Tag Archives: workinprogress

A Snippet of a New Story

A random snippet from the new No Man’s series story…

“I am the Emissary of the Elven Kingdom of the Golden Sycamore.” The sylph turns her head back to Luk. “We wish you to deny Stromberg the lives. When previously informed of this situation, the Merlin was accepting of the urgency and problematic nature of this.”

“Which Merlin was this?” Elise asks, in her sweetest and most confused elderly-lady manner.

The sylph shrugs. “Human names are not memorable to me.”

“Nevertheless,” Luk puts in. “Stromberg is going to, at some uncertain point in the future, try to…what? Kill a bunch of humans? And that somehow powers their Castle?”

“Steal,” the sylph corrects. “We do not know what they do with them, only that they are taken into the Castle and Stromberg’s power is renewed. We do not want this to happen.”

“Yes, I got that. So, the million-dollar question: why should I care?”

Rachel’s sigh is strong enough to blow biscuit crumbs off the plate. Elise reaches out and carefully brushes them up, before standing to deposit them in the sink.

“The previous Merlin considered this-”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Luk says. “But I don’t care. Stromberg can’t have been kidnapping ridiculous numbers of humans, otherwise the rest of Faerie and most of the human world would have taken steps, so I don’t see why you’re trying to get me involved in something that’s obviously a power play between two Courts.”

“If they’re kidnapping people, Luk…” Rachel starts.

“People die every day. The Fae kidnapping humans is nothing new. I’ve got enough to do without getting my ass put on the line by a power that’s perfectly able to deal with it themselves if they wanted to.”

“Do young humans going missing not bother you?”

“Children?” Rachel says, giving Luk a glare. “They’re kidnapping children to somehow power their Castle?”

Luk rolls his eyes. “Go join a charity commission if you’re going to be that much of a preacher! If they’re still powerful it’s obviously not the first time they’ve done it, so there’s still no reason why I should care.”

“If you do this,” the sylph says, “then the Elven Kingdom will consider one of your debts to us paid.”

Luk pauses, and then says, “Well, that’s just fucking bollocks. I don’t think I-”

“Fickin bullcks?” a small toddler’s voice says from the doorway.

Back on the keyboard

So for the first time in a while, I deliberately made myself write last night.

I wasn’t sure what to pick – I looked through a couple of short stories, and eventually settled on the new No Man’s Land story that I was pondering while in Bologna. It’s got a rough layout and so I could write a scene of it, rather than having to try to pick up a story thread that I’d gotten to the end of and then hadn’t managed to get any further with even when I did have the ideas.

I also – reluctantly, in the hopes that it would bring the world back – fired up Moog, who provided my writing music when I wrote the original No Man’s Land. It…sort of worked? It was painful, but it did help.

And….I was writing! Luk is causing havoc, as is Elise, and there’s a cat and a toddler and a faerie and there’s going to be so much chaos. I wrote 2346 words in the end, plus did a bunch of planning and got one thing that’s going to come into the ending nicely (ps. the ending is amazing. By which I mean someone’s going to scream at me. It’s great.)

So yay for a (temporary? longer-term?) end to writer’s block!

No Man’s Land: Sketches and Cover

I may be bouncing up and down slightly, and grinning like a daft thing. The absolutely amazing and ridiculously talented Karin Lanven has been coming up with concept sketches for the cover of No Man’s Land, and….

*squees*
Sketches for Ghost

The above is some concept sketches for Ghost – I’m thinking that Karin’s style for this reminds me of Chris Riddell, and I love it! And below, she’s also been doing some roughs for cover layouts…

No Man's Land cover layout sketch

It’s all a work in progress, but I am ridiculously excited!

Levelling up on editing

So over the last few months, I’ve been taking on more freelance editing, and I’ve started being asked for an editorial letter with each submission.

I mean, I usually do a letter anyway, sort of summing up and putting big thoughts in and giving some pointers, but…

It’s An Editorial Letter. Of all the Deep Editorial Thoughts.

via GIPHY

Thankfully I had a chat to a wonderful colleague, who gave me some pointers, made some templates for me to look at and generally made me feel a lot better about doing it! I am extremely grateful for amazing people in the writing world who help at moments like that when I’m feeling completely lost (and I’m going to make him cake to say thank you!)

So I’ve never been very good at English Literature or Language. The problems with language started from not actually learning the basics in school – I can just about tell you what a verb and a noun are, but the rest? Not really…and that screwed me not just for learning other languages, but for analysing English, too. And with literature, I found that I can tell you what an author does, what to change to give it a different feeling, what to tweak to get a different effect…but I can’t ever really pinpoint exactly how they do it (or why having blue curtains makes a difference to anything). I’m coming at literary analysis from the reading side of “that just doesn’t seem right” and “try more X” rather than the writing side.

But I gotta analyse plots. Characters. THEMES.

*breathes*

Once my colleague had calmed me down and I’d had a look at his templates, I did start to feel a bit better (and he pointed out I’d have to adjust them to suit my editing styles, so they’re just what works for him). I look at characters anyway. I’ll analyse plot. It’s just that I need to start pulling some of that work out of the manuscript comments and into a wider letter, and bringing it all into one outline document. I’ll need to have a think about things that are fine (and comment on them) and things that could be improved in a wider sense. I do it all anyway, I just need to adapt my format.

So…I gotta get my ass in gear, and learn how to do all of this properly! Editing’s easy, they said. It’ll be over by Christmas, they said…

(It’s still an awesome job, and I love it!)

 

TBR Pile: March 2018

My TBR pile has expanded (again) but I’m actually off on holiday in about a week, so – time to read! *happy dance*

My physical pile is about the same as always – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has lost a few chapters, but everything else has mostly been waiting on a point that I’m taking a phsyical book someplace! If I have my laptop handy, I tend to be reading for work…

TBR pile March 2018

And my Kindle pile has gained a few. I’m halfway through No So Stories and The Djinn Falls In Love, along with the anthology Lost Lore. Also on the pile are Jen Williams’ The Ninth Rain, Lucy Hounsom’s Starborn, Peter Grimbert’s The Secrets of Ji, Guy Haley’s Champion of Mars, Cassandra Khaw’s Food of the Gods, Jasmine Gower’s Moonshine, Fran Wilde’s Updraft, Keene and the Last Guardian from Robert Harkess, Redemption Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky, The Memory of Water by Emma Itaranta, and Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series. Add in Full Moon Dragon Gate from Joyce Ch’ng and the ARC of The Underwater Ballroom Society that I’ve just been offered, and I’ve definitely still got a pile!

But then I do have lots of airport waiting time in which to work through them. *more happy reader dancing*