From the beginning to ‘The End’ (working title)


This is the first true post as I begin to write this non-fiction book relating the creation of a novel. Every non-fiction book I have read from historical biographies to Butcher’s Copy-Editing has an introduction. It gives the author their first chance to say hello and to give a flavour of what their book will be about, what it will cover and how they plan to go about it.

I wanted to give my prospective readers a chance to get an idea of what they could expect and to learn a little about the bloke who thought he had something to offer.

If anyone has any ideas on what else they think should be covered in the Introduction please leave me a comment and if I like it, I will include it and give you credit in the acknowledgements. Thank you.

Introduction and Biography

What prompted you to buy this book? What do you want to get out of it? Do you think it will help? It will. Help that is.

This book isn’t about the formula of writing a novel and the mistakes that you will make if you don’t follow a prescribed method. There are a thousand books available covering that approach; some free, others reasonably priced and many ridiculously expensive. There also some excellent books that adopt different approaches; whether it is free form writing where a looser ‘empty your soul on to the page’ approach or instructions on how to write and research non-fiction. If that is what you are looking for then scan your local bookshop or the Amazon website and convert your cash into advice.

This book is about a journey taken by a writer describing how he creates a work of fiction from an initial idea through to publication. I am the writer and I wanted to describe the process that I am going  through when I write my novel. For me this is a very personal approach as it lays open my own ideas and philosophies on writing and creating fiction. I want this book to be read as a way to write a novel, not as the only way to write a novel, it’s a way that works for me and I hope that my approach helps by giving you a blueprint to write the story inside you as well as offering ideas and practical advice.

When I write I need the comfort of structure and planning to ensure that I am not faced by a blank page with no idea what to put on it. The plan changes, they always do, but those changes will add depth and texture to the story and improve the finished novel. By having a plan, a detailed plan, I know the direction in which the story is heading, what will happen at a given point and how each scene will affect the story as a whole.  My plan is only the initial view of how I expect the story to progress, the changes are what will allow the story to develop within the original framework.

This very structured approach to writing I know won’t suit everyone. Stephen King believes that plot is best forgotten but situation is important. He also says, ’I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all of our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.’  Conversely John Irving says, ‘know the story—as much of the story as you can possibly know, if not the whole story—before you commit yourself to the first paragraph….If you don’t know the story before you begin the story, what kind of a storyteller are you?’

This book will lead you from your initial first glimmer of an idea, testing the idea, planning in detail, first draft, rewriting and more rewriting, from there to editing, cover design and on to publication, both traditional and indie. It is a blueprint that you can use time and time again. Using it as a guide when writing your early works to a reference as your experience grows.

I hope you enjoy the journey.

Biography

Simon is a novelist, proofreader, copy-editor and blogger. This will be his first non-fiction work which he is writing alongside his second novel: The Impact of History. His first novel is available through Amazon as an ebook, Bacchus and Sanderson (Deceased). Click here, to buy it.

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On moving…


We moved house just over a week ago. Not far, about ten miles down the road, but far enough that we rejoined civilisation. We had lived in an old, draughty, damp, cold farmhouse for nearly eleven years and after the very wet winter we had in the South of England last year, enough was enough. The mould had mould and the area around the BT socket sported a growth that was almost and inch deep and colourfully furry.

In the summer the farmhouse was beautiful and a pleasant place to live. The surrounding countryside offered us views that were typical of the beauty of rural England; grass, sheep, cows and trees. As autumn approached and the weather cooled, our single glazed windows began to run with condensation day and night. You felt you were living in a goldfish bowl or the glass sided turtle pool at Sea Life. Once winter began to bite, we would often come downstairs in the morning to find the condensation had frozen on the inside of the glass, adding an extra layer of chilliness to our already brisk start to the day.

We tried, really tried, spending hundreds or perhaps thousands of pounds on paint, filler, brushes and in the end professional decorators in a vain attempt to keep the mould and damp at bay. In one room at the back of the house George, our decorator, who had taken up a semi-permanent place in the family, scraped and repainted one wall five times as the paint fell off as fast as it went on. When the wall paper in the porch area began to fall off the walls as water seeped through the rustic stone; we gave up and registered with every estate agent in a twenty mile radius.

