Archives: gottafinishthings

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite: No Man’s Land

Nothing to writing - sit down and bleed. Hemingway

I had some really good feedback recently for No Man’s Land that basically boiled down to, “love the characters and the setting, but the action starts too late. Integrate the two plotlines better.”

Thirty seconds of internal wailing later because my book is perfect and they just don’t get iiiiiit and you know, ok. They’re right.

And when I started thinking about it, ideas started bubbling. Start with Ghost and Nat. Start with them fighting something. Bring the vampires in. Keep the outline of the story, but integrate more. It would be a full rewrite but would leave the core of the story intact, I’d be able to re-use most of what I currently have, and I could do it for NaNoWriMo!

And then reality sunk in.

It’s going to really hurt.

No Man’s Land isn’t an easy story to carry. It came out of Dresden, and carries a large piece of my heart anyway; the characters came from somewhere tangled, and seem to have so much woven into them that it’s going to be hard (and emotional) to pick them up again. In terms of actually writing, I’m kind of screwed as well: my original circle of support for the book got trashed as one of my beta readers isn’t particularly in favour of me, the second is dead, and the third’s about to have a baby. The person I wrote a lot of the stories for isn’t here; I shelved Ghost and No Man’s for a year because I couldn’t face the world without Ryan to read them, and even now I’m feeling pretty shaky about diving head-first back into it all. It’s not an ideal situation for ripping something to pieces and putting it back together, and on top of that, re-writing a 70k novel that’s already fairly decent and needs to be made better isn’t exactly a piece of cake.

It’s all pretty scary.

And this is the point when I either shelve it permanently, or I fight back.


Fuck it. I’m fighting.

(And with any luck, that’s going to feed into Ghost. If anyone needs to be spiky and sarcastic, it’s my beloved spirit-talker; and I’m going to put every bit of fight into her.)

Ps. In-progress 4am messy scribbles for the new start!

Notebook with scribbled writing

Blog Birthday: Charred Begonias

Writing&Coe is 5! Also, this is Post Number 700 🙂 I think I’ve done pretty well for a random blog about writing, scribbles, geek and whatever else I feel like posting about! You guys are all awesome for reading, and I officially declare every one of you fabulous.

For the last few years I’ve done random freebies for my blog birthday: if you need something to read there are Dresden Files stories and Greensky shorts, and if you do feel like being extra lovely then you could always go and buy a Greensky novella

However, this year, I’m going to try something a bit different: I want to ask you a favour.

Dun dun duuuuuun…

(It’s ok! It’s a good favour.)

I’d like you to go to Hoxton Monster Supplies, and buy something. I mean, who doesn’t need a tin of Creeping Dread, right? Their profits go to the Ministry of Stories, which supports school clubs and mentors young writers in East London – so it’s a worthy cause as well as having some nice stuff, and it means that while you’re buying yourself that much-needed bottle of tears of sorrow (perfect to flavour any dish) you can do some good at the same time.

Also, if you don’t have Dragon Treats on hand, don’t come crying to me when you end up with half your back garden lightly charred. If you’re not prepared for random dragons, then you can’t complain about toasted begonias! Honestly. Some people…

So thank you for reading, thank you for being awesome, and thank you for getting Writing&Coe to 5 years old – and please go buy yourself some earwax to celebrate!


York Minster I’m lucky enough to get two holidays in the space of a week!

I was in York this weekend for a server install and a lovely sunny break. We deposited the server and got a tour of the data centre which was amazing, particularly as a front-end developer who doesn’t really understand servers! And York itself was awesome;  I’d been there before for a hen do but hadn’t got to see much of the city, so it was lovely just being able to walk around it. I got to visit the Yorkshire museum, walk around the walls, walk along the river…we had an amazing meal at El Piano (vegan restaurant, and it was good enough that the cookbook may have been purchased…) and visit a Roman bathhouse. I was in Classical geek heaven at the museum; I must have spent an hour walking around all the exhibits, chattering away like mad to my travel companion (who is very good at the nod-and-listen routine, thankfully) about all the bits and then they had an artefact showcase with some coins, a Neolithic polished axe, a brooch, some pottery…so I spent another twenty minutes or so chattering to the guy doing the exhibit about Edward I’s coinage reforms and the ubiquity of freakin’ green glaze jugware. I was eventually displaced by a wandering toddler and got dragged back out into the sunshine…

York walls walk

…and then found the bathhouse. It was the next day, though, which was probably a good thing for my friend’s peace of mind. Luckily he likes learning by random facts and being told stuff, otherwise I don’t think he would have agreed to go into the baths with me. Anyway, the man on the desk was a medieval history PhD student and as soon as I confessed to being a classicist, we were off. Constantine, tapeworms and parasites, malaria as a cure for syphilis, the lack of stirrups and how this affected cavalry tactics, religious symbols, the inability of chain mail to be taken off underwater, dating tactics for tiles and how this causes arguments amongst scholars, rye madness and hallucinations, Roman battle tactics, the similarity of caldera volcanoes and caldarium…we’d got onto Regency fashions before I managed to convince him to eat his lunch (which was definitely cold) and let us look round the rest of the baths. They’re not particularly extensive, mostly because the entirety of York is history and so there’s a limit to what you can dig out, but they’ve got some quite cool exhibit stuff and a dress-up section with a whole range of helmets (no, I didn’t try them on. And there aren’t any photos.)

Anyway, your life lesson from that is not to take me anyplace with Roman history unless you are prepared for a) squeaking, b) random facts, and c) a very happy Kate.

I’m now in Bologna for a week with my family – I’ve never been before and it’s supposed to be lovely, so I’m looking forward to it! I’ve got some writing to do as well, so hopefully it’ll be a week off before chaos starts. I’ll be sporadically in contact over the next few days, so if you don’t hear from me – I’m geeking out over history someplace!