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Writing a book. Yeah its a novel, Science fiction…1 year later

It’s now about a year since I started writing my first book, a novel, a science fiction novel and I am still writing. It’s been an experience which has travelled the world with me and let me travel the world through it. Started on a bit of a whim it has become an all encompassing enjoyment as well as a huge challenge. Finally though I am getting somewhere, my words, sentences and drunken typing now resemble the beginnings of a serious manuscript, a plot at least mostly coherent, a real novel! In the process I have underestimated several things, in an effort to document them I intend to write about them here, this may be a tipping point for this blog but as its quite a mixed bag as it is who knows.

First underestimation: Scale
Write a book, yeah I could do that, what is it like a hundred pages? probably 6 months and I will have something. No. Not for me at least. I know the pro’s can pull a lot out of the bag but in my haphazard way of writing up mountains in Nepal or in notepads in bars it’s not going to be so straightforward. Just actually setting a scale seemed difficult for me. I went with the standard, not to be caught up in the masses of writers but just to set myself a goal, some boundaries. Somehow this equated to a goal of between 80,000 and 100,000 words, which in fact has worked out really well for this novel, however I can see how easily things can go astray and I am all for writing shorter/longer pieces after this, or this series (perhaps :D.)

As I side note I guess I could put pace and planning under scale, as the scale of interest I showed them at the beginning was negligible, tiny. This was a big fail for me, I decided to write the book in chunks, jumping about the story but in doing so did create a little confusion and fragmentation. I probably lost a few months to fix up, re-correlation and re-planning, in the end it will still work but next time I am going to plan it conscientiously and write from start to finish.

writing in the clouds - bandipur - nepal

Second underestimation: Enjoyment
There’s this funny kind of wall I have just hit in taking on this challenge, a kind of breakthrough point that I hope is not false thought. Once I had got the book to a state it was printable, once I had that big wodge of a4 paper in my hand emblazoned with a title no one has ever seen or read before it dawned on me. I guess it’s just a positive success thing, but for all I know the book could be atrocious. Either way, at the start when all that was keeping me going was stubborn discipline and coffee I never thought about what it would feel like to actually finish the thing. But then again it’s the last push, I don’t expect an easy time yet.

oooo wait till you read it

So now it’s the case of a bit more writing, a lot more editing and then the answer to the dubious question of publication. Along the way I have been reading around the niche and I can see that the book should hopefully fit snugly into it, at least as much as I can subjectively tell, after all I had always intended to get the thing out there. Having spent years learning the benefits of leverage and importance of self sufficiency I also hope it to be a business success. I have the marketing and online experience so at the moment I am leaning towards self publication, it seems ludicrous to give up such a proportion as 50+ % to a publisher ultimately for the namesake of being “published” traditionally. I set out to write a book to entertain, to hit shelves, and it might still do that (eventually – fingers crossed), but what’s more important to me is that it hits retina’s, cerebral cortex’s and maybe even stimulates mouths to discuss, after all there is only ever one first novel, if it helps support the writing of more all the better.

Self publication seems to be the better horse to back, as well as being the bigger challenge, or at least a challenge not a gamble. Here’s to Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, Dean Wesley Smith and M J Rose for giving me the belief enough in the market to start planning.

Want to know if I have put you in the book? Well watch this space….

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