Now we are here. We have double glazing, gas central heating, mould free walls and you can go for a walk without getting covered in poo of one description or another. These things , which to us are remarkable and more gratifying than you can imagine, are to you and your friends, something to which you don’t give a second thought. In time, I am sure, neither will we. For now we go down on bended knees in gratitude.

If the urge overcomes you, have a look at my recently published novel. It really is very good:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bacchus-Sanderson-Deceased-Simon-Speight-ebook/dp/B00O7UIWDQ/ref=asap_B00O7Z93KW_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413455138&sr=1-1

Bacchus and Sanderson (Deceased) – published!


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bacchus-Sanderson-Deceased-Simon-Speight-ebook/dp/B00O7UIWDQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412671760&sr=8-1&keywords=bacchus+and+sanderson+%28Deceased%29

Today is a strangely odd day and also a day in which I feel extremely proud. My first (completed) novel has been published on Amazon as a Kindle download. It isn’t getting the benefit of tweaks by a publisher’s art department or promoted in the national press by an enthusiastic marketing department; it just has me. This book has taken six years to plan, research and write, a year or more of repeatedly rewriting it and then a number of months involved with cover design, proofreading and ultimately publishing my book.

I have learnt so much about the craft of writing, the determination and the sheer bloody mindedness of putting bottom onto chair and typing one word after another, day after day. The whole process has been hugely enjoyable and i have discovered the pleasure that can be gained from creating something from scratch, polishing it and finally presenting it.

The next part of the process; marketing my novel, will involve be another steep learning curve. I hope with the resources of Amazon to assist me and my own determination, I can sell a few copies and discover if my book is the jewel I believe it to be.

If you’re interested in having a look the link to the book is above.

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

Ghosts – part 1


Embed from Getty Images

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.

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

Hello world


Well here I am. Me, a blogger on WordPress! I am not a complete blog virgin as I have blogged extremely sporadically on Blogger over the last year, but that didn’t end well. I mean why? Why would you?

I have struggled to see the point of blogging. Who in god’s name is going to want to listen to me droning on about what I had for breakfast? Probably nobody. Then I read some blogs from other far more talented people and realised that people want to share their lives, loves, passions and pretty much everything else. Bloggers are a source of information, humour and pathos. They are image based, photographic, textual. They rant, ramble, require input and feedback from their readers, provoke discussion and evoke emotion.  They add value to peoples lives and give their authors an outlet. People from all walks of life, all social classes can and do have their say. All you need is access to the internet, a computer and passion.

Interesting. I have passion. I like the occasional rant, when an injustice is exposed or if somebody just pisses me off. I have interests, hobbies I could bore others to death with. Also, I suspect like many bloggers, I have stuff I want to share, that I can share through the anonymous outlet of a blog. Who’s going to know it’s me? Will anybody care?

I’m a writer. By that I mean I write. I am about to finish the first draft of a novel, my first, that has taken a while to write. Partly due to the constraints of work and family and partly, no, mostly due to self doubt. I have lost count of the times I have said a metaphorical ‘Bollocks!” and devoted my time instead to literally anything else. After a while a little voice starts asking questions in my head. “Could William (one of my main characters) do this or that? Why doesn’t Felicity (baddie) do this? Can ghosts fight or will they slide through each other without touching the sides? And bang, we’re back at the computer obsessing again.

What, I have decided, I need, is feedback. Informed input from people who know, or at least don’t know me and feel they have to be nice. Nice is great, but nice because someone thinks I’m writing something worthwhile and enjoyable, would be better. So as well as the ranting and rambling I want to put sections of my novel up for the blogosphere to read and critique. The feedback I get will influence the subsequent drafts. Please don’t just be nice, be honest, constructive and then nice.

Thank you.

Next blog posting will have the first section of the prologue. I look forward to discovering if I’m the only person who likes what I write